Last year, the Ithacan Philanthropic Society celebrated 100 years since its establishment in Melbourne. With a number of successful events to mark this significant milestone, the support of our members and friends injected a renewed enthusiasm and our Society is now positioned for the future with optimism and hope.


One of the Society's members, Amy Lucas, writes about what the Society means to her. It is a must read.


Centenary Reflections

by Amy Lucas

I am a member of the Ithacan Philanthropic Society. The Club has played an important role in the lives of my ancestors and distant relatives from the moment it was established in 1916 and continues to do so today.   In October 2016 the club recorded a milestone in celebrating its centenary. This makes the Ithacan Philanthropic Society one of the oldest Greek-Australian community groups in Australia.


Ithaca is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. To gain membership to the Club you must either be from Ithaca or a direct descendant of someone who was born there. I fall into the latter category. Both of my paternal   sets   of   great-grandparents migrated to Melbourne from Stavros and Exoghi in Ithaca in the early 1920s. Moving out here in the 1920s would have been incredibly   difficult, leaving everything and everyone you knew behind and never   returning.  


The sacrifices that my great-grandparents gladly made to fit into British Australian society are actions that I greatly admire. In a lot of ways, to become British Australian, my family ‘let go’ of our Greek roots. Both of my great-grandfathers decided to anglicise their surnames. My surname used to be Lekatsas and my granny’s maiden name is Scott, which was Sikiotis. This was a common practice with migrants who came here in the early part of last century. So it must have been a great comfort to have the Club in Melbourne, being able to speak Greek with people who were familiar.


Every year the Club holds several special social events for members and their families. The year starts with a picnic and ends with a Children’s Christmas party at the Club’s headquarters at Ithaca House on Elizabeth Street in the city. These social events have helped to create a tight knit sense of community amongst generations of members and their families.


One of the main goals of establishing the Club was to provide financial aid to loved ones back on Ithaca, as the tiny Island was hit hard during

World War 1. This philanthropic aid has continued through to today.


Now the Club supports a soccer club on Ithaca and philanthropic causes closer to home. Every year the members proudly gather for an event to raise funds for the RCH Good Friday Appeal in Melbourne. You might even see them presenting a cheque on television! Many members will also donate funds to the Club in honour of loved ones.


I am proud of what the Club has achieved over the last 100 years and its contribution to, not only the Ithacan, but the wider community of Melbourne. I am proud of the way it has created a sense of community and belonging for migrants and their Australian born descendants.


Today the Club is a connection to our heritage and a legacy of hard work and philanthropy.


Amy is the eldest daughter of Gerald and Therese Lucas, granddaughter of Tase and  the late Andrew Lucas and the late Dr Frank and Alma Misell, and the great-granddaughter of  Gerasimos and Kaliope Lucas (Lekatsas) and Vasili and lpiniki Scott (Sikiotis).



Centenary Opening

‘Celebrating our Founders’

On Sunday 6 March, the Ithacan Philanthropic Society launched its centenary celebrations by paying tribute to the life and achievements of its founding President A J J Lucas with a documentary and a retrospective exhibition. The opening, held at the Melbourne Town Hall, also included a moving commemorative presentation to past presidents of the Society since A J J  Lucas.

The afternoon’s Master of Ceremonies, Angela Pippos, being of Ithacan descent herself, added a humorous and spontaneous touch to the afternoon’s proceedings.

The documentary on A J J Lucas’ life, beautifully shot and directed by his great grand-daughter, Katrina Lucas, was definitely a highlight of the opening. To many of us in the audience, it was also a history lesson about the life of a penniless migrant who became one of the most successful businessmen in Melbourne, running high-end cafes in the city; commissioning the famed architect, Walter Burley Griffin, to design the Capital Theatre on Swanston Street; founded the Ithacan Philanthropic Society; co-founded the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and became an important philanthropist.

The Society would like to acknowledge and congratulate the wonderful work of Andrew and Kay Raftopoulos, convenors of the opening, who worked tirelessly for years on this labour of love, with meticulous attention to detail, to ensure our Centenary Opening, will be remembered for a long time to come.

For photos of the Centenary Opening, click here.



IPS Centenary COVER SINGLE 051016 1

Centenary Publication


The long and rich, social history of the Ithacan community in Melbourne is comprehensively covered in this impressive 384 page volume, eloquently written by George Paxinos and stunningly designed by James Raftopoulos, both members of our Society.

THE ITHACANS is available for purchase for $50.


If you wish to purchase a copy/ies of THE ITHACANS, books will be available for purchase at our upcoming functions including the:

  1. Children's Christmas Party on 4/12 and 
  2. 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.

Centenary Gala Ball

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.


We gratefully acknowledge the support of all our sponsors

 ELF  Delphi logo  Ellikon PRINT PEOPLE PLANET Logo CMYK         City of Melbourne logo stacked

  Merkon Test copy          Consolidated Travel        AndrewRaftopoulosIncorporated     KaliOrexi


Armadale Pharmacy - Gerald Galatis

Bagheera Enterprises - Andrew Black

Hello World Oakleigh

Joannides Funerals 

Kim Petalas

Penny Stansfield TravelManagers

Stradbroke Dental - Dr Anna Paxinos


A special thank you to all the businesses and friends of the Ithacan Philanthropic Society for their fantastic donations and support of our fundraiser. 

Andreas and Niki Anagnostou, Hotel Nostos, Frikes Ithaca

Debbie Argyropoulos

Bahari, The Hellenic Palate, Richmond

Kristalenia Collins

Fiorena Jewellery

Tony and Peter Giannakis

House of Pan, Brighton

Leonard Janiszewski and Effy Alexakis


Kali Orexi

George Keskerides, Terry White Chemist Camberwell

Locomojo Dancing Richmond

Geremy and Dean Lucas, Spice Market

Marc Newson

Odyssey Sea Taxi, Ithaca

Professor George Paxinos

Kim Petalas, Palace Cinemas

James Razos, Christiaan Georgio Melbourne Grand Hyatt

Darrin Smith and Anastasia Gabriel

Rena Varigos, Attico Clothing and Accessories