The history of the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand begins on the 13th of April 1980 with the founding of the Pancretan Organisation of Australia.
Our historians have documented that the Cretan presence in Australia dates back to 1848 over one hundred and seventy years ago were Georgios Docos born in Crete, arrived as a sailor on the British ship called “The Sea” in Melbourne as a nineteen year old looking for gold. Many Cretans followed him through the 1870’s the 1880’ through to 1920’s who all set the stones for what was to come. This and a lot more have been documented in the book titled “The First Cretans in Australia” researched and written by Socrates Tsourdalakis and published by the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand.
However It wasn’t until the post war migration period in the mid 1950’s were we have an organised Cretan presence in Australia with groups of Cretans that had arrived in the Antipodes which eventually led to the establishment of the first Cretan organisations in the region. Namely the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne & Victoria in 1956 followed by, the Pancretan Union of New South Wales in 1959 which was later renamed to the Cretan Association of New South Wales, the Cretans Association of New Zealand in 1960, the Cretan United of New South Wales in 1963, the Pancretan Association of Sydney “MINOS” in 1965, the Family Society of Sitia in Melbourne in 1967, the Cretan League of Victoria in 1968, the Cretan Association of Tasmania in 1971, the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne “ARKADI” in 1972, the Cretan Society of South Australia in 1972, the Apokoronas Association of Melbourne in 1973, the Cretan Association of Queensland in 1974, the Kissamos Association of Melbourne ‘KISSAMOS” in 1975, the Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne in 1977, the Iraklion Association of Melbourne “MINOAS” in 1979, the Cretan Brotherhood of Western Australia in 1982, the Educational & cultural Association of Chania in Melbourne in 1982, the Cretan Association of Canberra in 1984, the Cretans Society of Northern Territory in 1985 and the Pancretan United of Queensland in 1986.
So, by the late seventies, early eighties we had over twenty (20) Cretan organisations in the region, which ultimately led to the establishment of the Pancretan Organisation of Australia. Our predecessors felt the need and the timing was correct to unify the Cretan people of Australia into one umbrella organisation.
Even though there were enquiries been made by certain organisations to their respective Consulate offices and in particular in Melbourne and in Sydney from back in 1975, seeking information on the existence of Cretan associations across the nation, the Federation was formed on the 13th April 1980 at a meeting which took place at the home of Panagiotis Malakonakis in Sydney New South Wales. The meeting was attended by representatives from the three founding organisations including: The Cretan Association of Sydney and New South Wales, the Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and Victoria and the Cretan Association of Queensland. The meeting was attended by the following representatives: George Paterakis, Dimitris Gryllakis and Dimitrios Sarris from the Pancretan Brotherhood in Melbourne, Epaminondas Panagiotakis and Kostas Tatarakis from the Cretan Association of Queensland and the late Nikos Karefilakis, the late Kostas Manogiannis, Odysseas Platyrrahos, Harry Jordan, John Petrakis, Michael Spyridakis and the host Panagiotis Malakonakis.
After a nine-hour marathon meeting, during which the necessity for a national organisation was agreed upon by all present, it was decided to name the organisation Pancretan Organisation of Australia registered in New South Wales. A temporary committee was established including the following people : Nick Karefilakis, President (NSW), Dimitris Gryllakis, Vice President (VIC), Odysseas Platyrrahos, Secretary (NSW), Epaminondas Panagiotakis, Treasurer (QLD) and members Paul Magelakis (QLD), Peter Malakonakis (NSW), George Paterakis (VIC) and Dimitris Sarris (VIC).
The temporary committee undertook the task of preparation of a constitution and the complete organisation of the 1st conference of the Federation in Albury New South Wales from the 26th to the 28th December 1980.
The main objectives of this new national co-operation were: ( a ) The cultivation and further development of relations between all the Cretans of Australia, ( b ) the successful co-ordination, programming and execution of the Battle of Crete Commemorations across the region on an annual basis, ( c ) the invitation of musical and other cultural groups from Crete for the promotion of the Cretan culture to the children, ( d ) the solving of general problems relating to the Cretan community in Australia, ( e ) the collaboration and further co-operation of the Federation with the Greek, Australian and New Zealand, Consulates , Embassy, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and Government bodies nationwide, as well as all the Greek and Australian War veteran units ( f ) the representation and support of all National and Hellenic issues and ( g ) the close co-operation with other Cretan Unions & Federations worldwide and ultimately forming the World Confederation of Cretans.
Throughout the first year of the Federation in 1980 it managed to invite famous musicians Spiros Sifogiorgakis on the Lyra and vocals and Giannis Markogianakis on the lute to cover the events for the Battle of Crete, on the 24th May in Melbourne, 31st May in Sydney and on the 7th June in Brisbane. Other dignitaries included representatives from the Hellenic Defence Forces including Lieutenant General Harilaos Tsepapadakis accompanied by Commodore Nikolaos Pappas. Hellenic Ministerial representatives included Cretan Members of Parliament Sifis Valirakis, Kostas Bantouvas, Haris Karatzas Mihalis Galenianos and Maria Damanakis.
In May 1980 it was decided that the newspaper titled “Kritikoi Antilaloi” published by the Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and the “Cretan News” published by the Cretan Association of New South Wales joined forces and become a national publication under the auspices of the Pancretan Organisation of Australia reaching out to all the Cretan populous in Oceania. The National executive appointed Odysseas Platyrrahos as the Editor in chief and publisher on behalf of the PFA, which continued with great success up until 1992.
At the inaugural convention in Albury, New South Wales over 250 Cretans from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia attended the 3-day event, which was officially opened by His Eminence Archbishop of Australia Stylianos. Cretan musicians Mihalis Melabiotis on the Lyra and Antonis Galanis on the lute entertained the 300 Hellenes that had crammed the Greek Community Hall in Albury. The Pancretan Dance Group led by their teacher Jim Sarris also performed at the dance. At this convention, the Cretan Society of South Australia was accepted with full membership. The Convention delegates elected the new Executive Committee including : Dimitris Gryllakis, President (VIC), Nick Karefilakis, Vice President (NSW), Odysseas Platyrrahos, Secretary (NSW), Nikos Amarantos, Treasurer (QLD) and members Epaminondas Panagiotakis, (QLD), Panagiotis Malakonakis (NSW), George Paterakis (VIC), Dimitris Sarris (VIC) and Fragkiskos Stavrianakis (SA). During the Church Service at the Holy Parish of The Archangels, hosted by the Greek Community of Albury, His Eminence the late Archbishop Stylianos conducted a Special memorial Service for the recent death of the great Cretan Singer Nikos Xylouris.
1981 saw another successful year by the Pancretan Organisation of Australia hosting successful events for the 41st Anniversary for the Battle of Crete including : 22nd May in Sydney, 23rd May in Melbourne, 24th May in Hobart, 25th and 26th May in Adelaide, 27th May in Canberra and 29th May in Brisbane with Members of Hellenic Parliament Manolis Hatzinakis (PASOK) and Manolis Kefalogiannis (ND) who arrived from Greece for the events. Further delegates included Major General Richard Kapelos accompanied by Lieutenant Commander Panagiotis Grafakos representing the Hellenic Armed Forces. Also, from Crete arrived the Cretan Musicians namely Haralambos Garganourakis on the lyra and Nikos Kadianos on the lute and Nikos Sampasiotis on the guitar.
December 1981 all the Cretans converged into the Harbour city in Sydney for the 2nd Annual National Convention between the 26th and 28th December hosted by the Cretan Association of New South Wales, led by their President Nikos Karefilakis and his wonderful team. It was 3-day celebration with Cretans arriving from all over Australia. The convention Dinner Dance had a record 1200 people crammed into the venue listening to the tunes of the great lyrist Manolis Karpouzakis accompanied by Giorgos Tamiolakis on the lute who had arrived for the Convention.
Amongst other important matters the two highlights included the induction of a new member organisation, the Cretan Association of Tasmania, which had its base in Hobart headed by its President the late Grigoris Giovanoglou as well the appointment of the chair to the state of Queensland for the first time. Other decisions included the Secretary of the PFA cannot sit on a state executive, due to the work load. The New Executive that was elected included Manousos Kelaidis, President (QLD), Fragiskos Stavrianakis, Vice President (SA), Odysseas Platyrrahos, Secretary (NSW), Antonis Fiotakis, Treasurer (TAS) and committee members Grigoris Giovanoglou (TAS), Nikos Karefillakis (NSW), Giorgos Kozonakis (VIC), Stelios Koukouvitakis (VIC), Kostas Manogiannis (NSW), Evangelos Markou, (SA), Nondas Panagiotakis, (QLD), Dimitris Sarris, (VIC), Giannis Skoulakis, (TAS), Zaharias Spyridakis (SA), Georgios Tatarakis (QLD).
On Tuesday 9th March 1982 the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and the Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne met at the Cretan House in Richmond to host a joint meeting for the sole purpose of unifying the two Cretan organisations into one large Cretan organisation. All delegates that were present signed the agreement that the new organisation would be called Cretan Community of Melbourne & Victoria and in greek Κρητική Κοινότης Μελβούρνης & Βικτωρίας. Everyone departed the meeting feeling excited that progress had been made, with the inclusion of all members, a new constitution, a joint national Federation, and other topics of discussion. The agreement was signed by Nikos Pervolianakis, Emanuel Papadomanolakis, Stavros Vakakis, Mihalis Manatakis and Georgios Kyvernitakis, all from the Cretan Brotherhood accompanied by Nikolaos Andrianakis, Georgios Kozonakis, Georgios Paterakis, Stylianos Koukouvitakis and Georgios Kontoudakis from the Pancretan Brotherhood.
In 1982 the National body organised very successful events for the Battle of Crete with special guests from Greece the representatives from the Hellenic Armed Forces namely Lieutenant General Nikolaos Baltas accompanied by Commodore Athanasios Kantas. Due to the success of the Cretan Musicians from 1981, the same artists were invited to attend again namely Haralambos Garganourakis accompanied by Nikos Kadianos on the lute and Nikos Sampasiotis on the guitar. It should be noted that at this time Garganourakis was a member of the famous Markopoulos ensemble, following the footsteps of the late Nikos Xylouris.
The beginning of 1983 saw the conventions being moved to the first weekend of January thus allowing more Cretans to attend, due to the Festive break over summer. So, the 3rd National Convention was held in the sunny city of Brisbane hosted by the Cretan Association of Queensland with the president at the time being the late George Tatarakis and his committee.
This conference was marked for the constitutional changes that were made to the National Executive deciding that a more effective approach was required, so the administration of the Federation would not be elected but instead be a rotating Chair amongst all member organisations with the positions of President, Secretary and Treasurer had to be from the same state. This was agreed unanimously, making the work of the Executive a lot more efficient. Another conference highlight was the induction of the Cretan Brotherhood of Western Australia with representatives from Perth flying across to Brisbane for the first time. The delegates were treated to wonderful cretan Filoxenia throughout the convention.
The Dance attracted over 500 people with 150 delegates from interstate. The great violinist Kostas Papadakis or otherwise known as “Naftis” entertained the delegates. The new executive that was elected includes Fragiskos Stavrianakis, President (SA), Ioannis Petrakis Vice President (NSW), Manolis Velonakis Secretary (SA), Kostas Manasakis Treasurer (SA) and committee members Grigoris Giovanoglou (TAS), Nikos Karefillakis (NSW), Stelios Koukouvitakis (VIC), Kostas Manogiannis (NSW), Panagiotis Hatzakis (QLD), Giorgos Tatarakis, (QLD), Stathis Tsakirakis (TAS), Manousos Kelaidis (QLD), Georgios Tatarakis (QLD), Mihalis Giomataris (TAS), Giorgos Kontoudakis (VIC), Alekos Takakis (VIC).
Amongst other events hosted by all the Cretan Organisations in Australia the Federation took the task of co ordinating the commemoration of the events for the Battle of Crete in the cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, and Perth. The Hellenic Armed Forces were represented by Major General Evangelos Sanidas and accompanied by colonel Nikolaos Stapas. Musicians did not arrive from Greece that year, so the great Violinist Kostas Papadakis -Naftis who was residing in Sydney at the time, was invited to cover the events in Australia, and he was accompanied by local lute players including Alekos Topolianakis from New South Wales.
In July of 1983, the President of the Pancretan Association of America Manolis Iliakis took the initiative to invite the other Presidents around the globe for a founding meeting in Iraklio Crete. The Meeting was held at the Holy Archdiocese of Crete and was also attended by Fragiskos Stavrianakis, President of the Pancretan Federation of Australia, together with other Australian representatives including Giorgos Kozonakis, Ioannis Petrakis and Giorgos Paterakis. Giorgos Kourgerakis, President of the Federation of Cretans of Germany and Pavlos Antonakis, President of the Pancretan Union of Africa and Fotis Paterakis as well as Ioannis Nathenas, Ioannis Zervoudakis from the USA. After many deliberations and negotiations, they formed the first official body named the World Confederation of Cretans or in Greek ΠΑΓΚΟΣΜΙΑ ΣΥΝΟΜΟΣΠΟΝΔΙΑ ΚΡΗΤΩΝ with Manolis Iliakis from the USA as the first inaugural President.
Late December of 1983 the PFA hosted the first ever Cretan Youth Trip to Greece with over 40 Cretan youth mainly from Melbourne and Sydney spending over 10 days on the island, being hosted by the Pancretan of Athens, as well as the Orthodox Archdiocese of Crete as well as the local Mayors of Chania, Rethymnon and Iraklion. The Cretan youth returned from Greece with fantastic memories, all filled with pride about their parent’s homeland, wanting to be fully involved in their respective organisations.
The Annual conventions provided the opportunities for all the Cretans of Australia to meet and discuss various important issues and also to begin and renew friendships. The alternating venues also allowed them to see the many beautiful cities and landscapes of our vast continent. The Federation also provided an avenue for the further tightening of relations with the Anzac veterans of the Battle of Crete which helped cement the good relations between the Greater Greek and Australian communities.
As 1984 kicked in, so did the 4th National Convention of the Federation in the wonderful city of Adelaide, hosted by the Cretan Association of South Australia from the 6th to the 8th January. President of the Adelaide Cretans at the time was Mihalis Terizakis who rallied his committee including the Womens Auxiliary, to make sure everyone departed with the best memories, since it was the first convention that was been hosted in Adelaide. Over 250 delegates travelled from Melbourne, Perth Hobart, Sydney and Brisbane. The national administration moved hands and went to New South Wales with Giannis Kouroupakis taking over as the National President. The other members that joined him from New South Wales include Odysseas Platyrrahos Secretary and Spiros Sarikakis as Treasurer.
Battle of Crete commemorations were of course a major hit in 1984 with again representation from Greece inclusive of the Hellenic Armed Forces. The two invited guests included Major general Aggelos Lazaris accompanied by Lieutenant Elias Perissakis who happened to be of Cretan origin. The representatives travelled the entire country in over 25 days taking part in all the commemorations in Sydney on the 19th May, Adelaide on the 26th May and Melbourne on the 27th May. The newly formed Cretan Association of Canberra & Districts hosted its first inaugural dinner Dance on Saturday 9th June at the Hellenic club of Canberra. International Cretan Musicians that arrived included the very famous Nikos Sopasis on the Lyra and vocals accompanied by Manolis Larentzakis on the lute.
The Federation and in particular the Victorian organisations supported an Initiative of the Πνευματική Εστία Ελληνίδων which hosted a massive theatrical play attracting hundreds of people which was a re-enactment of a traditional Cretan wedding hosted at the Victorian Arts centre. The League had invited famous Cretan Musicians Rodamanthos Androulakis on the lyra accompanied by Christos Fournarakis on the lute.
In 1985 the PFA hosted its 5th National convention in Melbourne between the 4th and 6th January at the newly built Cretan Village in Wantirna South with over 1000 people attending the dinner Dance.
The Conference saw the official induction of the Cretan Association of Canberra & Districts with its President Stelios Kotsifakis and other representatives in attendance. The Conference meeting also decided officially to partake in the 2nd International Cretan congress. Other matters of importance was the re publishing of the Cretan News newspaper that had stopped distribution for the last 2 years for financial reasons, and finally the PFA decided to publish a special book on the History of the Cretans in Australia, which unfortunately never eventuated. The conference also elected the new National Executive which consisted of Stelios Koukouvitakis, President (VIC), Kostas Strogylakis Vice President (VIC), Giorgos Starakis, Secretary (VIC), Andreas Sarimanolis, Treasurer (VIC), Polyhronis Generakis (NSW), Stelios Kiniklis (NSW), Georgios Stefanakis (NSW), Nontas Panagiotakis (QLD), Manousos Kelaidis (QLD), Giorgis Tatarakis (QLD), Mihalis Terizakis (SA), Antonios Koufidakis (SA), Vasilis Mountakis (SA), Stelios Kotsifakis (ACT), Dimitris Katheklakis (ACT), Sifis Katsanevakis (ACT), Antonis Fiotakis (TAS), Grigoris Giovanoglou (TAS), Giorgis Giomataris (TAS), Giannis Tzamarias (WA).
1985 saw the unfortunate schism of the Cretan Community in Australia, with the founding of the Australian Cretan Federation on Sunday 10th March 1985, at the Cretan House in Richmond. The three founding organisations included the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne, the Cretan United of New South Wales and the Cretan Association of Queensland. The temporary committee that was established included Eleftherios Konstantakakis, Nikolaos Fadakis, Emmanuel Heretakis, from the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne, Antonis Glambedakis, Pavlos Koulizakis, Nikos Georgakakis from the Cretan United of New South Wales, Stefanos Kouvidis and Ioannis Bandouvakis from the Cretan Association of Queensland.
The A.C.F. continued to operate and justifiably achieve similar activities as the Pancretan Federation of Australia, including the establishment of a National executive, promote issues relating to the Greek-Australian community, invite generals and musicians, organise conferences and co-ordinate activities for the Battle of Crete
On Wednesday 13th March the chairman of the Greek Tourist Organisation Mr. Nikos Skoulas, who is from Anogia, Crete, arrived in Melbourne for Tourism meetings with the Australian authorities as well as the establishment of the Greek Tourist Office in Canberra. The PFA held a cocktail reception in his honour and discussed possibilities of cooperation amongst the G.T.O and the Federation. He travelled to Sydney also on the 14th and 15th March, were the Cretan Association of New South Wales also hosted a dinner for him.
On Sunday 17th March the Cretan Organisations around the country co-hosted a farewell dinner for the outgoing Ambassador of Greece to Australia Mr. Vagenas in Canberra. Stelios Kotsifakis, President of the Cretan Association of Canberra together with Spiros Vardoulakis and the Federation President Stelios Koukouvitakis presented the Ambassador with a commemorative plaque and gift. Also present at the dinner were representatives from Melbourne was Federation Treasurer Andreas Sarimanolis, Secretary Giorgos Starakis and representatives from Sydney Giannis Kouroupakis, Polyhronis Generakis and Ioannis Petrakis.
On Sunday 28th April the Honorary Consul Peter Paroulakis convened a meeting at the Darwin Hotel with all the Cretan people of Darwin in Northern Territory to formally establish the Cretan Association of Darwin & Northern Territory. After the 2-hour long meeting were several issues of importance including structure and governance the committee was elected as follows. Kostas Hnaris, President, Dimitris Christakis, Vice President, Michael Daskalakis, Secretary, George Paterakis, Treasurer and committee members Antonis Paterakis, Ioannis Fantakis, Georgios Simisakakis and Peter Paroulakis. It was decided unanimously that Peter Paroulakis was awarded the title of Honorary President. It was also decided that the newly formed association would host its first dinner dance on Thursday 23rd May with Haralambos Garganourakis.
For the first time ever the 44th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete Commemorations were programmed and split into two groups, to allow the visitors from Crete to attend all events across the nation. The PFA had grown immensely thus not having the capacity to fit all states and territories in the month of May. So, the first delegation that arrived attended Sydney on the 17-19 May, Adelaide 21-23, Melbourne 24 – 26 and Darwin on 27-29 and Canberra 30-31 May. The second delegation that arrived attended Wellington 17-19 May, Brisbane 21-23, Hobart 25-26 May and Perth 27-29 May. The delegation included Major General Dimitrios Zisis and Lieutenant colonel Stylianos Petroulakis from the Hellenic Armed Forces. Cretan Musicians from Crete was none other than Haralambos Garganourakis once again with his long term lutist Nikos Kadianos and Giorgos Papoutsakis on the guitar.
Later on, in the year in August the Representatives of the PFA headed by its President Mr. Stelios Koukouvitakis represented Australia at the 2nd International Cretan Congress in Crete, together with other representatives including Stelios Kotsifakis, Polyhronis Generakis and many others. The congress was hosted on the 16th to the 19th August at the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolymbari, with all heads of state in Greece in attendance. Other countries that were present included, America, Canada, Germany, Cyprus and South Africa, bringing all the Cretans of the World together for the 2nd time. The new Executive that was elected for the World Confederation of Cretans included : Manolis Iliakis, President (USA), Stelios Koukouvitakis, Vice President (AUS), Pavlos Antonakis, Vice President (South Africa), Manolis Kariotakis, Vice President (USA), Georgios Vasilakis, Secretary (USA), Manolis Zervos, Treasurer (USA) and committee Members Mihalis Lilikakis (AUS), Polyhronis Generakis (AUS), Georgios Efentakis (South Africa), Georgios Zambetoulakis (South Africa), Kostas Lambrakis (USA) and Georgios Tzitzikas (USA).
The Australian Cretan Federation (ACF) on the other hand was also fully active in its first year of existence. It hosted its Inaugural Convention in Melbourne between the 10th and 12th January at the Cretan House in Richmond between its three member organisations namely the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne, the Cretan United of New South Wales and the Cretan Association of Queensland.
The National Executive that was elected included Eleftherios Konstantakakis, President (VIC), Manolis Heretakis, Vice President (VIC), Nikolaos Fadakis, Secretary (VIC), Christos Digenakis, Treasurer (VIC) and committee members Antonis Glambedakis (NSW), Nikos Georgakakis (NSW), Pavlos Koulizakis (NSW), Stefanos Kouvidis (QLD), Giannis Bantouvakis (QLD).
The ACF also hosted a successful round of Diner Dances and events marking the 44th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane with musicians from Crete Kostas Papadakis (Naftis) on the violin accompanied by Panagiotis Kastanis on the lute and Lefteris Kantarakis on the guitar and the representatives of the Hellenic Armed Forces Major General Dimitrios Zisis and Lieutenant colonel Stylianos Petroulakis.
On the 23rd October 1985, representatives from the P.F.A. and the A.C.F. hosted a joint meeting at the Cretan House in Richmond to discuss the possible merger of the two Federations. The following decisions were proposed by the ACF and adopted by the PFA in good faith : (a) the establishment of a brand new democratic constitution, (b) all the organisations in Australia will be represented equally, (c) The Federation would change its name, (d) in the new Federation the majority needs to be respected. The above conditions would be ratified by the other ACF Interstate members.
On the 24th November 1985 the Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne & Victoria hosted the official opening of the Cretan Village amongst members and friends. Over 1500 attended the event donating $27,000 dollars on the day. It should be noted that representatives from all of Melbourne’s Cretan organisations including the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne were present and all the organisations donated to the cause, thus showing unity and respect amongst each other. The President of the Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne Mr. Giorgos Kozonakis and his committee did, their utmost to host all the hundreds of guests that arrived to see the newly built Cretan Village for the first time. The blessing was conducted by His Grace Bishop of Dervis IEZEKIHL in the presence of the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Mr. Manolopoulos.
In closing 1985, the PFA hosted its 2nd National Cretan Youth Trip to Greece with over 45 children attending from all over Australia. The program commenced on the 15th December and ended on the 15th January 1986. Most of the Cretan youth that participated were travelling to Greece for the first time, so it was an amazing experience. This Trip to Greece also included other regions of Greece. A highlight for the children was the opportunity to be able to perform a Pentozali on the mountain of Parthenonas in front of the Acropolis, which was short lived, once the local guards arrived to explain to the Youth of Australia that it was not allowed.
On the 16th December the PFA wrote to the ACF inviting them to attend the 6th Annual Convention in Sydney in the presence of the invited guests from Greece and the USA in the hope that the two Federations could possibly continue discussions for a possible merge for the good of the Cretan Community. The PFA also offered to cover the expense for five airfares for the ACF delegates to come to Sydney.
In 1986, the new year began with the PFA’s National Conference (6th) in the city of Sydney hosted to the Cretan Association of New South Wales between the 3rd of January to the 10th January. Delegates began arriving from all over Australia numbering a total of 200 from Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Canberra, and Darwin. This National Conference had special guests arrive from the USA and from Greece. The conference was attended by the President of the World Council of Cretans Manolis Iliakis from the United States, the President of the Pancretan Association of America Giorgos Vardakis and the Secretary of the Pancretan Association of America Giorgos Vasilakis as well as the President of the Pancretan Union of Athens Giorgos Prassianakis from Greece. The Convention was officially opened by His Eminence Archbishop of Australia Stylianos who conveyed a message of unity and co operation with the hope that the PFA would open its arms to all the Cretans of Australia. Other dignitaries included Senator Takis Kaldis from the New South Wales parliament as well as media representatives Vivienne Morris, and Sophia Katharios. The Convention dinner dance saw over 1200 people cram into the Cretan House in Marrickville. They were all entertained by Cretan Musicians from Greece Haritos Klados on the Lyra and Mihalis Klados on the lute who had arrived to play at the convention.
Another Conference milestone was the induction of another four (4) cretan organisations in Australia taking the total number of members organisations to eleven (11). Namely the Cretan Association of Darwin and Northern Territory was inducted, the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne “ARKADI”, the Iraklio Association of Melbourne “MINOAS” and the Sitiaki Family Society of Melbourne.
A major constitutional change that was proposed and adopted was the changing of the Administration term from one year to two years, between the states of Victoria and New South Wales, since it was proven that the other States did not have the man power or the resources or the financial capability to adapt to the ever increasing needs of the PFA as it grew from strength to strength over the years. The Convention also decided that it would invite the great Cretan Lyrist Vasilis Skoulas to Australia for the first time, to cover the events of the Battle of Crete. The Conference representatives unanimously moved a motion to award the outgoing PFA President Stelios Koukouvitakis as an Honorary President. The guests from the USA and Greece continued their journey through Australia to Canberra and to Melbourne with events planned in both of those cities by the respective Cretan organisations.
The new executive that was elected for the next two years included Giorgos Kozonakis, President (VIC), Giorgos Paterakis, Secretary (VIC), Antonis Giannarakis, Treasurer (VIC) and committee Members Panagiotis Malakonakis, (NSW), Odysseas Platyrrahos (NSW), Ioannis Petrakis (NSW), Stelios Kotsifakis (ACT), Andreas Maragoudakis (ACT), Spiros Vardoulakis (ACT), Eleftherios Chrysoulakis (TAS), Manolis Dedeletakis (TAS), Vasilis Symeonidis (TAS), Ioannis Tzamarias (WA), Apostolos Panagiotou (WA), Giannis Arhontakis (WA), Nikos Giatrakos (SA), Apostolos Tsougrakis (SA), Nikos Rombakis (SA), Kostas Hnaris (NT), Dimitris Christakis (NT), Mihalis Daskalakis (NT), Haridimos Zervakis (MINOAS), Miltiadis Papahatzakis (MINOAS), Vasilis Papadakis (MINOAS), Giorgos Tsourdalakis (ARKADI), Stelios Giannikakis (ARKADI), Giorgos Rerakis (ARKADI), Manolis Atzarakis (SITIA), Manolis Papidakis (SITIA), Kostas Sfendourakis (SITIA).
