submitted by Peter Makarthis on 27.05.2011
Grafton 27 October 1944
Grafton Examiner, page 2
Greek Community Presents Greek Flag to High School
The Greek community of Grafton yesterday presented a Greek flag to the Grafton High School to commemorate the liberation of Greece and the occasion four years ago, when the Greek Premier, General Metaxas, declared war on the Axis after refusing to accede to a demand by Mussolini that Greece be used as a base for operations against the British.
Ald. J. C. O’Brien, Deputy Mayor of Grafton, who apologised for the absence of the Mayor, Ald. W. T. Robinson, presided over the function, which was attended by prominent citizens and many members of the local Greek community. All the girl and boy students of the school were in attendance.
Included in the official party were the Deputy Mayor, the Rt. Rev. W. H. W, Stevenson (Bishop of Grafton), Messrs. J. J. Hudson (Headmaster), C. G. Wingfield M. L. A., A. W. Clark (president of the Grafton Rotary Club, W. J. E. Johnson (representing Chamber of Commerce), A. Notaras, Nicholas and Jim Langley, Peter Bernard, Jack Notaras, Peter Theodore, Nicholas Aroney, John Baker (boy school captain), and Deidre Poynter (girl school captain).
Mr. Hudson, opening the function, tendered an apology from Mr. L. R. Thomas. He read the following telegram from Mr. C. C. Linz, District Inspector of Schools: “Regret unable to attend afternoon function. Would you convey congratulations regarding liberation of Greece?”
He welcomed the visitors and tendered his thanks for their offer of the flag to the school. He referred to the modern fight for the liberation of Greece and said that British troops during the campaign in Greece shared the trials and tribulations of war with the Greeks and are now sharing the final triumph of Allied victories.
Ald. O’Brien expressed gratitude being invited to speak at the celebration and paid a high tribute to the Greeks.
The Bishop of Grafton said that the British nation owed the Greeks a great debt. The future of Greece will be greater than its past. He congratulated the local community on the high esteem in which they were held by local residents and extended his best wishes for the future.
Mr. Wingfield said the Greek community had done wonderful things and contributed towards the progress of the district. He was supported by Mr. A. Clark, who spoke on behalf of the Grafton Rotary Club.
Mr Nicholas Langley, who handed over the Greek flag on behalf of the Greek community, presented to John baker, boy captain, who received it for the school. He was assisted by Deidre Poynter, girl captain.
John, who was dressed in the uniform of an A.T.C. corporal, thanked the donors for the gift and also the chairman and visitors for their attendance. This was seconded by Deidre, and a vote of thanks was carried by acclimation. To conclude the formal proceedings the gathering sang the Greek National Anthem. Miss Irene Notaras was accompanist.
Later in the school grounds, the Greek flag was hoisted by the headmaster. Whilst this was being done it was saluted by Cadet L. Ellem, of the School Cadets and Cpl. John Baker, representing the High School Flight of the A.T.C.
In his address before making his presentation, Mr. N. Langley said the day was the fourth anniversary of the Greek declaration of war against the Axis powers.
“Today we celebrate the liberation of Athens, which was achieved by the combined effort of the British and the Greeks, and thus that tradition of friendship has stood not only the test time, but the test of fire, to emerge stronger than ever,” he said.
“Purity and Peace”
The flag which he presented was composed of certain colours arranged in a certain manner. The colours of the Greek flag are blue and white, the blue of the sky and white for the purity of peace. These were the colours of the Byzantine Empire of many centuries ago.
On the top left hand corner is the Cross to remind that the people were first and foremost dependent on God. The Cross was added to the colours during the reign of Emperor Constantine. The stripes which are nine in number, represent a syllable in the famous Greek slogan, “Liberty or Death.” These were added in 1821, when a handful of Greek patriots raised the flag of independence against oppression.
“As this is the emblem of Freedom we trust it will always wave in the breeze alongside that other emblem of freedom, the Union Jack,” he added.
This article from the Grafton Examiner was found in a box of ageing clippings collected by the late ‘Beatty’ Psaros from Inverell. ‘Beatty’ Psaros’ daughter Deanna Psaros ( now McCarthy) was christened at Grafton 1937. Her godfather was the late Peter Bernard, proprietor the ‘Popular Cafe’ in Prince Street.
Researched and edited
Peter ‘Skoulandris’ McCarthy
Inverell 27 May 2011
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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