ISFAR newsletter 008 June 2022

Message from the president

Dear ISFAR members and friends,

The wintry conditions on the east coast are mitigated by the sense of hope and quiet optimism following the recent elections in France and Australia. Both governments are in their very early days, but all indications so far are that there will be a reset in French-Australian relations. ISFAR welcomes these developments and looks forward to seeing the friendship between the two countries re-form and consolidate following last year’s unfortunate bump in the road. Indeed, as I write this message, our respective Foreign Ministers have just spoken to each other.







On this topic, read on for news of articles in the next issue of The French Australian Review, the wrap-up of the recent excellent series of talks, ‘Living the French Elections’, and news of a forthcoming series of ISFAR seminars entitled ‘After the Elections, is a Reset in French-Australian Relations Possible’?







Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and French President Emmanuel Macron
Credit: Hamish Spence NCA Newswire, 26 May 2022

Further to our announcement in our last newsletter that former Editor of The French Australian Review (and Honorary Life Member) Professor Ivan Barko, and current Co-Editor of The French Australian Review Dr Jane Gilmour, had received the highly prestigious Ordre national du mérite, we report on the recent decoration ceremony for Jane and for Vice President of ISFAR, Professor Véronique Duché (who received the medal last year). It was a wonderful occasion to come together and celebrate this extraordinary achievement. The warmth and solidarity in the room demonstrated once again that high-level politics cannot damage the longstanding friendship between our French and Australian communities.

In this issue we introduce you to Co-Chair of our Research Committee, Alexis Bergantz, and we present tributes to two longstanding members of ISFAR, Pat Clancy and Jean Fornasiero, who have recently stepped down from their roles on various committees. We also report on both the recent and the next Melbourne Salon (which will be held in person), the forthcoming Bastille Day French Festival in Melbourne (look out for another ISFAR online quiz with great prizes!), The Picasso Century exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, and include links to a new publication and several articles of interest.

Bonne lecture!
Kerry Mullan
Thank you to Robyn Stern and Graham Neilson for the coordination and layout of this newsletter and to all the contributors. Please send any feedback or suggestions for future topics or items for inclusion to .


A message from the editors of the French Australian Review

The French Australian Reviewnumber 72, will be a special issue featuring five papers from the 2021 ISFAR@35 Symposium, ‘Australia and France in a Regional and Global Context. Past Engagements and Future Research Directions’. Elizabeth Rechniewski and Alexis Bergantz have written an Introduction which, as well as outlining the papers, comments on recent political, diplomatic and cultural relations between France and Australia. Book reviews and the usual Bibliographical Notes will also be included.

The French Australian Reviewnumber 73, is being planned and some interesting articles have been proposed including articles on Jules Lefebvre’s painting, Chloé; ‘Australian Studies in France’; ‘Images of Australia in in French Translation’; and ‘French Film Festivals in Australia’.

The French Australian Review is published by the Institute for the Study of French Australian Relations (ISFAR). This year ISFAR celebrates its thirty-seventh anniversary and the journal has just published its seventy-first issue. FAR is fully peer-reviewed and is published twice a year as both an e-journal and in print; articles will soon be available in Open Access twelve months after publication.

In order to ensure a good flow of submissions to the journal, the editors are now calling for papers reflecting French-Australian connections of all kinds. As members of ISFAR will know, we publish academic articles, documents, notes and reviews that address French-Australian relations—historical and contemporary—across social, political, scientific and cultural subjects. Submissions concerning the wider Indo-Pacific region that have a bearing on relations between Australia and France are also welcome, as are articles in French relating to French-Australian connections of all kinds. Further information, and links to past issues and other ISFAR activities, can be found on the ISFAR website.

If you would like to contribute an article or document concerning some aspect of French-Australian relations, to recommend books you would like reviewed, or perhaps to suggest themes or ideas for the journal, please contact the editors, Jane Gilmour and Elaine Lewis at .


