The first Greek War Museum is due to open its doors in Australia next year, according to an official and exclusive announcement made by newly elected president of the Greek Ex-Servicemen’s Association of South Australia, Fr Christos Tsoraklidis who assumed his official duties last April.
“Our association has just celebrated 70 years of presence in South Australia and our wish is to inaugurate the first Greek War Museum in the country, which will be based in Adelaide and will become the house of military objects that have been used by the Greek armed forces during the two World Wars as a token of honour for the battles, the struggles, the hardships but above all, the bravery of our forefathers,” says the 61-year-old Greek Orthodox priest.
According to Fr Tsoraklidis, who was born in Thessaloniki and migrated to Australia at the age of 28, the museum will not just include items of military hardware and weapons. It will also display a collection of equipment currently used by the Greek Air Force as well as a small collection of replica aeroplanes used by the Hellenic Forces during WWII, such as the P 55 Mustang, as well as photographic and audio material from that era presented in short narrated documentaries highlighting some of the Greek battles of the past.
“Our nation’s numerous struggles for freedom are an integral piece of our Greek history, therefore it is our duty not to only remember and respect our forefathers, but also to educate our children and grandchildren who were born here in Australia and have never been given the opportunity or been forced to experience the life of a soldier. Furthermore, they have never had to lay their lives on the line in the name of the most precious of virtues; freedom.
“For those of us who were born in Greece and were raised to live and breathe courage, obedience, and bravery, it is easy to appreciate what effect war has on people and their nations and further appreciate the unyielding bond that exists between Greece and Australia.
“This is an aspect that younger generations aren’t able to comprehend but should take time to explore,” says Fr Tsoraklidis.
“Our wish is also for the Greek War Museum to act as a little spark that will turn into a flame in people’s hearts and reignite the memories and the passion amongst the older generation of Greeks, so that they can hopefully express a greater interest and stronger presence in the Anzac Day Parade, organised by the Australian Armed Forces each year.”
The Greek Ex-Servicemen’s Association of South Australia intends to contact the Greek Ministry of National Defence to acquire relevant material and original Greek military uniforms to be displayed within the new museum.
“We will be looking at obtaining two replicas or original uniforms from the Hellenic Army as well as a uniform from the Hellenic Navy and the Hellenic Air Force, which will be then displayed showcasing four Greek soldiers in battle gear surrounded by audio-visual material and murals for a more realistic exhibition.
“It’s definitely an ambitious project but we are determined to see it through, with the help of the Australian community, the state government and our Greek brethren,” concluded Fr Tsoraklidis.