WATCH: Partnerships 100 years on in M'boro
THROUGH the smiles and body language attempting to cross language barriers at the Maryborough Gallipoli to Armistice Memorial in Maryborough yesterday, there was the echoes of similar exchanges about a century ago.
French visitors from the former World War I respite village, Vignacourt, stopped in Maryborough on their heritage tour of Australia.
Australian-born teacher Michael Fiechtner relocated more than five years ago with his wife to teach in the northern French township.
"These guys have come here 100 years after our soldiers went to France and Australian families are welcoming them back 100 years later to commemorate all those horrific events which affected everyone," Mr Fiechtner.
"They are blown away by Australia, coming from a rural village in the north of France this is similar to their environment and they feel very much at home here. They have been overcome by the generosity of the people here.
"They have come from the other side of the world, the longest possible distance, to be here with Australians and commemorate. That just shows how important they consider the relationship between Australia and France."
Mr Fiechtner drew parallels to the last century including Hervey Bay Regional Gallery's current exhbition 'Remembering them: The lost Diggers of Vignacourt'.
"Most of the local families had men who were off fighting in the war so our soldiers became the men-folk of the town and gave lollies to the kids, they flirted with the women and three of them actually got married and stayed there afterwards. It is an incredible story and these guys are here to continue that story."
The group of 15 came to Maryborough after they heard about the Anzac memorial on the news and social media and wanted to see the monument for themselves.
The stop-over was part of their tour of the region stopping past Childers and running a fun run on Remembrance Day in Bundaberg.
The visitors are keen runners who take part in run on the anniversary of the armistice in Vignacourt every year.
Maryborough French language teacher Ccile Sespigol bought her class of locals to participate in conversation and help ease translation with the tourists.
Deputyy Mayor Darren Everard said the visit was proof the new memorial attracted tourists to the Heritage City.
"To have our friends visit from France and spread the word of the memorial is great for the Fraser Coast," he said.