French Connection

French Connection

Australia's cosmopolitan ambitions

Alexis Bergantz


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The French have been integral to the Australian story since European colonisation. Escaped convicts from New Caledonia, wool buyers from Lille, Roubaix and Tourcoing, gold-diggers, artisans, teachers and café owners, they were not always the crème de la crème.French Connection provides a fascinating insight into how the culture of Frenchness influenced a new nation anxious to prove itself to the world. What did Australian colonists see when they looked to France? How much did the French presence in the Pacific loom over such ideas? And what did the French in Australia themselves make of it all?Alexis Bergantz uncovers the little known and often surprising history of the French in nineteenth-century Australia and their role in creating a more connected and cosmopolitan nation.


Alexis Bergantz:
Alexis Bergantz is a historian of Australia's entanglements with France and the French-speaking Pacific. He is currently a lecturer at RMIT University in Melbourne, where he teaches in Global and Language Studies. He has a PhD in history from the Australian National University and co-chairs the Research Committee of the Institute for the Study of French–Australian Relations (ISFAR).