Explorations – No 19 Dec 1995

(issued December 1997)


COLIN NETTELBECK, Looking Ahead: an 1898 French View of Australian Federation

In a short introduction the author recalls the accidental discovery in the late 1980s of some of the pre-war archives of the Melbourne French Consulate and describes a specific 1898 document, namely a report sent by Georges Biard d’Aunet, the then French Consul General in Sydney, to his Minister, Théophile Delcassé, a copy of which ended up on the desk of Léon Dejardin, the French Consul General in Melbourne. This introduction and a summary of the report are followed by the reproduction of the full text of Biard d’Aunet’s paper, preceded by a covering letter sent to Consul General Dejardin by the Minister.

Keywords: Georges Biard d’Aunet, Léon Dejardin, Federation in Australia, protectionism, bi-lateral trade, social protection, expansion of Australian influence in the Pacific, recommendations relating to the protection of French interests in the Pacific.

WALLACE KIRSOP, Some Notes on Georges Biard d’Aunet (1844-1934)

A brief account of the life and career of Georges Biard d’Aunet, a former naval officer, who served as French Consul General in Sydney (1893-1900) and as Consul General for the whole of the new Australian Federation (1901-1904). The author also reviews Biard d’Aunet’s background, the status of his father as a painter at the court of King Louis-Philippe, the celebrity of his mother Léonie d’Aunet both as a writer and as Victor Hugo’s mistress, the fame of his sister as an influential journalist under the nom de plume Étincelle, as well as Biard d’Aunet’s own activities as a writer both of plays and essays, including a book featuring his impressions of Australia.

Keywords: diplomatic service, archives diplomatiques, Paris, Georges Biard d’Aunet