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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

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Australia's Greek Day Memories 2 - Dandenong Greek Australian shopkeeper donates to AIF

Dandenong Cenotaph and the Pillars of Freedom. Source Victorian Heritage Council
In June 1940, a local Greek Australian shopkeeper decided to make a financial contribution to his adopted country's war effort.
Mr Steve de George (no doubt an anglicised name) has immigrated to Australia from Greece, arriving in 1935. Born in 1907, he was the only son of George and Costenti De George.
He ran what was called a "cafe and fish shop" in Dandenong, a satellite town in Melbourne's south eastern suburbs. Steve was universally liked around "these parts" as the local newspaper reported.
His shop was located in busy Lonsdale Street, "just up from the hotel and Titcher's Pharmacy," one local remembers. Another local remembers his Uncle stropping at Steve's cafe to buy fresh fish in the mid-1950's.
Yet another local remembers you could ask for "1/2 a dim sim" and Steve would lead you upstairs to the private kafenio!
Busy Lonsdale Street, Dandenong, undated/probably 1940s. Steve's cafe was on the right hand side of the road, in the middle distance. Source: Old Dandenong
On Tuesday 4th June 1940, Steve announced in the morning that "he would give the entire day's takings ... to War Funds." His announcement drew such community support that he had to employ extra staff to deal with the increased demand
And so it was that the next day, Steve presented the local RSSILA (the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia, a precursor to today's RSL) President, Mr Dave Walker, with a cheque for over 53 pounds!
As the local paper announced:
"This gracious act on the part of Mr de George and his employees - all of whom ware Greeks - is greatly appreciated."
Steve is also recorded as having been a donor to other community causes, including the Dandenong Community Hospital Appeal - having donated 100 pounds only months before his AIF donation.
 Steve passed away in 1983 in Dandenong, aged 76.
This is just one of the no doubt thousands of examples of generosity and solidarity shown by Melbourne's growing Greek community for the war effort in WW2. Well done Steve.
Foster Street, Dandenong, 1937. Source: Old Dandenong
Source: Dandenong Journal; Rowville-Lysterfield Community News.

Greek Day
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.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

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