Franco-Australian Museum, Villers-Bretonneux

Embroidered silk scarf and photos at the Franco-Australian Museum.
Wood carving of a koala in the Victoria School hall.
Wood carving of a koala in the Victoria School hall.

The Franco-Australian Museum was established by the Franco-Australian Association. It was opened on ANZAC Day, 25 April 1975 at the Victoria School in Villers-Bretonneux. The museum is undergoing refurbishment and is temporarily located in the Victoria Hall inside the school. The refurbishment is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016.

Close Ties with Australia

Artefacts picked up from the battlefields at Villers-Bretonneux.
Artefacts picked up from the battlefields at Villers-Bretonneux.

The village of Villers-Bretonneux has very close ties with Australia following the battle to defend the village by British and Australian troops in the German spring offensive of March and early April 1918, called Operation Michael.

The village was almost captured on 4 April but the British and Australians held on to it. On 24 April the Germans attacked the village again, with the objective of removing the Allied defence here at Villers-Bretonneux and marching westwards on to the important Allied railhead in the town of Amiens. A small force of the Australian 15th Brigade, 2nd Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, plus numerous British stragglers who had left the village just ahead of the German attack, set up a defensive position and managed to hold off the German advance that day. The German advance was halted here and they never did get as far as Amiens in their final push to the west in 1918.

Victoria School: A Gift from Australia

Victoria School housing the Franco-Australian Museum.
Victoria School housing the Franco-Australian Museum.

Victoria School, in which the museum is housed, was built between 1923-1927 as a gift from the children of the Australian State of Victoria. The school hall, Victoria Hall, has wooden paneling and carvings of Australian animals and plants by the Australian sculptor John Grant and students from the Daylesford Technical College, Victoria.

A wooden sign in the Victoria Hall makes the statement “N'oublions jamais l'Australie”, which translates as “Never let us forget Australia”.

A sign in the playground also says: “Do not forget Australia” and this is also written in French in each of the classrooms.

Museum

“Let us never forget Australia” sign in the Victoria School hall.
N'oublions jamais l'Australie: let us never forget Australia sign in the Victoria School hall.

The Franco-Australian museum is housed inside the Victoria School. The collections held by the museum were established in the 1970s by material from private collections and donations.

The museum tells the story of the Australians on the Western Front in 1918 and the part they played in the battles to defend Villers Bretonneux.

During the refurbishment of the museum the displays are temporarily located in the Victoria Hall in the school.

Visitor Information

Opening Hours

Open daily.

April to end October: 09.30 - 17.30 hours

ovember to end March: 09.30 - 16.30 hours

Closed: 1 May and annual closure of the museum for 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year.

Guided tours for groups (15 + persons) by appointment.

Admission Prices

Group Rate (over 15 people)

Contact Information

Address: Franco-Australian Museum, 9 Rue Victoria, 80800 Villers-Bretonneux

Telephone or fax: +33 - (0)3 22 96 80 79

Email: museeaustralien@gmail.com

Website: www.museeaustralien.com

Location of the Franco-Australian Museum

The museum is located in the Victoria School in the centre of the village of Villers-Bretonneux. There is parking at the front of the school.

Related Topic

Australian National Memorial to the Missing near Villers-Bretonneux.
Australian National Memorial to the Missing near Villers-Bretonneux.

The Australian National Memorial to the Missing is located a short distance from Villers-Bretonneux village and the Franco-Australian Museum.

Australian National Memorial to the Missing