France’s National Day July 14 2016 was celebrated again this year with style on the Laperouse Headland with a ceremony at the Laperouse Monument followed by refreshments and a toast to the people of France and Australia inside the Laperouse Museum. Well attended by around 100 guests and dignitaries, the official party consisted of Randwick City’s Mayor Clr. Noel D’Souza, the Hon. Don Harwin MLC President of the NSW Legislative Council, Nicolas Croizer Consul General of France to Sydney and Nicole Forrest Green President of the Friends of the Laperouse Museum.
The Hon. Matt Thistlethwaite MP just returned as the Federal Member for Kingsford Smith joined the festivities and La Brigade Francaise, Chaired by Mark Peters animated the ceremony with a reenactment of an early 19th century battle complete with canons and muskets and wearing Napoleonic costume. Morgan Balfour a young award-winning Australian Opera talent from Randwick performed both the French and Australian national anthems and the day was blessed by fine weather, and a special presence in the form of the first women NSW Police Superintendent from the Eastern Beaches LAC in Maroubra – Karen McCarthy. Laperouse was above all a man of great courage, dignity and modesty. Coincidentally he landed at Botany Bay on January 26, 1788 a day that would become Australia’s National Day, marking the beginning of European settlement on this Continent. In an age of discovery, the Friends’ President asked in her speech, what Laperouse might think if he knew we still remembered him and all he achieved 228 years after landing in Australia. The French Consul general to Sydney spoke of the importance of all that was achieved with the French Revolution in 1789 and the idea of human rights accorded to individuals and the abolition in France of absolute monarchy.
We thank all those involved from Randwick Council, the French Consulate and Friends of the Laperouse Museum especially Mrs. Carol Abela and Betty de la Torre for their hard work ensuring the day was a great success.