Help us promote Lemnos' link to Anzac - Make a donation now

Our Committee is raising funds to create a lasting legacy telling the story of Lemnos' link to Gallipoli and Australia's Anzac story. Our projects include the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park, the publication of a major new historical and pictorial publication and more. To make a donation you can also deposit directly by direct debit into the Committee's bank account: Account Name: Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Inc; Bank: Delphi Bank; Account No: 204299-020 BSB No: 941300; Include your surname in the reference section. For further information on our legacy projects or to make a donation please contact either Lee Tarlamis 0411553009 or Jim Claven 0409402388M

Thursday, 1 June 2017

New Memorial to Anzac connection with Greece erected at Victorian Parliament

The Hellenic Anzac Memorial in the grounds of the Victorian Parliament. Photo Jim Claven 2017

On the 25th May the Victorian Parliament honored the bonds between Greece and Australia - forged across two world wars - from Lemnos in 1915 to the battles of Greece and Crete in 1941 - and in the waves of post-war migration - with the planting of an olive tree and unveiling of a memorial plaque.
The idea for such a memorial emerged many years ago from a group of Victorian Parliamentarians who took part in one of my own Anzac Tours of Greece. This idea has now been realised by the work of the Victorian Parliamentary Friends of Greece, The Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council and the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee. Special tribute must be paid to the efforts of Mr Steve Dimopoulos MP, Mr Tony Tsourdalakis and Mr Lee Tarlamis for their efforts in creating this new lasting memorial.
The memorial was unveiled by the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Lieutenant General Floros of the Hellenic Armed Forces and the Leader of the Opposition the Hon Matthew Guy, assisted by the Consul General of Greece, Ms Christina Simantiraki.
Mr Tony Tsourdalakis, Ms Christina Simantiraki, Cr. Kostas Trigonis, Ms Christina Desporeris and Cr. Georgios Aerakis at the unveiling ceremony. Photo Jim Claven 2017

Other dignitaries in attendance included the Hon Bruce Atkinson MP, President of the Legislative Council as well as two senior representatives of the Hellenic Armed Forces - Lieutenant General Konstantinos Floros (Deputy Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff) and Lieutenant Colonel Christos Anastasiadis (Deputy Director of Public Relations Directorate of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff) - along with two municipal representatvires from Crete - Cr. Georgios Aerakis, (Municipality of Maleviziou, Iraklion, Crete) and Cr. Kostas Trigonis, (Municipality of Maleviziou, Iraklion, Crete).
Ms Deb Stewart (second from right) and Ms Shirley Devery (at right) with other attendees inside the Victorian Parliament, prior to the unveiling event. Photo Jim Claven 2017

The unveiling took place in presence of a number of descendants of Anzacs who had served in Greece across both world wars:
  • Deb Elizabeth Stewart the grand-daughter of Sister Evelyn Hutt who served on Lemnos in 1915;
  • Shirley Devery the daughter of Private Tom Devery who served in Greece in 1941; and,
  • Peter Ford, the son of Frank Ford who also served in Greece in 1941.
The Premier of Victoria, the Hon Daniel Andrews MP and Lieutenant General Konstantinos Floros perform the ceremonial planting of the memorial olive tree. Photo Jim Claven 2017

The Olive Tree
The placement of an olive tree is important for a number of reasons.
The diggers and nurses who arrived in Greece commented on the olive trees of the land they had come to defend.
Diggers like Private Syd Grant remembered the support they received from the local Greek people when they arrived there in 1941. For Syd this included support during his time evading capture outside Kalamata and down the Mani.
He would return to Greece after the war and would name his farm in Victoria's western district "Kalamata" in honour of the Greek people.
He would also come all the way from Victoria's west to the Greek delicatessens of Melbourne's northern suburbs to buy his olives to remind him of that support.
Our new memorial Olive Tree in the grounds of Victoria's Parliament will grow and give fruit - another lasting memorial to the bonds between Greece and Australia through Anzac.
The commemorative plaque. Photo Jim Claven 2017

A plaque honoring the Hellenic link to Anzac and beyond
It was an honour of mine to draft the wording for the memorial plaque.
I was determined to include an historical phrase connecting Greece and Australia. I read these words in Bean's Gallipoli Mission many years ago and they came immediately to mind.
And how better to start than with a quotation from the works of Australia's famous war historian and founder of the Australian War Memorial, Charles Bean:
"They gave their shining youth, and raised thereby Valour’s own monument which cannot die."
These words are drawn from an Ancient Greek inscription relating to the valour of Greek soldiers who died at the Dardanelles in ancient times that had been inscribed on a slab of pentellic marble across both columns of a monument.
The monument inscription included the names of twenty-eight Athenians and others who fell defending Byzantium (later Constantinople) in a battle believed by historians to have taken place at the Dardanelles in 440 BC.
This monument was seen by some Australians at the end of the First World War as they visited the then National Museum at Athens.
The original Ancient Greek was translated by Christopher Brennan and then an Australian later produced this shortened version encapsulating the meaning and sense of the original.

