ISFAR newsletter 014 December 2023

Message from the president

As we approach the end of another year, it feels appropriate to reflect on and highlight ISFAR’s many activities in 2023, including this, our fourth newsletter for 2023, which has now been published quarterly since August 2020.

Our main event was the 2023 symposium, held online in April on the theme of “New Perspectives in French-Australian Studies”. The two keynote speakers were Professor Matthew Graves (Aix-Marseille University) who presented ‘Le Géographe Revisited: Unofficial Diplomacy in Post-Federation French-Australian Relations’, and Nic Mclellan who spoke about ‘Silenced Voices in the Indo-Pacific’. There were ten other presentations over two days and all talks were very well attended. The inaugural Colin Nettelbeck Scholarship was awarded to Alice Duncan, PhD student at RMIT, for her talk on ‘Representations of Indigenous Australians in French Children’s Books’.

Numbers 73 and 74 of The French Australian Review were issued in summer and winter 2023 respectively, and Number 75 will be heading your way soon. Work is ongoing behind the scenes to raise the profile and visibility of the journal. The AGM was held in March and three subsequent Ordinary Committee meetings were held in May, August and November. Several other meetings were held throughout the year by the Research Committee, the Editorial Committee, and the website working party. Talking of which, you may have noticed an updated look for our website; this is still a work in progress, but we welcome any feedback you may have at this stage.

We held two successful Melbourne Salons at the Alliance Française de Melbourne, one in April by Sabrina Teller on “France and Australia cultural differences”, and another in July with Jillian Symons and Elaine Lewis talking about “Foreign Language Bookshops: the inside story”. In September in Sydney, Professor Barbara Santich presented on her newly published book Eating in Eighteenth Century Provence. The Evolution of a Tradition, as part of her ongoing France Australia Wine project. 

Other collaborations include our longstanding sponsorship of the Alliance Française Berthe Mouchette poetry competition, and the annual ISFAR online quiz as part of the Bastille Day French Festival in Melbourne. Dr Patricia Clarke OAM received the 2022 Ivan Barko Award for her article published in The French Australian Review, number 71, “Australian Connections with the Franco-Prussian War 1870 and the Commune of Paris 1871”. The Ivan Barko Award will become biennial from 2024, alternating with the Colin Nettelbeck Scholarship – stay tuned for more details. Also look out for news on ISFAR’s support for the AALITRA (Australian Association for Literary Translation) translation competition next year. (See below for items on AALITRA member Professor Brian Nelson’s recent retranslation of Proust and a write-up and link to the recording of the inaugural Translation Slam held recently at RMIT.) Also below you will find links to news articles of interest, including the controversy on the surfing event in Tahiti to be held as part of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Sadly, following the loss of co-founder of ISFAR Professor Colin Nettelbeck in 2022, we also lost one of our longest-standing committee members, Jacques de Saint-Ferjeux, in February 2023. Both are greatly missed. Dr Chantal Crozet also stepped down from the committee after several years; her valuable contributions are also missed.

I would like to thank everyone on the ISFAR Ordinary Committee and the several sub-committees for the numerous invaluable contributions they make to ISFAR through their various roles working on the afore-mentioned array of activities and projects. We are a small but dedicated team of volunteers and we look forward to bringing you, our members, another year of ISFAR initiatives and activities in 2024. In the meantime, we wish everyone a restful summer break.

 The French Australian Review

The next issue of the journal (number 75) will be in your inboxes (or mailboxes) early in February next year. It will contain articles from the colloquium held by ISFAR in May this year, ‘New Perspectives in French-Australian Studies’, and is being guest edited by Elizabeth Rechniewski and Alexis Bergantz, who were the convenors of the colloquium. We are delighted to include both Nic Maclellan’s and Matthew Graves’s keynote addresses (‘Silenced Voices in the Indo-Pacific’ and ‘Le Géographe Revisited: Unofficial Diplomacy in Post- Federation French-Australian Relations’, respectively) as well as an interesting variety of other articles, from Alexis Bergantz’s ‘Before Lady Kerr’ to ‘Representations of Indigenous Australians in French Children’s Books’ and ‘Postcolonial Rereadings and Transmission: Miroslav Šašek’s Travel Books’ by Alice Duncan and Vanessa Castejon respectively. Those who enjoyed the first part of Paul Kiem’s ‘The Huybers and Loureiro Families’ in the last issue of the journal will enjoy part two of the story of these fascinating families.

ISFAR is also pleased to announce that the Ivan Barko Prize which has, in the past, been awarded every year for the best article to have appeared in The French Australian Review in the two preceding issues, has been increased in value and will now be awarded every two years for the best article to have appeared in the preceding two years. The value of the prize will now be $500. The editors hope that this will be an added incentive, particularly for younger students and researchers, to consider submitting an article to the journal, which remains the only vehicle for publication in the field of French-Australian relations. We also note, in this context, that the geographic scope of the journal encompasses issues relating to French-Australian relations in the Indo-Pacific region.

If you would like to contact the editors of the journal about your possible interest in submitting an article, please do so at

 French Lives in Australia

The book French Lives in Australia, edited by Éric Berti and Ivan Barko, was published by Australian Scholarly Publishing in 2015. ISFAR was involved in the project from the very beginning and  a number of ISFAR members contributed biographical  essays about some of those men and women from France who contributed to the story of modern Australia between 1788 and 1988from the early explorers  to the first pioneers; from the founders of important French associations and businesses to the first French diplomats; and from a variety of French artists to French-Australians who contributed to WW2, as well as some more unusual French-Australian lives such as those of Narcisse Pelletier, Maurice Gillaux and Pierre Roussel.

It is pleasing to see the French version of this book now in print and released in France on 23 November (Éric Berti, ed., Français d’Australie : 1788–1988, translated by Éric Berti, Rennes, University of Rennes Publishing, November 2023, 586 pp., rrp 25,00 € (AU$ 56.61), ISBN 978-2-75359-372-5).
ISFAR congratulates Éric Berti on his achievement – we will have more news of this exciting new publication in The French Australian Review, number 75. In the meantime, Français d’Australie: 1788–1988 is widely available from more than 160 French bookshops and various Amazon online outlets including

Festschrift for Professor Margaret Sankey

The latest issue of the Australian Journal of French Studies, (Vol 60, no. 4) to be published shortly, is a Festschrift for longtime ISFAR Research Committee and Advisory Board member, Professor Margaret Sankey, with articles by a number of ISFAR members. Edited by Elizabeth Rechniewski, articles include those by Ivan Barko (with Angus Martin) on Margaret’s life and scholarship, by Wallace Kirsop on Claude-Joseph Dorat’s Les Tourterelles de Zelmis, by Michelle Royer on Duras’ autobiographical cinema and by John West-Sooby and Jean Fornasiero on ‘Narrative Strategies in Louis Freycinet’s Navigation et Géographie’

 Vol 60, no. 4 of the AJFS will be available soon which also links to the current issue vol 60, no. 3, July 2023 on Australia and New Caledonia, co-edited by ISFAR Research Committee Co-chairs Alexis Bergantz and Elizabeth Rechniewski.

 Australian Dictionary of Biography – Lady Anne Kerr

ISFAR Research Committee co-chair Alexis Bergantz has recently published an ADB entry on Lady Anne Kerr, teacher, researcher, interpreter and vice-regal consort.

 News from our members

ISFAR member Kerry Murphy has co-edited a new book on Australian music publisher and patron Louise Hanson-Dyer. The book brings together, for the first time, an international group of scholars with expertise in the history of early French musicology and sound recording; fine art and design; and critical editions and music publishing in France. The focus is on the interwar period. It aims to synchronise Hanson-Dyer’s Melbourne and Paris ventures, seeing her work in a global perspective and showing how she played a significant role in the transnational cultural relationship between Australia and France. Hanson-Dyer had vision and objectives and the drive to realise them; this volume situates the consolidation of her role as cultural activist in early twentieth-century Europe and Australia and presents new light on her publication of critical musical editions, her art collections and early sound recordings.









