No, we haven't had it moved in as a garden feature!
The photo in our title piece was taken by Susan in 2006 while I was in Loches with Bryan. At the time she was on holiday in the Northern Territory with her parents. The green and gold have been Australia's official colours since April 19, 1984.
The first recorded French presence in Australia was the expedition of Jean-François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse, who arrived in Botany Bay on this day in 1788 at the same time as Captain Phillip was moving the first fleet to Port Jackson (the proper name of Sydney Harbour) to found the first European settlement in Australia. He is remembered by a suburb bearing his name which overlooks Frenchman's Bay, part of Botany Bay. Also at la Perouse is Bare Island Fort, which I remember as being one of the first places I ever went to on an outing with my family in Australia after we arrived in 1967. It was extremely hot (it was probably midwinter, but we had just arrived from an English Spring...) and we caught the bus down there, which took HOURS. Then I remember being singularly unimpressed with the fort, because being a London boy I was expecting the Tower of London, if not better. The only thing that redeemed the trip was the fact we went past the Rose Bay Flying Boat Base. Kids, eh?
and on the right is Camp Cove, where the colony was founded.
Since then, French/Australian relationships have been pretty good - if sometimes strained. The most notable strain was caused by the nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll between 1966 and 1996, which I remember being heavily demonstrated against.
Overall though, the French presence in Australia is fairly small, although there are 31 Alliance Française groups spread across the country.
Officially 5,500 Australians live in France. We hope soon to make that 2 more...
My parents emailed to say that my knowledge of Australia history is somewhat lacking - there were at least 3 French visits to Australia before La Pérouse:
- The French ships Boudeuse and Etoile under the command of Commander Louis de Bougainville and Captain Chesnard de la Giraudais almost found the east coast of Australia in 1758
- The Gros Ventre, Captain Francois de Saint Allouarn, sighted the west coast of Australia at Cape Leeuwin in 1772
- The crew of the ships Mascarin and Marquis de Castries under the command of Commander Marion Dufresne made landfall on Tasmania, also in 1772