Representatives from Queensland namely Nondas Panagiotakis and Manousos Kelaidis did not form part of the Committee, so they do not cause an issue with there organisation who had decided in 1985 to remove themselves from the P.F.A. and join the Australian Cretan Federation.
The ACF hosted its 2nd Annual Conference in Melbourne in the presence of delegates from the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne, the Cretan United of New South Wales and the Cretan Association of Queensland. The Dinner Dance was hosted at Palatas Receptions with over 500 people in attendance. The Dance groups from the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and the Cretan United of New South Wales performed. The conference meeting took place at the Cretan House in Richmond on Sunday 12th January 1986.
On the 16th March, most organisations around Australia commemorated with special services and events the 50th Anniversary death of the great ethnarch Eleftherios Venizelos. This was a major milestone in the Greek Australian calendar in 1986.
On the 24th March, the Cretan Association of Canberra and Districts hosted the foundation meeting for the establishment of the Committee that would fund raise and erect the Australian Hellenic Memorial in Canberra, directly next to the Australian War Memorial. This memorial would highlight the bonds that have been forged amongst the two nations Greece and Australia after the 1st and 2nd World War and in particular the Battle of Crete. The meeting was attended by over 20 people. The Australian Greek Memorial Committee that was formed included: Major General Sir William Refshauge (Chair), retired admiral Harris Blake from Adelaide (Deputy Chair) and Secretary was Anzac Crete Veteran Steve McDougall from the National RSL. Other committee Members included General Alan Merkison from the 6th AIF Division, Air Chief Marshall Jim Fleming from the National Museum, Alan Dobson from the Victorian RSL, Stelios Kotsifakis, Dimitris Katheklakis from the ACT, Giorgos Kozonakis, Giorgos Paterakis, Dimitris Sarris from Victoria, Ioannis Petrakis, Spiros Sarikakis and Giannis Katsigarakis from New South Wales.
It was also decided that patrons of the Greek Australian Memorial would be His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, His Excellency Efthymios Tzaferis, Major General Sir Ivan Dougherty and Major General Ian Campbell. The Committee created a trust fund namely the Australian Hellenic Memorial Trust Fund were people and organisations could make tax deductible donations.
On the 14th April 1986 the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne moved from Richmond to East Brunswick, with the purchase of another property for the total price of $ 480,000. The new Cretan House was situated at 150 Nicholson Street East Brunswick. The real estate agent Manolis Apanomeritakis donated all his commission to the purchase as well as $ 2500 from the Kissamos Association of Melbourne that had recently folded. Several months later on Sunday 19th October the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne hosted the official opening of the Cretan House with over 1000 people attending that day. The service was conducted by His Grace Bishop of Dervis IEZEKIHL assisted by Rev. Father Moutafis in the presence of Consul General Manolopoulos, Minister for Multicultural Affairs Peter Spyker, all the other Cretan Presidents and many others. The gold key was purchased for $ 2100 by the late Evangelos Markogiannakis and the Silver ribbon by Ioanna Dimitrakis for $ 500 with over $30,000 been raised that afternoon.
The Mayor of Chania Giorgos Katsanevakis wrote to the PFA and invited the Cretans of Australia to partake in a fundraising campaign for a “Freedom Memorial” to be built in the Profiti Elias region in the Akrotiri area of Chania. Giorgos Kozonakis, PFA President joined the committee and held several fundraising events to support this project, together with the Cretans from the USA, Canada, Germany, and South Africa.
On the 14th May 1986 saw the arrival of the Hellenic Armed Forces representatives for the National Commemorations of the Battle of Crete. Namely Major General Emanuel Perissakis accompanied by Commodore Ioannis Stagas travelled to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Hobart, and Brisbane. Cretan Musicians Vasilis Skoulas accompanied by Mihalis Fragiadakis on the lute and Giorgos Papoutsakis on the guitar. After several years of division, ALL the Cretan organisations of Melbourne decided to host their events in unison both at the Cretan Village and the Cretan House, respectively.
The year 1987 saw the 7th National Convention between the 2nd and 4th January being hosted at the Nation’s capital in Canberra hosted by the local Cretan Association of Australian Capital Territory lead by its ever-energetic President Mr. Stelios Kotsifakis and his experienced committee. The National Executive that was elected in Sydney was for a two-year term hence there was no change to the Committee, however the Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne did request to change the President. Giorgos Kozonakis was replaced by Giorgos Paterakis. Also, the convention in Canberra saw the induction of another Cretan organisation the Pancretan United of Queensland, which in effect was a break away from the original Cretan Association of Queensland which was now part of the Australian Cretan Federation.
The Annual General Meeting of the PFA also discussed matters including constitutional amendments, resolutions on National Issues, National Program, the re distribution of the Cretan News Newspaper, translation of Markos Polioudakis Book into English, the invitation of Musicians, the youth trip to Crete, the development of the Australian war Memorial in Canberra, a lecture series on Tourism in Crete hosted by the Greek Tourist office, Donations to Kriti Estia in Athens and the War memorial in chania.
The ACF hosted its 2nd Annual Congress in Sydney, New South Wales from Friday 9th to Monday the 12th January. The program included a pre conference meeting, followed by a welcome night by the Cretan United. On Saturday saw the hosting of the ACF 1987 Ball with Cretan Music and DJ, official speeches and dancing groups. The following day included a Boat Cruise on the Sydney Harbour bridge followed by a Cretan Festival in the evening.
The 46th Anniversary commemorations for the Battle of Crete during the month of May occurred with great success Hellenic Armed Forces representation included Major General Dimitrios Kyriazopoulos with no one accompanying him. From a musical perspective the great Vasilis Skoulas was invited back for a second time to cover the month-long program of events this time accompanied by Stelios Delidakis on the lute. The PFA program included the following dates : Sydney 15th -17th May, Perth 18th – 21st May, Melbourne 22nd – 24th May, Darwin 25th – 27th May, Brisbane 28th – 31st May and Canberra 1st June to 3rd June.
The Cretans United of New South Wales hosted their Dinner Dance for the Battle of Crete on Saturday 30th May at the Marrickville Town Hall
1988: The 8th National Convention of the PFA was initially decided to be hosted in Hobart, Tasmania, however due to the sudden death of John Skoulakis several weeks prior to the convention, it was then decided to move it to Melbourne, the very last minute. It should be noted that the conference still went ahead, but without the any music played during the Dinner Dance in respect t to the fellow Cretan that has passed away in Hobart. The major decisions that were agreed was the inaugural opening of the Greek Australian War Memorial in Canberra in the presence of the Prime Minister of Greece Andreas Papandreou and the Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke. So all other events had to be programmed around the 21st May dedication in Canberra. The launch of a National raffle to raise much needed funds, the programming of Concerts in most cities to highlight the 10th Anniversary since the passing of the late Nikos Xylouris in 1980.
The National Executive decided that it did not have the financial strength to keep publishing the newspaper “Cretan News “, due to increased printing costs and lack of advertising funds. At this point the newspaper was then given to Odysseas Platyrrahos who would continue to publish the newspaper at his own expense purely as a business venture, on the proviso that he would keep promoting the activities of the Federation. Odysseas Platyrrahos did a great job keeping the newspaper going up until the year 2000. Today the volumes of the newspaper have become a vital part of the Cretan Communities history and a rare archival source, with most issues been posted on the Federations website.
This convention saw a change to the National Executive of the PFA moving from Melbourne to Sydney. The position of President was elected Odysseas Platyrrahos from Sydney, accompanied by Ioannis Petrakis from (NSW) and Spiros Sarikakis, Treasurer.
The ACF on the other hand hosted its National Convention in Brisbane hosted by the Cretan Association of Queensland. This was a huge success cause over 5 Bus loads of people travelled to Queensland from Melbourne alone and another 2 busses from sydney. It would be considered to be the most successful from all the ACF conventions that is hosted in its 9 year history. The convention Dinner Dance had over 500 attending with the Cretan Brotherhood Dance Group and the Cretan united Dance Group putting on a show. The convention was officially opened by the Deputy consul of Greece in Brisbane Ioannis Diakaris in the presence of the President of the Greek Community Jim Kiriakidis, RSL sub Branch President Peter Karidis. The committee that was elected after the conference includes : Antonis Glambedakis President (NSW), Theofilos Sartzetzakis Secretary (NSW), Tasos Bogiatzis Treasurer (NSW), Ioannis Kyvernitakis (VIC), Apostolos Delikanakis (VIC), Giorgos Shoinas (VIC), Kostas Hatzifotis (QLD) and Stefanos Kouvidis (QLD).
The year of 1988 proved to be another dark chapter in the history of the Cretan Community of Australia. The three Cretan organisations from Melbourne namely the Rethimnian Association ARKADI, the Iraklion Association MINOAS and the Family Society of Sitia all resigned their membership from the Pancretan Federation of Australia, which they felt did not represent their interests and were never seen or respected on an equal level.
They approached the other organisation from Melbourne namely the Hania Social Club and together the four prefects of Crete namely Hania, Rethymno, Iraklio and Sitia proceeded in March of 1988 and established a third Federation based only in Victoria namely the Βικτωριανή Ομοσπονδία Κρητών which translated into English is Victorian Federation of Cretans (VFC). This of course bought a lot of heartache for the Cretan populous of Australia and in particular in Melbourne. The State Executive of the Victorian Cretan Federation consisted of Manolis Atzarakis, President (SITIA), Michael Manatakis, Vice President (HANIA), Miltiadis Papahatzakis, Secretary (IRAKLIO), George Kambourakis, Treasurer (RETHYMNO), and members George Stavroulakis (HANIA), Stylianos Kalaitzakis (SITIA), Georgios Tziverlakis (SITIA), Manolis Kaloutsakis (IRAKLIO), Nikos Vasiliou (IRAKLIO), Vasilis Papadakis (IRAKLIO), Manolis Lilimbakis (SITIA), Mihalis Katzourakis (HANIA), Georgios Dermanakis (HANIA), Mihalis Apokoroniotakis (RETHYMNO), Georgios Tsourdalakis (RETHYMNO) and Harry Xynomilakis (RETHYMNO).
In May 1988, the Battle of Crete activities around the country were hosted by the Australian Cretan Federation as well as the Pancretan Federation of Australia. Both Federations had equal access to the Hellenic Armed Officers that attended including Major General Nikolaos Bozonis and Commodore Panagiotis Koutsoumitopoulos. Separate musical groups were invited. The Australian Cretan Federation had invited Giorgis Fragioudakis on the lyra and Andreas Varvatakis on the lute and the Pancretan Federation of Australia had invited Spyros Syfogiorgakis and Giorgos Koukakis back again. The Victorian Federation of Cretans had invited the Anogiano Antonis Xylouris (Psarantonis) accompanied by his son Giorgis Xylouris, so you can imagine the excitement of the Hellenic Armed Forces who had to leave one dinner Dance and go to 2 others all in one night in Melbourne. Common sernse and Cretan logic prevailed and the two Cretan organisations in Melbourne namely Cretan Brotherhood and Pancretan literally decided 3 days prior to their Dinner Dances on the same night to join forces and run the weekends events 27th, 28th and 29th May together, with a Saturday evening Dinner Dance at the Cretan Village in Wantirna South with four Cretan Musicians and a Sunday evening dinner and Glendi at the Cretan House in Brunswick also with four Cretan Musicians and of course one church Service and one wreath Laying Ceremony.
On a more positive note and after many years of hard work and fundraising the Hellenic and Australian communities saw the erection and the completion of the wonderful Australian Hellenic Memorial in Canberra. The memorial was officially opened on Saturday 21st May 1988 by the Honourable Bob Hawke MP, Prime Minister of Australia, together with the Hon. Yiannis Haralambopoulos, Deputy Prime Minister of Greece, during the commemorations of the 47th Anniversary in a very moving ceremony attended by hundreds. The official blessing was conducted by his Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia. Other dignitaries included the representatives of the Hellenic Armed Forces Major General Nikolaos Bozonis and Commodore Panagiotis Koutsoumitopoulos who accompanied the Deputy Prime Minister of Greece to Australia for the opening of the memorial. Old time favourite Spiros Sifogiorgakis was asked to travel to Australia once again for the fourth time to cover the events of the Battle of Crete. This time however he was accompanied by Giorgos Koukakis from Asi Gonia.
1989 saw the Pancretan Federation of Australia head over to Adelaide for the second time for its 9th Annual National Convention hosted by the Cretan Society of South Australia between the 6th and the 8th January. Local president Giannis Andreoulakis, together with Niko Giatrako, Irini Papadopoulou and Maria Manatakis welcomed everyone to Adelaide and did everything in his power to show the warm Cretan hospitality to the delegates that had arrived from Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, and Melbourne. Telegraphed messages were sent from the associations in Tasmania, in Perth and Darwin. The Convention was blessed by His Grace Bishop of Christianoupoleos PAVLOS in the presence of the Consul of Greece in Adelaide and other dignitaries.
The convention highlight was the arrival of the great master of the Lyra Kostas Mountakis who arrived for the convention with his wife. He was accompanied by his Koubaro from Melbourne Georgios Tsourdalakis on the lute. At the Dinner Dance the Dance groups from Canberra, from Adelaide, from Sydney and from Brisbane who put on an exemplary display of Cretan dancing to the delight of the crowd. It should be noted that this convention was hosted without the presence of the PFA President Odysseas Platyrrahos who unfortunately a few days before the convention began he was rushed to hospital due to severe illness, which put a dampener on the convention mood. Discussion took place amongst the conference delegates on issues pertaining to the PFA regarding the invitation of musicians, the covering of future expenses, the hosting of conventions and the Youth trips to Crete. Also, a major discussion took place regarding the permanent offices of the PFA, with the Pancretan Brotherhood insisting that the Offices of the Cretan Village are the most suitable. It was agreed that it would be decided at the next convention. It was also decided to express its deep concerns to the President Mr. Platyrrahos for a speedy recovery
The ACF also hosted its convention in Adelaide that year between the 5th to the 9th January, even though it did not have a host Cretan organisation as a member of the ACF. The events were organised by a few Cretans. The underlying reason was to possibly merge the two convention forcing a united amongst both Federations
The commemorative events for the 48th anniversary of the Battle of Crete began in Sydney on the 20th May, continued in Melbourne on the 27th May, in Canberra on the 3rd of June, in Brisbane in the 10th June and completed its program in Adelaide on the 17th June. The Officers that arrived included Major General Theodosios Fregoglou and the Colonel Giorgios Nikolakakos representing the Hellenic Armed Forces. From an entertainment perspective the Cretan Musicians that arrived include Sifis Panagiotakis on the lyra and vocals and Giorgos Koukakis on the lute and the vocals.
In 1990 the year began once again with the hosting of the 10th National P.F.A. Convention which was hosted in the garden state in Victoria between the 5th and the 8th January hosted by the Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne which was led by its President Mr. Manolis Leontakis.
The decisions that were made at this convention include (a) the Annual Cretan youth Trip to Crete, (b) Invitation of Musicians from Crete – Tasoula Mamalakis, (c) Membership Subscription is $ 200 and each dinner Dance Fee is $ 100, (d) Programming of Battle of Crete Events, (e) Publication of BOC magazine, (f) Support towards the Cretan Association of Adelaide, (g) New Logo to include the year of establishment, (h) Moral support for National Ethnic Issues Macedonia, Cyprus, Thrace and Norther Epirus, (i) Next Convention in Tasmania (j) the successful continuation of the Cretan News Newspaper.
The Conference elected the new Executive Committee that would sit until January 1992 which included Ioannis Lygidakis President (VIC), Giorgos Starakis, Secretary (VIC), Vagelis Leondakis, Treasurer (VIC) and committee members Polyhronis Generakis (NSW), Odysseas Platyrrahos (NSW), Peter Sarikakis (NSW), Dimitris Katheklakis (ACT), Stelios Kotsifakis (NSW), Kostas Taxidis (NSW), Kostas Kaselakis (QLD), Nondas Panagiotakis (QLD), Dimitris Kelaidis (QLD), Kostas Astrinakis (TAS), Grigoris Giovanoglou (TAS), Aristidis Grafanakis (TAS), Anastasios Anastasiou (WA), Ioannis Karakatsanakis (WA), Vasso Tzamaria (WA), Ioannis Andreoulakis (SA), Irini Papadopoulos (SA), Tasia Livaditakis (SA), Kostas Hnaris (NT), Dimitris Christakis (NT), Giorgos Paterakis (NT).
The A.C.F. hosted its 5th National Convention in the same state as the P.F.A., in Melbourne from the 5th to the 7th January in the hope that both Federations might find some common ground and merge their conventions. Unfortunately, this proved to be a wrong decision in hindsight, cause this increased tension, and it halted the good relations with comments from both sides running through the Greek media.
The 49th Anniversary Battle of Crete events that took place across the country included the following program : 13th May in Brisbane, 19th May in Sydney, 26th May in Melbourne, 27th May in Hobart, 2nd June in Canberra, 9th June in Adelaide, 16th June in Darwin, 30th June in Perth, 7th July in Brisbane, 14th July in Sydney and the 21st July again in Melbourne. The Musicians that covered the events were the famous Cretan couple Tasoula and Stratis Mamalakis who amazed the crowds with their talent and appearance. Tasoula on the Lyra and Vocals and Stratis on the lute and vocals. The Hellenic Defence Forces decided that year that they would only send one representative namely Major General Mathew Halkiadakis. The consolation to this was that he was of Cretan background and he thoroughly enjoyed the tour of Australia meeting hundreds of Cretans and tens of relatives.
The P.F.A. was invited to attend the first World Hellenic Congress for Greeks Abroad, taking place in Patra in the Peloponnese, hosted by the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad. The P.F.A. representative was Odysseas Platyrrahos from New South Wales, who had the opportunity to exchange views and discuss topics of Cretan relevance with other Cretan Delegates from around the globe including Yiannis Nathenas and Giorgos Vardakis from the USA, Ioannis Xenakis from Germany and Alexandros Moshakis from Canada. He also had the opportunity to meet and promote the Federation to the Cretan Media in Athens, as well as other organisations. He also had the opportunity to present the PFA to the Minister for Tourism Mr. Kefalogianis.
1991: The 11th National Convention was hosted in the apple island in the lovely and pictures city of Hobart hosted by the Cretan Association of Tasmania led by the very committed and experienced President Mr. Kostas Astrinakis and his committed committee. Friends met again, new friendships were created, and old ones were rekindled. The Convention delegates began arriving on the 3rd January from all walks of life. The convention in Hobart gave a new lease of life to the Hellenic Community at large, since most of the events that were hosted were held at the Greek Community venues. The Convention was officially opened by the Honorary consul Pitas. The convention included the Dinner Dance with Cretan Musicians Giorgos Thymakis on the Lyra and Haris Tsakirakis on the lute, the Conference AGM, church Service, Welcome night, the throwing of the Cross and of course the Annual soccer Game between Sydney Cretans and Hobart Olympic with a final score of 5 – 2.
P.F.A. President Ioannis Lygidakis announced that there will be a delegation from Australia travelling to Crete in May for the events of the 50th Anniversary for the Battle of Crete, headed by the President of the Cretan Association of New South Wales James Jordan.
The A.C.F. hosted its 6th National Convention in Sydney New South Wales welcomed and organised by the Cretan United of New South Wales.
The Battle of Crete events in Australia marking the 50th Anniversary attracted the Prime Minister of Australia Hon. Bob Hawke, the Premier of New South Wales Nick Greiner, and the Premier of Victoria Joan Kirner just to name a few.
The Representatives from the Hellenic Defence Forces that arrived from Greece included Vice Admiral Ioannis Stangas accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel Ioannis Mastorakis and Group Captain Nikolaos Mitilinakis. From a governmental perspective the Deputy Prime Minister Tzanis Tzanetakis arrived from Greece for the commemorative events for the Battle of Crete and he was accompanied by the Deputy Minister for Defence Alexandros Papadogonas.
The Musicians that were invited by the P.F.A. to cover the program included Alekos Polyhronakis on the lyra and vocals and Nikos Pantetalakis on the lute, together with great female singer Stella Marnelakis on the vocals covering events in Sydney on the 20th April, Canberra on the 27th April, Hobart on the 4th May, Melbourne on the 5th May, Darwin on the 11th May, Brisbane on the 18th May, Melbourne on the 25th May, Perth on the 1st June, Adelaide on the 9th June and Sydney again on the 15th June.
On the 15th October 1991, the Cretan Brotherhood Youth Club hosted the foundation meeting at the Cretan Centre for the establishment of the Hellenic Youth Federation of Victoria with over 25 Greek Youth clubs forming part of the Youth Federation. This was an initiative of the Cretan Brotherhood Youth President Tony Tsourdalakis and Vice President Manuel Tsirmiris. The HYF continued to be one of the Hellenic Paroikia powerhouse organisations until the year 2002 with annual dinner dances in excess of 800 people every year, and several awards of excellence for its contribution.
1992 began with the 12th National P.F.A. Convention which was held in the warm city of Brisbane hosted by the Pancretan United Queensland lead by its President Nondas Panagiotakis. The Convention proved to be a success with over 240 delegates travelling to the northern state. The local Brisbane Cretans showed warm hospitality for the duration of the Convention with a plethora of events. All the delegates had the opportunity to be entertained by the wonderful Haralambos Garganourakis on the lyra accompanied by Nikos Karavirakis on the lute. It was Garganourakis fifth visit to Australia. The Dance Groups from Sydney and from Brisbane were the highlight of the Dinner Dance with wonderful performances.
The Convention AGM included the proposal to make all member organisations equal without prejudice. Also the constitution was altered to allow the smaller states the opportunity to seek the administration of the Federation if they wish.
The Conference saw a change of leadership in the P.F.A. from Melbourne to Sydney. Outgoing President John Lygidakis from Pancretan of Melbourne handed over the reins to newly elected President from the Cretans in New South Wales the warm hearted Giorgos Heretis. The entire National Executive included the following people: Giorgos Heretis President (NSW), Giannis Petrakis Secretary (NSW), Panagiotis Sarikakis Treasurer (NSW), Pantelis Kalimnakis (VIC), Giorgos Paterakis (VIC), Alekos Dakakis (VIC), Spiros Vardoulakis (ACT), Dimitris Katheklakis (ACT), Antonis Katheklakis (ACT), Nektarios Paterakis (SA), Danai Mavrakis (SA), Fragiskos Stavrianakis (SA), Antonios Fiotakis (TAS), Aristidis Grafanakis (TAS), John Fiotakis (TAS), Konstantinos Hnaris (NT), Dimitris Christakis (NT), Giorgos Paterakis (NT), Anastasios Anastasiou (WA), Giannis Karakatsanakis (WA) and Vaso Tzamaria (WA), Nondas Panagiotakis (QLD), Kostas Kaselakis (QLD), Mihalis Saridakis (QLD.
The Conference delegates unanimously decided to openly support the Archbishop of Australia Stylianos, who was been ethically and morally attacked by the arrival of representatives from the Patriarch of Jerusalem. The Annual General Meeting of the conference decided that newly elected President Giorgos Heretis write to Patriarch Bartholomew expressing our support, as well as the Hellenic Government, as well as issue a Press Release condemning the actions of Ierotheos Kourtesis in Melbourne.
On the 1st March 1992 both in Melbourne and in Sydney both Cretan Federations, the PFA and the ACF, supported the mass rallies that took place to support the Hellenism of Macedonia hosted by the PanMacedonian Federation of Australia. Over 100,000 Hellenes in Melbourne and over 50,000 Hellenes in Sydney took to the streets to protest against the Slavic Community’s claim that Macedonia is Slavonic and not greek. The result was positive, and the efforts were not ignored because nearly all Australian Governments after that period kept referring to people from that region as FYROM and not as Republic of Macedonia as they would claim.
The Battle of Crete commemorative events for the P.F.A. National Program for the Battle of Crete included : Sydney 16th May, Melbourne 23rd May, Tasmania 24th May, Canberra 30th May, Adelaide 6th June, Brisbane 13th June, Perth 20th June and in Darwin on the 27th June with local musicians Vasilis Mihalakis on the Lyra and Giorgos Xylouris on the lute travelling the country for the first time as a musical group since both musicians were residing in Melbourne for a few years now.
In Sydney, the events were attended by hundreds of people that came to Martin Place Memorial to watch the Evzones Parade and participate at the Wreath Laying Ceremony. Representatives from all Religious leaders, Political representatives, Diplomatic corps, and Defence Personnel attended and laid wreaths. 1941 Cretan War Hero Mihalis Argyrakis also arrived from Crete to take part in the events in Sydney, since he had relatives in New South Wales. It should be noted that it was the first time since 1984 that the two Cretan organisations of Sydney namely the Cretan Association of New South wales and the Cretan United of New South Wales under their respective Federations co-hosted the events with great success with over 1200 people attending the official Dinner Dance to the delight of the Cretan People of Sydney. It was an initiative of Presidents James Jordan from the Cretan Association of New South Wales, Giorgos Heretis from the PFA, Antonis Glambedakis from the ACF and Vagelis Sartzetakis from the Cretan United all worked in unison to achieve the desired result.
In Melbourne the 51st Anniversary events where been hosted by the establishment of a Joint committee for the Battle of Crete (Επιτροπή Κρητικών Θεμάτων) with representatives from all the Cretan Organisations. This was headed by Pantelis Kalimnakis from the P.F.A., Ioannis Lilikakis from the Hania Social Club, Kostas Kavalakis from the Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne, Antonis Tsourdalakis from the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne, Kostas Dermentzis from the Rethimnian Association ARKADI and Manolis Zouglakis from the Lasithi Association “Vitzentzos Kornaros”. The committee’s main aim was the successful hosting and programming of the Hellenic Presidential Guard “Evzones” which had arrived in Melbourne for the commemoration of the 51st Anniversary for the Battle of Crete on Sunday 17th May 1992. The Hellenic Presidential Guard “Evzones “which consisted of a total of 20 Evzones was been accompanied by the head of the Hellenic Armed Forces, General Ioannis Verivakis, also by Major Antonis Tsatsaronis and by Captain Giorgos Veldekos.
It was the first time in years that the Chief of the Australian Armed Forces General Peter C. Gration attended the events in Melbourne to officially welcome his counterpart from Greece, General Verivakis. The events were also honoured with the presence of the Mayor of Chania Georgios Tzanakakis. Over 20,000 people welcomed the Evzones at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance marking the 51st Anniversary of the Battle of Crete and the second official visit of the Hellenic Presidential Guard to Victoria. It was a historic day, that was followed by an invitation only Reception at the Cretan Village with over 1000 people attending. It was also the first time that a full regiment of the Australian Defence Forces attended and paraded in front of the large crowd.
In June of 1992, President Heretis and his Executive extended a written and formal invitation to the Cultural Group “KOURITES” from Athens in Greece headed by their leader and Dance teacher Manolis Pattakos. The invitation was pending a government grant through the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad which in the end did not get approved and hence the tour of Australia did not eventuate.
