The Missing Australian Soldiers from the Battle of Vevi

Former NT Minister Peter Toyne and Historian Tom Tsamouras will present a lecture entitled ‘The Missing Australian Soldiers from the Battle of Vevi’, on Thursday 20 April, at 7:00pm, at the Ithacan Philanthropic Society as a part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars, offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne.

The first action during the Second World War on Greek soil between the German and Hellenic forces was on the little village of Vevi in the municipality of Florina. This began on 11th April 1941 and marked the first of numerous clashes during which Hellenic and ANZAC forces fought side by side! After the “Battle of Vevi”, a small number of soldiers from the two Australian battalions that fought there, were reported missing in action and their bodies have never been found. Information by locals to Australian Brigadier Keith Rossi in 1981 about the possible grave site of these missing men has led to many people from Greece and Australia researching about the possible grave site of their remains. Tom Tsamouras, a school teacher from Newcastle and Peter Toyne, former MP from the NT, are two researches who have spent years trying to locate the resting place of these men.

Tom Tsamouras was born in Karditsa, Greece in 1962 and migrated with his family to Australia in 1969. He was educated at Hamilton Primary and Merewether High school in Newcastle and graduated from the University of Newcastle in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1984 he completed a Graduate Diploma in Education through the University of Sydney and in 1986 graduated from the University of New England with a Master of Letters degree. Between 1987 and 1990 he worked in Greece teaching English as a second language. In 1992 he was appointed at Muswellbrook High School as an English/History teacher and in 1993 he transferred to Maitland High School where he teaches English to this day. In 1997 he also joined the network of Symban World Radio and produced a variety of weekly radio programmes in the Greek language until 2012. Today he lives in Newcastle with his wife Irene and three children Alexandra, George and Madeline.

Peter Toyne was born in Melbourne and early career there included 5 years of scientific research into the origins of breast cancer and then a ten year secondary teaching career. He moved to the Northern Territory in 1980 and took up various educational and community development roles in the Central Australian region over the next 16 years- all this time based in bush communities. Some of the significant projects in which he played a prominent role were the establishment of the Warlpiri Media Association, Warlukurlangu Artists, the Tanami Network, Open learning based secondary education, Indigenous adult education, development of Teaching courses through Bachelor College, and numerous smaller enterprises. In 1996 He was elected to the NT Parliament as the Member for Stuart and served for 10 years as opposition spokesperson for education. When the Labor government assumed power in 2001 he became the Attorney General and Justice Minister and later took on the additional responsibility as Minister for Health and Minister for Central Australia. He retired from politics in 2006 and now balances family life, and an active career as an artist and architectural glass designer.

When: Thursday, 20 April 2017, 7:00pm

Where: Ithacan Philanthropic Society (Level 2, 329 Elizabeth St, Melbourne)

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