Explorations No 7 – Dec 1988


FRANÇOIS FONTAINE, A Coopérant’s Experiences in Melbourne

The 23-year old author, on a two-year (1977-79) work experience contract (in lieu of twelve months’ military service), was assigned to the Alliance Française in Melbourne as a teacher and a multi-skilled helper. The article is a highly personal and often humorous account of this period in his life, his early problems with Australian English, his friendship with two successive Directors and two successive Presidents of the Alliance, the constant stimulation provided by his job and his relationship with Australians in general as well as those who came to the Alliance to learn French.

Keywords: Alliance Française of Melbourne, Methodist Ladies College, Yannick Jezequel, Bernard Milluy

EDWARD DUYKER, Some Thoughts on the Mauritian Cultural Impact on Australia

A brief survey of the influence of Mauritians on Australian institutions and culture, in which the author argues that despite differences in their racial origins Mauritians can be considered as members of a single ethnic group held together by their language (Créole), their religion and the Gallic element in their background. After listing a number of personalities of Mauritian origin who made a notable contribution to Australian life and culture (e.g. Lloyd Rees), the article surveys the various associations and clubs in different Australian centres (but principally in Melbourne) where Mauritians gather.

Keywords: Sylvie Leclézio, Odile Leclézio, Léon Henri Magrin, Philippe Tanguy, Alfred North-Coombes, Henri Wilden, Stella Clavisque Club, Mauritians in Australia, Dr Georges Domaingue

COLIN NETTELBECK, The Consul’s Treasure

This article tells the story of the re-discovery in 1988 of eight tea-chests stored in the garage of a Melbourne man whose father was a former removalist. These tea-chests contained the archives of the French Consulate entrusted to the removalist in 1940 when the Consulate was closed down. The article explains how the Consul-General of 1988, instructed by his Government to return the archives to France, allowed local scholars to inspect the material and photocopy a limited number of documents relevant to the history of French-Australian relations before their return to the French Archives. The Consul-General also arranged for some reference works and serials, not required in France, to be donated to local libraries.

Keywords: Dominique Raoux, French Consul-General, 1880-1920 records, New Hebrides, WWI, Dame Nellie Melba, Baron von Mueller, Berthe Mouchette, Crivelli family, Ferdinand Maurice-Carton

EDWARD DUYKER, Mauritians on the Gold Fields: a Résumé

The voyage of Mauritians to the Victorian goldfields in the 1850s was facilitated by the large number of ships sailing between their country and Australia due to the booming sugar trade. The article discusses the history of the Mauritians who settled in Australia and of those who returned, the latter often under very difficult financial circumstances. The author, who deplores the scarcity of contemporary accounts of the role of Mauritians in the Gold Rush, concludes that by and large the Gold Rush was no more than a temporary diversion for most of them.

Keywords: gold rush, Bell Regnard & Co, Léon Burguez, Louis Gustave Adam, Eugène Fadhuille


John Dunmore, Pacific Explorer: The Life of Jean-François de La Pérouse, 1741-1788, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Amédée Nagapen, L’Église à Maurice, 1810-1841, reviewed by Edward Duyker