In August 1992 the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne hosted the ceremony for the laying of the Foundation for the eventual erection of the Statue of Eleftherios Venizelos inside the confines of the Cretan House in East Brunswick. The ceremony was hosted by His Grace Bishop of Dervis IEZEKIEL, Consul General Manolopoulos and other dignitaries. The event was hosted by the Fundraising committee of the Eleftherios Venizelos Foundation and attended by hundreds of Cretan Brotherhood Members and Friends.
On the 30th September of the same year the Pancretan Brotherhood hosted the official opening of its Sporting Complex including the two Soccer Grounds, the 3 Tennis Courts, the Basketball Court and of course the Sporting Pavilion. The event was attended by hundreds of Pancretan Members and Friends, hosted by the Pancretan President at the time Dimitris Papadimitrakis and his committee.
Throughout the month of October in 1992 most Cretan organisations of Australia had a change of leadership. Mr. Nikos Kotzambasakis was elected President of the Cretan Association of New South Wales, Mr. Dimitrios Kotsifakis was elected President of the Cretan united of New south wales, Mr. Christos Polentas was elected President of the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne & Victoria and Mr. Antonis Katheklakis was elected President of the Cretan Association of Canberra & Districts.
In December 1992 the Cretan Association of Sydney and New South Wales welcomed the Lieutenant General Nikos Gryllakis of Cretan origin, who had arrived on official government and diplomatic duties representing the Prime Minister of Greece Konstantinos Mitsotakis.
The year 1993 kicked off with the 13th National Convention by the P.F.A. in Sydney New South Wales. The welcome Cocktail Reception was held at the Hall of the All Saints Church in Belmore on the Friday night, with plenty of food and drinks and a very warm welcome by the host President Nikos Kotzabasakis. The conference blessing was conducted by Father Angelo Alifierakis representing his Eminence Archbishop Stylianos. The Host President Nikos Kotzabasakis was warm hearted and did all he could to ensure the delegates had a great time. The Dinner Dance was hosted at the Orion Centre in the presence of the Rev. Father Alifierakis, his Excellency Giannis Kambolis, the defence attaché Dimitris Vetsikas, the director of the greek tourist office Georgios Masvoulas and the director of Olympic Airways Thomas Gerasimidis. The Dinner Dance included musicians Mihalis Platyrrahos and Spiros Vardakis from Sydney. Once again in the Soccer the running out winners were the Sydney Cretans beating the Melbourne Cretans 2 – 0 with a wonderful game been played at Campdenville Park. Conference Sponsors included Olympic Airways, Greek tourist Organisation, National Bank of Greece, Agricultural Bank of Greece and Estate Bank of Greece.
The Conference AGM decided the following action points. (a) The P.F.A. would host a mid-year youth exchange program between cities to begin cultivating the friendships amongst the Cretan youth of Australia, which set the stone for future Youth activities, (b) The Invitation to the Laografikos Omilos Kourites to do a Dance, Music and Costume tour of Australia with lectures and Dance Forums etc, (c) to further develop the relationships with the Cretan Federations in Canada, USA, Greece and Europe, (d) The funding of the translation of the book of Markos Polioudakis for the Battle of Crete and (e) the Federation annual budget increased from $ 10,000 to $ 30,000 to allow for bigger projects and more in depth programs to be achieved.
The A.C.F. hosted is 8th National Convention in Melbourne organised by the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne & Victoria at the Cretan House in Brunswick. The dinner Dance was held on Saturday 9th January 1993 at Palatas Reception with over 500 attendees. 130 Delegates arrived from Sydney and Brisbane to be greeted by a warm reception at the Cretan House in Brunswick. The Conference meeting decided that the next convention would be in Brisbane on the 8th January 1994. The A.C.F. would invite the musical group of Giorgos Lekakis from Crete, the A.C.F. would send representatives to the Joint Battle of Crete Committee in Victoria as well as support towards the Greek National issue of Macedonia, Cyprus, Northern Iperos and Thrace. The conference elected Mihalis Mylonakis, the new President of the A.C.F. and Mihalis Maragoudakis as Secretary, Apostolos Delikanakis as Treasurer, and committee members Pavlos Maggelakis (QLD), Ioanna Balantinos (QLD), Artemisia Bantouvas (QLD), Tasos Vogiatzis (NSW) and Dimitrios Kotsifakis (NSW).
The P.F.A. hosted the National commemorations for the 52nd Anniversary for Battle of Crete in nearly all the states and territories starting in Sydney on the 15th May, Melbourne on the 22nd May, Hobart on the 28th May, Canberra on the 29th May, Brisbane on the 5th June, Adelaide on the 12th June, Darwin on the 19th June and Perth on the 26th June with musicians Elias Palioudakis on the lyra and vocals accompanied by Sifis Katsamas on the lute. The Hellenic Armed Forces were represented by Lieutenant General Anastasios Glykofridis
In Sydney the events were co hosted by the Cretan Association of New South Wales and the Cretan United of New South Wales with both Dance groups performing together as one group, for the first ever time. These were positive signs for things to come. The Dinner Dance was co hosted and included all the Australian dignitaries. In Melbourne all the Cretan organisations co-hosted the events together with both the Cretan Brotherhood and Pancretan Brotherhood Dance Groups performing. A highlight of the events was the Theatrical performance by the Cretan Theatre Group for a play titled “Anthipolohagos Zisis “ directed and produced by Dimitris Kalogerakis. The play was viewed by hundreds of Hellenes at the Cretan Village and all the actors were second generation Cretan Youth.
In Brisbane, the Cretans continued to host separate dinner Dances for the Battle of Crete. The Pancretan Union of Queensland with musicians Elias Palioudakis on the lyra and vocals accompanied by Sifis Katsamas on the lute, and the Cretan Association of Queensland with musicians Giorgos Lekakis on the lyra and Giorgos Fragioudakis on the lute. The Wreath laying ceremony hosted by the Consul General Frelegaus was attended by both Cretan organisations.
On the 6th October 1993 the Cretan Association of New South Wales made the brave decision to enter into a Joint Venture with the Canterbury Bowling Club, which included Poker Machines, thus allowing the association to house all its events and day to day running activities at the Canterbury Bowling Club, which is very central to all the members and a large Greek populous of nearly 14,000 Greeks in the area. The Association President Nikos Kotzabasakis and his committee did their due diligence before seeking the approval from the members at the AGM. The committee felt that it was a win – win situation that finally the Association can now claim its new “ Cretan House. “Its former Cretan House in Marrickville was unfortunately sold in 1987
In December of the same year the Cretans Association of New Zealand in Wellington were granted a $ 50,000 sponsorship from the Lottery Group of New Zealand to assist it in all the building upgrade that it requires, cause the council deemed it an earthquake risk building. President Kosmadakis and his committee worked hard to establish a great relationship with Mayor of Petone Jeremy Hunter. The new refurbished Cretan House in Wellington is due to be opened on the 21st May just in time for the commemorative events in May next year.
1994: The 14th National Convention was held in the very tropical city of Darwin in Australia’s Northern state in amongst the crocodiles. The Conference delegates were treated to some of the best-known Cretan hospitality led by the Cretan Archon Kostas Hnaris, Giorgos Paterakis, his committee and the 15 or so Cretan Families that live in the warm City. The Convention commenced on the 6th and ended on the 12th January with delegates from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart, Canberra and Perth. A trip to Kakadu National Park was of course the highlight, not to mention the complimentary luncheon with Croc. Meat. The program also included a welcome Dinner at the Greek Taverna, the Dinner Dance at the Cyprus Hall, the Church service at St. Nikolaos church, followed by the throwing of the cross at Fany Bay, the convention also included dinners at the homes of Kostas Hnaris, Giorgos Paterakis and Giannis Anoiktomatis. The Convention musicians included local Lyrist from Melbourne Vasilis Mihalakis with well known singer and lutist from Crete Vasilis Katsamas who was invited just for the Convention. The Convention saw the change of leadership from Giorgos Heretis of New South Wales to Giorgos Paterakis from Victoria. The Convention decided after hours of discussion to accept the proposal from the ACF Victorian Delegates to meet in Canberra for a Joint Meeting to discuss and formalise the unification of the ACF and the PFA into one Federation.
The P.F.A. hosted a new initiative amongst its member organisations called National Cretan Youth Exchange program. Cretan Youth from around the country joined a National program that would encourage the Cretan youth to interact with each other. Some would argue that it was the beginning of the establishment of the National Youth Federation which eventually began nine years later. The organisations that participated included Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, and Brisbane, with over 60 Cretan Youth around Australia being hosted in a different state for over seven days during their School holiday period. the program was a huge success with nearly all of the Cretan Youth having established lifelong friendships that continue today. It was a great initiative, that was also continued the following year.
The A.C.F. hosted its 9th National Convention on the tropical gold coast of Queensland organised by the local Cretan Association of Queensland lead by its President Cecil Hatzifotis. Representatives from Victoria included Manuel Tsirmiris, George Shoinas, Tony Tsourdalakis, Giannis Dimotakis, Kostas Christodoulakis, from Queensland Cecil Hatzifotis, Pavlos Maggelakis, Artemisia Bantouvas, Ioanna Balantinos, Dimitrios Filipakis and there were no representatives from New South Wales. The Conference Annual General Meeting decided unanimously that it would accept the unification proposal from the P.F.A. to unify into one Federation, under one umbrella. The Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne Dance Group led by its Dance Teacher Tony Tsourdalakis took part in the convention, and local musicians Kostas Alygizakis on the lyra and Andreas Vardakis on the lute entertained the delegates.
On Wednesday 24th February 1994 the Pancretan Association of Melbourne invited over 60 representatives who attended and expressed their support at an inaugural Open Forum which was called at the Greek Community Building in Melbourne to erect a memorial to commemorate the involvement of the Australian Armed Forces during World War II commemorating the 841 Australians who died in Greece and in the Battle of Crete, many of whom came from Victoria and additionally the 3000 Australians that were captured and ended up as Prisoners of War.
The organisations that attended included the : Pancretan Association of Melbourne, Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne & Victoria, , State RSL, Hellenic Youth Federation of Victoria, Hellenic RSL Sub Branch, Lemnian Community of Melbourne, PanMacedonian Association of Melbourne, Greek Federal Ex Serviceman’s Reserve, Rethimnian Association “ ARKADI”, Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne, Iraklion Association” MINOAS “, Hania Social Club, 39ers Association, HMAS Perth Association, Voyager Association, 2/5th Aus. Infantry Battalion, N Class Destroyer Association, 6th Division Association, 2/7th Aus. Infantry Battalion, Royal Australian Air force, Royal Australian Navy, 2/2 Field Regiment Association, SAE Oceania, Australian Greek Welfare Society, Panmessinian Federation of Australia, EEAMA, AHEPA, Hellenic Studies Forum, Panepirotic Federation of Australia, Federation of Greek Festivals, Alphington Grammar School, Oakleigh Greek Community, Aegean Islands Federation of Victoria, Association of Greek Elderly Citizens, Omiros College, Central Pontian Association “Pontiaki Estia”, Eptanisian Federation of Victoria, Pontian Community of Melbourne, Cyprus Community of Victoria, Cultural Group of Melbourne and the Organisational Committee Greek National Day.
The first inaugural Foundation Committee consisted of the following : Pantelis Kalimnakis (President), Steve Pontin (A’ Vice President), Christos Polentas (B’ Vice President), John Anagnostou (Secretary), Lakis Kayalikos (Treasurer), Galatia Samarias (Assistant Secretary), Peter Andrinopoulos (Assistant Treasurer), Michael Marley (Public Relations –English), Tony Tsourdalakis (Public Relations – Greek), Angela Velos (Public Officer) and Peter Adamis (Research Officer).
1994 will be remembered as a historic year for the Cretan Community of Australia. On Saturday 5th of March 1994, the leaders of both Federations finally met in Canberra, the nation’s capital to discuss the amalgamation of both Federations into one truly national body forming The Pan Australian Cretan Federation. This was a great achievement after nearly ten years of division.
The representatives that attended the two day deliberations included the following : Eleftherios Konstantakakis (A.C.F. Victoria), Mihalis Maragoudakis (A.C.F. Victoria), Ioannis Kyvernitakis (A.C.F. Victoria), Manolis Heretakis (A.C.F. Victoria), Nikos Litinakis (A.C.F. Victoria), Pavlos Mihelakis (A.C.F. Victoria ), Manolis Kalikakis (P.F.A. Queensland), Nondas Panagiotakis (P.F.A. Queensland), Dimitris Katheklakis (P.F.A. Canberra ), Konstantinos Taxidis (P.F.A. Canberra), Antonis Katheklakis (P.F.A. Canberra), Giorgos Paterakis (P.F.A. Victoria), Nikos Nikolakakis (P.F.A. Victoria), Dimitris Kouridakis (P.F.A. Victoria), Ioannis Zervos (P.F.A. New South Wales), Pantelis Kalimnakis (P.F.A. Victoria), Nikos Kotzabasakis (P.F.A. New South Wales), Manolis Lianoudakis (P.F.A. New South Wales), Markos Gryllakis (P.F.A. New South Wales) and Dimitris Skouloudis (P.F.A. New South Wales). The representatives from the A.C.F. in Queensland had given full authority to the other A.C.F. representatives to make the best decision for the Cretans of Australia. The same decision was made by the representatives from the P.F.A. in Hobart, Darwin, Perth, and Adelaide, they gave full authority to the other P.F.A. representatives to make the best decision for everyone moving forward. The only organisation that did not agree and objected to joining this meeting for the unification of the two Federations was the A.C.F. in New South Wales.
After hours of deliberation and discussion on a proposed constitution, the temporary Committee that was formed with representatives from both Federations included : George Paterakis, President (P.F.A.), Lefteris Konstantakakis, Vice President (A.C.F.), Mihalis Maragoudakis, Secretary, (A.C.F.), John Nikolakakis, Treasurer, (P.F.A.) and John Lygidakis, Public Relations Officer, (P.F.A.).
Other decisions included : (a) the executive would be based out of Victoria for the first two years, (b) the amalgamation of both bank Accounts merging all funds into one account irrespective of the Balances, the P.F.A. contribution was $12,445.40 and the A.C.F. contribution was $ 2050.00 (c) the publication of one National Battle of Crete Magazine, (d) It was decided that a competition would be announced for the design of the new Federation Logo with a $ 500 dollar award, (e) a subcommittee was formed for the formation of the new constitution and (f) the next convention would be held in Perth, Western Australia in January 1995.
On the 30th March 1994 the Federation Executive received a letter of application from the Cretans Association of New Zealand to join the Federation officially as a member constituent. The Executive committee decided to accept their request in principal, based on the criteria that is stipulated in the constitution. It was also decided that the Cretans of New Zealand would have to be present at the next convention in Perth to receive the full endorsement by the annual General Meeting of the Federation.
On the 19th April 1994, the members of the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne were completely devastated, due to the fire that broke out at the Cretan House in East Brunswick. The community and the members rallied to keep the club afloat, with many organisations offering its premises free of charge to host events and keep the club financially viable. The estimated damages from the fire is believed to be in excess of $200,000. Australian mainstream media at the time linked the fire to a possible attack from the Slavic Community due to Premier Kennett’s pro greek stance on the Macedonian issue and his recent visit to the ancient sites of Alexander the Great in Greece.
The C.F.A.N.Z. committee worked in a united manner to host the National events for the commemoration of the 53rd Anniversary of Battle of Crete for all Cretans in a unified manner for the first time ever and in particular in Victoria. Musicians were invited including Vagelis Pytharoulis on the Lyra accompanied by Antonis Zaharioudakis on the Lute who played, in Sydney on the 14th May, Melbourne on the 21st May, Canberra on the 28th May, Tasmania on the 5th June, Adelaide on the 12th June, Brisbane on the 18th June, Darwin on the 26th June and in Perth on the 2nd July. The Hellenic Armed Forces were represented by the Lieutenant General Giorgis Skarlatos, Captain Giorgis Veldekos, Vice Admiral Leonidas Palaiogiorgis and Lieutenant Colonel christos Pallis covering thousands of kilometres across the nation.
On Sunday 22nd May 1994, the Cretans Association of New Zealand hosted the official opening of the Greek New Zealand War Memorial that is dedicated to the Battle of Crete. The opening was in the presence of the Governor of New Zealand, Lord Mayor of Wellington, the Hellenic Defence Forces, the RSA, tens of New Zealand Veterans and the wider Greek New Zealand Community. It should be noted that the idea to establish a memorial began in 1984 with the initial committee being formed by the ANZAC Crete Veterans of New Zealand and in particular Veteran A. Helm.
In June of that year the members and friends of the 6th Division and with the support of the CFANZ travelled to Crete for a tour of the island. Special tributes were placed at the battle sites of the Battle of Crete, with specific reference to those in Latzima and Stavromenos in Rethymno. The group was led by Steve McDougall and John Wattle. The local authorities supported their visit with the hosting of special events.
On the 9th July 1994, the Cretan Association of New South Wales hosted a Dinner Dance in honour of the former Prime Minister of Australia Mr. Goff Whitlam at the Cretan House in Canterbury in the presence of the Consul General of Sydney Ioannis Kambolis. He was honoured and thanked by the Cretans of Sydney for his contribution to Multiculturalism and to the Greek Migrant people of Sydney.
The competition for the new design of the Federation logo was run successfully with over five participating graphic designers from all over Australia. The designs were presented to the C.F.A.N.Z. Board of Management with the final design chosen unanimously being number 6. The design number six belonged to Stergios Siganakis from New South Wales, who was proudly presented with a $ 500 dollar cheque as the winner.
1995: The 15th National Convention in Perth was considered a huge success. Hundreds travelled across the Nullarbor to the Mediterranean Perth of Western Australia. All delegates were greeted with great warmth and Cretan hospitality lead by the host President Ioannis Karakatsanakis which started on the 5th January and finished on the 12th January. The program included a welcome dinner at a greek Taverna, the Convention AGM was held at the hall of the Greek Parish of St. Konstantinos & Eleni’s. The conference dinner Dance featured the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne Dance Group under the guidance of its Dance Teacher Tony Tsourdalakis as well as the Cretan Association of Sydney & New South Wales Dance Group with its Dance Teacher Fiona Petrakis. Local Musicians Vasilis Mihalakis and Michael Platyrrahos, Sifis Tsourdalakis and Andreas Vardakis entertained the crowds at the Dinner Dance. The Convention was also supported by the Consul of Greece in Perth Mr. Pasas as well as the President of the Greek Community of Perth Mr. Arthur Limnios who is of Cretan origin. A special Ceremony took place for all the delegates at the Kings Park Memorial in Perth, for the first time. The highlight of the convention was the day trip to Margaret River and Preveli Park to host the liturgy at the St. John Theologian chapel followed by refreshments and a wonderful day in the surrounding areas for the 6 bus loads of delegates that took the trip.
The new National Executive Committee worked to find the “new” Federation on a strong constitution which was approved at the convention in Perth in January 1995. At this convention, the Cretans Association of New Zealand were officially accepted in the Federation, thereby creating the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand as we know it today. Other decisions made were the invitation of the cretan musician Manolis Alexakis and the next convention to be hosted in Wellington, New Zealand. The second day of the AGM focused on general topics of discussion with the majority being the unification of the two cretan organisations in Brisbane namely the Cretan Association of Queensland and the Pancretan United of Queensland. After lengthy discussions and everyone trying to propose solutions, it was decided by both parties present that they would call a joint meeting by both clubs, open to all their members with no conditions in the hope that a solution can be reached. Both Nondas Panagiotakis and Elizabeth Georgiou agreed to this motion.
Whilst his stay in Perth, C.F.A.N.Z. President George Paterakis, accompanied by John Petrakis from Sydney and Dimitris Papadimitrakis from Victorian paid a special visit to the home of ANZAC Veteran Geoff Edwards who was so happy to see his beloved Cretan people. They were greeted with open arms by him and his lovely wife Evelyn. They exchanged stories and had a pleasant afternoon. The C.F.A.N.Z. President thanked Geoff and Evelyn for the gift that they donated to the Greek Community of Western Australia highlighting the bonds that were forged in 9141 by the people of Crete and the Australian soldiers.
During 1995, the Federation grew in importance and influence. The Australian and New Zealand Governments recognised it as a major player in Hellenic affairs. This precipitated the official recognition by the Greek Government through its Embassy and its various ministries in Athens. 1995 saw the National Executive further cement the structure and workings of the Federation enabling it to operate more efficiently and effectively.
Also in that year, the Federation was represented at the inaugural Council for Greeks Abroad Congress (SAE) meeting in Thessaloniki by its President Giorgos Paterakis, who was accompanied by Pantelis Kalimnakis from the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne & Victoria and Tony Tsourdalakis from the Hellenic Youth Federation of Victoria. The three Cretans from Australia had the opportunity to meet other Cretans from around the globe at a special Dinner at the Pancretan Association of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, including Giannis Epitropakis from Germany, Giorgos Xanthoudakis, from Cyprus, Ioannis Nathenas and Sofia Metzaki from America, Giorgos Pitsikoulis from Canada and many others.
The Battle of Crete Program that year included dinner Dances in the following cities 6th May in Brisbane, 13th May in Hobart, 17th May in Darwin, 20th May in Sydney, 27th May in Melbourne, 2nd June in Brisbane, 10th June in new Zealand, 17th June in Sydney and 24th June in Melbourne.
The Musicians included the multitalented Manolis Alexakis on the Lyra and vocals and he was accompanied by Antonis Saloustros on the lute and Haralambos Kraniotakis on the Lute also. These musicians did a brilliant job at opening their hearts and making themselves very approachable to the Cretan Youth of Australia, which made their tour a successful one. Their tour attracted so much interest that a Video Tape and an audio tape was produced and sold amongst the associations giving the Federation a clear profit of $4,531.85 thanks largely to the efforts of Odysseas Platyrrahos who took on the initiative of the production and dissemination.
The first group of High ranking officers included Lieutenant General Dimitris Manouras accompanied by Major General Efthimios Petinis who covered part one of the program including Tasmania 12th to 14th May, Sydney 19th to 21st May, Adelaide 16th to 18th May, Melbourne 26th to 28th May and Perth from the 23rd to 25th May.
The second group included Lieutenant Commander Konstantinos Tsiflidis accompanied by Captain Athanasios Kosmopoulos attended the events : New Zealand 12th to 14th May, Darwin 15th to 18th May, Brisbane 19th to 21st May and Canberra 26th to 28th May.
The C.F.A.N.Z. also had the honour of hosting representatives from the Hellenic Parliament who accepted the invitation to attend for the Battle of Crete, namely: Sifis Mihelogiannis, representing the PASOK party and Manolis Kefalogiannis representing the New Democracy Party.
Successful events were held in Perth, in Adelaide, in Hobart in Brisbane and in Darwin. It should be noted that thanks to the personal efforts of Kostas Hnaris, new Cretan costumes arrived in Darwin from Crete for the very first time, allowing the local Cretan Dance Group to perform in authentic Cretan costumes from Rethymno. A special highlight in the events in Melbourne included a theatrical play that was hosted by the Cretan Theatrical Group made of Cretan Youth and directed by Dimitris Kalogerakis titled “ Kalinixta Margarita” which was based on a romantic story in World War two and the Battle of Crete.
On the 20th May 1995, the Cretan Association of New Zealand hosted its official opening of the newly refurbished and newly built Cretan House in Petone. The Blessing was conducted by Rev. Father Speransos in the presence of the Lord Mayor Glen Evans, the Greek Ambassador, the British High Commissioner, the NZ Government, the Hellenic Armed Forces, and local City Councillors. The halls main foyer was renamed the “Charles Upham Foyer “. The labour party of New Zealand also donated $ 10,000 towards the Cretan Association of New Zealand during the official opening.
A major highlight throughout the year was the official photo exhibition on the Battle of Crete that was sent to Australia from the Parliament of Greece, which was from the personal collection of Nikolaos Makrigiannis who is also an author of the history of Crete. It was a photographic archive of over 600 photographs which had never been displayed before. Nikolaos Makrigiannis was the Director of International Relations in the parliament of Greece.
In August of 1995, the C.F.A.N.Z. hosted a dinner dance in honour of our fellow Cretan Rena Frangioudaki to say thank you for all the hard work she does for the Hellenic Community but in particular the Cretan organisations. A special plaque was awarded to her on behalf of all Cretans, flowers were presented to her by the Cretan youth, together with a gift. Federation President Georgios Paterakis spoke about her life, her contribution, and her commitment to the Community through the media. The Cretan dance Groups performed to the tunes of Cretan Musicians Sifis Tsourdalakis, Andreas Vardakis and Kostas Kirkotsios.
In December of 1995, the CFANZ participated for the first time in the inaugural Council for Greeks Abroad Conference in Thessaloniki in Greece. Thessaloniki was officially labelled as the Capital City for the Greeks living Abroad. Over 260 Delegates from all over the world were invited to represent the 3000 Greek organisations that exist all over the world. Greeks live in over than 120 countries. The cretan presence included C.F.A.N.Z. President Georgios Paterakis, Greek Community of Melbourne representative Pantelis Kalimnakis and Hellenic Youth Federation representative Tony Tsourdalakis who all had the opportunity to participate in their respective Forums that had been organised. They also had the opportunity to network with other Cretans from America, Canada, Cyprus, Germany, South Africa and Greece.
The start of 1996 saw the Cretans of Australia cross the Tasman Ocean to the wonderful City of Wellington in New Zealand for the first time ever, for the hosting of the 16th National Convention of the C.F.A.N.Z. All the delegates were welcomed with open arms by the local President Giorgos Kosmadakis and his committee for a fun filled program from the 3rd to the 11th January 1996. Delegates did not fit into one hotel and had to spread over two namely the Wellington Quality Hotel and the Hotel Raffaele.
The program was quite impressive since delegates were attending Wellington for the first time, including a visit to the local Museum, the art Gallery, a welcome BBQ at the St. Nektarios Church Hall, a meet and greet event at the Cretan House, a cocktail reception by the mayor of Lower Hutt, a formal dinner hosted by the President of the Returned Services Association, a Ferry Boat trip to the neighbouring island, a cocktail party by the Mayor of Wellington, Convention dinner Dance with the Cretan Musicians Giorgos Fragiadakis on the Lyra and vocals accompanied by Giorgos Xylouris on the lute, the official church service, throwing of the cross ceremony followed by a luncheon hosted by the Metropolis of New Zealand.
The Convention Annual General Meeting was hosted in the hotel in the presence of Consul General of Greece in Wellington Theodoros Daskarolis. Delegates from Victoria, Eleftherios Konstantakakis, Stelios Koukouvitakis, Nikos Nikolakakis, Georgios Paterakis, from New South Wales Panagiotis Sarikakis, Nikolaos Assargiotis, Giannis Vamianakis, Manolis Saridakis, from Queensland, Elizabeth Georgiou, nondas Panagiotakis and Pavlos Maggelakis, from Tasmania it was Mihalis Aspradakis and from New Zealand it was Georgios Kosmadakis, Georgios Neonakis and Petros Krasoudakis, Canberra was represented via proxy by Nikos Kotzabasakis, and Perth was represented via proxy by Nikos Assargiotis, Darwin and Adelaide were not represented It was decided to move the administration of the Federation from Melbourne to Sydney. Nikos Assargiotis, President of the Cretan Association of New South Wales announced that the new executive would include Nikos Kotzabasakis President, Manolis Saridakis, Vice President, Emmanuel Mountakis, Secretary, Peter Sarikakis, Treasurer and Constantine Kambourakis, Public Relations Officer.
