News

ISFAR and the Alliance Française in Sydney continue their collaboration on events

Updated Sun 2 June 2019
ISFAR and the Alliance Française in Sydney continue their collaboration on events with a presentation on 30 May 2019 by Dr Angela Giovanangeli (University of Technology Sydney). Chaired by Dr Elizabeth Rechniewski, Dr Giovanangeli gave a fascinating presentation on Lucien Henry, Paris Communard and Australian artist, described by art historians as the most productive and influential artist working in Sydney from 1879 to 1891. More than fifty people were in attendance, including Lucien Henry’s great grandson!

The ISFAR Ivan Barko Award 2018

Updated Sun 2 June 2019
Named after Professor Ivan Barko to mark his long and distinguished service to ISFAR, particularly as editor of its journal Explorations and its successor The French Australian Review, the prize is intended to stimulate research in all areas of French Australian relations. It is awarded by the Committee on the recommendation of the editors of the review to the author of the best article published during the preceding year.

The 2018 ISFAR Ivan Barko Award has been awarded to Elizabeth Rechniewski for her article ‘Voyage of the Pilgrims’, New Hebrides, June 1902: Australia’s First Attempt at Colonisation, which was published in The French Australian Review number 65 Australian Summer 2018-2019, a special issue on New Caledonia and the Pacific.

Elizabeth Rechniewski’s story of the Australian settlers who, accompanied by journalist A. B. (Banjo) Paterson, set out from Sydney for the New Hebrides in June 1902 is a well-written and exciting report of a little-known event which could be seen as Australia’s first attempt at colonisation. The essay was meticulously researched, drawing upon contemporary French and Australian newspapers, including Paterson’s articles for the Herald, and parliamentary debates, to explore the significance of this settlement project in the context of the decades-long dispute between France, Britain and Australia over the future of the New Hebrides, now known as Vanuatu.

Liz Rechniewski received her prize from Kerry Mullan at the ISFAR seminar held at the Alliance Française de Sydney on 30 May 2019. Professor and Mrs Barko were present at the Award.

Elizabeth Rechniewski, Ivan Barko 2019-05-30

Elizabeth Rechniewski, Ivan Barko 2019-05-30

Renowned French archaeologist Gilles Prilaux visits Australia

Updated Sun 2 June 2019
 ISFAR is delighted to have been involved with the recent visit to Australia by Gilles Prilaux, a leading French archaeologist of the First World War. For many years, Mr Prilaux has been working in the battlefields of the Western Front. In 2014, Prilaux was tasked with dating the underground city that lies 30 meters below the northern French town of Naours (Somme). Rediscovered in the 19th century, this huge cave complex had become a much-visited tourist attraction. Popularly believed to date from prehistoric times, it turned out in fact to be a 17th century construction. In the course of this research, Gilles Prilaux uncovered something completely unexpected: thousands of names and regimental numbers, scrawled on the limestone walls by World War I soldiers, a considerable majority of them Australian. From that discovery, he conceived a new project, namely to investigate the lives behind the graffitied traces so long hidden in the caverns. What has emerged from his work is not just a wealth of moving and revealing stories, but a new dimension for Australian reflection on this foundational time of our history.

While in Australia, Mr Prilaux visited Canberra and Melbourne to give three fascinating and extremely well attended talks.

BEYOND VILLERS-BRETONNEUX’ CONFERENCE IN CANBERRA 26-27 APRIL 2019

ISFAR was proud to be a co-sponsor of the ‘Beyond Villers-Bretonneux’ conference held on Friday, 26th and Saturday, 27th April, at UNSW-ADFA. The conference was organised by eminent military historian Professor Peter Stanley at ACSACS (Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society) in collaboration with the Mission du Centenaire, the French Embassy, the France Australia Centenary Trust, the University of Melbourne French Trust Fund, and ISFAR. The keynote address, ‘France and Australia in History’ was given by Emeritus Professor Colin Nettelbeck, founder and past president of ISFAR. His speech provided fascinating insights into key periods of the France Australia relationship. ISFAR committee members Professor Veronique Duché, Elaine Lewis, and Pauline Georgelin also presented papers.

