ΤΙΜΕ ΙΝ ΑΤΗΕΝS            




 

 

 




GREEKS 
IN AUSTRALIA

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ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΙΟΣ ΚΥΡΙΤΣΗΣ /
STEVE KYRITSIS 
 

Ο Στηβ Κυρίτσης OAM αφηγείται αναμνήσεις από το Βιετνάμ στη δημοσιογράφο 
Ευγενία Μωραϊτη
OAM

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ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΙΟΣ ΚΥΡΙΤΣΗΣ22

Greek Othodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria, organized an afternoon, to honour the Greek Australian Vietnam Veterans

Steve Kyritsis with Gordon White

 WHY WE ALL SHOULD REMEMBER ANZAC DAY


 


Harry Nicholas Alidenes -----Robertis Antonis ----Steven Boutlis ---Dennis Cakoliris ---Costas Constantinides ---Peter Charles Diamond, OAM (Damianakis) ---Jack Doulis (Christodoulou) ---James Efstathiou ---Mick Marazes ---Jim Michalis ---John Panagaris---James Papandreas---Victor Paul Patty (Karapatis Vretos)---Peter Philippou ---Philip Pizimolas ---Theo Poutakidis ---David Procopis ---Paul Martin Procopis ---Nickolaos Psomadellis---Anthony Samiotis--- Russell John Simos (Simopoulos) --- George Soumilas ---Nickolas Steogen (Stogianopoulos)---George Soumilas---Nickolas Steogen (Stogianopoulos---Basil Emmanuel Tiligadis --- George 1hantafylou ---Harry 1hkeriotis---Spiro Peter Tsicalas, OBE AE ---  Wayne Vafiopulous ---Grant Vafiopulous ---Garry Vapp (Vafiopulous) ---Basil Vertzonis ---Peter Vlachou ---George Zafiris --------------------  

 

THE SPEECH OF STEVE KYRITSIS ON THE 22ND MAY, 2009 ,  AT QUEEN’S HALL, 
VICTORIAN PARLIAMENT HOUSE, MELBOURNE.  

THE HONORABLE TONY ROBINSON M.P., 
ON BEHALF OF THE VICTORIAN PREMIER,                   

MR. JOHN BRUMBY

CONSUL GENERAL OF GREECE
MR. CHRISTOS SALAMANIS

MR. JIM BURKE VIETNAM VETERANS

JENNY MIKAKOS M.P.

MR. MURRAY THOMPSON M.P.

MR. MARTYN FOLEY M.P.

MR. GEORGE LEKAKIS, CHAIRMAN,    VICTORIAN MULTICULTURAL COMMISSION

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN  

IT IS FAIR TO SAY THAT AUSTRALIA OPENED ITS DOOR TO MANY MIGRANTS TO START A NEW AND BETTER LIFE.  IF IS ALSO FAIR TO SAY THAT MIGRANTS HAVE CONTRIBUTED TOWARDS THIS BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY OF OURS, AUSTRALIA, TO MAKE IT WHAT IT IS TODAY, THE BEST COUNTRY IN  THE WORLD.  

WE KNOW THE FIRST GREEKS MIGRATED HERE AROUND 1820 AND BY 1850, MANY GREEK SAILORS WORKING ON BRITISH SHIPS JUMPED SHIP ILLEGALLY TO TRY THEIR LUCK AT VICTORIA’S GOLD FIELDS.  

MR. VAFIOPULOUS, IN HIS STORY, WRITES THAT HIS GREAT GREAT GRANDFATHER AND HIS BROTHER FROM PELEPONISOS, ARRIVED IN 1850.  CHILDREN FROM THESE FAMILIES SERVED IN THE AUSTRALIAN FORCES, IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR AND BEYOND.  WE ALSO KNOW THAT A LARGE NUMBER OF MEN AND WOMEN WITH GREEK ORIGIN SERVED WITH THE AUSTRALIAN FORCES IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR.  

IT IS IMPORTANT TO ALSO MENTION AUSTRALIA’S CONTRIBUTION TO GREECE IN THE GREEK CAMPAIGN 1940-41, WHERE MORE THAN 7,000 AUSTRALIAN SERVICEMEN, EITHER LOST THEIR LIVES, WERE INJURED OR CAPTURED.  

WHEN THE SECOND WORLD WAR ENDED, AUSTRALIA REALLY OPENED ITS DOORS AND THE GREEK PEOPLE MIGRATED TO THIS BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY.  

IT WAS THE CHILDREN FROM THESE FAMILIES, WHO EITHER ARRIVED WITH THEIR FAMILIES OR WERE BORN HERE, THAT WERE DESTINED TO BE CONSCRIPTED AND SERVE AS NATIONAL SERVICEMEN FOR TWO YEARS IN THE AUSTRALIAN ARMED FORCES AND IN THE VIETNAM WAR.  

WE ALSO KNOW AND ACKNOWLEDGE THE REGULAR SOLDIERS, WHO WERE GREEK – AUSTRALIANS, WHO DECIDED TO MAKE IT A CAREER AND SOME SERVED FOR 20 AND 30 YEARS FULL TIME.  

