|Frankston beach, 1940|
In supporting the motion at the President of the Shire, Councillor F.H. Wells is recorded as having said that the fund would be:
"Giving a lead to people who desire to give some material expression to their gratification to Greece for that country's heroic successes against the enemy."
The motion was passed unanimously.
The Standard newspaper recorded that the Councillors expressed the opinion that "a Greek victory might well be a turning point at the present war."
Councillor Oates stated that it was particularly appropriate that the people of Frankston support Greece in its hour of need given the fact that the Consul of Greece, Mr Ioannis Lekatsas (known as John Lucas) had been a resident and ratepayer of the Shire for many years.
Source: The Standard (Frankston), December 1940.
Ioannis Lekatsas - Restaurateur &Philanthropist
Ioannis Lekatsas had been born in Ithaca in 1862. emigrating to Australia in 1886, he established himself in Melbourne's cafe and restaurant scene - opening the Town Hall Cafe in Swanston Street in 1894 and going on to establish others such as the Vienna and Paris Cafes also in Melbourne. He was well-known and a prominent member of Melbourne's Greek community, active in the Orthodox Church community and serving as President of the Ulysses Philanthropic Society of Melbourne from 1916 until 1923. He was Greek Consul General to Australia in 1921 and subsequently Greek Consul in Melbourne from 1931 until his death in 1946.
Despite having to close, re-build and re-name (the Cafe Australia above) his unfortunately named "Vienna Cafe" after the attack on the Cafe by drunken soldiers in 1916, Ioannis went on to play a major role during WW2 in mobilizing the Greek community to raise funds in support of both Greece and Australia. He personally donated 10,000 pounds to the Greek and British child war victims funds. He resided at "Yamala" at Mount Eliza, a famous home in the area, where he engaged Walter Burley Griffin, the architect who designed the original Australian Parliament in Canberra, to re-design the house and garden. His home exists to this day, as a private residence and is treasured by the local heritage community. It is not open to the public.
Following the Italian invasion of Greece, major fundraising efforts were organized across Australia, supported by the Australian government, to assist Greek war victims. Special fundraising days were organized which became known as Greek Days. Special buttons and badges were produced - Greek Day badges - and flags combining the British and Greek flag. These were sold throughout Australia as fundraisers. This is the first of many posts commemorating Australia's Greek Days.
Lest we forget.
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee