Proud Greeks honour ANZAC Day with marches across Australia

·

On Thursday, April 26, Greek Australians around the nation gathered together to commemorate ANZAC Day by participating in an annual march, attending dawn services and laying wreaths.

Every year we commemorate the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought and fell in Gallipoli and made sacrifices for our country.

This year, The Greek Herald has the lowdown on what happened in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

New South Wales

Words by George Chiotis

This year’s ANZAC Day parade was particularly special for the Hellenic RSL of Sydney.

In attendance were a record number of spectators which lined the central streets of Sydney. The event was perfectly organised and featured appearances from the Greek Returned Servicemen League of NSW.

Hellenic RSL Sydney
Hellenic RSL Sydney
Hellenic RSL Sydney
Hellenic RSL Sydney

The Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Yannis Mallikourtis, also made an appearance and showed great appreciation by participating in the parade. He marched alongside the President of the Greek Returned Servicemen League of NSW, Panagiotis Tsigounis.

As usual, accompanying them were representatives from local Cretan and Pontian associations.

The formal procedures of the day were then followed by an excellent meal and cold Mythos beer at the renowned International restaurant. Lest We Forget.

Hellenic RSL Sydney
Hellenic RSL Sydney

Anthony Parissis at Willoughby dawn service

Anthony Parissis, a proud Greek Australian student from St Pius X College, also delivered an address during the dawn service for ANZAC Day at Willoughby.

In his address, Anthony addressed the ties of the ANZACs to the Greek island of Lemnos during WWI. He also highlighted that both his yiayia and pappou are Lemnians.

“The significance of this small, relatively unnoticed island [Lemnos] spans far beyond the Gallipoli campaign. This brief wartime relationship has fostered the strongest, most unbreakable of bonds between Australia and Greece that has endured the ages,” Anthony said.

Anthony Parissis

“The story of Lemnos unites Greek Australians like my family and acts as a reminder of a rich and beautiful fusion of heritage and culture that comprises modern Australia.

“We thank all those who have fought for their own countries, who now call Australia home. To the Lemnian Greeks for their hospitality, those brave young men and women who ventured into foreign territory in 1915, and those who now lay to rest forever in the Mediterranean.”

Anthony Parissis

Victoria

Words by Mary Sinanidis.

The Hellenic RSL Clubhouse in South Melbourne was alive with activity on Thursday, April 25 as members prepared for the ANZAC Day parade. Manny Karvelas, Hellenic RSL President for the last four years, emphasised the collaborative spirit of the organisation. 

“I put in many hours on top of my fulltime job, but it’s a group effort. We have committee members selling badges, setting up the hall for today’s lunch,” he said. 

Outside his office, there are greetings, laughter, chatter. Stella Tzaninis, Ourania Katzambanis, Soula Kipos, and Anna Stathopoulos sold ANZAC Day badges, the kitchen was busy with preparations underway for the annual lunch following the parade. 

The Hellenic RSL boasts a diverse membership, and this is evident at the parade featuring 50 men and a smidgeon of women marching, and even more women who are affiliate members. Leading the way was – youth! A platoon of cadets from the Sunshine 30 ACU that Hellenic RSL have sponsored for around 13 years. 

Onlookers cheered them on. Some called, “Hello homeland!” 

Karvelas told The Greek Herald, “There is a long history of shared service between Greece and Australia, with Lemnos used as a disembarkation point for soldiers, in fact Simpson’s donkey was Lemnian. We’ve served in WWI, WWII, Korea… Greeks didn’t go to Vietnam but we have members who served in Vietnam, Solomon Islands and Afghanistan.”

Arthur Gialamas, a former special forces soldier in Greece, spoke of the unique experience of serving his “patrida” (homeland) despite being considered an outsider.

“They couldn’t truly fathom what it is to feel a bond with both Greece and Australia, and would call me Afstralezo,” he said. “Despite the hardship, it was an invaluable experience to serve in the Greek army. I served in Greece because I was there at the time, but no matter where you are the army makes a boy a man.”

Panagiotis Karanikas, who served his conscription in Greece, said that six months was enough to get all the training. He speaks of the camaraderie he found, and the friendships, having presented himself in Thebes and also served in Chios. 

John Stewart OAM, marched with the Hellenic RSL instead of his own regiment due to his friendships in the club. A veteran of the Royal Melbourne Regiment, he chose to lunch with the Hellenic RSL.

“When we came to Australia most of my father’s friends were Greek, and even though I’m Irish I have many friends here. I’ve known Peter Stathopoulos for over 50 years and he invited me to join,” he said.

Young Spiros Anagnostopoulos represented the next generation of the RSL. A former air force cadet, he recognises the importance of participating in such events.

“My parents are members of the Hellenic RSL and I wanted to join them in the march,” he said.

The presence of Dennis Patisteas and his grandson Dion, an Australian Army Cadet, embodied the legacy of service being passed down through generations. Dion, a year 11, contemplates pursuing a career in defence, demonstrating an ongoing commitment to service within the Hellenic RSL community.

As the members headed out to march, one thing was clear: the Hellenic RSL is a place where shared experiences, cultural ties, and a deep respect for service bind a diverse group together.

Australian Capital Territory

Lemnos association CBR
Canberra Greeks came to gather to represent Lemnos.

In Canberra, the annual ANZAC Day formalities commenced with a Dawn Service at the Australian War Memorial, where more than 32,000 people attended.

Following this, many special guests and officials laid wreaths, presented speeches and paid their respects and commemorated the men and women in Australia and New Zealand of past and present who made sacrifices for the nation.

To represent the Greek community, one of the associations in attendance was the Lemnos Association of Canberra, as well as the Lemnian Association of Sydney.

Lemnians from Canberra, Sydney and beyond participated in a march to honour the ANZACs of Lemnos in 1915. Some of the younger Canberra Greeks were also seen dressed in traditional costume.

Advertisement

Share:

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH TGH

By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Advertisement

Latest News

Victorian MPs abandon plans to establish a Parliamentary Friends of Azerbaijan group

Advocacy by Greeks, Cypriots, and Armenians has resulted in Victorian MPs abandoning plans to establish Parliamentary Friends of Azerbaijan.

George Calombaris’ Greek street food favourite Gazi returns

Chef George Calombaris is bringing back his Greek street food favourite Gazi after almost five years. Read more here.

Turkey creates ‘digital twin’ of Hagia Sophia

The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism has finalised a complete scan of Hagia Sophia to create its perfect "digital twin."

Cyprus and the EU react to Hezbollah war threat

Cyprus reacted with incredulity on Thursday after the head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah threatened war.

Second year, same spirit: Zeibekiko Festival Australia returns by popular demand

The second Zeibekiko Festival Australia will return with a bang from September 27 this year thanks to Ventouris Productions.

You May Also Like

Messages of congratulations for Archbishop Makarios on one year anniversary of enthronement

The Greek Australian community has sent messages of congratulations to His Eminence Archbishop Makarios on the one year anniversary of his enthronement.

Turkey, Greece agree to resume talks after four years

Turkey and Greece have agreed to resume talks over their contested maritime claims in the eastern Mediterranean after a four year hiatus

Troy Argyros: A Melbourne artist’s journey fuelled by passion and perseverance

Troy Argyros, a talented artist from Melbourne sees his ten-year dream of painting Tina Arena come to fruition.