|The Greek Flag presentation to Prahran's Mayor, Prahran Town Hall 3rd February 1941. City of Stonnington archives.|
During 1941 Prahran was home to a thriving Hellenic community.In the week prior to the one of the largest fundraising parades in Australia, Prahran's local Greek community made a public statement of solidarity between the Greek and Australian communities.
The presentation took place at the Prahran Town Hall and was photographed and reported in the major newspapers of the day - both The Age and The Argus.
The presentation was made by a Mr T Harris, representing the local Greek community.
The gift was to honor the Greek Army's fight against the Italian invasion and the alliance between Greece and Australia in resisting the Axis powers.
In presenting the flag, Mr Harris is reported as saying:
"The soldiers of Greece were doing their best to follow the traditions of one of that country;s greatest leaders, Alexander the Great. In the present war they would fight with the Allies and proudly follow the flag. The Greek residents of Prahran would feel honoured to see the flag floating above the Town Hall."
In response the Mayor of Prahran stated that:
"All realized the great part Greece was playing as an ally of the Empire, which was fighting the battle of civilization alone. While others Powers had capitulated to the power of the Axis, Greece decided to fight for her country and stand fast to her alliance with Great Britain."
The Mayor stated that the Greek flag would be flown from the Town Hall beside the British and Australia flags "on all suitable occasions."
Prahran part of Melbourne's Great Greek Day Parade
The presentation took place the week before the first major fundraising parade held in Melbourne in support of Greece's fight. Some 100,000 Melbournians flocked to the City centre to see 4,000 diggers march up Swanston Street, take the salute before the Governor of Victoria, waving Greek and Australian flags, the city be-decked in the Blue and White colours of the Greek flag. Lots of stalls and volunteers urged the crowd to donate to the Greek War Victims Appeal Fund by buy special Greek Day badges, donated good and the lovely array of Greek cakes and foods prepared by members of Melbourne's Greek community. Prahran's community was part of this State-wide and Australia-wide effort.
The residents and municipality of the then City of Prahran were part of this Australia-wide movement.
This is evidence of the local community effort that was underway in Prahran during the Second World War. It shows how the local Greek community was actively involved in this effort and supported by the local municipality. It also shows Prahran’s part in this important community aspect of the history of Australian society and the impact of the war. Prahran's Greek Day donation deserves to be remembered and commemorated.
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
Member, The Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign Commemorative Council