A highlight of the conference was the presentation by Gilles Prilaux, who explained his work researching the identities of the Australian soldiers who visited the underground caves of Naours during the First World War, and who inscribed their names in the walls. At the conclusion of Mr. Prilaux’s presentation, he met the families of three of these men for the first time.

Link to conference website and full program of talks, together with a video recording of Gilles Prilaux’s presentation

Link to conference photos

THE LIVES BEHIND THE NAMES – THE AUSTRALIAN PRESENCE IN THE FRENCH UNDERGROUND CAVES OF NAOURS (SOMME) AT THE SHRINE OF REMEMBRANCE 29 APRIL 2019

In this illustrated lecture Gilles Prilaux brought to life the soldiers behind some of the almost 2000 Australian (many of them Victorian) inscriptions on the walls of the caves beneath Naours. Attendees were treated to a virtual visit of the caves, as well as the unveiling of two paintings by George Petrou of two of the soldiers behind the graffiti. The talk concluded with the presentation of a gift by Mr Prilaux to the Shrine of Remembrance as a symbol of French-Australian friendship and of the presence of the Australian soldiers in the underground city of Naours.

Link to news item with photos from the event in the Bleu Blanc Rouge newsletter of the French Consulate in Melbourne

THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE GREAT WAR (1914-1918): AUTOPSY, DANGER, DISCOVERY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE 30 APRIL

In this presentation Gilles Prilaux regaled the audience with a fascinating description of the difficulties and dangers of his work in conducting a veritable autopsy of the First World War battlefields, where uncovering traces of mass human death incurs the constant risk of millions of unexploded shells. He also briefly presented some of the “underground archives” left by soldiers of many nationalities whose names and other inscriptions survive in the caves beneath the Somme.

LINKS TO RELATED ITEMS

Link to podcast of SBS French Radio interview with Gilles Prilaux on 30 April 2019 “Gilles Prilaux – The Silent Soldiers of Naours”

Link to article in Le Courrier Australien of 8 may 2016 “Gilles Prilaux, à la recherche des vies derrière les graffitis de la Grande Guerre”

BIOGRAPHY

Gilles Prilaux completed his studies at the University of Dijon and the University of Artois. He currently works at the Somme Patrimony Centre, and is a project head for the Centre for Conservation and Research at Ribemont-sur-Ancre. Some of his work has been published in book form: L’archéologie de la Grande Guerre (2008) – tr. Great War Archeology (2009), and The Silent Soldiers of Naours: messages from beneath the Somme (2017). A forthcoming work will document the lives of more than 350 soldiers who have left their names in the caves.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Gilles Prilaux’s visit to Australia was initiated by Ms Kus Pandey, Manager of the ACSAS at UNSW-ADFA for the “Beyond Villers-Bretonneux” conference. Mr Prilaux’s visit to Melbourne was organised and supported by the University of Melbourne French Trust Fund, in collaboration with the Honorary French Consulate General in Melbourne, the Institute for the Study of French Australian Relations (ISFAR), and the Shrine of Remembrance.

The French Australia Review Issue 65 published

Updated Sun 31 Mar 2019
The latest issue has been published and posted to members. The abstracts can be viewed in Journals. This also means that all articles in Issue 59 have been archived into the web site and are now freely available in Journals.

The Ivan Barko Award for 2018

Updated Sat 23 Mar 2019
The Ivan Barko Award for 2018 was awarded to Elizabeth Rechniewski for her article in the French Australian Review No 65, entitled ‘Voyage of the Pilgrims’, New Hebrides, June 1902: Australia’s First Attempt at Colonisation’. Congratulations to Elizabeth Rechniewski.

ISFAR President awarded the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques

Updated Sat 1 Dec 2018
ISFAR President Dr Kerry Mullan was awarded the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques on Mon 26 Nov at the Honorary Consulate General of France in Melbourne by Mme Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie.
Dr Kerry Mullan Palmes 1 Dr Kerry Mullan Palmes 2

Berthe Mouchette 2018

Updated Sat 1 Dec 2018
ISFAR is proud to continue its sponsorship and support of the Berthe Mouchette Competition. Phoebe Weston-Evans from ISFAR attended the competition awards ceremony on Wed 14 Nov in St Kilda.

