Daily Archives: February 25, 2014

Mixed marriages on the up


The marriage of Felix Neighbour and Eugenia Tsimilis at St Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Church Prospect in 2006,

Divorce rates in our community increase.

More than half the marriages conducted in Greek Orthodox churches in Victoria were mixed, says the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. In 2012, of the 580 weddings conducted by the Archdiocese, 322 of those were mixed.

The figures also showed a significant drop in marriages conducted in Greek Orthodox churches in Melbourne. 935 marriages were registered in Greek Orthodox churches in Victoria in 2002, showing nearly a 50 per cent drop in church weddings. This could be due to inter-communal but also to wider societal and demographic changes that result in marriages being conducted in civil services and ceremonies. 455 of these marriages in 2002 were mixed. Greek Australians could be steering towards services and ceremonies due to mixed cultural marriages, but also a break away from religious services.

Australians of Italian descent are the biggest ethnic group that Greek Australians are looking for when choosing their life partner, followed by Anglo-Saxons, then smaller ethnic groups, said the Archdiocese.

Divorce rates amongst members of our community have also increased. In 2011, 600 marriages were conducted in churches in Melbourne and of those, 96 ended in divorce. However, the church says this rate may be higher, taking into account the Archdiocese only issues divorce certificates for Greek Australians wishing to remarry in the church.

source: Neos Kosmos

Vale Basil Hayler


One of nature’s gentlemen. Basil Hayler holding a commemorative plaque presented to him by the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand in 2011. PHOTO: TOM ANDRONAS.

RAN Battle of Greece and Crete veteran passes away.

One of the last survivors of the WWII cruiser HMAS Perth – the Royal Australian Navy warship that played a major role in the Greek and Crete campaigns of WWII and which was eventually sunk by the Japanese – has died. Basil Hayler passed away at his home in Ferntree Gully, Victoria on Monday. He was 92. Basil George Hayler was born in Werribee, Victoria in 1921 after his family had emigrated to Australia from England in 1911.

There he grew up with his four siblings – Edward, Lily, Maud and Esther – on a ten-acre soldier settlement site given to his father Edward for his service in France during WWI.

In 1938 Basil enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy, aged 16. In March 1941 the Perth took part in the deployment of Allied forces to Greece, making two voyages with troops from Alexandria to Piraeus.

He would recount years later that whilst on shore leave, standing on the Acropolis, he witnessed the German bombing of Piraeus harbour as the Nazi invasion of Greece unfolded.

After playing a significant part in the Battle of Cape Matapan – where Allied forces destroyed five Italian battleships – by late April 1941 HMAS Perth was evacuating Allied troops from the mainland, taking off troops from Porto Rafti and Tolos.

In May, the Perth took part in the evacuation from Crete. Having picked up 1188 troops from Sfakia on May 29, as it made its way to Alexandria it was subject to repeated enemy attacks. One bomb which penetrated the boiler room killed 13 crew and passengers.

Basil and his ship made it to Alexandria. Shortly after he was transferred to HMAS Stuart which was deployed on ‘the spud run’ – ferrying vital supplies to the besieged Allied forces in Tobruk.

The move to the Stuart was fateful. In March 1942 HMAS Perth was sunk by the Japanese in the Battle of Sunda Strait with the loss of more than 340 lives. In May 1944 whilst on leave in Australia, he married Pauline Kirkham, who he had known since childhood. Two children followed: Julie – born in 1946, who tragically died in a car accident in 1998, and Dianne, born in 1948.

After leaving the Navy in 1951, in civvy street he became an electrician and eventually ran his own electrical business. He also started a lily nursery which blossomed into one of the most successful wholesale lily nurseries in Australia, exporting worldwide.

In 1957 Basil was one of the founders of the HMAS Perth Association and became its president for many years. Also president of the HMAS Hawkesbury Association, he was an active and hugely popular member of Boronia RSL sub branch, the Rats of Tobruk Association and the Australian Lilium Society. In the late 1980s Basil and Pauline left Melbourne to travel Australia and eventually settled in Tweed Heads. Pauline passed away in 1993.

