French Australian League

The French Australian League of Help provided comforts for French troops and their families throughout World War I. Funds were raised locally and fortnightly shipments of clothing sent to France for distribution by the Red Cross. From 1915, Augustine Soubeiran (1858-1933) coordinated the League's work in Australia.

After the war ended, Ms Soubeiran extended the League's operations for three years to provide continued support for war widows and orphans and assist with the reconstruction of France. Winding up affairs in 1921, she wrote to the Mitchell Library offering the League's archive to ensure its preservation as 'the rightful property of New South Wales'.

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Transcript: Letter to the Mitchell Librarian, 28 Sept 1921, by Augustine Soubeiran

ALLIANCE FRANCAISE

Citizens Chambers, Martin Place,
Sydney, 28 Sept. 1921

The Librarian
Mitchell Library
Sydney

Dear Sir,

I have in my possession numerous documents relating to the activities of the French Australian League during the Great War.

These consist mainly of letters of thanks, many being from some of the most prominent French-men, including Marshall Foch, the Archbishop of Rheims, Marshall Petain & General [Sarrail], etc., etc. There are also letters form soldiers, expressing admiration for the courage and abilities of the Australian 'Diggers' by whose side they fought.

There are also interesting letters from the French Directors of several Military schools for war orphans, including delightful letters from the children themselves - about the honour in which they hold the Australian flag - etc. -

These documents were desired & asked for, more than once, by the French authorities who wanted to place them in the War Museum in Paris. I didn't feel justified however in parting with them, as they seemed to me the rightful property of N. S. Wales.

If, however, you do not want them for the Mitchell Library, I shall send them to Paris, where they will be welcomed gladly and find a permanent and fitting resting place -

I am, dear Sir, yours faithfully,

A. Soubeiran

 

> Find more of the French-Australian League records, 1917-1921 catalogue link