The Franco Australian Museum | Attraction Guides | History Hit

The Franco Australian Museum

Villers-Bretonneux, Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy, France

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Alamy

About The Franco Australian Museum

The Franco Australian Museum in Villers-Bretonneux in France is one of the sites along the route dedicated to First World War history, known as the Circuit of Remembrance.

The Franco Australian Museum history

The Franco Australian Museum looks at the role played by Australian forces during the World War One. As soon as Britain declared war on Germany, the new Australian government pledged 20,000 men to be sent overseas to the Western Front. The government watched an extraordinary rush to enlist all around the country and soon promised an increase in the expeditionary force to take the total to 50,000 men.

Australian forces served on both the Western Front and most memorably, at Gallipoli in 1915. The Landing at Gallipoli captured the imagination of the Australian public as no other event in Australian history has ever done. The news provoked a rush of Australian recruits to the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and eventually 320,000 Australians would serve overseas in the war – an extraordinary contribution from a nation of just over four million people.

The war was, nevertheless, extremely costly to Australia. It had damaged political and social harmony at home because of the bitterness of the conscription campaigns, and introduced deep religious and social divisions. 60,000 Australians had been killed in the war, many of them because of the might of the artillery, lay buried, in unknown graves. As many as 150,000 men returned home badly wounded in mind or body.

The Franco Australian Museum today

A small museum based on the first floor of the Victoria School, the Franco Australian Museum offers a variety of exhibitions including visual presentations. 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 in particular and the part they played in the battles to defend Villers Bretonneux, which was the site of fierce fighting during the First World War.

Getting to The Franco Australian Museum

The address of the Franco-Australian Museum is 9 Rue Victoria, 80800 Villers-Bretonneux. It is located in the Victoria School in the centre of the village of Villers-Bretonneux. There is parking at the front of the school and at the nearby Town Hall. The museum is open daily and admission for Adults is 6 Euros.

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