Victorian Premier calls for the ‘immediate return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece’

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During the two-day Antipodes Festival in Melbourne over the weekend, Victoria’s Premier, Daniel Andrews, renewed his calls for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

After unveiling a completed frieze of the marbles on the Greek Community of Melbourne’s Greek Centre on the corner of Lonsdale and Russell street, Mr Andrew’s, whose government funded the monument, demanded their return to Greece.

“I again call upon the United Kingdom government for the immediate return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece,” he said on Saturday.

The completed Frieze of the Parthenon Marbles on the Greek Community of Melbourne’s Greek Centre. Photo: The Greek Herald / Chris Spyrou.

The frieze’s Greek creators, Kostandinos Vousis and Panagiotis Vasilakis from The Art of Marble and Stone, told The Greek Herald about the initiative of the GCM, the Victorian Government and the Greek Ministry of Culture. 

“It is a huge work for all Australia,” Mr Vasilakis said.

“Australian culture is richer because of it and the Greek community has been pivotal in its creation.”

The emblematic work took one and a half years to complete, and under difficult circumstances due to COVID-19, he said.

The frieze’s Greek creators, Kostandinos Vousis and Panagiotis Vasilakis.

Also speaking with The Greek Herald about the frieze was the President of the GCM, Bill Papastergiadis, who said: “The replicas of the Parthenon Marbles that adorn our 15-storey cultural centre are a direct link with our cultural heritage.” 

“The frieze is a strong symbol of the Hellenic culture in Melbourne. We thank the State Government, the Greek Ministry of Culture and the kind donations and support by the Tsalikidis family, the Koukouvitakis and Karamitos families, as well as Merkon Constructions. Importantly we thank the Greek sculptors,” Mr Papastergiadis said.

President of GCM Bill Bill Papastergiadis seated next to Victoria’s Premier, Daniel Andrews and Federal Immigration Minister, Andrew Giles. Photo: The Greek Herald / Chris Spyrou.

In his official speech, the Mayor of Kalamata, Athanasios Vasilopoulos said: “A few minutes ago, the Parthenon frieze was unveiled at the Greek Centre.”

“Two pieces are missing because they are not at the Acropolis Museum, and they need to return there, but it is worth mentioning that the sculptors are from Kalamata,” the Mayor added.

“I can’t describe in words what I have felt the last few days. In Melbourne I saw a Greece outside of Greece but more vibrant, more creative and more humane.”

The Mayor of Kalamata, Athanasios Vasilopoulos speaking at the 2022 Antipodes Festival. Photo: The Greek Herald / Chris Spyrou

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