Saturday, February 9, 2008

Melbourne and it’s Greek Population


Facts:
Melbourne is a cosmopolitan city of more than three and half million people, best known for its parklands, trams, and restaurants. On June 8,1835, John Batman and his party rowed up the Yarra River and landed near the site of the former Customs House (now the Immigration Museum) and decided, “This will be the place for a village.” The rest is history.
Melbourne is the home of Australian Rules football, the capital of Australian comedy, and the country's sporting center – hosting the Australian Open Tennis Championship and the world-famous Melbourne Cup horse race. The city has consistently ranked among the world's most livable cities, and is characterized by the many ethnic groups that today live in relative multicultural harmony.
The Greek presence in Melbourne dates back over a century. In 1900, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne lauded the decision of the city's small Greek community to build a church as a sign they had resolved to become permanent residents of Melbourne. He is recorded as donating 10 pounds and 10 shillings for the new church. Today, Melbourne is home to one of the largest Greek-speaking populations outside of Greece. More than half of Australia's Greeks live in Melbourne – the capital of the state of Victoria – making them the third-largest ethnic group, and one of the oldest, most established ethnic communities.
While a small Greek community existed in Melbourne from the mid-1800s, Greeks made their real impact on the city after the post-1950 migrant boom, when tens of thousands took the month-long sea journey to the lucky country. Since then, Greeks have become inextricably linked to Melbourne. Their exact number is a point of debate, but official estimates indicate that the total Greek-speaking population is about 350,000.
At a community level, there are more than 100 language schools, including three bilingual colleges, 42 Greek Orthodox churches, and a network of more than 300 youth, welfare and philanthropic, social, cultural, fraternal, and sporting organizations. There is also a 24-hour Greek radio station which broadcasts on the AM band.
There are more than 60 Greek restaurants and taverns in Melbourne, many of which rival the best Athens has to offer. The Greek community's annual two-month Antipodes Festival has become the country's biggest ethnic festival, attracting more than 400,000 people a couple of years ago.

Places to Go:

Melbourne – Lonsdale Street is known as the original Greek town, an area that bustled with Greek activity. Here you can still find the Hellenic Community of Melbourne and a few remaining Greek restaurants and shops along a one-block area.

Oakleigh- Looked at as the New Greek Town of Melbourne, this area has a central area of stores with blocked off streets lined with Greek cafes, restaurants, and specialty shops. A great place to people watch while sitting at an outdoor table, sipping on a frappe, and enjoying Greek desserts or food. Greeks in the area are working towards getting the area’s name to be changed to “Nea Omonia.”

Northcote – A suburb with a large population of Greeks. Here you will find lots of Greek restaurants, cafes, cake shops and specialty shops. You can also find various Greek association offices too.

Fairfield – Three blocks dotted with Greek shops and a great zaharoplastio, Fairfield hosts a Greek street party once a year in October.

The Pier – Where the First Greeks arrived in Australia. Every year Epiphany celebrations also take place here in a panagiri format.

Jimmy’s The Original Greek Taverna – Hands down one of the most authentic Greek restaurants for its food and service. This is also known as the first Greek Taverna in Melbourne. The staff here are nothing but fun, and the Galaktobouriko is melt-in-your-mouth to die for!

Great Greek Restaurants & Bars (Found in Melbourne and its suburbs):

Kri Kri Mezethopoleion – Melbourne;
Stalactites – Melbourne;
Jimmy’s The Original Taverna – Collingwood;
Ellinis Greek Taverna – Oakleigh;
Plaka Greek Tavern – Ivanhoe;
Laikon Greek Restaurant – Richmond;
Night Club Kinisi – Richmond;
Trapezi - Fairfield;
Defacto Bar – Northcote;
Pireaus Blues – Fitroy;
Yiannis Greek Restaurant – Kew;
Kyma Restaurant – St Kilda;
Trademark CafĂ© Bar – Clifton Hill;
Agapi - Richmond.

Zaxaroplastia:

International Cakes – Melbourne;
Medallion – Melbourne;
Pantheon Cakes – Coburg and Fairfield.
Ahilleon Cakes - Coburg
Nikos Cakes – Oakleigh;
Melissa Cakes – Northcote and Collingwood;
Tasos Cakes- Northcote;
Stathmos - Fairfield.


