Wreath-laying Ceremony for the 200th Anniversary of the National Independence Day of Greece
High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus, Your Excellency Mrs Martha Mavrommati; representing His Grace, Reverend Father Timothy Evangelinidis; Honorary Consul-General of Greece in Queensland, Mr Jim Raptis and members of the Consular Corps; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
It is my privilege as Governor of Queensland to join the Honorary Consul-General and other members of the Greek community today for this solemn ceremony.
Two hundred years ago this month, Bishop Germanos the Third raised the blue and white revolutionary flag at the ancient monastery of Agia Lavra.
His defiant act was the rallying call which today marks the symbolic beginning of the struggle for an independent Greece after almost four hundred years of Ottoman rule.
I am honoured to have been invited to lay the first wreath today and will do this proudly on behalf of all Queenslanders, recognising the sacrifice of the tens of thousands of Greeks who gave their lives during the tumultuous decade-long War of Independence.
This ceremony also gives me an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the long and exceptionally strong ties between Greece and Australia, in both war and peace.
Indeed, the very design of the Shrine at the heart of this sacred space of remembrance – a grand Grecian Doric colonnade – is testament to these connections.
And in the Crypt under the Shrine, for many years lay wooden boxes containing soil from official World War Two cemeteries where Australian service men and women are buried – including Phaleron in Greece – a reminder that Greek and Australian soldiers have been allies since the years of the Revolution.
Migration over the past century has also seen the emergence in Australia of some of the world’s largest and most successful expatriate Greek communities.
Queensland is proudly part of that diaspora and I am pleased that, despite pandemic restrictions, the organising committee has been able to plan a rich State-wide commemoration of all things Greek, including tonight’s much anticipated reception in the Grand Ballroom of the Greek Club, and today’s moving wreath-laying ceremony.
I congratulate the organising committee, under the chairmanship of the Honorary Consul-General, as well as the many participating organisations, on their determination to recognise this significant 200th Anniversary of the National Independence Day of Greece.