Beverley Noakes interview, 30 January and 5 February 2013

Dublin Core


Beverley Noakes interview, 30 January and 5 February 2013


French language and literature


This is an interview with Professor Beverley Noakes. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, she won a scholarship to Newnham College, Cambridge, and completed her PhD in Cambridge and France. She then taught at the University of the West Indies between 1962 and 1970. She came to the University of Western Australia in 1970, and taught in the French Department until 2002, specialising in Renaissance and Francophone literature and winning awards for her teaching.


Noakes, Beverley


University of Western Australia Historical Society


Copyright holder University of Western Australia


MP3 files


Oral History

Oral History Item Type Metadata


Julia Wallis


Beverley Noakes


Nedlands. W.A.


Interview 1: 54 minutes, 39 seconds
Interview 2: 1 hour, 18 minutes, 14 seconds
Total: 2 hours, 12 minutes, 53 seconds

Bit Rate/Frequency

128 kbs

Time Summary

Interview 1: Wednesday 30 January 2013

Track 1
00:00 Introduction by Julia Wallis

Track 2
00:00 Beverley Neave Noakes (nee Evans). Previously married to David Ormerod. Born in Jamaica in 1937. Parents did not do higher education. No free secondary education. Father would have loved to have gone to university and encouraged his children to read and discuss things at home.
01:28 The other big influence on her life was her father’s older sister, Hazel who had been to France to study and was taught French at High School in Jamaica. French was Beverley’s favourite subject at school although she also learned Spanish.
01:46 Won the Jamaica girls’ scholarship to study at a university in the UK. Her uncle told her she had to overcome being Jamaican and female and therefore should go to Oxford or Cambridge. Worked for a year between school and university as a secretary at the University of the West Indies. A couple of the people there had been educated at Oxford and were not very pleasant, so she went to Newnham College Cambridge in 1956 (to 1959). Did an honours degree in modern languages (French and Spanish). Then got a scholarship to do a PhD in French and spent two years in Cambridge and one in Paris.
03:30 Taught at the University of the West Indies for 8 years (1962-1970). A lively, young university. Once a college of London University but then became independent and they could put new subject in the syllabus such as Caribbean courses. Beverley started new courses in French in both Caribbean and African literature in 1968.
04:30 Good years – young, independent, earning a good salary and had lots of friends. Very good students from all over the Caribbean. Able to meet people from the other islands.
04:58 Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados are the main English speaking islands. There was a campus on each of those islands but the chief campus was on Jamaica. Cuba and Haiti were north of Jamaica. In the 1960s nobody could go to Cuba due to US foreign policy which meant that it you went to Cuba, your passport would be confiscated when you arrived back in Jamaica. US government very influential politically and economically.
06:06 Beverley went to Haiti when she was preparing the course in Caribbean literature. It was the period that Papa Doc was President. Had to run the gauntlet of the paramilitary police (Tonton Macoute ) on the way to the library.
07:05 Beverley also visited Martinique and Guadeloupe which were islands under French control. Air France would fly in fruit and vegetables twice weekly. Ambivalent attitude towards the French at this time among the intellectuals. People very friendly and the houses in the countryside were similar to those in Jamaica.
08:49 Left in 1970 because her husband David Ormerod an English lecturer had obtained a job at UWA.
09:13 They came by boat. It took 6 weeks as they had to come via England. Came on the Oriana, a P&O liner. Very well regarded as academics. Their big achievement on the trip was wining one of the Quiz nights.
10:51 Arrived in Fremantle and were met at the docks by both Professor Alan Edwards of the English Department (David’s boss) and Professor Jim Lawler (Beverley’s boss). Beverley was coming as a temporary lecturer at that stage.
11:52 Alan Edwards drove them to them to their temporary accommodation which was in a flat opposite Steve’s Hotel. Beverley was concerned that there were no locks on the bedroom door and that they would suffer a violent home invasion from the patrons of the hotel!
12:49 The couple were warmly welcomed during their first two weeks. The Edwards took them to a Peter Shaffer black comedy at the Octagon Theatre on their first night. Beverley discovered day temperatures in May were very different to night temperatures. On their second night, Miss Randall took Beverley to the Alliance Française. Miss Randall was the President and booked Beverley to give a talk. On the second day the French Department held a welcome lunch.
13:52 The lunch was held at the old University House (located near the Music Department) where she met all the staff. Every Thursday the French Department held a lunch here where everybody had to speak French. This had been going for some years and was instigated by Jim Lawler (whose wife Christiane was French). This lasted until the Lawlers left Perth at the end of 1972.
14:45 After 3 months Professor Lawler arranged with the university for Beverley to be given a tenureship which made her feel very secured and welcomed.

