Tuesday, 30 October 2018 20:30

Visitors to Perth 1909

We are fortunate in Perth to regularly receive visits from speakers, foreign dignitaries and scholars who address the local Greek community about issues and topics pertaining to Greece – modern and ancient. In the last few months a few such presentations have been delivered. Most recently, Professor Andrew M Chugg delivered an informative and well attended lecture at Leederville TAFE about the death of Alexander the Great. (Professor Chugg’s visit, hosted by the Hellenic Community of WA, the Hellenic Council of WA and the Pan-Macedonian Association of WA, was highlighted in the HCWA e-News.) Such visitations were rare in the pre-1970s era, but not unheard of. Here is an example of an early (maybe earliest) presentation by a visiting academic to the local Greek community.

During May and June 1909 Professor Darnley Naylor of Adelaide University visited Perth and Kalgoorlie for a series of lectures. He was principally here to advocate for the WA University Movement prosecuting their case for a university to be established in Perth. Professor Naylor would appear before a State Royal Commission advocating for a local university. He was lecturer and tutor at Ormond College University of Melbourne, from 1895 to 1906, and was appointed to the Chair of Classics at Adelaide University in February 1907. While here, Professor Naylor presented several public lectures about ancient Greece and Rome. One of these lectures involved a reception organised for him by the local Greek community. The June 12, 1909, Western Mail newspaper article below further explains the event.

A separate newspaper account from The West Australian ended with the following:
‘Mr. P. Michelides then presented the professor with a letter of thanks, written in Greek, of which the following is a translation: -"The Greek community of Perth. To Professor Darnley Naylor, M.A. Sir, - The Greek community of Perth, on the occasion of your visit to this State for the purpose of lecturing on ancient Greece, desire to express to you their heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the high, and informative nature of your lectures, which have awakened renewed interest in this State, in all that pertains to their country and their ancestors. Wherefore they deem it a great honour to consider you as a friend. Since the man who melts with social sympathy, though not allied in blood, is more valuable as a friend than ten thousand kinsmen (Euripides). (Signed) for the Greek community - J. Doscas, P. Michelides. N. Luccas." Perth, June 2, 1909. A vote of thanks to the chairman closed a remarkable gathering.’

 

Dr John N Yiannakis OAM

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