At the completion of the Convention in Wellington, the delegates travelled to Rotorua for three days of sightseeing and events hosted by the Maori community, a meeting and gathering with the Maori Battle of Crete Veterans as well as a visit to the War Museum in Waiuru.
The commemorative events of the 55th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete in Australia included events in Brisbane on the 11th May, in sydney on the 18th May, in Melbourne on the 25th May, in Canberra on the 1st June, in Adelaide on the 8th June, in Melbourne again on the 15th June, in Brisbane again on the 22nd June, in New Zealand in the 29th June, on the 8th July again in Sydney and finally on the 13th July again in Melbourne. The Cretan Musician that was invited included Kostas Papoutsakis on the Lyra from Crete who was accompanied by Giorgos Xylouris who was residing in Melbourne. The high ranking officers include Lieutenant General Theodoros Kanelos accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel Nikolaos Stathias.
On the 1st and 2nd of June the council of Greeks Abroad in the Oceania region held its first official national conference in Melbourne and our Federation was invited to attend. All SAE delegates were invited to attend, and it was held at the Savoy Hotel in the Melbourne CBD. The conference was very successful with the establishment of sub committees that would work on issues regarding Education, Culture, Business & Trade, National Issues, Youth, Communication, and women’s issues.
On the 7th July 1996, the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne hosted its 40th Anniversary Gala Ball at San Remo Ballroom in Carlton with over 500 people in attendance. Consul General George Veis honoured the event with his presence and also handed a cheque for $ 5000 from the Hellenic Government as a donation towards the rebuilding of the Cretan House, which ended up costing over $ 150,000. The Birthday cake was cut by the President Lefteris Konstantakakis accompanied by Foundation stalwarts, Myron Papadakis, Georgios Lantzakis and Stelios Delikanakis.
On the 12th November 1996, the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and the Pancretan Association of Melbourne took part in the official welcome in honour of His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew at the Melbourne Concert Hall with over 2000 people in attendance. Both Dance Groups united presented a wonderful array of Cretan Dances together with musicians Sifis Tsourdalakis, Giorgos Xylouris and Soula Daskalomarkakis from Crete.
On the 3rd to the 6th January 1997 the Cretan Association of Canberra hosted the 17th National Convention in Australia’s capital city. The program included a welcome cocktail party in the Aegean room at the Hellenic club were all delegates got to meet and greet as they arrived in Canberra. The official Annual General Meeting was also held at the Hellenic Club as well as the Dinner Dance in the Olympus room with over 400 guests in attendance and in particular the three bus loads that travelled from Melbourne. Musicians included Sifis Tsourdalakis, Andreas Vardakis and Kostas Kirkotsios.
The Convention Annual General Meeting accepted 3 more Cretan Organisations, bringing the number to 14, namely the Cretan Association of Iraklians “MINOAS “, The Hania Social Club and the Cretan Association of Lasithi ” VITZENTZOS KORNAROS “This growth in the membership cemented the C.F.A.N.Z.’s prestige and influence in national Hellenic affairs. The Convention AGM also approved a motion to give each state six representatives i.e. six votes. It was also decided to assist a Cretan family from sydney in dire need of help, as well as contribute towards the monument of Kostas Mountakis in Rethymno, as well as the topic of Patrons’ was bought up and the name of General Gration was mentioned, but no decision was made. The Convention AGM also decided to look into establishing a Scholarship fund to support the Modern Greek Language in sydney and Melbourne. It was also decided that the conventions be counted from 1980 and not 1994 since the merger of the two Federations.
Other major achievements of the Federation in 1997 included :- the donation of money to the Modern Greek Departments of the Universities of Australia; the constant lobbying, together with other Hellenic organisations, of the Australian and New Zealand Parliaments on issues important to Greece and Greeks Abroad; the opening of communication with other Cretan Organisations internationally; partnering the Returned Servicemen’s League in the Scholarship Schemes for young students in Crete; the raising of approximately $50,000 for the Archdiocese of Crete; acquiring financial assistance from the Greek Government through the General Secretary for Greeks Abroad for the Battle of Crete commemoration; continuing the 22 year tradition of having a high ranking officer of the Hellenic and Australian Armed Forces attend the Commemoration; the organising of a Cretan Youth Cultural Awareness trip to mainland Greece and Crete; a seat in the Oceania Regional “SAE” and the drawing up of the proposal for a revamped “World-wide Confederation of Cretans Abroad”
The 56th Anniversary Commemorations for the Battle of Crete were celebrated by the CFANZ across the nation with the utmost respect and professionalism. The National program included Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and New Zealand with local Musician Giorgos Xylouris been accompanied by Giorgos Fragioudakis from Crete as the main artists touring the nation. The Hellenic Armed Forces were represented by Major General Aristidis Stamboulis and accompanied by Lieutenant colonel Ioannis Sasalos who visited all the cities. The only downside since the unification of the two Federations was that both Sydney and Brisbane still convey separate events to mark Battle of Crete.
At the beginning of June, the Cretan Youth of Australia and New Zealand was represented by Tony Tsourdalakis at the 2nd International Hellenic Youth Forum in Thessaloniki. For over two days the greek youth from around the globe, had the opportunity to meet, greet, exchange views, ideas and thoughts on all things greek. It should be noted that Australia was deemed to be a leader in all these areas. The International Hellenic youth Council included : Analia Sarris (South America), Christos Orfanakos, Nektaria Gianasmidou, Katerina Nikolopoulos ( North America), Tony Tsourdalakis, Steve Katsimandakos & Giorgos Tsaprounis (Australia), Elizabeth Sidiropoulos (South Africa), Kostas Papadopoulos, Nikos andritsos, Eleni Pascanou, Dimitris Pnevmatikos (Europe), Sophie Skopelitis, Thomas Panos (Canada) and Grigoris Tseprailidis (Russia).
On the 22nd June 1997, the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne hosted its official opening of the newly refurbished Cretan House in Brunswick after it was burnt down three years prior. Musicians Giorgos Fragkioudakis, Giorgos Xylouris, Sifis Tsourdalakis and Andreas Vardakis entertained the crowds together with the Cretan Brotherhood, PanMacedonian, Pancretan, and St. Johns College Dance Groups. The official opening was conducted by Consul General George Veis assisted by the Brotherhood President Christos Polentas, Federation President Nikos Kotzabasakis as well as Members of Parliament Peter Katsambanis and Carlo Carli.
1998: The Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne, the Pancretan Association of Melbourne, the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne ARKADI, the Lasithi Association of Melbourne, the Hania Social Club and the Iraklion Association all jointly hosted the 18th National Convention in Melbourne, Victoria from the 8th to the 12th January.
The Convention program in Melbourne included the official welcome cocktail party at the Cretan House in Brunswick and the official Convention Dinner Dance at the Cretan Village with musicians Sifis Tsourdalakis, Giorgos Xylouris and Andreas Vardakis as well as the dance groups of the Pancretan, Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and the Pancretan United of Brisbane. The program also included a Youth night at Rebelos Greek Bar, a sports carnival at the Cretan Village with the youth playing Tennis, Basketball and Soccer and a day trip to Phillip island. The sydney Cretans headed by their coach Peter Sarikakis won the game against the Melbourne Cretans 3 goals to 1.
The Inaugural Congress in Melbourne inducted yet another member association namely the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne” ARKADI ” which meant that Melbourne’s Cretan community was finally unified under one umbrella. The final two cities that remain disunified are Brisbane and Sydney.
The Annual General Meeting also included important messages and well wishes from the General Secretary for Greeks Abroad Stavros Lambrinidis, the Consul General of Wellington Theodoros Daskarolis, Governor of Iraklio Giannis Garefalakis, Governor of Chania Aleka Markogiannakis, President of the Pancretan of America Manolis Tsikoudakis, the President of the Pancretan of Greece Kostas Plaitis and the President of the Greek Community of Northern Territory Ioannis Vrontzos.
At the completion of the Convention Annual General meeting the Chairman Nikos Nikolakakis mentioned that Victoria would take over National Administration of the Federation for the next two years. He announced the formation of the Executive. Christos Polentas, President, John Lilikakis, Vice President, Manolis Zouglakis, Secretary, Dimitris Papadimitrakis, Treasurer and Tony Tsourdalakis, Public Relations Officer.
Other decisions made at the Convention Annual General Meeting in 1998 include : (1) the introduction of the Education of the history of the Battle of Crete in English at all Primary and Secondary levels, (2) the participation of the Youth Sector of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand at the 1st International Cretan Youth Congress in Iraklio, (3) the establishment of the Cretan Cultural Resource Centre as well as a very successful completion of the commemorative activities for the Battle of Crete, including the attendance of Major General Giorgios Manioudakis and well known musicians Nikos Zoidakis and Giorgos Karagiorgis,(4) the planning formation of a National Cretan Youth Organisation under the auspices of the C. F. A. N. Z. and finally the financial contribution towards the Australian Hellenic Memorial Foundation in Melbourne.
In April 1998 the C.F.A.N.Z. was invited to partake and form part of a committee that was established in Crete and the Prefect of Chania in order to raise funds and establish the first official museum for the Battle of Crete, that would be accompanied by a small Chapel as well as a War Memorial. This committee was been chaired by Metropolitan of Hania Irineos and other very influential and committed individuals.
In August of 1998 the Pancretan Youth of Greece extended an invitation to the Cretan youth organisations in Australia, in New Zealand, in America, in Germany, in Canada, in Cyprus, in South Africa and in other parts of the world for the hosting of the 1st Inaugural International Cretan Youth Congress in Gouves Iraklio in Crete from the 20th to the 28th August. The program included a convention meeting, working groups, presentations, visits to historical sites, cultural evenings etc. Over 25 Cretan youth of Australia attended the convention in Crete proving to be very successful. The first international Cretan Youth Council consisted of the following people : Eleftherios Avgenakis, President, (Greece), Tony Tsourdalakis, A Vice President, (Australia), George Ikonomakis, B’ Vice President (Canada), Evangelos Lampakis, C’ Vice President, (Greece), Stelios Spanoudakis, Secretary (Greece), Antonis Giannakakis, Assistant Secretary (Germany), Zambia Delidakis, Treasurer, (America), Evangelos Rodinos, Public Relations (Greece) and committee members Nikos Christidis (Cyprus), Nektaria Lionakis (South Africa) and Georgios Aggelakis (New Zealand).
Continuing from the International youth Congress, the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne Dance group headed by its Dance Teacher Tony Tsourdalakis conducted a Tour of Crete performing in Hania, in Rethymno and in Iraklio. Its major highlight was performing the famous Cretan war Dance the Pentozalis for the TV Station Creta Channel at the grave of Eleftherios Venizelos in the Akrotiri region to the tunes of Nikos Zoidakis and Giorgos Karagiorgis and Petros Koumakis, under the sun in 35 degree heat, in Cretan costumes. Other performances included with musicians Dimitris Vakakis, Mihalis Alefantinos, Manolis Alexakis, Giorgo Lekakis and Vasilis Skoulas.
The year 1999 proved to be a great one for the C.F.A.N.Z. beginning with the 19th National Convention in the City of Adelaide hosted by the local Cretan Association of Adelaide, which brought Cretans together in one forum from all over the nation to discuss issues that relate to them commonly.
The Convention was headed by local President Nick Terizakis and his young and energetic committee with a very full program of events, including a cocktail welcome at the Hellas Blue Room of the Adelaide Reception Centre, followed by a Youth Night at the Gekkos World Nightclub, a trip to Cleveland’s National Park, City Sightseeing, the Annual Soccer Match between Melbourne and Sydney, a day trip to Barossa Valley, the Dinner Dance at the Hellas Ballroom at the Adelaide Reception Centre and of course the annual General meeting of the Convention. Local Cretan Musicians Sifis Tsourdalakis, Andreas Vardakis and Kostas Kirkotsios were invited to entertain the Convention delegates.
The Convention Annual General Meeting announced the establishment of the Federation website which initially cost $ 600. The website contained all the historical information since the Federations existence as well as heaps of photos and events from all the conventions. The website is currently been administered by the public Relations Officer Tony Tsourdalakis. The decision to endorse the new constitution was moved to the next Convention in Brisbane to give the associations time to review it before getting it registered.
The Annual General Meeting also included important messages and well wishes from His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, the Ambassador of Greece to Australia Ioannis Beveratos, the Governor of Rethymnon Manolis Litinas, the Mayor of Chania Giorgos Katsanevakis, the Mayor of Agios Nikolaos Ioannis Zervos and the President of the International Cretan youth Council Lefteris Avgenakis.
Another very important decision was the official establishment of the National Committee of the Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand. The AGM appointed C.F.A.N.Z. Public Relations Tony Tsourdalakis to call a National Tele Conference and commence proceedings.
Continuing the Federation’s bright future in 1999, the C.F.A.N.Z. participated strongly with an invitation to both the Federation President and the National Youth President in the International Convention of the Council of Greeks Abroad held in Thessaloniki, Greece.
The Federation took a culturally minded initiative for the first time in its history and invited the Hellenic Migrant Theatre Group from mainland Greece. The Group, headed by Harris Messarhakis, put on the theatre play ”Parathiro ston Ilio” which depicted a war story set during the Battle of Crete. In addition, the Federation Executive invited the well-known Cretan Musicians Manolis Kontaros Giorgos Tsouroupakis and Giorgos Dretakis from Crete to tour Australia and perform at all major cities in Australia and New Zealand.
The year 1999 saw the Federation play a major role in our Ethnic Issues, when it became a vital member of the Australian Hellenic Council at the National Meeting in June in Canberra. The Federation was represented at that meeting by its President Christos Polentas and the Public Relations Officer Tony Tsourdalakis.
President Polentas also represented the C.F.A.N.Z. on the Board of the Justice of Cyprus Committee (SEKA) as the Vice President. Representation was also invited to the C.F.A.N.Z. on the Board of the Australian Hellenic Memorial Foundation in Victoria which was responsible for the raising of funds to erect the Australian Hellenic Memorial that is dedicated to the ANZACS who fought in Greece in 1941 and in particular the Battle of Crete.
The Hellenic Government, for yet another year, responded to the Federation’s invitation and sent over a High-Ranking Army Officer representing the Hellenic Armed Forces for the activities and commemorations of the Battle of Crete namely Lieutenant General Efthimios Petinis.
The CFANZ had invited the great musicians Giorgos Tsouroupakis on the Lyra and vocals, Manolis Kontaros on the lute and vocals and Giorgis Dretakis on the lute to cover the events Nationally in Australia. The open heart, energetic nature and warm spirit rose to the occasion bring the Cretan youth of Australia closer to their roots and their ancestral background.
At the turn of the century in 2000, many Cretans decided to leave their city and watch the firework display in the warmer city of Brisbane as a lead up to the 20th National CFANZ Convention in Queensland from New Year’s Eve, with some heavy partying to celebrate the new millennium. The program started on Friday 7th and ended on Wednesday 12th January and was hosted by both the Cretan Association of Queensland and the Pancretan United of Queensland.
The Convention program included the official welcome BBQ at the Collosus Hall in West end, the Youth Night at Club Baraki, the Convention AGM at the Ukrainian Hall in South Brisbane, a day trip to Mount Gravatt, church service at St. George, Soccer Game / BBQ at Evondale Park and the Convention Dinner Dance which included musicians Sifis Tsourdalakis, Giorgos Xylouris, Andreas Vardakis and Kostas Kirkotsios, as well as the Cretan Association of Queensland Dance Group, the Pancretan United of Queensland Dance Group, the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne Dance Group and the Cretan Association of Sydney Dance Group. The Convention continued onto the Gold Coast for three days with visits to the theme parks, a church service and luncheon at St. Annas Greek Orthodox Parish, the throwing of the Holy Cross and other events.
The Convention Annual General Meeting also decided that the CFANZ would instigate three National awards to Cretan people that have contributed to Hellenism over the years. This will commence with the associations sending through their nominations to the Executive. They will be presented at the next Convention Dinner Dance.
The outgoing President Christos Polentas, thanked his executive for their assistance during his term in office and in particular his Public Relations Officer Tony Tsourdalakis who stood by him, through the turbulent times, due to the financial crisis that hit the Federation and in particular some poor decisions that were made regarding the finances of the Federation. He announced that the administration of the federation was requested by New South Wales and so the President that was announced was Dimitris Skouloudis. The other members of the Executive included Paul Spanoudakis (Vice President), John Assargiotis (Secretary), Kostas Kambourakis (Treasurer) and John Petrakis (Public Relations Officer).
The first inaugural conference meeting of the New National Cretan Youth Council can be considered to be a major highlight of the convention. Entering the new millennium, the Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand, under the auspices of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand, began to write its own history and enter a new chapter in the Federation’s 20 year history. The formation of the National Council included Youth representatives from all over the Oceania region. The first C.Y.A.N.Z. Committee which was initiated and chaired by Tony Tsourdalakis included the following : Sifis Panagiotakis, President (Queensland), Maria Paterakis, Vice President (Northern Territory), Peggy Skalidas, Secretary (New South Wales), Katerina Andreoulakis, Assistant Secretary (South Australia), John Hatzakis, Treasurer (Queensland), Irene Polentas, Assistant Treasurer (Victoria), Voula Kosmadakis Public Relations (New Zealand), John Katsanevakis, Public Relations (Australian Capital Territory) and committee Members Manolis Binakis (Victoria), Nick Skalidas (New South Wales), Con Kambourakis (New South Wales ) and George Christakis (Northern Territory).
The aims and objectives of the C.Y.A.N.Z. included : (a) to unite the Cretan Youth Nationaly under one umbrella body, (b) to promote and enhance isues that relate to the Cretan Youth in the Oceania region, (c) to increase participation of the second, third and subsequent generation Cretans into the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand and (d) to educate and promote the Cretan Culture to other Hellenes of Australia and New Zealand.
The structure of the C.Y.A.N.Z. included the following : (a) the Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand (CYANZ) would be under the auspices of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand (CFANZ), (b) The National Youth Council will be made up of 2 representatives from each State, (c) The National Youth Council made up of 18 representatives will elect a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Public Relations Officer, (d) Elections of the National Council will be held every two years at the Annual Convention of the C.F.A.N.Z., (e) The National Council will have its own Bank Account, (f) the Council will meet annually at the Convention of the C.F.A.N.Z. and hold 2 teleconferences annually, (g) the legal age limit that a person can participate is up to the age of 30, (h) the Youth President will report at each of the CFANZ Convention Meetings.
Newly elected President Skouloudis thanked the Cretan Association of Sydney for nominating him as President, which he felt humbled and honoured. He also took the time to announce some major objectives that he wanted to introduce and achieve during his term as President. Some of these included: (a) the unification of the Cretans of Sydney and Brisbane, (b) Promotion of our Youth nationally (c) the visit of the Australian Prime Minister John Howard to Crete for the 60th Anniversary (d) the promotion of the Battle of Crete to become a Greek National Day, (e) a world cretan congress in Crete in January 2002 and finally (f) the erection of the Cretan Village and the Cretan Cultural Centre in Sydney including a church, a Reception Hall, Museum, Memorial, Exhibition Centre on a 20 acre block donated by the Skouloudis family.
The Federation Executive continued planning the hosting of the 59th Anniversary commemorative activities for the Battle of Crete with, once again, high ranking Officials including Lieutenant General Panagiotis Harvalas accompanied by Colonel Stergios Papotis. The program included 23rd May in South Australia, 20th May in New South Wales, 27th May in Victoria, 10th June in Queensland, 11th June in Victoria and 17th June in New South Wales.
The invitation to Crete’s well-known musician Mihalis Alefantinos, (who was, at the time, the President of the Cretan Musicians’ Association of Greece), accompanied by Giorgos Fragiadakis. Continuing that note, the Federation began lobbying the Hellenic Government for increased recognition for the historical Battle of Crete. In a unified manner, all the Federations and Unions around the globe pushed for a greater and more significant recognition of the Battle of Crete.
On Sunday 9th April 2000 the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne “ARKADI” hosted its annual General Meeting at the Cretan House in East Brunswick. President Giorgos Tsourdalakis who held the position for a record 28 years stated that he was stepping down and encouraged the younger generation to continue the organisation for years to come. Similar sentiments were expressed by other elder founding members that were present. After a three hour deliberation amongst the 60 odd members that were present, the members decided and voted the following new committee that would continue the great work and the important legacy that was created by former President Giorgos Tsourdalakis, Socrates Tsourdalakis and others. The new committee consisted of Tony Tsourdalakis (President), Manolis Vantarakis (Vice President), Kostas Dermentzis (Secretary), Andreas Vourvahakis (Treasurer), Manolis Dendes (Assistant Secretary), Giorgos Marakis (Public Relations) and committee members Leonidas Bagiartakis, Nikos Polomarkakis, Kostas Batsanis, John Rerakis, John Selianakis, Nikos Rerakis, Michael Haritakis and Christos Papadakis.
Another major achievement of the National Executive, and in particular the President due to his personal financial contribution in the year 2000, was the printing and distribution of a regular publication for the Members of the Federation called “O Kritikos”. This became the main communication medium amongst the member Associations in Australia and New Zealand. This publication was also been distributed internationally and was a strong communication link between the Cretan associations globally. Unfortunately, it only lasted 3 issues.
In September of 2000 the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand in conjunction with the Cretan Association of Sydney & New south Wales hosted a honorary dinner for the Sydney Paralympic Gold medallist from Greece Eleni Samaritaki who was born in Crete. It was a very emotional event with over 100 cretan members in attendance, showing her the love and the respect she deserved for raising the Greek Flag high in the sky during the Paralympic Games in Sydney. Cretan Association of New South Wales President Paul Spanoudakis awarded Eleni with a commemorative plaque and several gifts from the Cretans of Sydney.
In December 2000 the Hellenic Parliament, through its Education Minister Arsenis announced that the 20th May each year will be a National School Holiday and the history of the Battle of Crete will be included in the curriculum of all schools nationwide. The Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand was finally rewarded for its hard work in lobbying the Greek Government for this issue. The unfortunate thing is that the Government changed hands several months later and this Ministerial decision was never implemented.
With the turn of the year to 2001, the Cretan Association of Sydney and NSW hosted the 21st Annual Cretan Convention in Sydney, uniting Cretans from all around the country and New Zealand hosted by the Cretan Association of New South Wales which was led by its President Mr. Paul Spanoudakis and his very young and hospitable Committee. The Convention program included the Youth Night at the Knossos nightclub hosted by the Cretan youth of New South Wales, the welcome Reception also at the Knossos Nightclub, the Convention Dinner Dance was held at the Samos House in Five Dock with musicians Antonis Petrantonakis, Andreas Vardakis and Kostas Kirkotsios and the Dance Groups from the Cretan Brotherhoods of Melbourne and Sydney, the Church service was held at the Greek Archdiocese headquarters in Redfern, the throwing of the cross at Yarra Bay and the Cretan Soccer Cup Game in Camperdown.
The Annual General Meeting of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand was chaired by President Dimitris Skouloudis and included an impressive agenda of topics that were discussed which was also hosted at the Knossos Centre. This convention saw the membership withdrawal of the Hania Social Club of Melbourne. Further the members decided unanimously that the CFANZ did not agree to elevate the Battle of Crete to another Greek National Day. The members did not feel that this was appropriate against other members of the Hellenic Community. On the other hand it was decided to accept the proposal to have the History subject for the Battle of Crete taught at all schools in Greece and hence making it a National School Holiday.
At the completion of the 21st Annual Convention, the Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand hosted the 2nd International Cretan Youth Congress in Sydney. This initiative brought Cretan youth representatives from Greece, Cyprus, Romania, USA, Canada, and Germany together in a unified forum discussing issues and problems that affected Cretan youth around the globe. Special Policy documents were created from all the cretan youth that were split up into groups. Policies on Volunteerism, the Athens 2004 Olympics, the International Cretan Village, Hellenism, Education of the Greek Language, National Pride and Culture just to name a few.
At the completion of the conference the election of the Second International Cretan Youth Council consisted of the following people : Eleftherios Avgenakis, President, (Greece), Zambia Delidakis, A’ Vice President (USA), Antonis Giannakakis, B Vice President, (Germany), Dimitra Sirilas, C’ Vice President, (Australia), Stelios Spanoudakis, Secretary (Greece), Georgios Avgenakis, Treasurer, (Romania), Evangelos Rodinos, Public Relations (Greece) and committee members Nikos Dambakakis (Cyprus), Nektaria Lionakis (South Africa) and Sifis Panagiotakis (New Zealand).
It was decided that the next international Cretan Youth Conference would be in Germany in 2003.
The Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand rallied around the Sydney Cretans and pulled of a historic event proving to the people of Greece that, even though Australia is thousands of kilometres away from Greece, and are second, third and fourth generation Greeks, we do not forget the cultural background of our ancestors.
On Sunday 31st May 2001, the C.F.A.N.Z. was invited to co-host the official farewell of the 12 ANZAC veterans that were flying to Greece for the commemorative mission of the 60th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete at the Melbourne Town Hall. The event included the Prime Minister of Australia the Hon John Howard, Minster for Veterans Affairs the Hon. Bruce Scott, the Deputy Commissioner Brian Flynn, representatives from HMAS Cerberus and Federation President Dimitrios Skouloudis, accompanied by organisation Presidents Manolis Kastrinakis (Pancretan), Tony Tsourdalakis (Rethimnian ARKADI) and Manolis Kardiakakis (Cretan Brotherhood), Manolis Zouglakis (Lasithi Association), Vasilis Mihalakis (Iraklion Association). It was a very emotional farewell as Anzac Veteran Frank Atkins spoke on behalf of the Veterans.
In September 2001, the two cretan organisations in Queensland finally found the formula and united into one massive cretan organisation. It was a historic day for the Cretans of Queensland uniting after 16 years of division. The Cretan Association of Queensland and the Pancretan United of Queensland hosted a joint Annual General Meeting amongst all members, allowing them to decide for the future of their organisations. It was almost a unanimous vote of confidence in the unification of the two cretan organisations.
In 2002, we saw the induction of a group of Second-Generation Greek Australians of Cretan Descent, take over the reins, and form the nucleus of the Executive of the Cretan Federation for the first time ever.
The 22nd National Convention was hosted by a small Member Association of the Federation, in Hobart Tasmania. The Cretan Association of Tasmania, who had almost 10 years since it last hosted the Convention, greeted everyone that attended, with great warmth and typical Kritiki Filoxenia headed by its President Aristidis Grafanakis. The program included the official welcome at the Hellenic Club of Tasmania by the Mayor of Hobart City Council Alderman Geoff Briscoe, Steve Kons MHA representing the premier of Tasmania and Federation President Dimitris Skouloudis. The annual General Meeting was hosted at the Wrest Point Casino conference centre.
The Annual General Meeting of the Convention decided amongst many other things that it would host annual National Memorials for the important and historical figure heads of Crete, including Eleftherios Venizelos, Nikos Kazantzakis, Giannis Daskalogiannis and others.
The Federation Administration changed hands as outgoing President Dimitris Skouloudis announced that the new Federation President would be Nikolaos Koukouvitakis from Victoria. Nikos Koukouvitakis would be accompanied by Tony Tsourdalakis as Vice President, Manolis Starakis as the Secretary, George Shoinas as Treasurer and Manolis Vantarakis as Public Relations Officer.
