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Thessaloniki to name square after Melbourne

Vic Gov't thanks the Thessalonian Council for its ongoing commitment to promoting the sister-city relationship

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22 September 2017

Following an idea that was first suggested to the City of Thessaloniki by Melbourne's Thessaloniki Association The White Tower, Greece's second largest City Council has passed a resolution to name one of its squares after Melbourne.

Neos Kosmos had previously reported that the Executive of Thessaloniki City Council convened on 23 Aug 2016 to discuss a proposal by the Mayor Mr Y. Boutaris regarding the revamping and naming of a site in Melbourne's sister city, to honour the at the time 32 year old relationship.

Members of the Committee of the White Tower Association during the Presidency of Mr Paul Mavroudis OAM and Public Relations Officer Mr Iakovos Garivaldis OAM had approached Mr Yiannis Boutaris' Council several times.

After much deliberation the City Council unanimously decided to name the park in Anagennisis Street, in Thessaloniki (close to the port) "Melbourne Square".

"On behalf of the Victorian Government, I thank the City Council of Thessaloniki for its ongoing commitment to promoting even closer ties with our state," Premier Daniel Andrews enthused.

"I am delighted that the City Council of Thessaloniki has passed a resolution to name one of its town squares 'Melbourne Square'. Victorians are proud of our sister-city relationship with Thessaloniki, which spans 33 years. The City Council's decision to name one of its town squares after Melbourne reflects this close friendship.

"Victoria's long-standing and close relationship with Greece is underpinned by a proud diaspora and strong cultural ties. We are the home of Greek culture in the southern hemisphere and home to the largest Greek community outside of Greece," he stated.

Northcote-based Thessaloniki Association once again thanked the City of Thessaloniki Council, for its generosity that will further unite the two port cities on different parts of the world and "tell the visitor that there are Thessalonians in Australia and particularly in Melbourne who never forget their origin".

"[Melbourne Square] will tell the visitor that Australia is a beautiful country and Melbourne is a wonderful city, many times voted the most liveable city in the world; to tell the world that Greek-Australians are proud of the city they live in but never forget their heritage," the members of the association commented.

Speaking to Neos Kosmos, Bill Papastergiadis, President of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria agredd that this comes as "great news".

"Such announcements are vital to the broadening of the relationship between the two countries and cities. The announcement involves an acknowledgement of the shared history between the two sisters cities. Equally, the acknowledgment will act as a catalyst to the opening of a dialogue on the important places for both countries. Through this dialogue, research and exchanges can be developed. Congratulations to the President of the Thessaloniki Association and to the Mayor of Athens for this great announcement."

Meanwhile, MP for Oakleigh Steve Dimopoulos said that all melbers in his electorate and the Victorian parliament "are very delighted about this announcement and we believe it is extremely significant for the relationship between our two countries and our two cities."

Finally, member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos added that it was an honour to "join my colleagues Member for Oakleigh Steve Dimopoulos, Member for Narre Warren South Judith Graley and Member for Yuroke Ros Spence in Thessaloniki in July where we visited the site of Melbourne Square and met with the City Council", stressing that the square is an appropriate recognition that the heart of the Hellenic Diaspora beats loudest in Melbourne.

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