The book is entitled Pursuit of the New: Louise Hanson Dyer, Publisher and CollectorLyrebird Press, Dec. 2023. It is edited by Kerry Murphy and Jennifer Hill and includes chapters by Kerry Murphy, Gerard Vaughan, Sarah Kirby, Catherine Massip, Susan Daniels, Rachel Orzech, Thalia Laughlin, Carina Nandlal, Madeline Roycroft and Isabelle Ragnard.

A confrérie encounter

On 27 September 2023 at Pomport in South-West France, a group of Australian visitors met with members of the Raisin d’Or of Sigoulès to gain a first-hand insight into the world of the confréries. In a speech given by Peter Hodges, ambassador of the confrerie in Australia and ISFAR member, the guests learned that confréries were originally medieval orders founded as decision-making bodies whose function was similar to that of a local council. They were banned under Robespierre during the French Revolution but reinstated towards the end of World War II with the new aim of protecting the integrity of the local region as well as promoting its speciality products. Since viticulture is the main industry of Sigoulès, the burgundy and gold cape of the Raisin d’Or has been designed to reflect these luscious bortrytis wines. Former Grand Master Guy Bergeron explained that in 2010 confréries, along with the importance of the French meal, were added to the UNESCO Intangible World Heritage List.

To further highlight this unique experience, Anthony Castaing, owner of Grange Neuve

Winery and Mayor of Pomport, took time out from his busy harvest schedule to explain the concept of ‘terroir’ and its importance in the wine making process. The evening concluded with a tasting of the wines of Grange Neuve and animated conversation in broken English and French, which helped create a better understanding of ‘patrimoine’ for the Australian group.




Members of the Confrérie du Raisin d’Or de Sigoulès

Credit: Kerry Hodges







Peter Hodges (foreground) and Guy Bergeron (1st left) introducing the confrérie to a group of Australian visitors

Credit: Kerry Hodges

Food and eating in 18th century Provence

A very enjoyable event under the ISFAR banner was held on the afternoon of Sunday 12 November at Foundry 616 in Ultimo, Sydney. Around 35 people listened to ISFAR Research Committee member Professor Barbara Santich give a fascinating account of the early distinguishing features of Provençal cuisine, drawing on her recently published book, Eating in Eighteenth Century Provence. The Evolution of a Tradition (Bloomsbury 2023). Her talk was very evocative of time and place, with interesting insights into the class differences in the patterns of consumption and the ingredients used. Some of Barbara’s former students and colleagues organised tasting platters of foods associated with Provençal cuisine: olives, saucisson and ancholade paste, accompanied by a glass of rosé, all much enjoyed by an appreciative audience. 















Professor Barbara Santich with Research Committee Co-Chair Elizabeth Rechniewski at the event

Credit: Peter Rechniewski














The audience

Credit: Peter Rechniewski


We also took the opportunity to talk about ISFAR, and about the ISFAR France Australia Wine research project coordinated by Barbara, and several people took flyers with details of the Institute.









Provençal cuisine at the event

Credit: Peter Rechniewski


AALITRA’S inaugural French literary translation slam
(Une Joute de Traduction)

Probably for the first time in Australia, the Australian Association for Literary Translation (AALITRA) presented a ‘Literary Translation Slam’ on 15 November 2023, at RMIT University. The room was full and the audience of ninety included a number of ISFAR members, as well as some of Melbourne’s best-known writers and translators and lovers of reading, writing and translation as well as those with a particular interest in French. In France these events are known as ‘Translation Jousts’ but the English versions, recently appearing in the United Kingdom and the USA, are known as ‘Translation Slams’.

The two ‘jousting’ literary translators were Catherine de Saint Phalle and Frances Egan and the moderator was Mireille Vignol who has presented a number of ‘joutes de traduction’ in France and Tahiti. Catherine and Frances were given the same excerpt from the French novel La Vague (The Wave) by Ingrid Astier to translate into English. The audience could read the three versions side by side on a screen (they were also available as handouts). The moderator highlighted dissimilar translations and the jousters defended their choices to the audience who joined in with comments from time to time.






