Couillet, near Charleroi, Belgium

Accession Number ART02562.009
Collection type Art
Measurement sheet: 25.5 x 17.8 cm
Object type Work on paper
Physical description watercolour and ink on paper
Maker Gould, Charles Henry
Date made 1 January 1919
Conflict Period 1910-1919
First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Depicts Australian officers and Belgian councillors entertaining themselves with song after the New Year dinner given by the officers of the 6th Battalion to the Burgomaster (town mayor) and councillors of Couillet. One councillor stands on a dias at the front, holding a song sheet in one hand and gazing out across the room with his mouth open wide in song. In front of him are four Australian officers (visible is the 6th Battalion colour patch on the left arm of the officer's uniforms), and four other Couillet councillors; one raises his glass toward the performance, another has a cigar in his mouth, two of the officers sing along and the others stand by and watch on. The councillors are characterised by their dark green suits, white shirts and green tie. Each sports a moustache and two wear round spectacles.

The artist recounts the events of the evening: "The relations existing between the Australian troops and the Belgians in the towns and villages in which the units are billeted, from time to time, are of the most cordial description. The inhabitants are genuinely pleased to see us and the easy going nature of the Australians make them particularly welcome after 4 years of German rule. Dances and other public entertainments are frequently given in our honour and we in return give some similar fete, which is always a success. The illustration refers to a dinner given by the officers of the 6th Bn. to the Burgomaster and councillors of Couillet on New Years night. After dinner, speeches and songs made the evening pass pleasantly. The troops also make a home in the houses of the people to the great enjoyment of all concerned and a Belgian family on the way to church or on a visit to friends is usually accompanied by one or more diggers."

Couillet is a relatively small village south of Charleroi, the third largest city in Belgium which is situated in Wallonië, the French-speaking part of Belgium.