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Our Committee is raising funds to create a lasting legacy telling the story of Lemnos' link to Gallipoli and Australia's Anzac story. Our projects include the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park, the publication of a major new historical and pictorial publication and more. To make a donation you can also deposit directly by direct debit into the Committee's bank account: Account Name: Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Inc; Bank: Delphi Bank; Account No: 204299-020 BSB No: 941300; Include your surname in the reference section. For further information on our legacy projects or to make a donation please contact either Lee Tarlamis 0411553009 or Jim Claven 0409402388M

Monday, 10 October 2016

Australia’s first refugee aid worker - George Devine Treloar - honored with a civic reception in his birthplace of Ballarat

Photo Jim Claven 2016
A major civic reception was held at Ballarat Town Hall last Saturday, 8th October, to honor the service of one of the city’s famous but less well-known sons, George Devine Treloar.
The reception was convened by the Mayor of Ballarat, Cr Des Hudson on behalf of the City and councillors and attended by over 100 guests, including local MP’s, the Ballarat RSL, the local Greek community, many members of Victoria’s Pontian community as well as descendants of Ballarat soldiers and nurses who served in Greece in the First or Second World War.
From left to right - Ms Alex Tascas, Ms Litsa Athanasiadis, Cr Samantha McIntosh and Mr Geoff Howard MP. Photo Jim Claven 2016

Along with the Mayor those attending included His Grace Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis, Ms Alex Tascas, Secretary Ballarat RSL, Cr Samantha McIntosh, Geoff Howard MP, Murray Thompson MP, former MP’s Lee Tarlamis and the Hon John Pandazopoulos, Mr. Ange Kenos, Secretary Essendon RSL, Ms Arlene Bennett representing the Melbourne’s Nurses Memorial Centre, Mr. Con Tseprailidis, President Pontiaki Estia, Mr Savvas Athanasiadis, President of the Greek Community of Moreland. and Mr. Chris Vlassakakis, President of Panthracen Association of Melbourne. Writer and journalist, Mr. Konstantinos Kalymnios, was master of ceremonies for the reception.
From left to right - Mr Jim Claven, the Hon John Pandazopoulos, Mr Konstantinos Kalymnios and Mr Lee Tarlamis. Photo Jim Claven 2016
Ballarat-born George Devine Treloar was a highly decorated First World War veteran who went on to help over 108,000 Christian refugees fleeing persecution in the former Ottoman Empire. As the official League of Nations – the precursor to today’s United Nations – representative in northern Greece, George accepted the responsibility for providing immediate aid and assisting in the re-settlement and integration of these desperate refugees into their new homeland, Greece. George Treloar was honored by the Greek government with the award of the Order of the Redeemer by the Greek King and by the naming of one of the refugee villages after him – Thrylorion.
The reception included addresses detailing the life of George Devine Treloar and Ballarat’s connection to Greece across both World Wars by journalist and writer Mr. Konstantinos Kalymnos and historian Jim Claven. A feature was an exhibition of traditional dancing and music from the region of Pontus, one of the key areas from which the refugees fled. An overhead pictorial slideshow reproduced many of the photographs from the time, again accompanied by the distinctive music of the refugees.
The function of the reception to launch the campaign to erect a Memorial statue to George in his home town. The project is the brain-child of the Melbourne-based George Devine Treloar Memorial Committee which has been working for the past year or so to raise awareness of George’s work and promote and fundraise for the erection of a memorial in his honor.
The memorial will consist of a statue of George Treloar, aiding a young refugee child, surrounded by interpretive signage explaining George’s story and that of the refugees. The memorial will be created by a prominent sculptor selected by the Council through a public tender. It is anticipated that the memorial will be erected within the next two years, depending on how quickly funds are raised.
Participants in the event visit the possible site of the proposed George Treloar Memorial. Photo Jim Claven 2016
The Committee has already received the support of the City of Ballarat which has allocated $50,000 to the project and selected a site on the central reserve in Sturt Street. This will complement the existing memorials already erected along this reserve. They are also supported by the Ballarat RSL and the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria. Most importantly, the patron of the Committee is David Treloar, the son of George Devine Treloar, who lives in Perth, Western Australia.
Photo Jim Claven 2016
Cr Des Hudson, Mayor of Ballarat (above) said that it was an honor for the City of Ballarat to support the erection of this Memorial:
“The story of George Devine Treloar should be remembered into the future. The son of one of Ballarat’s prominent families, he made a huge impact on the world – not only as a soldier but also as a humanitarian. For too long his memory has been allowed to dim. Honoring him with this memorial will create a lasting legacy to inform future generations of this great man who saved the lives of so many.”
Photo Lee Tarlamis 2016
Historian Jim Claven (above) who addressed the reception pointed out the George’s service was part of a long and proud line of Ballarat people who served in war. He mentioned how Ballarat’s Hellenic community went all the way back to the days of its goldfields, with the arrival of Andreas Lekatsas from Ithaca. He then went to talk of the strong links between Greece and Ballarat through the Anzacs of the First and Second World War:
“From the local diggers and nurses who served on Lemnos in 1915 like medical orderly Albert Coates and Lieutenant Colonel Harold Pompey Elliot and Nurses Isobel Curnow and Florence Hudson – through Nurse Gertrude Munro who served and died on the Salonika Front and whose medals are displayed in the Ballarat RSL.– the only Australian nurse to be buried in Greece in the First World War – to those who served in Greece in World War Two’s ill-fated Greek campaign, like Corporal Henry Moran of the 2/8th Battalion – Ballarat and Greece has a proud connection through the war service of its sons and daughters. George Treloar is part of that tradition.”
Photo Jim Claven 2016
Jim acknowledged the presence at the event of Henry’s son – Mick Moran (pictured above on the right, with Mayor Hudson and Mr Ange Kenos Essendon RSL Secretary) - and added that it was particularly relevant to hold this reception at the Ballarat Town Hall as the Council Chambers house the regimental colours of the Henry Moran’s 2/8th Battalion, recording its service in Greece in 1941.

