Honour a loved one of Greek heritage on the National Monument to Migration

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We all know the traditional story of Greek migration to Australia.

Young men and women left their families behind in Greece, boarded boats with only one suitcase containing the essentials, and headed towards Australia in the hope of having a better and brighter future.

Achieving this dream wasn’t always easy though as many Greek migrants struggled with the English language and faced persistent racism. But they still never gave up. Instead, they opened their own small businesses, integrated into society and contributed to building the foundations of Australia.

It’s this contribution which deserves to be recognised today, especially as these young men and women are now our own grandparents and parents, even aunties and uncles.

But how can you have a permanent record of your loved one’s achievements? Australia’s National Monument to Migration is the answer.

Shirley and Sozos Koutsogiannis at the Monument. Photo by Kaily Koutsogiannis.

Located at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, the Monument is hard to miss.

It is a bronze-panelled wall that faces Sydney’s Darling Harbour and Pyrmont Bay, and features over 31,000 names of migrants who made Australia their home.

Currently, there are 1,632 migrants of Greek heritage on the Monument. Greece is number five of the top ten countries of origin listed.

One of these Greek names belongs to George Alfieris, who is the dad of the Kytherian Association of Australia’s past President, Emmanuel Alfieris.

Emmanuel Alfieris (left) with his dad George at the National Monument to Migration. Photo: The Greek Herald / Andriana Simos.

During a ceremony where 1,281 new migrant names were unveiled in March this year, Mr Alfieris encouraged others to think about inscribing their own parents or grandparents’ name on the Monument.

“I think we need to reflect on the sacrifices that all those 31,000 names on that wall made to get us here. To come to a country where there’s peace and prosperity, and that has let us stand on their shoulders,” Mr Alfieris said.

“So I encourage all of you who don’t have your family names yet on the wall, please make the effort. Mark them for prosperity.”

Donor, Bill Drakopoulos, also said the Monument was a great way to recognise the hard work and contribution of Greek migrants to Australia.

People enjoy the Monument. Photo by Marinco Kojdanovski, Australian National Maritime Museum.

“We are part of a long chain of proud Greek migrants who have forged new lives in our new home. We remain proud to be Greek and proud to be Australian,” Mr Drakopoulos said.

“It is a great chance to honour those who came before us.”

To do this, the Museum requires a tax-deductible gift of $500 to etch the name of a loved one with Greek heritage on the Monument.

The Museum then requests a brief story about each person being honoured on the Monument for publication on its website. The Museum is amassing a selection of stories from these migrants; stories that, in turn, build the history of modern Australia.

Honour our Greek immigrants on Australia’s National Monument to Migration at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Register to be part of the next unveiling ceremony. To register please visit this website or call (02) 9298 3777.

READ MORE: ‘I did it straight away’: Why Bessie Dounis wanted her parents’ name on the National Monument to Migration.

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