Basil returned to Melbourne 12 years later to live in Ferntree Gully, where he was able to spend cherished time with his seven grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

Basil Hayler’s funeral takes place at 10.00 am on Wednesday 26 February, Le Pine, Burwood Highway, Ferntree Gully, VIC.

source: Neos Kosmos

Diaspora Concert Series continues


The second instalment of the hugely successful ‘Diaspora Concert Series’, Diaspora II will be showcased, featuring songs and influences from the whole Mediterranean.

The second instalment in the hugely successful ‘Diaspora Concert Series’, Diaspora II will be showcased, featuring songs and influences from the whole Mediterranean, in an event entitled A Night of Mediterranean passion.

Created to express and reflect the emotions and memories of the collective diaspora, the concert Diaspora II has a resonating Mediterranean love theme, and features Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and Greek songs about love and passion. The songs have been especially arranged for this performance, and combine traditional and classical string instruments, vocalists and talented instrumental soloists.

The Diaspora Concert Series is the triumph of Apostolos Sanoulis, Musical and Artistic Director, a graduate of the renowned Musicians Institute of Hollywood, California. Expect to be exulted and enchanted by a truly unique musical experience.

Tickets are $78.75 and are available for direct purchase at www.ticketebo.com.au/diaspora2

When: Friday 28 February and Saturday 1 March Where: The John Inverarity Drama & Music Centre, Hale School, Perth To register your interest and for more information, contact George Georgiou on 0417 402 517 or email philmo@iinet.net.au

source: Neos Kosmos

Mildura church committee questioned over sexism


Woman claims she was denied committee membership because of her gender.

A Greek woman in the Victorian town of Mildura has taken the local Orthodox Church committee to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), arguing her application to join the committee was rejected because of her gender.

Maria Bakopoulos says her application to join the 30 plus member committee was unfairly dismissed and internal pleas to review the decision fell on deaf ears.

She says the lack of communication and wiggle room from the community on the matter pushed her to eventually get a hearing heard by VCAT last Thursday.

Based on the church’s constitution, everyone is free to apply to become a financial member but approval rests at the committee’s discretion. Bill Stamation, a financial committee member who fronted the tribunal, told Neos Kosmos the decision to reject Ms Bakopoulos’ application was “unanimous by the committee” and was not “based on gender”.

He declined a number of times to say what exactly contributed to the application’s rejection to Neos Kosmos. The committee took the same stance at the tribunal, saying they do not need to disclose the reasoning behind the decision.

Out of the 30 plus financial committee members currently elected, not one is female.

Mr Stamation says he hasn’t received an application from a female member of the Greek community because he believes they are happy being a part of the philoptochos women’s society of Mildura.

The women’s society has no say in how the committee spends its funds or what they do with their property. Ms Bakopoulos was compelled to become a financial committee member after she was denied access to the church for her father’s memorial, which she had booked months in advance.

She says they argued there was no one available to open the church and hall because the committee was too busy preparing for a paniyri at the time. “Let me become a member of the committee and I will open it if it’s just a technicality,” Ms Bakopoulos remembers telling Bill Stamation when the incident happened.

She says he said to her “No, no, no way, you can’t open it and I’ll let you know about it.”

“It was just the usual round the bush,” she tells Neos Kosmos.

Ms Bakopoulos had to travel more than 100km to the nearest Orthodox Church in South Australia to have her late father’s six month memorial.

She was told by family not to take the matter further lest the committee choose to close the church again at the year anniversary of her father’s death. “If they’ve done this then they will not let us have a funeral or something,” she says.

Despite the church in Mildura not having a permanent parish priest, it gets by from a roster of travelling nearby priests who fill big dates and when they’re needed for baptisms, weddings and funerals.

