Jacqueline Dwyer, a descendant of the pioneering French-Australian wool-buying family, the Playousts, was always interested in the history of French-Australian relations and her family’s role in it. An Arts graduate of the University of Sydney, she took part in numerous cultural activities in this area but her first major contribution was the publication in 1998 of Flanders in Australia — A Personal History of War and Wool. This book, in which she focused on her father’s participation in WW1, immediately became a classic of French-Australian history.
However, it was not until 2014-2015 that Jacqueline became involved in the work of ISFAR, the Institute for the Study of French-Australian Relations, and helped ISFAR to extend its activities beyond Victoria. All this happened when she reached the wonderful age of 90, having just completed a Master’s degree at the Australian National University, and contributed several important articles to ISFAR’s journal,Explorations, later re-namedThe French Australian Review.
Jacqueline was also the author of a chapter in French Lives in Australia, a 2015 volume of collected essays sponsored by ISFAR, and of an entry in ISFAR’sFrench-Australian Dictionary of Biography. These written contributions laid the foundation of warm personal friendships with many members of ISFAR, strengthened by her visits to Melbourne.These included presenting a paper at the Australian Society for French Studies conference in 2014, where, at the conference dinner, Jacqueline was seated next to former French Prime Minister Mr Lionel Jospin, conference keynote speaker and guest of honour, and the talk she gave in the ‘Melbourne Salon’ series in 2017, where the second edition of her book was launched.
Late in life this living embodiment of French-Australian bonds became a much loved and admired member of the ISFAR team, and will be greatly missed by them.
« Jacqueline Dwyer was certainly a remarkable figure in the local French Victorian scene for many years and the French community of Victoria owes her a lot. We are grateful to the members of ISFAR for their enormous contribution to the memory and vitality of the French Australian relations, and we salute the Courrier Australien to keep going the legacy of a pioneer such as Jacqueline Dwyer. »
Consule-Générale Honoraire de France à Melbourne
Photo: Madeleine Berti, Peter Brown et sa femme Kati, Ivan Barko et sa femme Barbara, Eric Berti et Jacqueline Dwyer lors d’un déjeuner a été organisé à l’occasion de la parution de French Lives.