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


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

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.

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.


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.


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 54 Australian Winter 2013

IVAN BARKO, Foreword

DOUGLAS WILKIE, Marie Callegari in Australia: the Identity of Alexandre Dumas’s Narrator in Le Journal de Madame Giovanni

This article presents the case for identifying Alexandre Dumas’s narrator in Le Journal de Madame Giovanni as Louisa La Grange, who was transported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1843. It traces the life story of Louisa La Grange, who changed her identity many times and assumed different names, including Marie Callegari.

Keywords: convicts, Marie Callegari, Louisa La Grange, Alexandre Dumas, musical performances, gold fields

JILL DONOHOO, Australian Reactions to the French Penal Colony in New Caledonia

This is an historical essay on Australian reactions to the mid-nineteenth century French take-over of New Caledonia. Jill Donohoo highlights ‘post-convict shame’ as a likely reason for the Australian colonies’ opposition to the establishment of a penal colony in the Pacific and she analyses the emergence of an early independent Australian foreign policy.

Keywords: French penal colony, New Caledonia, post-convict shame, security threat, foreign policy, spying

LES HETHERINGTON, An Emigrant, not a Traveller: Adolphe Prosper Duprez

This article tells the story of Adolphe Prosper Duprez, a public-spirited French immigrant who was largely responsible for the building of a road from Bowral in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales to the Wombeyan Caves. Duprez had chosen Bowral as his home and lived there for three decades until his death in 1900, shortly after the opening of the road which meant so much to him.

Keywords: Adolphe Prosper Duprez, NSW, gold fields, Bowral, Wombeyan Caves

VÉRONIQUE DUCHÉ, Elliott Christopher Forsyth (1924–2012), Obituary

MARIE RAMSLAND, Sue Ryan-Fazilleau (1955–2012), Obituary


Noelene Bloomfield with the assistance of Michael Nash, Almost a French Australia: French-British Rivalry in the Southern Oceans, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Viviane Fayaud, Le Paradis autour de Paul Gauguin, Paris, CNRS Éditions, Collection Réseau Asie directed by Jean-François Saboure, reviewed by Fiona Caro

Derek Guille, illustrated by Kaff-eine, translated by Anne-Sophie Biguet, The Promise: the Town that Never Forgets/N’oublions jamais l’Australie, reviewed by Colin Nettelbeck

Marie Darrieussecq, All the Way (Clèves), translated by Penny Hueston, reviewed by Patricia Clancy

Australian Journal of French Studies, vol. L, no 1, January-April 2013, special issue ‘La Terre australe : History and Myth’, note by Ivan Barko

ELAINE LEWIS, French-Australian Bibliographical Notes

Explorations No 3 – Jul 1986


ROBERT TRUMBLE, Vincent d’Indy – musicien français – an account of a significant French/Australian link

This article sketches the career of composer Vincent d’Indy, a pupil of César Franck, and his undeserved eclipse since his death in 1931. The Australian connection was first established by Bernard Heinze, later Sir Bernard, when, at the end of the first World War, he enrolled in Vincent d’Indy’s Schola Cantorum in Paris, and it was nurtured by Louise Dyer, the founder of Éditions l’Oiseau-Lyre. The author describes his own efforts to promote Vincent d’Indy’s music and memory, and his association with Guy de Lioncourt, d’Indy’s nephew and successor at Schola Cantorum.

Keywords: Vincent d’Indy, César Franck, Sir Bernard Heinze, Louise, Dyer, Schola Cantorum, Guy de Lioncourt

DIANNE REILLY, Melbourne through French Eyes: Antoine Fauchery

The author describes Fauchery’s early life in Paris, his vocation as a writer and friendships with other writers and celebrities, and then his first period in Victoria from 1852-1856. It draws on his account of his time in Australia, Lettres d’un mineur en Australie, which was published in serial form in a Paris newspaper in 1857. It refers also to his unsuccessful commercial venture, the establishment of a Café Estaminet Français in Melbourne.

Keywords: Antoine Fauchery, 1850s gold rush, Ballarat, Nadar, Banville, Baudelaire, A.R. Chisholm, Eureka Stockade

JACQUES H. POLLET DE SAINT-FERJEUX, Paul Merruau’s Les convicts en Australie (Paris, Hachette, 1853)

This “fictional travel book” written for the Bibliothèque des Chemins de fer by an author who never visited Australia alternates between philosophical reflections on punishment and second-hand descriptions of the country. The author of the article claims that, despite these contradictions and flaws, Merruau’s talent as a journalist, his ability to evoke an atmosphere and the quality of his mind make this book worth reading.

Keywords: convicts, Sydney, travel writing, Paul Merruau, Les convicts en Australie

MILES LEWIS, The French Disconnection

In this detailed study of French influences in pre-World War 1 Australian architecture, the author distinguishes between stylistic features of French origin and building techniques and materials originating in France. Examples of both are given.

Keywords: pise de terre, Marseilles tiles, reinforced concrete, mansard roof, wallpapers, Viollet-le-Duc

CAROL SANDERS, France in Australia and the Pacific

A brief presentation of an Australian National University project aimed at developing teaching and more specifically reading comprehension materials focussed on France in the Pacific and in Australia.

Keywords: Australian National University, production of language-teaching units, France in Australia and the Pacific

COLIN NETTELBECK, In and out tune: an Improvisation

This is the text of a talk with musical illustrations delivered at the colloquium on the “France –Victoria Connection” held in 1985. The author tells the story of his discovery of France and French culture, and, more broadly, of the world and of ideas, through French songs. The written version of these light-hearted and ironic reminiscences requires readers to be familiar with the songs cited.

B. LEDUN, Closing Remarks