For the great Australian historian of Anzac and founder of the Australian War Memorial Charles Bean the words evoked his feelings for that other battle on the Dardanelles 2,355 years later.
Bean recorded this story and these words in his account of his return to Lemnos and Gallipoli in 1919 as part of the Australian Historical Mission. This book is called Gallipoli Mission and it is from this memoir that I sourced the quotation.
And now it has pride of place in our new memorial in recognition of the Anzac's who fought in Greece - from Lemnos and Gallipoli to the battles of 1941.
I was also keen to include a Greek translation of these Australian words into modern Greek - reinforcing that we are commemorating an Australian connection to Greece. And also respecting the Greek origins of the sentiment.
Some of the inscriptions on the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial at Lemnos Square, Albert Park. Photo Jim Claven 2016

We did the same at our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park - with Lemnos and Gallipoli - and the villages and towns visited by the Anzac's on Lemnos - all inscribed into the memorial stone in the English and Greek languages
By doing so, the viewer is immediately aware that this is a memorial connecting Greece and Australia.
And a special thank you to Christina Despoteris for her excellent translation of Charles Bean's transcription into the modern Greek language.
The Premier of Victoria the Hon Daniel Andrews MP addresses the assembly. Photo Jim Claven 2017

Congratulations
Congratulations again to the Victorian Parliamentary Friends of Greece, supported by the Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council and the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, on creating this great addition to Melbourne's commemorative heritage.
A big thank you to Steven Dimopoulos, Lee Tarlamis and Antonis Tsourdalakis - and all others involved - for their bring this proposal to a reality.
To read my media report in English click here  and in the Greek language click here.

To read some media reports from Greece on the unveiling, click here..

Jim Claven
Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
Member, Battle of Greece and Crete Commemorative Council

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Lemnos Square - Port Phillip

Cr Voss, Mayor of Port Phillip, announces the naming of Lemnos Square. Photo Peter Ford 2017.
Last week the Mayor of the City of Port Philip, Cr Bernadene Voss, announced the naming of the location of our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial as Lemnos Square.
The name was formally gazetted in the Victorian Government Gazette on the 18th May 2017.
As far as we know, this is the first time that Lemnos has been gazetted as a name for a location since the 1920's when the soldiers settlement outside Shepparton in Victoria's north east was named Lemnos - and it remains so to this day. An important achievement for our generation.
The erection of our Memorial and the naming of Lemnos Square are important legacy projects - which will go some way to ensuring that the role of Lemnos in the Gallipoli campaign will not be forgotten.
Excerpt from Victorian Government Gazette

This has been the culmination of a lot of work by our Committee to re-inforce awareness of the role of Lemnos in the Gallipoli campaign and its local connection to the area where our memorial is located.
Our submission was based on our putting forward detailed evidence explaining the deep connections between Port Phillip, Lemnos and Gallipoli. Some of these links we identified are:
  • The estimated nearly 5,000 diggers and nurses who volunteered in the First World War, many of which served on Lemnos as part of the Gallipoli campaign like Albert Park electrician Corporal George Finlay Knight and St Kilda's Private Cyril Leishman;
  • Local nurses like Elwood's Nurse Clarice Daley and Potter who were among the 37 Victorian nurses who served with the 3rd Australian General Hospital on Lemnos in 1915 - and among the 30 nurses who departed on the RMS Mooltan from nearby Princes Pier;
  • To the soldiers who came to Lemnos' Anzac camp at Sarpi (modern day Kalithea) to rest after the bitter months of fighting and privation the peninsula like Brigadier John Monash (the commander of the camp) and Corporal Albert Jacka VC (who would survive the war and become a local Mayor in Port Phillip);
  • And many of these diggers and nurses wandered Lemnos during periods of leave, meeting the locals and enjoying their hospitality, like Brigadier John Monash and many others;
  • The many local diggers who remain on Lemnos to this day in its Commonwealth War Cemeteries at East Mudros and Portianos having paid the ultimate sacrifice for their service - like Corporal Knight, Private Leishman and South Melbourne's Driver Ralph Berryman - to name a few; and,
  • And finally, but by no means least, Port Phillip's Princes Pier was the arrival port for many of the thousands of Greek migrants - including those from Lemnos - who made their new lives in  Australia, transforming Melbourne into the largest Hellenic heritage city outside of Greece.
These were also the reasons that we had submitted in support of our original proposal to locate our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Melbourne's bayside suburb of Port Phillip.
To read our submission in support of the naming of Lemnos Square and to learn more about the connection between Lemnos, Gallipoli and Port Phillip, click here.
For more on the announcement, click here.
We look forward to the possibility of a reciprocal naming on Lemnos.

