The French Australian Review – No 68 Australian Winter 2020


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ELAINE LEWIS, JANE GILMOUR, Foreword

IRENE ROGERS, ‘A Gift for France’: the Australian Bluebird nurses of the Great War
WINNER OF THE 2020 IVAN BARKO AWARD

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In July 1916, a group of twenty one Australian trained nurses known as the Bluebirds left Australia for the Western Front. They were under contract with The New South Wales Division of the Red Cross Society (ARC) to work for the French Red Cross Society (FRC) or the French military authorities and called the Bluebirds because of their distinctive uniforms. The Bluebirds became the only group of trained and registered nurses sent to France by any Red Cross branch in Australia during the Great War, making them unique. Whilst some of their achievements have been acknowledged, little is known about the connections they made with French people, culture and institutions. This paper explores those relationships through the evidence they left behind in journals, diaries and letters and provides a humanised view of their experiences.

Keywords: History of nursing WW1, Australian Bluebird nurses, Australian Red Cross nurses WW1, Microhistory and nursing, Humanitarian nursing.

HANNAH STEEL, Dr Helen Sexton’s Hôpital Australien de Paris, July–December 1915

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Dr Helen Sexton, a highly skilled surgeon from Melbourne, along with five other Australian women, all volunteers, established and ran the  ‘Hôpital Australien de Paris’. During its six-months tenure Dr Sexton and her team developed close personal relationships with the French doctors at the hospital and with the French soldiers they cared for. Although three of the women received French medals, there was little acknowledgement from Australian authorities and Dr Sexton and her team were not recognised for their service on Australian War Memorials.

Keywords: Dr Helen Sexton, Australian women doctors in WW1, Hôpital Australien de Paris, Australian Hospital in Paris

DOCUMENTS, NOTES & REVIEWS

COLIN NETTELBECK, French-Australian Dictionary of Biography
This note describes the French-Australian Dictionary of Biography (FADB), an initiative of the Research Committee of the Institute for the Study of French-Australian Relations. It is an on-line resource and can be found at www.isfar.org.au/fadb. It describes how biography was an early strand in the ISFAR journal with scholarly articles on those individuals who have made important contributions to relations between France and Australia. The FADB is modelled on the Australian Dictionary of Biography. Entries provide essential biographical information and are normally 600 to 1000 words in length.

Keywords: French-Australian Dictionary of Biography, biography, French-Australian relations.

PETER BROWN, Jacqueline Dwyer (1925–2020): A Tribute

Peter Brown’s tribute to Jacqueline Dwyer celebrates the life of this inspiring woman whose personal and family connections with France as well as her work as an historian earned her high esteem amongst the French-Australian community. She was the granddaughter of Georges Playoust who came to Australian in the late 19th century and established a very successful wool-buying business, supplying the textile mills back in France. Jacqueline decided, some 60 years after she had graduated from university to enrol in a PhD. She had already published Flanders in Australia, the story of her family and their involvement in the wool business in Australia.

Peter Brown was her PhD supervisor at the Australian National University and became a close friend as well as colleague. This tribute is as much about the woman as it is about the historian.

Keywords: Georges Playoust, French wool merchants in Australia; WWI, French Lives in Australia.

JOHN PRESLEY, French-Australian Encounters Number 4

John Presley, who was named by his parents Jean-Pierre Presle when he was born in Melbourne, recounts his exploration of his French ‘heritage’ for the first time when he spent six months in France at the age of twelve. His father was French, and his mother Australian. The marriage did not last and John was brought up by his mother and grandmother. At the age of 12 his maternal grandfather took him back to France to meet his relations there and to connect with his French heritage.

Keywords: Claude Presle, Peter Richardson, Smacka’s Restaurant, Balzac restaurant, Mirka Mora, Bandol, Lisieux, garlic growing.

PATRICIA CLANCY, Speech at the Book Launch of Stan Scott’s Chis: The Life and Work of Alan Rowland Chisholm (1888–1981)

Patricia Clancy was the guest speaker at the launch of the long-awaited biography of A. R. Chisholm in November 2019. The launch was held at the Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne. Stan Scott was Chisholm’s colleague and disciple at the University of Melbourne from the mid-1950s until his retirement in 1984. Thanks the University of Melbourne Archive the biography was preserved after Scott’s death and subsequently edited by Wallace Kirsop, Adjunct Professor at Monash University and an Honorary Fellow of the Baillieu Library. The article is a transcript of Dr Clancy’s speech.

