HomeCommunityAssociations'Ekato' chronicles the enduring 100-year history of Australia's Kytherian Association

‘Ekato’ chronicles the enduring 100-year history of Australia’s Kytherian Association

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The Prince Henry Centre in Little Bay, Sydney, was abuzz with excitement on Saturday, March 16, as it hosted the book launch for Ekato, Volume One of the 100-year history of the Kytherian Association of Australia (KAA).

Authored by social historian Vasilis Vasilas, Ekato delves into the first 50 years of the KAA’s centenary journey from 1922 to 2022.

kytherian ekato book launch
(L-R): Rene Panagiotelis and Vasilis Vasilas.
kytherian ekato book launch
(L-R) Andrew Malanos, Vasilis Vasilas, Barbara Zantiotis, Theodora Gianniotis.

With 140 attendees gracing the occasion, the event was a testament to the enduring legacy of the KAA.

Barbara Zantiotis, President of the KAA and the first female to hold the position, kicked off the afternoon by extending warm welcomes to dignitaries, including the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Yiannis Mallikourtis, Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis, and Mayor of Waverly Council, Paula Masselos. The gathering also witnessed the presence of notable figures featured in the book, such as former presidents, descendants of founding members, and past board members.

Barbara Zantiotis kicked off the official proceedings.

Among the esteemed guests were former presidents Emmanuel Sklavos, John Prineas, George Vardas, Peter Vanges, Emmanuel Varipatis, Victor Kepreotis, and Emmanuel Alfieris. Their families graced the occasion, representing a living connection to the rich history of the KAA. Also present were descendants of founding members, including Emmanuel Cassimatis, son of one of the KAA’s founders and first President Cosmas Cassimatis; Angela Cominos, daughter of Basil Feros, first secretary of the founding committee and also second president; Vicky Haniotis, daughter of Peter Haniotis, the ninth president; Matina Aroney (nee Coroneos) and her sister Olga, two of the very first females on the board of directors in 1961; and Jim Cassimatis, son of Nicholas Cassimatis who served as the eleventh president.

kytherian ekato book launch
Past Presidents with the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Yiannis Mallikourtis (centre).
kytherian ekato book launch
Official guests.
kytherian ekato book launch

In a speech, Bishop Iakovos conveyed his heartfelt congratulations to the Association, followed by the Consul General’s commendation of the KAA’s rich history and its ability to blend traditions while embracing new ones in the Australian context. He also praised the Association’s philanthropic endeavours that supported various causes in Greece including earthquake relief support for his place of origin Kefalonia.

Ms Zantiotis then presented copies of the book to both the Consul General and Bishop Iakovos before introducing a panel discussion moderated by Theodora Gianniotis and featuring author Mr Vasilas and contributor Rene Panagiotelis.

kytherian ekato book launch
Panel discussion.

Mr Vasilas shed light on the extensive research process, spanning two years of meticulously examining KAA meeting minutes, handwritten in Greek, to unveil the Association’s evolving priorities and personalities. Former librarian and fact-checker for the book, Ms Panagiotelis discussed the exhaustive process of corroborating facts and matching photographs to specific time periods, drawing from both public archives and private collections.

She recounted one occasion when she sought to match a photograph of Paddington Town Hall before its renovation in the “Art Deco” style. It entailed meticulously reviewing over 150 pages of council heritage documents before successfully identifying the image of the building.

kytherian ekato book launch

The panellists emphasised the invaluable role of historical newspapers, particularly The Greek Herald (formerly Hellenic Herald), in providing insights into the social fabric surrounding the KAA and filling in gaps that were not detailed in the Association’s meeting minutes. They also highlighted the KAA’s significant contributions to media, faith, and philanthropy, notably its instrumental role in establishing the first Greek Orthodox Church in NSW, the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox church (Aghia Triada) in Surry Hills.

The panel emphasised the pivotal role of women in organising large-scale social events, attracting 700 to 1,000 attendees in a time before the internet and social media times. They highlighted how these gatherings, marked as significant dates in the wider Greek community’s calendars, showcased the women of the KAA’s essential contributions.

The event concluded with Mr Vasilas, Despina Dimopoulos, designer of the centenary logo, and Nathan Vagias, Vice President of the Kytherian Youth Association who named the book Ekato, being honoured with commemorative centenary medallions. Rene and Theodora also received flowers and gifts.

Mr Vasilas and Ms Panagiotelis ceremoniously cut a cake adorned with the book cover design, marking the memorable afternoon at the seaside venue.

Attendees were offered afternoon tea as they reflected on the rich tapestry of Kytherian heritage.

The book launch of Ekato not only commemorated the centenary milestone of the KAA, but also served as a testament to the enduring legacy of a community bound by tradition, resilience, and a shared commitment to preserving its cultural heritage for generations to come.

For those who want to buy the book, you can find more information here: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/1171736

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