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A Brief Outline of the History of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria

By Dr. Christos N. Fifis

In 2011 the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria (GOCMV) becomes 114 years old. The Community was established on 22 August 1897, in Melbourne, at the shop of Grigoris Matorikos, where a number of Greeks gathered to discuss the issue and bring over a priest from the Patriarchate of Jerusalem for the religious needs of themselves and those Arab speaking Orthodox people of Melbourne. Many people at the gathering promised various amounts, together with the promises of others who were unable to attend the meeting. The idea of the Community seems pre-existed since 1895 when a letter with some money was sent to the then Patriarch of Jerusalem Gerassimos, for sending a priest. The Greek born population of Victoria at that time was appr.200 and that of Melbourne, probably less than 150, most of them bachelors. There was no response from the Patriarchate in 1895. In 1897, Dorotheos Bakaliaros, an Archimandrite, visited Melbourne and Sydney and assisted for a while the Greek migrants, with their Church needs. Bakaliaros left at the end of June 1898 from Sydney for America.

The members of the Greek Community met again on 7 March 1898. elected a Community Council (CC) and wrote again to the Patriarchate. This time their effort was successful, the Patriarch accepted their appeal and sent Father Athanasios Kantopoulos who arrived in Melbourne on 22 June 1898, whom the members of the Greek community welcomed with “indescribable joy” (Community Minutes). The next task for the Community was the collection of money for the building of a church. In September 1898 a new General Meeting (GM) decided unanimously to collect money to buy an appropriate block of land for erecting a Community church which they should “put it under the protection of the free corner of the Greek nation” (Community minutes). By July 1899 the money collected was £125. The Committee negotiated the present sight of Evangelismos at £600 for which the collection was paid plus a loan provided by the three executive members of the Committee, Grigorios Matorikos, Alexandros Maniakis and Antonios J. J.. Lekatsas, (160 pounds each). The Foundation stone of the church was laid on 19 December 1900 (6 December with the Old Julian Calendar) in the presence of local authorities, and was completed by 1902.

The Community Annual General Meeting (AGM) of 30 June 1901 elected a new Community Council (CC) and Alexandros Maniakis as the Community’s first president. In 1902 a conflict had arisen between the CC and the priest Father Kantopoulos who wanted to register the church as property of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, making an alliance with the Orthodox Arabic speaking Syrians. The CC opposed this decisively. It called a Special General Meeting (SGM) on 31 August 1902 attended by 105 members. The meeting passed unanimously a Constitution, named the Church of Greece as the Community’s spiritual head and elected a Board of three trustees, Alexander Maniakis, Antonios J. J. Lekatsas and Grigorios Matorikos, and declared the church as property of the Greek Community of Melbourne. The unanimous passing of the Constitution, the recognition of the Church of Greece as the Community’s spiritual head and the unanimous election of the three trustees, indicate a complete concurrence of the Community’s rank and file against a possible alliance of the priest with the Syrian congregation.

 

In 1906 the new elected president was Antonios Lekatsas who remained in the presidency for ten continuous years. In August 1916 the elected president was Grigorios Matorikos who resigned in December and for the period 1916-18 the presidency was held by Constantinos Mavrokephalos Black.

In 1906 the Community, after a series of Bulgarian attacks which caused many Greek victims in Macedonia, organized an appeal, collected the amount of £187 and sent it to the Greek Minister for Finance, with a letter stating “for reorganization and building a well trained army and navy (…) to enable us in the near future to be able to fight effectively against our multiple enemies” (Community minutes). In 1912, after the declaration of the First Balkan war, the Greek Community called a public meeting, collected money and sent to the Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos £2,472 ffor the assistance of the Greek national struggle. In 1916 the Community started celebrating the Greek National Day of 25th of March and in 1922 decided to take steps to establish a Greek afternoon school which started operating in 1923. At that time there were few married couples, very few Greek women in the Greek community and consequently very few school age children.

 

 

This is a brief introduction of the beginnings of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria. Due to space considerations I propose to give a list of important Community events from its inceptions to recent years and a Table showing all presidents and the years of their presidency.

