|Dandenong Cenotaph and the Pillars of Freedom. Source Victorian Heritage Council|
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|
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|
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.
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee