The French Australian Review – No 69 Australian Summer 2020-2021


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JANE GILMOUR, ELAINE LEWIS, Foreword

CAROLINE WINTER, Com-Memoration of the Great War: Tourists and remembrance on the Western Front

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Social memory changes in response to the characteristics and needs of each generation, thus it can often present a somewhat more favourable perspective on past events, compared with historical reality. In the lead up to the centenary of the Great War, 1914-1918, the Australian government sought to intensify its commemorative focus in Europe to the battles around the village of Villers-Bretonneux, the site of the Australian National Memorial in France, and since 2018, the Sir John Monash Centre. This appears to have initiated a process of sight sacralisation, which may lead to the creation of a ‘commemorative bubble’ that narrows Australians’ views of the war. It remains to be seen, whether or not the site at Villers-Bretonneux leads to the development of a broader understanding by Australians of the Great War, or in fact narrows it. Other nations in Europe have also changed their focus, but moved towards an international perspective, that acknowledges a common war experience for all of the nations involved.

Keywords: commemorative bubble, commemoration, social memory, tourism, Great War, remembrance, forgetting.

PAULINE GEORGELIN, ‘The fighting in France’: French-Australians report from the front.

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This article examines the experiences of French-Australians fighting with the French army in the First World War, via reports sent to Australia and published in the press. French-Australians sent back personal accounts of their experiences in iconic battles such as Verdun, and their letters performed multiple functions. In addition to informing and entertaining the Australian readership, the firsthand accounts provided a sense of immediacy and authenticity, and helped to strengthen feelings of connectedness between Australia and its French ally, therefore underpinning pro-war rhetoric.

Keywords: French-Australian relations, French army, Verdun, World War One.

DOCUMENTS, NOTES AND REVIEWS

GILLES PRILAUX, Underground Traces of the Great War at Naours: Some Australian Soldiers and their Stories

This article documents the discovery in 2014 of a concentration of inscriptions in a network of underground caves and tunnels under Naours in the Somme. Almost 3,200 of these inscriptions date from the First World War, with 2,200 inscriptions by Australian soldiers identified. An historical overview of the site is presented along with the personal biographies of a selection of the soldiers who inscribed their names, drawing on the National Archives of Australia and family records, including personal diaries. The article contains many images of the underground signatures as well as photos of the soldiers.

Keywords: Naours, the Somme, World War One, the ‘souterrains’.

YVONNE DELACY, French Australian Encounters Number 5
Yvonne DeLacy connects the story of the ‘Sunnysiders’—a group of artists, poets and writers in Kallista, Victoria—with the First World War battlefields in Picardie, where she visited the grave of one of group, Frank Roberts and a sculpture by Sunnysider Web Gilbert, that was erected at the site of the battle only to be demolished at the order of Hitler during the occupation of France during the Second World War.

Keywords: the ‘Sunnysiders’, Kallista, Villers-Bretonneux, Frank Roberts, Web Gilbert.

ELIZABETH RECHNIEWSKI, ALEXIS BERGANTZ, The ISFAR Research Committee

The authors are the joint chairs of the ISFAR Research Committee and report on its program of activities including two new research projects—one on the French influence on the wine industry in Australia and the second on the development of a walking tour of the sites of French presence in Sydney. They also draw attention to the aim of holding a biennial conference the first of which will be held 8–9 April 2021 in Melbourne.

Keywords: French-Australian Dictionary of Biography, ISFAR 2021 Symposium, Colin Nettelbeck, Indo-Pacific region.

KERRY MULLAN, The Annual Ivan Barko Prize

This note congratulates Angela Giovanangeli as the recipient of the 2019 Ivan Barko Prize for her article ‘Communal Luxury and the Universal Republic in the Designs of Lucien Henry’ published in Issue 67 of the French Australian Review.

Keywords: Ivan Barko Prize, Lucien Henry, Angela Giovanangeli.

WALLACE KIRSOP, Obituary: Meredith Sherlock, 1955–2020
Wallace Kirsop pays tribute to Meredith Sherlock who died in November 2020, and who, for many years, was the Technical Editor of the Australian Journal of French Studies and from 1992 to 1996 of Explorations. More recently she was editor for Ancora Press and the Centre for the Book at Monash University.

Keywords: Meredith Sherlock, Ancora Press, Centre for the Book, Monash University, Harold Love, the Early Music Society.

KERRY MULLAN, Melbourne Salon and ISFAR Events

This note reports on the events held by the Melbourne Salon and ISFAR during 2020. Two on-line Salons were held, the first in September with author Juliana de Nooy speaking about her recently published book, What’s France Got to do with it: memoirs of Australians in France. The second was held in November with Professor Frédéric Thomas of the CNRS (France) and Professor Beata Ujvari of Deakin University reporting on their joint research project Unravelling the cancer puzzle from an ecological and evolutionary perspective: an Australian and French International Associated Laboratory.

