Prominent members of the Greek and Australian community gathered to pay their respects to the Anzacs who fought in the Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign at the annual ‘Anzacs of Greece’ luncheon on Friday.
The event, which was hosted by The Hellenic Club of Sydney in conjunction with the Joint Committee for the Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign, was attended by over 100 people who enjoyed a sit-down lunch as a number of official speeches were given.
Chairman of the Joint Committee, James Jordan, began the official proceedings with a small speech explaining the history of the relationship between the Greeks and Anzacs, and later thanked everyone in attendance.
This included the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Christos Karras, the Consul General of New Zealand in Sydney, Bill Dobbie, Archepiscopal Vicar of Canberra, Very Reverend Father Prochoros Anastasiadis, Federal, State and Local government representatives, prominent members of Greek community organisations, Australian Defence Force representatives, and other distinguished guests.
The Ode was later recited in both Greek and English by the Vice President of the Greek Returned Servicemen League of NSW, Peter Tsigounis, followed by the playing of the Last Post by Boyd Trevithick and a minute’s silence.
The national anthems of Australia, New Zealand and Greece then rang out proudly across the room, before Father Prochoros, representing His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, blessed the luncheon.
Following the blessing, the President of The Hellenic Club, Nikolas Hatzistergos, and the Consul General gave a small speech, with Mr Karras shining a light on the courage and strength of both the Anzacs and Greek people during WWI and WWII.
“In the First World War, the Gallipoli Campaign marked the beginning of enduring and cordial relations between Greece and Anzacs,” Mr Karras said in his speech.
A video recording from the Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, Konstantinos Floros, was then shown as a surprise to attendees. They listened as he spoke of the Nazi invasion of Crete and the defence of the island by the Anzacs, Allies and Greek people.
A quick lunch of delicious mezethes and spanakopita was served, after which guest speaker, Dr Michael Bendon, who is a researcher, educator and archaeologist, gave a small lecture on the history of the Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign.
During his lecture, Mr Bendon said he has been working on filling in the gaps he believes exist in digital war service records about Anzacs in Greece, and added he hopes to one day create an annotated database of all the information he’s gathered.
Attendees left the event with this positive development in mind, as well as a tin of limited edition Anzac Biscuits, which were specially created to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Crete this year.