History

The history of the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand begins on the 13th of April, 1980 with the founding of the Pancretan Organisation of Australia (POA).

There were 3 founding members:- The then Cretan Brotherhood of Sydney and New South Wales, the then Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and Victoria and the Cretan Association of Queensland. The main objectives of this new national co-operation were: ( a ) The tightening of relations between all the Cretans of Australia, ( b ) the co-ordination of the Battle of Crete Commemoration, ( c ) the invitation of musicians from Crete, ( d ) the solving of the general problems of the Cretan community in Australia, ( e ) the absolute co-operation with the Australian authorities and ( f ) the representation and support of Hellenic issues.

Over the next six years, the POA grew to include members form Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory and Canberra, thereby ensuring that the Federation was a truly national representative of the Cretans.

The POA’s annual conventions provided the opportunities for all the Cretans of Australia to meet and discuss various important issues and also to begin and renew friendships. The alternating venues also allowed them to see the many beautiful cities and landscapes of our vast continent. The POA also provided an avenue for the further tightening of relations with the veterans of the Battle of Crete which helped cement the good relations between the Greater Greek and Australian communities.

Among other achievements at this time were ( a) the invitation of Cretan musicians like: Skoulas, Sifogiorgakis, Garganourakis, Sopasis, Karpouzakis, Tamiolakis, Fragiadakis, Koukakis, Mamalakis, Polihronakis, Polioudakis, ( b ) representation at the two world Pancretan Conferences in Crete in 1983 and 1985, ( c ) being founding members of the then World Pancretan Federation, ( d ) the printing of the “Cretan News” until 1992 and ( e ) the crowning achievement of establishing in the Nation’s capital, the Hellenic-Australian War Memorial together with the veterans of the Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign of World War Two. These and many more successes continued well into the 90’s.

1985 saw the unfortunate schism of the Cretan Community in Australia, with the founding of the Australian Cretan Federation. The ACF continued to operate and justifiably achieve similar activities as the Pancretan Federation of Australia, including the establishment of a National executive, promote issues relating to the Greek-Australian community, invite generals and musicians, organise conferences and co-ordinate activities for the Battle of Crete.

This situation continued until the 5th March 1994 when the leaders of the two Federations finally met in Australia’s capital in Canberra and united, forming The Panaustralian Cretan Federation. This was a great achievement after nearly ten years of division.

The new National Executive Committee worked to find the “new” Federation on a strong constitution which was approved at the convention in Perth in January 1995. At this convention, the Cretan Association of New Zealand joined the Federation, thereby creating the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand as we know it today. During 1995, the Federation grew in importance and influence.

The Australian and New Zealand Governments recognised it as a major player in Hellenic affairs. Also in that year, the Federation was represented by its President at the inaugural Council for Greeks Abroad Congress ( SAE) meeting in Thessaloniki. This precipitated the official recognition by the Greek Government through its Embassy and its various ministries in Athens.

1996 saw the National Executive further cement the structure and workings of the Federation enabling it to operate more efficiently and effectively.

On the 4th January 1997, at the Convention in Canberra, the Federation accepted 3 more Cretan Organisations, bringing the number to 14, namely the Cretan Association of Iraklians “MINOAS “, The Hania Social Club and the Cretan Association of Lasithion ” VITZENTZOS KORNAROS “This growth in the membership cemented the Federation’s prestige and influence in national Hellenic affairs. Some major achievements of the Federation are:- the donation of money to the Modern Greek Departments of the Universities of Australia; the constant lobbying, together with other Hellenic organisations, of the Australian and New Zealand Parliaments on issues important to Greece and Greeks Abroad; the opening of communication with other Cretan Organisations internationally; partnering the Returned Servicemen’s League in the Scholarship Schemes for young students in Crete; the raising of approximately $50,000 for the Archdiocese of Crete; acquiring financial assistance from the Greek Government through the General Secretary for Greeks Abroad for the Battle of Crete commemoration; continuing the 22 year tradition of having a high ranking officer of the Hellenic and Australian Armed Forces attend the Commemoration; the organising of a Cretan Youth Cultural Awareness trip to mainland Greece and Crete; a seat in the Oceania Regional “SAE” and the drawing up of the proposal for a revamped “World-wide Confederation of Cretans Abroad”.

In January 1998 at the Inaugural Congress in Melbourne we saw the induction of yet another member association namely the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne ” ARKADI ” which meant that Melbourne’s Cretan community was finally unified under one umbrella. Furthermore 1998 achievements include : (1) the introduction of the Education of the history of the Battle of Crete in English at all Primary and Secondary levels, (2) the participation of the Youth Sector of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand at the 1st International Cretan Youth Congress in Iraklio, (3) the establishment of the Cretan Cultural Resource Centre as well as a very successful completion of the commemorative activities for the Battle of Crete, including the attendance of Major General Giorgios Manioudakis and well known musicians Nikos Zoidakis and Giorgos Karagiorgis,(4) the planning formation of a National Cretan Youth Organisation under the auspices of the C. F. A. N. Z. and finally the financial contribution towards the Australian Hellenic Memorial Foundation in Melbourne. The year 1999 proved to be a great one for the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand (C.F.A.N.Z.), beginning with a National Convention in the City of Adelaide ( hosted by the local Cretan Association of Adelaide), which brought Cretans together in one forum from all over the globe to discuss issues that relate to them commonly. Continuing the Federation’s bright future in 1999, the C.F.A.N.Z. participated strongly with an invitation to both the Federation President and the National Youth President in the International Convention of the Council of Greeks Abroad held in Thessaloniki, Greece. The Federation took a culturally minded initiative for the first time in its history and invited the Hellenic Migrant Theatre Group from mainland Greece. The Group, headed by Mr. Harris Messarhakis, put on the theatre play ” Parathiro ston Ilio” which depicted a war story set during the Battle of Crete. In addition, the Federation Executive invited the well known Cretan Musicians Manolis Kontaros Giorgos Tsouroupakis and Giorgos Dretakis from Crete to tour Australia and perform at all major cities in Australia and New Zealand.

The year 1999 saw the Federation play a major role in our Ethnic Issues, when it became a vital member of the Australian Hellenic Council at the National Meeting in June in Canberra. The Federation was represented at that meeting by its President and the Public Relations Officer and was later invited to hold the Vice President position on the Board of the Justice of Cyprus Committee (SEKA). Representation was also given on the Board of the Australian Hellenic Memorial Foundation in Victoria. The Hellenic Government, for yet another year, responded to the Federation’s invitation and sent over a High Ranking Army Officer representing the Hellenic Armed Forces for the activities and commemorations of the Battle of Crete.

The first inaugural conference meeting of the New National Cretan Youth Council can be considered to be a major highlight of the year 2000. Entering the new millennium, the Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand, under the auspices of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand, began to write its own history and with a new chapter in the Federation’s 20 year history. The formation of the National Council included Youth representatives from all over the Oceania region. The Federation Executive continued planning the hosting of the commemorative activities for the Battle of Crete with, once again, high ranking Officials, the invitation to Crete’s well known musician Mihalis Alefantinos, (who was, at the time, the President of the Cretan Musicians’ Association of Greece), accompanied by Mr. Giorgos Fragiadakis. Continuing on that note, the Federation began lobbying the Hellenic Government for increased recognition for the historical Battle of Crete. In a unified manner, all the Federations and Unions around the globe pushed for a greater and more significant recognition of the Battle of Crete. After several months, the Hellenic Parliament, through its Education Minister Mr. Arsenis announced that the 20th May each year will be a National School Holiday and the history of the Battle of Crete will be included in the curriculum of all schools nationwide. Another major achievement of the National Executive, and in particular the President due to his financial contribution in the year 2000, was the printing and distribution of a regular publication for the Members of the Federation called “O Kritikos”. This became the main communication medium amongst the member Associations in Australia and New Zealand. This publication has also been distributed internationally and is a strong communication link between Cretan associations globally.