Keywords: Juliana de Nooy, Frédéric Thomas, Beata Ujvari, facial tumours in Tasmanian devils.

ELIZABETH RECHNIEWSKI, Book Review: Romain Fathi, Our Corner of the Somme: Australia at Villers Bretonneux

This book is an examination of the commemorative agenda of the Australian Government at Villers-Bretonneux, challenging some of the assumptions underlying that agenda and the increasingly exclusive focus, manifest particularly in the new Sir John Monash Centre, on the role of the Australian troops.

Keywords: World War One, Villers-Bretonneux, Sir John Monash Centre, commemoration, the Western Front.

PATRICIA CLANCY, Book Review: Alistair Kershaw, Village to Village

This review documents the third reprint of a book first published in 1993. It recounts the life of Alistair Kershaw, Australian journalist, writer, reporter and editor, who arrived in Paris in 1948 and fell in love with the city. From down and out times when he first arrived to his retreat from the city to a village in the Berry, he describes, with wit and youthful enthusiasm, his personal relationship with French life and the many people he has known over forty-five years.

Keywords: Paris, Max Harris, the ABC, Sury-en-Vaux, foreigners in Paris, modernisation of Paris.

ROBYN STERN, Book Review: Juliana de Nooy, What’s France got to do with it? Contemporary Memoirs of Australians in France

This book explores what the author describes as a ‘contemporary publishing phenomenon’ – the recent ‘proliferation of memoirs by Australians about their experience of living in France and the seemingly insatiable demand for them’. De Nooy concludes from her research and analysis that these books are less about France itself, than about France as a backdrop to a project of self-renewal by the authors. The author seeks to identify reasons for this, examining the difference in gender constructions between the two countries.

Keywords: memoirs, gender constructions, Australian identity, French identity.

MARGARET SANKEY, Book Review: Danielle Clode, In Search of the Woman Who Sailed the World

The author of this book is a trained biologist and the daughter of a boat builder. She has sailed with her family around the coast of Australia and, since her childhood, has devoured books about maritime adventures. She became aware of the number of women who participated in early French sea voyages when she was researching and writing her earlier award-winning book, Voyages to the South Seas: In Search of Terres Australes. This book tells the story of Jeanne Barret who, dressed as a man, accompanied her partner the naturalist Philibert Commerson on Bougainville’s voyage in 1766-1768 to circumnavigate the globe. The reviewer finds the book rigorously researched, beautifully written and full of interesting facts both historical and scientific.

Keywords: Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, Philibert Commerson, Jeanne Barret, Île-de-France, Henriette Dussourd, Glynis Ridley.

GEOFFREY DE Q. WALKER, Book Note: A Translation Project

This note provides details on five new translations now available on-line at the State Library of New South Wales. Through these translations, Geoffrey de Q Walker has made available to the public five studies of early Australia written by nineteenth century French authors.

Keywords: Ernest de Blosseville, Alexis de Tocqueville, Jules de La Pilorgerie, M. Mazois, Thomas Muir, Paul Merruau, penal colonies, convicts, the Scottish martyrs, State Library of New South Wales.

ELAINE LEWIS, Book Note: A Publication Project

This note announces the publication of two new editions of the translations by George Mackaness of the memoirs of two French-Canadians transported to Australia in 1840. The publications are by ETT Imprint.

Keywords: Léon (Léandre) Ducharme, François Xavier Prieur, the rebellions of 1838, Canada, political exiles, French-Canadian ‘patriotes’, Canada Bay.

ELAINE LEWIS, French-Australian Bibliographical Notes

Explorations – No 40 Jun 2006

(issued June 2008)

WALLACE KIRSOP, Foreword

COLIN NETTELBECK, What is This Thing Called France?
In his valedictory lecture delivered on his retirement in 2005 from the A.R. Chisholm Chair of French at the University of Melbourne, Colin Nettelbeck reflects on various aspects of French culture, history and geography and how they have determined France’s destiny and characterised concepts of freedom and individual liberty in French society.

Keywords: General de Gaulle, Alexis Léger, Saint-John Perse, the European Union, freedom, cultural autonomy, secularism, islam and muslims, anti-semitism, Algerian war, post-colonialism, film culture, ‘otherness’

COLIN NETTELBECK, ISFAR: A Recollection
As one of its founders, Colin Nettelbeck recalls the circumstances of the establishment of the Institute for the Study of French-Australian Relations at Monash University in 1985 and the publication of the first issue of Explorations.

Keywords: Colin Nettelbeck, Wallace Kirsop, Dennis Davison, Anny Stuer, Monash University, ISFAR.

WALLACE KIRSOP, Surviving Volumes from the Shipboard Libraries of the Baudin Expedition

This brief note recalls the extraordinary size of the libraries carried by the Baudin expedition, the captain’s personal library consisting of no less than 1,125 items and the uncertainty surrounding the fate of these books on the conclusion of the expedition. Reference is made to the inclusion of a copy of one such book, with a proven provenance from the collection of Le Naturaliste, in an Antiquarian Book Fair held in Los Angeles in February 2006.

