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1643 Tardent ChaletTete d�i
The Tardent Family  from Ormont-Dessous, Vaud, Switzerland.

Extract from 'Armorial Vaudois'

Postcards from Australia to Lausanne! 

Mademoiselle Lina Blum received many postcards from Henri and Hortense Tardent's children and grandchildren while staying with Mme Anita Couchepin at her house Le Jasmin, Rue du Vallon, Lausanne Switzerland.  While clearly Swiss, after returning from Australia she travelled to Ukraine, Russia, the Bosphorous and Egypt, suggesting that the relationship with the Tardents maybe from the days as proprietors of a private school in Nikolaiev, after moving from Chabag.  So who is this amazing lady? We commit to more research to find out!  What is clear is that she was beloved of generations of the Tardent family as well as many other people she met in Queensland in the early years of the twentieth century.  These are just some of the treasure trove of her postcards. 

Marie-Louise Tardent of Kirchlindach Switzerland remembered reading this paragraph from "Account of our journey to Australia" by Henry A. Tardent:  The big decision! (to emigrate to Australia)

"On March 1 1887, my thirty-fourth birthday, I informed my family and friends of my decision. After the first gasp of amazement they all agreed that my idea was perhaps less outlandish than it first appeared. My dear good wife was the first to give approval to it for various reasons. The children received it enthusiastically as did also my brother Emile, aged twenty-two who promptly declared that he wished to accompany us. The same decision was made  by an old friend of the family Mlle Lina Blum of Lausanne who, having no relatives left in Europe, wished to throw in her lot with ours."

The Couchepins are a notable Swiss family. Michel Martin of Vevey, descendent of Joseph Couchepin, husband of Lina's friend Anna Couchepin-Bellet, inherited a trove of postcards from an old family house in Lausanne. He found some of them to be very interesting postcards written to a Mlle Lina Blum who was staying with Anita Couchepin, Joseph and Anna's daughter, at the beginning of the twentieth century on return from Australia. She was clearly held in very high regard with the younger generation of Tardents, and perhaps taught French to the young Tardents and other families in Queensland.  Michel has deposited the originals with the Archives of Lausanne.  Here are a few of them, a glorious reminder of the past, and the early twentieth century in South-East Queensland, within a few hundred kilometers radius from Brisbane. More postcards from the Ukraine to Lausanne available on request! If anyone knows any more about the redoubtable Miss Blum, please get in contact.  Below are some of the postcards from Australia to Lausanne, and a memorial pamphlet to Edward Felix Tardent sent to Lina by Henri and Hortense. 

Ma Vrai Chère Tantine                    4 -7-11

I do not forget you dear, and pray you are well and happy.  We are very busy. Our big show in a couple of days. Chris is secretary, and I am in the big store, and have 3 girls helping in the tearoom. I am better than I have been for 8 years. Isn't that grand.  Percy and Ivy are dear children and fairly good. Chris and I are very happy and we all send you fond love. Votre bien aimante Marie (Marie-Louise Tardent Stephensen)

M'lle Lina Blum

Chez Mme Couchpin

Le Jasmin



(Note: Tantine is an honorific for Auntie)

To wish you Many Happy Returns of the Day 20.8.10

This is a photo of the Blackall Bank. During the flood, the paling fence was completely covered. 

From your devoted friend. 

Julie Tardent (daughter of Marc Alexis Tardent)

Miss Blum c/o Mrs Robinson Arthur Street Roma

"Airlie" Shorncliffe Street Sandgate.  Chère Tantine. Merci pour votres lettres et tous voeux. Je suis arrivèè ici le 1er Janvier. Je suis très peu bien aujourd'hui ... Merci a vous et Mme R pour les cartes. Nous sommes beaucoup .... que vous ne pouvez pas voir les enfants. ...... Milles voeux 

V E Rochat (Virginie Elisa Tardent Rochat)

We were so pleased to get your post card today. We have moved to Corinda. I saw Marie in Biggenden. She was so pleased to see me and told me of your departure. She is sweet really.  I was charmed with her and her dainty home. She is like a sunbeam. So happy and her house is spotless. I hope you are so happy in your native place dear good Miss Blum. Tell Mrs Robinson could she come to stay with me on her return. Eric is so big with cheeks like roses. He is learning violin and already passed the Royal Academy first exam so well, he plays so nicely.  Thelma is at boarding school, she passed her elementary music RA exam too. We are all well and send fond love.  Mabel Walker.

