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"Do not forget Australia" : Australian war memorialisation at Villers-Bretonneux

Abstract : This thesis examines the process of assembly, projecting and performing an aspect of Australian national identity – Anzac and its central role in the national narrative – through the prism of war memorialisation at Villers-Bretonneux. It scrutinises the tangible ties between this town and Australia – including, amongst other forms of commemoration and commemorative devices, Victoria School, the Australian National Memorial, the French-Australian Museum, the French-Australian Association, and the commemoration of Anzac Day – and what these links reveal about the nature of Australian commemorative practices. The thesis argues that this village has been utilised as a stage upon which to engineer and perform changing representations of Australia’s national narrative. At Villers-Bretonneux there has been a constant rewriting of this narrative, managing the past to define oneself – collectively and individually – in the present. This active process of the development of the Australian national narrative through war memorialisation often relegates the commemorated dead soldiers to the background and serves, in their place, the present interests of those who commemorate. Villers-Bretonneux is a town unknown to the vast majority of French people and one to which even fewer ever travel. Yet, it is upon Australian war commemorations in this town of a little over 4,000 inhabitants that Australia has constructed its reportage of the French homage to Australian soldiers of the First World War and Australia. The thesis exposes this essential element of otherness in validating national images through an examination of the insistence on the perceived validation offered by the French.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - 2:32:27 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 21, 2022 - 3:27:20 AM


  • HAL Id : tel-03647352, version 1



Romain Fathi. "Do not forget Australia" : Australian war memorialisation at Villers-Bretonneux. History. Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Sciences Po; University of Queensland, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015IEPP0024⟩. ⟨tel-03647352⟩



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