Australia Day tribute paid to Professor Cambitoglou
Honouring the Australian Archaeological Institute: President of the Hellenic Parliament, Mr Evangelos Meimarakis and Ambassador Jenny Bloomfield with the Institute’s Director, Professor Alexander Cambitoglou, and the President of the Acropolis Museum, Professor Dimitrios Pantermalis.
Australia’s Ambassador to Greece, Jenny Bloomfield marked Australia Day 2013 in Athens by celebrating the work of the Australian Archaeological Institute and its Director, Professor Alexander Cambitoglou.
Speaking at the Acropolis Museum, Ambassador Bloomfield told guests at the Australia Day event that the Institute was a proud reflection of the Australian spirit – a nation “of opportunity for all those with the resolve, the commitment, the work ethic and the determination to make a better life for themselves, for their community and for future generations”.
Ms Bloomfield said that for over 30 years the Institute has helped forged a profound connection between Australia and Greece, facilitating fieldwork and research, and helping to preserve and showcase Greek civilisation and “its incalculable contribution” to the world.
The Ambassador paid special tribute to the Institute’s Director, Emeritus Professor Alexander Cambitoglou AO, who she described as “a great Australian, as well as a truly special Greek”.
Born in Thessaloniki, Professor Cambitoglou arrived in Australia in 1961 and was the first person of Greek background to be appointed a university professor in Australia, when he became Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Sydney in 1963.
“Since coming to Australia, Professor Cambitoglou has worked tirelessly, and from the heart, to promote Australian research in Greece,” said Ms Bloomfield.
Professor Cambitoglou’s achievements include conducting excavations at the Geometric settlement of Zagora on Andros in 1967, a collaboration between the Athens Archaeological Society and the University of Sydney.
Excavations at Zagora, said Ms Bloomfield had been “fundamental for understanding life in the Aegean during the eighth century BC – the period to which many scholars date Homer, the beginning of the Greek city-state and democracy in Athens”.
In the mid-seventies Professor Cambitoglou led the Australian expedition to Torone in Chalkidiki, before providing the greatest legacy to Australian scholars working in Greece; in 1980 he established the Australian Archaeological Institute in Athens.
Ambassador Bloomfield said that Professor Cambitoglou was not just a world-renowned scholar and a distinguished professor and practitioner, but “a mentor and a friend, who has given so much to both of his homelands…a man who, through consistent effort, lifelong passion and hard work, has made all this possible and offers a significant legacy for future generations of Australians and Greeks.”
Professor Cambitoglou’s personal contribution to the relationship between Australia and Greece in the field of archaeology, said Ms Bloomfield, was “immeasurable”.
The Ambassador also congratulated Dr Stavros Paspalas and Dr Wayne Mullen and all the Institute’s staff for their work in enhancing young Australians’ appreciation of Greece’s historical and cultural legacy.