AUSTRALIA ’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE VIETNAM WAR WAS THE LONGEST EVER, 

10 YEARS.  IT STARTED IN 1962 WITH A HANDFUL OF ADVISERS TO TRAIN THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE FORCES AND BY THE END OF 1967, AUSTRALIA HAD A FORCE IN VIETNAM OF 8,400.  

THE VIETNAM WAR WAS DIFFERENT TO OTHER WARS, THERE WAS NO FRONT.

THE ENEMY AT THE TIME KNEW EVERY METRE OF THEIR COUNTRY.  THEY HAD SUPPORT FROM THEIR OWN PEOPLE.  DURING THE DAY THEY WERE CIVILIANS WALKING IN THE STREETS AND AT NIGHT TIME THEY WERE IN UNIFORM.  THE TUNNELS IN THE JUNGLE WERE EVERYWHERE.  THEY HAD THE LATEST WEAPONS, THANKS TO CHINA AND RUSSIA .  

THE AUSTRALIANS WENT TO WAR VERY WELL TRAINED.  THE JUNGLES IN QUEENSLAND , WHERE WE DID OUR TRAINING, WERE SIMILAR TO THE JUNGLES IN VIETNAM .  

EVERY MISSION , EVERY SEARCH AND DESTROY OPERATION, WAS DONE SUCCESSFULLY BY THE AUSTRALIANS.  

IN VIETNAM , SOLDIERS CARRIED UNBELIEVABLE LOADS SO THAT THEY COULD DO THEIR JOB EFFICIENTLY AND STAY ALIVE.  THE WET HUMID CONDITIONS MEANT THEY WERE UNCOMFORTABLE, SUFFERED THE EFFECTS OF EXTREME HEAT AND WERE DIRTY FOR WEEKS AND EVEN SOMETIMES, MONTHS ON END.  

TIRED,  EXHAUSTED AND DEHYDRATED, THEY LOST WEIGHT AND MUSCLE TONE, BUT THEIR MORALE WAS HIGH AND THEY WERE LED BY OFFICERS AND NCOS, WHO CARED FOR THEIR SAFETY AND WELFARE.  

THE ENEMY AT THE TIME, THE VIET-CONG ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THE AUSTRALIANS WERE GREAT SOLDIERS, AND WE WERE.  

RETURNING BACK HOME, THE SOLDIERS FACED ANOTHER WAR -  THE ANTI-WAR DEMONSTRATORS.  IT WAS VERY PAINFUL TO ALL THE SOLDIERS.  WE REMEMBER WELL, DR. JIM CAIRNS AND HIS FOLLOWERS.  THE HIPPIES WERE SINGING MAKE LOVE NOT WAR.  A PROMINENT PERSON IN OUR SOCIETY TODAY AND A WELL KNOWN VICTORIAN   HOSPITAL , WAS RAISING MONEY TO SEND TO THE ENEMY.  DISGRACEFUL!  

WE ARE HAPPY TO SAY THAT AFTER MANY YEARS, THE VIETNAM VETERANS IN OUR SOCIETY ARE LOOKED UPON AS HEROES – AND THEY ARE.  WHEN SOLDIERS GO TO WAR, THERE IS A FRIENDSHIP AND RESPECT BETWEEN ALL OF US THAT LASTS FOREVER.  

FROM 1962-1972 60,000 AUSTRALIANS SERVED IN THE VIETNAM WAR.  

IN TOTAL, FROM 1965-1972, 59,000 NATIONAL SERVICEMEN SERVED IN THE AUSTRALIAN FORCES.   

FROM 1965-1972, 19,000 NATIONAL SERVICEMEN SERVED IN VIETNAM .  

IN THE VIETNAM WAR , AUSTRALIA LOST 520 THAT WERE KILLED AND 2,400 WOUNDED.  

JAMES PAPANDREAS WRITES IN HIS STORY THAT AN OLD GREEK ONCE SAID, “WHEN THERE IS PEACE, SONS BURY THEIR FATHERS.  WHEN THERE IS WAR, FATHERS BURY THEIR SONS”  IN THE VIETNAM WAR, 520 AUSTRALIAN FATHERS BURIED THEIR SONS.  LEST WE FORGET.  

EARLY IN 2005, I WAS READING THE AUSTRALIAN NOMINAL ROLL WITH THE NAMES OF THE 60,000 AUSTRALIANS THAT HAD SERVED IN THE TEN YEARS IN VIETNAM .  

I HAD ONLY MET ONE OTHER GREEK IN THE ARMY.  HE WAS FROM SOUTH AUSTRALIA .

TO MY SURPRISE, I FOUND MORE THAN 120 GREEK SURNAMES ON THE LIST.  TRYING TO FIND THEM WAS A HUGE TASK.  THE PRIVACY LAW DID NOT MAKE IT ANY EASIER.

SOME HAD DIED, SOME DID NOT WISH TO TAKE PART.  AFTER SO MANY YEARS, I CAN UNDERSTAND THAT AND NO PRESSURE WAS PUT ON THEM.  