Second ISFAR Colloquium

Updated Sat 29 Sep 2018
The 2nd ISFAR colloquium was held on 27th September 2018 at the University of Adelaide, with the theme of “French Contributions to Australian Life”. Thank you to all delegates, who presented a rich array of papers including a very interesting round table discussion on the topic of “Reflections on the Commemorations of the Great War”.

The colloquium culminated in a keynote address by Emeritus Professor Colin Nettelbeck (Past President of ISFAR) entitled “France and the French in Australia’s growth to nationhood: 1914-1945”, as part of the centenary celebrations of French Studies at the University of Adelaide. The title and abstract of Prof. Nettelbeck’s address were as follows:

France and the French in Australia’s growth to nationhood: 1914-1945
In the more than 200 years of relations between France and Australia, the ambiguities and complexities of the period that spans the two world wars of the 20th century are of special interest. This lecture will argue that the specific role of France and the French in Australia’s growth to nationhood deserves much closer attention than it has received to date. It will show how, from the military alliance of World War I to the appointment of Australia’s first ambassador to France in 1945, the tension between attempts to forge closer bonds, on the one hand, and frequently resurgent distrust and conflict, on the other hand, were crucial to Australia’s self-image and self-positioning as an emerging nation in a dramatically unstable geo-political world.

Picture gallery from the colloquium

Victoria School, Villers-Bretonneux

Updated June 2018
Movie: Do not Forget Australia School Victoria Villers-Bretonneux subtitled
Reference: Film “Do not forget Australia école Victoria Villers-Bretonneux (subtitled)”, Author Ecole Victoria à Villers-Bretonneux

AHA affiliation

Updated Mon 28 May 2018
ISFAR has become an affiliate member of the Australian Historical Association.

ISFAR announces Dr Kerry Mullan as President

Updated Tue 20 Mar 2018
Kerry Mullan thanked Colin Nettelbeck for his leadership of ISFAR for the last seven years and thanked the committee members for their support for her nomination as President at the ISFAR AGM. Kerry gave formal thanks to Colin and the entire committee for their contributions over the past seven years and for paving the way for the 2018 strategies. Thanks to Colin, ISFAR is in a very strong position.

The inaugural Ivan Barko Award

Updated Feb 2018
The Ivan Barko Award for 2017 was awarded to Jill Donohoo for her article in the French Australian Review No 61, entitled ‘NSW Premier William Holman and the ‘inexhaustible interest of French literature and affairs’. Congratulations to Jill Donohoo.

Berthe Mouchette

Updated 26 Nov 2017
ISFAR is a proud sponsor of the 2017 Berthe Mouchette poetry competition organised by the Alliance Française de Melbourne. Vice-President Dr Kerry Mullan attended the ceremony on 15th November and awarded the ISFAR sponsored prizes to the eight winners of the Year 9 poetry recital category.

Awards Ceremony BMC2017 group shot BMC 2017 Presentation

ISFAR Colloquium 2017

Updated 6 Nov 2017
Thank you to those who participated in the ISFAR Colloquium on 2 November 2017.

Some photographs from the day are here

Award of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques to Elaine Lewis

Updated 26 June 2017
On 22 June 2017, The Honorary French Consul for Melbourne, Mme Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie, conferred on Elaine Lewis the award of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes académiques at a reception at the Consulate-General, attended by some 50 friends, family and colleagues. Mme Boisbouvier-Wylie spoke very warmly about Elaine’s outstanding achievement in establishing the Australian Bookshop in Paris in 1996 and running it for the next few years as a vibrant centre for cultural exchange between France and Australia. She also referred to her work as a translator of French poetry. Professor Colin Nettelbeck, President of ISFAR, spoke of her contribution to the work of ISFAR following her return to Australia in 2001, particularly as co-editor of the journal. He read the following message from Professor Ivan Barko, who was not able to travel from Sydney to attend the event: I have always felt that decorations should first and foremost go to those, who, like Elaine, devote themselves to a cause out of love for what that cause represents for them, as a reward for disinterested pursuits. Elaine’s profile has been one of a passionate cultural mediator. Perhaps the highlight of that career was her ownership of the Australian Bookshop in Paris, a dream come true for her. Elaine didn’t merely sell books but ran a literary salon for French-loving Australians and Australophile French women and French men. On leaving Paris, Elaine transferred her pursuits of cultural mediation to Melbourne, with ISFAR becoming the main (although by no means the sole) beneficiary of that relocation. And, within ISFAR, more specifically Explorations, subsequently the French Australian Review, and in the context of the journal I was the lucky recipient of Elaine’s contribution to our work as co-editors for several happy and harmonious years. ISFAR congratulates Elaine on this highly deserved award.

