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Greeks Honored in New Australian National Monument to Migration

Greek monument Australia
The National Monument to Migration in Sydney, Australia. Credit: J Bar/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Greek philanthropists have banded together to commemorate Greek migrants on the new National Monument to Migration in Sydney, Australia to recognize the 200th anniversary of Greek independence.

The Welcome Wall at the Australian National Maritime Museum was recently named the National Monument to Migration on March 21.

Greek names on monument in Australia

Funds have been sent to the museum in Australia in order to facilitate the addition of more names of Greek migrants on the monument. More than $15,000 Australian ($11,617 USD) have been raised so far by Greek philanthropists toward this goal.

The monument already features 30,000 names — and 1,500 of those belong to people born in Greece.

The new Greek names which will be added to monument in Australia will be decided by the Greek community and the Greek Welfare Center. The stories of those who have been chosen are published on the museum’s website for all to explore in order to build an understanding of Australia’s short but fascinating history.

The Monument’s next panels, which are currently empty, are also soon to be filled with names. The museum is accepting submissions for names and has announced a new fundraising initiative to support the honoring of new arrivals and refugees.

Welcome Wall turned monument

On Sunday March 21 the Governor General of Australia, David Hurley elevated the status of the Welcome Wall at the Australian National Maritime Museum to become Australia’s National Monument to Migration.

In a recorded address His Excellency stated, “A little over 22 years ago, former Governor-General Sir William Deane presided over the official opening of the Welcome Wall in front of you today.

“During his speech Sir William described Australia as follows: ‘Our nation is the sum of us all – all those who came here, all those who were born here, and all those who are or have been Australian.’ Sir William said the great lesson of the Welcome Wall is that ‘our diversity has led to our unity.’

“That lesson is as true today as it was more than two decades ago. That lesson has endured. It is fitting, therefore, that in Harmony Week – a week in which we celebrate our diversity – that the status of the Welcome Wall be elevated to ‘Australia’s National Monument to Migration.”

“Let me take my reflections on Sir William’s words further, especially his statement that ‘Our diversity has led to our unity’. In my view, there is a key link between ‘diversity’ and ‘unity’ that underlies our success as a multicultural nation. It is ‘learning.’

“It is through learning that we become better informed and better understand people’s cultures and our differences.”

Greeks have a long history of settling in Australia, beginning with Greek pirates who were sentenced to live there when it was a penal colony, and later, many fleeing international and civil conflicts in hopes of a better future.

The Greek names on the Migration Monument in Australia are well-deserved seeing as Australia is home to the largest number of Greeks outside of their home country. 

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