 

Appendix I 

Chronology of important Community Events

 

(In this Chronology of events some important events are noted in the history of the Community or some general ones which had some impact on the Community or the general Greek community)

 

1829.  29 August 1829 Arrival in Sydney of seven Greek convicts –the first known Greeks that arrived in Australia. They were former seamen who participated in the Greek Revolution of 1821-1828. They had been arrested by the British and convicted for piracy, in Malta in 1828, after their search on an English ship for war materials.

1851-1862. The Gold rushes in Australia and especially in Victoria contributed to the arrival of a small number of Greeks, mainly seamen.

1895. 5 August 1895. Letter and a cheque by leaders of the Greek community of Melbourne to the Patriarch of Jerousalem Gerassimos asking for the sending of a priest.

1897. June 1897 – Nov. 1897     Visit of the Greeks of Melbourne by a visiting priest, the Archmandrite Dorotheos Bakaliaros.

22 August 1897. First recorded minutes of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne.

1898. 7 March 1898.       General Meeting of Community members and election of a Community Council ‘to take steps to bring over a priest’.

8 March 1898. A letter by the newly elected Community Council to the Patriarch of Jerousalem Damianos asking for the sending of a priest. The Patriarch agreed to send the priest Father Athanasios Kantopoulos.

22 June 1898. Arrival in Melbourne of the priest Athanasios Kantopoulos.

September 1898. A General Meeting of the Community members decided the search for a block of land to build a church. which should be set ‘under the protection of the free corner of the Greek nation’.

July 1899. Purchase of a block of land in Victoria Street, East Melbourne, for £600 for erecting the church Evangelismos – ‘The Annunciation of our Lady’.

19 December 1900. (6 December with the Old Julian Calendar). A ceremony for the foundation of the church of Evangelismos in Victoria Street, East Melbourne.

30 June 1901. A General Meeting by Community members and election of a new Community Council (CC). Election of the Zantian merchant, importer of Greek currants, Alexandros B. Maniakis as the first president of the Community.

31 August 1902. An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of 105 members voted unanimously for the first Constitution of the Community. Grigorios Matorikos, Antonios J. J. Lekatsas and A, B, Maniakis were elected unanimously trustees of the property of the Community.

August 1903. The Holy Synod of Greece after long discussions and consultations with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem decided to send to the Community of Melbourne the Archimandrite Nikandros Betinis. Arrival of the latter to Melbourne.

1906. 4 February 1906    A General Meeting attended by 60 members. Election of a new CC. The Ithacan Antonios J. J. Lekatsas was elected as the new president (1906-1916, 1918-1921, and 1922-1923). The Community organised a financial appeal and collected and sent £187 to the Greek Minister for Financial Affairs for a contribution to the fund of the Greek National Navy.

October 1912. The Greek Community, with the commencement of the Balkan War against Turkey, organised a financial appeal and sent to the Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos £2,450 for strengthening the Greek National Defence.

1913. Organisation of financial appeals for the assistance of the injured and orphans of the wars in Greece.

1914. Appointment of A. B. Maniakis as Honorary Consul of Greece in Melbourne (1914-1921 and 1923 – 1930).

1916. January 1916. Payment off of the loan for the building of the church of Evangelismos. Creation of the Ithacan Association ‘Ullyses’. Creation of the Pan-Hellenic Association ‘Orpheus’.

8 August 1916. Election of Grigorios Matorikos to the presidency of the Community. He resigned in December 1916.

December 1916. Election of Constantinos Mavrokephalos - Black to the presidency of the Community (1916 -1918).

3 January 1918. Re-election of Antonios J. J. Lekatsas to the presidency and of the Samiot Nikolaos Kontoyannis as vice president.

 

1921 

20 January 1921.    Election of Dr Constantinos Kyriazopoulos as president of the Community. However, a week later he resigned.

February 1921. The Samiot Dimitrios Mavrouidis was elected to the presidency.

17 February 1921. Economic problems of the Community. A joint meeting of the CC with the Boards of the Orpheus and Ulysses Associations was called to find to consider some solution. One proposal was the dissolving of the two association and the creation of a strong Community. Aristotelis Papalexandrou stressed at the meeting the more general role of the Community. No decisions were agreed.