AFTER MANY MONTHS OF SEARCHING ALL OVER AUSTRALIA AND HUNDREDS OF PHONE CALLS AND CORRESPONDENCE TO FIND THESE GREEK AUSTRALIAN VETERANS, I’M HAPPY TO SAY THAT THE JOB IS DONE.  THANK YOU.  

I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO THANK A FEW PEOPLE.  

TO ALL THE VETERANS FOR TAKING PART IN THIS BOOK, WITHOUT THEM, WE WOULDN’T BE HERE TODAY.  

MY WIFE MARY AND ALL OUR CHILDREN,  THEY SUPPORTED ME ALL THE WAY.  

MR. GEORGE LEKAKIS AND THE VICTORIAN MULTICULTURAL COMMISSION.  MEGAN, AND RHONDA, MR. JOHN BRUMBY AND HIS GOVERNMENT.  

THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERAN AFFAIRS FOR THEIR SUPPORT.  

RUSS RUDCLIFFE, THE PUBLISHER OF THE BOOK.  HE HAS DONE EXCELLENT WORK.

I THINK RUSS KNOWS MORE GREEK NOW THAN HE EVER WILL.  HE ALSO SHOWED A LOT OF PASSION FOR THE VETERANS AND THEIR STORIES.  

THE GREEK MEDIA, NEOS KOSMOS, TA NEA, 3XY AND S.B.S. RADIO.   

AGAIN, A SPECIAL THANKS TO MR. GEORGE LEKAKIS FOR HIS SUPPORT AND  THE PASSION HE SHOWED FOR THE VETERANS.  I WILL ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL FOR THE SUPPORT HE GAVE ME PERSONALLY TO PROCEED WITH THE BOOK.  

THANK YOU ALL.  S\

STEVE KYRITSIS 

Reproduced with the permission of the author.22

 Γιατί έγραψα αυτό το βιβλίο.
ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΙΟΣ ΚΥΡΙΤΣΗΣ

Ο σκοπός που µε οδήγησε να γράψω το βιβλίο αυτό είναι να κάνω γνωστό στον απανταχού ελληνισµό την ιστορία των ελληνοπαίδων που πήραν µέρος στον πόλεµο του Βιετνάµ µέσα από τις τάξεις του αυστραλιανού στρατού. Τα περισσότερα παιδιά ήταν στρατιώτες ηλικίας 19-20 χρόνων, η τύχη των οποίων ήταν να υπηρετήσουν στον αυστραλιανό στρατό όταν άρχιζε ο πόλεµος του Βιετνάµ το 1962.

Πολλά παιδιά είχαν γεννηθεί
στην Ελλάδα και ήρθαν στην Αυστραλία µε τους γονείς τους µετά τον Β' Παγκόσµιο Πόλεµο, ενώ άλλα παιδιά γεννήθηκαν εδώ, αλλά δεν πειράζει, όλοι ήταν Έλληνες. Αυτός είναι ο σκοπός µου, να γνωρίσουµε τους Ελληνοαυστραλούς που πολέµησαν µε τον αυστραλιανό στρατό στον πόλεµο του Βιετνάµ.

Δεν θέλω να γράψω την ιστορία, τι ακριβώς συνέβη στα 10 χρόνια πολέµου στο Βιετνάµ. Αυτό το αφήνω στους ιστορικούς, οι οποίοι έχουν γράψει ήδη σχετικά βιβλία. Εµένα µε ενδιαφέρει να φέρω στο φως τους Ελληνοαυστραλούς που υπηρέτησαν και έτσι αφήνω εδώ τους ίδιους να µας πουν, µε λίγα λόγια, την ιστορία τους.

Είκοσι χρόνων πολεµήσαµε ως άνδρες, και το αποδείξαµε απέναντι στον εχθρό την εποχή εκείνη. Ο εχθρός, οι Βιετκόνγκ, αναγνώρισαν ότι ήµασταν πολύ καλοί.

Ο Θεός να αναπαύει τους 520 Αυστραλούς που έχασαν τη ζωή τους. Θα σας θυµόµαστε πάντοτε.

 Reproduced with the permission of the author.

 


 



ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΙΟΣ ΚΥΡΙΤΣΗΣ

 The Victorian RSL honoured Mr George Lekakis AO


The Book is available 
for sale from


Hellenic RSL 
14A Ferrars place South Melbourne. Ph. 9699 9844.

Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance  
Ph. 9654 8415

CARAS Store 
189 Lonsdale St. Melbourne Ph.9663 3844

CARAS Store 
11 Eaton Mall Oakleigh
 Ph. 9569 7033

Mylonas Greek Bookshop,
145 Sydney Rd. 
Brunswick Vic. 3056  
Tel. 9388 0338.

TO ORDER
Please send cheque

 
Steve Kyritsis 
P.O.Box 545 
Black Rock Vic. 
9589 3403 
Mob. 0418 571 800. 

for $25
as a Donation
Payable to:
HELLENIC RSL SUB-BRANCH

OR
AUSTRALIAN HELLENIC
MEMORIAL FOUNDATION

 

 

 


 

 






 

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