Explorations – No 19 Dec 1995

(issued December 1997)


COLIN NETTELBECK, Looking Ahead: an 1898 French View of Australian Federation

In a short introduction the author recalls the accidental discovery in the late 1980s of some of the pre-war archives of the Melbourne French Consulate and describes a specific 1898 document, namely a report sent by Georges Biard d’Aunet, the then French Consul General in Sydney, to his Minister, Théophile Delcassé, a copy of which ended up on the desk of Léon Dejardin, the French Consul General in Melbourne. This introduction and a summary of the report are followed by the reproduction of the full text of Biard d’Aunet’s paper, preceded by a covering letter sent to Consul General Dejardin by the Minister.

Keywords: Georges Biard d’Aunet, Léon Dejardin, Federation in Australia, protectionism, bi-lateral trade, social protection, expansion of Australian influence in the Pacific, recommendations relating to the protection of French interests in the Pacific.

WALLACE KIRSOP, Some Notes on Georges Biard d’Aunet (1844-1934)

A brief account of the life and career of Georges Biard d’Aunet, a former naval officer, who served as French Consul General in Sydney (1893-1900) and as Consul General for the whole of the new Australian Federation (1901-1904). The author also reviews Biard d’Aunet’s background, the status of his father as a painter at the court of King Louis-Philippe, the celebrity of his mother Léonie d’Aunet both as a writer and as Victor Hugo’s mistress, the fame of his sister as an influential journalist under the nom de plume Étincelle, as well as Biard d’Aunet’s own activities as a writer both of plays and essays, including a book featuring his impressions of Australia.

Keywords: diplomatic service, archives diplomatiques, Paris, Georges Biard d’Aunet

Explorations – No 18 Jun 1995

(issued December 1997)


R.W. HOME & Sara MAROSKE, Ferdinand von Mueller and the French Consuls

Published here for the first time is a fascinating series of letters (May 1883 to November 1895) from the eminent botanist and explorer Ferdinand von Mueller, Victoria’s Government Botanist from 1853 until his death on 10 October 1896, to successive French Consuls-General in Melbourne. The letters are preceded by an examination of von Mueller’s work in Australia. The letters shed light on his plant exchange activities, especially with the French colonies in North Africa.

Keywords: Ferdinand von Mueller, Comte de Castelnau, Botanic Gardens of Melbourne, Zoological Society of Victoria, Frederick McCoy, Léon Dejardin, Francois Bruwaert, Paul Maistre, Australian-French scientific links


Jean Chaussivert and Maurice Blackman, eds, Louis Pasteur and the Pasteur Institute in Australia. Papers from a symposium held at the University of New South Wales, 4-5 September, 1987, to mark the centenary of the Pasteur Institute, reviewed by Wallace Kirsop