Living the French Elections 2022

As ISFAR members will know, Dr Nicole McLean and Professor Véronique Duché from the University of Melbourne organised a series of highly successful monthly talks leading up to the recent French presidential elections. The speakers were well-renowned and experts in their field, resulting in lively discussion and debate.

For further analysis of the election results, please see the following two interviews given by members of the group:

– Peter McPhee in a radio interview with a business radio station in Malaysia.

– Peter McPhee and Natalie Doyle were interviewed by The Wire.

Nicole has written several short blogs about the discussion group for The University of Melbourne’s School of Languages and Linguistics SOLL Talk blog.

We are very grateful to both Nicole and Veronique for opening up these talks to ISFAR members, many of whom attended regularly.


ISFAR seminars

After the Elections, is a Reset in French-Australian Relations Possible?

In light of the rapidly evolving situation following the elections in France and Australia, ISFAR is organising a series of seminars over the next few months under the overall title ‘After the Elections, is a Reset in French-Australian Relations Possible?’ Registration details for the first seminar, to be held on zoom, are shown below. Registration is free.

David Camroux will open the series with a zoom seminar from 5.30-7pm AEST, Thu 7 July:

‘AUKUS and its Aftermath’

David is Honorary Senior Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor Sciences-Po;

Co-Coordinator Observatory of the Indo-Pacific. Professorial Fellow, Vietnam National University (USSH, Hanoi). Co-editor, Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs

Time: Thu 7 Jul 2022 05:30 PM AEST.  Register here.

Future speakers will include Bruce Wilson from the Centre for European Studies at RMIT.

See all ISFAR Seminars here.


L’Ordre national du mérite

Further to our previous newsletter, Professor Véronique Duché (Vice President, ISFAR) and Dr Jane Gilmour (Co-Editor, French Australian Review) were decorated with the highly prestigious Ordre national du mérite in a recent ceremony at University House, University of Melbourne.

His Excellency, Mr Jean-Pierre Thébault, Ambassador of France to Australia, presented Véronique and Jane with their medals, along with a third recipient, Marie Wilkening-le Brun. Both Mr Thébault and Ms Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie, French Honorary Consul General in Melbourne, gave warm and congratulatory speeches to all recipients. The French Consul- General in Sydney, Ms Anne Boillon, concluded the ceremony with her own words of congratulations.

This award recognises how much both Professor Duché and Dr Gilmour have done for French studies, French relations, and French language and culture in general in Australia, including (but not limited to) their invaluable roles with ISFAR. Congratulations Véronique and Jane!








L to R: Anne Boillon, French Consul-General, Sydney; Marie Wilkening-le Brun; Dr Jane Gilmour (Co-Editor, French Australian Review, ISFAR); Professor Véronique Duché (Vice President, ISFAR); HE Mr Jean-Pierre Thébault, Ambassador of France to Australia; Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie, Honorary French Consul General, Melbourne.








His Excellency, Mr Jean-Pierre Thébault, Ambassador of France to Australia presenting the Ordre nationale du mérite to Professor Véronique Duché (Vice President, ISFAR).













Pauline Georgelin (ISFAR Secretary) congratulates Professor Véronique Duché.



Profile – Dr Alexis Bergantz, Lecturer at RMIT University in Global & Language Studies, Co-Chair ISFAR Research Committee

Researching Australia’s relationship with France

I moved to Australia in 2007 on a Working Holiday Visa, planning on backpacking around the country before going back to France. I knew next to nothing about Australia, but I fell in love with the country and decided to stay (though that was a longer and more difficult process than I make it sound). Living here led me to look for a ready narrative of belonging so I started reading migration histories. There was a big push to write ‘contribution’ histories in the 1970s and 80s when Australia was reinventing itself as a multicultural nation and work on ‘the French’ fell into that category. These works tended to reify the people they studied as ‘good contributing migrants’, because those studies, often funded by the Commonwealth, also served a socio-political purpose—it was a particular moment in time. So I wanted to take this important work further by asking questions more in line with my own experience of migration and questions at the heart of recent cultural history, such as questions about cultural belonging, the formation of identities and the articulation of power that gives rise to these processes. This research formed the basis of my first book published in 2021 with NewSouth, French Connection: Australia’s Cosmopolitan Ambition. As part of this initial research my interest grew to broader questions about bilateral Franco-Australian history, and Australia’s relationship with the French-speaking Pacific, which is the research I am currently undertaking.

