The Alliance Française de Melbourne’s 121st Berthe Mouchette Competition Awards Ceremony will be held on Wednesday 25th November at the St Kilda Town Hall.

Named in honour of the Alliance Française de Melbourne’s founder, Berthe Mouchette, the competition began in 1894 with 35 candidates enrolled. Today there are more than 15,000 participants from over 150 schools across Victoria. Created with the aim to “propagate the practical study of French”, the competition is now an essential way to promote French culture by encouraging young people committed to learning French to express the best of their creativity.

Each year the poetry selection draws inspiration from topical affairs such as climate change which was chosen this year to coincide with the COP21 taking place in Paris. The oral competition is open to all students from Year 3 to 12; the year 9 to 12 students can also take part in a written test, and primary level participants can enjoy a drawing competition.

The oral competition involves a first round audition whereby students recite a French poem off by heart in front of an assessor. Students that achieve a perfect score are then invited to the finals held at the AFM in St Kilda. This year there were 200 finalists at primary level, 732 in Years 7-10 and 204 at VCE level. A jury comprising of 2 judges then has the difficult task of choosing from the ‘crème de la crème’ the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of each year level.

The major prize Le Prix AFX Student Exchange – a 5 week exchange program to France awarded to the best Year 11 student was won by Michel Nehme (Scotch College) while Le Prix Alliance Française de Melbourne – which includes an AFM course, a pass to all 2016 Ciné Club Films and a double pass to the 2016 AF French Film Festival awarded to the best Year 12 student was won by Hannah Joyce (Presbyterian Ladies’ College).

Other prizes include French books, encyclopaedias, CD’s, DVD’s and passes to cultural events in Melbourne.

The Berthe Mouchette Competition is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere and its increasing popularity is proof that French as a foreign language has a valuable and deep-rooted presence in Victorian schools.

The Berthe Mouchette Competition is supported by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Victoria , City of Port Phillip, The French Embassy in Australia, The Honorary Consulate-General of France in Melbourne. It is sponsored by AFX Student Exchange, Michelin, AFTV, ISFAR, AFAS, RMIT, Le Forum, Language International Bookshop, Bayard Presse, MFT, MRC & CACAO.


The Alliance Française de Melbourne is an Australian not-for-profit association dedicated to the promotion of French language and culture since 1890 and is internationally recognised as part of the Alliance Française network. It is the leading language school for French in Victoria offering courses in a unique heritage-listed building in St Kilda and in the heart of the city on Swanston St.

As the only French cultural centre in Victoria it also offers a vibrant mix of cultural events throughout the year, such as the AF French Film Festival (March), the Fête de la Musique (June), art exhibitions and concerts. Alliance Française de Melbourne collaborates on joint projects with various local organisations (VCA, City of Port Phillip, etc.) and contributes to strengthening ties between France and Australia.