Farewell to Australia’s Best Friend

From left to right: Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie, Melbourne Deputy Mayor Cr Aaron Wood, Patrick Simon, French Ambassador Christophe Penot in Melbourne October 2019

A gentleman is gone… Mr Patrick Simon, the Mayor of Villers-Bretonneux, victim of Covid 19…

H.E. Brendan Berne, the Australian ambassador in France, called him Australia’s Best Friend, and indeed he regularly came to visit Melbourne, leading a delegation of Bretons-Villois… At each visit of a group of Australians in his village of the Somme, he would make a point to personnally welcome them, whether they were official visitors or simple school children… At the beginning of 2020, he was worried about the bush fires in Australia and organised fundraising to help with the relief… a reminiscence of 2009, after Black Saturday, when the municipality of Villers Bretonneux funded the building of the chess ground at Strathewen Primary school … He was indeed a true friend of Australia…

Mr. Simon never forgot that Australian Diggers had liberated his village on the 25th of April 1918. Every year, the Battle of Villers Bretonneux is commemorated in Melbourne with the Friends of the 15th Brigade and in presence of the schoolchildren of Strathewen Primary School.

The Plaque in the gardens of the Shrine of Remembrance

From left to right and top to bottom: M. Boisbouvier-Wylie, les Anciens Combattants Francais du Victoria, the Principal and students from Strathewen Primary School










We are very saddened by this news and wish to express our most sincere condolences to Mrs. Simon and his family, his dear ones, his friends and his electorate.

Rest In Peace