Researching Australia’s relationship with the French Pacific

Here I’m interested in Australia’s relationship with the French-speaking Pacific, New Caledonia in particular. New Caledonia has been going through a political process of decolonisation; it has recently gone through three referenda to vote on independence from France. The Nouméa Accord (1998), under which the referenda took place, specify that after 2022 France and New Caledonia must address the question of the transfer of the remaining powers that, for now, remain with the metropole: law and order, the judiciary, the currency and, of great significance for Australia, the sovereign powers of foreign affairs and defence. So Australia and France will need to rethink their relationship with New Caledonia and to each other in the Pacific space and the Pacific in the years to come.

My project aims to reframe and deepen our understanding of Australia’s relationship with New Caledonia and the broader Pacific through a study of governance and colonisation across these imperial sites from the 1850s to the 1940s. We know, for instance, that the colonisation of New Caledonia was largely underpinned by British and Australian capital and labour, and that it is only towards the end of the nineteenth century that France put in place trade barriers and economic policies that forced New Caledonia to turn its gaze away from the Pacific. But little research has been done on this period; most works on New Caledonia tend to focus on the period after the Second World War and, understandably, the violence of colonisation and race relations, with an eye to the future of the island. And when Australian history is written from an imperial perspective, it tends to remain confined to the British empire, even in the Pacific. So I am interested in bridging the gap in imperial scholarship by using New Caledonia as a site to examine the trans-colonial history of two imperial outposts at the edges of empires. Here I ask questions about sovereignty and the development of Australian nationhood but embedded in a regional and imperial framework. The period at hand (roughly the 1850s to the 1940s) is a crucial period in the development of Australian statehood and, especially at the turn of the nineteenth century, of Australian foreign policy. How can this almost forgotten history of contact and exchange help us rethink the Pacific, beyond the blinkers imposed on us by traditional national histories?


ISFAR Tribute to Pat Clancy, March 2022






Pat Clancy

The Editorial Committee and members of ISFAR greatly regret to learn that Pat Clancy has decided to retire from her positions as member of the Editorial Committee and as Editorial Advisor to The French Australian Review. Happily she has agreed to continue to be available to write the occasional review or article.

Those who have worked with Pat as editors, as well as ISFAR committee members, have appreciated her warm, friendly personality and her perceptive participation in discussions.  Her contributions to committee and editorial deliberations were carefully considered, quietly formulated and always fair. They will be missed.

When ISFAR was set up and the journal Explorations launched, Pat and her colleague the late Colin Thornton-Smith represented the University of Melbourne in the founding group. Pat has served continuously on the ISFAR committee since its establishment and has been associated with the journal since 1985. In that year, founding editor Wallace Kirsop handed over editorial responsibility to a ‘three-person Editorial Committee’—Pat Clancy, Jacques de Saint Ferjeux and Colin Thornton-Smith. The new editors’ first issue included the article, ‘An Aristocratic Adventurer: Count Alfred de la Chapelle’ by Pat Clancy. She went on to contribute many articles and book reviews to the journal—these included articles on Tasma (Jessie Couvreur) and, of course, Céleste de Chabrillan. Her book The French Consul’s WifeMemoirs of Céleste de Chabrillan in Gold-rush Australi(Deuil au bout du monde), written with Jeanne Allen, was published by Miegunyah Press in 1998. In 1991, together with Colin Thornton-Smith, she also published a ground-breaking bibliography, An Analytical Checklist of French Fiction and Pseudo-Memoirs Set in Colonial Australia. This was a co-publication between ISFAR and the University of Melbourne Australian Centre.

A graduate of the University of Melbourne, Patricia Ann Clancy née Lancaster) also gained her PhD at Melbourne and began her academic career as a specialist in eighteenth century French literature and culture. For many years she was a highly regarded senior lecturer in the University’s French Department. She took early retirement in 1988 to pursue independent research and other creative activities. In 1990 she began a distinguished career as a translator and rapidly proved to be brilliant at this art. Translation was the major feature of the latter part of her career. Her gift as a translator was rewarded by many accolades. These include the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Literary Translation, for Jean-Paul Kauffmann’s Voyage to Desolation Island [L’Arche des Kerguelen : Voyage aux îles de la Désolation]; the Scott Moncrieff Prize for French Translation (UK) for The Dark Room at Longwood [La chambre noire de Longwood] by Jean-Paul Kauffmann and the Independent newspaper (London) award for Best Foreign Fiction of 1992 for The Death of Napoleon [La mort de Napoléon]. This prize was shared between Simon Leys (Pierre Ryckmans) as author and Pat Clancy as translator. She has also translated novels by Daniel Pennac, Pierre Magnan and other well-known French authors, as well as various plays and libretti.

We thank Pat for her distinguished contribution to ISFAR and The French Australian Review. We have been honoured to work with a woman of so many talents and interests, and look forward to an ongoing close association with her in a less structured form.

Ivan Barko and Elaine Lewis


ISFAR Tribute to Jean Fornasiero










Jean Fornasiero

Members of ISFAR were also disappointed to learn of Jean Fornasiero’s stepping down from the Research Committee and the Advisory Board recently. The experience and expertise that Jean brought to these committees, as to the wider work of ISFAR, have been invaluable and will be sorely missed. Jean played a significant role in setting up and contributing to the French-Australian Dictionary of Biography and her expertise in Napoleonic and Romantic French history has always been particularly appreciated. Jean has generously agreed to remain involved and be consulted on issues on where she has particular knowledge and experience.

Jean has accepted our invitation to become an Honorary Life Member of ISFAR In recognition of her longstanding and invaluable contributions over the years.

Professor Emerita Jean Fornasiero lectured in French language and culture at the University of New England and the University of Adelaide, where she was Professor of French Studies and, following her retirement, is now Professor Emerita. She has served since 2008 as a member of the Advisory Board of Explorations (now The French Australian Review). In this capacity she has reviewed articles submitted to FAR, to which she has also contributed articles on various topics. As a member of the ISFAR Research Committee since its inception, she was principally involved with the construction of the French Australian Dictionary of Biography (FADB), as well as submitting, reviewing and soliciting entries.

Her teaching interests included French-Australian relations, notably through intercultural exchange; she introduced segments on this topic into her senior language courses, and into her language classes for winemakers. She also pioneered a stand-alone course on French-Australian translation. Her research interests have been focused on nineteenth-century French history, and, in recent years, on the history of the French maritime exploration of Australia. She has published widely on the Baudin expedition to Australia (1800–1804), been a chief investigator on two Australian Research Council grants, as well as contributing as a writer, translator and historical consultant to exhibitions on the artwork of the expedition.

She maintains a close working relationship with French partners for the production of similar exhibitions. She has served as President of the Australian Society for French Studies (ASFS), Chair of Creative France in South Australia (CFSA), and President of the Languages and Cultures Network for Australian Universities (LCNAU). She was elected to the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2012 and became a Chevalier of the Palmes Académiques in 2003, and Officier in 2015.


Attendees of the (online) Melbourne Salon on 19 May were treated to a fascinating talk by Professor Emeritus Barbara Santich AM (The University of Adelaide) on the topic of France Australia Wine: Exchanges and collaborations.

The Salon presented an overview of the Australian reliance on French models to develop viticulture, wine making and a wine-drinking culture in the nineteenth century, and how the British settlers turned to France for theoretical and practical knowledge and for proven grape varieties to establish their vineyards. Through a series of beautiful images, Barbara explained how, throughout the nineteenth century, the fledgling Australian wine industry benefited from translations of French manuals and advice from French experts, and how French wine merchants and restaurateurs helped encourage an appreciation of wine in Australia.

