Explorations No 1 – May 1985
WALLACE KIRSOP, Foreword
A critical account of Hubert de Castella’s book on mid-nineteenth century Victoria and its history, written to correct the negative image of Melbourne presented in Céleste de Chabrillan’s Les Voleurs d’or and other contemporary books
Keywords: Hubert de Castella, Céleste de Chabrillan, mid-19th century Victoria
LURLINE STUART, James Smith
A brief biographical note on late nineteenth century francophile Melbourne journalist and intellectual James Smith and his wife Eliza, both enthusiastic supporters of French culture. They were founding members and office-bearers of the French Literary Club (1886) and the Alliance Française (1891), and subsequently also of the Dante Society (1896).
Keywords: James Smith, Eliza Smith, French Literary Club, Alliance Française of Melbourne
GENEVIEVE DAVISON, Oscar Comettant visits Brighton
French musician and author Oscar Comettant, a judge at the 1888 Melbourne exhibition, described his experiences in Victoria and his meetings with French residents and visitors in Melbourne in his book Au pays des kangourous et des mines d’or (1890), with special reference to his friendship with Georges Burk and the evenings he spent at the Burks’ home “Bagatelle” in Brighton. The article is followed by the text and the music of “Bagatelle”, a song Comettant composed in memory of these evenings.
Keywords: Oscar Comettant, Melbourne Exhibition 1888, George Burk, “Bagatelle” Lyrics and music, Au pays des kangourous et des mines d’or
MIMI COLLIGAN, Marie St Denis
Brief biographical note on the short and tragic life of Alice Maes, born in Belgium in 1848, daughter of a Flemish father and an English mother. After working as a governess in Melbourne and Geelong, Alice made her debut as an actress at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne under the stage name of Marie St Denis. After a brief but highly successful and promising career, she encountered personal and financial difficulties and committed suicide at the age of twenty.
Keywords: Alice Maes, Marie St Denis, Princess Theatre
MARGARET DENAT, Antoine Denat – a French Presence in Australia
A delayed obituary by his Australian wife of French academic Antoine Denat, born in Languedoc in France. The article describes Denat’s intellectual interests (philosophy, poetry and literary criticism), the diversity and the wide scope of his contribution to the promotion of French culture in Australia and his academic career in Australian universities (Queensland, New England, Sydney and Melbourne). Antoine Denat died in Melbourne in 1976.
Keywords: Antoine Denat
DENNIS DAVISON, Henri Kowalski: French Musician in Melbourne
An account of the Australian period in the life and career of Paris-born pianist and composer Henri Kowalski (1841-1916). Of Polish and Irish descent, Kowalski studied at the Paris Conservatoire and embarked on an international career as a concert pianist. He came to Australia in 1880 and was actively involved in the musical life of both Melbourne and Sydney for a decade. Known as the “Prince of the Pianoforte”, he became friends with Marcus Clarke and composed music to his lyrics. The article is followed by a useful bibliography of Kowalski-related items.
Keywords: Henri Kowalski, musical life of Sydney and Melbourne, Marcus Clarke
Reminiscences on the life of Marguerite Cockerton, née Feugnet, together with a lively picture of the history of the Alliance Française of Melbourne between the late twenties and 1960. “Madame Cockerton”, who was trained in Paris as a hairdresser, came to Victoria as a member of the staff of the prominent Chirnside family (Western District, South Yarra and Werribee Park), with her English husband, Walter Cockerton, also engaged by the Chirnsides. Madame Cockerton became Honorary Secretary and later General Secretary of the Alliance Française, and ran the organisation for several decades.
Keywords: Marguerite Cockerton, Alliance Française of Melbourne, Chirnside family
An annotated list of French artists who worked in Australia in the nineteenth century and of Australian artists who had French connections or studied and worked in France, mainly in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Keywords: French artists in Australia, Australian artists in France
Issue 1 Cover