The CYANZ also hosted their Annual General Meeting with National Youth President Sifis Panagiotakis informing every one of the challenges he faced in terms of lack of communication amongst his committee and expressed his disappointment with no representatives from ACT, NT, WA and NZ at the convention AGM. A change of Administration with National Youth President Sifis Panagiotakis from Queensland giving his report in review of the last 3 years since he was elected President. After the elections that took place Manolis Binakis from Victoria was elected CYANZ National President. Manolis committee consisted of Tina Parliaros, Vice President (NSW), Dimitra Sirilas, Secretary (VIC), Katerina Saridakis, Assistant Secretary (NSW), Katerina Andreoulakis, Treasurer, (SA), Maria Paterakis, Assistant Treasurer (NT), Reno Verikakis, Public Relations (QLD), John Stavrinidis, Public Relations (VIC) and committee members Voula Kosmadakis (New Zealand), George Christakis (NT), Stelios Manousakis (NZ), Vasilis HatziIoannou (QLD), Tony Katsanevas (QLD), Manolis Assargiotis (NSW), John Katsanevakis (ACT).
The CYANZ had a large contingency of Cretan Youth mainly from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane attending the Convention. The Convention Dinner Dance went on to all hours of the morning playing to the tunes of Dimitris Vakakis from Crete with the assistance of Sifis Tsourdalakis, Andreas Vardakis and Kostas Kirkotsios. The Dance Group performances of the Cretan Association of Sydney and the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne “ARKADI” were a highlight.
In February 2002 the President Nikolaos Koukouvitakis, Vice President Tony Tsourdalakis and Secretary Manolis Starakis were given the opportunity to meet with the Minister for the Aegean Nikolaos Sifounakis who is of Cretan descent from Rethymno and discuss with him matters pertaining to the future assistance of the Hellenic Government to the Federation, as well as have a chance to greet him and exchange gifts. Minister Sifounakis was amazed at how young the Federation executive was and was so proud of the Federations achievements as a fellow Cretan. He extended an invitation to the Federation members to visit him and in the Ministry, and hence promised his support for whatever the Federation needed.
Other than the successful commemorations for the 60th Anniversary for the Battle of Crete were we had guests from Crete including the B’ Deputy Chief of Staff of the Hellenic Armed Forces Vice Admiral Konstantinos Nikitiadis and Major Konstantinos Solkidis Furthermore it was a delight to have the newly appointed ambassador from Greece in Australia Fotios Xydas present in our Commemorative Celebrations. The Commemorative Album was also presented during the Battle of Crete Commemorative Events.
A highlight for 2002 was the visit of the Former Minister for Education from Greece Gerasimos Arsenis with his wife, for the commemorative Activities of the Battle of Crete, at which the Executive of the Federation honoured him with a plaque, for his assistance in recognising the Battle of Crete as a National School holiday ( 20th May ) and the education of the History of the Battle of Crete in all Primary and Secondary Schools in Crete. It was Arsenis Ministry that made this decision. On the Musical front, our International Artists Mihalis Georvasakis on the Lyra and Ilias Savvakis on the lute and vocals formally invited by the Federation to entertain the Cretans of Australia through several Cretan Events planned by the Member Associations.
In June 2002, the Cretan Federation hosted the Internationally acclaimed Cretan Choir of Agios Dimitrios from Iraklio in Crete. This 50-person Choir travelled to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, and Canberra to be greeted by the local Cretan Associations and hold very successful performance. The amount of people attending exceeded any expectation from every single state. The biggest surprise of the Choir was that it was accompanied by the Mayor of Iraklion Ioannis Garefalakis and several of his Councillors Titos Tagarakis, Vasilis Gegeroglou and several Cretan Media were present. There was an exchange of gifts, were the Mayor promised to assist the Federation in the future. Melbourne’s concert at the Cretan Village on a Monday night was a free event and attracted over 1300 people, Canberra had a full house at the Hellenic Club with over 500 people and all the other states had similar success. This tour was fully funded by the Hellenic Government.
The Month of June proved to be a busy one, with the Federation being heavily involved in the organising committee for the preparation of the Inaugural Welcome of the President of the Hellenic Republic Konstantinos Stephanopoulos, were members of the Executive attended the Cocktail Reception. All the Cretan organisations members attended the official welcome at the Exhibition Buildings in Carlton, in amongst thousands of people.
In August, the Federation Executive participated in the Commemorative Celebrations of the 105th Anniversary of the Greek Community of Melbourne & Victoria, with a doxology followed by a church service.
In September saw the National Conference of the Council of Greeks Abroad (SAE) in the Oceania region, which was held in Melbourne, a delegation of the Federation was present at the conference.
November proved to be busy one with the Commemorative Activities of the 136th Anniversary of the Holocaust of the Arkadi Monastery both in Melbourne and Sydney, with a special lecture hosted by the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne ” ARKADI ” by his Grace the Bishop of Arianzou JOSEPH, as well as a Wreath laying ceremony and Doxology service at the Axion Estin Monastery.
The 3rd International Cretan Youth Congress took place in Dusseldorf in Germany hosted by the Cretan Youth of Germany between the 7th and the 11th November 2002. CYANZ National President Tina Parliaros and committee Member Helen Psalidakis represented the Cretan Youth of Australia at this international event, with representatives also from Greece, Romania, USA, and Canada attending. The only countries not represented were Cyprus and South Africa. Amongst other things reports were given by the International Cretan Youth President Lefteris Avgenakis, fundraising was a concern, Athens 2004 Volunteering was a hot topic and progress photos on the works of the Cretan Village in Zaros were presented. The next International Cretan Youth Conference will be hosted in the United States with no city yet to be decided. At the completion of the conference elections took place with the new International Cretan Youth Council consisting of the following : Lefteris Avgenakis President (Greece), Amalia Kalogridakis A’ Vice President (United States), Markos Troulis B’ Vice President (Germany), Tina Parliaros C’ Vice President (Australia), Rania Avgenakis Secretary (Greece), George Avgenakis Assistant Secretary (Romania) and committee members Helen Psalidakis (Australia), Alekos Marmatakis (United States) and Vardis Anezakis (Germany).
The Federation began 2003 with a very successful 23rd National Convention, with delegates from all over Australia and New Zealand. It was hosted by the newly elected committee of Cretan Association of Darwin, in the Northern Territory. It must be noted that the warmth and hospitality of the local Cretan people led by their President Maria Paterakis was exemplary, together with the warm tropical weather giving people the opportunity to have a nice holiday.
A highlight of the convention was the performances of the three Dance Groups, Namely the Cretan Association of Sydney, the Hellenic Community of Darwin and the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne ” ARKADI “, with the assistance of musicians Mihalis Melabiotis (Lyra & Vocals), Andreas Vardakis (Lute), Kostas Kirkotsios (Guitar) and Antonis Iliou (Lute) proved to be a huge success for the entertainment of the 700 people that attended inside the Kalymnian Hall. The six day program included the official opening by the Hon. Kon Vatskalis, minister for Ethnic Affairs inside Parliament House, the AGM inside the Arnhem room of the Frontier Hotel, a Darwin Sites tour, a Crocodyllis Park Hotel, a Litchfield Park tour, the Greek youth night at Café on Cavenagh, the church service at St. Nicholas church, the Cretan Youth indoor tournament and a farewell BBQ at the greek community of Darwin.
President Nikos Koukouvitakis amongst other things anounced the program that will be followed for the commemorations of the Battle of Crete, including: 3rd May Darwin, 17th May Sydney, 24th May Melbourne, 31st May Brisbane, 1st June Canberra, 7th June Adelaide and 15th June Hobart. He also mentioned the Federations representation at the Council for Greeks Abroad, and the Inaugrual Concert in honor of the late Nikos Xylouris. Furthermore he went to mention the great work that has been done around the country to have the organisations in a healthy state, other than New Zealand and Perth.
The Cretan Youth also hosted its annual General Meeting. National Youth President Manolis Binakis announced that the Youth would be hosting a National Youth Raffle only with 200 tickets at $ 100 with the aim of raising 20,000 to boost their National Youth Account. The raffle would be drawn at the next Convention in Perth. Other initiatives included the upgrading of youth information on the website, stronger participation in the SAE Oceania Youth, support to the states with no Cretan Youth presence and further communication with the International Cretan Youth council.
Other topics of discussion within the Cretan Youth included a review of the CYANZ Constitution, support towards the International Cretan Village in Zaros, Youth Newsletter, increasing participation, upgrading of the Website, Representative Selection Processes and general Fundraising activities.
In February we had a delegation from the Athens 2004 committee visit us in Australia, were they hosted a series of forums on the Athens 2004 Volunteer program, encouraging almost 100 Cretan youth from Oceania in applying to be a volunteer in the most historic event. The Delegation made of Dimitra Egan, Katerina Thanasoula and Eleni Lambaridou met with the National President of the Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand Manolis Binakis, and Secretary Dimitra Sirilas to discuss and finalise the above process. As a result, tens of Cretan Youth were accepted and asked to be volunteers at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
May 2003 was that time of the year again, were the Cretan Name in the Hellenic and Australian circles was always at the forefront. The C.F.A.N.Z. hosted the 62nd Anniversary of the Battle of Crete, were the Hellenic Armed Forces were represented by a delegation of three people. Major General Vasilios Golemis, Lieutenant Colonel Christos Dellas and his (Cretan) wife Eleftheria and Brigadier Giorgos Baxevanis. Our Musicians that covered the events were the colourful and ever popular Giorgos Koukakis who was in Australia for a wedding, coupled with Sifis Tsourdalakis who had just arrived from Greece for the occasion and Andreas Vardakis, Antonis Iliou, Kostas Kirkotsios and Antonis Petrantonakis.
In June 2003 Federation President Nikos Koukouvitakis, the Vice President Tony Tsourdalakis and Secretary Manolis Starakis all attended the Australian Hellenic Council Conference in Canberra. This included three days of full lobbying of our parliamentarians of issues concerning the Hellenic Community. More importantly however the Federation delegation met with the Minister for Veteran Affairs Ms. Danna Vale MP putting forward a strong case as to why the Battle of Crete must be taught in all the Primary and Secondary levels during the History curriculum. The same meeting occurred with the Minister for Education Brendan Nelson MP. Both Ministers gave their word that 2004 will see the introduction of the History of the Battle of Crete be included in all the Historical Curriculum’s around the country. This was a breakthrough for the Cretans of Australia.
In the month of July, the Prime Minister held a Dinner in Canberra for a selected group of individuals whom he felt represented the Hellenic Community of Oceania. Amongst the 40 odd individuals the Cretan Federation Executive was invited to attend. This was a great honour in the eyes of all the people that have worked hard over the years to take the Federation to that level and be included in such an elite group. Federation President Koukouvitakis attended the event accompanied by local Cretan Association President Harkiolakis.
August also proved to be another historical month. We had the International Cretan Convention in Kolymbari Hanion. Our Federation was represented by the Vice President Tony Tsourdalakis. Other delegates from Australia included Paul Spanoudakis (Cretan Association of Sydney), Manolis Vantarakis (Rethimnian Association ARKADI), George Kontoudakis, Nikos Nikolakakis and Dimitris Kouridakis (Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne). This was a huge event giving us the chance to network our Federation around the globe. It must be noted that our Federation was also represented by the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne «ARKADI » Dance Group that performed in all the evening Cultural activities and made the Cretan Australians look proud to the entire globe. It also must be noted that the CYANZ National Youth President Manolis Binakis was also present at the Youth meeting of the International Cretan Youth in Kolymbari.
In December from the 10th to the 14th the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad held the 5th International Convention for Greeks Abroad (SAE) in Thessaloniki. The C.F.A.N.Z. was invited to participate with three representatives namely the President Nikos Koukouvitakis, Vice President Tony Tsourdalakis, and the Secretary Manolis Starakis. The Cretan Youth of Australia were also represented by Sifis Panagiotakis at the Youth Forum of SAE in Thessaloniki.
Immediately after the Conference in Thessaloniki, the Federation Executive travelled to Crete to take part in the World Council of Cretans meeting at the Monastery of the Arsaniou in Rethymno for the official launch of the W.C.C. and the signing of the Constitution. WCC President Stavros Semanderes announced amongst other things that the WCC would use the University of Crete as its registered headquarters and in particular the Division of Greeks Abroad. The new WCC committee was also announced.
2004 began with the 24th Annual Convention in the beautiful city of Perth, hosted by the Cretan Association of Western Australia. The seven day program included a youth night, a Gala Ball, the welcome cocktail party, a Kritiki vradia, a swan river cruise, the sports carnival at the Floriat Athena Soccer Club, a pool party and the best of all a trip to Preveli Monastery. Preveli Monastery was founded by a second world war veteran from the battle of Crete Geoff Edwards. When we visited the monastery the Vice President of the Cretan Federation Tony Tsourdalakis presented Geoff Edwards daughter Marilyn Sadleir with a commemorative plaque in honour of her father’s contribution, to the Hellenic Community of Western Australia. The 150 visitors that day gave her a standing ovation. Local President John Karakatsanakis and his committee hosted everyone to lunch at the Preveli Monastery.
The musicians that kept everyone entertained throughout the convention were Sifis Tsourdalakis (Lyra & Vocals), together with Antonis Iliou (Lute), Andreas Vardakis (Lute) and Kostas Kirkotsios (Guitar). Furthermore, the Dance Groups that participated were the Cretan Association of Sydney and the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne” ARKADI “. The members of the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne Dance Group arrived two days earlier and conducted Cretan Dance Lessons for all the greek youth of Perth at the Hellenic Club.
The National Executive and in particular President Nikos Koukouvitakis presented his report to the member organisations which included the following : (a) the history of the Battle of Crete introduced into the High School Curriculums during and around the 20th May via the Ministry for Education after his meeting with the Federal Minister Dana Vale at the time, (b) the presentation of ANZAC Crete Veteran Charles Jager’s book titled “Escape from Crete”, (c) the national program for 2004, (d) the re-establishment of the World Council of Cretans, the Convention in Thessaloniki in 2005, ( e ) the next convention in Albury NSW and finaly the remaining outstanding financial debt of the Cretan Brotherhood to the Federation.
2004 saw the handing over the reins from Melbourne to Sydney with long term Federation member Peter Sarikakis taking over as National President as well as Ms. Tina Parliaros taking over as the new National Youth President. The National Executive consisted of Peter Sarikakis, President, John Assargiotis, Vice President, Andreas Petrakis, Secretary, George Thymakis, Treasurer and John Skalidas as the Public Relations Officer.
Our newly elected CYANZ Committee consisted of Tina Parliaros, President (NSW), Harry Binakis, Vice President (VIC), Natasha Assargiotis, Secretary (NSW), Denise Digenakis, Assistant Secretary, (VIC), Vasilis HatziIoannou, Treasurer (QLD), Jim Karakatsanakis, Public Relations (WA), and committee members Maria Hatzakis (QLD, Georgia Barbagiannis (VIC), Katerina Andreoulakis (SA) Stelios Manousakis (NZ), Yianna Paterakis, (NT), Magdalene Hnaris (NT), Voula Kosmadakis (NZ), George Gakis (WA). The Youth ran workshops to produce strong statements to release to the media, sending a clear message that they are proud of their heritage, their language, and their religion.
On the 15th February of 2004 the Pancretan Brotherhood hosted their official opening of the newly refurbished Members Pavilion of the Cretan Village, after leasing the main reception ballroom to a private business person, thus saving the organisation from financial ruin.
In March 2004 we had our a Cretan member of Parliament from the Region of Iraklio Manolis Stratakis visit our Country and have meetings with the several community leaders were a cocktail reception was held in his honour by the Cretan organisations of Melbourne.
In May 2004 also saw the introduction of one of the most colourful Battle of Crete War veterans in Charlie Jager were his newly written book titled “Escape from Crete “ was launched in Melbourne. The Battle of Crete Celebrations saw the arrival of well-known lyrist Manolis Rasidakis and his son Lefteris as well as a three person delegation from the Hellenic Armed Forces including Major General Georgios Giannatos, lieutenant Commander Antonios Kontopidis and cadet Konstantinos Xydas.
On a sporting note for the first time in history we had an official visit of the OFI Crete Veterans Soccer Team consisting of veterans and current players. The team was greeted with great warmth both in Melbourne and Sydney were friendly Soccer games were hosted by the local Cretan Communities. Official dinners were hosted in Melbourne at the Cretan Village and the Cretan House as well as in Sydney. During the evening dinner Dance the OFI Crete Management announced that the Cretan village in Melbourne would have here in Australia, largely to the efforts of soccer media personality Kostas Paterakis. In the years that followed over 15 soccer players were asked to go to Crete and train with OFI in view of been picked up by the Cretan soccer team in the greek national league.
2004 also saw one of the biggest cultural events in the history of the Cretan community with the hosting of two huge concerts in Melbourne and Sydney honouring the great Nikos Xylouris. Tony Tsourdalakis, Nick Koukouvitakis and John Rerakis with the support of the Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne, the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne “ARKADI” and the Cretan Association of Sydney took the initiative to host the concerts were over 1000 people attended the concert in Melbourne and over 500 attended the concert in Sydney, handing the Cancer Council of Victoria over of $ 27,500 in charity donations in memory of Nikos Xylouris, in the presence of His Eminence Archbishop STYLIANOS and the wife of the late Nikos Xylouris Ourania who honoured both concerts with her presence.
In December 2004 the CFANZ National Executive launched its newly designed website with the domain name being www.cretan.com.au. The majority of the material was gathered by Tony Tsourdalakis through his archives and the support of a few other historians.
2005 began with the Silver Anniversary of the Federation, celebrating 25 years of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand. What a way to begin the year by going back to the same city where it all began 25 years ago “Albury – New south Wales”.
For the first time the convention was not held in a city hosted by a Cretan organisation but this time it was hosted by the local Greek Community of Albury and it’s very hard working president George Veneris who together with the C.F.A.N.Z. National Executive made all the relevant arrangements for the 200 delegates that arrived by car in the heart of Australia.
It was a very memorable convention cause it was labelled by the members as one massive four day picnic that has never happened before, with Musicians from Crete Kosta Houstoulakis and Giorgios Xepapadakis added their Cretan spark to the four day event, the program also included a youth BBQ night at the Lake Hume Resort. The Dance Groups of the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne ARKADI, the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and the Cretan Association of Sydney, all made it a very memorable Dinner Dance for the local greek community who had not witnessed such an event in over 15 years.
The Church service held at the Greek Orthodox Parish of Archangels of Albury was dedicated to all the Cretans that had passed away the previous 25 years of the Federations History. Following the church service, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Greek Town of Albury treated all the attendees to a light lunch. The National Cretan Youth committee headed by Tina Parliaros launched a Merchandising Cretan youth Cap for sale to raise funds for much needed Youth account.
The Annual General meeting of the Convention had several issues of discussion. President Peter Sarikakis conveyed the positives that came out of their first term in office, but he also mentioned the challenges they faced in general terms and in particular the financial constraints. He continued by asking the member associations to support the Federation in the future, highlighting the fact that its imperative that our National body remain strong and vibrant and clearly a leader in the community.
It would be remiss not to mention that during the convention Aphrodite Cretan who is a 5th generation Cretan in Australia was honoured by the Federation for her contribution to the Cretan movement in Australia since the early 1900’s.
The C.Y.A.N.Z. also hosted their Annual General Meeting hosted by the national Youth President Tina Parliaros. During the convention it was discussed that the future restructure of the youth sporting competitions at conventions allowing more youth to participate, moving away from the traditional men’s only soccer game and being a lot more inclusive with sports events that the female members would like to play. Youth President Tina Parliaros also mentioned that it was pleasing to see the slight increase in Youth involvement in C.Y.A.N.Z.
The National Executive spent many hours collaborating with the Council for Greeks Abroad. May proved to be another important month with the presence of Major General Dionysios Theodoritsis and Group Captain Konstantinos Iatridis.
The Cretan Musicians Sifis Tsourdalakis who had spent over 10 years in Greece decided to visit his home together with his musical partner Kyriakos Stavrianoudakis and gave the youth the spark they needed. It should be highlighted that the Mayor of the City Rethymnon Dimitris Arhontakis and his wife attended to the Cretan Association of Sydney events in May.
It has to be stated that 2005 saw the release of a range of merchandising items highlighting the Silver Anniversary including the Annual Magazine, Polo Shirt, Commemorative Badge and key ring as well as sporting caps.
2006 once again began with its 26th National convention in the wonderful mountainous city of Wellington in the neighbouring New Zealand where we were hosted by the local Cretan organisation led by its President Adriana Weston and her committed team. National president Peter Sarikakis opened the convention meeting by welcoming everyone and thanking all those that helped him in his 2 year term before handing over the reins to a new Melbourne Executive headed by Lefteris Konstantakakis as President, Manolis Kastrinakis as Vice President, Manolis Starakis as Secretary, Nick Rerakis as Treasurer and Manolis Binakis as the Public Relations Officer. In late June of 2006 Manolis Kastrinakis resigned from his position as Vice President and was replaced from the Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne by Stelios Koukouvitakis.
The convention in New Zealand was a historic one, since it was 10 years prior to the last time we visited that city and more to the point was attended by over 170 delegates who crossed the Tasman to New Zealand. Cretan Musicians Tasos Rerakis and Manolis Rerakis were loved by all for their charm and charisma and friendly personalities who made the trip from Crete to be present with us. The Convention program included a day tour to Wairarapa, a tour to the west coast, harbour cruise from Wellington harbour, the youth night at the GOANZ House, the welcome party at the Odysseus Hall and the dinner Dance at The Flamingo. The Church service was held at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation in Hania street
The Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand also changed administration from New south Wales to Victoria. Outgoing President Tina Parliaros handed the Presidency to Harry Binakis, who was also joined by Andrew Parliaros, Vice President (NSW), Yolanda Katsanevakis, Secretary (VIC), Natassa Assargiotis, Assistant Secretary (NSW), Yianni Hatzakis, Treasurer (QLD), Sifis Metaxakis, Public Relations Officer (WA), Maria Paterakis, Public Relations (NT) and committee members Evie Armenopoulos (VIC), Maria Hatzakis (QLD), Katerina Andreoulakis (SA), Manolis Gerogianakis (WA), Magdalene Hnaris (NT), Stelios Manousakis (NZ) and Voula Kosmadakis (NZ). In June of that year Harry Binakis resigned his position and stepped down as President of the Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand. Mary Vasilakis was nominated by the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne ARKADI to step in and complete the term, which she did with great distinction.
On Saturday 8th April the Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne, the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne ARKADI under the auspices of the Cretan Federation of Australia hosted a fund raising dinner Dance to donate funds towards the Royal Childrens Hospital Good Friday Appeal. The event was attended by over 600 people raising a massive $ 70,000 dollars towards the cause, on behalf of the Hellenic Paroikia. The Federation cheque was donated to the cause the following week in front of the Channel 7 cameras to the delight of the Cretan associations.
The 65th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete commemorations were held in nearly every state with the arrival of the Hellenic Defence Forces namely Lieutenant General Margaritis Mouzas accompanied by Commander Anastasios Mihelis. The Cretan musicians included the President of the Pancretan Musicians Association Nikos Iliakis on the lyra and the vocals and the Secretary of the Association Giorgos Geredakis on the lute. A special commemorative CD was produced by Nikos Iliakis dedicated to the Cretans of Australia which were sold, and the funds were donated to the Federation.
In July of 2006, the CFANZ National Executive in conjunction with the Victorian Cretan Organisations hosted the Member of Hellenic Parliament elected from Iraklio Evagelia Shoinarakis who visited Melbourne on official Greek Australian duties. An honorary dinner was hosted at the Cretan village and President Eleftherios Konstantakakis had the opportunity to address issues of concern to the Cretans of Australia and New Zealand.
In August of 2006, the Federation Executive including Lefteris Konstantakakis, Manolis Kastrinakis and Manolis Starakis all took part in the official Annual General Meeting of the World Council of Cretans in Rethymno Crete which was chaired by the WCC President Stavros Semanderes. Other Australian Delegates included Tony Tsourdalakis, John Assargiotis, Dimitris Kouridakis and Giorgos Kontoudakis.
2007 began with the 27th National Convention in Australia’s Garden State Victoria and Greece’s Hellenic Capital outside Greece in the City of Melbourne. Over 180 delegates were hosted by the three Member Associations of the Federation namely the Pancretan Brotherhood, the Rethimnian Association “ARKADI “and the Cretan Brotherhood with events in all three of their respective club houses.
Cretan Musicians Sifis Tsourdalakis and Kyriakos Stavrianoudakis that had arrived from Crete, together with local Tony Iliou, entertained the convention delegates on Thursday 4th January at the Members Pavilion of the Cretan Village at a welcome BBQ, on Friday 5th January at the Rethimnian Hall in Brunswick, for the official cocktail party on Saturday 6th January at the Cretan Village Ballroom for the convention Dinner Dance and on Sunday 7th January at the Cretan House in Brunswick for the Glendi and Presentation Night. Both the CYANZ and the CFANZ annual General Meetings were hosted at the Cretan House in Brunswick with huge success.
The Convention committee included Lefteris Konstantakakis (Cretan Federation), John Nikolakakis (Pancretan), Tony Tsourdalakis (Rethimnian Association) and Loui Tomadakis (Cretan Brotherhood). The church service was held at the St. Efstathios Greek Cathedral and was followed by a visit by the Presidents to the Australian Hellenic Memorial.
The Convention Annual General Meeting at the Cretan house in Brunswick was well attended by over 40 representatives from most states and territories. President Lefteris Konstantakakis presented his report which included a successful year for the Battle of Crete in 2006 events, the application to Greece for monetary assistance, his recent visit to Greece and his meetings with the Mayor of Iraklio, the future representation on the SAE and many others. The annual Convention also passed 2 very important constitutional amendments (a) the President of the Federation can no longer be the president of a member association and (b) Proxies’ are no longer valid. These amendments were proposed due to flaws and errors from previous Presidents abusing their power of authority.
On Saturday 3rd February the Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne, the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne ARKADI under the auspices of the Cretan Federation of Australia hosted yet another fund raising dinner Dance to donate funds towards the Royal Childrens Hospital Good Friday Appeal. The event was attended by over 500 people surpassing the 2006 donation and raising an impressive $ 80,000 dollars towards the cause, on behalf of the Hellenic Paroikia. The Federation cheque was donated to the cause the following week in front of the Channel 7 cameras at the Docklands Stadium in the presence of our Cretan youth.
The 66th Anniversary for the Battle of Crete commemorative events had a huge twist to them in 2006 with the arrival of the Prime Minister of Greece, the Hon Konstantinos Karamanlis. This allowed the Cretan Federation and the Victorian organisations to host a Thursday evening dinner dance with over 600 people attending in honour of the Minister for Foreign Affairs Dora Bakogiannis and Deputy Minister for Greeks Abroad Theodoros Kassimis who were accompanying the Prime Minister on his trip to Australia. The same period the official program included the delegation that had arrived from the Hellenic Armed Forces including Major General Georgios Mouroutsos and Lieutenant General Efstathios Kyriakidis. The Cretan Musicians included Cretan violinist Giorgos Tsantakis and lute player Dimitris Antonakakis.
Coincidentally in the same period of the Battle of Crete events in Melbourne co
In July of 2007 the Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand launched their National DVD which was a compilation of events and initiatives from the Cretan Youth in the Oceania region including Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand. The DVD was sold and distributed to raise funds for the youth which was almost two years in the making.
