Queens Birthday Honours mark outstanding service

first_imgLast weekend’s Queen’s Birthday Honours marked a special occasion for seven Greek Australians who were acknowledged for their outstanding contributions to the community.“From a young child I had it in me to help with whatever I could.Irene AnestisThose awarded came from diverse backgrounds including medicical research, education, law enforcement and even aerobatic flying.Amongst the hundreds recognised on Monday, Dr John Nickolas Yiannakis told Neos Kosmos he was thrilled to be able to add OAM to his name. “It’s a good feeling, but it’s also nice to think that the things you’ve done over many years are actually being recognised. They noticed you’ve done things and made a contribution,” said Dr Yiannakis.A research felllow at Western Australia’s Curtin University, he has spent much of his academic career looking at the Greek presence and migration adaptation in Australia, with a focus on Western Australia. Chief Trustee of the Hellenic Community of WA, Dr Yiannakis has been continually involved as a member of a host of committees and associations, including the Kastellorizian Association of WA and most recently the Lemnos Commemorative Committee. But for this academic, giving his time has always come naturally.“I find there’s an enjoyment element – I find it satisfying, and I think it’s important to keep those things going.“We’re custodians, we’ve inherited a lot of these things by people who’ve gone before, and I just want to continue with that,” he said.Seventy-seven-year-old Irene Anestis was also honoured with an Order of Australia for her service to the Greek community of New South Wales. To receive the accolade, she said, was “an unbelievable joy”. “For me this was a surprise. It was something I wasn’t at all expecting.” Born on the island of Leipsoi, Irene arrived in Australia at 22 years of age with her four-month-old child, after which she embarked on what she describes as the “road to philanthropy”.An active member of AHEPA for three decades, she was the founding member of the Ippokratis Chapter and the Greek Community Home for the Aged in New South Wales.As life president of the Sydney Olympic Soccer Football Club Ladies Committee, she continues to be involved with the Organisation of Hellene and Hellene Cypriot Women of Australia (OEEGA), in addition to a number of other community groups.Although Mrs Anestis had her own family to care for, she recalls always having made it her duty to find time for those less fortunate.“If you look back to 76 years ago, you see how difficult life was for us in those days, how poor we were. From a young child I had it in me to help with whatever I could.“Women in those days were very strong to be able to do everything. We had the courage and the strength – but mostly you have to have it in you,” she says.None of the great achievements of those awarded would be possible without the endless support and understanding of their families. Dr Yianniakis perhaps puts it best.“This sort of stuff, this running around, just isn’t possible if you don’t have the support of your wife and family – their patience and understanding.”The other Greek Australian recipients of the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2015 were Professor Niki Maree Ellis, Associate Professor Alyson Kakakios, Mrs Daisy Kokkalis, Mr Christopher Peter Sperou, and Ms Photini Kallifidas. Arthur Katsogiannis was recognised for his outstanding work as detective superintendent with an Australian Police Medal. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more