The Greek Community of Melbourne’s headquarter building unveiled an impressive replica of the Parthenon Greek Marble frieze on Sunday 26th of November.
The life-size, border of Greek marble runs along the building’s entrance at six metres long. The stone slab not only reflects one of the most recognised symbols of Ancient Greece but reminds us of the HQ’s significance in the Australian-Greek community and the buildings historical connection to Greece.
“The building offers so many different services to Greek Australians. But at the same time we want the building and those services to appropriately reflect through symbols of our culture and heritage,” Mr Papastergiadis told Neos Kosmos.
To mark the momentous occasion, the street closed off to celebrate with speeches, music and performances near the centre. Significant political leaders and personalities of the community attended, including Melbourne-born actress and comedian Mary Coustas. Coustas was one of many speakers, eager to draw the attention to the return of the Parthenon Marble back to Greece. The friezes are on permanent display in the British Museum after being controversially taken from Athens in the 1800s.
“Britain is conveniently ignoring the screams from the world at large (to return the Greek marbles) because it benefits them, too,” she said. “We need to keep the dream alive and keep applying pressure.”
Dubbing herself a proud Greek-Australian, Coustas likened the marbles cause to the recent Yes vote in the gay marriage debate.
Followed by Victoria State premier Daniel Andrews. “We continuously demand the restoration of the injustice done by Lord Elgin two centuries earlier. This is not just my personal opinion. But a standing demand of the Victoria government and all the parties that are part of it. And will not change until this injustice has been restored.”
The Greek Centre is home to the city’s official Greek community organizations. It has become renowned as a hub of Greek cultural life and activity. Some have disputed the placement of the replica and its placement above a burger restaurant. But its beauty cannot be denied. Nor the opportunity to voice support for efforts to return the Parthenon Greek Marbles.