It appears that the most fun is to be had in Melbourne these days. A report by Brent McCunn of some highlights of the recent Greek Week which included talks about Paddy and his Cretan links. Be like Brent; send in your thoughts and articles (no matter how obscure) to share with fellow Paddy enthusiasts in our community.
by Brent McCunn.
Further despatches from the Hellenic outpost of Melbourne-iniki!
What a week of Greek! I remind readers that Melbourne is the third largest Greek city! Our Grecian week started with the inaugural Rebetiko Music Festival at the Melbourne Recital Centre, a prestigious venue!
After recovery, Friday night offered a performance of Cretan music from the visiting Xylouris brothers from Crete. Saturday afternoon saw a lecture by Chris White at the Greek Culture Centre in Melbourne – the topic being, ‘The Resistance of Grete’ during WW2 and in particular the history of Patrick Leigh Fermor, Billy Moss and the SOE. Of particular interest to the audience were the unique collection of ‘then and now photographs’, collated, researched and photographed by Chris White and his brother.
At this point it is important to illustrate the global reach of the PLF Blog. As a result of this correspondent’s earlier post (to this blog), advertising the above lecture, Melbourne subscribers did indeed turn up!
Chris enthralled all with his unique collection of images and has been invited back to present again to a wider audience drawn together by the cultural centres head of lectures – watch this space! I, Brent McCunn then presented details related to the main books on the Subject – Ill Met by Moonlight and Abducting a General – and how to purchase copies.
We then attended the Messines Community’s Greek Independence dinner and dance (Once they found about the lecture it was compulsory for us to attend this event – how Greek!) – Messines is the region where Paddy and Joan’s house was located. Whilst at the Messiness dinner your correspondent spent quite a few minutes on Google maps, with locals, being shown the family village and its relationship to Kardamyli!
One for the road in Greece means an impromptu music session at a local Greek restaurant! Katerina Douka, a well known Rebetiko singer from Thessaloniki, who appeared at the Rebetiko festival with her band, was still in town and gathered some local musicians and presented an enthralling session of northern Greek music. Food, wine and beer flowed of course.
Chris’s lecture became a feature story (by Jim Clavens) in the local Greek newspaper which is published in both English and Greek. A main thrust was to seek out decedents of the villages featured in the Kreipe kidnap and SOE operations. They have been asked to make contact and add their histories.
Your Philhellene correspondent in Melbourne,
Brent (alpopolous) McCunn from Passport Travel.
Chrysoula K & Purpura at Festival: Innovative Rebetiko band from Athens offering a classical infusion with flute and cello.
Chris White with some interesting guests. Middle – Shane Maloney; Australia’s most successful Crime author – some have been made into a TV series. He went to Crete, rented a house in the village of Episkopi and wrote one of his best selling novels. Right – Bruce Mildenhall, former MP and Parliamentary Secretary and son of an Australian WW2 Middle East veteran. He has spent many months hiking the trails of Crete.
MessinesDance: Traditional dance troupe at independence day dinner.
500 Australian Greeks, a Greek Pop band and dancing starts from the first tune!
Rebetiko Dancers: A local Greek dance group performed 1920’s style rebetiko dance in the venue foyer.
The Xylouris brothers: Traditional music from the mountains of Crete.
TisonisMusic_Katerina Douka: Taverna jam session of northern Greek music.
Article published in Australian Greek Community newspaper The article is in English and Greek.
Chris White presenting his lecture
The ANZAC Cretan theme continues in Melbourne in the month of April with a lecture by Professor Peter Monteath. Entry is free.
When: 19 April 2018 at 19:00
Where: The Ithacan Philanthropic Society, Level 2, 329 Elizabeth Street
Synopsis: In the Second World War many thousands of ANZAC’s were sent to mainland Greece and then Crete in the hope of preventing German invasion and occupation – but to no avail. After the Battle of Crete hundreds of ANZAC’s were stranded on the island and spent weeks, months and even years trying to get off it.
This presentation looks at the experiences of those ANZAC’s who found themselves trapped, but who also discovered the extraordinary hospitality of Cretans, who offered the ANZAC’s shelter even when they themselves were enduring great hardship and danger.
Beyond that, the presentation looks at the collaborative efforts made to evacuate these ‘stragglers’ from the island, and how those efforts evolved into a series of ‘special operations’ to resist a brutal German regime of occupation. The person who occupies the centre of attention here is the Tasmanian Tom Dunbabin, an important and influential figure in the resistance in Crete through to the last weeks of the war.
Peter Monteath was born in Brisbane and educated in Queensland and in Germany. He has taught previously at The University of Queensland, Griffith University, Deakin University, The University of Western Australia and The University of Adelaide. He has also been Adjunct Professor at The University of St. Louis Missouri and the Technical University of Berlin, where he was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow. At Flinders University he is Professor of Modern European history. His research interests span modern European and Australian history. His latest book, Escape Artist: The Incredible Second World War of Johnny Peck (New South 2017), is about an Australian who spent time in Greece and Crete in World War II.