The month of August saw the congregation of all the Cretans around the globe in the City of Iraklion for the 5th International Cretan Convention hosted by the World Council of Cretans. Australia was duly represented by its Vice President Stelios Koukouvitakis as well as other representatives.
2008 began with the 28th National Convention in the City of Churches, the lovely Adelaide in South Australia hosted by State President Dimitris Tsitas and his small but active Executive Committee. The program included a Welcome Dinner at the greek restaurant Nikita’s in greek populated Thebarton, this venue proved to be too small and hence the Glendi spilled out onto the street, causing considerable traffic congestion. A trip to Hahndorf the authentic German village and the official Dinner Dance at the Chios Reception Centre with musicians John Pollakis, Nikos Alygizakis and Patrick Montgomery keeping everyone entertained till the early hours of the morning. The dance groups from the Rethimnian Association, the Cretan Association of Queensland and the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne gave everyone a true indication that the Cretan youth are alive and close to their roots. Both Annual General Meetings respectively were hosted at the Cretan House in Alberton. The church service was hosted at St. Nicholas in Thebarton followed by the blessing of the waters in Glenelg which also had a Panigiri.
The only major point of discussion during the Convention General Meeting was the discussion and the decision of two membership categories divided between large state and smaller states. The larger states would pay $ 300 and the smaller states would pay $ 200 annual Membership. The larger states were decided as victoria, New Sotuh Wales, Queensland and Canberra and the smaller states were Perth, Hobart, Adelaide, Wellington and Darwin.
National President Lefteris Konstantakakis and his Executive presented their Annual reports to the Member Associations present, and at the completion of the Conference Meeting handed the reigns to the new Executive from New South Wales headed by John Assargiotis as president, Nikos Andriotakis as Vice President, Andreas Petrakis as Secretary, Emmanouel Stavroulakis as Treasurer and Peter Vrahas as Public Relations Officer.
Also the C.Y.A.N.Z. held their annual General Meeting which was chaired by the National Youth President Mary Vasilakis and discussed several issues including the distribution of the Cretan Youth DVD, the role of the youth moving forward as well as elected representatives for the International Cretan youth Conference in Crete. Following the Meeting, the youth broke out into workshops to do a variety of activities relating to Cretan culture. The committee also changed hands from Victoria to New South Wales. Outgoing President Mary Vasilakis and her team handed the reins to the newly appointed Nicoletta Assargiotis from New South Wales.
The Federation Executive began a major task in locating all the surviving ANZAC Veterans from all over Australia, in the hope of hosting a national event in Canberra to honour their service and sacrifice. This initiative should of happen many years prior, but no one had the foresight. In total over 18 Australian and New Zealand Veterans were located.
In March of 2008 saw a major highlight within the Cretan Communities calendar in Melbourne because the two historic organisations namely the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne “ARKADI“ (1972) and the Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne (1977) after twelve months of constant deliberation finally united and formed one strong and vibrant organisation namely the Pancretan Association of Melbourne – Australia. This achievement was well received amongst the other Australian states with congratulatory messages been sent through on March 8th were the event was celebrated at the Cretan village in front of 700 people with the invitation of Cretan Musicians Antonis and Giannis Martsakis and Nikos Marentakis to Australia from Crete for the first time. Both Presidents John Nikolakakis and Tony Tsourdalakis signed a Memorandum of understanding stipulating a few conditions during the Unification process.
On Thursday 9th April, the Pancretan Association of Melbourne under the auspices of the Cretan Federation of Australia hosted yet another third fund raising dinner Dance to donate funds towards the Royal Childrens Hospital Good Friday Appeal. The event was attended by over 650 people surpassing the 2006 and the 2007 donations and raising a massive $ 93,000 dollars on behalf of the Hellenic Paroikia. The two Cretan organisations donated $ 13,000 to the Agapi Care Foundation and the remainder was presented in a cheque to the cause the following week in front of the Channel 7 cameras at the Docklands Stadium in the presence of our Cretan youth.
In May 2008 saw the arrival of the Hellenic Armed Forces including Major General Daniel Sinanoglou and Lieutenant Commander Efstathios Kyriakidis as well as the musicians Nikos Rinakakis and Giannis Mihelakakis who travelled to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide. During the Battle of Crete commemorative activities the Federation launched the Book titled “The Gatekeepers of Galatas“ in the presence of the author Brian Taffe.
In August 2008 representatives of the Federation attended the World Council of Cretans Annual General Meeting in Rethymnon in Crete were other Cretans around the globe including the USA, Europe and Canad, Cyprus and South Africa converged and convened. At the completion of the AGM outgoing President Stavros Semanderes announced he was stepping down allowing for a new President to be elected. He presented his report with what the WCC had achieved from 2003 to 2008. Elections were held and both regions including Europe and Oceania nominating for the administration of the WCC. Namely Georgios Aerakis and John Assargiotis were the nominated Presidents. After a heated debate and the election process Europe won the election with 28 votes to Oceania’s 6 votes.
So the 2008 to 2011 World Council of Cretans committee consisted of Georgios Aerakis President (Luxembourg), Giannis Epitropakis Vice President (Germany), Tony Tsourdalakis A’ Vice President (Australia), Ioannis Nathenas B’ Vice President (America), Manolis Paterakis C’ Vice President (Greece), Manolis Kougioumoutzis Secretary (Germany), Argiri Parasiris Baouer Treasurer (Germany), Ioanna Pantatalaki Public Relations (Greece), and committee members Hara Kourtikaki (Greece), John Kokolakis (America), John Nikolakakis (Australia), John Assargiotis (Australia) and Nikos Kastrinakis (America).
In September during the School Holiday period the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand sent over forty 2nd and 3rd Generation Children to Crete for a 21-day Tour of Crete situated at the City of Rethymnon. The visit was a historic one since it was the 3rd time such a trip had occurred, and all the children returned with more Hellenic and Cretan culture imbedded in their hearts. Their tour escorts from Australia were Mary Vasilakis from the Pancretan Association and Nick Janes and Sue Lazos from the Cretan Association of New South Wales.
The young Cretan children who barely knew a few greek words, all came back inspired to want to do everything Cretan. From speaking a lot more greek, listening to cretan music, dancing, playing an instrument and even drinking a greek frappe. The joy on their grandparents faces when they returned and shared their stories was priceless. This was one of the best investments that the Federation has ever spent.
In November of 2008, the Pancretan Association of Melbourne announced the upgrading of the events for the commemoration of the Holocaust of the Arkadi from a simple dinner dance to a weeklong festival namely the “Arkadi Festival “. The program included a Dance seminar, Video Presentation, English Seminar, Photo Exhibition, Dinner Dance, church Service, Doxology and Wreath Laying Ceremony.
2009 began with the 29th Annual National Convention in Brisbane hosted by the Cretan association of Queensland and with the support of the CFANZ between 8th and 11th January. Queensland President Anthony Katsanevas and his dedicated committee did everything their power to make all the delegates feel welcome, especially those attending for the first time. The program kicked off with the Youth BBQ at Kangaroo Point Cliffs and continued with the CYANZ annual General Meeting at the Greek Orthodox Southside Parish in Mt. Gravatt.
The same evening, we all returned to the Parish Banquet Hall for the official welcome Party and of course the same venue was hosting the dinner Dance the next day. The Church service was held at St. George Greek Orthodox Parish in south Brisbane followed by the Soccer Match and BBQ at Davies Park. Cretan Musicians from Melbourne kept the delegates entertained till the early hours of the morning including John Pollakis on the Lyra and Nick Alygizakis and Tony Iliou on the lutes.
The National President John Assargiotis and his executive presented all their reports to the Federation membership boasting the point that the Federation finances are finally looking a lot more promising from previous years, largely to the work of the Treasurer and qualified accountant Kon Kambourakis, as well as the increased advertising and sponsorship revenues as well as the minimised expenditure with a lot of work been carried out on a voluntary basis. Other points of reference included the Educational excursion program to Crete for our Youth, the world council of Cretans, the new ASIC regulations, the federation website and finally the presentation of the book by Socrates Tsourdalakis “ the Cretans of Oceania from the 19th Century “
February 2009 saw the launching of the Australian Cretan Communities historical book titled “ The Cretans of Oceania from the 19th Century “ which was written by the author Socrates Tsourdalakis and published by the Pancretan Association of Melbourne where over 1500 copies were sold and 500 copies distributed to libraries and universities. Melbourne’s launch was held at Queens Hall in Parliament House in Victoria were over 250 invited guests honoured the Association and the Author with their presence and in particular the Deputy Leader of the Victorian Government the Hon. Rob Hulls who officially launched the book. It should be noted that it was the first Cretan event ever to be hosted inside the confines of Parliament House in Victoria largely due to the efforts of the Minister for Multicultural Affairs at the time John Pandazopoulos.
Launches continued in Sydney in March by the Cretan Association of New South Wales launched by the host President Maria Lagoudakis in the presence of Cretan ancestors Angelia Beranek (Nicholidakis) and Paul Henry (Voyiatzis) followed by a launch in Rethymnon Crete in the month of August which was attended by over 300 invited guests. In Crete, the book was launched by the Governor of Rethymnon Giorgos Papadakis and the Deputy Chancellor of the University of Crete Mihalis Damanakis and Local Historian Theodoros Pelantakis. The launch in Crete saw over 40 Cretan musicians in attendance to honour the author and the publisher that had all come to Australia at some point. It was a moving event with special videos been played that depicts the book and the history behind it.
Finally, there was a launch in Wellington New Zealand inside the Council chambers by the Mayor of Wellington Celia Wade Brown. The author Socrates Tsourdalakis was awarded Honorary Membership to the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand at the convention in Brisbane for this outstanding achievement. He completed the book with absolutely no monetary payment. It was his gift to the future generations of the Cretan people of Australia.
The 58th Battle of Crete Commemorations included the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Hellenic Armed Forces Lieutenant General Konstantinos Kalamatas from the Hellenic Airforce and his aide Commander Leonidas Tsiantoulas from the Hellenic Navy. Young and up and coming Musicians from Crete included Manolis Shoinarakis and Nikos Kraniotakis who attended events in the Federations major cities.
In August that year the Prefect of Rethymnon hosted the 2nd International Conference of Rethymnians Abroad were the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand was represented by the President of the Pancretan Association of Melbourne Tony Tsourdalakis. He was given the opportunity to give delegates from all over Greece an overview of the achievements of the Cretan People through his presentation.
2010 began in Australia’s Capital City, Canberra, with the local president George Katheklakis and his Committee hosting the 30th National Convention with over 140 delegates in attendance from Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and New Zealand. The program included a special visit to the Australian Hellenic War Memorial in Canberra’s memorial drive as well as the Dinner Dance and official opening at Canberra’s newly renovated and expanded Hellenic Club, which is always a delight to visit. During the Annual General Meeting Dr. Maria Hill gave a presentation on her book titled “Diggers and Greeks “
The Convention main meeting decided from here on that minutes and most reports including, Presidents, Youth President, Secretary and Treasurers Reports, will not be re read at the meetings, to avoid wasting time. All reports will have to be distributed by the 1st December to all associations and delegates in order to be read prior to attending the meeting, therefore only allowing questions and answers before moving the motion to accept reports. This proved to be a master stroke, cause it allowed more time to perform more constructive discussion on general topics.
At the completion of the annual General Meeting outgoing President John Assargiotis handed the reigns to the newly elected president from Victoria John Nikolakakis and his new executive. John’s team included Christos Polentas as Vice President, Vasilis Lizardos as Secretary, Michael Karamitos as Treasurer and John Atzarakis as Public Relations Officer. John and his hard-working Executive spent countless hours preparing for their two year term.
Our National Youth also changed hands from New South Wales to Victoria. Outgoing Youth President Nicoletta Assargiotis handed the administration of the Youth to Evie Armenopoulos from Victoria. Evie’s committee also comprised of Paul Lazos Vice President (NSW), Mary Vasilakis Secretary (VIC), Stamatiki Londy Treasurer (VIC), Helen Papadomanolakis Public Relations (VIC), Marina Liaskos Public Relations (NSW) and committee members Rita Fradelakis (NSW), Marina Londy (QLD), George Belivanis (NSW), Maria Klados (VIC), Harry Pantelios (VIC) and Yolanda Katsanevakis (VIC).
It should be noted that 2010 saw the printing of the first full colour Annual Magazine with over 1000 copies distributed worldwide, thus taking the Federation to the next level. Furthermore the month of May saw the Battle of Crete being celebrated all over the Country with Hellenic Defence Attaché’ from Greece in Australia George Behlivanis representing the Hellenic Armed Forces in the commemorative events in Australia and New Zealand.
The Governor of the Prefect of Rethymnon George Papadakis, his wife Maria and the Deputy Governor of the Prefect of Rethymnon Ms. Ioanna Kefalogianni – Byrliraki visited Australia for the first time and honoured the events with their presence including a honourable luncheon at Parliament House in Victoria as well as other visits. The ever charismatic Violinist Antonis Martsakis accompanied by Nikos Marentakis and Giorgos Klostrakis from Crete gave the people of Australia a month of Cretan madness spreading the love of Cretan Music to all. Other events included the launching of two books relating to the Battle of Crete, namely the book titled “ Diggers and Greeks “ by the author Dr. Maria Hill and the other titled “ Creforce – The Anzacs and the Battle of Crete “ by the author Ms. Stella Tzobanakis. The month of June saw the Federation’s involvement at the Australian Hellenic Councils Conference in Canberra were representatives Tony Tsourdalakis and Nikos Koukouvitakis had the opportunity in meeting with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, were matters pertaining to the Battle of Crete were presented to him.
2010 also saw the official representation of the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand at the 4th International Cretan Congress in the City of Ag. Nikolaos in the Prefect of Lasithi, were over 500 delegates converged and united with one voice for over 3 days. Federation President John Nikolakakis gave a detailed account of the Cretans and their organisations in the Oceania region using digital technology to highlight his points of reference. Other CFANZ Delegates that attended the convention in Lasithi included Tony Tsourdalakis, Dimitris Kouridakis, Nikos Nikolakakis, Dimitris Papadimitrakis, Aggie Mihelakis, Vasilis Lizardos, The Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand were also represented by their National President Evie Armenopoulos, their National Secretary Mary Vasilakis and NSW representative Tina Parliaros. C.Y.A.N.Z. National President Evie Armenopoulos also formed part of the International Cretan Youth Council that was re established after a few years of inactivity.
During the Congress in Agios Nikolaos the CFANZ had nominated Stelios Koukouvitakis from Oceania for the recipient of the award “The rapture of Europe“ from the W.C.C. which was presented by the Mayor of Agios Nikolaos in the presence of all the delegates. Federation president John Nikolakakis spoke about Stelios Koukouvitakis contribution and Pancretan President Tony Tsourdalakis accepted the award in Stelios Koukouvitakis absence. The award was later presented to him at the Pancretan Annual General Meeting in November of that year.
November of 2010 bought another historical milestone in the Australian Cretan Historical Chapters with the attendance in Melbourne of the 25 person delegation of the Omilos Vrakoforon Kritis who arrived in Melbourne from Crete hosted by the Pancretan Association of Melbourne to commemorate the Holocaust of the Arkadi. It was the first time in history that a Folkloric Dance Group from Greece had arrived in Australia including 14 dancers, 3 musicians and 8 senior Singers forming the Rizitiki parea and a 2 person TV Crew. Throughout their stay they had the opportunity to visit the sites of Melbourne, but more importantly run dance classes at all of Melbourne’s Greek Colleges, dance classes for all of Melbourne’s Cretan youth as well as a costume exhibition. The TV crew from Creta Channel travelled with the Group to cover all the events from a media perspective for the coverage in Crete. It was a very successful tour forging friendships and koubaries to last lifetime.
The year 2011 can be classified as a big year for the Cretan Community of the Oceania region. The year began with one of the most successful conventions in the Federations history thus far with over 300 delegates in attendance, which was hosted by the Cretan Association of Tasmania, in the rugged and mountainous City of Hobart.
The program included a wide variety of site seeing tours, the regular meetings for the delegates and our Youth Chapters, and of course the Cretan Filoxenia to all the delegates. The Youth hosted their evening event at the Hellenic Club of Hobart as well as the Welcome Cocktail Party. The Dinner Dance was a sell-out with the locals getting a real taste of a Cretan Glendi with dance performances from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Hobart.
The Convention was a highlight with the presence of Musicians Sifis Tsourdalakis and Manolis Hamogiorgakis from Crete. The Soccer match was a hit with both above named musicians scoring all the goals for Victoria, to bring the cup back to Melbourne defeating Tassie 7 – 4, a great game indeed. The next day saw all the delegates head to Port Arthur for a historic sightseeing trip with several pitstops along the way.
The National Annual General Meeting was well attended with over 35 official delegates attending. National President John Nikolakakis was firm in his address reassuring the member organisations that the Federation is in good stead. He mentioned that even though we did not have official delegates from the Hellenic Armed Forces, the void was filled with great pride by the Governor of Rethymnon Giorgos Papadakis and his entourage. Major highlight was the invitation and arrival after a massive 25 years of the great violinist Antonis Martsakis who rocked Australia for the entire month. He also mentioned the important presence of Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou at the World Council of Cretans convention in Lasithi, that he represented the Federation.
Another point to be noted is that 2011 saw the upgrading of the Federations Annual publication from a standard black and white book to a Full colour, gloss art finish magazine lifting the quality of the publication to the next level, including a fully professional layout. President Nikolakakis announced that he was donating the printing of the book, allowing over $ 10,000 in clear advertising revenue to his the account, and placing the Federation finances in a very healthy state.
The Youth also hosted their Annual General Meeting headed by their National Youth President Evie Armenopoulos which was very successful with over 120 youth participating in the discussions and the workshops that followed. Amongst the many decisions that were made, it was decided that the Youth would run a special raffle on the Friday night of the Convention to assist in its fundraising activities. This proved to be a major achievement allowing the youth to increase their funds over the years to come. Other achievements included the added pages for the CYANZ in the National Magazine.
Following the convention, the Member Associations of the Cretan Federation began planning for the commemorative events for the Battle of Crete, simply because we commemorated the 70th Anniversary 1941 – 2011. The events commenced in Sydney in early April and were completed by 10th May in Canberra with no representation from the Hellenic Armed Forces. The Ambassador of Greece in Australia Alexios Christopoulos was the official guest in Melbourne and in Sydney in the absence of the Hellenic Defence Force Representatives. The Cretan Musicians that were invited from the CFANZ included Stefanos Vordonis on the lyra and Mihalis Pahakis on the lute. The events were held earlier so that Members can accompany the 10 Australian Veterans that visited Crete in May.
The highlight of the year was the trip to Crete for the 70th Anniversary Commemorative Events. To mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Crete and the Anzac involvement, more than 60 Australians travelled to Greece on a historic trip to honour the forgotten Anzacs. The inaugural pilgrimage was in honour of the thousands of Australian, New Zealand and British troops who, alongside Greek soldiers and the people of the Greek island of Crete, formed a crucial bond as they defended the Greek island against the Germans who launched the first parachute drop of World War II on Crete on May 20, 1941.
Among those who took part in the historic commemorative trip included Veterans Basil Hayler, Norman Maddock, Jack Dihm, Des Beard, Daniel Bowden, Alfred Carpenter, Arthur Leggett and George Taylor, the Minister for Veterans Affairs Warren Snowden and a plethora of Federal and State ministers – including : John Pantazopoulos (Dandenong), Bruce Atkinson (Eastern Region), Lee Tarlamis (Southern Region), Martin Foley (Albert Park), Jude Perera (Cranbourne), Colin Brooks (Bundoora), Geoffrey Howard (Ballarat West), Christine Campbell (Pascoe Vale), Marlene Kairouz (Koroit), Khalil Eideh (Western Metropolitan), Christine Fyffe (Evelyn), Joanne Duncan (Macedon), Steve Georganas (Hindmarsh), Leesa Vlahos (South Australia), and former Minister from Victoria Theo Theophanous.
The CFANZ was represented by President John Nikolakakis, and Vice President Christos Polentas. The Pancretan Association of Melbourne was represented by its President Tony Tsourdalakis as well as the Pancretan Council Members John Kontekakis, John Rerakis and Nick Rerakis, their father George Rerakis as well the Pancretan Youth Members Yianni Rerakis, Giorgi Rerakis, Giorgi Ibrahimi and Panagioti Reraki. The Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne was represented by George Shoinas and Joseph Manatakis. Cretan Association of Wellington was represented by George Kosmadakis. The busy program began with two very moving ceremonies in the City of Athens at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Faliron and the Tomb of the unknown Soldier at Syntagma Square were Members of Australia’s Federation Guard led by Lieutenant Luke Haitas and the catafalque party.
The program continued in Crete with events in Hania and in particular a Parachute re-enactment at the Maleme Airfield, the Souda Bay Commonwealth Cemetery, in the village of Sfakia, Kantanos and Kontomari. Following on to Rethymno events were hosted at Latzimas, Stavromenos, Preveli Monastery and the highlight at the Hellenic Australian Memorial in the Dikastiria District. In Iraklio the Veterans were given a State welcome on the tarmac of the Nikos Kazantzakis airport by the Governor of Crete Stavros Arnaoutakis.
Following the events in Crete the Cretan Federation of Australian and New Zealand concentrated on other matters. It financially contributed to the assistance of the Cretan Association of Florina in Macedonia by donating $5000 towards their cause, so that they would stay afloat and not lose their clubhouse. This was considered a huge success, with everyone rallying to keep the regional but important strategic organisation alive. Donors included the following : Pancretan Association of Melbourne $1000, the Cretan Association of Sydney $1000, The Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne $1000, Stelios Koukouvitakis $500, Dimitris Kouridakis $500, Spiros Paterakis $500 and Michael Maragoudakis $500.
In August of 2011 the C.F.A.N.Z. delegation that went to Crete for the Election Annual General Meeting of the World Council of Cretans which was held in Rethymnon on the 5th August included Christos Polentas (VIC), George Neonakis (NZ), Kostas Hnaris (NT), Tony Tsourdalakis (VIC), Tina Parliaros (NSW), Maria Lagoudakis (NSW), Stelios Koukouvitakis (VIC), Nikos Nikolakakis (VIC) and Ioannis Kontekakis (VIC). After a marathon meeting, the C.F.A.N.Z. nomination was announced, and the annual General Meeting accepted that Australia would hold the International Presidency of the World Council of Cretans for the period 2011 to 2014 with Tony Tsourdalakis being elected to the position of President. The other members of the Executive included George Neonakis Vice President (NZ), Manuel Starakis Secretary (VIC) and Maria Lagoudakis Treasurer (NSW) and committee members Stavros Perdikis (BELGIUM), Xanthipi Gelasakis (AMERICA), Alexandra Saridaki (LUXEMBROURG), Ippokratis Beladakis (AMERICA), Theodoros Manousakis (AMERICA), Dimitrios Giannadakis (GERMANY) and Manolis Kougioumoutzis (GERMANY).
The outgoing President Georgios Aerakis thanked everyone for their support during his three-year term and handed the reins to the newly elected President from Oceania Tony Tsourdalakis. It was the first time in history that the chair of the WCC was awarded to someone from Australia. This came to fruition due to the hard work of all the delegates present, which everyone stated was a success.
In September the CFANZ President Nikolakakis and National Secretary Vasilis Lizardos both attended the annual General Meeting of the Cretan Association of South Australia in Adelaide after a written request was received. The organisation was in a dire financial situation and considered selling its Alberton club house to avoid further debt. After a lengthy meeting that was attended by about 40 Cretan Members and the federation Executive, it was resolved and decided not to sell the Cretan House in Adelaide. All members rallied that afternoon and raised several thousand dollars, to keep the association alive and kept for the future generations. It was a historic day for the Cretans of Adelaide with the direction, advice, and financial support from the CFANZ
In November that year commemorative events for the Holocaust of the Arkadi Monastery were being hosted by the Federation members in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and in South Australia.
2012 saw the National Executive of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand change hands from Victoria to New South Wales. The President of the Cretan Association of New South Wales Nick Janes and his Committee hosted a well organised 32nd National Convention in the Harbour City of Sydney, were over 300 delegates from around Australia attended, to a week long program, with International Cretan Lutist and Vocalist Giannis Katakis accompanied by local Cretan artists Antonis Petrantonakis and Angelo Goutsios, entertaining the crowds on a daily basis.
The Convention program included the WCC /PSK Executive Committee Meeting, the youth Night at the Lewisham Hotel, the welcome event was a boat cruise on the Harbour on board the Cretan Love Boat at Abbotsford Ferry Wharf, the dinner Dance was at the Westside Reception Lounge and the church service at the Archdiocese headquarters in Redfern. Delegates also had the choice of attending the Epiphany Day Festival for the throwing of the cross and the blessing of the waters till late in the afternoon. The CYANZ and the CFANZ Annual General Meetings were held at the Meeting rooms of the Rydges Hotel in Camperdown.
Outgoing President John Nikolakakis presented a very detailed account of the Federations activities for the previous period. He spoke of the challenges regarding the New Migration of Greeks to Australia due to the financial crisis in Greece, with hundreds of Cretans wanting to come to Australia, some of which arrived at the doorstep of the Cretan Houses in Australia, placing the associations under extreme financial strain, having to feed these people, house, them, accommodate them and literally find work, some of which were not very thankful in the end.
This Convention saw the official handover from outgoing C.F.A.N.Z. President John Nikolakakis to newly appointed C.F.A.N.Z. President Andreas Petrakis, who in turn announced his new executive for the next period including : Zaharias Lyronis ( Vice President ), Ioannis Trypidakis ( Secretary ), Sophie Saviolakis ( Treasurer ) and Emmanuel Tzirtzilakis ( Public Relations Officer ).
In the Youth domain the following Executive was elected: Elena Assargiotis President (NSW), Yiannis Rerakis Vice President (VIC), Nicoleta Assargiotis Secretary (NSW), Terry Saviolakis Ass. Secretary (NSW), Tony Gelis Treasurer(VIC), Sebastian Alexiadis Assistant Treasurer(VIC) and Sophie Amarantos Public Relations Officer (QLD).
A highlight visit in February 2012 saw the President of the Pancretan Association of America, John Manos and his wife Elena accompanied by Cretans from Chicago Andreas and Katina Iliopoulos, arrive on Australian shores for the first time and in particular met with the Cretans in Melbourne and Sydney. Their brief but importance visit included a tour of the Cretan Village in Wantirna South, a tour of the Cretan Centre in Brunswick and other historical sites.
It should be noted that after a 2 year absence with no Hellenic Armed Officers and after heavy political and governmental pressure that was applied by the President of the World Council of Cretans Tony Tsourdalakis, the Hellenic Ministry for Defence once again approved the visitation of the representatives of the National Defence Forces.
Specifically we had Rear Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, who was the Chief of Staff together with his wife Despina accompanied by Colonel Zisis Krachtoudis from the Hellenic Navy. Their visit was met with great respect by the last few remaining ANZAC Veterans in Australia. The Cretan Federation of Australia had invited International Violinist Antonis Martsakis to cover the events from a cultural perspective accompanied by Nikos Marentakis on the lute.
Rethymnon, Crete played host to the W.C.C. Annual General Meeting attended by over 20 Cretan Australians taking part in the decision making of the World Council of Cretans. The members at the AGM approved a charitable $ 3000 Australian Dollars which were donated towards the Kritki Estia Foundation in Athens in order to assist the Cretan Students in time of need. The funds were presented as part of the Cultural Concert in Rethymno, Crete.
