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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 September 2015
NEWS 8 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 SEPTEMBER 2015 GOCSA shows solidarity with firefighters Community delivers $5000 for Country Fire Service Foundation THEODORA MAIOS The Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia organised an event this week to show its support towards the Country Fire Service Foundation (CFS), following the catastrophic bushfires which destroyed areas east of Adelaide earlier this year. The January bushfires resulted in more than 20,000 hectares being burnt in the Adelaide Hills area. The CFS is an independent body that provides financial assistance to CFS volunteers and their families who have suffered death, injury or loss whilst in the line of duty. Bill Gonis, president of GOCSA, who instigated a funding campaign in March to assist CFS said: "The critical aspects of the bushfire, the resources mobilised, and the human personnel that have the Community unified was invaluable," said Ms Davis Minister Piccolo said that the Community's gesture to collect money for fire victims was an important one which portrayed a spirit of solidarity to fellow South Australians. "One thing we do well in Australia is that we display an immediate willingness to reach out to support people who have been affected during emergencies," he said. "It doesn't matter whether Tony Piccolo, SA Minister for Emergency Services (L) with Bill Gonis, president of the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia. were required to extinguish it, made us think that, as a community, we had to help in some way." GOCSA presented a $5,000 donation at the Community's premises, which was raised through a 'radiothon' conducted during the Greek programs on community radio station 5EBI FM. Dignitaries attending the ceremony included SA Minister for Emergency Services Tony Piccolo, Andreas Gouras, Consul General of Greece in SA, Grace Portole- si, chairperson of the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission and Greg Nettleton, chief officer of the SA Country Fire Service. CFS executive officer Elizabeth Davis, who accepted the cheque from president Bill Gonis, thanked the community for the generous donation, which she said was beyond expectation. "We were literally inundated by people interested in providing help when the bushfires broke out and to your members have donated one dollar, $100 or $10,000. What's significant is that your Community has considered that some of your fellow citizens have an absolute need," the minister concluded. It's not the first time that GOCSA has found funds for victims of natural disaster. In 2007, $127,000 was raised, also through a radiothon, and a contribution from the South Australian government for the victims of the deadly bushfires in Ilia, Greece in August of that year. GOCSA wishes to extend its gratitude to radio station 5EBI FM for making the CFS radiothon possible. Dancers impress the crowds at Parramatta. Macquarie marks Greek association anniversary Vasilis Georgio’s memory honoured as university celebrates 30 years of MUGA BILLY COTSIS Before the advent of Greek party nights, it was student associations across the country that led the way in promoting Greek culture and kefi to those in the 18- to 25-yearold bracket. Whether it was the NUGAS groups in Victoria, Adelaide and Perth, or the NSW societies, you could be guaranteed that from the 1980s onward, somewhere in Australia on any given week, one of these groups would be holding an event. A prominent and indeed, at one stage, one of the biggest societies in Australia, MUGA (Macquarie University Greek Association) recently celebrated three decades with an anniversary ball at the plush Westin Hotel in Sydney last weekend. MUGA was the creation of the late and inspirational academic Vasilis Georgiou, who established Modern Greek Studies at the university in 1984. Sadly, he passed away 11 years later, at a time when the studies program was booming and the society he created had reached 1,500 members. It would peak at 2,500 members by the late 1990s. The society was a pioneering organisation, raising funds for the program by holding an array of cultural events such as Greek language theatre performances, Greek dancing and lectures. MUGA ran candidates at student elections, promoted Modern Greek in schools, and organised sellout parties (one of which at- The Greek Orthodox Parish and Community of Parramatta proudly celebrated tradition with its annual Let's Go Greek Festival. Over the years the festival has become western Sydney's premier Greek cultural event. Delicious authentic Greek food spanning 60 market stalls awaited locals and tourists, who were able to snack on souvlaki, loukoumades, baklava ice-cream, and an array of unusual Greek delicacies. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Parramatta goes Greek Stars from Greece and Greek Australian acts were there to entertain the audience, along with several traditional dance groups making the most of the music. The festival was also equipped with carnival rides for all ages and children's entertainment including face painting, farm animals and science shows. The highlight of the weekend was a spectacular display of fireworks at the closing ceremony. Hundreds gathered to enjoy traditional Greek dance performances in western Sydney. Standing proud: Macquarie University Greek Association. tracted 1,400 guests. The society also holds the national record for the most students ever to participate in a cruise (750). This week's ball was a celebration of all these achievements and more. Two hundred people attended, including NSW Consul General for Greece Dr Stavros Kyrimis and a host of state MPs of Greek heritage (Sophie Cotsis, Steven Kamper and Nicolas Varvaris). Theo Premetis and George Lianos, who led the establishment of Modern Greek Studies at the university through the creation of a trust from the 1980s, also attended. The trust, which raised $1 million, established a permanent school for the universi- ty's Greek Studies program. MUGA president Anastasia Papayioryiou told Neos Kosmos that the ball was a "celebration of who we are and how MUGA represents us. MUGA has been a way for Greek Australian students at Macquarie University to celebrate their heritage". "We've achieved this by organising traditional taver- na nights, having kafe with friends, and by sharing our food, culture and traditions with the wider Macquarie University community." The vision of Vasilis Georgiou is alive and well at Macquarie, and whilst he is no longer with us, his spirit lives on through the current and future students representing MUGA.
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