2009 Our community at a glance

first_imgWhen one looks back at the events that transpired during the last twelve months, arguably the most significant story that stands out is the disaster of Black Saturday on February 7. Another influential Greek Australian who dominated the media’s attention during 2009 was George Calombaris. Ηe underwent a significant transformation; from a critically acclaimed chef to super TV celebrity.The most catastrophic fires that Australia has ever experienced claimed the lives of 173 people including Greek Australian Dimitrios Tsimiklis and his wife Tanja. The areas of Kinglake and Marysville were the hardest hit and Neos Kosmos English Edition (NKEE) reported from the epicentre of the devastation on February 15: “I repeatedly found myself lost for words as I jotted notes whilst travelling on the main road connecting the city of Whittlesea to the towns of West Kinglake and Kinglake. “It is a distance of a few kilometres climbing the mountain through what once was glorious and green Australian bush. This vast natural expanse has been turned into ashes that were still smouldering as we were approaching the Kinglake community. “This depressing view became even more acute as one’s sense of smell was over-powered by the charred remains. It is a view that resembles the visual effects of a Hollywood disaster movie. “Terminator II came to mind when the police officer escorting our group showed us a piece of metal from a car chassis that had molten from the heat of the blaze. It was a stark reminder of the extreme temperatures generated by this inferno. “Along with the burnt remains of cars strewn on the road we struggled to imagine the unspeakable horror felt by people who were trying to flee the inferno. One can not fathom the level of this fire storm as the scenes and the accounts of survival and destruction alike unfold before us.”Only a week later after this report a story broke out that NKEE had been following for seven months. The release and subsequent arrival in Melbourne of Harry Nicolaides was not only a joyous moment for his family but for NKEE as Harry had worked for the newspaper in the past: “Former Neos Kosmos English Edition (NKEE) staffer, Harry Nicolaides arrived in Melbourne on Saturday after almost seven months in a Thai prison and fell into the arms of his father Socrates and brother Forde.“Harry’s first priority is to try to come to terms with what occurred to him and the shock of his mother’s stroke. “I cannot stop crying” he said to NKEE. “Asked if he can describe what he is feeling Harry said, “I am bewildered, I am dazed and I have lost touch with my feelings and my ability to relate to my environment.””At the end of March the relaunching of the Antipodes Festival after a two year absence took over our front page.On March 23 we reported on the two day event of Glendi that was heralded as a big success with the appearance of Greek singer Glykeria being the highlight of the Festival. 2009 was also the year of Christos Tsiolkas when it came to national and international literary awards. On April 14 Greek Australian writer Christos Tsiolkas was awarded the 2009 Australian Book Industry Award (ABIA). This followed the prestigious international, Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for his book The Slap that won the category Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2009.Another influential Greek Australian who dominated media’s attention during 2009 was George Calombaris. He underwent a significant transformation; from a critically acclaimed chef to super TV celebrity. Masterchef on Channel 10 was an immediate hit which saw Calombaris become a familiar face on television as more than 2 million viewers watched the program on a regular basis.The Greek community can also be proud of the first ever resolution passed in Australia recognising the Pontian Genocide.“The South Australian Parliament recognised unanimously on Thursday the Genocide of Armenians, Pontian Greeks, Syrian Orthodox, Assyrian and other Christian minorities. It is the first such recognition by any State or Federal Parliament in Australia. The resolution was proposed by South Australia’s Attorney-General, Minister for Justice, Multicultural Affairs and Veterans’ Affairs, Michael Atkinson,” NKEE reported on May 4. The Theophanous saga captivated the attention of Greek Australian and mainstream public opinion alike. On July 24 Magistrate Peter Reardon handed down his decision after a committal hearing that lasted two weeks. The magistrate ruled that Theo Theophanous would not stand trial on the charge of raping a woman in his Parliament office on a September night in 1998. The Magistrate Peter Reardon was not convinced about the validity of the testimony of the alleged victim. Three days later the veteran Victorian MP announced that he would retire from politics after 20 years in public life.The PanHellenic Games that took place on November 27-29 in Melbourne were another big story for the Greek Australian community. After Sydney and Adelaide it was Melbourne’s turn to host the biggest games ever that attracted more than 600 young Greek Australian athletes from across the country and New Zealand. The event was marred by serious organisational mishaps and deficiencies, however, the idea behind it was regarded as a huge success. The political infighting of factions in the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne Victoria was a story that featured regularly in the newspaper throughout 2009.The beginning was marked early in 2009 (February) by the GOCMV Treasurer’s (Con Dikeos) decision to break away from the ruling faction led by President Bill Papastergiadis. Followed by constant dissent between opposing factions the Annual General Meeting of GOCMV was held at the end of November only to create more dispute that has seen the elections deferred from the scheduled date of December 13 to January 17. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more


September 21, 2019 0