Keywords: A.R. Chisholm, Stan Scott, Wallace Kirsop, Patricia Clancy, the Baillieu Library, The University of Melbourne French Department, World War 1, French Symbolists, Mallarmé, the ‘Melbourne School’ of literary criticism.

KERRY MULLAN, Book Review: Robert Macklin, Castaway: The extraordinary survival story of Narcisse Pelletier, a young French cabin boy shipwrecked on Cape York in 1858

This book joins two others previously written about Narcisse Pelletier and the seventeen years he spent with the Night Island (Uutaalanganu) people in Far North Queensland, after being shipwrecked as a fourteen year-old cabin boy. The author has combined meticulous research with evocative and imaginative descriptions, creating a strong sense of place and culture as well as a ‘ripping yarn’. This is the final book in the author’s Australian History Quartet and the author alternates the story of Narcisse with the recounting of the corruption and brutality of the Queensland Frontier Wars.

Keywords: Narcisse Pelletier, Robert Macklin, Night Island (Uutaalanganu) people, frontier wars, Queensland, Saint-Nazaire, colonialism.

CHANTAL CROZET, Book Review: Christine Mathieu, Voyages  Syntastiques: A Comparative-narrative Method for Teaching French Grammar to English Speakers

This book draws on the author’s extensive experience as both a learner and teacher of foreign languages.  The author advocates for the use of a comparative-narrative approach to the teaching and learning of French in Australian compulsory schools. The author laments the shortcomings of the Natural Method based on her own experience of teaching languages, recognising the need to teach grammar explicitly and from a comparative perspective. The review identifies both theories and practices about which she would have welcomed discussion. The reviewer highlights that the book’s main strength lies in the author’s rich experience of classroom practice and this is particularly relevant in the second part of the book which maps the essentials of French grammar based on her comparative-narrative approach.

Keywords: Christine Mathieu, language teaching, classroom practice, Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), Intercultural Language Teaching (ILT), Second Language Acquisition (SLA).

JANE GILMOUR, Book Review: Jayne Tuttle, Paris or Die: a Memoir

This book recounts the adventure of the author’s two-years in Paris, while she was studying at the Le Coq International Theatre School. It is a lively story—of friendships, falling in love with a French man, of life as a student in Paris, of her love of being in Paris. But it is also a reflection on cultural dislocation, on loss, on passion. The writing style is vivid and the book is both funny and also very moving. After ten years moving back and forth between Paris and Australia, the author and her (Australian) husband have now settled in Victoria, where they run a bookshop.  The author continues to work as a copywriter for French clients.

Keywords: Jayne Tuttle, Le Coq International Theatre School, the Centre des Recollets, cultural differences, Paris.

ALEXIS BERGANTZ, Book Note: François Vantomme ed. & Bernard Le Boursicot, Le Courrier Australien, 1892–1945: Creating the French-Australian Connection since 1892

This is the first volume of a two-part bilingual collector’s edition that offers a historical window onto the French-Australian connection from 1892 to 1945. Le Courrier Australien is the oldest foreign language newspaper in Australia. This is a beautiful coffee-table book, richly illustrated with reprints of past issues and photographs of the period. It is a compendium of historical documents that are a testament to the strength and complexity of the relationship between France and Australia over those years. While the reviewer suggests that the volume could have benefitted from a deeper engagement with existing historical scholarship, that would have helped readers interpret the documents and ponder their significance, he concludes that this is an ambitious and important publication that is both entertaining and stimulating, highlighting the role of the Courrier as a key institution binding the histories of France and Australia.

Keywords: Le Courrier Australien, François Vantomme, Bernard le Boursicot, Emeritus Professor Ivan Barko.

ELAINE LEWIS, French-Australian Bibliographical Notes

ELIZABETH RECHNIEWSKI & ALEXIS BERGANTZ, Call for Papers: ISFAR 35th Anniversary 101 Symposium, 8–9 April, 2021

The French Australian Review – No 65 Australian Summer 2018-2019

ELAINE LEWIS, Foreword

ELIZABETH RECHNIEWSKI, Voyage of the Pilgrims
WINNER OF THE 2018 IVAN BARKO AWARD

In June 1902, a small group of prospective settlers set out from Sydney for the New Hebrides. They were accompanied by A. B. Paterson–‘Banjo’ Paterson–who had been hired by the Sydney Morning Herald to report on their progress and the nature of the territory to which they were venturing. This article draws on contemporary French and Australian newspapers, including Paterson’s articles for the Herald, and parliamentary debates, to explore the significance of this settlement project in the context of the decades-long dispute between France, Britain and Australia over the future of the New Hebrides. It pays particular attention to the years immediately following Federation, when the new nation of Australia offered government and private support to boost British settlement of the islands.