It should be noted that throughout 2012 the Cretan Community across the country saw an influx of new Migrants from the island of Crete. They were forced to leave the island due to the financial crisis in Greece. This posed an interesting challenge on the Associations and their members to host and support these people, ethically, morally and financially.
On another note the Cretan Federation of Australia & N.Z. assisted Ms. Tania Thodis in her research on a study of the Cretan Cuisine here in Australia where she had the chance to interview hundreds of Cretans around the Country.
The Cretan Federation of Australia and in particular its member Associations attended and supported our Macedonian brothers and sisters who commemorated their 100th Anniversary of Liberation of Macedonia.
2013 started with a well-attended 33rd National Convention in Perth, Western Australia were the host, newly elected President Manolis Gerogianakis and his committee and with the support of the outgoing Western Australian President John Karakatsanakis put on a great Convention. Over 150 Youth Members attended marking it a great success. The youth were hosted to a welcome BBQ at the South Perth Foreshore and their youth AGM was held at the Picture Hall.
The Official opening was held at the Floreat Athena Soccer Club. The official Dinner Dance was held at the Hellenic Community Centre in North Bridge with performances by the Cretan Brotherhoods of Melbourne and Sydney. International Lutist Kostas Karantinos was invited to attend and cover the Musical aspect of the Convention accompanied by local Australian born artists Sifis Tsourdalakis and Antonis Iliou.
Other events included a trip to Freemantle that rekindled a lot of memories for our elderly delegates, a pool party at Lake Hume and the Indoor Soccer Tournament at the Loftus Street Recreation Centre. The church service was hosted at the Saint Constantine & Helen Parish in north Bridge. A highlight of the Convention was the trip to Margaret river to visit Preveli Park and host a Doxology at the St. Johns Theologian Greek Church which was very moving to say the least
National President Andreas Petrakis mentioned in his Presidents Report to the Convention attendees that his first term as President was relatively tough and challenging in particular until the communication issues were sorted out, he did state that he feels the Cretan Federation remains as one of the top 5 organisations in the country, remaining the most active from all the regional National bodies.
The Cretan Youth of Australia and & New Zealand held there annual General Meeting and discussed many exciting topics and issues that relate to the Cretan youth on a National level. National Youth President Elena Assargiotis mentioned in her report that considering the success some states are having within their respective clubs, she would like to see the youth working together more effectively on a National level and thus collaborating and supporting each other.
In January 2013, the Cretan Association of New South Wales began publishing its bi monthly / quarterly magazine titled “Megalonisos” with news, views, articles, photos and event announcements included which was distributed to all their members for free. This publication continued successfully until October 2015 were it published its last issue.
In February the Cretan Federation of Australia & N.Z. played host to Member of Hellenic Parliament Ms. Dora Bakogiannis, who is of Cretan descent and who happens to be the former Mayor of Athens and the former Minister for Foreign Affairs. She was accompanied by her partner Isidoros Kouvelos. Member organisations in Melbourne hosted Ms. Bakogiannis at their respective club houses in Wantirna South and Brunswick.
In August 2013, the Cretans of Australia played a major role in attending the 7th International Cretan Congress in the beautiful city of Chania hosted by the World Council of Cretans. A well-structured program of four days of events and topics was attended by over 400 delegates from around the Globe including Australia, America, Canada, Europe, Cyprus, South Africa, England and New Zealand. It should be noted that Australia was represented by two Dance Groups, the Pancretan Association of Melbourne Dance Group and the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne Dance Group, putting on a spectacular display and relaying the message to the people of Crete, that the Cretans Abroad hold their cultural traditions in high esteem.
In December of 2013 was the major milestone of the 100th Anniversary of the Union of Crete with Greece with official events that took place to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Union of Crete and Greece under the auspices of the World Council of Cretans. Hundreds of Cretans Organisations from around the Globe reminded people about the struggle the Cretans endured to be unified with motherland Greece back in 1913, hence planning and hosting a plethora of events around Australia in all Cities, including Church Services, Wreath Laying Ceremonies, Forums & Lectures as well Photo Exhibitions.
2013 saw the closure of ERT TV here in the Oceanic region. The Cretan Federation of Australia wrote to the Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras requesting that he overturn this decision and keep the Station open for all the Greeks Abroad.
In March of 2013 the CFANZ hosted the visit to Melbourne and Sydney of Metropolitan Bishop of Rethymnon & Avlopotamou EVGENIOS accompanied by his Abbott Archimandrite Parthenios Kalyvianakis as well as Professor from the University of Athens Nikos Xexakis and Dr. Konstantinos Chlapoutakis from the Prefect of Lasithi who attended the Greek Orthodox Clergy Convention in Sydney as well as the Official Agiasmo of the Pancretan Association of Melbourne at the Cretan Village.
From a cultural perspective the Cretan Associations from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne played host to well-known Dance Choreographer Giannis Megalakakis from Crete who took Dance Tutorials for all the Cretan kids across the country as well as several Dance Tutorials at various Greek College’s.
Furthermore it should be stressed that the Cretans of Australia assisted in the successful implementation and preservation of the Nikos Kazantzakis archives under the 25th Anniversary of the International Foundation of Nikos Kazantzakis and a successful forum was hosted at the Cretan Centre in Brunswick. From a charitable perspective the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne hosted an event to raise funds for the Metropolitan Community Clinic in Athens and donated $ 10,000 dollars to this cause.
Finally 2013 saw the appointment of two newly elected Presidents namely Jim Papadimitriou to the seat of President of the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne & Victoria and George Neonakis also to the seat of President to the Cretans Association of Wellington, New Zealand.
2014: The 34th National Convention was held in warm and tropical Darwin in the Northern Territory. The Convention proved to be a great success attracting tens of holiday lovers, many of whom, visited Darwin for the first time. They were lucky enough to be treated to Kostas Hnaris and his Committees warm and rich hospitality. The program included a trip to Crocodylus Park, the youth AGM at the Greek School Gymnasium followed by a Cocktail Reception at Parliament House hosted by the Northern Territory Government. The Dinner Dance attracted a 500 plus crowd at the Kalymnian Hall with Cretan Musicians Antonis Petrantonakis and his band gave the local greek people a night not to forget. The annual church service was held at St. Nicholas Greek Parish followed by the soccer game and the BBQ at the School venues.
National President Andreas Petrakis mentioned that topics of importance included (a) the establishment of child care centres for greek children only, (b) the nominations for the Board members of the new World Council of Cretans committee, (c) specific lessons to teach our youth of the Cretan history and the greek language, (d) a national cretan youth competition with the winner been sent to Greece ( e ) the invitation of musicians and the successful term in office of the Oceania President Tony Tsourdalakis as the Chair of the World Council of Cretans.
At the completion of the Annual General Meeting outgoing President Andreas Petrakis mentioned that he had received a nomination from Victoria for the administration. The two Melbourne Cretan organisations nominated representatives to form the National Executive consisting of President Michael Houdalakis, Vice President Michael Frantzeskakis, Secretary Andreas Fliatouras, Treasurer Eva Gotsis and Public Relations Officer Aggie Mihelakis.
From the outset Michael and his team embraced their appointment and roles and proved to be a master stroke in the running of the Federation. Administration processes were immediately addressed, and efficiencies changed. Treasurer Eva Gotsis took on her role with great commitment putting the Federation’s financials back into order. She collected over $10,000 owing from various debtors to the previous administration. She was also instrumental in increasing the advertising monies for the Annual Magazine.
After his appointment like all new Presidents, Michael visited newly arrived Consul General of Greece in Melbourne Christina Simantirakis, whom together with Presidents, Tsourdalakis, Papadimitriou and Nikolakakis, made her welcome arrival to Melbourne a more pleasant one.
In January 2014, Michael and his team played part to the hosting of former Mayor of Athens and former Minister for Foreign Affairs from Greece Dora Bakogiannis and her husband Isidoros. World Council of Cretans President Tony Tsourdalakis accompanied Dora Bakogiannis on official visits to the Cretan Village in Wantirna South as well as the Cretan House in East Brunswick where she enjoyed the Cretan “Filoxenia” from their respective members.
CFANZ President, Michael Houdalakis, World Council of Cretans President Tony Tsourdalakis and Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne President Jim Papadimitriou all attended the official breakfast hosted by H.A.C.C.I. in honour of the Minister for Tourism Olga Kefalogianni. Minister Kefalogianni, born in Rethymno, was visiting Australia on official Ministerial duties and in particular to sign the social security agreements with Australia.
The Cretan Federation also hosted representatives from the Hellenic Armed Forces – Lieutenant General Georgios Petkos and his wife Erofili, Colonel Athanasios Zafiropoulos – honoured the events of the 73rd Battle of Crete Commemorations with their presence on a National Level. Their packed schedule whilst in Australia was complemented with official State and other National visits. However, they also left with wonderful personal experiences and memories from a vibrant and active Cretan Community. National President Houdalakis hosted the visitors during their time in Australia and attended Commemorative events both in Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance and Sydney’s Martin Place. Local Cretan Musicians Sifis Tsourdalakis, Antonis Xylouris and Antonis Iliou covered the events that year for the Battle of Crete around Australia.
In 2014 the Cretan Federation of Australia also supported two projects by contributing financially to the erection of a Memorial plaque in 42nd Street, Tsikalaria, Chania. This is a plaque honouring Reg. Saunders and the Battle that took place at 42nd Street. Events were hosted at BW Edge in Melbourne’s Federation Square with the Xylouris band.
The CFANZ also contributed financially to a book produced by the Pancretan Association of Melbourne “The Battle of Crete – The Untold Stories “written by Dina Gerolymou, which was launched at Anzac House by Dr. Peter Ewer in the presence of ANZAC Veterans and over 150 members.
Their first year in office saw several members from the Cretan Federation travel to Crete to attend their first Annual General Meeting at the World Council of Cretans. This event took place in the Historic Monastery of the Arkadi, Rethymno. At this Annual General Meeting Outgoing World Council of Cretans President Tony Tsourdalakis who was elected from Oceania, together with George Neonakis, Manuel Starakis, and Maria Lagoudakis concluded their term in office.
Manuel Velivasakis from the USA was appointed as the new World Council President. This allowed Oceania to elect three new representatives to sit on the new World Council of Cretans. This included CFANZ President Michael Houdalakis, CFANZ Treasurer Eva Gotsis and CFANZ Secretary Andreas Fliatouras. Throughout their time in Greece, the National Executive also visited the Maritime Museum in Chania as well as visiting the Military base in Athens and meeting with Lieutenant General Petkos and Colonel Zafiropoulos.
The fundamental role of the National Federation is to support its member constituents including the smaller ones and less vocal members organisations including Tasmania, Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia. The CFNAZ offers moral, ethical, organisational and where possible financial support, to encourage the Cretan organisations to continue to prosper and thrive. During the course of the year the National Executives endeavoured to seek funding both on a Local, State and Federal Level via a series of meetings with high ranking officials and politicians both in Canberra and in Melbourne took place. Executives met with members from the Victoria Multicultural Commission and the Department of Defence, discussing possible funding solutions for the 75th Anniversary commemorative events in 2016.
CFNAZ President and Members of the Executive also attended many community events including the Official opening of the Greek Cultural Centre built by the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne & Victoria. Other events included the Commemorative function for the 148th Anniversary for the Arkadi Holocaust hosted by the Pancretan Association of Melbourne and the Cocktail function hosted by the Consul General for Greece in Melbourne for the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace, George Orfanos and the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris.
2015 was an exciting year for the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand with the hosting of the 35th National Convention for the Cretans of the Oceania Region in the glorious City of Wellington, New Zealand. The Convention was hosted by the Cretans Association of New Zealand, by its President George Neonakis and his small team. Cretan musician, Dimitri Vakakis, together with local artists Antoni Petrantonakis and Angelo Goutsios entertained delegates at the various functions of the Convention.
The Convention program included the Youth Welcome Function at the Boat House Café, the Youth Conference at the Greek Orthodox Community Hall, Wreath Laying ceremony at the Greek – NZ Memorial and the official Dinner Dance at the Cyprus Community Centre, the church service at Annunciation of our Lady in Hania Street, followed by lunch at the Wellington Olympia Football Club.
C.F.A.N.Z. President Michael Houdalakis welcomed all delegates and hosted the Annual General Meeting as well as providing them with an overview of 2015 including : (a) Battle of Crete Annual Magazine for 2014 (b) Battle of Crete Commemorative coins were released by the Royal Australian Mint as part of a series of Coins highlighting the ANZAC Centenary and the Australian involvement in the Greece and Crete campaigns. George Katheklakis from the A.C.T. played an integral role in assisting the project was completed, (c) Houdalakis’ meetings in Canberra with the Ministry for Veterans Affairs to discuss possible funding for the 75th Anniversary commemorative events in 2016 (d) Successful hosting and including private luncheon of representatives from the Hellenic Armed Forces for the Battle of Crete on a National Level – I e. Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Georgios Paraschopoulos and Colonel Vasilios Broumas from the Hellenic Air forces, (e) Attendance at numerous public relation events across the Nation, (f) Official Representation at the World Council of Cretans Annual General Meeting in Rethymno, Crete (g) C.F.A.N.Z. Executive Official visit to the Maritime Museum in Chania for discussions regarding the 42nd Street Project (h) Attendance at commemorative events for the Holocaust of the Arkadi Monastery in Melbourne hosted by the Pancretan Association of Melbourne (i) Attendance to the commemorative events for the birth of Eleftherios Venizelos in Melbourne hosted by the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne.
The Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand also held their annual general meeting with close to 80 Cretan youth attending the meeting. CYANZ National youth President James Zoumis presented his report for the year with several announcements. His committee spent time on restructuring the Social Media links between states, making the promotion of the youth initiatives a lot easier and more effective. He also announced the creation of a special Youtube channel to begin collecting videos from past and future conventions hence inviting people with technical knowledge to join the committee.
The C.F.A.N.Z. co-ordinated the National fund raising campaign in order to purchase pharmaceutical supplies to be donated to all the hospitals in Crete, with the support of the World Council of Cretans and the invitation to the musicians from Crete Giorgis Fasoulas, Kostis Kallergis and Kostis Markakis to attend Australia for events in most cities.
In 2015, The Federation Executive received the resignation of Public Relations Officer Aggie Mihelakis from the Pancretan Association of Melbourne who was replaced by John Rerakis from the same organisation. Furthermore, the National President Michael Houdalakis appointed a Greek Liaison representative in Crete, namely Maria Katsipataki. Maria would assist in the co-ordination of all things required by the Cretan Federation of Australia in Greece.
November 2015 saw the Inaugural Meeting hosted by the Presidents of the two Cretan organisations in Melbourne under the Federation’s guidance. They assisted with the establishment of the Battle of Crete Commemorative Council, this meeting was held at the Greek Centre and attended by over 15 representatives from various government, private and corporate sector delegates. It was decided unanimously that the council should cover and represent the entire campaign in Greece and not only Crete, not taking away however from the importance of the Battle of Crete.
In 2016 the 37th National Cretan Convention was held in Australia’s sporting Capital City – Melbourne. Both Victorian Cretan organisations worked tirelessly towards ensuring that the Convention was a memorable and standout event for all National participants. International Cretan artists were invited to cover the six day program. Giorgos Stratakis (Lyra & Vocals), Nikos Stratakis (Lute and Vocals) and Dimitris Zografakis (Guitar) literally rocked Melbourne for the entire week with their unique style of Cretan music. Cretan youth functions were well attended, and delegates had the opportunity to meet and create new friendships during the convention.
The Convention program included a Youth Night at the Greek Centre on the Mezzanine, a trip to Yarra Valley, a Greek Australian Tour of Melbourne, a Melbourne City Tour, a day trip to Phillip island, a picnic at Sorento Beach, the cocktail welcome at the Cretan house and the Dinner Dance at the Cretan Village. A church service at the St. Efstathios Cathedral followed by a ceremony at the Australian Hellenic Memorial and a Panigiri in Port Melbourne for the blessings of the waters. The farewell Glendi was held in the Members pavilion of the Cretan Village in Wantirna south.
2016 will be remembered as the year of change!! National President Michael Houdalakis felt that with an ever-changing environment we cannot rest on our laurels or the great work done by our predecessors, hence why he felt that more significant work had to be done. The CFANZ Executive believed it needed to alter our mind-set from the traditional “let’s have a dinner dance” mentality to a broader forward-thinking approach. CFANZ believe we need to engage and ask for the participation of our members and more so our Youth to ensure the longevity of the Cretan organisations and their continued support of our traditions, music, dance and history.
National President Michael Houdalakis proposed that the Cretan Federation needs a stronger collaborative presence and participation from each State and stronger numbers to explore the many ideas that are put forward frequently on a National level by members and the wider Greek Australian Community. He recommended that we amend the Constitution so that the Federation National Executive becomes a 13-member Committee and include delegates from each State. This amendment was accepted. Further to the rejuvenation of the CFNAZ Committee it was further suggested and resolved to update the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand Logo. Several designs were presented with the member organisations voting on the most popular.
Houdalakis also advised that in order to keep up with social media trends that a Facebook page would be created, and the website be updated. 2016 saw further changes to the CFANZ structure and governance. It was suggested that the National Executive term be extended from 2 to 3 years. This would align the Cretan Federation with the change of Executive with the World Council of Cretans. This would allow the Executive Committee of the CFANZ to work closely with World Council of Cretans to ensure Australia’s and New Zealand’s presence and voice is heard on the world arena.
The 75th Anniversary events in Oceania were moved to the month of April with events in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne Brisbane, Wellington, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart. The representatives from the Hellenic Armed Forces arriving from Greece included Lieutenant General Konstantinos Gatzogiannis accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel Konstantinos Vasilopoulos. The CFANZ hosted the Governor General of Australia Peter Cosgrove at the Shrine of Remembrance for the Official Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony for the Battle of Crete amongst other guests.
The musicians that were invited included Giorgos Magelakis, Timoleon Savvakis and Nikolaos Vrettos who travelled to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne for a three-week tour. Throughout the 75th Battle of Crete Commemorations the Federation hosted a Forum on the “ Life of Reg Saunders in Crete “ whereby his daughter Ms. Glenda Humes presented at the Greek Centre.
In May 2016, the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand, National President Michael Houdalakis represented Cretans from Australia & New Zealand at events commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete. Numerous events were attended by Michael in Hania and Rethymno with many political and local delegates from various parts of the world. On a personal level Michael found these commemorative events a moving, emotional, and humbling experience.
2016 also saw the Cretan Community of Western Australia take the initiative to host events commemorating the Battle of Crete largely due to the influence of the newly appointed Consulate General of Greece in Perth Antonis Koliadis. Lord Mayor of Perth hosted a Book launch on the 27th June for “The Battle of Crete ‘the untold stories” which was published by the Pancretan Association of Melbourne, the event proved to be a success. All 4 surviving Veterans in Western Australia namely Norm Eaton, Bill Taylor, Arthur Leggett, and Hal Fenkelstein attended and were honoured with a standing ovation. The following day, Secretary of the Battle of Crete Commemorative Council Tony Tsourdalakis together with Ms. Dina Gerolymou, the Author had the opportunity to launch the official School Photo Exhibition to the St. Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Grammar School. This Photo exhibition has travelled to various schools throughout 2016 highlighting the importance of the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete.
2016 also saw the launch of the campaign to erect a Battle of Crete Memorial in Kings Park in Perth, Western Australia. A Special committee formed to raise funds and seek the appropriate approvals to erect this monument.
In 2016, President Houdalakis also attended events hosted in Melbourne for the 150th Anniversary of the commemoration of the Arkadi Monastery with a formal dinner Dance at the Cretan village hosted by the Pancretan Association of Melbourne. The events for the Arkadi Monastery had a special surprise in 2016 with the arrival of the Cultural Group “Kourites“ from Athens lead by their leader Manolis Pattakos. It was a very moving seven-day program visiting all parts of Melbourne. The group consisted of 14 dancers, five musicians and their group leaders as well as the TV Crew from ERT 3, who produced three wonderful documentaries.
In December 2016 the Cretan Brotherhood celebrated its 60th Anniversary since its inception with a Gala Ball at the Cretan House in Brunswick with over 300 people in attendance. The event was honoured by several past presidents and life members. The Anniversary also saw the arrival of the Cultural Group “Viglatores “from Chania lead by their leader Sifis Viglis. The group consisted of ten dancers, two musicians and Rev. Father Sergakis who was also a talent on the lyra.
2017 began with the 37th National convention in the sunny and very tropical Brisbane, hosted by the Cretan Association of Queensland. Michael Arvanitagis and his committee worked very hard to make attendees feel welcome, a great success with over 200 interstate delegates attending. The Convention Dinner Dance was a huge success with tens of youth on the dance floor for hours on end to the tunes of Cretan musicians Petros Maroulis, Dimos Tsakalakis and Manolis Drimis. The Dance Groups from the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne, the Cretan Association of Sydney and the local Cretan Association of Queensland were all outstanding.
A range of topics were discussed and decided at the annual General Meeting. This convention saw the changing of the guard at Federation level with outgoing National President Michael Houdalakis handing over the reins to the newly appointed President from New South Wales Maria Lagoudakis. Maria’s Board also included Milton Stamatakos, Vice President (Victoria), Despina Parliaros, Secretary (New South Wales) and Sophie Valionitis – Saviolakis, Treasurer (New South Wales), Herc Kasselakis, Public Relations (Queensland), and board members Stamatis Borakis (South Australia), Kostas Grafanakis (New South Wales), Vicki Kalogeropoulos (Tasmania), George Katheklakis (Australian Capital Territory), Manolis Gerogianakis (Western Australia) and Michael Frantzeskakis (Victoria).
Also, the CYANZ also changed hands. Outgoing National Youth President from Victoria James Zoumis handed over to New South Wales and in particular Terry Saviolakis. The new National youth Council consisted of : Terry Saviolaki, President (NSW), Katerina Varnava, Vice President (QLD), Hara Lavdioti, Secretary (NSW), Ari Paraskakis, Treasurer (NSW), Theodore Heretakis, Assistant Secretary (VIC), Nikos Constantinou, Assistant Treasurer (WA), Felicia Janes, Public Relations (NSW), Maria Daglas, Board Member (TAS) and Christos Stavrinidis, Board Member (VIC).
In March of that year the President Maria Lagoudakis attended and participated in the events for Greek Independence Day as well as other events hosted for the Hellenic Presidential Guard “ Evzones “ in Sydney for Anzac Day and the Greek Australian Alliance and she laid a wreath at the Lemnos Memorial in Kogarah after the church service.
The 76th Battle of Crete Commemorations were held in most states and territories. As the Federation President she attended the events at Sydney’s Martin place and Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance. The CFANZ had the honour of hosting Lieutenant General Konstantinos Floros who was the chief of Staff of the Hellenic Defence Forces accompanied by his wife Anna- Maria Tsikrikroni and also Lieutenant Colonel Christos Anastasiadis who was the Deputy Director of the Public Relations of the Hellenic Defence Forces.
The CFANZ was represented at various events including a church service at the Historical Garrison church, an olive tree planting at Lamia Barracks in Holsworthy Army headquarters and the official presentation by Lieutenant General Floros at the Hellenic Club of Sydney which was centred around Greece’s military history and the financial crisis. Musicians from Crete, Dimitris Vakakis, Giorgos Stratakis and Lefteris Doundoulakis covered all the planned events for the Battle of Crete in Sydney and in Melbourne.
In August the Federation was represented at the World Council of Cretans annual General Meeting by representative Tina Parliaros who reported on the activities of the Federation that year. The new World Council of Cretans Executive was voted in and outgoing President from the USA Manolis Velivasakis handed the administration to newly elected Manolis Kougioumoutzis from Munich in Germany. The CFANZ is also represented on the World council of Cretans by John Nikolakakis, Andrew Parliaros and Tina Parliaros.
In September of that year the Pontian Community hosted an event to mark the 100th anniversary of the Pontian Genocide in the NSW Parliament in the of the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the Federation President Maria Lagoudakis attended with other Board Members. The CFANZ was invited to attend the 2nd/4th Australian Infantry Battalion which hosted a re union in the presence of ANZAC Crete Veteran Alf Carpenter which was very moving to say the least. Alf is one of the few surviving veterans from Crete here in Australia.
In November 2017 the Pancretan Association of Melbourne and the Cretan Association of New South Wales hosted the Annual Arkadi Commemorations both in Melbourne and Sydney and the CFANZ attended all the events and laid wreaths at the commemorative ceremonies.
2018 was a very sad year for the Cretans of Australia with many clubs losing a number of there members throughout the year. The Cretans that have passed away will always be remembered for the contributions they gave to each of their clubs and the Federation over the years and the legacy they left behind them. The 38th National Convention was held in Sydney hosted by the Cretan Association of New South Wales. International Cretan Artists Giorgos Psaroudakis (lute), Giorgos Alexantonakis (lyra) and Giorgos Stratakis (lute) were invited and attended the convention and also performed at a New Year’s Eve dance hosted by the Pancretan Association Melbourne.
A highlight of the Convention in Sydney was the impromptu performance outside the convention hotel, the Mercure Sydney, where the musicians played a sigano – pentozali and the delegates joined the dancing to create a ‘flash mob’ scene which was well received and viewed by several thousand people. Other great night included the official welcome night on board the Anogiannakis Family Boat cruising the Sydney harbour for five hours. The convention was well attended with over 250 Interstate Delegates as well as Christos Markakis from Toronto Canada, who is the former National Youth President of the Pancretan Association of America. Local chapter President Andrew Parliaros and his committee did everything physically possible to make people feel welcome in Sydney.
The Cretan youth of Australia & New Zelaand also held their annual General Meeting with over 140 Cretan youth attending the meeting with youth reps from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia. Youth President Terry Saviolakis presented his report with a plethora of activities and youth participation in all aspects however the most promising being the involvement of representatives from the smaller states including Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia.
The C.F.A.N.Z. Executive led by President Lagoudakis and all the Association president’s had the opportunity to visit our ageing but ever loving Archbishop Stylianos in Redfern with gifts and lots of love. He was so happy to see us all, not knowing that it would be the last time we see him alive.
The C.F.A.N.Z. participated in the commemorative events for Greek Independence Day by laying a wreath at events in Sydney and Melbourne as well as events honouring the Hellenic Presidential Guard “EVZONES” who were in Sydney for the commemoration of the Greek Australian Alliance and in Melbourne for the Commemoration of the Hellenic Independence. Both Cretan organisations in Melbourne had the honour of hosting the Hellenic Presidential Guard with the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne hosting a Memorial for the Ethnarch “ Eleftherios Venizelos “ at the Cretan House in Brunswick and the Pancretan Association of Melbourne hosted their farewell dinner at the Members Pavilion at the Cretan Village in Wantirna South.
In April of 2018, the C.Y.A.N.Z. led by its President Terry Saviolakis announced the first National Art Competition for all our youth in our region with prizes and gifts for the winning entries. The theme was the Battle of Crete, the Anzacs in Crete and or the cretan resistance. Participants were encouraged to enter either with a poem, a drawing, an essay, an interview, a sculpture etc. The competition was a resounding success with tens of entries from schools all over the nation. The winning entries were placed on the front cover of the Federations Annual magazine the following year.
