King’s Birthday 2024 Honours List: Greek Australian achievements celebrated

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By Andriana Simos and Eleni Patsalides

At least six Australians of Greek heritage in the areas of community and public service have been recognised today in the King’s Birthday 2024 Honours List.

Here is The Greek Herald’s list of who has been recognised.

MEMBER (OAM) IN THE GENERAL DIVISION

  • Effie Bacalakis OAM, Queensland
effie bacalakis
Effie Bacalakis.

Effie Bacalakis OAM has been recognised for her service to the community of the Cairns region in Queensland.

At St John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Parish in Cairns, Mrs Bacalakis was an Executive Member, including serving as Chair and Secretary, Fundraising Committee, 1993-mid 2010s; Foundation Member; Honorary Treasurer, Philoptohos Society, 1990s; Fundraiser, Redlynch Day Care and Early Childhood Development Centre, since mid-1990s; and Donor, Construction of Church, early 1990s.

Mrs Bacalakis has been a Manager at St John’s Community Care (2011-2015) and a Field Officer / Coordinator (1999 – 2011). At Gordonvale Community Care, she was a Founding Committee Member (2000), and she (along with her husband) also donated a block of land, Meringa, to establish a respite centre.

Generally, Mrs Bacalakis has been a Coordinator of the Cairns Greek Multicultural Festival since 1993; a founder of the Greek Language School and Dance Group; and a Member / Dance Teacher at Cairns Greek Cultural Club.

Recognitions include the Gold Cross of St Andrew from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia in 2019, and the 20 Years’ Service Certificate from St John’s Community Care.

“It’s very exciting. I’m quite surprised and very humbled. I couldn’t do this without support from the whole community, my husband and children, who encourage me to carry on. This recognition is for them too,” Mrs Bacalakis told The Greek Herald.

  • Michael Nicholas Litis OAM, Western Australia

Michael Nicholas Litis OAM has been recognised for service to the community through sports organisations.

At the Hellenic Lawn Bowling Club of the Castellorizian Association of WA, Mr Litis has demonstrated extensive leadership and dedication. Serving as President for six years, Mr Litis also previously held the positions of Secretary for 14 years and Treasurer. Over a remarkable 30-year span as an Executive Member, Mr Litis has also been the Convenor of Corporate Bowls fundraising events since 2008 and edited two editions of History of the Hellenic Bowling Club. His commitment to the club is further highlighted by his membership since 1992 and being honoured as a Life Member in 2006.

In the Hellenic Football Club, Mr Litis served as Captain in 1967 and 1968, contributed to the Executive Committee for ten years, and earned the distinction of Life Member.

At the Karoonda Junior Football Club, Mr Litis’ roles included being an Executive Committee Member from 1980 to 1989, a former Manager for seven years, as well as a Coach and Runner. His long-standing service was recognised with a Life Membership in 1989.

Mr Litis’ involvement with the Royal Perth Golf Club spans five decades as a member, with five years on the Committee and serving as Chair of the Volunteer Beautification Group from 2001 to 2010.

In addition to these commitments, Mr Litis has contributed as a former General Committee Member of East Fremantle Junior Football, served on the Board of Osborne Park Bowling Club from 2005 to 2007, and has been listed on the Honour Board of the Western Australian Veteran Golfers Association in 2006. Mr Litis has been a member of Lake Karrinyup Golf Club since 2003 and is the Founder, Convenor, and Former Sponsor of the Hellenic Golf Day, established in 1994.

  • Dimitra Micos OAM, New South Wales
dimitra micos
Dimitra Micos.

Dimitra Micos OAM has been recognised for service to the Greek community of Sydney.

Ms Micos has been an active volunteer in the Greek community since 1986, contributing her time and effort to the Greek Welfare Centre at Newtown and Saint Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church. She has served as a mentor at the Greek Orthodox Church of St George since 2006 and has been the Convenor of the Greek Women’s Olympic Choir in 2000 and 2004. Additionally, she was a Committee Member at the Welfare Centre of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia in 1997.

At the Hellenic Lyceum of Sydney, she holds the position of Second Vice-President and has been a dedicated volunteer since 1983.

Ms Micos has also played a significant role at Saint Spyridon College, where she was the Vice-President of the Management Committee in the mid-1980s and a founding member of the Management Committee since 1983.

“I didn’t expect this,” she told The Greek Herald. “What I do, I do out of the depth of my heart, I expect no recognition for it. Thank God and the church, I didn’t expect this.”

AUSTRALIAN POLICE MEDAL

  • Detective Senior Sergeant Angela Hantsis – Victoria Police

Detective Senior Sergeant Angela Hantsis has devoted her working life to solving some of the most complex and intriguing criminal cases in recent Victoria Police history, including cold case murders, armed robberies and sex crimes. Detective Senior Sergeant Hantsis served with distinction on taskforces, including Taskforce Briars which conducted the investigation into alleged involvement of police in the murder of a Victorian man, Taskforce Phoenix which conducted the investigation into the 2009 Victorian bushfires, and the Purana Taskforce which conducted the investigation into the infamous gangland murders in Melbourne.

In 2010, Detective Senior Sergeant Hantsis was only the second female police officer in Victoria Police to successfully complete the Level 4 – Australasian Human Source Management Course. She utilised her training and skills to recruit, manage and deploy high-risk human sources, managing significant operational risks which led to the successful prosecution of a number of complex crimes.

In 2014, Detective Senior Sergeant Hantsis was appointed to the Missing Persons Squad, where investigations are particularly complex and demanding in the serious crime environment. Undertaking these investigations requires a special skill set, not only in crime investigation, but also emotional and physical resilience, all qualities Detective Senior Sergeant Hantsis embodies.

As a senior sergeant at the St Kilda Police Station, she worked with both government and non-government organisations, social workers, health providers, local government, counselling services and housing providers to address complex needs that surround street level drug use and sex work in order to reduce harm to individuals and the local community.

  • Assistant Commissioner Arlene Mavratsou – Western Australia Police Force
Assistant Commissioner Arlene Mavratsou
Assistant Commissioner Arlene Mavratsou.

Assistant Commissioner Arlene Mavratsou joined the Western Australia Police Force in 2020 after serving other law enforcement intelligence services across Australia and United States. She was promoted to the rank of assistant commissioner and was the first public servant appointed by the Governor to a commissioned officer rank in Western Australia.

She has had a profound impact on law enforcement and tactical intelligence, overseeing both day to day operations and long-term policing objectives, whilst consistently contributing to agency and government priorities to enhance community safety and effective law enforcement outcomes both nationally and internationally.

Assistant Commissioner Mavratsou is an accomplished leader which is evident in many of her key achievements, such as leading the design and implementation of the agency’s new intelligence and data analytics functions. Her vision embedded a tactical intelligence culture focused on “working better together” applying the Identify, Locate Associate (ILA) principles.

She consistently demonstrates her ability to achieve outstanding results through strategic initiatives, leading the intelligence and data reform for the agency, designing and delivering ILA training courses effectively demonstrating the value of intelligence within law enforcement. She has also enhanced the capability within Rapid High Harm Offender Response teams across the state by embedding tactical intelligence analysts within multi-disciplinary operational teams, resulting in significant volume crime reductions.

Other notable accomplishments include implementing new frontline operational technological solutions providing modern crime solving tools and equipment to assist the frontline. These have since played crucial roles in helping to solve many high-profile crimes and historical cases.

EMERGENCY SERVICES MEDAL

  • Jim Kokkalos – Victoria State Emergency Service

Mr Jim Kokkalos has tirelessly supported and contributed to the Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) for over 33 years, not only as a dedicated volunteer but leader within the VICSES Port Phillip Unit (the Unit) (formerly St Kilda Unit) and surrounding units.

Mr Kokkalos has always placed VICSES as a high priority in his life, at times he has made personal sacrifices to ensure his unit is ready to respond to emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. His continual sacrifice of personal time is over and above what is expected of a volunteer.

Mr Kokkalos has displayed exemplified leadership, direction, emotional guidance and support to others in many local events, for example, as a field commander for the Melbourne Grand Prix (1996-2015), as well as assisting with operational support to many regions in Victoria for fires, floods and storms.

Mr Kokkalos’ is dedicated to serving the community, taking time off from work to ensure he is able to assist during large disasters and operations across Victoria on many occasions. Prominent examples of these operations would be the 2010 and 2012 Melbourne hailstorms and all flood and major fire events in Victoria for over 25 years. His dedication and commitment towards his chosen field of assisting the Victorian community in times of need, shows the passion that is well respected amongst his peers and regional staff.

Mr Kokkalos has been the key leader and driver in moving the Unit to a thriving community-based organisation, managing relationships with other emergency services and local community groups. This dedication has ensured the Unit is a robust emergency service able to provide emergency response around the clock. Without his persistence and dedication, it would not be the outstanding Unit that it is today.

*Please note: If you believe you should be on this list of recognised Greek Australians, please send an email to info@foreignlanguage.com.au.


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