Track 3
00:00 Dr Leon Tauman had been head of the French Department before Jim Lawler arrived to take up the first Chair. A very vague man. Story that he had forgotten to buy a ring when he got married.
00:58 Jean Randall was there with him and apparently ran the department. Taught here during WW2 and was involved in trying to help the French during the war giving charity and aid. Jean was passionate about the Alliance Française and was President for many, many years. Miss Randall involved UWA people with the Alliance activities. It rented rooms in the Nedlands Teachers College and organised lectures. Jim Lawler lectured on modern French poetry. Lisette Nigot also spoke. Bruce Pratt and Grahame Jones were senior lecturers who also contributed. Beverley gave two lectures in her first year – one was on Jamaica and the other on Caribbean music. It didn’t matter was the subject was as long as the lecture was in French.
03:45 Students, especially Honours students, also became involved in the activities. Today it has its own premises at 75 Broadway, Nedlands. The activities are now more social.
04:00 Academic lectures are no longer given. In the 1980s and 1990s there were academic lectures jointly sponsored by the Alliance and UWA (also occasionally Edith Cowan). Collaboration with the Alliance has been an important part of the French Department and there has often been a UWA staff member on the Alliance committee. Beverley was a committee member at one time and Lisette was on the committee for many years and became President. She also ran the Alliance exams which are given to schools.
04:51 Miss Randall had retired but was filling in when somebody was on study leave. She would turn students away for arriving barefoot at the language lab.
05:35 When Beverley arrived Jim Lawler was running the department. His wife Christiane was a tutor and gave lectures on French civilisation. The Lawlers felt that it was important for students to have a feel for French buildings, French music, politics and way of life to accompany the literature courses. In the early days they had more teaching hours per week. As part of Beverley’s 17th century literature course, she used slides, records and the students were treated to an annual lecture by Prof David Tunley (Music Department) on the French chanson, accompanied with a rendition on the piano.
07:36 After the Lawlers left, they had to cut down their teaching hours and this had to be incorporated into the literature lectures rather than being taught as a separate subject.
08:10 There were two language classes a week plus a language lab session and a conservation class. It would be 3 hours of language work a week. Later they had to cut this down. Similarly the literature element of the course was once 3 hours a week (literature lecture, civilization lecture and tutorial).
09:02 By the end of the 1970s there was no civilization course and students had only 2 French language classes plus a session in the language lab. This later became the multi media lab. The lab session and the conversation class were cut down to half an hour. Difficult to teach a language without regular input from the teacher and regular output from the student.
10:00 This is a problem pertinent to language department. Other departments in the Arts faculty did not have this issue. Getting the requisite number of hours required to teach a language has always been a vexed issue between the department and the faculty.
10:46 The beginners’ course was a pure language course taught by Noelene Bloomfield. Beverley also gave tutorials for this course. The course was very well planned and structured. Noelene knew and Beverley also felt that the students needed to be encouraged and never put down. People running the course had to have a lot of empathy for the students. This course comprised 3 hours a week of classes plus language lab and conversation. This course had been very successful in terms of enrolments for French and is a very popular course. The aim was to try to encourage students to keep it up. Unfortunately some very good students who were music and medicine majors dropped French after completing the beginners’ course.
13:58 In the late 1970s, Noelene devised a second year course that followed on from the beginners’ course and provided a bridge between that course and third year. It was very intensive and introduced the students to literature. If they achieved an A or B+, they were accepted into the third year course.
14:45 Some students had not studied French at High School. French was not compulsory in schools. It was taught intensively in schools to those who did study French. These students were very well prepared to enter the first year course (French 100) as they could read, write and appreciate French literature. This changed as time went on and the schools change to what was called a ‘communicative’ approach. The emphasis here was on communication rather than spelling or grammar.
16:06 This changed the calibre of the students that came into the French department and became noticeable in the 1980s.