The 2018 Battle of Crete events, had the honour of hosting Australian-born Lieutenant General Nikolaos Christopoulos, Chief of Staff of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff accompanied by his wife s Marina Papavasileiou, his daughter Ms. Eleni Christopoulou and Major Nikolaos Gogousis, Public Relations Director of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff. The trip to Australia was a very emotional one for Lieutenant General Christopoulos who had left Australia at a very young age to return for these events after so many years.
C.F.A.N.Z. President Maria Lagoudakis accompanied the Lieutenant General Christopoulos at the Hellenic Club in Sydney for a presentation centred around Greece’s military history and the financial crisis which was hosted by the Joint Committee for the Battle of Crete in New South Wales. She also attended Olive tree Plantings at Lamia Barracks, Holsworthy Army Barracks in New South Wales as well as the National Ex-Prisoner of War Memorial in Ballarat, Victoria hosted by the Battle of Crete & Greece Commemorative Council, highlighting the ANZAC Crete presence in Ballarat. The musicians that were invited from Crete were Nektarios Klostrakis and Dimitris Sygletos to cover the Battle of Crete events in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
The C.F.A.N.Z. was represented at the World Council of Cretans Annual General Meeting by John Nikolakakis and Jim Papadimitriou who reported on the events around Australia in the last year.
In 2018 we had the unfortunate events of the drastic fires in the Attica region of Greece. This banded the community together with several fundraisers amongst the Cretan Community including the Pancretan Association of Melbourne which raised $30,000 and the Cretan Association of Sydney which raised over $ 5,000 and others showing the massive generosity of the Australian Cretans.
The C.F.A.N.Z. also took part in the 96th Anniversary of the Holocaust of Smyrni at the Sydney Parliament House organised by the Hellenic Pontian Genocide Commemorative Committee of NSW which was attended by many Parliamentarians and also the Greek Consul General of Sydney and the Japanese Consul of Sydney
It should be noted that the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand participated in the commemorative events for the 152nd Anniversary of the Arkadi Monastery in both Melbourne and Sydney which also saw the visit of the Director of the Eleftherios Venizelos Foundation from Chania Nikolaos Papadakis visit Melbourne for the official book launch of the Venizelos Biography in English which was hosted by the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne. Papadakis was accompanied by Vagelis Koukourakis from Chania and Apostolos Koutsakis from Perth, Western Australia. The events in Melbourne were reciprocated in Sydney.
2019 began with the 39th National Convention in Hobart, Tasmania hosted at the famous Wrest Point Casino hosted by the Cretan Association of Tasmania headed by the President John Fiotakis and his team. National President Maria Lagoudakis chaired the Annual General Meeting and was also attended by other members of the National Executive namely Milton Stamatakos Vice President, Sophie Saviolakis-Valiontis Treasurer and Tony Tsourdalakis, Board member. International Cretan musicians Kosta Kordatzakis (Lyra), Nikos Sinolakis (lute) and Giorgos Chalkiadakis (lute) were invited and entertained the convention delegates and locals at all the functions during the Convention The performances from all dancing groups at the dinner dance were fantastic and it was great to see the number of youth enjoying our Cretan culture of dance and music into the early hours of the morning.
As we have seen in the last few years, a large number of Youth are attending the convention events and every year new friendships are developing for both young and old. New friendships were once again made and old friendships continued. The Hobart convention ended with a tour of the Museum of Old and New Art ‘MONA’ – Tasmania’s quirky museum where many delegates were left asking questions about the ‘art’ on display.
Maria Lagoudakis attended and participated in Melbourne’s antipodes Lonsdale Street Glendi watching Melbourne’s Cretan Dance Groups over the entire weekend to the tunes of Elias Horeftakis and his band who had arrived for the Festival. We also participated in the commemorative events for Greek Independence Day by laying a wreath at events in Sydney and Melbourne. In Sydney the President attended the Greek National Day parade through the City and ended up at the Opera House where the Cretans of Sydney performed in front of thousands of Greeks.
Sadly, on 25 March 2019, His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, Greek Orthodox Primate of Australia passed away. The Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand was given the opportunity to participate in His Eminence’s funeral which was held in Sydney. The young Cretan Youth led the funeral procession which was then followed by all the priests from around Australia. Eight senior male Cretan Youth formed a “Guard of Honour“ dressed in the appropriate Cretan costumes farewelled and accompanied the hearse as it travelled down to the burial site. Cretan Musicians Antonis Petrandonakis and Angelos Goutsios also played some tunes and sang Mantinades with Antonis Tsourdalakis, Nikos Xanthoudakis and Giorgos Heretis during his burial. It should be noted that Cretan Youth from the Pancretan Association of Melbourne and the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne travelled from Melbourne to participate and be a part of the biggest farewell the Greek community had ever seen. The Cretans of Australia were front and centre at the sad farewell and those who participated will always remember it, with enormous media coverage in Australia and in Greece and in particular in Crete.
To commemorate ANZAC Day, the Cretan Federation was invited to an event in April at Beta Lounge, Sydney to honour the Anzacs of Greece and in particular the Australian nurses who were in Lemnos during the Greek Campaign. Many stories were told of what the nurses saw and had to endure while they were helping Australia’s injured ANZACs. This event was attended by many Greek associations and members of Parliament including the Governor of NSW, Margaret Beazley.
The Battle of Crete events in May 2019 were a highlight with Ms. Maria Lagoudakis laying a wreath at the Battle of Crete commemorative events at both the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne and the Cenotaph at Martin Place in Sydney. The Federation hosted Vice Admiral Ioannis Paxivanakis, Deputy Chief of Staff and Lieutenant Colonel Christos Anastasiadis Deputy Director of Public Relations of HNDGS. The highlight of their visit in Sydney included a tour of HMAS Watson where Captain John Stavridis took the Officers through a tour of the base which also included a ‘ride’ on a submarine simulator and of course the Olive Tree Planting and plaque unveiling at the Epping RSL in Melbourne hosted by the Battle of Crete & Greece Commemorative Council.
Another highlight was the National Art Competition that was initiated by the Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand inviting Greek students from all over Australia to participate. There were an amazing amount of 200 artworks entered and most of the entries were put on display in Sydney at a B.O.C. event where the Consul General, Christos Karras, the HAF officers and a number of Australian politicians, Defence Force personnel and other distinguished guests were in attendance. Many of the artworks were of high quality. The musicians that were invited from Crete for the Battle of Crete events included Dimitris Spyridakis, Manolis Neonakis and Georgios Messaritakis.
A special mention to the Cretan Association of Queensland which celebrated its 45th Anniversary since its inception with a Gala Dinner Dance on Saturday 11th May. Current President Anthony Katsanevas spoke emotionally about the Cretans presence in the sunshine state the achievements and the continued work of the younger members of the club amongst other things. All past presidents including Dimitris Filipakis, nondas Panagiotakis, Stefanos Kouvides, Sotiris Hatzifotis, Kostas Hatzifotis, Michael Saridakis, Kostas Kaselakis, Filia Ghoreyab, Joseph Panagiotakis, Manolis Kalykakis, Anthony Katsanevas and Michael Arvanitagis were all honoured with certificate of appreciation awards and plaques. Life Memberships were also presented to Manos Kelaidis, Pavlos Magelakis, Michael Katmadas, Peter Hatzakis and Michael Saridakis. A cake was cut and also the names of the past Committee Members and past Dancers were read out and acknowledged. The musicians from Crete played till the early hours of the morning and the Associations dance groups presented their dancing skills to the large crowd.
In June 2019, Australia welcomed our new Greek Orthodox Archbishop MAKARIOS who arrived in Sydney welcomed by thousands of Greek Australians including a large number of young children from the Cretan Association of Sydney dressed in Traditional costume. Later in June, our Cretan youth were invited to participate in His Eminence’s official ordination to the Greek Archdiocese of Australia and on this occasion Cretan Youth from the Pancretan Association of Melbourne in Cretan attire attended to be part of the welcome.
The President Maria Lagoudakis was invited to and attended an event, with members of the Cretan Association of Sydney, at Beta Bar in Sydney where the Hellenic Women of Sydney hosted an event to raise money to purchase a special bus for children with special needs in Chania, Crete. An amount of $40,000 was raised at this event for this special bus.
In August 2019, the C.F.A.N.Z. was represented at the 9th International Cretan Congress in Iraklio hosted by the World Council of Cretans. Oceania was represented by John Nikolakakis, Antonis Tsourdalakis, Jack Karagiorgakis, Nick Markogiannakis, Mary Rissakis, Joanna Psarakis, Niki Melabiotis, Dimitris Papadimitrakis, John Kontekakis, and the entire Pancretan Association of Melbourne Dance group. During the International Convention two senior members of the Cretan Community of Australia were honoured with awards of excellence amongst others, namely Socrates Tsourdalakis and Dimitris Papadimitrakis. The C.F.A.N.Z. was a sponsor of the Convention with the amount of $2000 sponsored which was donated by the following : Pancretan Association of Melbourne: $500, Cretan Association of New Zealand: $500, Cretan Association of Tasmania: $200, Cretan Association of Sydney: $200, Cretan Association of QLD: $200 and Maria Lagoudakis $400.
In November 2019, the Cretans of Sydney, celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Cretan Association of New South Wales where over 650 people attended the dance to celebrate this event. His Eminence Archbishop Makarios was also in attendance where he was made an honorary life member of the Cretan Association of Sydney & New South Wales, and the Cretan Federation of Australia took part in all these events.
2020 saw the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand host its milestone convention namely the 40th National Anniversary Convention in Adelaide, the city of churches hosted by the Cretan Association of South Australia with President Pantelis Fridakis and his committed and hardworking team pulling of a great convention. Pantelis was joined by Manolis Borakis, Stamatis Borakis, Konstantina Angelidakis, Litsa Borakis and many more. Everyone had a great time and appreciated the warm hospitality from the locals.
It was a historical convention on several accounts. Firstly due to the fact that It was a record turnout of interstate delegates, over 400 delegates, secondly we had a record 8 Dance Groups perform, 2 on Friday and 6 on Saturday and finally the presence of our very own newly arrived Cretan Archbishop, His Eminence Makarios and other Clergy on Saturday night, since the last convention that was attended by an Archbishop was over 20 years ago, in 1990. The Convention received enormous publicity from all print, online and electronic media outlets in Australia, Greece and in particular Crete. The convention Musicians included Dimitris Apostolakis who had arrived from Crete with John Pollakis and Patrick Montgommery entertained people on the Friday night welcome party at the Hios Reception Centre, at the official Dinner Dance at the AUDC Wonderland Ballroom. The Sunday morning included the church Service hosted by his Eminence and the clergy from Adelaide at the St. Nektarios Holy Monastery in Croydon Park, which was followed by a luncheon at the Parish Hall.
The Annual General Meeting at the Convention, which was hosted at the Cretan House in Alberton, was attended by Delegates from both Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, Western Australia and of course South Australia. Apologies were sent from New Zealand. Outgoing National President Maria Lagoudakis presented the 2019 year in review highlighting many of the Federations activities. It was an emotional end to her three-year term, thanking everyone that assisted her role throughout the entire journey. Maria Lagoudakis announced that the National Administration would move to Victoria. The President of the Pancretan Association of Melbourne John Nikolakakis announced the new executive that was nominated. Tony Tsourdalakis for the position of President, Manolis Vantarakis for the position of Secretary, Mary Rissakis for the position of Treasurer and Joanna Psarakis as a representative.
Tony Tsourdalakis thanked both the organisations from Melbourne for the nomination and their trust and vowed to give his best, to take the Federation one step further. He asked all the organisations to join him on his journey, in continuing the good work the previous Presidents have done and make our organisation one of the leading community groups in the Oceania region. The new president is joined by Herc Kasselakis from Queensland as A’ Vice President, Maria Lagoudakis from New south Wales as B’ Vice President, Milton Stamatakos from Victoria as Public Relations Officer, Pantelis Fridakis from South Australia, George Katheklakis from Australian Capital Territory, Vicki Kalogeropoulos from Tasmania, Manolis Yerogianakis from Western Australia and Stan Nikitopoulos from New Zealand.
The Cretan youth of Australia & New Zealand also hosted their Annual General Meeting were outgoing President from New South Wales Terry Saviolakis give his in depth report for all the hard work, and all the initiatives that his Committee completed in the last three years, hence everyone commended him. At the completion of the Youth AGM the new National Youth was elected to the following positions : Polina Nikolakakis, President (VIC), Kristina Constantinou, Vice President (WA), Bianca Rissakis, Treasurer (VIC), Anthony Papastamatis, Assistant Treasurer (TAS), Elaina Nikolakakis, Secretary (VIC), Hara Lavdioti, Assistant Secretary (NSW), Katerina Varnava, Public Relations (QLD), Katie Skinner, Public Relations (ACT), Katerina Angelidakis, Public Relations (SA), Vasilios Theodorakis, Board Member (VIC) and Christos Stavrinidis, Board Member (VIC)
In February 2020, the National Executive of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand in conjunction with the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad announced two separate Youth Trips to Crete in 2021 comprising of an educational, social, Cultural & Religious program. The trips were open only to members of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand and not the general public. The General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad covered the expenses for the Accommodation, Bus Transfers, Meals, Events and Tour Guides. Each Cretan Youth participant would have to cover their international airfare from Australia to Crete. The trips would be broken up into 2 groups. The first tour was for Cretan youth aged between the ages of 16 and 23 and was proposed to take place during School Holiday Period Saturday 26th June to the 11th July 2021 and the second tour will be for Cretan youth aged between the ages of 10 and 15 and was proposed to take place during School Holiday Period Saturday 18th September to 3rd October 2021.
In March 2020, Australia was hit with the global pandemic that had literally travelled the world, called Covid 19. This virus would certainly change people’s lives immensely with restrictive measures being placed by the Government, not to mention lockdown periods were no one could travel, businesses would be closed, and the economy shot through the roof. This of course had an adverse effect on every Cretan Organisation around the country and in particular the Victorian Cretan clubs. It halted and severed all events for almost 12 months, seriously putting the organisations existence into financial jeopardy. Who would of thought that in 2020, we wouldn’t celebrate our Greek Orthodox Easter in traditional fashion, going to church during Holy Week and celebrating with family, instead glued to our devices viewing the epitaph and the anastasis remotely?
However the CFANZ Executive stood firm and did not allow this pandemic to stop the Federation from planning ahead for a massive 2021, were we celebrated our 200th Anniversary of our Hellenic Independence and of course our 80th Anniversary for the Battle of Crete, two massive milestones that were commemorated in the utmost importance.
Other initiatives that were announced by President Tsourdalakis and his Board was (a) the establishment of the CFANZ National electronic Database with hundreds of Cretans to be registered on this, in the hope that the CFANZ would be able to reach out to as many Cretans in the Oceania region for projects and programs, (b) the establishment of the Cretan Alumni in the hope that this would attract many past members and their families back to the Federation either through social or business interaction with many events planned over the year and (c) the 2021 ANZAC Pilgrimage of Crete to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete in the presence of the Australian descendants and their families, with a 10 day program from Chania to Iraklion.
Throughout the lockdown and the general Pandemic period the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand with the support of both the Cretan organisations in Melbourne namely the Cretan Brotherhood and Pancretan Association joined forces with the Merimna Pontion Kyrion and established a four month food drive to reach out to needy families that were struggling. This Food program would become a huge success instigating massive interest that followed by other organisations including the Cyprus Community, the Pallaconian Brotherhood, the Kalamata 23rd March, the Pammessinian Brotherhood “ Papaflessas “ and the Pantrifilian Association of Melbourne.
The Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand had officially cancelled all planned events for this year’s 79th Anniversary commemorations for the Battle of Crete due to Covid 19 with no Defence Personnel from Athens, no Musicians from Crete and no Local Government Representatives from Crete in Australia. Most Cretan organisations around the country managed to adhere to restrictions and host small but very symbolic Ceremonies in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Perth, and Hobart.
In Melbourne the Battle of Crete & Greece Commemorative Council of Victoria in conjunction with the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and the Pancretan Association of Melbourne under the auspices of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand hosted a small yet symbolic Ceremony at Melbourne’s Australian Hellenic Memorial on Wednesday 20th May. The President of the Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand Ms. Polina Nikolakakis who had the role of master of ceremonies welcomed everyone for attending even at such short notice. The consul general of Greece Dimitris Mihalopoulos conveyed his brief symbolic message to the small group. The memorial service was conducted by Archpiscopal Vicar very Reverend Father Evmenios Vasilopoulos and assisted by his Deacon Fr. Georgios Vrionis who conducted the Trisagion. Wreaths were laid in memory and with gratitude to our fallen ANZACS and to the Cretan people who fell heroically in the name of Freedom and Democracy defending the island of Crete. By the consul General of Greece in Melbourne Dimitris Mihalopoulos, the President of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand Tony Tsourdalakis, the President of the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne Michael Houdalakis, the President of the Pancretan Association of Melbourne John Nikolakakis, the Secretary of the Battle of Crete & Greece Commemorative Council Natasha Spanos, the Chairman of the Australian Hellenic Memorial Foundation Steve Kyritsis and the President of the Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand Polina Nikolakakis. The ceremony concluded by the reciting of the ode by War Veteran Steve Kyritsis and the playing of the Greek and Australian National Anthems
In Sydney, the Cretan Association of Sydney & New South Wales in conjunction with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese hosted the official Church Service and Doxology at the Cathedral of the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Theotokos in Redfern to commemorate the Battle of Crete. The association was blessed to be allowed to have a small group of parishioners allowed to attend church considering the restrictions. The Doxology was attended by Terry Saviolakis, President of the Cretan Association of Sydney, James Jordan, Chairman of the NSW Joint Committee for the Battle of Crete, Maria Lagoudakis, Vice President of the Cretan Federation of Australia, Peter Tsigounis, Vice President of the NSW Hellenic RSL Sub Branch in NSW, Ms. Georgia Isakidis, representing the Delphi Bank and Ms. Hara Lavdioti, President of the Cretan Youth of Sydney together with members of the Cretan Youth in National Costume. The doxology and church Service were conducted by His Eminence Archbishop of Australia MAKARIOS assisted by the Archdeacon Athenagoras Karakonstandakis, the Reverend Father Nikolaos Bozikis, the Reverend Father Peter Mavromatis, the Reverend Father Christophoros Krikelis and Deacon Stephanos Tinikashvilli.
In Hobart, the Cretan Association of Tasmania also paid tribute to the fallen for the Battle of Crete with a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Hobart Cenotaph at Anzac Parade in Queens Domain. The Ceremony was attended by the President of the Cretan Association John Fiotakis, the Secretary Vicki Kalogeropoulos, the Youth President Anthony Papastamatis, fellow Committee Members, Aris Grafanakis, Pantelis Skalidis, Stan Tsakirakis and Cretan Youth Members dressed in National costume Andreas Kalogeropoulos, Stavros Kalogeropoulos and Harry Grafanakis.
In the nation’s capital, the Cretan Association of Canberra & Districts also held a small but symbolic ceremony for the Battle of Crete at the Australian Hellenic War Memorial in Canberra which is situated in Anzac Parade in Reid Park. The Ceremony was attended by one of the last remaining ANZAC Crete Veterans in Australia, 95-year-old Veteran Les Cook. The wreath laying Ceremony included the Cretan Association of Canberra Committee Members George Katheklakis (President), George Paterakis, Manolis Harkiolakis, Katie Skinner and Debbie Xenikakis. The Service was conducted by the Rev. Father Petros Kypourou from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.
On Monday 25th May 2020 the Cretan Brotherhood of Perth, Western Australia in conjunction with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the Greek Consulate of Western Australia honoured the 79th Anniversary for the Battle of Crete with a simple ceremony that took place at the 2nd world War Cenotaph in Kings Park in Perth. Due to Covid 19 restrictions only a handful of people were allowed to attend namely Ms. Georgia Karasiotou, consul General of Greece in Perth, Katerina Argyrakopoulou, the Navy Defence attaché in Perth, Peter Katsambanis, MP, shadow Minister for Police, Justice & Road Safety, Representatives from the State Perth RSL, Manolis Yerogianakis, President of the Cretan Brotherhood of Western Australia, John Karakatsanakis, President of the Greek Club of Perth and Savas Papasavas from the Hellenic Community of Perth. The Trisagion and Prayer was conducted by the Archpiscopal Vicar His Grace Bishop of Kyaneon ELPIDIOS assisted by Rev. Father Eleftherios Gerovasilis and a wreath laying Ceremony was followed by all.
At the beginning of June 2020 the CFANZ National Executive announced the establishment of the Quarterly Online Magazine titled “Cretan Times “. Wanting to continue the great contribution that was left in history with the printing of the newspapers Kritikoi Antilaloi and Foni tou Rethymnou in the early seventies, to the printing of the Cretan News from the early eighties through to 2000 the Board felt it was perfect timing to introduce the official publication for the Federation that would continue that legacy. The subcommittee that was appointed as the editorial team included Tony Tsourdalakis, Mary Rissakis, Manolis Vantarakis, Anna Psarakis, Stephanie Houdalakis, Natasha Spanos and Paula Sagiadellis.
The CFANZ President Tony Tsourdalakis convened with the other Presidents and representatives from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne, the Cyprus Community of Melbourne, the PanMacedonian Association of Melbourne, the Australian Federation of Pontian Organisations, the Panepirotic Federation of Australia, the Federation of Messinian Organisations of Melbourne & Victoria, the National Union of Greek Australian Students, the Panarcadian Federation of Australia, the Panthracian Association of Australia, the Dodecanesian Federation of Victoria, the PanThessalian Federation of Australia, the Epirotic Federation of Oceania, the Panlesvian Federation of Victoria, and the Chian Federation of Australia to re-establish the Australian Hellenic Council. The Australian Hellenic Council is the peak community body representing the Australians of Hellenic heritage and decent, whose aim is to work together with governmental and non-governmental bodies to address key issues of concern from the Australian Hellenic community.
The Australian Hellenic Council of Victoria has and will continue to address significant issues of concern to our community. Some of those topics include: (a) The legal rights of Hellas and Cyprus to Exclusive Economic Zones, in line with the United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982), (b) Parliamentary recognition of the Genocides of the Hellenes, Armenians, and Assyrians, (c) Protection of the Oecumenical Patriarchate and its rights, including the re-opening of the Patriarchal Theological Seminary of Halke, (d) Preserve and respect Hagia Sophia as a world heritage monument, (e) Australian support for the territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, a member-state of the United Nations, the European Union and the Commonwealth of Nations, (f) Awareness of the Anzac and broader Australian heritage in Hellas and Cyprus, (g) The Australian government awarding a Greece & Crete 1941 medal honouring the ANZAC’s and the people of Crete, instrumental in turning the tide on Hitler’s campaign, (h) Awareness of the Hellenic heritage of the regions of northern Hellas – Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace regions.
Late June 2020 saw the passing of ANZAC Crete Veteran Norman Maddock, who was the last surviving Veteran from the Battle of Crete. His Funeral Service to celebrate the life of Norman Maddock was held at Le Pine Chapel on Thursday 25th June and was later laid to rest at the Springvale Botanical Cemetery. Local Member of Parliament Nick Staikos, the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne Dimitris Mihalopoulos and the President of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand Tony Tsourdalakis all attended the funeral service and laid wreaths in his honour. Other members of the Community also in attendance was Ms. Natasha Spanos, Secretary of the Battle of Crete & Greece Commemorative Council, Joanna Psarakis, Public Relations Officer of the Pancretan Association of Melbourne and local historian and author Dina Gerolymou.
In the same month, we saw the establishment of the Cretan Commemorations Committee – The Battle of Crete and the resistance which is based in Crete and was developed by people who want to maintain the memory of the Battle of Crete and the Resistance movement. The association consists of people of different nationalities who are united by their passion for history and the historical research of the events of the Second World War and the Battle of Crete. The Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand was approached to be an integral part of this committee assisting in the link between the nations of Greece, Australia, and New Zealand
On the 23rd June the CFANZ National Executive officially wrote to all the Cretans of Darwin announcing the initiative of the Federation to help the Cretans of Darwin to re-establish their Cretan Organisation. After many phone calls and emails President Tsourdalakis felt the need for the Federation to step in and assist were possible in reelecting the new committee offering undivided attention and support, coupled with the help of the local Greek Community. The retirement of Cretan stalwart and Federation Honorary member Kostas Hnaris created a huge absence in the Cretan presence in the Northern Territory.
In July 2020, the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand condemned the decision of Turkish President Erdogan to convert the Agia Sophia into a mosque. This was an outright provocation to the entire Christian population and in particular to the millions of Orthodox faithful. The CFANZ National President wrote letters of condemnation seeking the support of the Australian Parliamentarians against this decision. “We are saddened and deeply upset at this decision that such a religious monument, that is recognised by UNESCO is been used for political intervention, hence sending the wrong message to the world. We support and join the International Community in condemning this action as outright unjust and urge all other World leaders to also speak up and request that this action be overturned. The President, the Federation Executive and its member organisations call on all Australian politicians in all states and territories on State and Federal level, to stand up and voice their concerns and request the immediate intervention from their respective political parties, calling for this injustice to be overturned. Furthermore we call and urge the Hellenic Government to take immediate action and (a ) sever all diplomatic ties with the Republic of Turkey ( b ) shut down all Mosques in Greece and in particular in the region of Thrace, thus sending a clear message to the world that the Republic of Hellas won’t stand idle. Furthermore, the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand sends its unconditional support to our Ecumenical Patriarchate, to the Holy Synod and in particular to our beloved His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEOS in the hope that this obscene decision will be overturned.
On Wednesday 5th August the CFANZ National President Tony Tsourdalakis was invited to participate in the Zoom Videoconference hosted by the World Union of Regional Confederations Abroad under the auspices of the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad. President Tsourdalakis represented Australia and was given the opportunity to present an official report on the rights of Greeks abroad to vote in Hellas, as well as the upgrading of the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad to a full Ministry for Greeks Abroad, using the knowledge and expertise of Hellenes from Australia, USA, Canada and Europe. The Video Meeting was viewed by over 40 presidents and representative around the globe
In August 2020 the C. Y. A. N. Z. National President, Polina Nikolakakis announced the winners of the Cretan Youth of Australia and New Zealand National Art Competition. Participants included many Cretan Youth from all our Youth Organisations around the country and students from several prominent schools in Victoria including Oakleigh Grammar and Lalor North Primary School. The winners in the Under 12 years of Age competition were the following: 1st Prize went to Konstantina Siganakis from New South Wales; 2nd Prize went to David Salmon from New South Wales and 3rd Prize went to Cassandra Pappas from Victoria. In the over 12 Years of age competition the winners were the following: 1st Prize went to Harrison Vietzakis from Queensland, 2nd Prize went to Alexander Mountakis from New South Wales and 3rd Prize went to Mikayla Haralambakis from Victoria. The winners all received cash prizes compliments of the Nikolakakis Family from Nikpol Australia.
In September of that year the CFANZ accepted an invitation by his Eminence Archbishop MAKARIOS to partake on the 2021 National Committee for the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Greek Independence. CFANZ President had the opportunity to present the Cretan events and initiatives that were planned for 2021 via two Zoom Video conferences.
In October 2020 the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand wrote to the World Council of Cretans President Kougioumoutzis informing him that the Federation will seek the administration of the WCC from the next term commencing in 2021 and ending in 2024. The nominations included John Nikolakakis President, Michael Frantzeskakis Vice President, Eva Gotsis Secretary and Nick Markogianakis Treasurer.