IPS donates $10,000 to the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal

Thanks to the generosity of our members at the recent Royal Children's Hospital fundraiser and a further contribution from the Society, the IPS presented a $10,000 cheque to the RCH Good Friday appeal headquarters at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre on live TV.

Our President, Anthony Drakopoulos, said on TV that "The Ithacan Philanthropic Society has raised more than $100,000 since the Society was established". 

It was a capacity crowd at the  Society’s recent Good Friday Appeal Fundraiser with approximately $5,000 raised through door sales, donations, the raffle and rovani sales. We thank all our members who contributed to the fundraiser for their generosity.

Pictured at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre are from leftback row: Dennis Katsamas, IPS President Anthony Drakopoulos, Liza Drake and her husband Alex Techera, Anthony and Joshua Drake, Kristalenia Collins, Priscilla Binos, Vicky Kapourelakos, Simon Tripatzis, Chris Kapourelakos, Bessie Tripatzis and Maritsa Tripatzis. Holding the cheque are Anthony's granddaughters Luca and Zara Techera.

Families unite at the 2017 Ithacan picnic

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.

Elly Symons accompanies Greek American lobbyist Mr Nick Larigakis on Australian lecture tour


Ms Elly Symons, a member of the Ithacan Philanthropic Society Board, visited Canberra last week representing Victoria for the Australian Hellenic Council (AHC). 
The AHC was accompanying Mr Nick Larigakis, a full time lobbyist from the American Hellenic Institute who was in Australia for a lecture tour and also to lobby our parliamentarians. 
Mr Larigakis is an expert in the Eastern Mediterranean and has spent 30 years in Washington lobbying the US government on important Hellenic issues including the Cyprus problem, the naming of FYROM and Turkey and Greece's NATO obligations. 
The delegation had excellent meetings with Federal MPs from both sides of the political spectrum.  
The AHC appreciated the opportunity to brief both Senator Sinodinos and Penny Wong's senior foreign affairs advisor and met with Alex Hawke and Julia Banks, who are Hellenic Australians.  
The Hellenic Republic Ambassador and the Cyprus High Commissioner also welcomed the delegation and briefed us on their respective current foreign affairs issues. 
The Hellenic Club in Canberra hosted a lecture and dinner and enthusiastically pledged support for the future work of the Australian Hellenic Council. 
Mr Larigakis then arrived in Melbourne where Elly coordinated his itinerary and accompanied him to meetings with State Ministers Jenny Mikakos and Philip Dalidakis who both appreciated the briefing Mr Larigakis was able to provide on the situation in Turkey in the region and the role the US can play in assisting Greece and Cyprus and also enforcing the responsibilities of Turkey to the NATO alliance. 
Mr Larigakis gave an informative lecture at the Greek Centre to a packed house including members of the IPS board and completed his Melbourne tour with a dinner presentation at the Cyprus Community of Melbourne who showed great appreciation for his strong advocacy for a just solution to the 43 year old Cyprus problem. 
Elly thoroughly enjoyed her week at the cut and thrust of Australian politics and was delighted to see so many members of the broad Australian Hellenic community engaged with and interested in issues which affect Hellenism.  
Elly also felt heartened to see Hellenes participating in public life, voice their concerns and play their part in the democratic process.  
Photo (l-r): George Vellis, George Vardas, Elly Symons, Senator Arthur Sinodinos, Nick Larigakis and Michael Christodoulides

Merry Christmas and see you in 2017

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.

Anthony Drakopoulos

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