With the turn of the year to 2001, the Cretan Association of Sydney and NSW hosted the 21st Annual Cretan Convention in Sydney, uniting Cretans from all around the country and New Zealand. At the completion of the 21st Annual Convention, the Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand hosted the 2nd International Cretan Youth Congress in Sydney. This initi-ative brought Cretan youth representatives from Greece, Cyprus, Romania, USA, Canada, South Africa and Germany together in a unified forum discussing issues and problems that affected Cretan youth around the globe. The Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand are to be congratulated for organising a historic event proving to the people of Greece that, even though we might be thousands of kilometres away from our motherland and are second, third and fourth generation Greeks, we do not forget the ethics and morals of our ancestors.

In 2002, we saw the induction of a group of Second Generation Greek Australians of Cretan Descent, take over the reigns, and form the nucleus of the Executive of the Cretan Federation. The National Convention was hosted by a small Member Association of the Federation, in Hobart Tasmania. The Cretan Association of Tasmania, who had almost 10 years since it last hosted the Convention, greeted everyone that attended, with great warmth and typical Kritiki filoxenia. We had a large contingency of Cretan Youth mainly from Melbourne and Sydney attending the Convention. The Con-vention Dinner Dance went on to all hours of the morning playing to the tunes of Dimitris Vakakis from Crete with the assistance of Sifis Tsourdalakis, Andreas Vardakis and Kostas Kirkotsios. The Dance Group performances of the Cretan Association of Sydney and Melbourne and the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne “ARKADI” were a highlight. In Feb-ruary 2002 the President Mr. N. Koukouvitakis, the Vice President Mr. A. Tsourdalakis and the Secretary Mr. Starakis were given the opportunity to meet with the Minister for the Aegean Mr. Nikolaos Sifounakis who is of Cretan ( Rethymnian ) descent and discuss with him matters pertaining to the future assistance of the Hellenic Government to the Federation, as well as have a chance to greet him and exchange gifts. Other than the successful celebrations for the Comme-morative Anniversary for the Battle of Crete were we had guests from Crete including the B’ Deputy Chief of Staff of the Hellenic Armed Forces Vice Admiral Kostantinos Nikitiadis and Major Kostantinos Solkidis Furthermore it was a delight to have the newly appointed ambassador from Greece in Australia Mr. Fotios Xydas present in our Commemorative Celebrations. The Commemorative Album was also presented during the Battle of Crete Commemorative Events. A highlight for 2002 was the visit of the Former Minister for Education from Greece Mr. Gerasimos Arsenis with his wife, for the commemorative Activities of the Battle of Crete, at which the Executive of the Federation honoured him with a plaque, for his assistance in recognising the Battle of Crete as a National School holiday ( 20th May ) and the education of the History of the Battle of Crete in all Primary and Secondary Schools in Crete. It was Mr. Arsenis Ministry that made this decision. On the Musical front, our International Artists Mihalis Georvasakis on the Lyra and Ilias Savvakis on the lute and vocals formally invited by the Federation to entertain the Cretans of Australia through several Cretan Events planned by the Member Associations.

In June 2002 the Cretan Federation hosted the Internationally acclaimed Cretan Choir of Agios Dimitrios from Iraklio in Crete. This 50 person Choir travelled to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra to be greeted by the local Cretan Associations and hold very successful performances The amount of people attending exceeded any expectation from every single state. The biggest surprise of the Choir was that it was accompanied by the Mayor of Iraklion Mr. Ioannis Garefalakis and several of his Councillors Titos Tagarakis, Vasilis Gegeroglou and also several Cretan Media were present. There was an exchange of gifts, were the Mayor promised to assist the Federation in the future. The Month of June proved to be a busy one, with the Federation being heavily involved in the preparation of the Inaugural Welcoming of the President of the Hellenic Republic Mr. Kostantinos Stephanopoulos, were members of the Executive attended the Cocktail Reception. In August the Federation Executive participated in the Commemorative Celebrations of the 105th Anniversary of the Greek Community of Melbourne & Victoria, with a doxology followed by a church service. In September saw the National Conference of the Council of Greeks Abroad ( SAE ) in the Oceania region which was held in Melbourne, a delegation of the Federation was present at the conference. November proved to be busy one with the Commemorative Activities of the 136th Anniversary of the Holocaust of the Arkadi Monastery both in Melbourne and Sydney, with a special lecture hosted by the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne ” ARKADI ” by his Grace the Bishop of Arianzou JOSEPH, as well as a Wreath laying ceremony and Doxology service at the Axion Esti Monastery.

The Federation began 2003 with a very successful National Convention. This year’s convention bringing delegates from all over Australia and New Zealand was hosted by the newly elected Cretan Association of Darwin, in the Northern Territory. It has to be noted that the warmth and hospitality of the local Cretan people was exemplary, together with the warm tropical weather giving people the opportunity to highlight the past. A highlight of the convention was the perfor-mances of the three Dance Groups, Namely the Cretan Association of Sydney, the Hellenic Community of Darwin and the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne ” ARKADI “, with the assistance of musicians Mihalis Melambiotis ( Lyra & Vocals ), Andreas Vardakis ( Lute ), Kostas Kirkotsios ( Guitar ) and Antonis Iliou ( Lute ) proved to be a huge success for the entertainment of the 600 people that attended. In February we had a delegation from the Athens 2004 committee visit us in Australia, were by they hosted a series of forums on the Athens 2004 Volunteer program, encouraging almost 100 Cretan youth from Oceania in applying to be a volunteer in the most historic event. The Delegation made of Dimitra Egan ,Katerina Thanasoula and Eleni Lambaridou met with the National President of the Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand Mr. Manolis Binakis, and Secretary Dimitra Sirilas.

May 2003 was that time of the year again, were the Cretan Name in the Hellenic and Australian circles was always at the forefront. The C.F.A.N.Z. hosted the 63rd Anniversary of the Battle of Crete, were the Hellenic Armed Forces were repre-sented by a delegation of three people. Major General Vasilios Golemis, Lieutenant Colonel Christos Dellas and his ( Cretan ) wife Eleftheria and Brigadier Giorgos Baxevanis. Our Musicians that covered the events were the colourful and ever popular Giorgos Koukakis who was in Australia for a wedding, coupled with Sifis Tsourdalakis who had just arrived from Greece for the occasion and Andreas Vardakis, Antonis Iliou, Kostas Kirkotsios and Antonis Petrantonakis. A person that had been forgotten, was brought into the lime light where he was the keynote speaker during the activities giving everyone a detailed insight of the events of May 1940. A most moving moment. A brief synopsis was also included in the 2003 Commemorative Album. June was also a busy one with the Federation President Mr. Nikos Koukouvitakis, the Vice President Mr. Antonis Tsourdalakis and Secretary Mr. Manolis Starakis all attended the Australian Hellenic Council Con-ference in Canberra. This included three days of full lobbying of our parliamentarians of issues concerning the Hellenic Community. More importantly however the Federation delegation met with the Minister for Veteran Affairs Ms. Danna Vale MP putting forward a strong case as to why the Battle of Crete must be taught in all the Primary and Secondary levels during the History curriculum. The same meeting occurred with the Minister for Education Mr. Brendan Nelson MP. Both Ministers gave their word that 2004 will see the introduction of the History of the Battle of Crete be included in all the Historical Curriculum’s around the country. THIS WAS A MAJOR FEAT IN ITSELF. In the month of July the Prime Minister held a Dinner in Canberra for a selected group of individuals whom he felt represented the Hellenic Community of Oceania. Amongst the 40 odd individuals the Cretan Federation Executive was invited to attend. This was a great honour in the eyes of all the people that have worked hard over the years to take the Federation to that level, and be included in such an elite group. August also proved to be another historical month. We had the International Cretan Convention in Kolimbari Hanion. Our Federation was represented by the Vice President Mr. Antonis Tsourdalakis. Other delegates from Australia included Mr. Paul Spanoudakis ( Cretan Association of Sydney ), Mr.Manolis Vantarakis ( Rethimnian Asso-ciation ARKADI ), Mr. George Kontoudakis, Mr. Nikos Nikolakakis and Mr. Dimitris Kouridakis ( Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne ). This was a huge event giving us the chance to network our Federation around the globe. It must be noted that our Federation was also represented by the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne ” ARKADI ” Dance Group that performed in all the evening Cultural activities and made the Cretan Australians look proud to the entire globe. It also must be noted that the CYANZ National Youth President Mr. Manolis Binakis was also present at the Youth meeting. In December 10th to the 14th the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad held the 5th International Convention for Greeks Abroad ( SAE ). The CFANZ was invited to participate with two representatives namely the president and the secretary.

2004 began with the 24th Annual Convention in the beautiful city of Perth, hosted by the Cretan Association of Western Australia. The seven day program included a youth night, a Gala Ball, the welcome cocktail party, a kritiki vradia, the sports carnival, a pool party and the best of all a trip to Preveli Monastery. Preveli Monastery was founded by a second world war veteran from the battle of Crete Mr. Geoff Edwards. When we visited the monastery the Vice President of the Cretan Federation Mr. Antonis Tsourdalakis, presented Mr. Geoff Edwards daughter Marilyn Sadleir with a comme-morative plaque in honor of her fathers contribution, to the Hellenic Community of Western Australia. The 150 visitors that day gave her a standing ovation. The musicians that kept everyone entertained throughout the convention were Sifis Tsourdalakis ( Lyra & Vocals ), together with Antonis Iliou ( Lute ), Andreas Vardakis ( Lute ) and Kostas Kirkotsios ( Gui-tar ). Furthermore the Dance Groups that participated were the Cretan Association of Sydney, the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne ” ARKADI “. 2004 saw the handing over the reigns from Mel-bourne to Sydney with long term Federation member Peter Sarikakis taking over as National President as well as Ms. Tina Parliaros taking over as the new National Youth President. May 2003 also saw the introduction of one of the most colourful Battle of Crete War veterans in Charlie Jager were his newly written book titled “ Escape from Crete “ was launched in Melbourne. The Battle of Crete Celebrations saw the arrival of well known lyrist Manolis Rasidakis and his son Lefteris as well as a three person delegation from the Hellenic Armed Forces including Major General Georgios Giannatos, lieutenant Commander Antonios Kontopidis and cadet Konstantis Xydas.
In March 2004 we had our a Cretan member of Parliament from the Region of Iraklio Mr. Manolis Stratakis visit our Country and have meetings with the several community leaders were a cocktail reception was held in his honor. On a sporting note for the first time in history we had an official visit of the OFI Crete Soccer Team consisting of veterans and current players. The team was greeted with great warmth both in Melbourne and Sydney were friendly Soccer games were hosted. 2004 also saw one of the biggest cultural events in the history of the Cretan community with the hosting of two huge concerts in Melbourne and Sydney honouring the great Nikos Xylouris. Tony Tsourdalakis, Nick Koukouvitakis and John Rerakis with the support of the Cretan Associations of Melbourne and Sydney took the initiative to host the concerts were over 1000 people attended the concert in Melbourne and over 500 attended the concert in Sydney, handing the Cancer Council of Victoria over of $ 27,500 in charity donations in memory of Nikos Xylouris, in the presence of His Eminence Archbishop STYLIANOS and the wife of the late Nikos Xylouris Ourania who honoured both concerts with her presence. Finally 2004 saw the re launching of the Federations website www.cretan.com.au.

2005 began with the Silver Anniversary of the Federation, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand. What a way o begin the year by going back to the same city were it all began 25 years ago “ Albury – New south Wales”. For the first time the convention was not held in a city hosted by a Cretan organisation but this time it was hosted by the local Greek Community of Albury and it’s very hard working president Mr. George Veneris who together with the C.F.A.N.Z. National Executive made all the relevant arrangements for the 200 delegates that arrived by car in the heart of Australia. It was a very memorable convention cause it was labelled by the members as one massive four day picnic that has never happened before, with Musicians from Crete Kosta Houstoulakis and Giorgios Xepa-padakis added their Cretan spark to the four day event. It would be remiss not to mention that during the convention Ms. Aphrodite Cretan who is a 5th generation Cretan in Australia was honoured by the Federation for her contribution to the Cretan movement in Australia since the early 1900’s. The National Executive spent many hours collaborating with the Council for Greeks Abroad. May proved to be another important month with the presence of Major General Dionysius Theodoritsis and Group Captain Konstantinos Iatridis. The Cretan Musicians Sifis Tsourdalakis who had spent over 10 years in Greece decided to visit his home together with his musical partner Kyriakos Stavrianoudakis gave the youth the spark they needed. It should be highlighted that the Mayor of the City Rethymnon Mr. Dimitris Arhontakis and his wife attended to the Cretan Association of Sydney events in May. It has to be stated that 2005 saw the release of a range of merchandising items highlighting the Silver Anniversary including the Annual Magazine, Polo Shirt, Commemorative Badge and key ring as well as sporting caps.

2006 was as important as 2005. It once again began with its national convention in the wonderful mountainous city of Wellington in the neighbouring New Zealand were we where hosted by the local Cretan body. National president opened the convention meeting by welcoming everyone and thanking all those that helped him in his 2 year term before handing over the reigns to a new Melbourne Executive headed by Lefteris Konstantakakis. The convention in New Zealand was a historic one, since it was 10 years prior to the last time we visited that city and more to the point was attended by over 170 delegates who crossed the Tasman to New Zealand. Cretan Musicians Tasos Rerakis and Manolis Rerakis were loved by all for their charm and charisma and friendly personalities who made the trip from Crete to be present with us. Before we knew it the month of May had arrived and planning for the 65th Anniversary for the Battle of Crete was well underway. Hellenic Armed Forces representatives included 2007 was as event full as the previous years. It began with the 27th National Convention in Australia’s Garden State Victoria and Greece’s Hellenic Capital outside Greece in the City of Melbourne. Over 180 delegates were hosted by the three Member Associations of the Federation namely the Pancretan Brotherhood, the Rethimnian Association “ ARKADI “ and the Cretan Brotherhood with events in all three of their re-spective club houses. Cretan Musicians Sifis Tsourdalakis and Kyriakos Stavrianoudakis entertained the crowd at the Official Convention Dinner Dance at the Cretan Village. The official delegation for the Battle of Crete included Major General Georgios Mouroutsos and Lieutenant General Efstathios Kyriakidis were as Cretan violinist Giorgos Tsantakis and lute player Dimitris Antonakakis arrived for the events.

