Centenary Gala Ball 2016 - a night to remember

On October 22, close to 600 guests attended the Centenary Gala Ball held in the Members Dining Room at Melbourne's iconic MCG. Some guests attended from interstate and as far away as Greece.


The night opened with an introduction by MC and fellow Ithacan Angela Pippos who told us a little bit about her own ancestral history from Ithaca. Our Vice President, Costa Kaimakamis, and Margarita Varigos, daughter of former President Nick Varigos and Rena Varigos also shared MC duties and it was wonderful to see our younger generation taking an active role in proceedings.


Special guest was the Greek Consul General, Christina Simantiraki, who gave a speech in Greek commending the Society for its achievements and respect of its heritage.


Greek band STROFES were a sensational choice and the dance floor was packed to capacity. The inimitable Olga Black and her cohort of dancers began the Greek dancing showing us how it's done. The crowd was also entertained by THE THREE TENORS who initially posed as waiters, fooling the crowd.


Congratulations to Kathy Koutsounis Tsaralikis who won the lucky door prize of a return trip to Greece flying Emirates, thanks to Spiros Alysandratos of Consolidated Travel Group. Other lucky draw prizes included two $500 vouchers from Hello World Oakleigh and TravelManagers.

The Silent Auction was a fantastic success, raising close to $8000 for the primary school in North Ithaca.


The Society would also like to thank the Iris Lucas family for their generosity in hosting the afterparty at The Spice Market where many continued the night of celebrations.

An event this significant and with hundreds of people in attendance takes years to plan and a tremendous amount of work was poured into its organisation. A big congratulations to Anna Vlass, the Ball Committee and the Executive Committee for staging such an unforgettable evening. Last, but by no means least, we thank our major sponsors, supporters and Silent Auction donors whose generous support was very much appreciated.


ELF AndrewRaftopoulosIncorporated  City of Melbourne logo stacked Consolidated Travel

Delphi logo
KaliOrexi  Merkon Test copy 


   Armadale Pharmacy - Gerald Galatis                   Bagheera Enterprises - Andrew Black                    Hello World Oakleigh

   Joannides Funerals           Kim Petalas          Penny Stansfield TravelManagers         Stradbroke Dental - Dr Anna Paxinos

Book launch of 'The Ithacans' a great success

IPS Centenary COVER SINGLE 051016 1The 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


Alternatively, you can order your copy/ies of THE ITHACANS by completing the ORDER FORM, indicating your preferred method of payment and collection.


Saving Jim

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.

'Out of the Earth' screening at the 23rd Greek Film Festival

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 visithttp://greekfilmfestival.com.au Select the GASFF tab for the short film festival program.


Join us at the Panayias Katharon & Centenary Memorial Service

FlyerPanayiasGra phicJoin us at the Greek Orthodox Church Presentation of Our Lady to the Temple
7 Macedon Avenue, North Balwyn
to celebrate Panayias Katharon with Artoklasia - the blessing of the loaves - and to honour, in our Centenary Year, the memory of our Ithacan forefathers and loved ones.

After the service lunch will be served at the Sunset Bistro,
The Manningham, 1 Thompson’s Road Bulleen from 12.30 pm
RSVP for lunch essential: DONATION: $25
Kristalenia Collins 0409 357 747
Helen Vlass 9857 6716

We look forward to seeing you there.

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