ISFAR at the Alliance Française Bastille day festival 15th and 16th July 2017

Updated 25 June 2017
ISFAR is pleased to be participating in Melbourne’s annual Bastille Day Festival, organised by the Alliance Française. Copies of the French Australian Review will be available, as well as information on our upcoming activities in conjunction with the Melbourne Salon. ISFAR secretary Pauline Georgelin will give an illustrated lecture on the Sunday afternoon about her PhD research into French-Australian encounters during World War I and French speaking diggers.

Updated 23 June 2017
ISFAR is pleased to be able to report on a collaboration with Monash University’s Translating and Interpreting Studies Program in its School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics. ISFAR was approached by Marc Orlando, the Program Director, to see if we had any translation work suitable as the practicum requirement for Masters Degree students. The work would need to be supervised and reviewed as a student exercise by the person proposing it. ISFAR responded enthusiastically. One student will be working on a translation of an article for No 63 of The French Australian Review. The article is about ethnographic items collected during the Baudin expedition in 1804 and deposited in the Château of Malmaison near Paris, on the expedition’s return to France.
Two former ISFAR Committee members, Dianne Reilly and John Drury, also proposed translation projects for students in the course. One student will be working on the translation of a novel by Marie Lion, whose nom de plume was Noël Aimir. Marie Lion was the sister of Berthe Mouchette and she was an artist and art teacher as well as a writer of colonial stories. She wrote four novels, only one of which has been translated into English. Finally, a third student will translate an article ‘Les Deux Hymens Neuchâtelois du Premier Gouverneur de l’Etat de Victoria‘ about Governor La Trobe’s connections to Neuchâtel in Switzerland, before and after the unexpected death of his wife there and his permanent departure from the colony of Victoria.

Refurbishment of Franco-Australian museum at Villers-Bretonneux

Updated 30 May 2017
ISFAR members Peter Evans and Anne Brassard-Evans have sent us the following:
The official inauguration of the refurbished Franco-Australian Museum in Villers-Bretonneux, France took place on 24 April 2017. Australia’s Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Dan Tehan re-opened the extensively renovated premises, in company with the Mayor of Villers-Bretonneux, M. Patrick Simon. The ceremony took place on the eve of the Anzac Day Dawn Service that is now held annually at the Australian Memorial in Villers Bretonneux. Mr Tehan said that “the redeveloped museum and exhibition is a credit to the efforts of the Franco-Australian Association and the town to remember and honour the First World War and the contribution made by the Australians at Villers-Bretonneux.”
The Australian Government contributed $2 million to the project, thereby assisting with the reconstruction and refurbishment of part of the Victoria School within which the museum is located. This has allowed the museum to house the Franco-Australian Association’s extensive collection of wartime memorabilia.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Dan Tehan, with the immediate Past-President of the Franco-Australian Association, Mme Anne Brassart-Evans in the assembly hall of the Victoria School after the re-opening of museum.
 

Updated February 2017
ISFAR publishes Issue 61 of the FAR, now available to members. (Non-members may purchase copies.)
ISFAR is pleased to state that its new logo design will be present on all media soon.

Updated December 2016
The Journal Archive is now completed and available on the ISFAR Journal page, with all archived journals freely available by clicking on the right hand index of the Journal page. The latest ten issues remain available for purchase.
Thank you to those who participated in the ISFAR Colloquium on 6 December 2016. Some photographs from the day are here.

Some photographs from the day are here
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ISFAR Celebrating 30 years

Updated December 2015
The President’s introductory talk for the end-of-year gathering at the French Honorary Consulate, Thursday 19 November 2015

My original plan for tonight was to present an outline of ISFAR’s history. Events of the past week have led me in to reflect a bit differently, Thirty years ago, when Wal Kirsop, Denis Davidson and I were setting up ISFAR, we knew that there were important reasons for studying French Australian relations. I think we even knew that not all of those reasons had to do with the past – with that complex web of interactions and influences that had begun to be woven even before La Pérouse sailed into Botany Bay in Governor Phillip’s wake in 1788. But I’m sure we had no idea that French Australian relations would become the strongly defined field of study that it has turned out to be, or that the journal that we entitled – in a realistically modest way – Explorations, would come to change its name to The French Australian Review. That particular change reflects the shift from our initial eager enthusiasms to discover and uncover to the more assured confidence and scholarly endeavour of our present situation.

In 1985, we could not know all those things. Nor could we know how crucially relevant our field of study would become, in the context of the quite revolutionary and globalising changes that have occurred in the world in the course of those thirty years, and in our ways of looking at the world. This year, 2015, has seen tragic and monstrous events in France – in January, and again in November – and these events have obliged people and peoples around the world to look to the things that they hold most dear, to the beliefs and values that give meaning to their lives and their social practices. In the present circumstances, it is significantly consoling to recognise that we in Australia share a great many of those beliefs and values with France and the French, and to remember that our solidarities are not an abstraction, but the fruit of more than two centuries of shared traditions and experiences. And it’s thanks to those traditions and experiences that we can have some measure of confidence about the future. Australians and French people have a friendship which is sometimes, unwisely, taken for granted. But the events of the past week have shown its strength, and have demonstrated that it will not be shaken or diminished by the forces of destruction. Au contraire, Australians and French will continue to stand side by side in resistance against those who promote hatred and violence and death, and we will continue our common affirmation of the freedoms of mind and spirit and belief, of the right to question authority, of tolerance, of the love and welcoming of diversity and invention that underpin our cultures, our sense of humanity, our institutions. It is our common vocation and our common duty.

The growth and consolidation of ISFAR would not have been possible without the enduring commitment of its members, committee and office-bearers. I thank each and every one of them, some of whom have been serving since the very beginning. To name everyone and to list their contributions would make for a speech longer than what our time tonight allows for: but all deserve our thanks – our presidents, secretaries, treasurers, committee members; our editors, editorial teams and boards, our researchers, our readers, our so-called “ordinary” members. I do want to pay homage to three very special people who, if we had an honour roll, would certainly be at the top of it: they are Dennis Davison, who first had the idea of founding our journal; Colin Thorton-Smith, who contributed both editorial work and sage analytical studies; and Kate Jones, whose desktop publishing expertise allowed her, with unfailing graciousness, to help promote the professionalisation of our flagship. Their work ensures that we shall not rest on our laurels.

Particular thanks tonight go to Dianne Reilly who, together with John Drury, has managed the material organisation of our soirée, and also to Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie, who has once again shown her extraordinary generosity by offering us these lovely premises for our gathering. We have received a number of apologies for tonight, including those of John Wylie, Glyn Davies and Alastair Hurst, to mention just a few. Alastair, a former ISFAR President, is tonight attending a memorial service in Ballarat for the victims of last Friday’s brutalities in Paris.

As you know, one of the main purposes of tonight’s gathering is to have a dedicated Victorian re-launch of the wonderful book French Lives In Australia. Conceived by the former Consul General in Sydney, Eric Berti, and brought into existence by an exemplary collaboration of Ivan Barko and individual researchers from across the country together with ISFAR and Australian Scholarly Publishing, this work provides us with many good reasons to rejoice in our francophilia and in our ongoing study of French Australian relations. Please join me in welcoming Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie, our beloved Honorary Consul-General, who has accepted the task of presiding over this new launch.
Colin Nettelbeck
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Some Key Landmarks in ISFAR History

