The general framework of this conference can be found in the Joint Declaration of Enhanced Strategic Partnership between France and Australia, signed in March 2017, which targets the promotion of initiatives and activities around the shared memory of the First World War, as well as commemorative links between the towns and regions of France and Australia (Section J).
The aim of the event is to bring together Australian and French scholars in a research-based conference, in order to assess how French Australian relations have evolved following the joint struggle on the Western Front during the Great War. This struggle, shared by both soldiers and civilians, was foundational in the growth of the young Australian nation. The town of Villers-Bretonneux is a place of memory for Australia for at least three reasons: it was the site of an important battle on 25 April 1918; it is the place which, having been “adopted” by the city of Melbourne after the war, and having received considerable Australian aid for its reconstruction, became the community that “never forgets Australia”; it is the place of Australia’s largest cemetery in France, and since 2018, the site of the Sir John Monash Centre.
The expression “Beyond Villers-Bretonneux” is intended to raise the question of how French Australian relations, beginning from this privileged symbolic site, grew through the post-war years.
Speakers will include:
- Dr Véronique Duché - University of Melbourne
- Dr Romain Fathi - Flinders University and the Centre d'Histoire de Sciences Po
- Dr Lewis Frederickson - Chief of Airforce Fellow, UNSW Canberra
- Ms Pauline Georgelin - University of Melbourne
- Dr Anne Hertzog - Universite de Cergy-Pontoise
- Associate Professor Amanda Laugesen - Australian National University
- Elaine Lewis - Co-Editor and Book Review Editor: The French Australian Review
- Brad Manera - Senior Historian and Curator Anzac Memorial
- Professor Colin Nettelbeck - University of Melbourne
- Mr Gilles Prilaux - Somme Patrimoine
- Dr Elizabeth Rechniewski - University of Sydney
- Dr Irene Rogers - Central Queensland University
- Dr Paul Soyez
- Professor Peter Stanley - UNSW Canberra
- Mr Joseph Zimet - President Mission du Centenaire
Tickets are free, and are available via Eventbrite.
This event has been generously supported by the Mission du Centenaire, the France Australia Centenary Trust, the French Embassy in Australia, the University of New South Wales (Canberra), the Institute for the Study of French-Australian Relations, and the French Trust Fund.