Track 4
00:00 The French Department was in the south eastern corner of the Arts Building. The big room at the corner was Jim Lawler’s office and next to him was the secretary. Beverley had a room with a lovely view of gum trees and the Matilda Bay foreshore. She loved the room so much that she refused to leave it, even when she became head of department.
01:00 At first there was a lot of space but then as money became tighter, space also became an issue.
01:35 Danielle Morris was the secretary from the mid-1970s and she is still here. Initially she had a half time person to help her. Money did not seem to be an issue. When Beverley was teaching the text Hiroshima Mon Amour in first year she was able to hire the film and show it on campus. This was not possible in Jamaica.
02:20 There was enough money to cover extras. Her room was larger than in Jamaica and had a fan. It was an idyllic setting.
02:46 Many of the French department staff were women. Tea room incident when the Professor of Classics commented they looked like the Domestic Science Department. Many women working at UWA in that time often had lower grade jobs and the senior positions were often occupied by men. Classics had no women on the staff. In the 1990s there was a big push for gender equality. Those women working in high positions were expected to be on committee to even up the balance. Beverley had never felt disadvantaged due to her background or gender. She believes that things began to change when UWA got their first female Vice Chancellor, Faye Gale in 1990.
07:12 When Beverley came to UWA, the French Department had 9 staff: Professor Lawler, Bruce Pratt & Grahame Jones (senior lecturers), Lisette Nigot from France, Andrew Hunwick and Beverley were lecturers. Noeline Bloomfield and Unity Beswick were both senior tutors. They had 1.5 support staff. Before Danielle Morris the secretary was called Anthea.
08:03 In those days the support staff did everything. Budget, timetable, liaison with administration and the students. Later on, the timetable was taken over centrally. After Beverley retired in 2002, the budget was taken over by a Faculty Manager. She also did the typing as the academic staff did not have computers. Beverley did some typing and photocopying of her lecture handouts.
09:25 The first lectures were held in the Murdoch lecture theatre. The lecture theatre had very steep steps which was a hazard in the days of short skirts. Most of the other lectures were held in the Arts lecture rooms. French was usually in Arts lecture room 4 or 5. Third year classes were also held in Arts lecturer room 6. The first year lectures were repeated at 5pm in the evening for the part time students. Repeats for 2nd and 3rd year were not possible so one of the courses would take place after 4pm. Lectures were not taped until the late 1990s. Most people did not use the microphone in the Murdoch lecture theatre as they preferred to come out in front of the lectern and speak to the students.
12:16 The lectures covered medieval literature as well as 19th and 20th century plus the Caribbean and African courses. These were a trial for the 3rd year students but then became part of the programme. In the early period, there was flexibility to put on new courses. They had more money and more staff and were trusted to be able to run their department. Later on, Faculty approval was required. There was plenty of choice because they could afford to put on a lot of hours of teaching.
14:18 Staff members would lecture on their special area but other people could take the tutorials in the first and second year due to the large numbers. Everyone took a turn to teach the language classes.
15:40 The staff all worked as a team and got on together very well. There was a lot of good will and good humour in the department. The students appreciated the happy atmosphere.
16:43 There were a lot of post graduate students. They also had many matured aged undergraduates as in those days it was free to study at UWA. The older students (some up to 60 years old or more) helped to motivate the younger ones.
17:44 The post graduate students became very important as the department got credits for them. Professor Dennis Boak who became a professor in about 1976 instituted a weekly postgraduate seminar and built up the school and encouraged research. Beverley supervised post graduate students in Caribbean, African and Renaissance literature.
18:38 Jean-Marie Volet was a mature aged student from Switzerland who did a degree in French and did an honours thesis and then a PhD on French African writing. He was then successful in obtaining a post-doctoral scholarship for 5 years at UWA. He set up an online journal Mot Pluriels. He has retired from this now but still has a website on African women writers written in French.
19:58 The post graduate school and the post graduate seminar were very successful for the department.
20:05 In the early days, the idea was attract first year students and every afternoon there was a school afternoon and Year 12 students attended the Octagon Theatre. Every year Lisette Nigot did a skit on the oral examination which the school students really enjoyed. The intake from high schools was very high at one stage. Even those who didn’t attend at UWA would take the oral exam prepared by the French Department for high schools. This was a very successful outreach programme.
21:55 By the late 1970s early 1980s it was more important to attract postgraduate students as the intake from high school fell due to circumstances outside their control.
22:15 The 1970s were a decade when there was big change from having plenty of money, students, leisure and enthusiasm to when things got tighter for teaching hours and money. Post graduate enrolments became more important as they were weighted in the eyes of the University. The department became more business-like and less relaxed. It was a different approach.

