Sunday, 25 May 2014

Another French connection to Coburg


494 Private Marius Giraud, Australian Flying Corps



Although Marius Giraud was born in Coburg, his father Honoré, a pastry chef, was born in Antibes, France in 1863. He sailed from London in November 1885 and after twelve months in New Zealand moved to Melbourne where he and his wife Annie settled in Donald Street, Brunswick.

Marius was born in Footscray in 1889 and applied to become an Australian citizen in 1911 but was told that there was no need because he had been born in Victoria. However, he stated that he had become a naturalised French citizen at the French Consulate in Melbourne in 1900 when he was eleven years old, hence the application. He made his declaration in the presence of W.E. Cash who was Mayor of the Borough of Coburg at the time. It’s possible that Marius was an employee of Cash, who had a plumbing and hardware business, but it’s just as possible that he’d approached Cash because Cash was a prominent citizen who also lived in Moreland. Frustratingly, the naturalisation papers do not give any reason for the change of citizenship in 1900 or for the change of heart eleven years later.

Palestine. Air Mechanics of No. 2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, working on an SE5Q aircraft. 
Image courtesy Australian War Memorial. Image P01034.042.


At the time of Marius’ enlistment as a Signalman in the No. 2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps in September 1914, the Giraud family was living in Glencairn Avenue, Coburg. Marius was a 25 year old coppersmith at the time, a trade he returned to after the war. An early enlistee, he was in hospital in Egypt at the time of the Anzac landing and did not rejoin his unit on Gallipoli until the end of October 1915. He later served in France before returning to Australia in 1919.

In 1921 Marius married Helen Warner, also of Moreland. He served again in World War Two, as did his sons Neil and John.

Like so many families who lived in the Moreland area in the borderland between Coburg and Brunswick, he lived variously in both suburbs. He is remembered on the Coburg Town Hall Honour Board, located at Coburg Town Hall and he is also listed on the Moreland State School Honour Board.

Marius Giraud died at Brunswick in 1957 and is listed in the Wills and Probate Indexes at the Public Record Office of Victoria as an ex-railway employee. His wife Helen died in 1980.

(Sources include soldiers’ attestation papers, births, deaths and marriages via Ancestry, electoral rolls, resources of the Australian War Memorial, naturalisation papers, newspaper articles)

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