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Clair de Lune Pic Chaussy - photo by Marc-Andre Guex
Tour de Mayen and Tour d'Ai - photo by Pierre Vallet
It is very touching to read the history compiled by my great-grandfather Henry Tardent, born Le Sepey, 1853. It encompasses and provides commentary on the manuscript of David Tardent, schoolmaster of Vevey. Henry discovered this account by accident, when his voyage in search of a young man's fortune took him to the Swiss colony of Chabag, started by another Tardent, Louis Samuel Vincent, some fifty odd years before Henry's arrival. Henry and Louis Samuel shared a common ancestor, David Tardent of Cergnat. ( Louis's great-great-grandfather, and Henry's great-great-great-great grandfather.
I had the great pleasure to read Henry's story while I was hiking to Le Fer, when I stopped for a picnic lunch. Walking through these mountains has given me the best possible perspective on my antecedents. The experience is very pleasurable, if somewhat physically demanding.
We Tardent descendants are very fortunate, we are standing on the shoulders of men and women of courage, fortitude, intelligence, wit and charm.
Henry was right, in opening his history with a remark about the importance of ordinary, peaceful families to recount and record their stories, perspective, and events. Much more interesting than violence, conquest, and then a successive wave of the same!
Nya Murray, Leysin, 22nd February, 2009.
I am the grandson of Henri and Hortense Tardent who were French speaking Swiss living in Czarist Russia and who migrated to Queensland in 1887. I am the son of their eldest son Paul who was 10 years old when he arrived in Brisbane. He spoke no English, only French and Russian.
I was born in 1926, and I remember my father as always having a most comprehensive knowledge of the English language which he spoke fluently and without any trace of accent. Practically all my childhood was spent in the provincial city of Rockhampton where my dad was manager of the State Government Insurance Office.As for me I was educated at the Allenstown State School and later at the Rockhampton Boys' Grammar School before joining the staff of the Commonwealth Bank in 1942. I was totally Australian in outlook and a very proud Australian. I was very conscious of how well my grandfather Henri had settled into Australian society who had acknowledged his literary, linguistic,and viticultural skills. I was also very aware four Tardents had fought with the Australian army at Gallipoli and in France and Belgium during the Great War and two of these had lost their lives with my uncle Emile seriously wounded.
From about the age of seven I recall my father talking about his Swiss origins and of his early life in the self governing Swiss community of Chabag in Bessarabia. (After 60 years or so of Swiss self-government, the Czar had informed the Swiss that they would in future have to accept Russian rule which prompted Henri and Hortense to migrate to Australia in search of opportunity and democratic government.)
I suspect that I was the only child in Queensland who knew the dates of the battles of Sempach, Morgarten and Morat as well as the significance of the beginning of the Swiss Confederation at the Rutli meadow on 1st. August 1291. The redoubtable Arnold Winckelried who was impaled by Austrian lances at Sempach was my hero. To employ some Australian parlance I am however a "dinki di Aussie" but I am very proud of my Swiss origins.
My wife Frances and I visited Switzerland in 1993 and I experienced a real sense of belonging , especially when we visited the Ormonts Valley in Canton Vaud the home of my ancestors. I have maintained contact with my Swiss family over many years and my hope is that younger Tardents both in Switzerland and Australia will remain in contact
Felix Tardent, Gold Coast, 31st July, 2009.
Tour de Famelon - photo by Pierre Starobinski