The Alliance Française de Toowoomba is celebrating its 60e anniversaire (60th Anniversary) this year.

Toowoomba President since March 2019, Alexis Tacey said, “We may not be able to travel to France this year, so the AFT is bringing France to Toowoomba! The festival was to be held last year but was postponed due to COVID 19. The celebrations, to be held at St Luke’s Hall, Toowoomba, will begin with a French film in conjunction with Ric Chauvel Carlsson – Ric’s Flicks; Dinner with French food, wine, music, dancing, trivia quiz and raffles; and the AFT Petanque tournament. The Qld Citroën 2 CV Club will be joining us as well.”

Dr Peter Guastalla was one of the founding members of the AFT which was constituted in 1959.

The Alliance Française was founded in 1883 in Paris as an “association nationale pour de la propagation de la langue française dans les colonies et à l’étranger” under the aegis of Pierre Foncin and Ambassador Paul Cambon. Alliance Française de Toowoomba is one of 850 Alliances across the globe in 138 countries.

Dr Peter Guastalla, Miss Gwen Dowson and Mrs Norma Thomas were instrumental in forming the Alliance Française de Toowoomba with the organisation being constituted in 1959. They continued to make contributions during the 1960’s to the 1990’s. Since 1960 the AFT has offered French language classes, petanque tournaments, 14 juillet (Bastille Day) and cultural events including Galette des Rois, with recent additions of the release of the Beaujolais Nouveau, Café Bla Bla, French film festivals and the Norma Thomas Prize being awarded to schools for the highest achieving students of French, and the AFT now hosts a weekly French show each Monday evening on the Toowoomba community radio 102.7 fm.

Records, minutes of monthly meetings and correspondence dating back to 1960 shows the AFT has been very active in the Toowoomba region. Rent in 1987 was $100 per year!  For the first time last year, the AFT moved their French classes from face to face mode to online mode. Though many events were postponed last year, classes were still offered.

The AFT is currently collecting as many champagne corks as possible. These will be used to create a four metre high Eiffel Tower which will be the centrepiece of the October festival. Donations of champagne corks can be left at the AFT office, upstairs at 217 Margaret Street, Toowoomba. For more details of the celebrations please see the website – or email [email protected]

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