Ultimately there are a tremendous amount of things to do in this city that will have you either running into Greeks or are run by Greeks.
If you have a special restaurant, cake-shop, bar, event, etc that you would like to add please feel free.
If you would like to comment about any of the businesses mentioned please add your comments.


By Nikos Kolendrianos

5 comments:

Petro S Maropis said...

Niko Kolendrianos: Greetings from Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Do you have any idea what percentage of Greeks in Melbourne are of Cretan origin? We have relatives there: Panagiotakis & Athanasiou, and we're planning a trip to Australia. Any info you can provide will be appreciated.

Petros Maropakis, Burgettstown, PA, USA
riospapu@verizon.net

Anonymous said...

Hi Petro, I can't tell you the percentage of Cretan descent living in Melbourne but there are many associations from Crete which have large memberships. I hope the Pan-Cretan Federation website helps you. Please enjoy your holidays in Melbourne, Australia.
Cheers.
http://www.cretan.com.au/default.page.html

Nomiki said...

Hi there,

I'm looking for a Greek Taverna that has great food (banquet style) witha dance floor and bouzouki. It's for my parents wedding anniversary. Prefer to stay away from Eastern suburbs as we're coming from various regional areas like Ballarat, Torquay etc. Need to house about 50 people and we'd prefer to start around 7pm (the paretns are getting old and need to eat early) The only problem we've had in the past is that most places with a dance floor seem to start the great music and dancing late when mum and dad are ready for bed! Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Nomiki

Anonymous said...

Hi Nomiki,
You might like to look at Spitiko or Trapezi. Cheers

Anonymous said...

The Greek Diaspora should have the Right to Vote.
By Nikos Kolendrianos
How much longer does the Greek Diaspora have to wait to be granted the right to vote? The Greek Constitution has an amendment which in 2001 grants Greek citizens living abroad the right to vote! Nevertheless, no law implementing the constitutional provision has yet been passed either! In 2007 New Democracy mentioned giving voting rights to the Greek Diaspora, while in the last elections of 2009 PASOK also promised the Greek Diaspora the right to vote in the forthcoming elections. The debate which arose between PASOK and New Democracy parties in parliament was how the diaspora would vote. Would the Greeks of the Diaspora vote for their own representative which would represent their region or country or would the Diaspora vote for politicians in their prefect or region in Greece?
Until now there has been no mention of how and when the Diaspora will vote. It is also distressing to note that Greece along with a few more other countries are left in the world which have not given its Diaspora the right to vote in parliamentary elections. Another worrying factor is the Greek citizens living abroad who work overseas or those who have recently immigrated to other countries due to the crisis, have not been notified by their respective Embassies and consulates on whether they are going to vote or not.
The system currently is not very democratic and is definitely discriminative against its own people. Recently arrived immigrants in Greece are being hurriedly naturalised and have the right to vote in the May 6 elections. Most parties are recruiting many immigrants solely to gain their votes on Sunday. This evident form of clientelism needs to be halted in its tracks. The Greek Diaspora needs to act on this immediately and any Greek Parliamentarian who has taken part in the abovementioned action needs to be held accountable for this injustice.
My view seems to be in agreement with the model the Italian government and most European countries have operating for their Diaspora. The Italian model allows people from the Diaspora to be voted into the Italian parliament. Thus, giving the opportunity to the Diaspora politicians to address the pressing issues which concern the Diaspora and to offer different points of view on how certain laws should be implemented in parliament.
This model would suit the Greek Diaspora and the Greek parliament would definitely benefit from this too. The sooner we all realise that we are all Greek regardless of where each one of us is born; we all have similar issues affecting our communities around the world and we all have the passion and dedication to try and better the situation in Greece. It means that the Diaspora Greek politicians can add a different dimension into the Greek parliament. For example, the Diaspora Greek politicians would be able to create bilateral or multilateral trade relations with nations that have large Greek Diaspora communities and help the ailing Greek economy. The Greek Diaspora politicians would show another level of maturity and experience and they would definitely offer a ‘new voice’ rather the same rhetoric ringing in parliament for the last 38 years!
So let’s get organised and start demanding change within the Greek parliament and in our own mindset on why we, the Diaspora should be allowed to vote. Let’s all remember that the Greeks of the Diaspora were the ones who instigated change in the 18th and 19th centuries by helping economically and spiritually the enslaved Greek nation and making it uprise and remove the yoke of the Ottomans.