A very successful Rose de Freycinet archives evening was held on Thursday 19th June. It was organised by Susan Hunt, Executive Director of the State Library Foundation, for the Friends of the Laperouse Museum and some State Library Foundation custodian donors in the Mitchell Library Friends room. Everybody had plenty of time to view Rose’s fascinating journal written on board the “Uranie” to be given to her dear friend and cousin, Caroline de Nanteuil, in amazingly good condition considering that it will soon be 200 years old. We also saw her letters to her mother transcribed by Louis, her husband, and a very beautiful edition of the paintings and drawings made by the artists who accompanied the expedition. These illustrations were also running concurrently on a large television screen throughout the evening.
The Consul General for France, M. Eric Berti, spoke on behalf of the Friends of the Laperouse Museum, drawing attention to the intrepid Rose’s courage and daring in “running away to sea” with her husband at a time when it was not only illegal and extremely dangerous, but also considered most unlucky for women to make long sea journeys.
Richard Neville, Mitchell Librarian, spoke at length of the intrinsic value of the journal and letters with their first- hand impressions of life at sea and on land in the early 19th century, and “their lively, observant and fascinating account of European engagement with Australia and the Pacific”.
Sam Meers, Executive Director of the Nelson Meers Foundation spoke on behalf of the State Library Foundation, drawing attention to the social importance of the archives. She said that they offer “an unrivalled manuscript…which records not only the activities of the expedition itself, but also documents the much less visible minutiae of travel, the issues of class, protocol and society as well as the personal stories of a remarkable woman’s achievements in the masculine world of exploration.”
With very pleasant wines and delicious food served throughout the evening, the 60+ guests all had a most exciting, informative and enjoyable evening. Photograph(left)- Eric Berti with Alex Byrne, State Librarian and Executive Director State Library of NSW (account from Carole Roussel)
The first official airmail carried in Australia was flown from Melbourne to Sydney in July, 1914, in a tiny Bleriot aircraft flown by Frenchman, Maurice Guillaux. More details about the Bleriot from Powerhouse Museum.
Although the flying time for this historic trip was 9½ hours, Guillaux took two and a quarter days to cover the distance. He carried 1785 postcards, which had been sold for 2s. each.
This was not only the beginnings of Australia’s airmail system, but at the time it was the longest airmail flight in the world.
The Aviation Historical Society of Australia (NSW) inc, Air Mail Centenary Commemoration Group are organizing the re-enactment and the landing at Moore Park will be part of the Bastille Day celebrations hosted by the Consul-General. Special stamps will be issued by Australia Post.
The original route will form the basis of the re-enactment flight, but there will be slight alterations. The original route was Flemington Showground (now racecourse), Seymour (possibly Mangalore), Wangaratta, Albury, Wagga Wagga, Harden, Liverpool ( Bankstown or Camden), then Moore Park. The take-off will be 9.12am on Saturday 12th July, landing Sydney 2.25pm on Monday 14th July.The basic mail load will be carried in a Jabiru, but other aircraft are very welcome to join in the flight, either for the whole journey or for one or two sections. There will be backup and support from larger aircraft, including a Caribou supplied by HARS, with expenses paid by Shell. To be kept informed email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Bernard Jimenez, Secrétaire, L’Association Lapérouse Albi, and his wife Françoise have been touring in the footsteps of Lapérouse (see their description of Tutuila). Today they stopped off for a visit to the Museum and Monuments, hosted by the Friends. (Photos: viewing the Altar Stone; viewing the anchor with Professor Ivan Barko and Charles Abela).
His Excellency M. Stéphane Romatet, Ambassadeur de France en Australie, expresses appreciation for reception at the Museum on Tuesday 29th January. (Photo album)
” That was a great pleasure for me visiting the museum; I have now a clearer opinion on what we all can do to promote this institution for the benefit of our two countries.”
Around fifty members and guests were present to welcome the Ambassador. Amongst the guests were the Mayor of Randwick Councillor Tony Bowen, the Deputy Mayor Councillor Noel D‘Souza, the Hon Natasha McLaren Jones MLA, Mr Bruce Notley Smith MP Coogee and Councillor Robert Belleli. Other guests included the French Consul-General Eric Berti, Dr Ed Duyker, author David Hill, Professor Michael Feneley, artist Pamela Griffith and Professor Ross Griffith.
The Friends are happy to welcome France’s new Consul-General Monsieur Eric Berti to Sydney and Australia. Monsieur Berti as both a Frenchman and a Navy person, has already shown a keen interest in the Laperouse Museum and the monuments on the La Perouse headland. The Friends are looking forward to renewed and fruitful cooperation with the Sydney Consulate and with the French Embassy in Canberra (Photos: Consul-General at Receveur Grave; with Theodore Arfaras and Bill Land with John Winch Tapestry; with bust of Laperouse; Unpacking the Altar Stone; with Danny, Cam Dezarnaulds, Bill Land; a room with a view but without Laperouse)