Track 5
00:00 Conclusion

Interview 2: Tuesday 5 February 2013

Track 1
00:00 Introduction by Julia Wallis

Track 2
00:00 Assessment was 100% by examination when Beverley first arrived. Gradually assessment started to include course work. Risk of plagiarism and help with language classes. Exams ensured that the work was done by the student and the student only.
02:10 The mathematical calculations were checked by Danielle Morris.
02:23 In the late 80s there was a move to student assessment of staff. This was initiated by the Student Guild who surveyed the teaching staff. It was then decided to rank the teaching staff by these results. The Head of Department was contacted for their opinion. Then a group of the finalists were asked to write a piece on teaching.
03:37 This was done in 1988 and the staff did not realise what the reasoning behind it was. Beverley got a letter to say that she was a finalist for the Distinguished Teaching Award and dutifully wrote her piece.
04:25 Later on, she was told that she was one of 6 people who received the Distinguished Teaching Award. Over 80 staff had been surveyed so she was delighted to be honoured in this way.
04:54 There was some ill feeling that the teaching staff had not been able to prepare for the award.

Track 3
00:00 Courses had to be adapted from 3 terms of about 9 weeks to 2 semesters of 14 weeks. This did not affect the language course but it did change the literature course where 3 texts had been studied (Caribbean literature, African literature and Canadian literature). The Canadian literature was dropped and the other texts studied more thoroughly. This coincided with a need for students to be brought up to speed due to the communicative approach taught in schools.
02:53 Policy in the French department of literature and texts being discussed in French.
03:15 Adaption to changes that happened over time at UWA.
03:31 At this time, the French Department began to experiment with bringing in different texts into language classes and bringing in communication and media work. The language lab was converted into a multi media lab in the 1990s. Before that, there was a co-existence between the language lab and the multi media lab as materials (especially language material) were transferred from the old system to the new system.
04:23 Semesterisation also affected staff study leave. Previously staff had missed the first or the last term and tacked it onto summer term to make up 6 months. Some staff saved up their leave and had a whole year off after 6 years. If they took 6 months study leave it meant that they missed part of a semester. Alternatively, some took 4 months in the middle of the year instead of the 6 months they were entitled to.
05:12 In 1980, Beverley took off 4 months in the middle of the year and went to the French Caribbean. This interested her both in terms of its sociology and literature.
05:28 In Beverley’s first study leave she went to Europe as she was working on Renaissance literature. Afterwards she always went to the Caribbean.
05:37 In 1980, she went to London to have talks with Heinemann who were to publish her book on French Caribbean literature.
06:08 Study leave is a great asset. It is a privilege but allows staff to make contacts for their research and reinvigorates their teaching practices.
06:44 Visiting professors sometimes came after contact with someone on study leave or by them supervising some work.
07:05 An English colleague who also wrote on the French Caribbean came to UWA as part of a scheme that the Faculty had in the 1990s where a visiting professor was invited to come for 2 weeks and give lectures.
07:40 Professor Jaques Robichez had supervised Graham Lord in Paris and he came to UWA in 1983.
07:52 Visiting professors (from France, Europe and other countries) required a concerted effort by the UWA staff in making them feel at home. They had to be taken out and entertained. One French professor wanted to buy a pink shirt and Lisette Nigot spent a whole morning trying to find one in the Perth shops. Another visitor could not speak English at all and had a miserable time.
08:59 When Beverley was Head of Department in the 1990s, she found the visitors a bit of a trial as they had to be met at the airport and helped with their luggage. A roster of staff had to be devised so that they were always being looked after and then they had to be entertained socially as well.
09:45 Beverley’s PhD was on the poet Théophile de Viau. Beverley taught Renaissance literature for many years at UWA but the course was abandoned in the 1990s due to lack of staff and money.
10:37 In the 1980s, the Faculty of Arts offered an M Phil in Renaissance Studies by course work. Beverley taught a course on French Renaissance writers. The English, History and Italian Departments also took part. The course was taught to graduates who were doing the course part time. They were all tired but very interested in the course. Lack of staff and heavier teaching loads for remaining staff put an end to this, especially as staff did not get paid for this teaching.
12:00 Beverley already had contacts with the other departments through her interest in the Renaissance. She already knew people in that area in the English Department due to her husband, David Ormerod, working there.
12:37 Trish Crawford’s office was on the top floor among the language departments. Her area of expertise was the Early Modern Period.
13:06 Trish was the first person who wrote to Beverley on hearing the news that Beverley’s sister had been sentenced to death in 1986 expressing her sorrow and asking how she could help.
13:36 The Arts Faculty was a very friendly building in those days and everybody knew everyone else.
13:49 There was no theatre course in the French Department but the staff put on a play every year. When Beverley arrived in 1970 the French Department put on skits for the students. Lisette Nigot was the leading light. Bruce Pratt was also a very good actor. Brian Willis, the Head of the Language Lab, also took part. The performances were held in the old Dolphin Theatre which was situated where the Law Faculty is now. This event was the highlight of the year.
14:44 In about 1972, the French Department did a skit on the campus Post Mistress. Later on, the students took over producing French plays with the help of a member of staff that were open to the public. Mauritian students asked to take part, even if they weren’t studying in the French Department. This enabled students to try their hand at drama and also showcased the French Department to the general public.
16:23 Some of the productions were traditional 17th century French plays. More often they did 19th century farces or modern plays such as those by Eugène Ionesco. There were a variety of productions depending on the tastes of the students and the staff member helping with the production.
17:00 The rehearsal had to be done in the student’s free time. Sometimes this was used as an excuse for not getting an essay in on time!