24 August 1921. Replacement of A. B. Maniakis as Honorary Consul of Greece in Melbourne by Dr Constantinos Kyriazopoulos (24/8/1921 – 10/1/1923).

 

1922

January 1922. Arrival of the Cephalonian Archimandrite Eirinaios Kassimatis as the new priest of Evngelismos.

20 February 1922. A General Meeting of the Community. A speech to GM by Father Eirinaios in which he proposed the creation of a School ‘for developing the Greek sentiment’. Election of a School Committee.

7 June 1922. Resignation of Dimitrios Mavrouidis and re-election of A. J. J. Lekatsas to the presidency.

 

1923. Replacement of Dr C. Kyriazopoulos by A. B. Maniakis as the Honorary Consul of Greece in Melbourne. Appointment of Antonios J. J. Lekatsas as Honorary Consul General in Sydney (1923–1926). The Samiot Pythagoras Hatzimichael succeeded A.J. J. Lekatsas in the presidency.

November 1923. Establishment of an After- hours Greek School in Melbourne in a room of the Ithacan Association ‘Ulysses’. The Community undertook the payment of the teacher Miss Maina.

 

1924                     

7 April 1924   A letter of the CC to the Greek Orthodox Community of Sydney expressed its reservations for the creation of a Holy Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Australia (mainly for reasons of inability of the small Greek-Australian community to support the expense of a Metropolis).

September 1924. Arrival of the Metropolitan Christophoros Knitis from Perth and Adelaide on his way to Sydney. On 18 September he presided over a broad meeting for the unification of the three Greek Melbourne organisations. No decision was reached.

12 October 1924. An episode at Evangelismos between the Metropolitan Knitis and the Archimandrite E. Kassimatis. Kassimatis was punished by the Metropolitan with indefinite suspension. Knitis undertook the duties of the priest of Evangelismos till the arrival of the Constantinopolitan priest Christophoros Dimopoulos several months later.

10 November 1924. Election of the Samiot businessman Nikolaos Kontoyannis as president (1924-1928) and (1932-1934) and of Aristotelis Papalexandrou as the secretary).

 

1924 – 1928          Community strife between the Ithacans and the CC which consisted mainly by Samiots of a pro-Metropolitan alliance.

2 November 1925 Community elections and re-election of the pro-Metropolitan Samiots. Re-election of Nikolaos Kontoyannis to the presidency.

 

1926.

April 1926. Recall of the Metropolitan Knitis by the Patriarchate.

June 1926. Re-appointment of Knitis by the Patriarchate as the Orthodox Metropolitan of Australia.

November 1926. Establishment of the newspaper Hellenic Herald in Sydney.

 

1927                     

30 January 1927 Extraordinary General Meeting of the Community. The Community faced an administrative and financial impasse.

4 February 1927. Second recall of Knitis by the Patriarchate.

1928 – 1932 The Archimandrite Theophylaktos D. Papathsnassopoulos was appointed to act as the Patriarchate’s representative in Australia.

 

1928                     

8 April 1928. Administrative deadlock faced by the Community. Father Dimopoulos, the priest of Evangelismos took the initiative to call an Extraordinary General Meeting. It was attended by 90 members and decided to elect an Interim CC (1928-1930) with the aim to improve the financial situation and to vote a new Constitution. Marinos Lekatsas, brother of A. J. J. Lekatsas was elected president of the Interim CC (1928).

July 1928.  Departure of Knitis from Australia. His last liturgy at Evangelismos caused a controversy.

14 October 1928.  A Community Special General Meeting voted a new Constitution.

20 November 1928. Resignation of Marinos Lekatsas. Election of Ioannis Florias to the presidency (1928-1930).

 

1929. Establishment of the Greek Educational League of Melbourne under the presidency of Andreas A. Nicolaedes. Creation of an after-hours afternoon Greek School.

 

1930                     

10 August 1930 Special General Meeting. Correction amendments to the Constitution suggested by the Court were passed.

October 1930. Angelos Lekatsas was elected president of the Community (1930-1932, 1934 – 1940, and 1949 -1952).

April 1931. Appointment of Antonios J. J. Lekatsas as Honorary Consul of Greece in Melbourne.

