Explorations – No 49 Part II Dec 2010

EDWARD DUYKER, An Explorer’s Books: The Library of Dumont d’Urville
EDWARD DUYKER, Dumont d’Urville’s Library: The Notarial Inventories

This is a major investigation of Dumont d’Urville’s library. The analytical study is followed by an exhaustive inventory of Dumont d’Urville’s books compiled by the author who is currently completing a biography of the explorer.

Keywords: Dumont d’Urville, French explorer, library, Archives nationales, notarial inventories

EDOUARD MORNAUD, Centre Intermondes at La Rochelle

This note by a former Director of the Alliance Française in Melbourne deals with cultural exchanges between Melbourne and La Rochelle in France.

Keywords: Centre Intermondes, La Rochelle, international cultural exchanges, Daniel Keene, Marie-Jeanne Hoffner, Stephen Garrett, Laith McGregor

MARCEL ROPERT, My Eight Years in Melbourne

This note recounts the personal experiences of the author who spent eight years Melbourne between 1958 and 1968, in the French Department of the University of Melbourne.

Keywords: University of Melbourne, Alliance Française of Melbourne, Professor Jeffrey Jackson

Explorations – No 17 Dec 1994

(issued October 1997)


C.B. THORNTON-SMITH, Paul Maistre, Vice-Consul and later Consul for France in Victoria, 1886-1898, 1901-1908

This article is a detailed account of Paul Maistre’s struggle to reform the Melbourne Alliance Française at the beginning of the twentieth century. Maistre, like Georges Biard d’Aunet, the Sydney-based Consul General for Australia was committed to the Alliance Française as an educational institution. The struggle for reform continued for a number of years until a conflict exploded between Maistre, supported by many key constituents and the socialite Committee. A reformist Committee was established under Paul Maistre. This was however a pyrrhic victory as the Melbourne socialites used their influence with the British Embassy in Paris to lodge a complaint against Maistre resulting in him being recalled in 1909,

Keywords: Alliance Française of Melbourne, French consuls and consul-generals in Sydney and Melbourne, Melbourne establishment, the Crivellis, Maurice-Carton, Paul Maistre, Biard d’Aunet

An editors’ note about the publication of the first in a series of publications to be known as Kelveriana, consisting of works written by Kelver Hartley or relevant to his interests

Explorations – No 12 Jun 1992


C.W. NETTELBECK, Interview with J.G. Cornell, 17 October 1984

J.G.Cornell (b. 1904) is interviewed by Colin Nettelbeck and remembers Alliance Française personalities such as Louise Hansen Dyer, Marguerite Cockerton, Edouard Gay and many others, especially those who participated in theatrical productions. He speaks also of his memories of the teaching of French in Australia, in particular at Adelaide and Melbourne universities where he played a leading role and of his work with the Free French movement (Mouvement de la France Combattante).

Keywords: J.G. Cornell, Alliance Française of Melbourne, Louise Hansen Dyer, theatrical productions, Margaret Cockerton, Ferdinand Maurice-Carton, French Department, Melbourne University, G.G. Nicholson, A.R. Chisholm, Nazar Karagheusian, Colette Redin


Serge Duigou, L’Australie oubliée de Saint-Allouarn, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Lurline Stuart, A Very Busy Smith. An Annotated Checklist of the Works of James Smith Nineteenth-Century Melbourne Journalist and Critic, reviewed by Wallace Kirsop

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

Explorations No 1 – May 1985


COLIN THORNTON-SMITH, A True Account in which only the Facts are Wrong – Hubert de Castella’s Les Squatters australiens (1861)

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


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


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

COLETTE REDDIN, A Frenchwoman in Melbourne: her Contribution to the Alliance Française

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

JANE CLARK, Quelques artistes français en Australie and some Australian Artists in France – the Nineteenth Century

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

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