CLOSE CONNECTION: Roger Willis from the Amiens History Association with Dominique and Jean-Paul from France 3.
CLOSE CONNECTION: Roger Willis from the Amiens History Association with Dominique and Jean-Paul from France 3. Sandra McEwan

TV crew link with locals for doco

FRENCH fascination continues to encircle our region with a television crew spending time touring our humble surrounds.

The Granite Belt's soldier-settler history is a point of interest for the French, as is the naming of our villages in honour of our connection to World War

1.

Presenter Dominique Patinec and cameraman Jean-Paul Delance spent three days being shown the region.

The pair will compile footage from their visit to the Granite Belt, as well as Childers, Bargara and Canberra, for a documentary to be shown on television channel France 3.

The program will coincide with Anzac Day commemorations.

Heather Dux from the Amiens History Association said: "The French people have always been very respectful and thankful of what the Australian soldiers did during World War 1.

"They've always celebrated the anniversaries and looked after the graves of our soldiers.

"It was a very, very successful visit,” she

said.

While here, the crew spoke with Kate Finlay at St Denys Church, were shown around by Roger and Colleen Willis and even found time to visit Ballandean Estate and Tomasel's orchard.

It's the second visit this year from French journalists.

In January, Willy Billiard, from publication Courrier Picard, spent a day driving around Amiens, Pozieres, Passchendaele and surrounds to document our many homages to WW1 history.

Mr Billiard will also recount his time in our area in a big Anzac Day publication for his newspaper.

To return the favour, a large local contingent will be heading overseas shortly on their own little French expedition.

"So because this is the 100th anniversary (of WW1), 32 members of our Amiens History Association are travelling over to France soon,” Ms Dux said.

"They're having official meetings with the mayor of Amiens and they're taking, I suppose, greetings from the mayor of Southern Downs.

"They will also visit all the little villages that are named on our spur line in France.”

As well as the overseas jaunt, the association has been working tirelessly behind the scenes on a variety of projects.

"It's been wonderful.

"It is remarkable just how much the volunteers have been able to do,” Ms Dux said.

"We were planning on opening the Amiens Legacy Centre in 18 months' time and they're now opening it in November.

"They're hoping to have a re-enactment of the signing of the Armistice in our railway carriage in November too.

"The more information we can get out the better. Because there's a lot of people who don't know anything about the history so it's got to be preserved.”

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