Despite unfavourable weather conditions, a few hundred Ithacans, their family and friends attended the 2017 Ithacan Picnic at Ferny Creek and had a wonderful time. Due to the rain, we all set up our tables in the hall which created a more intimate atmosphere. There was a buzz in the room as family and friends reunited over spanakopites, souvlakia, sandwiches and sweets. The Rotary Club provided BBQ sausages which proved very popular having sold out on the day. Many brought delicious cakes for our new tradition of afternoon tea in the hall, and when Anna Vlass brought along her homemade galaktobouriko, it disappeared in seconds. Our younger members were well taken care of with a balloonist and face painter providing lots of fun and entertainment. Some kids also received a Milo cricket shirt and cricket ball. One of the highlights of the day was when Julianne Stoyles, one of our new Ithacan members and a descendant of the Mavromatis family from Exoghi through her father’s side, brought along her extensive family tree. To mark the occasion, many of the Mavromatis descendants who happened to be at the picnic, posed for a photo with the clan. What a special moment and family reunion. The afternoon ended with the obligatory Greek dancing led by Olga Black and her regular cohort of Greek dancing enthusiasts. We thank the organising committee for yet another fantastic picnic experience.
We are coming towards the end of a very eventful Centenary Year. On 16 October we launched our Centenary publication "The Ithacans." The Society is indebted to the publication group: Anna Vlass, George Paxinos, James Raftopoulos, Mini Paxinos, Kay and Andrew Raftopoulos, for their hard work and the professional manner in which they successfully approached this historical endeavour. The following Friday we hosted our interstate Ithacan guests at a vineyard lunch at De Bortoli’s in the Yarra Valley. The next evening it was the occasion of our Centenary Gala Ball held at the MCG. Some 600 guests attended and the view looking out onto the famous football ground was magic.
On 19 November, the exhibition "Our Odyssey - Ithacans in Melbourne" opened at the Immigration Museum in Flinders Street. This compelling show will be of interest not only to Ithacans and friends but also to the general public.
Another successful first for our Society was the Neos Kosmos wraparounds published in both the English and Greek editions during our Centenary Week in October. Our grateful thanks must go to writers/editors Vicky Kapourelakos and Eugenia Vlass-Tsalikis.
Don’t forget our Annual Picnic on Sunday 12 February 2017 at Ferny Creek featuring a sausage sizzle, the traditional races and medals, music, dancing and a sumptuous afternoon tea.
Finally, I would like to wish you and yours health and happiness in the New Year.
The annual Delphi Bank Greek Film Festival which commences on 12th October is one of Melbourne's most eagerly anticipated events for the many Greek Australians interested in film and culture.
As we celebrate our 100 years as a society in Melbourne, this year's Festival is especially significant for the Ithacans of Melbourne. As part of the Festival, the Greek Australian Short Films Festival (GASFF) will feature the film documentary,'Out of the Earth' The Life and Times of A J J Lucas, produced for the IPS Centenary Opening event in March this year. The documentary chronicles the extraordinary life and times of A J J Lucas, our founding president, a businessman, philanthropist and prominent member of the Greek community in Victoria.
The short film, directed by Katrina Lucas, the great granddaughter of A J J Lucas, will be screened on two dates: Thursday 13 October and Sunday 16 October, which coincide with our centenary week.
For those entertaining interstate guests, it’s a perfect opportunity to take them along to view this outstanding and moving documentary film.
For more information and to view the full festival program visit Select the GASFF tab for the short film festival program.
The centenary publication 'The Ithacans' was launched on Sunday 16 October in front of a full house by acclaimed political journalist and author George Megalogenis.
'The Ithacans' is a culmination of many years of work by the publication group and the result is nothing short of spectacular. The Society extends its congratulations to the group for their vision, perseverance and tireless efforts in producing a volume of work that makes us all very proud. The publication group consisted of:
Anna Vlass - Convenor
George Paxinos - Writer
Alkmini Paxinos - Editor
Alkmini Paxinos and Anna Vlass - Layout and proofing
James Raftopoulos - Designer
Andrew Raftopoulos - Design consultant
Andrew and Kay Raftopoulos - Printer liaison
MCed by Executive Committee member Elly Symons, the audience listened to speeches by the publication group who gave us an appreciation of the enormity of this literary undertaking as well as some insight into what inspired the words and design.
Feedback has been very positive, with members saying it provided them with an emotional trip down memory lane as they reminisced about their lives of those of their loved ones.
If you were unable to attend the book launch but wish to purchase a copy/ies of THE ITHACANS, books will be available for purchase at our upcoming functions including the:
Children's Christmas Party on 4/12 and
Members' Christmas Luncheon at Merrimu Receptions on 18/12
HOW TO ORDER YOUR COPY OF THE ITHACANS
Alternatively, you can order your copy/ies of THE ITHACANS by completing the ORDER FORM, indicating your preferred method of payment and collection.
DONT MISS OUT AS STOCKS ARE LIMITED.
It was heartening news to hear that Jim Vlassopoulos underwent a successful kidney transplant on July 25, 2016 at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Centre in the US. Jim was suffering from a genetic kidney disease which had him on dialysis on a daily basis. A Facebook page was launched to raise awareness of Jim’s condition and to seek an organ donation. The outcome was positive with a suitable donor found in Israeli Yogev Azulay, a total stranger to Jim, who generously and altruistically gave Jim the gift of life.
Kathy (Nina) Vlassopoulos, Jim’s second cousin, here in Melbourne, relates Jim’s dream prior to the transplant: “I want to wake up in my house in Platrithia and feel the sense of security my family gave me growing up. I need that familiarity so much, that feeling of belonging. Spring and summer, with its warmth and smells”. Jim will now have the opportunity to do this.
Jim is the son of the late Anastasi and Louisa Vlassopoulos (Kioukiouris). Anastasi was a member of the Society, living in Melbourne for a number of years before returning to live permanently in Ithaca.
The Ithacan community in Melbourne and Ithaca have been supportive in promoting the Saving Jim Facebook page and fundraising events to assist with expenses related to the transplant totalling around $US200 000. You can still donate to this cause. For details go to http://hagaigeffen.wix.com/saving-Jim
Extract of a message recently posted on Facebook by Jim’s wife Galit:
“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to you our dear friends, for your kind words of support, for your generous donations and for everything you have done for us. It is extremely heartwarming and we are humbled by your gestures. We can assure you that your support has given us the strength and courage to overcome this challenging period and we are now looking forward to what lays ahead, full of optimism and a strong zeal for life and all it has to offer. The experience has touched our lives in so many ways and we will be forever grateful for the miraculous outcome”.
Jim is pictured centre in the photo above. To the left is his family, wife Galit and five children from oldest to youngest – Kaili, Kleon, Naeli, Anjel and Yvie. To the right is the kidney donor Yogev with his wife Liora and their child Yehuda.