The cities of Melbourne and Thessaloniki are celebrating this year the 25th anniversary of their sister-city relationship. The week celebrations concluded with a one day festival taking place in Federation Square with folk dances, live music and featured guest singer from Thessaloniki, Kostas Kanias. Also visiting from Thessaloniki local councillor Andreas Kourakis and deputy mayor Evangelos Dimitriou attended the event.
An official ceremony will be held at the Victorian Parliament today in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the relationship between the two cities of Melbourne and Thessaloniki.
Affiliated in 1984, Melbourne’s sister city relationship with Thessaloniki recognises Melbourne’s large Greek community and the significant contribution Greek people have made to the city. It is no wonder the two cities are “sisters” as they have alot in common.
• Both have at some stage formed the capital city of their nation.
• Both are cities of towers. Melbourne sports the Rialto towers, while Thessaloniki the White Tower, an Ottoman fort and prison.
• They share a commonality of values, all of which have their origins in the Hellenic metropolis; the first of these is democracy
• Another important of these values is multi-culturalism, and tolerance. Thessaloniki is a city that throughout its history, has provided a safe haven for all the persecuted peoples of the periphery, notably the Sephardic Jews & Asia Minor refugees. In similar fashion, Melbourne also acts as a haven for the persecuted peoples of the world.
• Thessaloniki & Melbourne have throughout their history, attracted a multitude of peoples within their bounds, and this fact forms an intrinsic part of their identity and appeal. Thus, Salade Macédoine, refers to an inextricable ethnic mix that has its counterpart, traditionally both in its capital Thessaloniki, as well as Melbourne.
• The celebration of the sisterhood of Melbourne and Thessaloniki should be viewed within a historical context, in recognition of the sacrifice of Australian soldiers on the Macedonian front, during the First World War.
• Melbourne’s Greek community is the world´s largest Greek-speaking population, outside of Greece. On the other hand, Australians Joyce and Sydney Loch settled in Ouranoupoli, near Thessaloniki assisting refugees from Asia Minor by providing medical care and educating them in carpet weaving.
Australian Macedonian Advisory Council (AMAC)