INAUGURAL ANZAC CONFERENCE TO BE HELD ON LEMNOS

Australians visiting Greece and Europe in July are being invited to come to the northern Aegean Island of Lemnos and hear how Lemnos played a key role in Australia’s Anzac legend.

The Municipality of Lemnos, in conjunction with Australia’s Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, have created what will become a regular event to raise the profile of the Lemnos link to Gallipoli and to focus activities on Lemnos leading up to the Centenary of Anzac in 2015.

Lemnos was the key base for the Anzac campaign, where the Anzacs left from, where they rested and recovered, where the Australian nurses cared for the injured and where the Anzacs were helped by and helped the local Lemnians.

As well as being a base for Australia’s 50,000 soldiers and sailors and 130 nurses, over 140 Australians remain in Lemnos’ war graves. The letters, diaries and photographs left behind from this meeting of Australians and Lemnians records the beginnings of Australia’s link to Greece.

This Conference will bring together a number of international guest speakers, including Australia’s Dr John Yiannakis, who recently addressed the issue of Lemnos at Melbourne’s Antipodes Festival and Dr Haluk Oral, celebrated author on Gallipoli from Istanbul University. The Hon John Pandazopoulos, MP, former Victorian Tourism Minister and President of the World Hellenic InterParliamentary Association, will address the Conference on how Lemnos can develop its unique cultural tourism links with Australia.

The Conference will bring together key government, tourism and community leaders on Lemnos to help plan and discuss preparations for the Centenary of Anzac in 2015.

The Conference will also include a tour of the key Anzac sites on Lemnos, led by Conference Organiser and Anzac historian, Mr Jim Claven.

The Conference would provide a unique opportunity to commemorate and discuss this historic link between Australia, Lemnos and Greece, as well as an opportunity to plan for a new era of commemorative tourism on the Island commencing in 2015.

Mr Claven said as we get closer to the Gallipoli Centenary it is essential for Australians to understand that without Lemnos as a base for allied troops for nealy a year there would have been no Gallipoli campaign.

“Australia’s Greek community should be proud of the role that Greece played in offering its islands for the Anzacs and allies. Australia and Greece share an Anzac and Gallipoli heritage. This is what will be explored in detail as part of the Conference as Greece prepares for the Centenary of Gallipoli.”

President of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, Mr Lee Tarlamis, MP, who will be participating in the Conference said that for decades the Lemnian-Australian community has worked to ensure that the story was not forgotten.

“Its now our role as Australian’s to take the next step and reunite ourselves with our forgotten history”, he added.
Mr Pandazopoulos pointed out that Lemnos is the missing link of the Gallipoli story.

“We can never be true to our history and the 50000 Anzacs that were there-soldiers, navy, nurses and medical personnel and those Lemnians who enthusiastically supported the campaign.”

“As Australians and Kiwis pay pilgrimage at Gallipoli Lemnos will play its role as well as. They will be able to visit the 3 Commonwealth War Cemeteries, the site of the hospitals and rest camps, the sites explored by the Anzacs and the supply bases including remnants of the desalination plant that provided water to our Gallipoli troops”, he said.

The Conference will be held at Portianou Cultural Centre, over 11th to 13th July 2013. The cost of attending the Conference will be nominal, with free attendance for students and those under 22 years of age.

All those interested in better understanding and promoting the vital Lemnos link to the Gallipoli and Anzac Story are urged to attend and take part in this important conference. Those interested in attending the Conference are urged to contact the Secretary of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, Mr Jim Claven at jimclaven@yahoo.com.au.

Those requiring accommodation or transport packages are available to those requiring them.
For further comment:
Jim Claven 0409402388
John Pandazopoulos 0408310733
Lee Tarlamis 0411553009

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