Keywords: Baudin expedition, Thévenot’s Relations de divers voyages curieux, antique book auction catalogues

BOOK REVIEWS

Karlene Dimbrowsky, The Mysterious Baron of Castle Hill: The Life and Times of Chevalier Verincourt Declambe, reviewed by Edward Duyker and including the translation of Duyker’s entry about Pierre Lalouette de Vernicourt (dit De Clambe) for the Dictionnaire de Biographie mauricienne, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Colin Dyer, The French Explorers and the Aboriginal Australians 1772-1839, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Bruce Poulson, Recherche Bay: A Short History; Bob Brown, Tasmania’s Recherche Bay, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Paul de Pierres, Loyalty Sustained: The Story of the de Pierres Family in Australia and New Zealand, 1903-2003, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Henrietta Taylor, Veuve Taylor, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Mary Moody, Au revoir, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Damien Pignolet, French, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Elaine Lewis, Left Bank Waltz: the Australian Bookshop in Paris, reviewed by Patricia Clancy

Explorations – No 15 Dec 1993

WALLACE KIRSOP, Foreword

ROGER LONDON, French Australia Relations in the Cold War

The author was French Consul in Melbourne These are reminiscences of his experiences in Melbourne during the French nuclear tests in the Pacific in the early nineteen-seventies, framed by references to the exploration of the Australian continent by Saint-Allouarn, Marion Dufresne, Lapérouse, d’Entrecasteaux, Baudin and Dumont d’Urville, and his own years of service at Washington DC.

Keywords: French nuclear tests in the Pacific, bans, French-Australian diplomatic relations, Ambassador Gabriel Van Laethem

COLETTE REDDIN, An Historic Comment on the House in Robe Street

The author, a long-time supporter and office bearer of the Alliance Française de Victoria and initiator of the ‘Maison de France Appeal’ which collected funds for the purchase of permanent accommodation for the Alliance, recalls French memories of the house at 17 Robe Street in St Kilda, a house that was to become the main seat of the Melbourne Alliance Française. Calling on her personal recollections, she evokes her acquaintance with this same house which was used by the French Naval Attaché, Commandant André Kervella, as his residence and office in 1944 and 1945 (until the end of war in the Pacific).

Keywords: War in the Pacific, French Military Mission in Australia, Alliance Française de Melbourne, French Legation in Canberra, André Kervella

IVAN BARKO, Thirty-Four Years in French Studies — Reminiscences and Reflections

After briefly describing his background, the author recalls his arrival in Australia and the beginnings of his academic career. He recounts the origin of his vocation and his first contacts with Australians and with French scholars in Australian universities.

Keywords: Léon Tauman, Monash University, University of Sydney, Ron Jackson, Roger Laufer, changes to syllabi in French, French nuclear tests in the Pacific

STEPHEN ALOMES, Beyond a Cloistered Europe: Universities and the French rediscovery of Australia

This article deals with the growing interest of French universities in Australian studies. The author analyses the emergence of courses in Australian studies in some French universities. Although these ‘few pockets of Australian studies’ are, in Professor Xavier Pons’ words, ‘islands in the ocean’, and although they are dependent on the personal involvement of individual scholars, they are not unrelated to a broader interest by the French in Australian culture and society.

Keywords: Commonwealth literature, ‘Australia and Continental Europe’ Conference (Paris 1982), Xavier Pons, multiculturalism, post-colonialism, Jean-Paul Delamotte, Australia France Foundation, French-Australian Research Centre at the University of NSW, Institute for the Study of French-Australian Relations (ISFAR)

MICHAEL TAPER, The Snows of Yesteryear Fell in Adelaide

In these personal reminiscences the author recalls his friendship at school in Newcastle with Tony Wilson, a future French scholar and diplomat, and Tony Tripp, a future theatrical designer. Shortly after Tony Wilson’s premature death, the author (having completed a university French course himself), meets one of Wilson’s French friends, Jean-Marie Laxenaire, with whom he develops a close association. The second part of the article, written shortly before its publication, describes the author’s fortuitous encounter at Adelaide Airport with Colin and Carol Nettelbeck, who had been his friends in the early nineteen-sixties in Paris. The two stories come together a few weeks later in Melbourne where the Nettelbecks, the Tapers and the Tripps reside.

Keywords: Tony Wilson, Tony Tripp, Jean-Marie Laxenaire, Colin Nettelbeck, Paris in the early 1960s, the Sorbonne.

BOOK REVIEWS

Marc Serge Riviere & Thuy Huynh Einam, editors and translators, Any Port in a Storm: From Provence to Australia: Rolland’s Journal of the Voyage of La Coquille (1822-1825), reviewed by Edward Duyker

Margaret de Mestre, in collaboration with Neville de Mestre, Prosper de Mestre in Australia, reviewed by Wallace Kirsop