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The Cyprus Club: 2023 in review

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The Board of the Cyprus Community of New South Wales has issued the following Year in Review for 2023.

Full review in English:

As we approach the final days of 2023 it’s opportune to review the past 12 months at the Cyprus Community of NSW.

2023 has been another challenging and eventful year.

It was a time to reconnect with members who were once able to contribute so much in their younger years, now their memories spark that smile of how much the Club and Cyprus means to them.

It was also a year we welcomed many new members, some in their youth slowly changing the fabric of our Club.

It has always been difficult for a group of volunteers to operate such a large diverse Community with many competing interests and demands, as well as with decades long financial issues. Despite these challenges, 2023 has been a year of historic milestones, a truly rewarding year.

For the first time outside Cyprus and the UK, our veterans and their families were recognised for their sacrifice.

Many members asked to know more about their family’s involvement in World War one, two and the Balkan wars.

Cypriots served with the Greek and Australian military side-by-side in virtually every theatre of war. Cyprus had the highest number of volunteers per capital to serve in World War two than any other territory/ country.

Cypriots were invited to join this year’s Anzac Day parade in Sydney

The Cyprus Community is proud to have led the campaign for the recognition of our veterans and in recent months our newly formed Cypriots for Anzac will be announcing the unveiling of a major monument in honour of our veterans.

2023 was also a year when archaeological heritage artefacts were returned from Australia back to Cyprus. The Cyprus Community hosted Dr Marina Solomidou Ieronymidou, the Head of the Cyprus Department of Antiquities and her team of investigators, preservers and curators to officially receive the artefacts and carry them back to Cyprus.

The Community’s newly formed Heritage Committee is hard at work to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Australian government to formalise the process to repatriate and preserve other items from our heritage.

In 2023, we also hosted the Cambridge University Museum Director of Greek-Cypriot artefacts.

The Community’s social and cultural activities were the most diverse and largest we have had for a very long time.

From the Bob Carr book launch of The History of Cypriots in Australia, to participation in the Greek Festival of Sydney, the hugely successful Food and Wine Festival, our Community Saturday Markets, the growth of our Greek language and dancing schools – these are achievements we should all be proud of.

The Cyprus food and wine festival in Sydney

Our Tuesday members lunch continues to grow and provide traditional “laika” fare. With affordable food and beverage, live entertainment and the famous meat raffle, it’s the perfect get together for members, friends and family.

The Community also hosted the Sunrise TV show live broadcast across national television.

Our soccer club attracted nearly 2,000 applications, it’s amongst the fastest growing vibrant sporting club in the state.

But perhaps for many the greatest achievement which has alluded boards, Presidents and Club supporters for over two decades, is the milestone of the year – the rezoning of the Stanmore property. It’s no small feat.

What does it mean?

The bulk of the land once zoned “open space” means nothing could be built on it. For the first time, the entire Stanmore property can be redeveloped into mixed use residential commercial precinct. This has significantly raised the value of the land.

With a decrease in the Cyprus Club’s debt to asset ratio, roll out of necessary repairs and upgrades, the Club has achieved unenviable benchmarks to offer range of services, events, functions, cultural and education activities and recognition from our neighbours, RSL, government, public and private institutions.

We are a volunteer-based organisation.

In a time-poor age, it’s comforting to see that there are people with views, ideas, something to say, who also have something to contribute and make the effort to help their community.

Helping with repairs to help organise events, it’s the volunteers who quietly, without fanfare or glory, turn up and lend a hand.

The Cyprus Community is the last of the great Greek organisations which offer full set of services from Greek language and dancing schools, to a soccer club and kafenia. We should all be proud that we have kept our pioneer’s vision alive, even in such challenging times.

The Community’s traditional Christmas Fair on Saturday, December 16 was bigger this year with over 30 stalls, music rides and much more, plus Santa Clause arrived with the compliments of Marrickville Fire Brigade – an event that should not be missed.

Cypriot community visited the annual Christmas Markets

Members, children and grandchildren were photographed with Santa and his helper and received gifts, Santa’s blessing and a word of advice for the coming year.

Our famous New Year’s Eve Dance is also bigger than ever. Bookings are essential.

As we review 2023, we must not forget the coming year commemorates 50 long years of foreign occupation. For 50 years, refugees have been waiting to go home, over 1,000 waiting to find out the fate of their missing relatives and friends.

The region has become even more volatile, challenges Cyprus faces can only motivate us to rededicate our efforts to support a just outcome for Cyprus.

We wish all our members, their families, supporters, volunteers, teachers, coaches, managers parents and directors of our Soccer Club, to the members of Justice for Cyprus Committee (SEKA), the Heritage and ANZAC Subcommittees, and to our members, friends, patrons, sponsors, financial supporters, all the best for the festive season and a healthy, happy, peaceful and progressive 2024.

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