Messinian Association of SA members honour Independence Day with a gaze into the future

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Last week, over 200 members of South Australia’s Messinian Association gathered at the Messinian Function Centre to commemorate and celebrate the Greek Revolution bicentennial and were treated to Greek delicacies, live music and a traditional performance by the senior students of the Association’s Dance School.

The event that followed a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Memorial Gardens in Hilton, Adelaide also marked the Liberation of Kalamata from the Ottoman Occupation.

“It is an occasion for us all to celebrate and pay our respects to those who fell for the cause of freedom and the right to self-determination,” President, Martha Ioannides told The Greek Herald.

This Luncheon is one of the monthly events the Messinian Association has been organising for over three decades to bring its members together. 

“On 12th July 1988 the management committee made the decision to organise a monthly barbeque luncheon for the Association members on the last Sunday of each month.  Since that time, the Association has continued that tradition and has recently recommenced after almost one year due to the Covid 19 restrictions,” Ms Ioannides said.

“The monthly barbeques have always been a much looked-forward-to event by not only generations of Messinians but by members of the wider South Australian Greek community.  

“They have become a regular event on all Messinians’ calendar bringing them together once a month on a Sunday to catch up with their “patriotes” and enjoy a great lunch and entertainment.”

Recently, some of the Association’s young members took the initiative to revamp the website in order to encourage member enrolment and participation.

“With the use of modern technology, we have been able to grow our membership base by 20% in just one year. Historically, signing up as a member meant you needed to attend a Sunday BBQ and Annual AGM,” said Secretary, Kostas Mantis.

“We understood that our community is a lot larger than the membership base we had and felt it was time to invest in online channels to connect with the community. We are also active across Instagram and Facebook.”

As part of the the holistic revamp the Association’s hall is also undergoing renovations with the goal to remain relevant and continue to serve the next generation of Greek-Australians.

“The Messinian Association of SA was established in 1959 by new migrants to Australia. For over 60 years, its core purpose has been to serve the ethnic community by promoting a range of cultural, social and recreational activities. Over the years, the Association has expanded its reach in the multicultural community by establishing a Greek Dance School and a Soccer Club.

“We have recently completed Stage 1 renovations of the Messinian Function Center through the use of Association funds and the support of a State Government grant. We hope these upgrades will make the Messinian Function Center more desirable for use by a younger demographic, particularly for members of our Dance School and Soccer Club,” said Vice President, Peter Bouzalas explaining why it is important for community organisations to stay alive. 

“The Messinian Association plays an important role in the Greek community. We help preserve a sense of identity by maintaining strong links to Greek culture and traditions, and host a range of social and recreational activities. 

“However, in order for Associations like ours to survive they must evolve with the community they serve,” he said. 

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