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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 25 April 2015
NEWS 6 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 25 APRIL 2015 Australian nurses, Anzac centenary honoured in Adelaide THEODORA MAIOS As part of the Anzac Centenary celebrations, the Organisation Of Hellene and Hellene-Cypriot Women of Australia (SA) OEEGASA gathered to pay tribute to Australian nurses who served during the Gallipoli campaign. The event, held last Sunday 19 April at The Army Keswick Barracks, welcomed 100 guests to commemorate Matron Grace Wilson and her group of 130 Australian nurses, who looked after the Australian soldiers on the Greek island of Lemnos 100 years ago. "These heroic women, having endured unspeakable hardships during the Gallipoli campaign, returned to their home in the absence of any recognition of their services to Australia," explains Ms Petula Columbus, secretary of OEEGASA. Memories were stirred with the laying of Remembrance Wreaths and a minute of silence. Keynote guest speaker, Major Christopher Roe, manager of the Army Museum of South Australia (AMOSA), mesmerised the audience with powerful stories and visuals of the Gallipoli struggle and reiterated the importance of the strategic alliances of Australia and Lemnos with Gallipoli. He also mentioned the arrival of Matron Grace Wilson on 9 August 1915 with 130 Australian nurses. There were also some poignant stories of family and relationships surrounding some of the military personnel of the time. A toast was proposed to honour Mary King, a World War 2 Nurse and all the nurses. "Sister Olive Haynes, an Anzac nurse from Adelaide, would have been delighted to know that she and the other nurses were no longer 'invisible heroes', as a slide show containing dozens of authentic photos from their Lemnos tour of duty brought these heroic women to life together with all the dreadful conditions and primitive resources that they had to endure," adds Ms Colombus. Some of the guests also enjoyed a tour of the Army Museum of SA, where currently a special exhibit depicting the Australian nurses on Lemnos is currently on display. "It was a very special occasion that made us all feel very proud, and as Lieutenant General David Morrison, Chief of Army of the Australian Defence Force pointed out, ‘we ought to acknowledge and honour the roles of our Australian sisters in war at this very unique ANZAC Centenary event’,” concludes Ms Columbus. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM A little piece of Greece on the Western Australian coast St John the Theologian Church, on Wallcliffe Road at the entrance to the township, is a little piece of Greece on the Western Australian coast. It was built by Geoffrey Edwards as a permanent reminder of the debt of gratitude owed to the Cretan people by the Allied soldiers who fought on Crete during the war. The church was completed in 1979. There is a plaque on the building which explains: ‘This symbolic Greek Orthodox chapel was given to the Greek people by Geoff and Beryl Edwards who founded the adjoining village and named it Prevelly as a token of gratitude to the Prevelly Monastry and surrounding villages on Crete, where after the Battle of Crete in 1941 the founder and hundreds of Australian and New Zealand and British soldiers were sheltered, hidden and helped to escape to the free world.’ In August 1941, Geoffrey Edwards of Armadale, Western Australia, was evacuated from Crete on the HMS Thrasher, and vowed never to forget the Greek people and, in particular, the monks of the Holy Monastery of Preveli for saving his and other Allied troops lives from the 2/11th Infantry Battalion during the Battle of Crete. The monastery was a rallying point at the time for British, New Zealand and Australian soldiers who escaped from prisoner of war camps. After Edwards escaped cap- The church of St John the Theologian on the hill above Prevelly. ture, a shepherd led him to the safety of the Preveli cloisters, which overlooked the Libyan Sea, from where he was later liberated. Determined to memorialise his experiences in Crete, he began construction on the Saint John the Theologian chapel at Prevelly Park over 35 years after his escape, dedicating it to the Greek people as a token of his gratitude, especially Agathangelos Lagouvardos, the head monk of the Preveli Monastery and the many villagers from surrounding areas who did so much for Allied servicemen during that time. It stands as a permanent monument to remind those who visit, regardless of ethnic background, of the debt and gratitude owed to the Cretan people by the allied soldiers who fought during the Battle of Crete. Ioannides pays tribute to Anzac nurses of Lemnos To help commemorate the anniversary of the centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign and Battle of Çanakkale, Women in War opera composer Tassos Ioannides visited the WWI Military Cemetery in Portianou village in Lemnos. He was joined by family members of the iconic Anzac nurse, Matron Grace Wilson of the third Australian General Hospital on Lemnos. In further recognition of the important role that women played during the war, Lemnian nurses participated in the Centenary Commemoration march at Mudros, paying tribute to the determination and fortitude of the nurses who served on the island. With Women in War set to commence its previews during the month of July in Greece, Turkey and Aus- tralia, during Ioaninides' recent visit down under, the Australian cast and crew gathered in Melbourne for an Aussie style BBQ get together. The Australian cast and crew are scheduled to travel to Greece in June, where they will meet up with their Turkish and Greek colleagues for intensive preparation and rehearsal for the opera. The Australian cast and crew of Women in War: Composer Tassos Ioannides (C) with his daughter and actress Artemis Ioannides (his left), along with librettist Deborah Parsons (his right) and director Alkinos Tsilimidos (R). Lemnian nurses taking part in the Centenary Commemoration march at Mudros. Tassos Ioannides with family members of Anzac nurse Matron Grace Wilson at the third Australian General Hospital on Lemnos.
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