Track 4
00:00 Beverley’s sister (Phyllis Coard) was a government minister in the People’s Revolutionary Government in Grenada from 1979 to 1983. Her husband was the deputy Prime Minister. There is a report on the Amnesty International website which has a report on the events leading up the trial called The Grenada 17: Last of the cold war prisoners?
01:00 In 1983 the revolutionary government broke down and the US took the opportunity to invade as they were unhappy about there being another Left Wing Government in their region. All the well-known Marxists were arrested. In about 1984, they were charged with conspiracy to murder. They were tried in 1986 and 14 of the 17 were sentenced to death and 3 to life imprisonment (with no prospect of release).
02:30 Beverley was asked to speak to Amnesty in Perth about the trial. They then contacted the student Amnesty group and Beverley also addressed this group (that she did not know existed).
03:03 Some of Beverley’s students were members of this group and they asked to help and wrote letters to Grenada in the late 1980s.
03:27 They prisoners appealed but in 1991 the sentences were confirmed. Bernard Coard (Beverley’s brother in law) had been deputy Prime Minister and was one of the first who would be hanged.
04:00 By this time Beverley had lots of contacts in Australia through working to help release the Grenada 17. Through the auspices of Dr Judyth Watson, a Minister in Carmen Lawrence’s government she was able to reach Foreign Affairs in Canberra.
04:26 An agonising month where things were suspended in Grenada but Beverley was supported by many of her students and colleagues and the department secretary, Danielle Morris and the secretary from German and then Classics, Margrit Warmsley. The secretaries organised petitions and faxed them to Grenada. The students would come to see hear and ask what news there was.
05:18 Due to the international protest in England, America and Canada as well as Australia (much to the surprise of the government of Grenada) they commuted the sentences to life imprisonment.
05:48 This surge of energy culminated with their lives being saved, much to the delight of the students and Beverley’s colleagues – particularly Patricia Crawford, Rosemary Lancaster and Noeline Bloomfield.
06:08 Unfortunately life in prison meant exactly that and they had to write more letters about this.
06:22 From about 1983 to the mid-1990s was a terrible period but one where Beverley received a lot of warmth and support from people at UWA.

