In October 1916, the Ithacan migrants of Melbourne established the ITHACAN PHILANTHROPIC SOCIETY "The Ulysses", with an inaugural membership of some 153 members. This was in response to pleas for aid from their loved ones in Ithaca who were suffering deprivation during the First World War.
Over the years, however, the Society has been much more than just a philanthropic institution. It has been a constant in the lives of the early Ithacan migrants replacing the homeland which they had left. THE CLUB became a home base for the newcomers who needed to relate to something familiar in a foreign land and culture. The result was a close-knit expatriate Ithacan fellowship which strode confidently into the alien environment and successfully integrated with the Australian community.
That the Ithaca/Australia connection goes back a long way is evidenced by Exoghi villager, Andrea Lekatsas' involvement at the Eureka Stockade And although expatriate Ithacans frequently sojourn back to Ithaca, they have chosen to rear their families here and call Australia home. The nostalgia for all things Ithacan remain however, as indeed the need to pass on to our children and grandchildren the traditions and history of their roots. The Odysseus newspaper plays a very valuable role in this regard and this website will also be a useful tool to impart the Ithacan ethos. The Ithacan Historical Society also plays a valuable service by trying to preserve the past for future generations.
The Society takes an active role in the cultural, social, educational and quality of life interests of the Ithacan Community. The Society, as part of its philanthropic role, also makes many monetary contributions to worthy causes, including those outside the immediate Ithacan community. The Society celebrated its 90th Anniversary in 2006.
Today the Ithacan Philanthropic Society has over 400 members and in 2016, its centenary year, will be looking forward to a bigger and brighter future.
To join the Ithacan Philanthropic Society click here to download a copy of the Application Form, or else write to the Secretary PO Box 311, Balwyn North, Victoria 3104, AUSTRALIA and request a form.
Photo Above - Antonios Ierea Lekatsas, first President of the Ithacan Philanthropic Society 1916-1923, President of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria for 14 years, specifically 1906-1916, 1918-1921, 1922-1923,
Honorary Greek Consul General to Australia for four years (1921-1925), and Consul for Greece in Melbourne between 1931 until his passing in 1946.
Photo Below of an early committee - Committee members standing from Left to Right are: Thomas Metaxas, Platon Varvarigos, Timoleon Trohoulias, Angelos Lekatsas (President of the Greek Orthodox Community for 11 years), Panayiotis Patrikios, Panayiotis Ventouras, Gerasimos Gavrilis and Hristos Deftereos.
Sitting from Left to Right are: Nikiforos Lecatsas, Alexandros Maniakis (Honorary member of the Ithacan Philanthropic Society, and the first consul of Greece in Victoria), Antonios Ierea Lekatsas (President of the Greek Orthodox Community for 14 years, after which he became the consul for Greece in Victoria from 1923- 1946), Panayiotis Lecatsas.