Catherine de Saint Phalle, Mireille Vignol and Frances Egan

Credit: Kerry Mullan


Mireille Vignol, who instigated the event, is known to readers of The French Australian Review as we published an interview with her in the last issue of the review (number 74). She explained that the ‘Literary Joust’ was launched by the ALTF (L’Association des traducteurs littéraires de France).  As moderator of this Australian Translation Slam, Mireille kept events moving and asked pertinent questions which the translators endeavoured to answer as best they could. Both translators were very open and gave considered answers, sometimes agreeing to differ. It was amazing to see the differences in the two translations – their explanations of their choices and decisions, whilst entertaining and sometimes amusing, gave the audience some insights into the art of literary translation.






Frances Egan, Mireille Vignol and Catherine de Saint Phalle

Credit: Kerry Mullan

AALITRA would like to thank A./Prof. Kerry Mullan, RMIT and ISFAR for their assistance and Kerry Mullan for photos.


N.B. AALITRA Database of Australian Literary Translators

The AALITRA Database of Australian Literary Translators is now live! This database is intended to help users easily find experienced Australian translators of literary texts.


Alliance Française de Melbourne – Berthe Mouchette competition

The Alliance Française de Melbourne hosted the awards ceremony for the 129th Berthe Mouchette competition on Tuesday 28 November at St Kilda Town Hall. ISFAR is one of the sponsors of the competition and was represented at the event by newsletter editor Robyn Stern. Nearly 9,000 students from 92 Victorian schools participated in the competition this year and 93 students were awarded prizes during the ceremony.

According to the Alliance Française, the Victorian competition is the largest French language poetry competition outside France. The theme of the 2024 competition, marking its 130th year, will be the Olympic Games.





The 2023 Berthe Mouchette competition winners



Upcoming events

So Frenchy So Chic returns in 2024 with its biggest program to date – in Melbourne on Sunday 14 January and in Sydney on Sunday 20 January. Further details are available here.


Recent articles and other items of interest

Research Committee Co-Chair Alexis Bergantz was recently interviewed by Professor Clare Wright and Dr Yves Rees for a podcast episode entitled Archive Fever about using multilingual archives. The episode is called ‘Found in translation’: ‘How does being an outsider give one fresh eyes on a nation’s past? Why should we disrupt the monolingualism of Australia’s settler history? What do non-English archives bring to the table? And can foreign-language sources help us challenge nationalist mythologies?’.

On 9 October Briony Nelson, ISFAR committee member, was interviewed on the ABC’s Late Night Live program about French convicts in New Caledonia.

In this article, Emeritus Professor Brian Nelson discusses different approaches to translating Proust. He is co-editor, with Alan Watt, of a major new translation of In Search of Lost Time.

And Brian Nelson FAHA, who is the translator of The Swann Way, the first volume of the major new translation mentioned above, speaks about his approach to literary translation here.

Readers interested in the outcomes of the recent (early December) visit to Australia of French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna can find further details in these items in The Guardian and on the ABC website.

The latest issue of the newsletter of the Honorary French Consulate in Melbourne is here: Bleu Blanc Rouge. The newsletter includes a report on Mme Colonna’s visit to Melbourne and the launch of the French-Australian Cultural Exchange Foundation.

This article in The Age reports on the growing interest in France in Aussie Rules football, and introduces us to some of the French people now playing the game.

France is hosting the Olympic Games in 2024 and Tahiti has been selected as the home of the Olympic surfing competition. This is not without controversy, due in part to environmental concerns about the impact on the reef – see the following recent article in The Age. Watch these two YouTube videos (here and here) to experience Tahiti’s world-famous Teahupo’o wave.

The Australia France Network of Doctoral Excellence (AUFRANDE) recently posted about a range of paid research positions.