Jacqueline Dwyer (1925-2020) : A Tribute - Université de la Polynésie française Access content directly
Journal Articles The French-Australian Review Year : 2020

Jacqueline Dwyer (1925-2020) : A Tribute


Jacqueline Dwyer was an exceptional person who left us prematurely last month, albeit in her 95 th year. She made her mark in a number of different spheres, but it was her work as historian, bringing family history into the public domain, that will be her abiding testimony for those interested in French-Australian relations. Her life embodied that history in an exemplary way. This life already began, as it were, in the late 19 th century when Jacqueline's paternal grandfather Georges Playoust, about whom she wrote at length, came to Australia. The son of a 'demi-bourgeois' 1 school teacher and principal at the Collège de Tourcoing in northern France, he emerged into adulthood in an age of the globalisation of garment manufacturing. The firm of traders for whom he worked, (Henri) Caulliez and Co., had seen the opportunity provided by enhanced international mobility to go directly to the source of the raw material sought-wool-by sending merchants to the producers in Australia to make purchases for the textile factories of Flanders, bypassing the middle-men, and rivals, of northern England. The Playoust family was thus part of a new and bold industrialisation involving a transnational workforce that embraced Australia at a time of its own 'nation-building', leading to Federation. However, unlike many fellow wool-buyers whose children were sent to boarding schools in Europe-England, France, Germany, Switzerland-the Playousts chose to have their children educated in their adopted land. Jacqueline Dwyer was able, through her research, to grasp the wider significance of these familial and professional factors, including their social and cultural dimensions beyond the mercantile. Here was a family who was consciously contributing to the development of both its countries-George founded the French-Australian Chamber of Commerce in 1899-and regularly moving between them. The keen sense of participating in the local while maintaining a broad international perspective remained a fundamental part of Jacqueline's approach to life and to people, devoid of prejudice. This was not the rarefied cosmopolitanism of café culture à la Stefan Zweig, but a practical and
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hal-04088143 , version 1 (03-05-2023)


  • HAL Id : hal-04088143 , version 1


Peter Brown. Jacqueline Dwyer (1925-2020) : A Tribute. The French-Australian Review, 2020, Winter 2020 (68), pp.56-64. ⟨hal-04088143⟩
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