2007 begun with one of the biggest political events in the Federations history with a special Thursday evening Dinner Dance attended by over 500 people and organised by the Cretan Associations of Melbourne hosting the Minister for Foreign Affairs from Greece Ms. Dora Bakogiannis who was touring Australia with Prime Minister of Greece Mr. Kostas Karamanlis. The month of August saw the congregation of all the Cretans around the globe in the City of Iraklion for the 5th International Cretan Convention hosted by the World Council of Cretans. Australia was duly represented by its Vice President Mr. Stelios Koukouvitakis as well as other representatives. 2008 began with the 28th National Convention in the City of Churches, the lovely Adelaide in South Australia, were the National President Mr. Konstantakakis and his Executive presented their efforts to the Member Associations present, and at the completion of the Conference Meeting handed the reigns to the new Executive from New South Wales headed by Mr. John Assargiotis. Immediately soon the newly appointed National Executive began planning for the next 2 years, including the promotion of the Battle of Crete to the wider Australian Community. This also included a special effort in locating all the veterans of the Battle of Crete that were still alive in the all of Australia’s capital cities.

2008 saw a major highlight within the Cretan Communities calendar in Melbourne because the two historic organ-isations namely the Rethimnian Association of Melbourne “ ARKADI “ ( 1972 ) and the Pancretan Brotherhood of Melbourne ( 1977 ) after several years of deliberating finally united and formed one strong and vibrant organisation namely the Pancretan Association of Melbourne – Australia. This achievement was well received amongst the other Australian states with congratulatory messages been sent through on March 8th were the event was celebrated with the invitation of Cretan Musicians Antonis and Giannis Martsakis and Nikos Marentakis to Australia from Crete for the first time. May 2008 saw the arrival of the Hellenic Armed Forces including Major General Daniel Sinanoglou and Lieutenant Commander Efstathios Kyriakidis as well as the musicians Nikos Rinakakis and Giannis Mihelakakis who travelled to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. During the Battle of Crete commemorative activities the Federation launched the Book titled “ The Gatekeepers of Galatas “ in the presence of the author Mr. Brian Taffe. In August 2008 repre-sentatives of the Federation attended the World Cretan Council Annual General Meeting in Rethymnon in Crete were other Cretans around the globe including the USA, Europe and Canada converged and convened. In September the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand sent over 40 2nd and 3rd Generation Children to Crete for a 21 day Tour of Crete situated at the City of Rethymnon. The visit was a historic one since it was the 3rd time such a trip had occurred and all of the children returned with more Hellenic and Cretan culture imbedded in their hearts. Finally November that year saw the establishment of the Holocaust of the Arkadi Monastery 2009 started with a bang with one of the largest Cretan Conventions to date in the sunshine state of Queensland and the lovely City of Brisbane were delegates were treated to a full program of activity and events from the hardworking team from the Cretan Association of Queensland headed by their president Mr. Anthony Katsanevas. Cretan Musicians from Melbourne kept the delegates entertained till the early hours of the morning including John Pollakis on the Lyra and Nick Alygizakis and Tony Iliou on the lutes.

2009 saw the launching of the Australian Cretan Communities historical book titled “ The Cretans of Oceania from the 19th Century “ which was written by the author Mr. Socrates Tsourdalakis and published by the Pancretan Association of Melbourne where over 1500 copies were distributed. Melbourne’s launch was held at Queens Hall in Parliament House in Victoria were over 250 invited guests honoured the Association and the Author with their presence. Launches conti-nued in New South Wales in March, followed by Rethimnon Crete in the month of August and completed with a launching in Wellington New Zealand. It should be noted that it was the first Cretan event ever to be hosted inside the confines of Parliament House in Victoria. The Battle of Crete Commemorations included the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Hellenic Armed Forces Lieutenant General Konstantinos Kalamatas from the Hellenic Airforce and his aide Commander Leo-nidas Tsiantoulas from the Hellenic Navy. Young and up and coming Musicians from Crete included Manolis Shoinarakis and Nikos Kraniotakis who attended events in the Federations major cities. In August that year the Prefect of Rethymnon hosted the 2nd International Conference of Rethimnians Abroad were the Cretan Federation of Australia was repre-sented by the President of the Pancretan Association of Melbourne Mr. Tony Tsourdalakis.

2010 began in Australia’s Capital City, Canberra, with the local president Mr. George Katheklakis and his Committee hosting the 29th National Convention with over 140 delegates in attendance from Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and New Zealand. The program included a special visit to the Australian Hellenic War Memorial in Can-berra’s memorial drive as well as the Dinner Dance and official opening at Canberra’s newly renovated and expanded Hellenic Club. At the completion of the Conference Meeting outgoing President Mr. Assargiotis handed the reigns to the newly elected president from Victoria Mr. John Nikolakakis and his new executive. John and his hard working Executive spent countless hours preparing for their two year term. It should be noted that 2010 saw the printing of the first full colour Annual Magazine with over 1000 copies distributed worldwide, thus taking the Federation to the next level. Furthermore the month of May saw the Battle of Crete being celebrated all over the Country with Hellenic Defence Attaché’ from Greece in Australia Mr. George Bexlivanis representing the Hellenic Armed Forces in the commemorative events in Australia and New Zealand. The Governor of the Prefect of Rethymnon Mr. George Papadakis, his wife Maria and the Vice Governor of the Prefect of Rethymnon Ms. Ioanna Kefalogianni – Byrliraki visited Australia for the first time and honoured the events with their presence including a honourable luncheon at Parliament House in Victoria as well as other visits. The ever charismatic Violinist Antonis Martsakis accompanied by Nikos Marentakis and Giorgos Klostrakis from Crete gave the people of Australia a month of Cretan madness spreading the love of Cretan Music to all. Other events included the launching of two books relating to the Battle of Crete, namely the book titled “ Diggers and Greeks “ by the author Dr. Maria Hill and the other titled “ Creforce – The Anzacs and the Battle of Crete “ by the author Ms. Stella Tzobanakis. The month of June saw the Federation’s involvement at the Australian Hellenic Councils Conference in Canberra were representatives Tony Tsourdalakis and Nikos Koukouvitakis had the opportunity in meeting with Australian Prime Minister Mr. Kevin Rudd, were matters pertaining to the Battle of Crete were presented to him. 2010 also saw the official repre-sentation of the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand at the 4th International Cretan Congress in the City of Ag. Nikolaos in the Prefect of Lasithi, were over 500 delegates converged and united with one voice for over 3 days. Federation President Mr. John Nikolakakis gave a detailed account of the Cretans and their organisations in the Oceania region using digital technology to highlight his points of reference. The Cretan Youth of Australia & New Zealand were also represented by their National President Ms. Evie Armenopoulos, their National Secretary Ms. Mary Vasilakis and NSW representative Ms. Tina Parliaros. November 2010 bought another historical milestone in the Australian Cretan Historical Chapters with the attendance in Melbourne of the 25 person delegation of the Omilos Vrakoforon Kritis who arrived in Melbourne from Crete and took over the city for a six day period, proudly hosted by the Pancretan Association of Melbourne under their ARKADIA Festival. Special planning for the 70th Anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Crete has began for 2011.

