This year’s George Devine Treloar Memorial annual public commemorative event scheduled to be held on 8 September 2020 has been replaced. This event has been planned as the first of an annual event to be held every year on the anniversary of the unveiling of the Memorial in Ballarat’s Sturt Street last year.

The event has been planned to be held in public, at the Memorial in Ballarat, accompanied by speeches, a wreath-laying ceremony and performance of Pontian dancing, in recognition of the refugee work of Ballarat’s Major George Devine Treloar in assisting tens of thousands of Christian refugees re-settle in northern Greece following the Asia Minor catastrophe in the 1920’s.

The current COVID-19 public health restrictions have led to the cancellation of the public event and its replacement by an online Zoom event. The event will include key-note speeches as well as a laying of a single wreath by the former Mayor of Ballarat, Cr Samantha McIntosh, which will be shown as part of the Zoom event.

Ms Litsa Athanasiadis, the Director of the George Treloar Memorial Committee, will talk about the coming public release of the Committee’s latest work – a new documentary by film-maker Mr John Irwin telling the story of George Treloar and the Memorial. The documentary explains the story of George Treloar and his work assisting the refugees in northern Greece. It also tells the story of the creation of the George Devine Treloar Memorial and its erection and unveiling in Ballarat in September 2019. Mr Irwin is a documentary filmmaker who has made many documentaries. He has been researching the Anzac connection to Greece for many years and participated in the work of the Committee in creating the Memorial.

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Official photograph of the George Treloar Memoral unveiling. Photo: Litsa Athanasiadis

Ms Athanasiadis said that this was an important complementary initiative of the Committee to bring George’s story to a wider audience.

“This documentary has been many months in the making and is a tribute to the work of John in bringing this important story together in words and images. The creation and showing of this documentary is a vital part of our work to ensure that the memory of these refugees – many of whose descendants live throughout the Hellenic diaspora including in Australia – as well as George Treloar is not forgotten. We look forward to its public release both in Australia and in Greece.” she said.

Ms Athanasiadis also said that while it was regrettable that the public event was being cancelled, public health was the main consideration.

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“Our initiative to replace our public event with an online event is an important one, recognising the importance of ensuring the health of our community as well as the ability of our supporters to come together in a safe space to honour the memory of George Treloar and those he helped,” Ms Athanasiadis said.

“We also believe that George himself would have welcomed our decision, given his great concern for the health and well-being of the refugees who arrived on the shores of northern Greece, needing help and assistance, one hundred years ago,” she added.

All are welcome to witness the online Zoom event by registering on the dedicated Eventbrite weblink:

Ms Athanasiadis said that the Committee looked forward to next year and hopefully the return to a public event in Ballarat.

Those seeking further information should contact Ms Athansiadis on 0421 804 968,

Jim Claven is a historian, freelance writer and a member of the George Treloar Memorial Committee. He can be contacted at