 

1932                     

March 1932. The Community faced economic problems. After an early election, N. Kontoyannis was elected again to the presidency (1932-1934).

July 1932.  Arrival in Perth of the second Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Australia Timotheos Evangelinidis (1932-1947).

September 1932. Appointment of the Archimandrite Theophylaktos D. Papathanassopoulos as the rector of Evangelismos (1932-1947)

 

1934 

5 August 1934. At the Annual General Meeting Nikiforos Lekatsas proposed that women be given the right of full membership.

19 September 1934. Re-election of Angelos Lekatsas to the presidency. Nikiforos Lekatsas, as president of the Election Committee, stressed to the newly elected CC the importance of his proposal of giving full membership rights to women. However, the new CC postponed taking any decision for implementation of the proposal.

27 September 1934. Creation of an Appeals Committee for church renovations.

1935. Establishment of the Greek Workers League ‘Dimokritos’ in Melbourne. Creation of an Interim School Committee of the Greek Educational League’s School to prepare school rules and guidelines. The Interim School Committee was led by Andreas A. Nicolaides. Renovation works at Evangelismos. The church was opened again to the public on Christmas Day 1935.

1936. Establishment by I. Panayiotopoulos of the newspaper Phos in Melbourne. Setting up of the Annual Community Dance Grecian Ball.

 

1938                     

March 1938. Creation of the Community School under the title ‘Greek Educational Establishment of Victoria’.

25 September 1938. A Special General Meeting voted for the change of the title of the Community to ‘Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria’.

 

23 April 1939. Booing of the Greek Consul General in Sydney Emmanuel Vryzakis at the ‘Orpheus’ Hall, during a celebration activity for King George II’ s name day.

 

1940                     

1 February. Amagalmation of the two schools, that of the Educational League and that of the Community under the administration of the Community. Alexandra Vrachna was appointed Director of the new Community School. The Community membership fee was 10 shillings and was decided half of it to go to the School fund.

It was decided the Community to celebrate the 40 years since the building of Evangelismos but finally the idea was abandoned because of the War.

 

In October Spiros Raftopoulos Balatsikos was elected president (1940-1941). He resigned in December 1941.

 

January 1942. Election of Thesseas Marmaras as President of the Community (1942-1946, 1952-1954).

1944. The AGM of 10 September 1944 decided to accept the proposal of President Marmaras for the purchase of Illura House, 324 St. Kilda Rd, at the price of ₤16,000.

 

1946

March 1946 Resignation of Th. Marmaras. Election of Gerassimos Mavrokephalos to the presidency (1946).

August 1946. Death of the Honrary Concul and ex-Community President A. J. J. Lekatsas. Appointment of Andreas A. Nicoalaides as Honorary Greek Consul in Melbourne.

September 1946. Election at the AGM of Dr Haralambos Paroulakis as one of the three trustees of the Community. Election of Dr. H. Parouakis as the President of the Community (1946-1949).

 

1947. Transferral of the Metropolitan Timotheos to Rhodes, Greece.
Appointment of the Archmandrite Theophylaktos D. Papathanssopoulos as the Metropolitan of Australia and New Zealand.
The organizing of a Pan-Community Congress in Melbourne.
Voting at SGM of a revised Constitution of the Community and making the Community a registered organization.

1948.

Dismissal of Andreas Nicolaides from his Honorary Consul position for ‘pro-Left tendencies’.

13 June 1948. Enthronement in Sydney of the Metropolitan Theophylaktos D. Papathanassopoulos.

November 1948. Elections and their invalidation.

 

March 1949. Elections and re-election of Angelos Lekatsas to the presidency (1949-1952).

26 August 1951    At the AGM the granting of full membership to women was discussed but failed to get a majority support.
It was decided the number of members of the CC to be increased from 11 to 15.
It was decided the membership fee to be increased from 10 shillings to £1.

 

1952

18 February 1952. The CC decided the dissolving of the Athletic team ‘Olympiakos’ because it had shown signs of pro-Left tendencies’. It was decided the Community to create a new athletic Association.

