On Friday the 24th of March the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) presented their 2nd Grecian Ball in a row at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne. Attendees were also able to enjoy Eleftheria’s Arvanitaki beautiful performance.
The opening act was Cats and the Canary, the band covered well-known Greek songs, as guests enjoyed their songs. Those 280 guests gathered at the Park Hyatt were also celebrating the sense of a community coming together and celebrating a very important double day in the Greek calendar. The War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire and the Annunciation by Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary.
During the event, 3 guests were pleasantly surprised as they had to look under their seat to find the lucky ticket in order to win three domestic flights from Sky Express.
Amongst the guests were many distinguished politicians, representatives of the media as well as the Consulate of Greece to Victoria Emmanuel Kakavelakis.
In his address, The Consul General said. My task is not easy tonight as I will deliver the message from the President of Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakelaropoulou “Dear fellow-Greeks I address to you today under the shadow of the tragedy at Tempi. Young people lost their lives full of hopes and dreams. A tragedy which shocked Greece as many families mourned their loss”.
“Today, we celebrate Greek Independence Day. The Revolution of 1821succeeded because of the passion, selflessness, and self-sacrifice of the many. It managed to transform this land from a province of the Ottoman Empire to a Western, democratic, free nation - to turn Greece into a modern state of law, in the core of a united Europe, a guarantor power of stability in the Southeast Mediterranean and the Balkans. I wish to each and every one health, success and prosperity."
Mr Kakavelakis continued” Please allow me to say a few words as well. I would like to congratulate the Greek Community of Melbourne and all the Greeks who participated in the parade, because of you this event was a great success. You can remove a Greek from Greece but you can’t remove the idea of Greece from Greeks”!
Mr Nick Staikos MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier rep. the Premier said “Starting with that wonderful Antipodes Festival recently and culminating in tomorrow's commemoration of Greek National Day, it is a time when we as Greeks in in Melbourne where the heart of the Greek diaspora beats loudest and proudest remember those who gave their lives for the freedom of the Greek people but also for the birth of the modern Hellenic Nation. It is also a time to celebrate our rich culture and on that note I would like to congratulate the Greek Orthodox community of Melbourne and the President Bill Papastergiadis for the wonderful Antipodes Festival and reaffirm our government’s commitment of making it bigger and better.
Mr Trung Luu MP, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs in his opening speech stated “It's a pleasure to be here tonight on the 2nd Grecian Ball. When I started writing this speech I had to reflect back to my childhood. Growing up in a very Greek dominated my best friends Dad said Vietnamese and us Greeks are very similar. At that time I didn’t what he meant but now I understand that the Independent freedom and the oppression the Greeks has gone through and the similarities on how we thrived in this nation. Congratulations to the Greek Community I do thank you so much on your contribution and we will continue to work together in Multicultural Affairs
The President of the GCM Bill Papastergiadis OAM, addressed the guests in his speech “Celebration of the Greek National Day is symbolic beyond the events that took place at a comparatively small European country 200 years ago. Its symbolism is one triumph and hope that is manifested in so many different ways in our everyday lives. Just the other day, its relevance was emphasized by way of correspondence I personally received from the President of the Ukrainian Greek Communities. It was a message of hope and struggle which k=acknowledged the heroic efforts of Greeks 200 years ago. I was fortunate being invited to speak at the Federation room at the Victorian parliament at a delegation of Ukrainian Members of Parliament and this message of hope from Ukraine formed the essential tenet of my address about Democratic Freedom being relevant in 1821, now and relevant across our Globe.
Also Bill Papastergiadis OAM, referred to the tragic events at Tempi “May we also send our thoughts out to Greece to the 57 souls who were lost at Tempi and we stand beside to all these families who lost their loved ones”.
Then, Eleftheria Arvanitaki took the stage. Her presence stunned the distinguished guests and left them wanting for more as she sang her popular songs.