Greece’s top Benaki collection to go on display in Melbourne

Source: HeraldSun

Greek artefact coup for city

: Harry Stamoulis (left) inspects the Benaki collection in Greece with Hellenic Museum CEO John Tatoulis and Benaki museum director Professor Angelos Delivorrias. Source: Supplied

THE Napthine Government will help fund a major exhibition of ancient Greek artefacts in Melbourne.

In a cultural coup for the city, items from Greece’s prestigious Benaki collection will be on display at the Hellenic Museum, located in the heritage Royal Mint building in William St.

Museum CEO John Tatoulis said that the collection spanned 8000 years and would cost millions of dollars to bring over and display in Melbourne.

“The State Government has been supportive of the museum in the past and we’re in discussions with them at the moment regarding support for this initiative,” he said.

Founded by late businessman Spiros Stamoulis who created the Gold Medal soft drink empire, the museum received a $300,000 public grant last year to celebrate 60 years of Greek migration to Australia.

Mr Stamoulis’s son Harry, who is a major developer, said at a recent museum event that the Benaki exhibition included ancient pottery, sculptures, statues, weaponry, Minoan figurines, Mycenaean jewellery and Byzantine icons.

“Bringing the Benaki to Australia is a cultural coup … it’s not only a cultural and an artistic resource but also a major educational resource for primary, secondary and tertiary students,” he said.

State Multicultural Affairs Minister Nick Kotsiras confirmed that the Government would provide financial assistance for the exhibition, which is expected to open early next year.

“It provides an opportunity for all Victorians to learn about Greek history, Greek culture, Greek traditions,” he said.

The museum has also launched a series of clubs based around the Benaki exhibition to garner public support.

The Stamoulis family is worth more than $400 million, according to the BRW Rich List.

In 2010, Harry Stamoulis reportedly paid $25 million for a Toorak estate owned by the late Diana Baillieu, mother of former premier Ted Baillieu.

Mr Stamoulis has also joined forces with Grocon to build a $600 million super tower on the corner of Collins and King streets.

His museum has a long-term lease at the Royal Mint building.

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