The Franco - Australian Medallion 1988







 ‘In order to bring together its work and its philosophy, “the French Committee for the Australian Bicentenary” decided to offer a prize to two engravers-Australian and/or French- for the creation of matrix for a commemorative plaque which would illustrate “200 years of Franco-Australian friendship”. The winners were made known by His Excellency the Ambassador for France, m. Bernard Follin, during a special reception at the Alliance Francaise in Sydney on the 12th November in the presence of French and Australian Officials. They are two Australian Engravers, Mr Michael Mezaros who lives in Victoria and Mr Michael Tracey of Queensland who thus won $3560 (plus royalties concerned) and the certainty that their model (front and back) will be faithfully reproduced by the Paris Mint. Our photo shows, from left to right, M. Follin, Mr Tracey, M. Seriey (representing the French committee) and Mr Mezaros.’

 Le Courrier Australien (Sydney, NSW : 1892 - 2011)  Thursday 10 December 1987  Page 1  REALITE DE L’AMITIE FRANCO-AUSTRALIENNE



A Mark of Respect

In 1987 the author was commissioned by the Monnaie de Paris, France to design and sculpt a plaster for medallion to commemorate the service by Australian soldiers in France. The Director of the Australian Bicentennial Authority, James Kirk, made the following statement:


I was delighted to learn of your success … for the design and sculpting of the medallion to be struck by the French Mint to commemorate two hundred years of Franco-Australian friendship. International recognition of your work not only enhances the reputation of our artists overseas it also helps to create pride in ourselves as Australians. Pride in our achievements is the spirit of our Bicentenary.


A Media Release from the Australian Bicentennial Authority, 7 September 1987, states:


More than 400 French and Australian artists were invited to enter their designs for the medallion … The French have long been considered the leaders in medallion design so this award offers considerable prestige to the Australian artist.


The medallion was stuck by the French Mint in limited editions of silver and bronze and the design feature a typical Australian and French soldier saluting each other surrounded by a war cemetery. Both the silver and bronze medallions are on permanent display in the Amiens Museum. While the Australian soldier depicted on the medallion represents every Australian serviceman and women in both world wars, the sculpting of the figure of the Australian soldier was based upon the exploits of Captain John Thomas Hynes (my Uncle).



Comité Francais Pour Le Bicentenaire De l’Australie, Press Release, Paris, France, 19 June 1987.


Correspondence from L’ Ambassadeur Roger Duzer, Ambassade de France en Australie, 21 April 1988.


Correspondence from to M. Tracey from Australian Bicentennial Authority to, ref JFK:RM, 31 August 1987. The Australian Bicentennial Authority, Media Release, 7 September 1987.


Tracey, M, M., 2010. '154 Captain John Thomas Hynes DSO, MM, Cross of Karageorge with Swords (Serbia)- An Australian Soldier.', Sabretache, The Journal and Proceedings of the Military Historical Society of Australia, Canberra, ACT, Australia.


‘Realite De Franco-Australienne’ Le Courrrier, Journal Francais, 1988.