2011 can be classified as a big year for the Cretan Community of the Oceania region. The year began with one of the most successful conventions in the Federations history hosted by the Cretan Association of Tasmania, in the rugged and mountainous City of Hobart. The program included a wide variety of site seeing tours, the regular meetings for the delegates and our Youth Chapters, and of course the Cretan Filoxenia to all the delegates. The Convention was a highlight with the presence of Musicians Sifis Tsourdalakis and Manolis Hamogiorgakis from Crete. The Soccer match was a hit with both above named musicians scoring all the goals for Victoria, to bring the cup back to Melbourne defeating Tassie 7 – 4. Following the convention the Member Associations of the Cretan Federation began planning for the commemorative events for the Battle of Crete, simply because we commemorated the 70th Anniversary 1941 – 2011. The events commenced in Sydney in early April and were completed by 10th May in Canberra. The events were held earlier so that Members can accompany the 10 Australian Veterans that visited Crete in May. The highlight of the year was the trip to Crete for the 70th Anniversary Commemorative Events. To mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Crete and the Anzac involvement, more than 60 Australians travelled to Greece last month on a historic trip to honour the forgotten Anzacs. The inaugural pilgrimage was in honour of the thousands of Australian, New Zealand and British troops who, alongside Greek soldiers and the people of the Greek island of Crete, formed a crucial bond as they defended the Greek island against the Germans who launched the first parachute drop of World War II on Crete on May 20, 1941. Among those who took part in the historic commemorative trip included Veterans Basil Hayler, Norman Maddock, Jack Dihm, Des Beard, Daniel Bowden, Alfred Carpenter, Arthur Leggett and George Taylor, the Minister for Veterans Affairs Mr. Warren Snowden and a plethora of Federal and State ministers – including : John Pantazopoulos ( Dandenong ), Bruce Atkinson ( Eastern Region ), Lee Tarlamis ( Southern Region ), Martin Foley ( Albert Park ), Jude Perera ( Cranbourne ), Colin Brooks ( Bundoora ), Geoffrey Howard ( Ballarat West ), Christine Campbell ( Pascoe Vale ), Marlene Kairouz ( Koroit ), Khalil Eideh ( Western Metropolitan ), Christine Fyffe ( Evelyn ), Joanne Duncan ( Macedon ) , Steve Georganas ( Hindmarsh ), Leesa Vlahos ( South Australia ) and former Minister Theo Theophanous. The Cretan Community of Australia was represented by Mr. John Nikolakakis, President of the Cretan Federation of Australia & N.Z. and Mr. Christos Polentas, Vice President of the Cretan Federation of Australia & N.Z. – The Pancretan Association of Melbourne was represented by its President Mr. Tony Tsourdalakis as well as the Pancretan Council Members Mr. John Kontekakis, Mr. John Rerakis and Mr. Nick Rerakis and their father George Rerakis as well the Pancretan Youth Members including Yianni Rerakis, Giorgi Rerakis, Giorgi Ibrahimi and Panagioti Reraki. The Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne was represented by Mr. George Shoinas and Mr. Joseph Manatakis. Cretan Association of Wellington was represented by Mr. George Kosmadakis. The busy program began with two very moving ceremonies in the City of Athens at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Faliron and the Tomb of the unknown Soldier at Syntagma Square were Members of Australia’s Federation Guard (AFG) led a ceremony at the Phaleron Commonwealth War Cemetery in Athens, Greece, to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Greece and Crete. Present at the 18 May ceremony were six Australian veterans of the conflict, officials from the Departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Defence, and Greek member of the Australian Parliament, the Hon. Steve Georganas. The Commanding Officer of the AFG contingent Lieutenant Luke Haitas said that the catafalque party had conducted an excellent and moving ceremony at the beachside cemetery.

Following the events in Crete the Cretan Federation of Australian and New Zealand concentrated on other matters. It financially contributed to the assistance of the Cretan Association of Florina by donating $ 5000 towards their cause, so that they would stay afloat and not lose their clubhouse. This was considered a huge success. Furthermore the President and Secretary attended the annual General Meeting of the Cretans of Adelaide, in South Australia and assisted them with various means, because they were having difficulty keeping their club house. All members rallied, important decisions were made and the Cretan House in Adelaide was not sold, and kept for the future generations. Another great success story. The C.F.A.N.Z. delegation that went to Crete for the Election A.G.M. of the World Council of Cretans. The Delegation included Christos Polentas ( Vic. ), George Neonakis ( N.Z. ), Kostas Hnaris ( N.T. ), Tony Tsourdalakis ( Vic. ), Tina Parliaros ( NSW ), Stelios Koukouvitakis ( Vic. ), Nikos Nikolakakis ( Vic. ) and Ioannis Kontekakis ( Vic ). After a marathon meeting, the C.F.A.N.Z. Executive decided that Australia would nominate for the International Presidency with the Executive made up of the elected representatives Maria Lagoudakis ( NSW ), Manuel Starakis ( VIC ), Tony Tsourdalakis ( VIC ) and George Neonakis ( NZ ). Finally in Rethymnon, Crete on the 5th August, Oceania was awarded the International Chair unanimously by all the other Federation bodies including the USA, Europe and Greece, with the President being Mr. Tony Tsourdalakis. This came to fruition due to the hard work of all the delegates present, which everyone stated was a success. The year closed with the Arkadia Festival being hosted by the Federation members in Victoria and New South Wales.

