Greek Australian war veterans of Ithacan descent feature in a new book about the Kokoda Trail

Social member Mr Steve Kyritsis OAM, has written a new book to acknowledge the Greek-Australian men and women who served in the Kokoda-New Guinea campaign in World War II called ‘Greek Australians in the Australian Armed Forces Kokoda – New Guinea World War II’.

The focus of this book is the contribution of over 300 Greek Australians who served their country and were a part of an important and decisive event in Australia’s history known as the ‘Battle for Australia’. This book records the stories of the men involved in the battles and the names of those killed and wounded in action.

The book, which commemoratedsthe 75th anniversary of the campaign, was launched in 2017 at Queens Hall, Parliament House in the presence of special guest of honour, James ‘Jim’ Scott (Sikiotis), aged ninety-one, who was invited to attend as one of the three oldest surviving Greek Australian war veterans of this campaign. Born in Melbourne in February 1926, Jim, the eldest son of Vasili and Elpiniki Sikiotis served as a Leading Aircraftman, 111 Air Sea Rescue Flight 1944-6 and saw active service over New Guinea.

Other Greek Australians of Ithacan descent who served in the Kokoda-New Guinea campaign included in this book are:

  • Private Constantine Raftopoulos -Unit: 2 Australian Corps HQ
  • Sergeant Anthony (Tony) Rafty (Raftopoulos) – Unit: LHQ MIL HIst SECT
  • Leading Aircraftman Andrew Lucas – Unit: 2 Transport and Movement - Andrew later
  • married Jim Scott’s sister, Tase Lucas.
  • Leading Aircraftsman James Scott – Unit: 111 Air Sea Rescue Flight
  • Sub-Lieutenant James Paizis – HMAS Rushcutter
  • Leading Aircraftman Alex Karanges – Unit: Station Headquarters
  • Bombadier Andrew (Andy) Owen Paxino – Unit 2/14 Field Regiment
  • Private George Paxino – Unit: Army Service Corps
  • Staff Sergeant Harold James Paxino – Unit: 24 Infantry Battalion
  • Sergeant Roy Dennis Paxino – Unit: Australian Wireless Telegraphy Section
  • Sergeant Mervyn Stas Paxino – Unit: Australian & N.G. Administrative Unit

To order a copy, contact Steve Kyritsis:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or
Tel (03) 9859 3403
Mobile 0418 571 800

Profits from the sale of this book will be donated to the Hellenic RSL Sub-Branch and to the Australian Hellenic Memorial Foundation.

A lovely way to end the year

Close to 200 people gathered at the annual Christmas luncheon at Merrimu on Sunday 18 December, marking IPS' last function for the year.

The atmosphere was jovial as many enjoyed mingling with fellow members and friends. Adding to the convivial mood was renowned entertainer Christos Ioannides who delighted many with his guitar, songs and unique style of entertainment.

A highlight of the luncheon was the unveling of the exquisite centenary tapestry, created by Penelope Loom's weavers. Although there were a number of weavers who contributed to the planning of the tapestry, a core group, consisiting of Toula Agrotis, Christina Barcham and Andriana Zervoulis, worked solidly for over three years stitching the tapestry. The design was inspired by the late Spiro Sofianos' artwork 'Odyssey' which featured in our centenary promotional material. It was wonderul to have Spiro's sister, Nina Mills present at the unveiling of this very special project. The tapestry will take pride of place when it is hung on the clubroom walls.

To view the photos of the annual members' luncheon, click in the Gallery here :

As we close off another year, we look forward to 2018 and are excited about the events we have planned over the next 12 months. We hope to see you at our first function in 2018, the annual Ithacan Picnic at Ferny Creek Reserve on Sunday 11 February.

Finally, we wish all our members and friends of the Ithacan Philanthropic Society best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and a safe and happy new year.


Great night of kefi at the 2017 Ithacan Ball

On Sunday 11 October, guests of the annual Ithacan Ball, wined, dined and danced the night away at the elegant Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.

With music by the band Strofes, guests were in the mood to have fun and judging by the packed dance floor, it was a great night.

The night started with a short quiz which acted as a friendly icebreaker and the lucky winners all received a delicious chocoltae treat from Xokolatl.

Together with lucky door prizes and a silent auction featuring the beautiful watercolours of Jason Roberts from his trip to Ithaca, the night was a resounding success.

View photos of the Ball in the gallery here:

Children delighted by the entertainment at this year's Chidren's Christmas Party

Our annual children’s Christmas Tree party held on Sunday 3 December was a great success. As well as enjoying balloon making with Noodles the clown and gifts from Santa, the children were also entertained by a storytelling of the Odyssey. Brenda Addie, actor and director, and lover of the Greek classics, retold Homer’s epic Odyssey in a fun and engaging way. The children were enthralled and parents were delighted that their children were learning/hearing/being exposed to the story of our legendary Odysseus.

To view photos of this event, taken by Dennis Katsamas, please click here

Beba's Finikia Masterclass a great success

DSC06946On Sunday 24 September at 11am, the first of many cooking classes to come was held at Ithaca House with twelve eager participants and Beba Pappas, as our first master chef. After the unveiling of our new "Ithacan Philanthropic Society" aprons with accompanying olive logo, Beba professionally demonstrated to her students, the step by step process of mixing, making, baking and "melosy"-ing her famous finikia.

Each participant was able to have a hands on experience and could ask many questions to make them just perfect. The smell of Beechworth honey and baking finikia filled the club rooms along with great conversation about cooking, family origins and all things Ithacan. A light lunch prepared by Helen Vlass and Eugenia Vlass-Tsalikis was shared by all, including the Ithacan Historical Society team that supported the day. A video of the class recorded by Pano Paxinos will soon be available for viewing.

Note our new embroidered 100% cotton twill aprons which make great presents are available through the club at a cost of $30 each, with postage of $10 within Australia. Please contact Peter Raftopoulos at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like one. Stocks are limited.

More Articles ...