Fiona Martin MP shares thoughts on why Greek Independence Day is important to her


Federal Member for Reid, Fiona Martin MP, has always been incredibly proud of her Greek heritage and strives to find out more about it every day.

That’s why for Greek Independence Day this year, we asked Dr Martin to share with The Greek Herald her thoughts on the national day and on her Greek ethnicity more broadly.

1. What does March 25 mean to you?

March 25 is a day where we thank those that came before us. It’s about honouring our ancestors for the great sacrifices made to gain independence for Greece. 

2. What do you remember as a child growing up?

I never had the chance to meet my late pappou (Mark Barbouttis). He passed away before I was born in a tragic car accident. He emigrated to Australia in 1926 and I’ve heard from family members who remember him that he was kind and smart. He was also described as a leader, a family man with a community spirit. He was a small business owner (he owned a milk bar), he became an Alderman and trained in the Australian Air Force near Newcastle. 

My late yiayia (Mersina) was widowed for half of her life. Yiayia came from a large family and her childhood was on Kastellorizo, Greece. The only daughter of the Harbour Master. 

She experienced war on Kastellorizo and consequently fled to Australia. She married my pappou in Australia and had four children but tragically lost her husband in a car accident and at the same time miscarried her fifth child. She suffered greatly. Compounding trauma lead to PTSD, which was never really treated and later she developed psychosis. Observing my yiayia suffer when I was a child inspired me to learn about mental illness and go on to become a psychologist. 

My Greek identity was strongly influenced by my yiayia’s brother, my great uncle Gus (Manettas). Uncle Gus helped raise my dad and his sisters. He lived very close by and was very protective of his family and proud of his Greek heritage. 

When I was 12 years old and in Year 6, I travelled to Greece with my Uncle Gus and Auntie Norma and my cousin Mersina. I think it was that holiday where I learned first-hand about Greece’s history and Kastellorizo, and I developed a deeper understanding and affection for my Greek heritage. 

3. Why do we need to keep honouring and celebrating national days?

Celebrating national days like Greek Independence Day helps us understand our shared history and the importance of embracing culture and multiculturalism. 




By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.


Latest News

The first Greek to ever step foot in America

His name was Theodore and he disembarked on the coast of Florida on April 14, 1528. He was a member of a Spanish exploratory...

Three Greek beaches among the best in the world

In anticipation of the upcoming season, BeachAtlas has once again decided to compile its own ranking of the top 100 beaches in the world,...

Cyprus-Greece ferry connection to restart in May

The Cyprus-Greece maritime passenger connection will run for a third consecutive year, subsidized by Nicosia following the European Commission approval. An announcement from Cyprus’ Deputy...

Legend of the Church of Panagia Platsani on Santorini island

The Church of Panagia Platsani is the most famous church in Oia on the northern part of the Greek island of Santorini. Situated at the...

Antiquity missing since WWII returns to Greece

An ancient artifact, missing since German occupation, has been returned to Greece by Hanover’s municipality and the August Kestner Museum, the Greek Culture Ministry...

You May Also Like

Taste of Greece comes to MasterChef Australia

A unique surprise is waiting the fans of cooking show MasterChef Australia on Channel 10 today. For the show's Greek friends in particular, Wednesday's...

The ‘Welcome Wall’: A national monument to over 30,000 migrants who moulded Australia

By Peter Oglos. Greek migrants have been thanked by politicians, past and present, many times throughout the course of history for building the foundations upon...

Digital platform ‘myConsulLive’ now available at Greek Consulates of Sydney and Adelaide

The Consulate General of Greece in Sydney and Adelaide are now offering the possibility to serve the public, in some cases, by video conference,...