The patriotic spirit of 11-year-old Greek-Australian Hector Vasyli is still alive and being honored by many people even 100 years after his death.
The newspaper boy was much loved in his time and his accidental death when welcoming home soldiers who fought in World War I elevated him to hero status.
Hector did a lot of patriotic work for returned soldiers during the war. He was among the first in the welcome home parades in Brisbane and with his pocket money he gave gifts of cigarettes or chocolates to returned soldiers.
Somehow, the 11-year-old boy was also a casualty of war as he lost his life in one of these parades when a vehicle swerved suddenly in order to avoid a car in the procession and hit him. Hector died from a fractured skull.
However, for many patriots, Hector Vasyli’s spirit is still alive. Members of Brisbane’s Greek community still lay wreaths at a stone tablet commemorating Hector every Anzac Day.
A memorial tablet commemorating Hector Vasyli is placed on an abutment at the southern end of Victoria’s Bridge the bridge, carries the boy’s face cast in metal and an inscription that reads:
“During his brief sojourn on earth he devoted much of his time to patriotic work for Australian Soldiers during the Great European War.
“In his veins ran the heroic blood of Greece, and in the breast of a child he carried the heart of a man.”
According to Australian broadcaster ABC, Hellenic RSL sub branch president Vlas Efstathis said the memorial remains a significant focal point for Greek-Australian community celebrations on Anzac Day.
“For as long as I can remember, for some 30 years, we’ve always been meeting there,” Efstathis told ABC.