Track 5
00:00 When Beverley came to UWA in 1970 the Professor of a department was also Head of Department for the whole term of his professorship. This changed and it was arranged that the term for a head of department would be 3 or 6 years. At the end of Professor Boak’s 6 year term, the Associate Professor, Bruce Pratt, became head of the French Department. The two men exchanged the role back and forth for quite a while.
00:50 In 1983-1984 Bruce asked Beverley to act as Head of Department while he was away on study leave. However, Acting Head is not the same as being Head.
01:07 In 1994, Bruce was ill with cancer and asked Beverley to be Acting Head again. He died a month later. The Dean of the Faculty of Arts, John Jory, consulted the Department as to who should be the next Head of Department and they chose Beverley.
01:30 Beverley became Head of Department in 1994 but the following year, the three language departments, French, Italian and German became the School of Modern Languages. Professor John Tonkin from History was put in as Head of Department. The previous heads of the language departments became convenors. The Convenors did the same job as a Head of Department but without the money as the money from the three language departments was combined into the one kitty.
02:30 This was unfortunately as the French Department had more students and more money. When they lost a member of staff for any reason, they did not get that person replaced as the other departments were overstaffed. In 1970 there was 9 staff. In 2002 there were 5 staff and two of these took early retirement when Beverley retired aged 65. This left 2 staff.
03:39 There was a long delay before these jobs were advertised leaving 2 staff and some part-time staff to run the French Department. Finally only 2 of the 3 jobs were advertised. Effectively, when Beverley left there were 4 members of staff instead of 9.
04:00 This has had a detrimental effect on the French courses which stems back to 1995 when the School of Modern Languages was created. There was a show of consultation about this, but in effect, the decision had been made.
05:00 The Convenor lost control of the money but also the ability to make decisions about things like staffing. You had to make a case for everything you wanted which was exhausting and took time.
05:30 During the 1990s Noelene Bloomfield had set up a course in the Graduate Certificate (1 year course) and Diploma (2 years) of Modern Languages. In 1993, she had started a course for high school teachers giving them a certificate to enable them to gain skills and perhaps promotion. The Department lobbed for them to be given an official UWA certificate. The courses were very successful and ran for 5 years and earned the French Department in the region of $400,000. However, they had to pay the University for the privilege of using their letterhead and logo on the certificates. They also had to pay a percentage to the Arts Faculty that had contributed nothing.
07:35 Financial problems caused a souring of some relationships within the Faculty and between the Faculty and the Administration.
08:05 They were told they had to earn money for the department. They were also under pressure to get research grants. The ARC grant was particularly coveted and encouraged but takes a very long time to prepare.
08:48 Jean-Marie Volet who had done a postgraduate degree in African literature in French suggested they apply for a joint grant and they co-operated on writing this and were successful in getting an Arts Faculty grant two years running. Then at his instigation, they put in for an ARC proposal and were successful. The following year it was renewed. Beverley would never have applied for a grant without his friendship and support.
10:16 People felt under pressure to do this and if you wanted promotion you had to prove yourself academically. Later this changed, and you could be considered in light of your teaching and/or research. When Beverley was promoted to Senior Lecturer and then Associate Professor (1986) it was due to her research; for winning the teaching award and due to the publication of her book on Caribbean literature in 1985.
11:17 The Department got points for postgraduate students and the awards that you won. There was also a system that judged what you had published over the year. These had to be in approved journals. They did not seem to understand the difference between a science article and an arts article. You didn’t get credit for editing a book – only if you had published an article in that book.
12:28 These things made people feel unappreciated. People who teach in the arts subjects always feel undervalued in comparison to science or medicine. The arts seem to be more susceptible to cut backs.
13:40 The Administration people were sympathetic to Beverley and she was not made to feel second rate but there is this feeling in the ether.
14:25 Another new initiative was the study tours devised by Rosemary Lancaster. These were very carefully planned with a number of activities.

Track 6
00:00 The Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma courses that began in the 1990s terminated in a study tour for the graduate high school teachers. Rosemary Lancaster devised the course. They did an intensive cultural and language programme in Paris with Rosemary. Then they stayed with a family in Provence. This were organised through a link that the Department had found with a lady in Provence. They were away for 3 weeks. This began in 1997 with 15-20 teachers and ran for 5 years. Later on, Hélène Jaccomard (who is now Convenor of French) took this over.
03:16 A similar tour was started with Rosemary in 1996 with about 12 UWA students from the French Department. Later on, Hélène took this over as well. The teachers were financed by the Education Department to do the French Abroad in-country study tour whereas the students had to fund themselves. Eventually the numbers dwindled and the tours stopped.

Track 7
00:00 Another form of student exchange was started between UWA and the University of Reunion in the 1990s.
00:32 Four came from Reunion Island and four students from UWA went there. The planes came in at midnight. The students would have to be greeted at the airport and taken to their accommodation. They had to use 2 cars for the luggage. The first time Beverley went to the airport with Danielle. This caused quite a ruckus in the middle of the night as they settled into their colleges!
01:44 The students had to be on the Erasmus programme. More students from Reunion wanted to come to Perth than students from Perth wanting to visit Reunion. Also the exchange had to be with the Faculty of Arts only.
03:16 The students from Reunion were great fun and from different racial backgrounds. It was nice to see a bunch of international youngsters walking down Hay Street as in those days Perth was not so multicultural.

