In Sydney the event took place in the Central Park before Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Environment Minister Tony Burke, Opposition Immigration spokesman Scott Morrison, New South Wales (NSW) Liberal MP David Clarke and NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson, along with Greek Orthodox Church officials, the Cypriot High Commissioner and the President of the NSW Greek Orthodox community.
Almost 3000 people joined them to mark the 1828 exit of Greece from the Ottoman Empire. Most of the spectators who had come to watch their children’s church or school group perform traditional Greek dances and songs. In a speech to those enjoying the sunny weather and Hellenic festivities, Gillard said it was “a day of seriousness and also of enjoyment … a day to commemorate great patriots and a day to celebrate what they won and what their descendents have built around the world.”
In Melbourne, the students of the Greek schools who paraded through the center of the town, participating in the traditional parade at the Shrine of Remembrance, won warm applause. Children, parents and teachers raised Greek and Australian flags.
Representatives of the diplomatic authorities, of the state and federal government along with the bishops of the Church of Greece, admired all the schools, as well as the Greek Diaspora organizations that were present.