Victoria celebrates Greek Independence Day with parade at Lakeside Stadium


Greeks of all ages were standing outside the Lakeside Stadium in Albert Park, Victoria on Sunday afternoon. There were families, unions, dancing groups, a wave of blue and white flags, people wearing traditional Greek costumes, and elderly people holding their grandchildren on their shoulders with pride.

Youth dressed in traditional Greek costumes. All photos copyright The Greek Herald / Giorgos Psomiadis / Mary Sinanidis.
The youth.
Youth waving their Greek flags.

After three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greek community gathered to honour the heroes of the 1821 Greek Revolution for the first time at South Melbourne FC’s Lakeside Stadium and not Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance. The event was organised by the Victorian Council for Greek National Day.

“It is so emotional to think of what people went through to give us the freedom they have now. Even though I’m not a Greek, it is very touching and very moving,” Victoria Ramos told The Greek Herald on the day.

Father and son.
Proud youth.
Clergy also took part in the march.
School drumming units.

The ceremony started with a minute of silence for the victims of Greece’s deadliest train crash at Tempi. After that, the Oath of the 1821 Revolution was read loudly and the crowd repeated its words with a roar. An 1821 banner, as well as the flags of Greece, Australia and Cyprus, also appeared in front of the main stage. This was followed by all the Greek Orthodox College Drumming Units who set the tempo for the start of the parade.

There were thousands in attendance.

Greeks from the Australian Federal Police led the march, with ex-servicemen and women, as well as elderly organisations following close behind. Schools of the Greek Community of Melbourne, of parishes, inter-communities and independent schools, as well as language and culture schools also took part. All marched in front of the stage and were applauded warmly by the thousands of spectators.

The march begins.
Proud participants.
Young female dressed in traditional costumes.
AHEPA Greek School contingent.

Among the spectators were a number of officials including Archbishop Makarios of Australia; the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Emmanuel Kakavelakis; Kat Theophanous MP; David Davis MP; Keith Wollahan MP; Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta; the Chairman of the Victorian Council for Greek National Day, Tony Tsourdalakis; the President of the Greek Community of Melbourne, Bill Papastergiadis; and Chair of the Board of Directors of Parks Victoria, John Pantazopoulos; among many others.


Some of these guests gave official speeches. Archbishop Makarios referred to the words of General Theodoros Kolokotronis and said: “first we fight for our faith and then for our homeland.”

Mr Kakavelakis said: “The Greeks in Australia are the biggest proof that you might be able to get a Greek out of Greece but you will never get Greece out of the Greeks.”

Emmanuel Kakavelakis.
More attendees at the march.

Ms Theophanous, representing the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, passed on the Premier’s respect and admiration for the Greek culture, tradition and heritage to those present.

Mr Davis spoke next and said the fight for Greek independence “is a symbol for the whole community of Victoria, Australia and across the world.”

Smiles all round.
The event was for young and old alike.
Banners were held by participants.

Mr Wollahan, representing the leader of federal opposition Peter Dutton, spoke about the struggle of Greek parents and grandparents who migrated to Greece from Australia.

“Looking at this parade, looking around you now, not only you have survived, you thrived,” he said.

Mr Tsourdalakis concluded the official speeches and said: “We feel proud that after 202 years, we have the opportunity to raise the flag and say “Zito” for the holy struggle of 1821.”

People preparing to march to celebrate Greek Independence Day.
Lakeside Stadium hosted the march.
More young marchers.
The march was held at Lakeside Stadium for the first time.

The event concluded with chanting of the ‘Hymn of War’ by the Byzantine Music School choir, as well as the playing of the national anthems of Greece and Australia.

*All photos copyright The Greek Herald / Giorgos Psomiadis / Mary Sinanidis.

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