The year 2011 can be classified as a big year for the Cretan Community of the Oceania region. The year began with one of the most successful conventions in the Federations history hosted by the Cretan Association of Tasmania, in the rugged and mountainous City of Hobart. The program included a wide variety of site seeing tours, the regular meetings for the delegates and our Youth Chapters, and of course the Cretan Filoxenia to all the delegates. The Convention was a highlight with the presence of Musicians Sifis Tsourdalakis and Manolis Hamogiorgakis from Crete. The Soccer match was a hit with both above named musicians scoring all the goals for Victoria, to bring the cup back to Melbourne defeating Tassie 7 – 4. Following the convention the Member Associations of the Cretan Federation began planning for the commemorative events for the Battle of Crete, simply because we commemorated the 70th Anniversary 1941 – 2011. The events commenced in Sydney in early April and were completed by 10th May in Canberra. The events were held earlier so that Members can accompany the 10 Australian Veterans that visited Crete in May. The highlight of the year was the trip to Crete for the 70th Anniversary Commemorative Events. To mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Crete and the Anzac involvement, more than 60 Australians travelled to Greece last month on a historic trip to honour the forgotten Anzacs. The inaugural pilgrimage was in honour of the thousands of Australian, New Zealand and British troops who, alongside Greek soldiers and the people of the Greek island of Crete, formed a crucial bond as they defended the Greek island against the Germans who launched the first parachute drop of World War II on Crete on May 20, 1941. Among those who took part in the historic commemorative trip included Veterans Basil Hayler, Norman Maddock, Jack Dihm, Des Beard, Daniel Bowden, Alfred Carpenter, Arthur Leggett and George Taylor, the Minister for Veterans Affairs Mr. Warren Snowden and a plethora of Federal and State ministers – including : John Pantazopoulos ( Dandenong ), Bruce Atkinson ( Eastern Region ), Lee Tarlamis ( Southern Region ), Martin Foley ( Albert Park ), Jude Perera ( Cranbourne ), Colin Brooks ( Bundoora ), Geoffrey Howard ( Ballarat West ), Christine Campbell ( Pascoe Vale ), Marlene Kairouz ( Koroit ), Khalil Eideh ( Western Metropolitan ), Christine Fyffe ( Evelyn ), Joanne Duncan ( Macedon ) , Steve Georganas ( Hindmarsh ), Leesa Vlahos ( South Australia ) and former Minister Theo Theophanous. The Cretan Community of Australia was represented by Mr. John Nikolakakis, President of the Cretan Federation of Australia & N.Z. and Mr. Christos Polentas, Vice President of the Cretan Federation of Australia & N.Z. – The Pancretan Association of Melbourne was represented by its President Mr. Tony Tsourdalakis as well as the Pancretan Council Members Mr. John Kontekakis, Mr. John Rerakis and Mr. Nick Rerakis and their father George Rerakis as well the Pancretan Youth Members including Yianni Rerakis, Giorgi Rerakis, Giorgi Ibrahimi and Panagioti Reraki. The Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne was represented by Mr. George Shoinas and Mr. Joseph Manatakis. Cretan Association of Wellington was represented by Mr. George Kosmadakis. The busy program began with two very moving ceremonies in the City of Athens at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Faliron and the Tomb of the unknown Soldier at Syntagma Square were Members of Australia’s Federation Guard (AFG) led a ceremony at the Phaleron Commonwealth War Cemetery in Athens, Greece, to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Greece and Crete. Present at the 18 May ceremony were six Australian veterans of the conflict, officials from the Departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Defence, and Greek member of the Australian Parliament, the Hon. Steve Georganas. The Commanding Officer of the AFG contingent Lieutenant Luke Haitas said that the catafalque party had conducted an excellent and moving ceremony at the beachside cemetery.

Following the events in Crete the Cretan Federation of Australian and New Zealand concentrated on other matters. It financially contributed to the assistance of the Cretan Association of Florina by donating $ 5000 towards their cause, so that they would stay afloat and not lose their clubhouse. This was considered a huge success. Furthermore the President and Secretary attended the annual General Meeting of the Cretans of Adelaide, in South Australia and assisted them with various means, because they were having difficulty keeping their club house. All members rallied, important decisions were made and the Cretan House in Adelaide was not sold, and kept for the future generations. Another great success story. The C.F.A.N.Z. delegation that went to Crete for the Election A.G.M. of the World Council of Cretans. The Delegation included Christos Polentas ( Vic. ), George Neonakis ( N.Z. ), Kostas Hnaris ( N.T. ), Tony Tsourdalakis ( Vic. ), Tina Parliaros ( NSW ), Stelios Koukouvitakis ( Vic. ), Nikos Nikolakakis ( Vic. ) and Ioannis Kontekakis ( Vic ). After a marathon meeting, the C.F.A.N.Z. Executive decided that Australia would nominate for the International Presidency with the Executive made up of the elected representatives Maria Lagoudakis ( NSW ), Manuel Starakis ( VIC ), Tony Tsourdalakis ( VIC ) and George Neonakis ( NZ ). Finally in Rethymnon, Crete on the 5th August, Oceania was awarded the International Chair unanimously by all the other Federation bodies including the USA, Europe and Greece, with the President being Mr. Tony Tsourdalakis. This came to fruition due to the hard work of all the delegates present, which everyone stated was a success. The year closed with the Arkadia Festival being hosted by the Federation members in Victoria and New South Wales.

2012 saw the National Executive of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand change hands from Victoria to New South Wales. The President of the Cretan Association of New South Wales Mr. Nick Janes and his Committee hosted a well organised National Convention in the Harbour City of Sydney, were over 300 delegates from around Australia attended, to a week long program, with International Cretan Lutist and Vocalist Giannis Katakis accompanied by local Cretan artists Antonis Petrantonakis and Angelo Goutsios, entertaining the crowds on a daily basis. This Convention saw the official handover from outgoing C.F.A.N.Z. President Mr. John Nikolakakis to newly appointed C.F.A.N.Z. President Mr. Andreas Petrakis, who in turn announced his new executive for the next period including : Zaharias Lyronis ( Vice President ), Ioannis Trypidakis ( Secretary ), Sophie Saviolakis ( Treasurer ) and Emmanuel Tzirtzilakis ( Public Relations Officer ). In the Youth domain the following Executive was elected : Elena Assargiotis ( President ), Yiannis Rerakis ( Vice President ), Nikoleta Assargiotis ( Secretary ), Terry Saviolakis ( Ass. Secretary ), Tony Gelis ( Treasurer ), Sebastian Alexiadis ( Assistant Treasurer ) and Sophie Amarantos ( Public Relations Officer ). Throughout the year the National Executive spent countless hours preparing for the important events of the Battle of Crete. It should be noted that after a 2 year break and after heavy political and governmental pressure that was applied by the President of the World Council of Cretans Mr. Tony Tsourdalakis, the Hellenic Ministry for Defence once again approved the visitation of the representative of the National Defence Forces. Specifically we had Rear Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, who was the Chief of Staff together with his wife Despina accompanied by Colonel Zisis Krachtoudis from the Hellenic Navy. Their visit was met with great respect by the last few remaining ANZAC Veterans in Australia. Rethymnon, Crete played host to the W.C.C. Annual General Meeting attended by over 20 Cretan Australians taking part in the decision making of the World Council of Cretans. The Cretan Federation of Australia had invited International Violinist Antonis Martsakis to cover the events from a cultural perspective accompanied by Nikos Marentakis on the lute. It should be noted that throughout 2012 the Cretan Community across the country saw an influx of new Migrants from the island of Crete, forced to leave the island due to the financial crisis in Greece. This posed an interesting challenge on the Associations and their members to host and support these people, ethically, morally and financially. On another note the Cretan Federation of Australia & N.Z. assisted Ms. Tania Thodis in her research on a study of the Cretan Cuisine here in Australia were she had the chance to interview hundreds of Cretans around the Country. A highlight visit in February 2012 saw the President of the Pancretan Association of America Mr. John Manos and his wife Elena arrive on Australian shores for the first time and in particular met with the Cretans in Melbourne and Sydney. The Cretan Federation of Australia and in particular its member Associations attended and supported our Macedonian brothers and sisters who commemorated their 100th Anniversary of Liberation of Macedonia. Finally from a charitable perspective over $ 3000 Australian Dollars were donated towards the Kritki Estia Foundation in Athens in order to assist the Cretan Students in time of need.

