A tireless advocate for migrant workers through his work in the trade union movement, a pioneer of multicultural broadcasting in Victoria and long standing member of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria, George Zangalis passed away on Thursday, 25 March, ahead of a tribute to his life being planned for his 90th birthday in April.
With a statement, the Greek Community of Melbourne encourages the wider community to come together and honour his memory.
“It was with deep sadness that we learnt of the passing of a valued and long standing member of our organisation, George Zangalis.
George was one of the major proponents and advocates of multiculturalism in Australia , as well as a fierce campaigner for social justice and workers rights,” reads the statement.
“The Community in conjunction with the Rail,Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) and numerous other community organisations will be celebrating George’s life of activism on Sunday the 25th of April 2021, 2.30 pm at the Andrianakos Centre, Alphington Grammar.
We are looking forward to our members and the broader community coming together to reflect and honour George’s remarkable Contribution.”
Who was George Zangalis?
Born in Greece in 1931, George was the fourth in a family of five children. He grew up during the Resistance of the Greek people against the German occupation and the post-World War 2 Greek civil war.
After arriving in Australia in February 1950, aged 18, he became immediately involved in the working class and progressive organisations in the Greek community, the wider Australian labour movement, and the fledgling multicultural campaigns. His commitment to these causes continued throughout his lifetime
George pioneered Ethnic Community Broadcasting, serving on the ABC State and National Advisory Councils and the SBS Board in the early 1980s. He is a former President of Melbourne’s ethnic community radio station 3ZZZ and a former President of the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council of Australia.
George was one of ECCV’s founders and served on the Board several times over its 47-year history. He was also a leading contributor to the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia’s support for migrant rights.
His involvement in numerous political, industrial and other campaigns is outlined in his 2009 book, Migrant Workers and Ethnic Communities. Their Struggles for Social Justice and Cultural Rights. The Role of Greek-Australians.
*With information from Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV)