Athenian Association of NSW to celebrate 70 years of preserving Greek culture

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This year marks a significant milestone for the Athenian Association of NSW as it celebrates 70 years since its foundation in 1953.

The Association will be celebrating the milestone with a 70th anniversary dinner on Saturday, December 2 at 7pm at The Grand Roxy in Brighton-Le-Sands, Sydney.

As one of the oldest Greek Associations in Australia, the Athenian Association of NSW has played a vital role in preserving and promoting Greek culture within the community.

The Association’s history is deeply rooted in the conservation of the spirit of Athens, aiming to safeguard the morals, customs and traditions that may otherwise be lost in the Antipodes.

Founded on March 8, 1953, under the leadership of Ilias Zarakostas as the first President and Ioannis Dervos as the General Secretary, the Association has since made significant contributions to the Greek community of Sydney.

The inaugural event, the Official Dance of the Association, took place on June 6, 1954, at Paddington Town Hall. This event was highly recommended by the then-Consul General of Greece in Sydney at the time, Mr Papadakis.

Tickets to Athenian Associations first ball held in 1954 at Paddington Town Hall.
Tickets to Athenian Association’s first ball held in 1954 at Paddington Town Hall.
Tickets to Athenian Associations first ball held in 1954 at Paddington Town Hall. 2
Tickets to Athenian Association’s first ball held in 1954 at Paddington Town Hall.

Additionally, the Association published its first newspaper on July 6, 1954, marking the beginning of its commitment to promote the work for which it was created.

athenian newspaper
Athenian newspaper.

Over the past 70 years, the Athenian Association of NSW has been actively involved in social, cultural, philanthropic, and recreational activities. Through a number of events and initiatives, the Association has successfully preserved and perpetuated the spirit of Athens, ensuring the younger generation maintains its Greek identity and older generations can continue to thrive in their second homeland.

“Our aim is to support and unite Greeks in maintaining their traditions and customs,” the current President of the Athenian Association of NSW, Cathy Valis, said.

“As an Athenian I am very proud of the Association I have been serving for 25 years. First from the position of Secretary and in recent years, as President.”

The Association’s commitment to its objectives is further evident in its philanthropic efforts. By making donations to modern language courses in Sydney and Melbourne, the Association has promoted and supported the Hellenic culture and language in Australia.

Additionally, the Association has organised a number of informative lectures, including “Aspects of Athenian History” and “Tales from the Sea, Asia Minor and Music influence in Athens,” as well annual dances and trips to scenic locations, providing education, entertainment and opportunities for members and friends to come together and create lasting memories.

The Athenian Association has seen several presidents throughout its history, including Mr Martikas, Mr Aivatzidis, Mr Lazaridis, Mr Theodoropoulos, Mr Nick Vertzayias, Mr Kosta Karpodinis, Dr John Tziniolis, and Ms Valis, who has served as president for the past eight years. Their leadership and dedication have played a crucial role in the Association’s continued success.

cathy valis athenian association of sydney
Cathy Valis (second from left) has served as President of the Athenian Association of NSW for the past eight years.

“When the late Dr John Tsiniolis, who was the President of our Association for decades, retired and handed over the Association to me, I promised him that just as he had raised it high on the evaluation scale in the 50s and 60s, I would also try to preserve the Association with all my might,” Ms Valis said.

“Inspired by the Athenian ideals, I feel very proud that through the Athenian Association I serve my beloved city, Athens, where I was born and raised, and I try with all my might with the respective Board of Directors to maintain its work as a cultural torch of the future.”

As the Athenian Association of NSW commemorates its 70th anniversary, it stands as a testament to the power of preserving cultural heritage. The Association’s commitment to promoting Greek culture and traditions within the community ensures that the spirit of Athens continues to shine brightly in the Antipodes for generations to come.

The Athenian Association of NSW will hold a 70th anniversary dinner on Saturday, December 2 at 7pm at The Grand Roxy in Brighton-Le-Sands, Sydney. Tickets are prepaid only and price is $120 per person (three course dinner including beverages). RSVP by Wednesday, November 15. For more details contact Cathy on 0412 143 123 or Antigoni on 0430 056 740.

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