2013 started with a well attended convention in Perth, Western Australia were the host, newly elected President Mr. Manolis Gerogianakis and his committee and with the support of the outgoing Western Australian President Mr. John Karakatsanakis put on a great Convention. Over 150 Youth Members attended marking it a great success. A highlight of the Convention was the trip to Margaret river to visit Preveli Park and host a Doxology at the St. Johns Theologian Greek Church which was very moving to say the least. International Lutist Kostas Karantinos was invited to attend and cover the Musical aspect of the Convention accompanied by local Australian born artists Sifis Tsourdalakis and Antonis Iliou. The highlight of 2013 was indeed the official events that took place to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Union of Crete and Greece under the auspices of the World Council of Cretans. Hundreds of Cretans Organisations from around the Globe reminded people about the struggle the Cretans endured to be unified with motherland Greece back in 1913, hence planning and hosting a plethora of events around Australia in all Cities, including Church Services, Wreath Laying Ceremonies, Forums & Lectures as well Photo Exhibitions. It should be noted that the Cretan Federation of Australia & N.Z. also played host to Member of Hellenic Parliament Ms. Dora Bakogiannis, who is of Cretan descent and who happens to be the former Mayor of Athens and the former Minister for Foreign Affairs. She was accompanied by her partner Mr. Isidoros Kouvelos. Member organisations in Melbourne hosted Ms. Bakogiannis at their respective club houses in Wantirna South and Brunswick. In 2013 the Cretans of Australia played a major role in attending the 7th International Cretan Congress in the beautiful city of Chania hosted by the World Council of Cretans. A well structured program of four days of events and topics was attended by over 400 delegates from around the Globe including Australia, America, Canada, Europe, Cyprus, South Africa, England and New Zealand. It should be noted that Australia was represented by two Dance Groups, the Pancretan Association of Melbourne Dance Group and the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne Dance Group, putting on a spectacular display and relaying the message to the people of Crete, that the Cretans Abroad hold their cultural traditions in high esteem. 2013 saw the closure of ERT TV here in the Oceanic region. The Cretan Federation of Australia wrote to the Prime Minister of Greece Mr. Antonis Samaras requesting that he overturn this decision and keep the Station open for all the Greeks Abroad. Another highlight for the year was the visit to Melbourne and Sydney of Metropolitan Bishop of Rethymnon & Avlopotamou EVGENIOS accompanied by his Abbott Archimandrite Parthenios Kalyvianakis as well as Profesor from the University of Athens Mr. Nikos Xexakis and Dr. Konstantinos Chlapoutakis from the Prefect of Lasithi who attended the Greek Orthodox Clergy Convention in Sydney as well as the Official Agiasmo of the Pancretan Association of Melbourne at the Cretan Village. From a cultural perspective the Cretan Associations from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne played host to well known Dance Choreographer Giannis Megalakakis from Crete who took Dance Tutorials for all the Cretan kids across the country as well as several Dance Tutorials at various Greek College’s. Furthermore it should be stressed that the Cretans of Australia assisted in the successful implementation and preservation of the Nikos Kazantzakis archives under the 25th Anniversary of the International Foundation of Nikos Kazantzakis and a successful forum was hosted at the Cretan Centre in Brunswick. From a charitable perspective the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne hosted an event to raise funds for the Metropolitan Community Clinic in Athens and donated $ 10,000 dollars to this cause. Finally 2013 saw the appointment of two newly elected Presidents namely Mr. Jim Papadimitriou from the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne & Victoria and Mr. George Neonakis from the Cretan United Association of Wellington, New Zealand.

2014 began with the nomination of National representatives of The Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand Committee. It was Victoria’s turn to take over the Federation reigns from New South Wales. This time it was the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne’s turn to nominate someone capable, committed, willing and with the correct skill level to lead the National body for the next term with the support of their capable committee members.

The 35th National Convention was held in warm and tropical Darwin in the Northern Territory. The two Melbourne Cretan organisations nominated representatives to form the National Executive consisting of President : Mr. Michael Houdalakis, Vice President : Mr. Michael Frantzeskakis, Secretary : Mr. Andreas Fliatouras, Treasurer : Mrs. Eva Gotsis , PR Officer : Ms. Aggie Mihelakis
The Convention proved to be a great success attracting tens of holiday lovers, many of whom, visited Darwin for the first time. They were lucky enough to be treated to Mr. Kostas Hnaris and his Committees warm and rich hospitality.

From the outset Michael and his team embraced their appointment and roles and proved to be a master stroke in the running of the Federation. Administration processes were immediately addressed and efficiencies changed. Treasurer Ms. Eva Gotsis took on her role with great commitment putting the Federation’s financials back into order. She collected over $10,000 owing from various debtors to the previous administration. She was also instrumental in increasing the advertising monies for the Annual Magazine.

After his appointment like all new Presidents, Michael visited newly arrived Consul General of Greece in Melbourne Ms. Christina Simantirakis, whom together with Presidents, Tsourdalakis, Papadimitriou and Nikolakakis, made her welcome arrival to Melbourne a more pleasant one.

In January 2014, Michael and his team played part to the hosting of former Mayor of Athens and former Minister for Foreign Affairs from Greece Ms. Dora Bakogiannis and her husband. Ms Bakogiannis had the opportunity to visit the Cretan Village in Wantirna South as well as the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and Victoria in East Brunswick where she enjoyed the Cretan “filoxenia” from their respective members.

Cretan Federation exposure in 2014 was increased substantially with the CFANZ President, Mr. Michael Houdalakis, World Council of Cretans President Mr. Tony Tsourdalakis and Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne President Mr. Jim Papadimitriou attending the official breakfast hosted by H.A.C.C.I. in honour of the Minister for Tourism Ms. Olga Kefalogianni. Ms Kefalogianni was visiting Australia on official Ministerial duties and in particular to sign social security agreements with Australia.

The Cretan Federation also hosted representatives from the Hellenic Armed Forces – Lieutenant General Georgios Petkos and his wife Erofili, Colonel Athanasios Zafiropoulos – honoured the events of the 2014 Battle of Crete Commemorations with their presence on a National Level. Their packed schedule whilst in Australia was complemented with official State and other National visits. However they also left with wonderful personal experiences and memories from a vibrant and active Cretan Community. National President – Mr. Houdalakis hosted the visitors during their time in Australia and attended Commemorative events both in Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance and Sydney’s Martin Place.

In 2014 the Cretan Federation of Australia also supported two projects by contributing financially to the erection of a Memorial plaque in 42nd Street, Tsikalaria, Chania. This is a plaque honouring Reg. Saunders and the Battle that took place at 42nd Street. CFANZ also contributed financially to a book produced by the Pancretan Association of Melbourne “ The Battle of Crete – The Untold Stories “ which was launched at Anzac House by Dr. Peter Ewer.

Their first year in office saw several members from the Cretan Federation travel to Crete to attend their first Annual General Meeting at the World Council of Cretans. This event took place in the Historic Monastery of the Arkadi, Rethymno. CFANZ attend to represent Cretans of the Oceania region. At this Annual General Meeting outgoing W.C.C. President Mr. Tony Tsourdalakis whom was elected from Oceania, together with Mr. George Neonakis, Mr. Manuel Starakis, and Maria Lagoudakis concluded their term in office. Mr. Manuel Velivasakis (USA) was appointed as World Council President. This allowed Oceania to elect three new representatives to sit on the new World Council of Cretans. This Board including Mr. Michael Houdalakis as a Vice President of the W.C.C., Mrs. Eva Gotsis and Mr Andreas Fliatouras.

Throughout their time in Greece, the National Executive also visited the Maritime Museum in Chania as well as visiting the Military base in Athens and meeting with Lieutenant General Petkos and Colonel Zafiropoulos.

The fundamental role of the National Federation is to support its member constituents including the smaller ones and less vocal members organisations including Tasmania, Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia. The CFNAZ offers moral, ethical, organisational and where possible financial support, to encourage the Cretan organisations to continue to prosper thrive.
During the course of the year the National Executives endeavoured to seek funding both on a Local, State and Federal Level a series of meetings with high ranking officials and politicians both in Canberra and in Melbourne took place. Executives met with members from the Victoria Multicultural Commission and the Department of Defence, discussing possible funding solutions for the 75th Anniversary commemorative events in 2016.

CFNAZ President and Members of the Executive also attended many community events including the Official opening of the Greek Cultural Centre built by the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne & Victoria, the Commemorative function for the 148th Anniversary for the Arkadi Holocaust hosted by the Pancretan Association of Melbourne and the Cocktail function hosted by the Consul General for Greece in Melbourne for the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace, Mr George Orfanos and the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Mr Yiannis Boutaris.

2015 was an exciting year for the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand with the hosting of the 36th National Convention for the Cretans of the Oceania Region in the glorious City of Wellington, New Zealand. The Convention was hosted by the Cretan United of New Zealand its President Mr. George Neonakis and his Committee. Cretan musician, Dimitri Vakakis, together with local talents Antoni Petradonakis and Angelo Goutzios entertained delegates at the various functions of the Convention.

C.F.A.N.Z. President Mr. Michael Houdalakis welcomed all delegates and hosted the Annual General Meeting as well as providing them with an overview of 2014 including : ( a ) Battle of Crete Annual Magazine for 2014. It is noted that a profit was made with the production of same given the new sponsors sought and funding from these sponsors, ( b ) Battle of Crete Commemorative coins were released by the Royal Australian Mint as part of a series of Coins highlighting the ANZAC Centenary and the Australian involvement in the Greece and Crete campaigns. Mr. George Katheklakis from the A.C.T. played an integral role in assisting the project was completed, ( c ) Mr Houdalakis’ meetings in Canberra with the Ministry for Veterans Affairs to discuss possible funding for the 75th Anniversary commemorative events in 2016 ( d ), Successful hosting and including private luncheon of representatives from the Hellenic Armed Forces for the Battle of Crete on a National Level – ie. Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Georgios Paraschopoulos and Colonel Vasilios Broumas from the Hellenic Airforces, ( e ) Attendance at numerous public relation events across the Nation, ( f ) Official Representation at the World Council of Cretans Annual General Meeting in Rethymno, Crete and presentation at same ( g ) C.F.A.N.Z. Executive Official visit to the Maritime Museum in Chania for discussions regarding the 42nd Street Project ( h ) Attendance at commemorative events for the Holocaust of the Arkadi Monastery in Melbourne hosted by the Pancretan Association of Melbourne ( i ) Attendance to the commemorative events for the birth of Eleftherios Venizelos in Melbourne hosted by the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne ( j ) Assisted in the inaugural formation of the Battle of Crete & Greece Commemorative Council. A Cretan Federation delegate has a nominated seat on this Council ( k ) Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand co-ordinated the National fund raising campaign in order to purchase pharmaceutical supplies to be donated to all the hospitals in Crete, with the support of the World Council of Cretans, ( l )

In 2015, The Federation Executive received the resignation of Public Relations Officer Ms. Aggie Mihelakis from the Pancretan Association of Melbourne who was replaced by Mr. John Rerakis from the same organisation. Furthermore, the National President Mr. Michael Houdalakis appointed a Greek Liaison representative in Crete, namely Ms. Maria Katsipataki. Maria would assist in the co-ordination of all things required by the Cretan Federation of Australia in Greece.

November 2015 saw the Inaugural Meeting hosted by the Presidents of the two Cretan organisations in Melbourne under the Federation’s guidance. They assisted with the establishment of the Battle of Crete Commemorative Council, this meeting was held at the Greek Centre and attended by over 15 representatives from various government, private and corporate sector delegates. It was decided unanimously that the council should cover and represent the entire campaign in Greece and not only Crete, not taking away however from the importance of the Battle of Crete.

2016 – The 37th National Cretan Convention was held in Australia’s sporting Capital City – Melbourne. Both Victorian Cretan organisations worked tirelessly towards ensuring that the Convention was a memorable and standout event for all National participants.

International Cretan artists were invited to cover the 6 day program. Giorgos Stratakis ( Lyra & Vocals ), Nikos Stratakis ( Lute and Vocals) and Dimitris Zografakis ( Guitar ) literally rocked Melbourne for the entire week with their unique style of Cretan music. Cretan youth functions were well attended and delegates had the opportunity to meet and create new friendships during the convention.
2016 will be remembered as the year of change!! National President Mr. Michael Houdalakis felt that with an ever changing environment we cannot rest on our laurels or the great work done by our predecessors, hence why he felt that more significant work had to be done.

The CFANZ Executive believed it needed to alter our mind-set from the traditional “let’s have a dinner dance” mentality to a broader forward thinking approach. CFANZ believe we need to engage and ask for the participation of our members and more so our Youth to ensure the longevity of the Cretan organisations and their continued support of our traditions, music, dance and history.

National President Mr. Houdalakis proposed that the Cretan Federation needs a stronger collaborative presence and participation from each State and stronger numbers to explore the many ideas that are put forward frequently on a National level by members and the wider Greek Australian Community. He recommended that we amend the Constitution so that the Federation National Executive becomes a 13 member Committee and include delegates from each State. This amendment was accepted. Further to the rejuvenation of the CFNAZ Committee it was further suggested and resolved to update the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand Logo.
Mr Houdalakis also advised that in order to keep up with social media trends that a Facebook page would be created and the website be updated.

2016 saw further changes to the CFANZ structure and governance. It was suggested that the National Executive term be extended from 2 to 3 years. This would align the Cretan Federation with the change of Executive with the World Council of Cretans. This would allow the Executive Committee of the CFANZ to work closely with World Council of Cretans to ensure Australia’s and New Zealand’s presence and voice is heard on the world arena.

Throughout the Battle of Crete Commemorations the Federation hosted a Forum on the “ Life of Reg Saunders in Crete “ whereby his daughter Ms. Glenda Humes presented at the Greek Centre.

In May 2016 , the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand, National President Mr. Michael Houdalakis represented Cretans from Australia & New Zealand at events commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete. Numerous events were attended by Michael in Hania and Rethymno with many political and local delegates from various parts of the world. On a personal level Michael found these commemorative events a moving, emotional and humbling experience.

2016 also saw the Cretan Community of Western Australia take the initiative to host events commemorating the Battle of Crete largely due to the influence of the newly appointed Consulate General of Greece in Perth Mr. Antonis Kolliadis. Lord Mayor of Perth hosted a Book launch on the 27th June for “ The Battle of Crete ‘ the untold stories” which was published by the Pancretan Association of Melbourne, the event proved to be a success. All 4 surviving Veterans in Western Australia namely Norm Eaton, Bill Taylor, Arthur Leggett and Hal Fenkelstein attended and were honoured with a standing ovation. The following day, Secretary of the Battle of Crete Commemorative Council Mr. Tony Tsourdalakis together with Ms. Dina Gerolymou, the Author had the opportunity to launch the official School Photo Exhibition to the St. Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Grammar School. This Photo exhibition has travelled to various schools throughout 2016 highlighting the importance of the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete.

2016 also saw the launch of the campaign to erect a Battle of Crete Memorial in Kings Park in Perth, Western Australia. A Special committee formed to raise funds and seek the appropriate approvals to erect this monument.

© 2016 Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand

Address: P.O. Box 6083, Collingwood Nth, Victoria 3066, Australia  P [+61 3] 9417-1900    E admin[at]cretan.com.au

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