Keywords: Australian colonisation, New Hebrides, Vanuatu, Banjo Paterson, Pacific imperial rivalry, Annandale settlement

BRIONY NEILSON, Convict Suffering and Salvation in New Caledonia and Australia: the Life and Writing of French Bagnard-Poet, Julien de Sanary

This article offers a contextualised analysis of the published writing of the French convict-poet Julien de Sanary. Transported from France to the penal colony in New Caledonia in 1881, Sanary spent almost forty years of his life incarcerated in the archipelago before his case was taken up by an Australian woman, Wolla Meranda, who successfully petitioned for his release in 1920. The first extended study of Sanary’s life and work–and the first ever in English–this article discusses the meaning of the act of writing for the French convict and provides an analysis of some of the major themes of his poetry. In addition it points out the greater significance of Sanary’s life and poetry, arguing that his experiences and relationship with Meranda are illustrative of a prevailing trope in the early twentieth century concerning the backwardness of New Caledonia as a European settler colony relative to Australia.
Keywords: bagne, convict poetry, bagnard-poète, prison writing, New Caledonia, convict transportation, Julien de Sanary, Wolla Meranda, penal colony, criminal justice

Speeches delivered at the ISFAR/Alliance Française de Sydney event, ‘French and Australian Dialogues‘ (May 2018) and at the Melbourne Salon (November 2018):

ROBERT ALDRICH, The 2018 New Caledonian referendum

This article provides us with a sweeping history of both the colonial legacy in New Caledonia and the various ‘ideologies that have underlain campaigns for change in status’, thus supplying the reader with a perspective from which to view present and future options.

Keywords: Referendum, New Caledonia, French Pacific territory, French outre-mer, événements of the 1980s, self determination

DENISE FISHER, The Referendum in New Caledonia

Denise Fisher writes a detailed description of events in New Caledonia during the week of the referendum and her incisive comments demonstrate its complexity, as well as its importance to Australia.

Keywords: New Caledonia 2018 independence referendum, 1988 Matignon/Oudinot Accords, Noumea Accord, Groupe de dialogue sur le chemin de l’avenir

CARRILLO GANTNER, Mirka Madeleine Mora 1928-2018 (Tribute at State Funeral, September 2018)

This tribute to Melbourne artist Mirka Mora, delivered at her State Funeral in September of 2018, farewells a woman who ‘has been at the very heart of Melbourne’s creative life and popular esteem for many decades’.

Keywords: Mirka Mora, Honoured Artist of the City of Melbourne, State Funeral

ELAINE LEWIS, Barry John McGowan 1945–2018

Barry McGowan’s article, ‘Convicts and Communards: French-Australian relations in the South Pacific, 1800–1900’, appeared in The French Australian Review issue 64. Barry was a prodigious researcher who published sixteen books as well as many reports, articles and papers.

Keywords: Barry McGowan, ‘Convicts and Communards’, French Australian Review issue 64, ANU, Medal of the Order of Australia

PHILIPPA HETHERINGTON, Leslie John Hetherington 1955–2018

Les Hetherington MA (University of Sydney), B. Litt (Australian National University) was a scholar of Australian social and migration history. In particular, he examined the history of the French community in Australia, as well as Australian history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries more broadly. He was particularly committed to biographical approaches to the past, authoring a number of articles for the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Keywords: Les Hetherington, Leslie John Hetherington, social and migration history, French community in Australia, Australian Dictionary of Biography

KERRY MULLAN, Melbourne Salon and ISFAR events, 2018

10 May 2018 ‘Were it but for a lemon’ – Dr James Tibballs,
17 May 2018 ISFAR event in Sydney: The Referendum in New Caledonia: what is at stake? The second in the series, ‘French and Australian Dialogues’ – Professor Robert Aldrich and Ms Denise Fisher,
2 August 2018 French convicts and the case for freedom in Australia – Dr Alexis Bergantz,
27 September 2018 French Contributions to Australian Life. ISFAR Colloqium, University of Adelaide, Reflections on the Commemorations of the Great War,
8 November 2018 The Referendum in New Caledonia: what is at stake? – Professor Robert Aldrich and Ms Denise Fisher, – Emeritus Professor Colin Nettelbeck,
14 July 2018: Bastille Day
26 November 2018 Presentation – Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes académiques to Dr Kerry Mullan,
27 November 2018 ISFAR end-of-year gathering

PAULINE GEORGELIN, French Australian Encounters no 2: Anzac Day at Villers-Bretonneux 2018

On April 2018 Pauline Georgelin was one of 8,000 people, mostly Australians, who gathered at Villers-Bretonneux for the Anzac Day Dawn Service, commemorating the centenary of the battle of Villers-Bretonneux in 1918 – a personal description of an annual commemoration.

