Macedonian Hellenes’ story unveiled

Macedonian Hellenes' story unveiled

Professor Anastasios Tamis speaking during the launch of Macedonian Hellenes in Oceania. Photos: Mike Sweet.

Professor Anastasios Tamis’ latest work is a memorial to Macedonian Hellenes in Australia, and a touchstone for future generations.

Fittingly, it was Greek National Day that saw over 500 people join community leaders at the Nick Andrianakos Cultural Centre, Melbourne, to take part in the much-anticipated launch of Professor Anastasios Tamis’ latest publication Macedonian Hellenes in Oceania.

The book, which details the story of migration from Macedonia to Australia in the 20th century, has been six years in the making, and is the result of the author’s intensive research into family records and the archives of Macedonian Hellenic diaspora organisations.

Joining Professor Tamis at the event, dignitaries included Speaker of the Victorian Parliament Telmo Languiller, GOCMV’s president Bill Papastergiadis, Dimitris Minas, president of the Pan Macedonian Association of Melbourne and Victoria, and arguably the state’s pre-eminent Philhellene – former state premier Jeff Kennett – who as guest of honour, formally launched the publication.

Mr Kennett, who as premier in the early 1990s was a staunch advocate for Greece’s position on the FYROM naming issue, said that Professor Tamis’ book was a vital reference point for future generations.

“This is an investment not in the past, but in the future,” he said.

“This book is about each of us in society understanding each other. It’s about having a level of tolerance, which is as good here in Victoria as it is anywhere else in the world.”

Mr Kennett said that the book’s publication in English was very significant, enabling those beyond the Greek community to understand the history of the Macedonian Hellenic diaspora in Australia.

“This is not just a book of record, this is a book of hope. I see it as a moment when there is a new line in the sand.”

In his speech, Professor Tamis said his motivation to write the book had come from “the necessity to honour pioneer Macedonian Greek immigrants and their children”.

In great detail, the 592-page book charts the personal stories of scores of Macedonian Hellene families – the challenges they faced, the contributions they made to their adopted country, and the social and economic context in which they lived.

The author’s research for the book also delves into the causes and continuation of inter-ethnic conflict thrown up by ‘the Macedonian dilemma’.

Professor Tamis said the issue at stake was not one of “an imagined and/or invented ethnicity” but an “aggressive nationalism”.

“To dare naming your airports and enriching your capital with shrines and monuments belonging to another nation constitutes a fallacious defilement,” he said, before adding that to maintain “exclusively for your own group the shared geographical term of Macedonia is incompatibly artificial and irrationally pseudonymous”.

Published and printed in Thessaloniki by Tziolas Publishing, Macedonian Hellenes in Oceania is available from the Pan-Macedonian Association of Melbourne and Victoria, which funded the publication’s three-year research phase.

The book’s sponsors include the Benevolent Brotherhood of Men of Thessaloniki, the Australian Institute for Macedonian Studies, A. and M. Efkarpidis, G. Kitharidis, A. and C. Tsoulias, the Bank of Cyprus, the Philanthropic Association of Kastorians O Grammos, the Philanthropic Association of Chalkidians Aristotelis O Stagitrtis, Serraion Society, Pempieriki Broththerhood O Olympos and the Philanthropic Association of Kozani O Lassanis.

source: Neos Kosmos


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