Explorations No 10 – Jun 1991


C.B. THORNTON-SMITH, Two Adaptations of S.T. Gill by Gustave Doré

This article examines the adaptation by Gustave Doré of two of S.T. Gill’s drawings, for publication in the French magazine Le Tour du monde. These drawings were meant to illustrate a pseudo-travelogue (“De Sydney à Adélaïde”) which the author argues was not, as claimed by the editors, the text of private correspondence but the translation and adaptation of published material.

Keywords: travel writing, S.T. Gill, Gustave Doré, Le Tour du monde, Rambles in the Antipodes, Dr Edward Wilson, Hubert de Castella, Les Squatters australiens

JOHN HOLROYD, The Grand Bibliopole: William LeGrand

William Legrand was an eccentric but erudite bookseller who arrived in Tasmania in 1855 at the age of approximately 39. Little is known of his background except that he was thought to be of French descent. Apart from antiquarian books, Legrand was also an expert in conchology and in 1871 he published a treatise on “Tasmanian land shells”. Legrand died in 1902, aged 86. When due to his illness the business was closed down, approximately 80,000 items (books, manuscripts, memorabilia, artworks, etc.) were disposed of, mostly through a second-hand general dealer.

Keywords: William Legrand, antiquarian bookseller, Hobart, conchology

ROGER LONDON, French-Australian Relations in War Time

Roger London writes of his personal experiences as a French man living in Australia and mobilised at the beginning of the war. He served in Indochina, Japan and Australia between 1940 and 1943. After the war he joined the diplomatic corps and after various postings was appointed head of the French Consulate in Melbourne.

Keywords: Roger London, WWII, mobilisation, Free French Committee in Australia, ABC French language broadcast, Admiral d’Argenlieu

STEPHEN ALOMES, Taking Liberties: a Tale of Two Bicentennials

The two bicentennials of the title are the celebrations of the arrival of the First Fleet in Botany Bay in 1788 and the fall of the Bastille in 1789. Alternating between the two events, the author highlights the parallels and the contrasts between them. One of the main common themes is what the article refers to as “consumer patriotism”. Other similarities are examined.

Keywords: Bicentennial celebrations, consumerism, political exploitation

J.S. RYAN, Patrick White’s Study of French at Cambridge

Patrick White studied French literature at the University of Cambridge (King’s College) between 1932 and 1935, where he read for the Tripos in Modern Languages (French and German). The article lists the various subject areas and set texts attached to them which were on the syllabus during White’s years at Cambridge, the emphasis being, apart from some medieval and 16th century material, on 17th, 18th and 19th century topics.

Keywords: Patrick White, Cambridge University, 1930s, French literature syllabus


National Library of Australia, Australian Historic Records Register, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Lynne Strahan, Private and Public Memory: A History of the city of Malvern, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Francoise Lionnet, Autobiographical Voices: Race, Gender, Self-Portraiture, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Bernard Gildas, Guide des recherches sur l’histoire des familles, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Australian Dictionary of Biography, volume 12:1891-1939, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Joseph Lo Bianco & Alain Monteil, French in Australia: New Prospects, reviewed by Edward Duyker

Explorations No 6 – Sep 1988


COLIN THORNTON-SMITH, S.T. Gill and Hubert de Castella

This article draws on Hubert de Castella’s unpublished Réminiscences, to describe his life in Switzerland and France, prior to his coming to Australia. During his stay in Australia he came across the work of S.T. Gill. When Hubert de Castella returned to France in 1856, he assembled his reminiscences in a volume called Les Squatters australiens which Hachette accepted for publication in its Bibliothèque des Chemins de Fer collection after first serialising it in the new magazine Le Tour du monde. The magazine required illustrations and Hubert de Castella was only too happy to oblige. Among the drawings attributed to him there appears to be a copy of T. S. Gill’s “Stockman” with only minor variations.

Keywords: Hubert de Castella, S.T. Gill, Bibliothèque des Chemins de Fer collection, Le Tour du monde, Les squatters australiens

JOHN WHITE, Out of Oblivion

A personal account of a family history project, presenting the actual history of the author’s French ancestors as well as the author’s process of investigation and his understanding of the people in the story. The main characters are his maternal grandfather, Gaston L’Huillier, and his grandfather’s father, Rémy Félix L’Huillier, who came to Port Phillip with his wife and children in 1853. Of special interest to the author are his ancestors’ contribution to Australia (and more specifically to the Australian wine and food industry) and the story of their gradual integration into Australian society.

Keywords: Gaston L’Huillier, Rémy Félix L’Huillier, Sheepwash Creek, Sandhurst, near Bendigo, Jules Migeon, George Lansell, viticulture, horticulture


Frank Horner, The French Reconnaissance: Baudin in Australia, 1801-1803, 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

Additional sections
Issue 1 Cover