The photograph was taken outside the Evangelismos Greek Orthodox Church East Melbourne following a celebratory eulogy marking the unification of the Heptanese (seven islands) with Greece in 1864. The Heptanese are located in Western Greece in the Ionian Sea. They include Kerkira, Zakinthos, Lefkada, Ithaca, Paxos, Kefallonia, and Kythera. The celebration is organised each year by Melbourne's Heptanesean Federation and commences with a celebratory church eulogy followed by afternoon tea and cultural activities at the host clubrooms. The women are dressed in traditional dress of each island .
Ithaca (and the other islands of the Heptanese) were unified with Greece in 1864. From approx 1500 Ithaca was under centuries-long Venetian rule, which largely preserved it from becoming part of the Ottoman Empire, thus creating a distinct cultural identity with Venetian influences. Following a brief period in 1797 of French rule, Ithaca became a British protectorate from 1809 until 1864 followng which the island was reunified with the modern Greek state.
Although Ithacans made up the largest number of Greek migrants who settled in Melbourne in the first half of the twentieth century, other Greeks from the neighbouring Ionian Islands also migrated to Australia during those years. In particular from Lefkada, and also from Kythera most of whom settled in regional towns in New South Wales and Queensland.
A newspaper cutting mounted on white cardboard which includes a photograph taken in front of a brick building with a caption below in Greek. The photograph is of a celebration and features eight ladies dressed in Greek traditional dress in front of a group of people.
The celebrations by the Heptanesian Federation of Melbourne for the 135th anniversary of the unification of the the seven Ionian islands with mother Greece, commence tomorrow with a celebratory eulogy at the The Holy Temple of the Evangelismos Church East Melbourne. The afternoon of the same day at the Lefkadian Brotherhood Hall, 12A Bell St; Coburg, the Federation has organised a cultural and musical afternoon dedicated to 'The Seven Diamonds of the Ionian'. The program will feature a talk, 'Angelos Sikelianos, an environmentalist, before his time', by Mr. N.Sofokleos; recitations from Stathis Raftopoulos and Thanasis Makrigeorgos; and Heptanesian melodies and songs from the choir and orchestra of the Educational Group of Florina, Melbourne. At the conclusion , savoury snacks, coffee and sweets will be served. Entry is free.
In the photo, a snapshot of last year's event.