The French Australian Review – No 66 Australian Winter 2019


MICHAEL TYQUIN, Revisiting the French Campaign in the Dardanelles, 1915

The article begins with a brief discussion of the commemoration and memory of Gallipoli in France, before proceeding to the reasons behind sending a French force there in 1915. Then follows an analysis of this campaign with a focus of the Corps Expéditionnaire d’Orient under different commanders. Finally, the author draws some conclusions about French participation in both the Dardanelles and Salonika campaigns – and how both were the result of political, rather than military, imperatives. The article raises the question of why the French involvement in this campaign has been neglected both by the French and the Australians.

Key words: Gallipoli, Salonika, Corps Expéditionnaire d’Orient, Albert d’Amade, Henri Gourard

MAGGIE TONKIN, Meryl Tankard’s French connection: Régis Lansac

Australian choreographer Meryl Tankard’s work is suffused with French cultural references, due in part to her ballet training but more significantly to her partnership with French photographer and visual artist, Régis Lansac. Together they have created works in which movement and music are fused with such rich design elements that they speak to the Wagnerian notion of ‘total theatre’ or Gesamtkunstwerk. However, while Lansac is frequently acknowledged as Tankard’s chief collaborator, the full extent of his input to her work has never been recognized. This paper seeks to redress this omission by exploring his multi-faceted contribution to their collaboration, which extends beyond the camera to encompass research, lighting and visual design, music selection, and the design of programs, posters and ephemera. Most importantly, it demonstrates how through her connection with Lansac, Tankard has been able to access aspects of French culture that have enriched her essentially instinctive creative practice.

Keywords: Meryl Tankard, Régis Lansac, Australian dance, French influences, Design language, Gesamtkunstwerk


CLEM AND THERESE GORMAN, Intrepid: Australian Women Artists in France in the Early Twentieth Century

The authors chose twenty-eight Australian female artists from the 300 or so who travelled to France in the first half of last century to live and work as artists and learn from the world centre of art.  These are representative of the 300, and there the artists about whom enough is known to include them. Some of them embraced Modernism, and brought it back to an Australia which knew relatively little about its techniques and its theories … Others painted traditionally but greatly improved their skills, which they also brought home to the benefit of Australian artists. Many of these women have slipped into obscurity and this book may help rehabilitate their reputations. They were chosen for their skill, their boldness, and their success—many of their paintings were displayed in the Salons or in private galleries, both in Paris and back home.

Keywords: Australian women artists in France, Australian women artists, Paris Salons, early twentieth century Australian women artists

ELAINE LEWIS, Interview: Chris Cody, French-Australian Pianist and Composer

An interview with Chris Cody about his life in Paris and his latest composition, Astrolabe-Suite for La Pérouse. Cody talks about his early influences, his life as a jazz pianist in Paris and his return to Australia where, as well as performing, he has composed and directed performances of Astrolabe–Suite for La Pérouse in a number of Sydney venues and in Paris.

Keywords, Chris Cody, jazz pianist and composer, Australian jazz musicians, Australian musicians in Paris, Astrolabe–Suite for La Pérouse

ÉRIC BERTI & CRISTINA SAVIN, The Story of the Allier Sailors

On 6 July 2015, as French Consul-General to Sydney, M. Éric Berti carried out an official mission in Cooktown, at the north of Cape York in Queensland, to acknowledge the historical sites and participate in a wreath-laying commemorative ceremony at the Allier monument. He explores an ‘urban myth’ to tell the true story of the sailors of the French ship Allier which was on its way to New Caledonia when the captain sought urgent relief at Cooktown, because of the ill health of his crew. A quarantine station was set up on the north coast of the Endeavour river, where vessels had been received in the past.

Keywords, French ship Allier, Cooktown, Gulf of Carpentaria, quarantine station, Endeavour river, M. Éric Berti, French Consul-General to Sydney

KAREN VIGGERS, French-Australian Encounters Number 3

Australian writer Karen Viggers has sold more than 800,000 copies of her books in France. The French translation of her novel The Lightkeeper’s Wife (La Mémoire des Embruns) was on the French national bestseller list for more than forty-two weeks and in 2016 was shortlisted for the Livre de Poche Readers’ Prize. She writes about her recent visit to promote her latest novel and her appreciation of the literary culture she found in France.

Keywords: Karen Viggers, Australian writers in France, The Lightkeeper’s Wife (La Mémoire des Embruns)

ELAINE LEWIS, Translator Julie Rose wins the 2018 Australian Academy of the Humanities Medal for Excellence in Translation

Internationally renowned translator Julie Rose was recently awarded the ‘2018 Australian Academy of the Humanities Medal for Excellence in Translation’ for her translation of Simon Leys: Navigator Between Worlds by Philippe Paquet, published by La Trobe University Press and Black Inc. (Melbourne). In this short article Julie Rose talks of translating the ‘urbane, elegant prose of Paquet, but also the subtle, witty voice of Simon Leys/Pierre Ryckmans and the various styles he employed in diverse writings at different stages of his life, as well as the voices of the numerous French authors quoted in the text (Victor Hugo, Raymond Queneau, Roland Barthes, etc.’.

Keywords: Julie Rose, translator, Pierre Ryckmans, Philippe Paquet, Australian Academy of the Humanities Medal for Excellence in Translation

KERRY MULLAN, Visit to Australia by renowned French archaeologist Gilles Prilaux

Kerry Mullan documents the visit to Australia by French archaeologist Gilles Prilaux, whose research into the underground caves below the city of Naours in the Somme has revealed thousands of scrawled signatures of World War One soldiers, many of them Australian. Following this discovery he has embarked on a project to investigate the lives of the men who left their names and regiment numbers on those cave walls one hundred years ago.

Keywords: French archaeologist, Gilles Prilaux, Naours, caves at Naours, Somme, Australian soldiers, The Silent Soldiers Of Naours: Messages From Beneath The Somme


ELAINE LEWIS, Tom Thompson (ed.), Australasian Artists at the French Salons, Exile Bay (NSW), ETT Imprint, June 2019, 138 pp., rrp AU$ 30.00, ISBN 978-1-92570-670-3.

Jacques Ober, Jules Ober & Felicity Coonan, The Good Son: A Story From the First War, Told in Miniature, USA, Candlewick Studio, May 2019, 104 pp., rrp AU$ 22.00, ISBN 978-1-53620-482-7.

ELAINE LEWIS, French-Australian Bibliographical Notes