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Greek-Australian Women and Welfare Advocacy in the 1970S

Greek-Australian Women and Welfare Advocacy in the 1970S

Dr. Alexandra Dellios, historian and Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies at the Australian National University, will present a lecture entitled Greek-Australian women and welfare advocacy in the 1970s, on Thursday 10 August, at 7pm, at the Greek Centre, as part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars

The seminar will investigate the significant contributions of Greek-Australian women to the field of social welfare during the transformative 1970s. As migrant and ethnic-minority communities demanded changes in the welfare system, these women emerged as pivotal figures in welfare rights, health interpretation, welfare work, and advocacy. Their dedicated efforts took place on the frontline of multicultural service delivery, addressing the previously neglected needs of migrant and non-English-speaking communities.

From positions within various organizations such as Greek Orthodox Communities, the Australian Greek Welfare Society, the Ecumenical Migrant Centre in Richmond, and state-funded multicultural information and health centers, these pioneering women played a crucial role in shaping the welfare landscape. The seminar will draw from archival work, personal testimonies, and oral histories, offering valuable insights into their experiences and challenges.

Dr. Alexandra Dellios, in her capacity as a distinguished historian, will explore various aspects of this history. Some of the questions she will address include:

  • What issues did they tackle in this period?
  • For example, what role did Anglo-Australian stereotypes from within the health, legal and social service systems play in how they navigated their clients’/community’s needs?
  • How did they operate within the evolving bureaucratic and discursive context of multiculturalism, first proposed in the early 1970s?
  • What new perspectives can these women provide to histories of migrant social service delivery and the welfare state in Australia?

The social and health issues they tackled were complex and, in many ways, remain prescient nearly fifty years since the introduction of a national multicultural policy, and state multicultural bureaucracies.

Dr. Alexandra Dellios is a historian and Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies at the Australian National University. Her expertise lies in cultural heritage management and oral history. She has published extensively on topics such as popular representations of multiculturalism, immigration centers and hostels, migrant, industrial, and labor heritage, as well as migrant public history practices.

When: Thursday 10 August 2023, 7 pm

How: Greek Centre (Mezzanine, 168 Lonsdale St., Melbourne)