Ms Bakopoulos says she had a priest organised and ready for her father’s memorial dates, but the committee wouldn’t budge in opening the church. For anyone trying to get in contact with the church, its number listed on the Greek Orthodox parish directory is not connected and the phone number listed for its hall rings out.

Ms Bakopoulos was told the committee would be in touch but that never happened.

“It’s a closed shop… [they] never advertised about meetings,” she says.

“I feel like they’ve locked us out for too long.

“Enough is enough, it’s about time that we progressed with the times.”

At the tribunal last week, Ms Bakopoulos says many members of the Greek community of Mildura packed the room to support her. The tribunal will release a final ruling in the coming months.

source: Neos Kosmos


Teaching the Greek Australian history


Astoria Cafe, Newcastle, NSW, late 1940s. The Greek Australian presence in small businesses is part of the history of the community and of the wider national history of Australia.

The need to teach our own Greek Australian history in all schools offering Greek as a subject.

With another school year having just started, the education issues of concern to students, parents and teachers are clearly many and pressing, on a national, state and community level. These issues are requiring mass support for progressive policies, at least as legislated for by the Gillard government, if the benefits of education are not to bypass and leave behind the great majority of children who cannot afford to buy one.

The current national debate and fight, if you like, as to new and regressive reforms proposed by the Abbott government strikes at the very heart of what kind of an education system and human society we need and deserve. What is taught at schools and how well funded or otherwise schools are is a subject of never ending concern, of social and class politics, about which Greek Australians cannot afford to be silent.

In their great majority, children of Greek Australian descent attend government schools which the Abbott government is trying to further disadvantage in comparison to their favourite private schools. Greek is taught to a minority and declining number of state schools, after hours community, church and private schools and a handful of Greek Community and church colleges. As is often and correctly stated, the viability of Greek and other community languages depends above all on the integration of these languages in the curriculum and their teaching in the child’s day school.

In this short article I wish to raise the question of when the last time was that there has been a thorough review of what is taught in the Greek classes in all these schools.

How relevant the Greek curriculum is to children born and raised in Australia with Greek being a second or even ‘foreign’ language. I know of many attempts over the years to address these issues with some good outcomes, assisted by diasporic and local Greek academics.

However, in none of these reviews and subsequent publication there has been any significant reference to Greek Australian history, the struggles for settlement, social justice, language, cultural maintenance and the fight against racism.

This sense and knowledge of history, made in fact by people, organisations and movements, many during our lifetime, is so obviously invaluable to knowing and reinforcing our distinct presence in Australia, our involvement in the nation’s affairs, in the creation and development of Greek Australian Communities and the flourishing of multiculturalism.

The Greek Australian Communities, as the largest and democratic Greek Australian institutions, should lead in the undertaking of such review, assisted by Greek Australian historians, academics, teachers, other experts, and representatives of the education authorities. Funding should be sought from state and the federal governments. Not long ago, the state governments of South Australia and Victoria jointly funded the production of learning materials by local teachers for the teaching of Greek in schools.

But even without such funding I am sure there will be qualified people from within our own communities to volunteer for this review to include, among other changes, what is missing most – the Greek Australian history in the teaching of Greek, a task only we in Australia can and should undertake. I am certainly willing to assist.

*George Zangalis is a former trade unionist.

source: Neos Kosmos

Police probe Golden Dawn member


Candidate said to have addressed Cretan party rally where MP did Nazi salute.

The Greek Police has launched an internal investigation following reports that a police officer on the island of Crete is to stand as a candidate on the ticket of neofascist Golden Dawn in local authority elections in May, reports said Monday.

The candidate, who was not named, addressed a party gathering on Sunday at the port of Hersonissos, according to local reports. Televised footage from the event has been given to a prosecutor.

The same event was attended by Golden Dawn MP Michalis Arvanitis who used a Nazi salute to greet party supporters. The incident caused an uproar on social media but Arvanitis responded that the salute was an ancient Greek gesture, not a Nazi one, as party officials have insisted in the past.