May 1985 Publication of the first number of Explorations
31 May – 1 June 1985 Symposium held at Monash University: “France-Victoria Connection”
11 September 1985 The creation of the Institute for the Study of French Australian Relations is recognised by the Monash University Arts Faculty Board
1988 Rediscovery of the Melbourne French Consular archives (See “The Consul’s Treasure”, Explorations 7, December 1988)
26 June 1996 ISFAR is incorporated under the Associations Act 1981.
2008 Explorations becomes a refereed journal
2010 ISFAR and The Melbourne Salon initiate an ongoing collaboration for discussions/seminars
2013 Special Issue of Explorations on the thirty-five years of history of the Melbourne French Theatre
2014 ISFAR’s new statutes filed in accordance with new association regulations.
Explorations becomes The French Australian Review (with Number 56)

ISFAR Presidents
1985 – 1991 Prof. Colin Nettelbeck
1992 – 1999 Dr Dianne Reilly
2000 – 2008 Dr Alastair Hurst
2009 – 2011 Prof. Stephen Alomes
2011+ Prof. Colin Nettelbeck

Updated October 2015
French Lives in Australia – the book is to be launched at the end of year ISFAR reception on Thursday 19th November 5.30pm – 7.30pm. See the Events tab for details and the Membership tab for prior reservation and payments.

French Lives in Australia

Updated August 2015
An anthology of twenty-four biographical essays on remarkable French women and men who left their mark on Australia.
This project was conceived by French Consul General Eric Berti, whose term in Australia is nearing its end. It has attracted strong support from ISFAR and its journal The French Australian Review (previously Explorations), as well as a Melbourne publisher, Nick Walker, of Australian Scholarly Publishing.
The book (approx. 450 pages) is now available in book shops. (ISFAR’s pre-publication offer is no longer available.)
French Lives book cover

CONTENTS OF THE BOOK “FRENCH LIVES IN AUSTRALIA”

S.E. CHRISTOPHE LECOURTIER, AMBASSADOR OF FRANCE, Foreword
ERIC BERTI Introduction
EDWARD DUYKER on Père Receveur and botanist Labillardière
JOHN WEST-SOOBY, JEAN FORNASIERO and MARGARET SANKEY on Nicolas Baudin
KENNETH DUTTON on Francis Barrallier, surveyor and cartographer
NEVILLE POTTER on Nicolas Rossi, superintendent of police
MICHEL REYMOND on Joseph Bernard Reymond, rural pioneer
ROSLYN MAGUIRE on Didier Joubert, pioneer of Hunters Hill
JACQUELINE DWYER on Georges Playoust, wool-buyer
JOHN DRURY on Berthe Mouchette, founder of the Melbourne Alliance française and artist, and on her sister Marie Lion, artist
GEOFFROY de LASSUS on Charles Phalempin, founder of the French bank in Australia
DIANNE REILLY on Comte Lionel de Chabrillan, the first French Consul in Melbourne, and on Antoine-Julien Fauchery, miner and photographer
WALLACE KIRSOP on Francis de Castelnau, scientist and consul general
ERIC BERTI on Georges Biard, consul general of France in Sydney
PATRICIA CLANCY on Céleste de Chabrillan, courtesan, consul’s wife and author
ELAINE LEWIS on Léon Caron, conductor, composer and violinist
MAURICE BLACKMAN on Paul Wenz, author and grazier
ERIC BERTI on Jacques Playoust, French-Australian poilu
PETER BROWN on Augustine Soubeiran, educator and WW1 fund-raiser
COLIN NETTELBECK on Charlotte Crivelli, WW1 fund-raiser
MARGARET BARRETT on André Brenac, Leader of the Free French in Australia
STEPHANIE ANDERSON Narcisse Pelletier, the castaway
TOM LOCKLEY and ERIC BERTI, on Maurice Guillaux, aviation pioneer
CAROLE ROUSSEL Pierre Roussel, Founder of the Botany Bay Lapérouse Museum
IVAN BARKO and COLIN NETTELBECK, Afterword
IVAN BARKO and ERIC BERTI, List of French Consuls and Ambassadors in Australia (1842–2015)