The Greek Festival of Sydney has reached its 21st birthday and upon maturity, is now is recognized as one of the most significant annual cultural events in Australia. The Greek Festival of Sydney, which is organised by the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW, has provided an opportunity to all citizens of this wonderful city, to acknowledge the richness of cultural diversity within a multicultural Australia.
This is a magnificent occasion for Australians of Greek origin to demonstrate pride in their culture, and to share the same with a multiplicity and diverse cultures that call Australia home. At the dawn of the 2004 Olympic Games, which will be held in Athens, the Greek Festival of Sydney has carefully selected all events, with attention to detail and quality.
The Olympic Games and the return of the Parthenon marbles to their birthplace will constitute the basic themes for the Festival The National Theatre of Greece will perform one of Sophocles most notable work, Antigone, which is the pinnacle of this year's festival. However, there shall be abundance of local and overseas a talent from the fields of the arts, theatre, academia, and other areas of interest, in order to enhance and promote our rich and distinct culture. I
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Greek
Orthodox Community of NSW, I wish to express my gratitude and warmest
congratulations to the Organising Committee, the sponsors, the artists,
volunteers and all those community members who have assisted in many and
varied ways to make this festival an outstanding success.
The Greek Festival of Sydney has evolved into one of the most significant cultural annual events in Australia, and it expresses in an explicit and distinct manner the richness of the Greek culture in the Diaspora.
The Greek Orthodox Community of NSW believes that the basis for the harmonious society we live in, rests with the ethos and spirit provided by multiculturalism. It is therefore no surprise that the Greek Festival of Sydney has opened the 'floodgates' to embrace all citizens of NSW, and to provide the impetus for all Australians of Greek descent to share their distinct culture with all of our fellow Australians.
This year, the 21st Greek Festival of Sydney celebrates its coming of age, by selecting all its events based on quality in a truly unique Greek - Australian identity. The involvement of many young Australians of Greek origin is not purely coincidence. It is the result of hard work by many people, especially those in the Media, who have scrutinized the diversity and potency of Greek culture through art, performance, photography, literature, dance and the renowned Street Fair at Bay Street, Brighton-Le-Sands where more than 100,000 people witness the official launch of the Festival.
As we are rapidly approaching the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, having experienced the success of the Sydney Games, we could not but include the Olympic Spirit and the Return of the Parthenon Marbles as our main themes for the Festival.
On behalf of the Cultural Committee, I would like to
express my gratitude to the Hellenic Government, the State and Local
Governments and the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW for their generous support
and assistance, our sponsors, artists and volunteers that assisted in making
this Festival an outstanding success.
Some of the annual performances at the Greek festival in Brighton-Le-Sands can be traced back to events in Greece and the Aegean as far back as the first Olympics in 776 BC. Australians have participated in all the Olympics of the modern era since their inauguration in Athens in 1896.
Australians of all political persuasions, and I among them, have informed the British Government and the British Museum that Australians believe the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Athens for the Olympic Games in 2004.
The British Government and British Museum have rejected
The Hon. JOHN HOWARD MP
It gives me great pleasure to provide this message for the 21st Greek Festival of Sydney. For many years the Greek Festival of Sydney has been a wonderful opportunity for members of Sydney's Greek community and their friends to gather and celebrate traditional Greek arts and culture.
The Festival also allows the wider community to share in the Greek culture and, in doing so, symbolises the open and compassionate society that Australia has fostered over many years. The contribution of Greek Australians to the creation and maintenance of the way of life we all enjoy today has been significant.
Diversity and respect for difference is an increasingly important attribute and this is actively promoted by Greek Australians sharing their culture and traditions with all Australians. The success of the visit of the Greek President to Australia in 2002 and my visit to Greece in July 2002 reaffirmed the strong relationship between our nations - a relationship reinforced by the extensive people networks and linkages between Australia and Greece.
I take this opportunity to wish all those attending the
Festival and the organisers the very best for an enjoyable and successful
event and every success in the coming year.
Hon. SIMON CREAN MP
On behalf of the Federal Parliamentary Australian Labor Party, I send my warmest wishes to the NSW Greek Orthodox community as you celebrate the 21st annual Greek Festival of Sydney.
Sydney's Greek Festival is a wonderful opportunity for the Greek community to demonstrate pride in their heritage and share their rich and wonderful culture with the wider Australian community.
The Festival celebrates the warmth, generosity and joy
of the Hellenic community, as they celebrate Greek culture. This celebration
of Hellenic art, theatre, music and dance creates an atmosphere that lights up
Sydney. I wish the Greek Orthodox Community all the best and I am sure this
year's Festival will be as colourful, magnificent and vibrant as in the past.
The Hon. BOB CARR MP
It gives me great pleasure to provide this message on the occasion of the 21st Greek Festival of Sydney. The Greek Festival of Sydney has become a significant event in our states cultural calendar.
Greek Australians continue to keep alive the traditions
and the very special culture of their ancestors - an ancient culture that
benefited every nation in the world. There is no better example of the success
of our multi-racial and multiethnic society than the great Hellenic Community
of NSW. On behalf of the New South Wales Government, I wish every success for
this year's festival.
I am delighted to convey my best wishes to the members of the Greek Australian community on the occasion of the 21st Greek Festival of Sydney.
The Greek Festival, taking place at the Brighton-Le-Sands Street Fair, is a celebration of the rich Greek culture. Its popularity has made it one of the highlights of Sydney's multicultural calendar of events, annually drawing tens of thousands of people to celebrate the event.
Congratulations to the organisers of the Greek Festival for their dedication and efforts to bring this festival to the public. In doing so, they are contributing towards the development of multicultural Australia. Also deserving of our thanks and praise is the business and other communities and organisations which are sponsoring and supporting this grand event. I look forward to seeing you all at the Greek Festival on 16 March.
CR. YVONNE BELLAMY
Each year, Rockdale City Council sponsors and supports a number of community organised events in the City. One of the most successful and long established is the Greek Festival of Sydney. The Greek Festival of Sydney is an extremely important celebration, and one of the most exciting cultural events held in the City of Rockdale.
The Greek Street Fair in Brighton-Le-Sands is a vibrant display of colour, music, street entertainment, diverse stalls and an important gathering point for the people of the City of Rockdale and the Greek - Australian community. The City of Rockdale is embracing its multiculturalism with more enthusiasm than ever. We have gone from strength to strength in our active appreciation of the contribution of our City's Greek -Australian community. Some 10 percent of our residents have a Greek background, therefore the annual Greek Festival has enormous significance. Not only to the City of Rockdale, but to Sydney as a whole.
I feel immensely proud that Rockdale is host to the
Greek Festival of Sydney again in 2003 and on behalf of the Councillors
and staff of Rockdale City Council, I wish the organisers of the Festival
every success. I am delighted that Council has such a strong involvement
with the Festival and I look forward to it continuing in the future. May
2003 see our best festival yet.
Dear friends in Australia,
Please accept our warmest greetings from Greece and our best wishes for success in this year's festival.
Greek Diaspora achievements in Australia are well known. Greeks of Australia are indeed one of the most active Diaspora communities in the world.
We are grateful for the warmth and enthusiasm with which you have embraced our efforts to host a Unique Olympic Homecoming in 2004, when the Games return to their ancient birthplace and the city of their revival.
We have learned a lot from the Sydney example and we are incorporating all this knowledge in our preparations.
We are preparing to host a unique games on a human scale and to inspire the world to celebrate the Olympic values.
We are very much looking forward to welcoming you all in Athens in 2004, either as spectators, visitors or as volunteers. We are confident you will celebrate with us.