Famous Australians of Huguenot Descent

Marie Beuzeville Byles (1900-1979) was descended from two Huguenot families. She was the first female solicitor in NSW and a prominent conservationist, being one of the instigators of Bouddi National Park. She was also a feminist and one of the first Australians to show an interest in Buddhism. The Beuzeville family originated in Normandy.

Charles Bonney (1813-1897) was known as ‘The Overlander’ for his services to the Australian people in discovering overland stock-routes across unsettled parts of the country. His family (the name was probably Bonnet originally) left France after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.

Sir Richard Boyer (1891-1961) was a prominent pastoralist and diplomat, but is best known as chairman of the ABC (The Boyer lectures) and for his defence of its independence from political interference.

Roy Cazaly (1893-1963) will live forever in the cry “Up there Cazaly !” He was the greatest AFL player of the interwar years, and also an excellent coach, both in Melbourne and in Tasmania. His family originated in Languedoc in the South of France, and became well-known in the silk industry in England.









Harold Cazneaux (1878-1953) is respected as one of Australia’s greatest photographers, and the first to realise the photographic potential of bright Australian sunlight. He was descended from Paix Cazneau, who fled Languedoc in the South of France in 1685.harold-cazneaux








Charles Chauvel (1897-1959) was a great Australian film producer and director: his best-known films include ‘Jedda’ and ‘40,000 Horsemen’. His family originated in the area of Blois in the Loire valley, and fled to England in 1685.charles-elsa-chauvel-film-makers






Sir Harry Chauvel (1865-1945) “Chauvel of the Lighthorse” was the uncle of Charles and one of Australia’s most famous soldiers. He commanded the Desert Mounted Corps in Palestine and Syria in WWI, and later was appointed Chief of Staff of Australian forces.


Minard Crommelin (1881-1972) was descended from a well-known Huguenot family, from Picardy, which became prominent in the Northern Ireland linen industry. She was a determined conservationist and established the first biological field study centre on land she donated at Pearl Beach, NSW.minard-crommelin-consevationist







Freda Du Faur (1882-1935) was an intrepid woman who refused to conform to the rigid stereotypes of her time. She became Australia’s first female mountaineer, and the first woman to climb Mt Cook, the highest peak in New Zealand. The Du Faur family came originally from Gascony.

Lady Franklin (Jane Griffin) (1791-1875) was born in London, the daughter of a wealthy Huguenot silk merchant. Her ancestors came from Normandy and Poitou. As the wife of Sir John Franklin, Lt-Governor of Tasmania, she interested herself energetically in convict welfare, education, agricultural reform and the arts. She gave Tasmania its first museum and art gallery.











Thomas Laby (1880-1946) was descended from a family whose original name was probably L’Abbé, and had been connected with the silk industry. He was born in Victoria, and became one of Australia’s most respected scientists, specialising in the field of radioactivity and x-ray therapy. He was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1931.

Charles Joseph La Trobe  (1801-1875) is probably the best known Huguenot descendant in Australian history. He was the first Lt-Governor of Victoria, and saw that colony through its difficult early years. His dedicated and high-minded influence on government affairs is only now beginning to be appreciated. His family originated in Languedoc in the South of France.charles-joseph-la-trobe-first-governor-victoria












William Piguenit (1836-1914) was born in Tasmania and made a name for himself as a landscape artist. He was descended from a family which came from Saintonge in the West of France. His admiration for wild and rugged landscape allowed him to popularise this type of scenery with the Australian people. He is generally considered to be the first native-born Australian artist of note.













Sir David Rivett (1885-1961) was a prominent Australian scientist and the son of a Congregationalist minister. He was descended from a Huguenot family which had settled in Norwich, and was a crucial figure in the launch and development of the C.S.I.R.O. The suburb of Rivett in the ACT is named after him.