One of Melbourne’s most respected music industry identities Serge Thomann has today received one of France’s highest honours, Chevalier (Knight) de l’Ordre national du Mérite.
Serge Thomann received his award at the palatial Raheen, home of Jeanne Pratt, who is also one of Melbourne’s cherished Patrons of the Arts.
Serge’s Chevalier (Knight) de l’Ordre national du Mérite was awarded to him by the French Ambassador Christophe Penot.
In a statement to Noise11.com, His Excellency Mr Penot said, “Serge Thomann has called Australia home since he came here with the L’Oréal Group in 1983. Besides his involvement with the artistic Australian community through his photographic talent, Serge became a passionate resident of his beloved St Kilda, becoming probably the first Frenchmen elected as a Deputy Mayor of the City of Port Phillip. Notwithstanding his attachment to his new country, Serge remains deeply loyal to his roots, in particular, his Alsatian roots.
“Generous to a fault, he would not hesitate to give hospitality to any young French person coming from Alsace and being in dire straits. This generosity of spirit recently became even more visible when he was elected President of the Association French Assist Melbourne, a benevolent society created by the Honorary Consulate of Melbourne in 2013.
“An active promoter of all things French, Serge will always be found on the sidelines cheering for any French sporting teams visiting Melbourne, from the French footy team “the Coqs” to the National wheelchair tennis champion Stéphane Houdet.
“Created by the General de Gaulle in 1963, the French National Order of the Merit aims to reward those who served the nation and have given distinguished services over a long period of time. Given the energy, the passion and the generosity displayed by Serge over the years to help and promote the French interests in Australia and particularly in Victoria, this award is particularly fitting”.
Serge Thomann tells Noise11.com, “To be awarded such a high honour by the French President leaves me “bouche bée” as we say in French (speechless)… I feel very humbled. To help people (French or others, including people from St Kilda as Councillor) has always been something I just like to do. From young French people in distress, the French AFL team, French organisations, media or businesses, people from Alsace where I come from… Or help French culture to spread its wings. This Ordre du Mérite national will only drive me to do more”.
Serge Thomann created amazing work in the 1980s with his portraits of Michael Hutchence. He has also photographed My Yunipingu in Arnhem Land.
Serge made a run in politics to protect his hometown St Kilda from the political thugs who worked exclusively for big business. In his years at Council, he set up the Live Music Working Group and steered the City of St Kilda back to his Arts roots. His efforts took all the way to the role of Deputy Mayor of St Kilda.