Ms Roma Siachos (left), Mr Mick Moran (centre) and Ms Sofia Siachos (right) - in front of the colours of the 2/8th Battalion. Photo Jim Claven 2016

It would be fitting that the proposed statue of George Treloar will be erected in the avenue of memorials on Ballarat’s St Sturt, alongside that of Albert Coates and Pompey Elliott.
Photo Jim Claven 2016
Mr. Kalymnios (above) then spoke of the story of George Devine Treloar and his vital assistance rendered to the 0ver 108,000 Christian refugees from the former Ottoman Empire. While he spoke a visual display created by Mr. Claven illustrated his talk with many photographs taken by George Treloar during his service in northern Greece. 
Photo Jim Claven 2016
Speaking on behalf of the George Devine Treloar Memorial Committee, Mrs. Athanasiadis (above) said
“As the descendant of one of the families helped by George Treloar, I can speak on behalf of all Australians of Pontian and Asia Minor descendant and thank the City of Ballarat for supporting our Memorial project. Erecting a lasting Memorial to this great refugee worker is paying homage to someone who literally saved our families. Without his dedication, they would not have survived and we would not be standing here today. We thank you George Devine Treloar and Ballarat.”

Mr John Salpigitidis (right), with Mr Lee Tarlamis and Ms Alex Tascas, Ballarat RSL Secretary. Photo Jim Claven 2016
Litsa thanked all those who have worked so hard to bring us to where we are – especially John and Maria Salpagtidis – who began our journey all those years ago.
Photo Jim Claven 2016
The event was crowned by a performance of traditional Pontian dance and music, performed by the dancers and musicians from the Pontiaki Estia (pictured above and below). The crowd appreciated Penny Tsombanopoulos’ explanation of the dances.

Photo Jim Claven 2016
Mr. Kalymnios spoke for all when he said that the performance was especially moving as this was the first time that the dance and music of the refugees helped by George Devine Treloar had been performed in his birthplace and at such a historic and important location.
Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis receives his commemorative poster., with Ms Roma Siachos at left. Photo Jim Claven 2016
Geoff Howard MP receives his commemorative poster from Penny Tsombanopoulos. Photo Jim Claven 2016
Mayor of Ballarat, Cr Des Hudson receives his commemorative poster from Ms Litsa Athanasiadis and Mr Nickolas Krikelis. Photo Jim Claven 2016

On behalf of the Committee Ms Athanasiadis presented framed commemorative posters to the Mayor of Ballarat, Cr Des Hudson, Geoff Howard MP, Ms Alex Tascas, and Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis.
On receiving her commemorative poster Ms Alex Tascas stated that it was important that we remembered the service of our local servicemen and women, and this new memorial will fill an important gap in Ballarat’s remembrance:
“Those of us who are called up to serve in war are deeply affected by the experience. George’s story shows how this brave and highly decorated soldier, who saw the horrors of the First World War at the front line, went on to help the victims of conflict. His service and work for others should be better known.”
Ms Alex Tascas Ballarat RSL Secretary receives her commemorative poster from Ms Sofia Siachos. Photo Jim Claven 2016

Many George Devine Treloar Memorial commemorative badges were sold and the event resulted in a further more than $11,000 in donations to the Memorial project. Ms. Athanasiadis specifically thanked Mr. Stan Papayianneris of GVP Fabricators and to the Australian Greek Community of Moreland for their significant contributions.
The event was followed by a lunch at Ballarat’s leading Greek restaurant – Frangali’s Kafeeneo in Sturt Street (above). The Committee would like to thank Mr. Kosta Tsepraidis and Mr. Sakis Athanasiadis for supporting this luncheon.
Committee has now raised nearly $120,000 for the erection of the memorial but more is needed. To make this dream a reality, the Committee is urgently seeking funds from the public. If you would like to support the work of the Committee or make a donation to the Memorial fund please contact the Committee Secretary Penny Tsombanopoulos on mobile 0409 850 109 or via email on
For further information, please contact Litsa Athanasiadis, Chair of the George Devine Treloar Memorial Committee on 0421 804 968.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

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