24 August 1952. The AGM discussed the issue of granting full membership rights to women and passed the motion Elections. Thesseas Marmaras was re-elected to the presidency.

 

1953                     

25 May 1953. A letter by Papadakis, the Greek General Consul in Sydney asked for the assistance of the CC in measures to counteract the infiltration of the Communist propaganda to the migrant hostels in Bonengilla.

26 October 1953. A letter by Papadakis, the Greek General Consul in Sydney asked for the need of the Community ‘to verify the political beliefs of appointed priests and teaching staff’.

 

1954. Elections. Election of Vasilis Logothetis as President of the Community (1954-1956).

14 September 1956. Election of Dimitrios Elefantis as President of the Community (1956 – 1959) and 1962 – 1972).

1956. The Olympic Games of Melbourne. Community organised functions for the Greek Olympic Team.

 

1957                     

February 1957. Establishment of the Greek language newspaper Neos Kosmos in Melbourne. The newspaper was established initially by members of the Greek-Left as a collective venture.

1957. The Archimandrite Ierotheos Kourtessis appointed in Evangelismos. He opposed many CC decisions and caused constant strife between the Community and the leadership of the Church.

 

1958

June 1958. The First Pan-Community Congress was held in Sydney. It decided the creation of the Federation of the Greek Orthodox Communities of Australia. Theophylaktos and the Metropolis opposed the holding of the Congress and the creation of the Federation of the Communities.

31 July 1958. Fateful injury of the Metropolitan Theophylaktos in a car accident in Melbourne. He died in hospital two days later.

August 1958. Arrival in Melbourne of the Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain Athinagoras for Theophylaktos’ funeral. Athinagoras remained in Australia as the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate till the end of December 1958. He was critical of the independent role of the Communities and of Theophylaktos who had accepted it and prepared the ground for the creation of Parish Communities dominated by the Church.

December 1958. The Community election was invalidated by the Court.

 

1959

22 February 1959. Community elections.

March 1959. Vasilios Logothetis was re-elected to the presidency (1959 – 1962).

April 1959. Arrival to Australia from USA of the new Metropolitan Ezekiel Tsoukalas.
Purchase by the Community of the Tower Hotel in Lonsdale Street, for £33,000. The building was to be renovated and be used for a Community Centre.

September 1959. Upgrading of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and New Zealand to Archdiocese.

 

1960.

Severance of relations between the Community of Adelaide and the Archdiocese.

September 1960. Excommunication of D. Elefantis and 10 councillors of the Community of Adelaide, by the Archdiocese.

 

1961                     

May 1961. Abrogation of the excommunications by the Archdiocese.

September 1961. Launching of the Greek Community Centre in Lonsdale Street.

 

1962

January 1962. Replacement of Vasilis Logothetis by the CC. Re-election to the presidency of Dimitrios Elefantis (1962 – 1972).
Establishment of the newspaper Ta Nea, in Melbourne by Stathis Vlassopoulos.

September 1962. Severance of relations between the Community and the Archdiocese.

 

1964. The Federation of the Greek Orthodox Communities bring to Australia Fotios Koumidis, ex-Metropolitan of Pafos, Cyprus, to head their own independent church.

1965. The Fotios Church leadership failed. He left for USA in October.

1966. The Federation of the Communities and the Community express a wish for a settlement of the Church dispute. President Dimitrios Elefantis, Constantinos Koutoupes and Plutarchos Deliyannis visited Athens in March 1966, on behalf of the Federation and the Community, and had consultations with the Greek Prime Minister S. Stefanopoulos and leaders of the political parties on the Church problems in Australia.

Dec. 1966. Retirement of the head-teacher Alexandra Vrachna with an honorary pension from the Community.

 

1967

April 1967. Imposition of military Dictatorship in Greece.
Creation of the Committee for the Restoration of Democracy in Greece (EADE), in Melbourne.

 

1968. Moves for negotiations for solving the Church dispute in Australia. In March, Archbishop Ezekiel and D. Elefantis as the President of the Community and the Federation of the Communities were invited by the Patriarchate to Constantiniple for talks. Archbishop Ezekiel resigned at the end of the negotiations putting reasons of health.
The Patriarchate appointed the Metropolitan Iakovos as its Exarch in Australia who continued the negotiations.