Barbara is a culinary historian whose research focuses on both Australia and France. Her next book, The Beginnings of Provençal Cuisine: Food, Cooking and Eating in 18th-century Provence, will be published by Bloomsbury in 2023. In her teaching career at the University of Adelaide, she instituted the first postgraduate courses in Australia in gastronomy/food studies. As a member of the ISFAR Research Committee she initiated the ‘France Australia Wine’ research project to draw attention to the long history of French-Australian exchanges and collaborations in wine.

The aims of the project remain the research and writing of entries for the FADB highlighting the significance of French and Australian/British individuals who have played an important role in Australian wine, and a subsequent publication that will also demonstrate the continuing nature of French-Australian exchanges and collaborations.

Researchers and contributors are most welcome to participate. Anyone interested in the project and/or who wishes to assist with writing entries for the FADB should contact Barbara at



Thu 25 Aug 2022 6:30-8:30pm Melbourne
Professor John West-Sooby
Nicolas Baudin’s Voyage to Australia and the Pursuit of Science

It is a remarkable fact that, despite the political and institutional turmoil created in France by the 1789 Revolution, successive governments found the wherewithal to organise a number of major scientific expeditions during the decade or so that followed. One of the most ambitious of these scientific ventures, in terms of both its scope and the human and material resources it mobilised, was Nicolas Baudin’s voyage of discovery to the “Southern Lands” (1800–1804), which was approved and sponsored by none other than the First Consul himself, Napoleon Bonaparte.




This talk offers a fresh assessment of the scientific achievements of that voyage, and of some of the expedition’s key figures. It will showcase the voyage’s rich scientific bounty, notably its extraordinary natural history collections and groundbreaking anthropological work. It will then consider the scientists themselves, highlighting their often colourful reactions to the events that unfolded and, more significantly, the contrasting conceptions several of them had of their role. This lack of common purpose, it will be shown, was a principal source of the tensions that emerged during the course of the expedition. Viewed in this light, the Baudin expedition can thus be seen to exemplify the debate in France regarding the role and nature of the scientific voyager – a debate for which the exploration of Australia served as backdrop.





John West-Sooby is Emeritus Professor of French at the University of Adelaide. With Jean Fornasiero, Professor Emerita of French also at the University of Adelaide, he has worked for many years on Nicolas Baudin’s voyage of discovery to Australia. Together, John and Jean have produced several books on the subject, including Encountering Terra Australis. The Australian Voyages of Nicolas Baudin and Matthew Flinders (with Peter Monteath, 2004/2010), French Designs on Colonial New South Wales (2014), The Art of Science: Nicolas Baudin’s Voyagers (1800–1803) (with Lindl Lawton, 2016) and, most recently, ‘Roaming Freely Throughout the Universe’: Nicolas Baudin’s Voyage to Australia and the Pursuit of Science (2021). Jointly and separately, they have also published widely on nineteenth-century French literature and on crime fiction (French and Australian). For their work, John and Jean have been awarded the rank of Officer in the Order of the Palmes académiques by the French government. John currently has another book in preparation: an edited volume of essays on French contributions to Australian cultural life entitled What have the French ever done for us?

Cover charge (includes refreshments) $25. Bookings essential (limited places).
Booking link and venue details to follow separately.


Bastille Day French Festival Melbourne 2022

Melbourne’s Bastille Day French Festival will take place from 16 to 17 July at Federation Square. The exciting activities include:

Four Lumières Talks:

– Bleu: Collaboration to Cure – 4 panelists will discuss French-Australian collaboration in the medical field, in collaboration with AFRAN, Servier and WEHI. (14 July – online)
– Blanc: Picasso – Dr Miranda Wallace, NGV (17 July)
– Rouge: The French Revolution – Dr Matthew Champion, University of Melbourne (17 July)
– Vert: Evolutionary ideas to tackle climate change (15 July – hybrid)

Other activities:
– A Tour de France conversation with Gabriel Gâté and Katie Walsh (16 July)
– Bouygues Walking Tour (guided cultural tour in Melbourne)
– A series of Masterclasses
– Live music band and performers
– A Breaking competition – paving the way for the Paris Olympics
– The Winter Market, featuring Melbourne’s best French stalls

See the Bastille Day French Festival Melbourne website for the program, and watch out closer to the time for the ISFAR quiz with prizes to be won!