Keywords: Anzac Day at Villers-Bretonneux, Sir John Monash Centre, Villers-Bretonneux, World War 1 commemorations, Édouard Philippe, Wéo TV

BOOK NOTES:

IVAN BARKO, 101 mots pour comprendre l’Australie, by Peter Brown & Jean-Yves Faberon (eds), published by the Centre de documentation pédagogique de Nouvelle Calédonie. The 101 topics are grouped into ten chapters, namely First Peoples, Explorers, History, Economics and Development, Cultures, Institutions and Politics, External Relations and (Relations with) New Caledonia.

Keywords: 101 mots pour comprendre l’Australie, Peter Brown & Jean-Yves Faberon, New Caledonia, Centre de documentation pédagogique de Nouvelle Calédonie

CAROL NETTELBECK, Mirka and Georges: a Culinary Affair, published by The Miegunya Press and Museum of Modern Art Heide contains black and white family photos and coloured photos of Mirka’s artworks, a profusion of French recipes and an engaging text, all of which pay homage to two extraordinary personalities.

Keywords: Mirka and Georges: a Culinary Affair, Melbourne artist, Miegunya Press, Museum of Modern Art Heide

ELAINE LEWIS, French-Australian Bibliographical Notes

Explorations – No 53 Dec 2012

JANA VIERHOVEN, Foreword

Errata (Explorations 53)

THIERRY VINCENT, An 1802 Aboriginal Necklace rediscovered in the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle of Le Havre

The author, who is a curator at the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle du Havre, recounts the story of a forgotten Aboriginal necklace he rediscovered in the Museum’s collections in 2005. He argues that, contrary to its labelling, which indicates a New Caledonian provenance, the artefact was acquired at Port Jackson in 1802 by artist and naturalist Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, a member of the Baudin expedition. After his death the necklace was eventually incorporated into the collections of the Museum. Thierry Vincent traces not only the itinerary of the necklace but also the changing fortunes of the Museum in war and peace.

Keywords: Aboriginal artefacts, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, Nicholas Baudin, Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle of Le Havre, Eugène Delessert, Josephine Bonaparte

SABINE COTTE, ‘Destins croisés’ in Australia: Art Conservation with Mirka Mora

The author is a French art conservator who lives and works in Melbourne. She presents an account of her collaboration with Mirka Mora, a celebrated artist and Melbourne icon, also of French background. Through case studies of three public artworks, the author sheds light on the respective importance of a collaborative approach to conservation, where the original intention of the artist is respected. She also highlights the importance of materials, as well as time constraints and cultural sensitivities.

Keywords: Mirka Mora, public artworks, art conservation

JACQUELINE MACNAUGHTAN, ‘Pour l’Art’: An Artist’s Family

This article traces the story of the author’s great-aunt Adélaïde (Ada) Hautrive-Leysalle. Ada, whose father was a French wool buyer and mother a New Zealander, grew up in Australia and France. Based on her letters and diary entries, the story describes her relationship with her parents, her siblings and other members of the family as well as her tormented marriage to French sculptor Émile Leysalle.

Keywords: nineteenth century French family life, Émile Leysalle, Marceau Hautrive

LINDA, STEPHEN & SARA ROSENMAN, Helen Rosenman (1921–2009) Obituary

JULIET FLESCH, Ivan Page (1938–2012) Obituary

KERRY MULLAN, ISFAR French Jazz Evening

A note about the French Jazz evening held by ISFAR in late 2012.

KERRY MULLAN, Dialogues: The Melbourne French Salon 2012

A note about the establishment of a Melbourne Salon modelled on the Sydney Salon and on the evenings held during the year.

BOOK REVIEWS

Peter McPhee, Robespierre: A Revolutionary Life, reviewed by Robert Aldrich

John S. McKenzie, Images of Bodily Mechanics: The Institut Marey, Paris, 1902–1977, reviewed by Andrew Bendrups

ELAINE LEWIS, French-Australian Bibliographical Notes