Track 8
00:00 Staff development was launched in the late 1980s or 1990s. It was set up to help academics teach. As a result of the teaching award in 1988, Beverley was asked to help make an interactive CD-ROM that came out in 1995. It was entitled “Teaching in Large Lectures” and was produced by the Graduate School of Education. It also dealt with how to run a tutorial.
01:40 When Beverley saw the student reports she realised that students valued the attitudes of staff towards them. They didn’t seem to care so much about staff knowledge but were more aware of their interpersonal skills.
03:38 An offshoot of the CD-ROM was that Beverley ran a workshop on the student/teacher relationship and how to run tutorials at the Staff Development Centre for 26 UWA staff in 1991. At the end of the session somebody from the Law School said that there tutorials had 30 people in their tutorials and not 12-14 people!
04:59 Within a few years, the French Department also had about 20 students in a tutorial and this was not good for anybody. The ideal number of students for a tutorial is not more than 15 students.
05:34 Other people in the French Department also won a Distinguished Teaching Award - Zoë Boyer; Rosemary Lancaster and Noelene Bloomfield.
06:12 Rosemary Lancaster developed a cultural studies course in the 1990s. It was a first year course to bridge the gap between school and university and was designed to introduce them to French through media that they were familiar with. An example of an extract that she used was the book by Marcel Pagnol, La Gloire de mon père.
08:00 Rosemary bought the film and showed the students extracts from it which showed what life was like. She also used other technology such as music, magazines, videos and comics to involve the students interactively. Beverley tutored on this course. The students enjoyed the course very much. They were gradually led to read a short novel in French. This course was still running in 2002.
10:16 Susan Broomhall was a postgraduate student in the French Department and also used paintings to illustrate her research.
10:50 When the French Civilisation course was no longer taught, Beverley began incorporating bits of culture into her literature lectures including slides, especially for French Renaissance literature.
11:54 Rosemary used film to the same effect for her courses.
12:02 Before film the staff used slides. When Beverley tried to book out slides from the library, she found that an Arts Professor always had the slides booked out on 19th century art.

Track 9
00:00 Reflections on working at UWA. A lovely campus, nice colleagues, good students. Relationship with postgraduate students. One was in her 80s when she gained her PhD comparing the work of an Aboriginal writer with a French Caribbean writer. Many of the students were from different countries.
01:43 Very proud of graduates such as Sue Broomhall (Winthrop Professor, History); Bonnie Thomas (Associate Professor European Languages and Studies) and Mark Pegrum (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education). All three were very interested in her sister’s plight and gave great support.
02:29 Other students she still meets in the city and is always pleased to see them and find out how they are doing.

Track 10
00:00 The relationship of the French Government with UWA. They organise assistante posts for 3rd and 4th year graduates in France with accommodation and a stipend. The French government operates a liaison with the departments and Beverley was asked to do a survey of those students living in France as the French government was anxious to see if the scheme was working well.
01:16 The French Government also sends a representative to all the annual meetings of Heads of Department in French across Australia. Their cultural attaché deals with all things cultural and pedagogical. He also liaises with high school as well.
01:46 The French Government also recognizes worthy academics working in French by decorating them. In 2005, Beverley was awarded the Chevalier des Palmes Academiques. Others in the Department have also won this award - Denis Boak, Bruce Pratt, Andrew Hunwick, Noelene Bloomfield and Rosemary Lancaster. UWA and Perth has many purple ribbons!
02:34 UWA has a good relationship with Adelaide University. During the time that Beverley was running the Department they had a reciprocal arrangement, examining each other’s Honours theses.
03:16 Beverley had close contacts with the University of New South Wales as they also had Francophone literature courses. In the 1980s she was asked to speak at two conferences on French Caribbean literature. She also collaborated with one of their staff, Dr Anne-Marie Nisbet, on a short book about a French Caribbean writer (published in 1982).
04:08 Since retiring from UWA, Beverley missed the human contact with the students and since 2003 has been working with CARAD helping refugees. She uses French to communicate with refugees from the Ivory Coast and from the Congo. It is personally very rewarding but also educational to learn about what happens in other countries such as Iran and Afghanistan.
07:43 In 2010, Beverley was asked to help Sumi Jo, the South Korean opera singer, in composing a speech in French for the next stop on her tour.

Track 11
01:37 Conclusion



Noakes, Beverley, “Beverley Noakes interview, 30 January and 5 February 2013,” UWA Historical Society: UWA Histories, accessed July 13, 2024,