The Storytellers for 2018 began with a presentation by Jacqueline Dwyer – member and mother of Dominic Dwyer, who spoke about her book Flanders in Australia: A Personal History of Wool and War.
There were more than 60 members and friends in attendance to listen to Jacqueline being interviewed by her son Dominic. It was especially pleasing to see Francoise Gilroy present with her daughters and her brother Xavier Droulers, the son of Jean Droulers, who was also a wool buyer, Xavier worked in New Zealand and in France. His wife is French. A large contingent of Parmentier family joined in the fun too. Quite the French connection!Jacqueline told a fascinating story about her father Jacques and the background to the wool buyers and Wool Exchange in Australia, accompanied by many family photographs. An early edition of the book Flanders in Australia was released in 1998. based on Jacques’s diaries and letters to his brothers and sisters back in Australia written whilst he was serving as a French soldier in the trenches during WW1, all surprisingly in English. The trigger for writing the first edition was a school essay being undertaken by son James on WW1 using material from the diaries and letters which prompted Jacqueline to realise what treasures they were and how they needed to be preserved. Strangely enough the material had been secreted away and Jacqueline never sighted them until her father had passed away. Jacqueline returned to university to further her research encouraged greatly by dear George Franki and soon had enough material to do a thesis. Jacqueline considers the new edition of Flanders in Australia as far more detailed and thoughtful.
All in all, it was a great evening. Quite a number of questions, the funniest asked by our Patron “was there any connection found in the research material to the Dwyers and the Bolgers” … a bit of an in-joke.
Finally, it was wonderful to see Barry Feyder and wife Adriana. Barry has had a real rollercoaster over the last year so hopefully we’ll be seeing more of him at the BBC enjoying the club’s activities from now on.
The interview with Jacqueline was filmed so in due course may be available for viewing on the club’s website and will certainly be added to the club’s growing archives.