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Mary Kalantzis


Mary Kalantzis, portrait

More information about the Greece-born community in Australia can be found at the DIMIA website.

Although born in Greece to Greek parents, Mary Kalantzis demands to be recognised, 'not as "Greek-Australian" but as Australian... I like to say "I am Australian in my difference".'

The daughter of agriculturalists without formal education (Nicholas and Diamondo), Mary Kalantzis was born in 1949 in a village in the Greek Peloponnese. The family migrated to Australia in 1953, both parents starting life here as wage earners, with her father eventually going into business as a barber in Sydney. The oldest of three children (one of whom was born here), Mary entered into an arranged marriage soon after completing high school. Not content with her life as a wife and mother at home, she decided to return to study, a decision that was not well received by her parents or her husband. Despite their objections, she persisted, even as a sole parent after her husband left.

Her decision to continue with study has, of course, been vindicated by the extraordinary career she has embarked on since. In 1982 Mary was the recipient of a Commonwealth Postgraduate Research Award and in 1990-91 she was a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at the University of New Hampshire in the United States.

She was Director of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies at James Cook University of North Queensland, Director of the Centre for Workplace Communication and Culture at the University of Technology, Sydney and a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Multicultural Studies at the University of Wollongong. She has been a part time Commissioner of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and Chair of the Queensland Ethnic Affairs Ministerial Advisory Committee, whose role is to advise the Queensland Premier on all matters relating to multiculturalism. She is now a professor and Dean of the Faculty of Education, Language and Community Services at RMIT University.

Although born in Greece to Greek parents, Mary Kalantzis demands to be recognised, 'not as "Greek-Australian" but as Australian'. To be labelled otherwise, she argues, suggests that '[s]omehow, you're not really Australian'; that the only 'true blue Aussie' is the one of English heritage. 'We need to expand on this,' she says. 'What it is to be Australian is something we've all contributed to - indigenous people and people of different migrant backgrounds', and Mary has expended much professional and personal energy promoting and celebrating this difference, with the aim of helping all Australians to come to terms with and appreciate their multicultural diversity. Says Mary, 'I like to say, "I am Australian in my difference".'

Source: Effy Alexakis and Leonard Janiszewsk, In their own image: Greek Australians, Sydney : Hale and Iremonger, 1998, pp 158-59.

Source of Image:

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Select Resources

Greek Festival of Sydney 2004

Effy Alexakis and Leonard Janiszewsk, In their own image: Greek Australians, Sydney : Hale and Iremonger, 1998

See also:

RMIT Australian Greek Resource and Learning Centre

John Yiannakis, The Greek Presence in Western Australia: An Outline History

Georgia Xenophou (edited by Alison Dolling), Greek women in South Australian society 1923-1993, Adelaide, G. Xenophou in association with the Greek Women's Society of S.A 1994

The National Library of Australia holds several interviews with Greek Women in the Oral History Collection

Select List of Community Support Groups

There are many organisations that represent the Greek-speaking community in Australia. Here is a list of some of them:

New South Wales

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
242 Cleveland St
Redfern NSW 2016
Phone: 02 9698 5066

Greek Orthodox Community of NSW
206-210 Lakemba St
Lakemba NSW 2195
Phone: 02 9740 6022
Fax: 02 9740 6360

Cyprus Community of NSW
56-76 Stanmore Rd
Stanmore NSW 2048
Ph: 9557 1256
Fax: 02 9516 1679

World Council of Hellenes Abroad
1009 Botany Rd
Mascot NSW 2020
Phone: 02 9667 4733
Fax: 02 9667 2860

Australian Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (A.H.E.P.A)
65 Regent St
Chippendale NSW

Ethnic Communities Council of NSW
221 Cope St
Waterloo NSW 2017
Phone: 02 9319 0288
Fax: 02 9319 4226

Northern Territory

Greek Orthodox Community of Northern Australia


Greek Welfare Centre, Hobart
PO Box 807
Sandy Bay TAS 7006

Greek Orthodox Church and Benevolent Society of St George
69 Federal St
North Hobart TAS 7002
Phone 03 6234 4618

Centre for Hellenic Cultural Studies
69 Federal St
North Hobart TAS 7002
Phone 03 6234 8808

Lepsiaki Brotherhood of Hobart
PO Box 36
North Hobart TAS 7002

'Estia' Festival
PO Box 448
North Hobart TAS 7002


Australian Greek Welfare Society
7 Union St
Brunswick VIC 3056
Phone 03 9388 9998
Fax 03 9388 9992

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria
168 Lonsdale St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone 03 9662 2722
Fax 03 9663 3245

Pan Macedonian Association of Melbourne and Victoria
470 Queens Rd
Clifton Hill VIC 3068
Phone 03 9489 3512

SEKA (Cyprian Community organisation)
P.O. Box 415
Richmond VIC 3121
Phone 03 9428 0739
Fax 03 9429 2004

Federation of the Aegean Sea Islands
PO Box 1505 N
Melbourne VIC 3001

APOTHE, Pontiaki Estia
199 Sunshine Rd
West Footscray VIC 3012
Phone 03 9301 1884

Greek Archdiocese of Australia (The Second Archiepiscopal)
Dorcas St
South Melbourne VIC 3205
Phone 03 9696 2488
Fax 03 9696 3583

Cypriot Community of Melbourne and Victoria
208 Lygon St
East Brunswick VIC 3057
Phone 03 9388 0970

Australian Greek Society for the Care of the Elderly 'Frontida'
94 Spring Rd
Clayton South VIC 3169
Phone 03 9551 8433
Fax 03 9558 1247

Hellenic Youth Federation
1st Floor, 168 Lonsdale St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone 03 9326 0950
Fax 03 9375 1500

Cretan Federation of Australia
28 Downs St
West Brunswick VIC 3056
Phone 03 9383 4298
Fax 03 9380 6015

Federation of Pontian Organisations of Australia
316 High St
Northcote VIC 3070
Phone 03 9489 4244
Fax 03 9482 2849

Pammessinian Organisations of Melbourne and Victoria
P.O. Box 3207 GG
Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone 03 9510 2692

Australian Greek Association for People with Disabilities
P.O. Box 66
Northcote VIC 3070
Phone 03 9416 9768
Fax 03 9482 2443

Western Australia

Hellenic Community of WA
2 Parker St
Northbridge WA 6003
Phone 08 9328 5141

Greek Orthodox Community of WA
57 Carr St
North Perth WA 6006
Phone 08 9227 6588

Hellenic Association Club of WA Inc
75 Sterling St
Perth WA 6000
Phone 08 9328 6681

Hellenic Association Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA
PO Box 350
Francis St
Northbridge WA 6003
Phone 08 9485 0034

Greek Macedonian Association
PO Box 225
Inglewood WA 6932
Phone 08 9375 8909

National Union of Greek Australian Students (NUGAS)
105 Circe Circle
Dalkeith WA 6009
Phone 08 9386 1592

Hellenic Christian Ladies Union
PO Box 252
Northbridge WA 6865
Phone 08 9275 3115

Cyprian Community of WA
PO Box 8061
Perth Business Centre
Perth WA 6849
Phone 08 9247 3197

See also:

Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia
PO Box 344 Curtin, ACT 2605
Phone:02 6282 5755
Fax: 02 6282 5734

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