27 Aug 1910        Carte réexpédiéé de franco depot

Rue Pechaia    Penza Russia

Miss Blum c/-Madame Couchepin

Le Jasmin Rue du Vallon

Lausanne Switzerland

Above is the postcard from Percy Stephensen, Henri's grandson, in 1913 when he was 10 years old. He had an illustrious career as a writer, his major work is "Foundations of Culture in Australia". 

The postcard left is from Christmas 1916 /New Year 1917 at Henri and Hortense's house "Ormonts" in Wynum. Present were their children, Paul, Virginie, Marie-Louise, daughter-in-law Madge (nee Doyle), and all the grandchildren. Henri's brother Marc Alexis' daughters, Julie and Lydie were also present at the gathering. Notable absences were Henri and Hortense's sons Emil, Ted, Jules, and Marc Alexis' son Oswald.  Three were away at the Western Front in France fighting for Australia in World War 2, Ted had just been killed on the battlefield at the age of 18 at Ypres in Belgium.

Brisbane Courier - 22 August 1917
"Mr. and Mrs. Tardent, Ormonts, Wynnum have just received the sad tidings that their youngest son, Corporal Felix Edward Tardent, has been killed in action. "

Biggenden, Queensland, 20/9/17.

Bien Chere Tantine

Your pretty postcard came for my birthday, and it is so like you to think of me. Tantine dear have you heard that our dear Ted gave his life for King and Country.  I cannot believe it yet.  But I grieved deeply when I heard.  So far one only heard "Killed in action, 31st July". No details yet.  Poor Mother and Father (Henri and Hortense) are very brave, but its a hard blow.  And its truly a blessing that Jules had gone to Oxford College, or he may not be safe and sound now. How hard it will be for poor dear good Jules. We are all well and have plenty, and its raining now. You know what that means to the farmers and dairymen. Australia is a lovely country, and may our brave boys sacrifice be not in vain. Love from us all.  xxxx Votre Marie Stephensen (Henri and Hortense's daughter, Percy's mother).

Mille bons voeux pour votre anniversaire le 20 Aout 1918 de la part de Paul Tardent (Henri and Hortense's eldest son)

Dear Auntie, Many Happy Returns of the Day.  Thank you very much for the piece of music you sent. I received it safely and I like it very much, it was very pretty.  My music teacher played it and it sounded lovely. My music exam is tomorrow and I hope I pass it. I have never been in for one before.  I will close now, with best love, From your loving Lexie. (Paul's eldest daughter, Henri and Hortense's granddaughter)

"France, July 23rd, 1917.

My Beloved Parents

I take this opportunity to write you what may be my last loving words to you. The reason I write this is that we are being launched into a large offensive, and if I do not happen to pull through, a pal of mine, who will not be in the offensive, shall, on finding out for certain that I have been killed, send you this letter my last words to you. 

You know one's luck may not always stick to one, so I am only preparing for what may prove to be the inevitable. Anyway, should I not survive, I shall die knowing that I have done my duty, both to my King and country. Mind you, I am not a bit afraid to die, for I have faced death too many times to be afraid of it.  The Tardents are made of good, solid stuff, and can live or die just as bravely as the bravest. I am very proud of my name, for the Tardents have always been good fighters and good citizens, and what my ancestors have done, I am doing here, and I hope, doing it as well. I am in extremely good health, and thanks to you, my dear parents, have always been the same. Now, good-bye, loved ones, and remember, should I die, I die bravely. 

Your loving son,

Edward Felix Tardent. "