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee


Friday, 26 May 2017

Stop Press! - Lemnos Square Announced - Congratulations to the City of Port Phillip


Members of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee with their guests at the commemorative service. Photo Peter Ford 2017
The Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee is glad to announce that the location of the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial has been named Lemnos Square.The announcement was made today by the Mayor of Port Phillip, Cr. Bernadene Voss.
The Mayor was welcoming the visit of a number of important guests from Greece to our Memorial, who came to take part in a short commemorative service.

The Mayor of Port Phillip, Cr. Bernadene Voss, announces the naming of Lemnos Square. Photo Jim Claven 2017
The naming has been one of the key objectives of our Committee ever since we erected our Memorial at the reservation at Foote Street in Albert Park. Since late 2015, the Committee has been pursuing this outcome, myself preparing our major submission to the Council in support of naming the square - Lemnos Square. The Council supported our proposal and in the last few days was successful in having the new name gazetted.
Lemnos Square now joins the township of Lemnos, near Shepparton, as two locations connected to Lemnos in the northern Aegean through the Gallipoli story and post-war migration.
There were shouts of bravo in the air around our Memorial when the Mayor surprised the assembly with her announcement.
Cr. Voss said that she was proud to announce the naming on behalf of the Council given the strong connection between Lemnos, Gallipoli and the local area - from 1915 on to the waves of post-WW2 migration.
She pointed to the many diggers and nurses who had departed from nearby Princes Pier who served on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign – diggers like Port Melbourne’s Corporal George Finlay Knight of Port Melbourne and nurses like Elwood’s Clarice Daley.
The President of the Committee, Mr. Lee Tarlamis, congratulated the Mayor on behalf of our Committee and noted the strong support that we have received from the Council ever since we originally proposed the erection of the Memorial.
Lee - along with our MC for the days event - Ms Christina Despoteris, our Vice-President - pointed out that not only did they both have Lemnian heritage but that their families had indeed arrived in Victoria at nearby Princes Pier - from where the diggers and nurses had departed in 1915.
The day included the visit of two senior members of the Hellenic Armed Forces - Lieutenant General Konstantinos Floros (Deputy Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff) and Lieutenant Colonel Christos Anastasiadis (Deputy Director of Public Relations Directorate of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff) - as well as two Councillor's from the Municipality of Malevizou on Crete - Cr. Georgios Aerakis and Cr. Kostas Trigonis. The guests are in Victoria as part of the battle of Crete commemorations being organised by the Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council. Also in attendance was Mr Tony Tsourdalakis, Secretary of the Council and members of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee.
The international guests were impressed with the Memorial and the Mayor's announcement.

Lieutenant General Konstantinos Floros addresses those assembled, MC Ms Christina Despoteris on the right. Photo Jim Claven 2017
Lieutenant General Floros addressed the assembly noting the importance of the role of Lemnos in the Gallipoli campaign as well as to the modern history of Greece. He then went on to lay a wreath at the base of the Memorial - a wreath handed to him by Ms Deb Stewart, the grand-daughter of Sister Evelyn Hutt, a nurses who served on Lemnos in 1915.
Lieutenant General Konstantinos Floros salutes the Memorial, Ms Deb Stewart centre. Photo Jim Claven 2017
I was able to explain to the guests the design of the Memorial, including its Hellenic aspects from the face of the nurse figure having been inspired by a sculpture of the Greek God Artemis to the names of the Lemnian villages visited by the Anzac's cut into the memorial’s stone plinth.

Mr. Lee Tarlamis presents Lieutenant Colonel Christos Anastasiadis with a token of the appreciation of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee. Photo Jim Claven 2017
The service concluded with the exchange of gifts.

Lieutenant General Konstantinos Floros presents the Mayor of Port Phillip with the Battle of Crete Commemorative Medal. Photo Jim Claven 2017

Cr. Voss also announced that a formal unveiling of the Lemnos Square sign will take place as part of the coming annual Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial commemorative service in August later this year.
There was much discussion of the need now to have the square planted with olive trees to complete its connection between Lemnos, Gallipoli and Port Phillip! And there was universal support for the proposal for a reciprocal acknowledgement of Port Phillip on Lemnos!
The Memorial has been visited by Ambassadors and other dignitaries but this is the first time that senior representatives of the Hellenic Armed Forces had visited the Memorial. The Committee thanks Mr. Tsourdalakis and the Council for facilitating the visit amongst an otherwise busy schedule.
Thanks to Mr. Peter Ford for again taking such great photographs of the event.
This is indeed a great milestone for our Committee and our supporters - and the wider community both of Hellenic background and the broader Australian community connected to Australia's Anzac tradition.
To read my article from Neos Kosmos on this event, please click here.

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee