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Australia celebrates Bastille Day.

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Teresa Gambaro MP Assistant Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

Media Centre Australia celebrates Bastille Day

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Australians of all backgrounds will join almost 100 000 residents of French ancestry to celebrate Bastille Day today.

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Teresa Gambaro said events would be held in all states and territories to celebrate French heritage and culture on France’s national day.

‘The French have had a long history in Australia,’ Ms Gambaro said.

‘The French explorer, Jean François de Galaup, Comte de La Pérouse, arrived at Botany Bay on 26 January 1788 - the same day that Captain Arthur Phillip landed at Sydney Cove.

‘If La Pérouse had arrived a little earlier, Australia’s history may have turned out differently.’

Ms Gambaro paid tribute to the contribution that the French and French-Australians had made to Australia.

‘French people were among the first non-British settlers in NSW, and soon made their mark as landowners, businesspeople, merchants and wine growers,’ Ms Gambaro said.

‘A French bank was established in Australia in 1881, followed by a French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 1889.

‘Australia’s oldest surviving foreign-language newspaper, Le Courrier Australien, began in Australia in 1892.

‘To all, I wish you a happy Bastille Day,’ Ms Gambaro added.

Media Contact: Tjorn Sibma (Ms Gambaro’s office) 0417 744 922