On January 26th, Australia Day, the country honours the citizens who have greatly contributed to and served the country. A number of Greek-Australians were honoured on that list today.
Order of Australia (OAM)
The Order of Australia is the highest honour an Australian citizen can receive, which recognises achievement and meritorious service to the country.
George Halvagis received the OAM for service to the community, particularly to people affected by crime.
Mr Halvagis’ campaign for justice pressured MPs and police, brought a $1 million reward and changed police laws so inmates could be questioned on other cases.
His commitment to assisting those affected by crime spiked after his daughter was tragically murdered in 2007.
He continues to give lectures to police, and supports Crime Stoppers Victoria tirelessly.
Father Christos Triandafyllou from Belmore Church was also awarded an OAM for service to the Greek Orthodox Community of Belmore.
He was devoted over 45 years of service to the Belmore community, playing a vital role in welcoming and supporting migrants and being a spiritual guide for Greek Orthodox parishioners.
He is also a strong advocate and leading voice in interfaith dialogue. Additionally, Father Chris led the establishment of All Saints Grammar School and Prepatory Learning Centre, as well as supported community groups like Youth Group and Ladies Auxiliary.
“Father Chris has been a visionary and continues to serve our community. His invaluable contribution is appreciated by all,” wrote Sophie Cotsis MP.
Colleen Mandicos received an OAM for her devotion to multiculturalism. She says it was an experience at an early age that eventually led to her desire to make a difference.
“When I was ten, we lived in Wollongong and we sold our house to a Greek family,” the 73-year-old told Illawarra Mercury.
“I can remember some of our neighbours not being happy that we sold it to Greek people, because they thought it was going to bring the standard of the neighbourhood down.
“They had a five-year-old daughter, and because they’d only been in Australia for about six months, the daughter had to do all the interpreting for the family to purchase that house.”
She said while this experience may not have entirely resonated back then, by her teens it had helped create an interest in “multicultural services, migrants and people having to move from one country to another to establish themselves”, she said to Illawarra Mercury.
Peter George Doukas
Peter George Doukas was awarded an OAM for service to multiculturalism in New South Wales.
Terry Kanellos was awarded an OAM for for service to veterans and their families, and to the community.
Stephen George Papas
Stephen George Papas was awarded an OAM for service to the community, and to dentistry.
Suzanne Sofarnos was awarded an OAM for service to lacrosse.
Maria Dimopoulos was awarded an OAM for significant service to women, to cultural diversity, and to the prevention of domestic violence.
Dr Paul Elias Eliadis
Dr Paul Elias Eliadis was awarded an OAM for significant service to medicine as a clinical haematologist, and to charitable initiatives.
Violet Roumeliotis was awarded an OAM for significant service to the community, particularly to refugee support.
Professor Anthony E Cassimatis was awarded an OAM for significant service to education, to the law, and to the community.
George Savvides was awarded an OAM for significant service to the community, to charitable groups, and to business.
Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM)
The Conspicuous Service Medal is a military decoration awarded to personnel of the Australian Defence Force, and officers and instructors of the Australian Defence Force Cadets. It is awarded for meritorious achievement or dedication to duty in non-war like situations.
Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Peter Asimakis received the Conspicious Service Medal (CSM) for meritorious achievement as a lead member of the Sea Training Unit Defence Cooperation Programme.
Emergency Services Medal (ESM)
The Emergency Services Medal is awarded for distinguished service by a member of an Australian emergency service, and people who are involved in emergency management, training or education.
Ms Tina Filopoulos received an Emergency Services Medal (ESM) for her service to the ACM Corrections Victoria Department of Justice.
Public Service Medal
The Public Service Medal is a civil decoration awarded to Australian public servants for outstanding service.
Penny Damianakis won the Public Service Medal today for customer service as part of her work for Centrelink (the Department of Human Services).