 

1969.

Iakovos failed to reach an agreement with the defected Communities.
Ezekiel’s friends were pressing the Patriarchate for his re-appointment although some of his opponents in the Archdiocese were objecting strongly.

August 1969. Re-appointment of Ezekiel as the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Australia.

September 1969. Departure of the Exarch Iakovos, arrival of Ezekiel.

 

1970

The negotiations of the Communities with Ezekiel for a settlement of the dispute continue.

November 1970. Only the Community of Melbourne was still negotiating a settlement with Ezekiel. Ezekiel sent a letter to Elefantis and the CC offering a settlement of the dispute if this is approved by a Community GM.

13 December 1970. A SGM of the members of the Community accepted the terms of the Archbishop’s letter.

 

1972                     

March 1972. Visit to Australia by Mikis Theodorakis.

Greation of the Australian-Greek Welfare Society (AGWS).

September 1972. Elefantis lost at the Community election.

Andreas Skrinis was elected to the presidency (1972-1976).

 

1973.

Greek Consul Balsamas Rallis booed at the Melbourne Swimming pool as he was entering for the celebrations organized by the Community for the Greek national day, 25th of March.

June 1973. Expression of solidarity of the Community towards the FORD strikers.

30 September 1973. Setting up an Alexandra Vrachna prize for students.

5 November 1973. The Grecian Ball held for the assistance of the Community Schools under the auspices of the Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
The Community provided office space to the Greek Students and Gratuates Association.

 

1974                     

March 1974. Visit to Australia by Andreas Papandreou, leader of the resistance organization PAK.
Transferral of Ezekiel to a titular See. Departure for Greece.

 

1975

February 1975. Appoinment of Stylianos Harkianakis as the new Archbishop of Australia.

26 March 1975. Celebration of the Greek National Day organized by the Greek and Cypriot Communities at Festival Hall, attended by the Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam.
Participation of the Community in the activities of the Greek Cultural Week.

 

November 1976. Elections. Christos Mourikis was elected to the presidency (1976-1979). For the first time there were two women elected to the CC, Despina Michou - Jones and Mary Papalouka.

 

1977                     

August 1977. The CC organised celebrations for the 80 years of the Community. A special Community Album was issued with articles, historical information and photos. At a commemorative seminar the invited keynote speaker was Professor Charles Moskos, from Chicago, USA.

September 1977. The AGM voted unanimously Dimitrios Elefantis Honorary President for his services to the Community.

 

15 November 1978. AGM. There were objections to the manner of electing the Election Committee. The Court ordered a new General Meeting for the election of an Election Committee.

 

1979

March 1979. Community election and defeat of the Mourikis’ ticket. Dr Dimitrios Ktenas was elected to the presidency (1979-1983) and 1988 – 1990).

September 1979. The educationalist Costas Yiamiadakis proposed the establishment of a Community day-school but failed to get the support of the majority.

 

November 1983. The CC replaced Dr Ktenas with Savas Papasavas to the presidency (1983-1988).

November 1984. Community elections. Savas Papasavas re-elected to the presidency.

1985 Submission by the Community plans to the Doncaster Municipality for building at the Templestowe Community property a church , a school and a Community Centre. The plans were rejected.
Creation of the Federation of Greek Communities of Melbourne and Victoria. The Archdiocese counteracting created the pro-Archdiocesan Communities and Parishes Union.

 

1987

The CC organized celebratons for the commemoration of the Community’s 90th year. Issue of a special Community Album with articles, information and photos.
Creation of the Festival Antipodes by the Community.

November 1987. The Annual General Meeting approved the purchase of the land and buildings of the Parade College at Alphington for establishing a Community day-school.

 

1988 

Establishment of the Community Alphington Grammar School.

December 1988. Community election. The ticket of Papasavas defeated. Ktenas was re-elected to the presidency 1988 – 1990.

The first issue faced by Ktanas CC was the finding of a large loan for the purchase, establishment and operation of the Alphington Grammar School. The CC after long discussions decided to continue with the school.

 

December 1990. Community elections. George Fountas was elected president of the Community (1990 – 2008).

