Last Tuesday, the foundation benefactors of the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture (GCCC) came together in the shell of the new building to celebrate the achievement of this great milestone in the Greek Community. Building on the example set by our forefathers more than a century ago, the dream of what can be achieved by unity and vision has become a reality.
The message has spread within the Greek Community and the goodwill generated is driving the project to completion. It was an amazing night where everyone in the room was proud of the vision and hard work of the Greek Community of Melbourne who have set the groundwork for the next one hundred years of the Community.
The GCCC will be the genesis of a new ‘Melbourne Hellenism’ that will be the envy of other Greek diaspora communities and that we now have the exciting opportunity to create. We face a challenge to engage our younger generation in a meaningful way. They are separated geographically and temporally from their ancestral culture but will hopefully connect with it from their hearts through our efforts. We are the generational bridge between the past and the future and much rests on our efforts now.
We need creativity, passion and dedication to succeed and we are fortunate to have this. The exciting wealth of talent in our community is a testament to our parents and the sacrifices they made. Our personal family stories are indeed the collective story of Greek immigration to Australia and our childhood experiences have powerfully informed and shaped us. We are up to the challenge of securing the future of the Hellenic heritage. Indeed it is our duty to ensure that Greeks and non-Greeks alike experience the contribution our culture has made to the world.
The challenge, however, is to ensure its relevance to third and fourth generations. We need a modern interpretation of Hellenism and we need to find creative means of expression and communication.
Importantly, there is a strong sense of unification and with that lies the goodwill to engage and importantly, re-engage, both our widespread and diverse Greek community and indeed, a wider audience.
I encourage each and every one of you who is able, to make a contribution to the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture. Grandparents and parents could make donations in the names of their children and grandchildren as christening, birthday and graduation presents as a symbolic gesture of respect for their heritage.
Our parents who made that fateful decision to travel to the far-flung Antipodean country we have come to love and call home did not factor the loss of their culture into their decision making.
The Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture is our gift to them and our children.
*Elly Symons is a member of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria Seminars Committee.