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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 29 September 2018
NEWS 8 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Western Australia’s Hellenic Association celebrates 100th anniversary To mark the occasion, a book by Dr John Yiannakis has been released narrating the club’s history and growth through the ages ALEX ANYFANTIS Last Saturday 22 September the Hellenic Association of Western Australia held a special event at their headquarters in Perth for the commemoration of the 100 years since the day of its founding. As part of the celebration, a new book tentatively titled Enosis was launched at the event, written by historian Dr John Yiannakis. Speaking to Neos Kosmos, Dr Yiannakis said that when he was initially approached by a member of the club a few years back to do the story as a form of tribute, he was surprised to find out how much there was behind it: "When I started, I didn't realise how much there would be to tell, I thought I would come up with something that's 10,000 to 20,000 words long; and it ended up being over 30,000 words long, because there's a lot to tell." Talking about the days that led to the founding of the Hellenic Association, Dr Yiannakis paints a picture of a much more bleak Australia, one that isn't as accepting to people from foreign cultures as it is today and where migrants would find themselves being isolated and as a result of this, left dealing with loneliness and nostalgia. "When we're talking a hundred years ago, this was very much a British outpost," he explains. "A hundred years ago, Billy Hughes was the prime minister, World War One hadn't ended and Charlie Chaplin was just emerging as a big Hollywood star. These were very different times and the attitude towards people who were non-AngloSaxon in particular was that of suspicion. Speaking your language in public was not acceptable; foods, customs, One hundred years since the club’s founding, celebrated with a showing of traditional Greek dances. those sorts of things weren't easily available either. So a place like the Association provided sanctuary from a hostile environment where you had the opportunity to speak your language, engage in social practices and customs from the old country, whether that was drinking Greek coffee or having yoghurt." As the years went by, the Hellenic Association found other ways to contribute towards the community and assimilate itself into the society of Western Australia, organising fundraisers for the Red Cross, the institute for Dr John Yiannakis’ new book Enosis. PHOTOS: HELLENIC ASSOCIATION CLUB WA the blind, or the war victims in Greece. "They actually were very conscious of making sure they held a positive public profile," Dr Yiannakis says. Now the current leadership of the Association is trying to redefine the role of the organisation within the community. "It's still got the role where older Greeks still go there, play backgammon, play cards and so on, but they also have 'taverna nights' that are open to the general public. So you go in there, have a Greek meal, a Greek experience once a week and that seems to be going very well for them," says Dr Yiannakis. "They're opening themselves up to not just Greeks hiring the venue, trying to run themselves in a more business, commercial sort of manner. But at the same time, still trying to engage with the Greek community by having singers and DJs come across from over east, trying to appeal to a younger Greek Australian audience." If you would like to read more about the Hellenic Association of Western Australia, you can purchase Dr John Yiannakis' new book ‘Enosis’ by calling (08) 9328 6681 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org THI Australia gives helping hand to remote Greek islands A grant of $50,000 was given in support of an Axion Hellas project, providing medical assistance to residents of Volissos (Chios) and Psara The Hellenic Initiative (THI) Australia teamed up with Axion Hellas to support the provision of medical assistance to residents of remote Greek islands, during a visit of volunteer doctors and nurses to Psara and the village Volissos in Chios last week. A total of $50,000 was donated by THI Australia to the program run by Axion Hellas, aiming to provide preventive and specialised medical care for patients living far from big urban centres. "The Hellenic Initiative Australia is proud to support the work of Axion Hellas in providing medical care to isolated and disadvantaged com- During their five-day visit to the islands, the medical team set up temporary clinics where patients could be attended to by specialist doctors, nurses, and other health professionals including a nutritionist, a physiotherapist, an optometrist, as well as dentists for check-ups. It is estimated that over 600 people benefited from expert medical attention. munities. "Residents of these remote areas, the majority of them elderly, face challenges ac- cessing basic health care and specialist medical support," said the president of THI Australia, Nicholas Pappas. Manasis’ annual dance a two-day glendi Melbourne audiences were treated to a two-day glendi last weekend, filled with performances and live music at Manasis School of Greek Dance and Culture’s annual dinner dance. Hundreds turned out to see students from as young as three on the stage of the Stars International venue in Preston, where the event was held. For the first time, the event was split over two days to better facilitate the growing support from families and guests over the last few years. Seniors and adults per- formed on Saturday night, while Sunday afternoon was the time for younger students, from juniors and beginners through to intermediates to shine. Attendees enjoyed a fourcourse meal along with a non-stop entertainment program including Greek dance performances by students in traditional costumes, as well as presentations by special guest performers from the Morava Serbian Folk Dance Ensem- ble and Sydney-based Sizmos Greek Dance Company. The venue was filled with colour, dance and of course music from the expert in mixing traditional and modern Greek tunes DJ Chris, and a live band of guest musicians playing klarino, daoulia and gaida bagpipes. To top it all off, raffle draws gave away over $4,000 worth of prizes over both days. Kostas Deves' photos give us a snapshot of the crowdpleasing event. Joining the medical team in their mission was also the Greek Community of Melbourne’s president Bill Papastergiadis. "It was impressive to see how professional the set up for care for the villagers was. Even more impressive was the high-tech medical equipment which was brought along by the medical teams. They treated people on the spot with many complex issues being examined," Mr Papastergiadis said, offering praise for the hard work and professionalism he witnessed first-hand. "As Australians we are proud to be part of this program," he added. Overlooking the whole operation was Axion Hellas' president Vasilis Pateras, who thanked THI for their support, as well as other charities that contributed to the project. This is the second visit made since last year by the Axion Hellas medical team to Psara and Volissos (Chios), where patients often need to be transferred to the closest urban centre, Athens for specialised care. Established as a non-profit, with the mission of improving and promoting all aspects of life for vulnerable groups living in remote areas on Greek islands and the mainland, Axion Hellas organises regular volunteer visits to those communities providing medical assistance, improving local infrastructure and running cultural projects targeting all age groups.
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