Martha Tsamis, the entrepreneur behind two of Melbourne’s most successful nightclubs, Chasers, and Inflation, has been honoured for her active community work.
Neos Kosmos met up with Ms Tsamis in Athens where on September 16 where she, and the president of the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM), Bill Papastergiadis, presented an Australian firefighter helmet to Athens’ Fire Museum.
In 2018 Ms Tsamis worked with the GCM to raise money for those impacted by the devastating Mati fire of 2018 which left 102 people dead, over 250 injured, and 2,500 houses destroyed or irreparably damaged.
“In 2019, Bill [Papastergiadis] and I travelled to Athens to present the donations in the Fire Museum, and it was then I was asked if a piece of Australian firefighting equipment could be donated to the museum as a symbol of the relationship between the two countries, and the support Australia provided,” Ms Tsamis told Neos Kosmos.
On her return to Australia, she reached out to the now retired Melbourne Fire Brigade Chief Bob Hetherington, as someone she had “worked closely with in the past to improve fire safety in the Melbourne nightclub scene.”
He assisted Ms Tsamis in securing an Australian fire brigade helmet for permanent display at the Fire Museum of Athens.
“Bob made this happen and I am very grateful for his support,” she said.
Ms Tsamis, along with Mr Papastergiadis presented the Australia Fire Brigade helmet to the Athenian Fire Chief at the museum.
Things have changed significantly according to Ms Tsamis since the catastrophic 2018 fires. The Greek firefighters now have new protective uniforms which were purchased with the assistance of moneys she helped raise with the GCM.
“It was fabulous to see all the volunteer firefighters in new protective uniforms that were purchased with the 2019 Australian donations,” she said.
Ms Tsamis was both surprised and moved when she was presented with a plaque by the Greek firefighters for her work.
“To my surprise I was presented with a plaque thanking me of my assistance in supporting the Greek volunteer firefighters.”
“As an Australian Greek I am proud to support the Greek community in Melbourne as well as the country of my heritage, and I will continue to work with Australian Greek community when required,” Ms Tsamis told Neos Kosmos.
Mr Papastergiadis the president of the GCM, said that it is the “good work of Greek Australians” like Ms Tsamis which adds “value to what we in the Greek Community do”.
“These are the sort of Diaspora links that the Greek Community seek to augment and further develop,” Mr Papastergiadis said.
The GCM president said that Greece and Australia are “inextricably linked by their histories, by migration, and increasingly by professional and successful second and third generation Greek Australians deepening their ties to Greece.”