The party is to run under the name National Dawn in the elections as nine of its MPs already face criminal charges and the remaining nine are to be charged with forming a criminal organization.

Party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, one of the nine MPs already charged with membership of a criminal organization, was present at the Hersonissos event along with other MPs.

In a related development, it emerged that the evidence collected by magistrates to support their request for the parliamentary immunity of the remaining nine GD MPs to be lifted contains testimony from a former party member who claims he was stabbed several times last year after quitting the group.

source: Neos Kosmos

Ο Αυστραλός πρωθυπουργός γλέντησε και πάλι Ελληνικά


Για δεύτερη φορά μέσα σε τρεις μήνες ο Αυστραλός πρωθυπουργός, Τόνι Άμποτ, βρέθηκε σε εκδήλωση Ελλήνων της Αυστραλίας.

Μετά την παρουσία του στο Φεστιβάλ «Αντίποδες» της Μελβούρνης ο κ. Άμποτ έκανε σήμερα την επίσημη έναρξη του Ελληνικού Φεστιβάλ του Σίδνεϊ στο Darling Harbour.

Εκτιμάται ότι δεκάδες χιλιάδες άτομα πέρασαν από την διήμερη εκδήλωση που έγινε στο κέντρο της πόλης.

Η μεγαλύτερη πόλη της Αυστραλίας ντύθηκε στα γαλανόλευκα και έζησε ένα έντονο ελληνικό Σαββατοκύριακο.

Το πρόγραμμα περιελάμβανε πληθώρα μουσικοχορευτικών εκδηλώσεων, περιπτέρων, γεύσεων και πολλών άλλων ενώ τραγούδησε και η γνωστή ερμηνεύτρια Κωνσταντίνα.

Τον αρχηγό της αξιωματικής ομοσπονδιακής αντιπολίτευσης εκπροσώπησε ο Τόνι Μπερκ ενώ παρευρέθηκαν ακόμα ο ομογενής υφυπουργός Οικονομικών Αθανάσιος Συνοδινός και ο Φιλελεύθερος βουλευτής, Ν. Βαρβαρής.

Τον πολιτειακό πρωθυπουργό της Νέας Νότιας Ουαλίας, εκπροσώπησε ο γερουσιαστής Ντέϊβιντ Κλαρκ ενώ παρευρέθηκε και ο αρχηγός του Εργατικού κόμματος Τζον Ρόμπερτσον και η ομογενής γερουσιαστής Σοφία Κότση.

Μεταξύ των προσκεκλημένων ήταν ο ομογενής υπουργός Πολυπολιτισμού της Βικτώριας, Κυριάκος Γκολντ, ο Τζακξ Πασσαρής που εκπροσώπησε τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο κ. Στυλιανό, πολλοί δήμαρχοι και δημοτικοί σύμβουλοι.

Το Ελληνικό Φεστιβάλ Σίδνεϊ, το οποίο φθάνει τα 32 του χρόνια, οργανώνεται από την Ελληνική Κοινότητα.

Στο φετινό πρόγραμμα μπορεί κανείς να ξεχωρίσει τις εκδηλώσεις για τα 400 χρόνια από το θάνατο του Δομήνικου Θεοτοκόπουλου (Ελ Γκρέκο), τη δραματοποίηση της δίκης του Σωκράτη, την παρουσίαση βιβλίου για τον Καβάφη, την ομιλία για τον Ερρίκο Σλήμαν, την παρουσίαση έρευνας για τις ελληνικές παροικίες σε χώρες από την Αλβανία μέχρι και την Ουκρανία και πολλές άλλες εκδηλώσεις.

