|Peter Corlett's emerging Lemnos Gallipoli memorial sculptures, Peter Corlett’s Melbourne studio, January 2015. Photograph Jim Claven 2015|
The thousands of Anzacs – soldiers and nurses – who served on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign will finally have a lasting and appropriate memorial commemorating their memory erected in Australia.
Melbourne’s Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee celebrated the end of 2014 with the formal commissioning of its memorial to the role of Lemnos in Australia’s Gallipoli story. Along with the Committee’s other associated projects, this will make a unique and lasting contribution to the Centenary of Anzac in 2015.
As the base for the campaign in 1915, the Anzacs who served at Gallipoli all spent time at Lemnos whether in practising for the landings, as a place of rest or in its field hospitals. Along with doctors, orderlies and other medical staff, some 130 Australian nurses served here – the first contingent of Australian nurses to serve in field hospitals. And 148 Australians and 76 New Zealanders lie buried here amongst the 1,233 Commonwealth war dead in its two military cemeteries.
At their final meeting for the year, Lee Tarlamis, their President, informed the Committee that sufficient funds had been raised to commission the memorial.
|Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee end of year meeting and celebration, John Rerakis’ Philhelene Restaurant, 4 December 2014|
The Committee has raised over $200,000 to date towards the memorial. Although further funds are still needed to complete the memorial and its associated projects, we have sufficient funds to proceed with the commissioning of the memorial.
Mr Tarlamis said that the Committee had been successful in its various funding submissions, and had received funding from all levels of government. The Committee had also received significant donations from two trade unions in honour of their former members who fought at Gallipoli.
“It is particularly fitting that the memorial will recognise the service of Corporal George Knight, an electrician from Albert Park, who lies buried on Lemnos. Our memorial will recognise the role of Australia’s nurses and ordinary diggers, like George”, Mr Tarlamis said.
He pointed to the support from the dedicated Committee membership and the wider community, both from organisations and individuals. He especially thanked the City of Port Phillip, the Lemnian Community of Victoria, the Hellenic RSL Sub-Branch, the Pontiaki Estia, Coburg’s Marble Centre Exclusive, as well as Terry Paule and Nick and Sophia Kambouris for their support.
He also thanked all those individuals across the Victorian community who have supported the work of the Committee through purchasing its $5 memorial badges, $10 posters and other fundraising items as well as those who have attended our functions and events - including representatives of the Melbourne Nurses Memorial Centre and Alfred Hospital Nurses League.
The Memorial Statue Design
The memorial statue consists of a larger than life-size nurse and injured soldier, on top of a sandstone plinth, on which will be engraved the names of many of the Lemnos villages visited by the Anzacs. The inscriptions will be in Greek and English. The memorial will be completed by the addition of an information board and two flag poles.
Peter Corlett with his emerging Lemnos Gallipoli memorial sculptures, Peter Corlett’s Melbourne studio, January 2015. Photograph Jim Claven 2015
|Head and shoulders of the nurse statue.Peter Corlett’s Melbourne studio, January 2015. Photograph Jim Claven 2015|
Some of the inspiration assembled by Peter Corlett to inform his Lemnos Gallipoli memorial sculptures. Photograph Jim Claven 2015
It is the intention of the Committee for the memorial to be unveiled at a major ceremony on Saturday 8th August 2015 – one hundred years to the day since the Australian nurses arrived on Lemnos to help the wounded and sick soldiers.
Mr Claven said that there was no existing publication that has focused on reproducing the amazing images from the Lemnos archive and puts these in the context of the Lemnos Anzac story, using the words of the soldiers and nurses who were there, including the interaction between the Australians and the local Lemnian villagers.
“For too long the Lemnos story has been all but ignored in the re-telling of the Gallipoli story. Now is the time to tell the Lemnos story – to honour the service of those who served there in 1915 and those that remain buried there”, Mr Claven said.
The Committee is currently raising funds to make this publication a reality and Mr Tarlamis urged the community to support the publication project.
“The events planned on Lemnos in April will be memorable – involving the Greek and Australian authorities. While details are being finalised, these will be the best Anzac commemorations ever held on the Island.”
Mr Claven will be leading commemorative tours of Greece in 2015, including tours of Lemnos’ unique Anzac-related sites in April.
“These images tell a thousand stories. We are trying to right a historic wrong by giving them a wide viewing, to show them to a new generation who can now appreciate the role of Lemnos in the lives of the Anzacs and this historic connection between Australia and Greece. Watch this space for further details on this major event”, he said.
Creating A Lasting Legacy
Mr Tarlamis said that the unveiling of the new memorial, the publication of our major new commemorative Lemnos Gallipoli book and the events on Lemnos in April 2015 will be major steps in the well-deserved recognition of Lemnos’ role in Anzac.
Mr Claven added that the Committee hoped that the activities and events will have a lasting legacy for Australia, Lemnos and Greece.
“Through the commemoration of the service of those Australian nurses and soldiers who came to Lemnos in 1915 we hope to re-inforce the deep bonds between Greece and Australia. And hopefully create a path for many Australians to discover and retrace our Anzac links in Greece,” he said.
Anyone interested in supporting these projects through sponsorship or direct donations or taking part in Mr Claven’s tours of Lemnos and Greece contact the Committee Secretary, Mr Jim Claven by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.