1992 – 1994. The Community faced huge financial problems due its large debt for the loan for the purchase and operation of the school and the sudden steep increases of the rate of interest.

1993. The bank appointed a financial administrator. He did not allow the elections of 1993.
Eventually the National Bank of Australia, due to some irregularities in issuing the loan and to the general financial difficulties in the economy, agreed to reduce the loan by almost half to $4.75m.

1994. George Fountas travelled to Greece to ask for the chance of a better loan. Thanks to some of his political friends he managed to get from the National Bank of Greece a loan of $4.75m. with much better terms and to repay the National Bank of Australia. The loan was guaranteed by the Greek Government. Eventually it was never paid back in full.
George Fountas’ ticket won the election of 1994.

1997. The CC organized celebration activities for the 100 years of the Community and issued a commemorative Community Album with articles, information and photos.

1997 -2005. Fountas’ ticket won the elections of 2,000 and 2,003 amid protests of the opposition for alleged irregularities.

2006. The election of 10 December 2006 was controversial for a number of alleged mishandlings. Out of the three tickets which contested the election no one had a clear majority of councilors. Fountas wanted the election invalidated and called on 4 March 2007 a Special General Meeting to vote for the invalidation. However, the SGM attended by about 600 members voted against the proposal by 307 who voted against the proposal to 249 who voted for the invalidation.
Fountas was re-elected to the presidency.

2008. At the meeting of 21 January 2008 one of Fountas councilors voted with the opposition and George Fountas was replaced in the presidency by Vasilis Papastergiadis (2008 -)

2010. At the elections held on 17 January 2010 Vasilis Papastergiadis was re-elected to the presidency.


Appendix II

The Presidents of the Community, 1901 – 2009

 

Administrative Committee  1897 – 1901

 

1.      Alexandros B. Maniakis

1901-1906

2.      Antonios J. J. Lekatsas

1906-1916, 1918-1921, 1922-1923

3.      Grigorios Matorikos           

Sept. 1916-Dec. 1916

4.      Constantinos Mavrokephalos – Black

1916-1918

5.      Constantinos Kyriazopoulos

Jan.1921-February 1921

6.      Dimitrios Mavrouidis

1921-1922

7.      Pythagoras Hatzimichael      

1923-1924

8.      Nikolaos Kontoyannis

1924-1928, 1932-1934

9.      Marinos Lekatsas

April 1928-October 1928

10.    Ioannis Florias

1928-1930

11.    Angelos Lekatsas

1930-1932, 1934-1940, 1949-1952

12.    Spyros Raftopoulos Balatsikos

1940-1941

13.    Thesseas Marmaras

1942-1946, 1952-1954

14.    Gerassimos Mavrokephalos

April 1946-October 1946

15.    Haralambos Paroulakis

1946-1949

16.    Vasilios Logothetis

1954-1956, 1959-1962

17.    Dimitrios Elefantis

1956-1959, 1962-1972

18.    Andreas Skrinis

1972-1976

19.    Christos Mourikis

1976-1979

20.    Dimitrios Ktenas

1979-1983, 1988-1990

21.    Savas Papasavas

1983-1988

22.    George Fountas

1990-2008

23.    Vasilios Papastergiadis

2008-

 

(Dr Christos N. Fifis is Honorary Research Associate, School of Historical and European Studies, La Trobe University. The topic of his doctoral thesis was: Navigating through the Generations. A History of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria, 1897-2008, La Trobe University, 2009).

 

Sources

Community minutes, 1897 – 2010.

Tsounis, M. P., Greek Communities in Australia, PH. D. Thesis, University of Adelaide, 1971.

Fifis, C. N., Navigating through the Generations. A History of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria, 1897-2008, Ph. D. Thesis, La Trobe University, 2009.

Newspapers: Ethnikon Vima (Sydney), Panellinios Kyrix (Sydney), Phos (Melbourne), Afstraloellen (Melbourne), Neos Kosmos (Melbourne), Pyrsos (Melbourne), Ta Nea (Melbourne).

 
Alphington Grammar Koinotika Nea - the Greek Community newsletter Requirements for Greek Citizenship

 

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