Happy Bastille Day 2021

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Heritage, Art & Culture
French Australian Aboriginal Flags

July 14 is Bastille Day and although we typically meet on the grassy headland down in La Perouse with  our picnic baskets and baguettes, this year we find ourselves celebrating from home. We hope all of our residents have a wonderful quatorze Juillet!

This French National Day is the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, a major event of the French Revolution, as well as the Fête de la Fédération, which celebrates the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790.

Celebrating Bastille Day in Randwick City has always been of great significance. It was 236 years ago when King Louis XVI gave his instructions to French Naval Officer, Lapérouse to lead an expedition around the world.

Lapérouse's ships ‘The Astrolabe’ and ‘The Boussole’ explored Chile, Alaska, California, East Asia, Japan, Russia, the South Pacific, and eventually, this beautiful part of Sydney.

They arrived on the northern shore of Botany Bay, west of Bare Island in January 1788, with an objective to repair their ships, collect some fresh water and prepare for the long journey back to Europe. Three months later, on the 10th of March, Admiral Lapérouse and his crew sailed out of Botany Bay, but sadly, he and his fleet were never heard from again.

It wasn't until decades later, off the coast of what is now the Solomon Islands that the ruins of Lapérouse's ship was found. It is thought to have been shipwrecked by a cyclone sometime in April or May of the year they left the shores of Sydney. In 2017 Randwick Council took ownership of the Astrolabe anchor, a unique token of a shared French and Australian history.

La Perouse anchor

Randwick City is one of the oldest council areas in New South Wales and sites like La Perouse have helped to shape Australia’s history and forge our strong links with France. We have a thriving French community here in Randwick City and we are proud to have a friendship with the Consulate General of France, The International French School of Sydney, and Friends of the La Perouse Museum. We are also very lucky to work closely with the La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council who are committed to maintaining a confident, prosperous, autonomous and united community here in La Perouse.

Today’s Bastille Day celebrations are of special significance to Randwick City, commemorating the past, present and future of this wonderful place. Yet, even more importantly, the values of freedom, equality and democracy that Bastille Day represents will continue to guide us as we as a community grow and flourish together.

While we can’t host our usual activities on the lawn at La Perouse, we encourage everyone to celebrate at home. Bastille Day is a great opportunity to go and support your local French businesses. Grab a picnic basket and fill it with wine, cheese, and bread from some of our amazing French patisseries and delis.

Vive la France! Vive l’Australie! Vive l’amitié franco-australienne!

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