Preston’s Ray Bramham Gardens will house Australia’s first memorial to victims of genocide.

Spokeswoman Katarina Brozovic said the monument will be welcomed in the area, as it is “important for people to have that place where they can come and reflect”.

The site gives those who have lost family to the horrors of genocide in countries such as Greece, Germany and Srebenica a space to go and pay their respects to their loved ones.

The monument, designed by Darebin Ethnic Communities Council (DECC), was approved earlier this week on condition that the wording on any plaque first be approved by council.

Bundoora resident Sofia Kotanidis is a leading supporter of the project.

Her grandparents of Pontian Greek background survived the genocide of more than 353,000 people between 1916 and 1923 – a terrifying experience they rarely spoke about.

“I’d hear my grandmother calling out people’s names and crying at night,” Ms Kotanidis told The Leader, which she eventually discovered to be names of friends and family members who’d lost their lives during the atrocity.

“People didn’t speak about what they’d been through – they didn’t feel safe.

“The new memorial will be a sign for people that they are safe and that they can come and remember and tell people how they feel and someone will listen.”

DECC has chosen to unveil the memorial on 6 December to coincide with the United Nations 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide on 9 December 1948.

Source: The Leader