Άξιο αναφοράς είναι ότι και η φετινή διοργάνωση περιλαμβάνει συμπράξεις με άλλους φορείς, ομογενειακούς και μη, όπως είναι το Πανεπιστήμιο του Σίδνεϊ, το Μουσείο Nicholson, το Πανεπιστήμιο Macquarie, το Λύκειο Ελληνίδων, το Αυστραλιανό Κέντρο Μελετών Αρχαίας Νομισματολογίας και άλλους οργανισμούς.

Πηγή: greekreporter.gr

Τρόμος στον αέρα: Φωτιά σε αεροσκάφος που μετέφερε και Ελληνες


Σε αναγκαστική προσγείωση αναγκάστηκε να προχωρήσει πιλότος της Etihad τη Δευτέρα το βράδυ κατά τη διάρκεια της πτήσης απο τη Μελβούρνης στο Abu Dhubi, όταν εντοπίστηκε φωτιά σε δύο τουαλέτες.

Στο αεροσκάφος επέβαιναν και ορισμένοι Έλληνες καθ’ οδόν προς την Αθήνα.
Μετά την εξονυχιστική εξέταση το αεροσκάφος με τους τρομοκρατημένους επιβάτες συνέχισε την πτήση του, δύο ώρες όμως πριν την προγραμματισμένη προσγείωση, και παρά τα δρακόντεια μέτρα, εντοπίστηκε και τρίτη φωτιά σε μια από τις πίσω τουαλέτες του αεροπλάνου.
Στενή παρακολούθηση των επιβατών που χρησιμοποιούσαν τις τουαλέτες, οδήγησε στο να κρατηθούν δώδεκα επιβάτες μεταξύ των οποίων τέσσερις Αυστραλοί οι οποίοι, αργότερα αφέθηκαν ελεύθεροι και τελικά μία εικοσάχρονη να είναι η πλέον ύποπτη και να κρατείται για περαιτέρω ανάκριση.

Πηγή: greekreporter.gr

Μειώνονται οι γάμοι των ομογενών, αυξάνονται οι μικτοί


Ο θεσμός του γάμου φαίνεται πως κλονίζεται και στις τάξεις της ομογένειας, ακολουθώντας τις γενικότερες τάσεις της αυστραλιανής κοινωνίας.

Σύμφωνα με τελευταία στοιχεία της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής οι γάμοι που τελέστηκαν στις ελληνορθόδοξες εκκλησίες της Μελβούρνης παρουσίασαν μείωση 50% την τελευταία δεκαετία.

Συγκεκριμένα το 2002 έγιναν 935 γάμοι σε ελληνικές εκκλησίες της Μελβούρνης και το 2012 περιορίστηκαν στους 580.

Ένα ποσοστό άνω του 60% απ’ αυτούς ήταν μικτοί, ενώ το 2002 οι μικτοί γάμοι ήταν κάτω του 50% (455). Άτομα ελληνικής καταγωγής που δεν παντρεύονται με ομογενείς επιλέγουν πρωτίστως άτομα ιταλικής καταγωγής για να παντρευτούν και ακολουθούν αγγλοσάξωνες και στη συνέχεια άλλες εθνότητες.

Πηγή: greekreporter.gr

Qantas set to cut 5000 jobs: report


Qantas is set to axe up to 5000 jobs in response to massive financial losses.

The airline is also reportedly trying to sell the lease on its terminal at Melbourne Airport.

Qantas is expected to post a loss of up to $300 million for the first half of the 2013/14 financial year when it announces its financial results on Thursday.

Job cuts, previously forecast to be 2000, are now expected to be closer to 5000, News Corp Australia reported on Monday.

It said 1500 of those jobs could come from the executive and support divisions of the Qantas group, and a large number of jobs would be abolished by the end of March.

Final job numbers could change before Thursday, the report says.

The airline has also reportedly been negotiating to sell the long-term lease for its Melbourne Airport terminal.

Sources at the airline said negotiations relating to the future of Qantas’ Melbourne lease are continuing.

Qantas last week denied market speculation it was planning to cut up to 3000 jobs, as well as shed overseas routes.

source: news.ninemsn.com.au