A multi-faceted community project was gifted to the City of Melbourne on Sunday 27 November, 2016, during the festival for the 32nd anniversary celebrations of the Sister City relationship between Melbourne and Thessaloniki at Federation Square.

The replica was created thanks to an initiative of Thessaloniki Association ‘The White Tower’, established in 1961 by a handful of migrants in Melbourne.

‘The White Tower Melbourne’ is a replica of the White Tower, Thessaloniki’s most famous landmark, meticulously decorated by 8,000 white laurels, the symbol of highest status and an emblem of prosperity and fame. These flowers were crocheted by ladies in Melbourne’s local community as well as ladies in Athens and Thessaloniki.

As of last week, Melbourne’s flower-covered White Tower stands proudly in the foyer of the Greek Centre in Lonsdale Street.

This is the first leg of the replica’s tour of honour to the various venues around Melbourne.

“It was always my intention that the tower be located, for short periods, at local venues, primarily ones which hosted workshops. It will go to various schools, community halls and will ultimately be housed in a museum or gallery. Originally it was created as a community project, but in the end it has become a major work of art,” Christina Despoteris, former manager and coordinator of the project, told Neos Kosmos.

“I thank Bill Papasteriadis, Costas Markos and all at the Greek Community of Melbourne who have embraced the project and have understood from the outset the importance and the significance of such a major project. The tower will remain and stand proudly during the Greek Festival on 25 and 26 February for all the community to admire,” she added.

Ms Despoteris has recently been appointed to the Sister Cities Australia (SCA) board as an executive member. SCA is the national organisation responsible for the promotion of the relationship of sister cities that will be responsible for the tower’s tour, its placement and ultimately, its permanent home.