Bastille Day French Festival Sydney 2022

See the Bastille Day French Festival Sydney website.


The Picasso Century

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is currently hosting its 2022 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition ‘The Picasso Century’. This world-premiere exhibition – charting Picasso’s career and the artists he influenced and was influenced by – has been developed for the NGV by the Centre Pompidou and the Musée National Picasso-Paris, and features over 70 of his works alongside works by more than 50 of his contemporaries. It runs from 10 June until 9 October.


The Rudé Seminar 2022

Registration for the Rudé Seminar 2022 is now open. This year’s conference is entirely online, and consists of 4 keynotes and a variety of recorded papers that will be made accessible to those registered. These will be complemented, between 4th and 21st July, by live online discussions of the papers. The full program, including abstracts, is available at the above website.

4 July: Penny Roberts, Contested Truths and Concealment during the French Religious Wars
12 July: Noah Shusterman, The Coup d’Etat of August 10, 1792
15 July: Constant J. Mews, Addressing injustice and corruption in the court of Philip IV (1285-1314)
19 July: Christopher E. Forth, ‘What’s the meaning of a life without scars?’: Fight Club Culture and the French Far Right


Links to recent articles

Historian and ISFAR member Dr Edward Duyker was the guest speaker at the exhibition French Explorers – Voyages to Australia at La Perouse Museum in Sydney on 31 March. The exhibition runs from April to 16 October and admission is free. Watch his opening address.

ISFAR would also like to warmly congratulate Dr Duyker on his recent award by the French Académie de Marine of a medal for his book Dumont d’Urville: l’homme de la mer (Éditions du CTHS). Dr Duyker has noted his mother’s important role in helping to make this award happen through her initial translation of this work.


On 21 April Nic Maclellan gave a talk at the Australian Institute for International Affairs (AIIA) entitled ‘Strategic Partnership of France and Australia in the Pacific’. Watch the recording.


On 29 April ABC RN ran a story ‘Things would be very different: How the French almost colonised Australia’ exploring the British decision to send the First Fleet to Australia. The article refers to a recent book by Margaret Cameron-Ash, Beating France to Botany Bay: The Race to Found Australia, in which she writes that Britain was not simply looking for a place to send its convicts, but was also motivated to settle Australia when it learnt through leaked US intelligence of a French plan to establish colonies in Australia.


On 4 May ABC RN also ran a fascinating story about Rose de Freycinet, wife of French explorer Louis de Freycinet, who stowed away aboard her husband’s ship in 1817 during his scientific expedition to the South Seas. At the time having a woman on board a ship was illegal, and while Rose’s presence there was known by the crew, it was largely unacknowledged by those on board. Rose kept a journal of the voyage and was the first woman to document a circumnavigation of the globe.


A number of recent articles have focused on French reaction to the recent Australian federal elections. Links to a selection of articles are below:





New publication

Ignored Histories: The Politics of History Education and Indigenous-Settler Relations in Australia and Kanaky/New Caledonia.  Author: Angélique Stastny


How is colonial history taught in schools? And how do education systems impact power relations between Indigenous people and settlers? This book provides a unique contribution to international discussions about knowledge production and the teaching of colonial history in schools with a comparative analysis of two neighboring settler-colonial societies of the South Pacific. Angélique Stastny argues that school systems in Australia and Kanaky/New Caledonia continue to enact British/Australian and French colonialism, respectively, by leveraging historical narratives that fail to comprehend and willfully ignore the mechanisms and contemporaneity of settler colonialism.

Angélique Stastny is an independent researcher whose work focuses on (anti)colonialism and decolonization in the Pacific, Indigenous politics, racism, and critical whiteness.