The tower begins
Diatribe: Ted Ballieu addresses the Greek Community about the famous Tower project
Big Ted surveyed the room with a wide sweeping, but penetrating gaze, as if he was peering directly through his audience and off into the future. "I want to pay tribute to those people whose names are listed on the wall.
It was their ambition and vision that has led us to this day. They built for the future." The august Premier was of course, referring to the past presidents of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria and as he mentioned the fact that the aforementioned organisation is 110 years old, and is thus, one of the oldest Victorian institutions, a shudder of excitement passed through the audience.
Ted Baillieu's subsequent remark, that the Greek community of Victoria has its origins in the Goldfields and that there would be not a few Greeks today who would relish the opportunity to go gold prospecting largely went unnoticed by the adoring crowd, though it was apt, hinting at one of the guiding ideologies behind our community.
The occasion of the Premier's speech a week or so ago, was the Victorian government's announcement that it would provide the GOCMV with the sum of two million dollars for the construction of the Hellenic Cultural Centre on the site of its current building - a project that has both inspired and caused controversy among sections of our community.
Ted Baillieu took particular pains to extract from GOCMV president Bill Papastergiadis, an undertaking that the current antiquated lift, whose arrival is always uncertain (rumour has it that bearded and stunted deposed GOCMV board members are exiled in the lift well and raise and lower the lift by an intricate system of pulleys), shall be retained in the new Cultural Centre, for historical purposes.
I should like to obtain a similar undertaking with regard to the period wood panelling that adorns the foyer of the building. As a throwback to the eighties, it is truly sublime. Ted Baillieu also repeatedly and pointedly stressed his desire that the new edifice be constructed "sooner, rather than later". He stated this in the same breath as his assertion that the Greek community serves as a model to others.
And as opposed to the usual tribute talk we have come to expect from various politicians, one gained the distinct impression that Ted Baillieu meant every word he said. Through his words, and the very act of funding the Centre, it is evident that the Greek community has come of age. We are both partners and stakeholders in the state's commitment to constructing a multicultural society and the provision of such a large amount of funds makes us an instrument in furthering that commitment, simply because our manifold activities and vibrant presence in this state have proven that we are more than capable of doing so.
Ted Baillieu's official announcement was thus a great and proud day for the Greek community. It was also a great and proud day for Bill Papastergiadis, GOCMV president, who in his short time at the helm of our most ancient organisation has guided it safely through the shoals of discord and seen it rise in the esteem of the broader community and the state and who has imbued within it, a sense of optimism and vision.
Ted Baillieu's panegyric to founding fathers possessed of vision and who built for the future applies equally to Bill Papastergiadis and it was thus fitting that such a panegyric was delivered in his presence given that unlike those founding fathers, he belongs to the second generation - a generation that for the most part has not been able to find a successful or viable foothold within the framework of Greek community politics.
His achievement proves that a committed second generation, adept at navigating seamlessly between the Greek and English speaking communities, can glean from these the opportunities and privileges to be enjoyed from both and use these for the greater benefit of all.
It is hoped that his sterling work in gaining the esteem of the mainstream and injecting impetus and a sense of mission back into the GOCMV will convince other aspiring second generation and third generation Greek Australians that the Greek community is not a mere quagmire of internecine strife and navel-gazers but rather, an inspiring and endless field of collective action, that is multifaceted and inclusive enough to cater for a multiplicity of interests and concerns.
Similarly, it is hoped that Bill Papastergiadis' and his board members' efforts will convince the first generation that the emancipation of the second generation is well overdue. After all, it is supposedly largely for their benefit that the Cultural Centre has been conceived in the first place. The official announcement of the Baillieu government's $2 million contribution to the erection of the Cultural Centre is also a clarion call and rallying cry for further action.
Having the resources of the government behind us and the Premier's "sooner rather than later" injunction ringing in our ears, we are now committed to the speedy construction of the centre. There is absolutely no further room for prevarication, debate or even focus on other unnecessary and divisive interests and pursuits. Victoria expects us to keep our word and as a united community we need to invest all our energy and resources into ensuring that this project is effected.
- Register Now
- Eurovision 2013: The kitsch and the high notes
- Kewell dumped by Al Gharafa
- Greeks abroad may help Greece and Cyprus recovery
- Lora Mokbel farewelled
- Director Oliver Stone wishes Tsipras 'good luck'
- Migration intake stays the same
- Triple header match day with Belmore United
- Greek Australian women talk: how to make a succesful career?
- Heristanidis shortlisted for NSW Premier's Literary Award
- Battle of Crete Anniversary to be commemorated at Cenotaph
- 8 May 2013 | 12 Votes
- 15 May 2013 | 9 Votes
- 3 May 2013 | 8 Votes
- 8 May 2013 | 8 Votes
- 13 May 2013 | 7 Votes
- 24 Apr 2013 | 6 Votes
More from this Section
- When the pillars are shaken
- National language survival
- A personal observation
- Economic assassins
- Cypriot tax haven spoils long gone
- The bookstore of the hearth
- How Greece's once-mighty Pasok party fell from grace
- Germany: The ruler of 'New Europe' - would it qualify?
- Revolution unblinkered
The World Conference of Expatriate Physicians and Bioscientists of Greece and Cyprus held in Paphos, Cyprus
Harry Kewell's hope to be picked for the Socceroos squad is in doubt
Sooner or later, community indifference and the plurality of other options will place our language's existence within the National Curriculum in jeopardy
Whincup claimed a comfortable victory in the second race
Troika could be taken to court for not complying with their own laws
Nine units in Athens and Thessaloniki only have adequate methadone for program members for another week
This hearty dish is perfect for the cold nights of fasting before Easter.
Known as Heracleion to the ancient Greeks the town lies 9 meters down the Mediterranean ocean
This soup is a must for the Easter table
In this week's column, Mark Bouris discusses how women's retirement plans are derailed when they get divorced
Coming off his first sold-out Australian tour in 2012, the popular Greek singer is branching out to his far away fans and will bring a new, more energetic show.
A lecture on Ancient Greek jewellery 'Mycenaean to Hellenistic' will be on this Wednesday at the Greek Community Centre in South Brisbane
Sentences between 25 and six years were given to 16 men found guilty of involvement in an ambush against police officers in Zoniana
Greek basketball great Nick Galis honoured by his club Aris
Wellington Phoenix striker Jeremy Brockie will play for Major League Soccer club Toronto FC
Nick Dallas sits down with former radio broadcaster and community activist Kostas Karamarkos to talk Greek politics, the crisis and the worsening state of the Eurozone
Dr Peter Kambouris says a new generation of robots can transform Australia's manufacturing sector and create safer, more efficient
Greek Aus WWII, Korea and Vietnam veterans mark Anzac Day