Two fascinating lectures exploring Greek Australian experiences were recently presented at the Greek Centre as a part of the Greek history and Culture Seminars offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM).
On Wednesday Dr Konstandina Dounis from Monash University spoke about the experiences of young Greeks growing up in Australia during the 50’s,60’s and 70’s.
With a large part of the audience having grown up in that era, they were able to connect with Dr Dounis’s comments and observations, many of whom also shared their own personal experiences, making for an interesting evening.
All were in agreement that more needs to be done by all to ensure that this history is recorded and documented for future generations. Those present also acknowledged that the Dardalis Archives at La Trobe University play an important role, and are a true treasure for the community.
Meanwhile on Thursday evening, Con Vaitsas from Sydney spoke about the infamous Greek Social Security ‘scandal’ of the late 70’s. During this time, many Greeks were unfairly targeted, accused of “rorting” the system and subsequently subjected to unwarranted interrogation by the then Commonwealth Police, as well as the Department of Social Security.
After one of the longest legal trails in Australian history, it was found that they were not guilty of any fraud or misconduct. Unfortunately however the scars that resulted from those traumatic experiences remain until today.
“The committee responsible for the seminar series feel that is important to explore and present to a wider audience; our own history as Greek Australians,” said Theo Markos, GCM Vice President and member of the Committee of the Greek History and Culture Seminars.
“We need to highlight both our contribution and experiences, as well as the events that have moulded us as a community.”
Mr Markos added the GCM is proud of its close collaboration with the Greek Studies Program at La Trobe.
“We commend the efforts of its staff and particularly those of its Coordinator Dr Stephie Nikoloudis who works tirelessly to promote both Greek language and culture, not just to the students of La Trobe University but also to the wider student population of Victoria.”
The next lecture of the Dardalis Hellenic Archives Research Seminar Series will take place on Wednesday 18 September at the Greek Centre.