The recording of the oral history of the Greeks of Australia and the creation of an extensive archive is the subject of a Memorandum of Cooperation, which was co-signed by the Greek Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni and the Archbishop of Australia, Makarios.
The memorandum provides for the systematic and methodical recording of the personal stories and adventures of the people of the Greek Diaspora in Australia, mainly from first immigrants, through the non-profit program “Our People Their Stories” of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia.
The aim of the programme is to tell their personal stories, the struggle they made to settle, to create a family, to get ahead in an unknown country, while keeping their strong ties with their motherland.
The programme aims to record the oral history, important aspects of the presence of Hellenism in the fifth continent, and highlight their valuable contribution to the formation of modern Australian.
At the signing of the memorandum Lina Mendoni said, “We have accepted the Archdiocese’s honourable proposal to place the “Our People Their Stories” program under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, because it contributes substantially to the rescue, preservation and promotion of the Greek cultural heritage in Australia. The creation of the valuable historical archive is a particularly important initiative, personally by Archbishop Makarios, who works systematically, with great love and dedication to preserve the close ties of our fellow countrymen with their homeland, using our language, traditions and culture as a vehicle. The recording of the testimonies of Greek immigrants in Australia, who constitute one of the strongest and most dynamic ethnic communities on the distant continent, is a great contribution to future generations, to Hellenism everywhere and to researchers of the future. Third and fourth generation Greeks in Australia, who were born and raised in Australia, were taught to speak the Greek language, to connect with Greek education, and to care about their roots. We are proud of what their parents have achieved and of their own progress and success.”
Archbishop Makarios, stated that “It is with great joy and emotion that we co-signed with the minister responsible, Mrs Lina Mendoni, the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, regarding our initiative to create a living museum, which will record the stories and adventures of the immigrants of the fifth continent. This cooperation demonstrates in practice the sensitivity of both the Greek Government and the minister for the issues of the Greeks of the diaspora, but above all it demonstrates, in the most practical way, the respect we all have for the expatriate Greeks. I would like to thank Mrs Mendoni for this cooperation, to congratulate her for the excellent work she is doing at the Ministry of Culture and to wish that this cooperation is only the beginning of many things that will follow in the future.”
The personal stories, recorded digitally, in Greek and English, as well as an archive of rare, unpublished photographic material, will be accessible on the internet and will be the property of the Greek community and, more broadly, of Hellenism everywhere. The results of the “Our People Their Stories” programme will be presented on a dedicated website and in publications and media mentioned in the programme.