Melbourne has the largest population of Greeks outside of Greece and is also a sister city to Thessaloniki (a plaque commemorates this on Lonsdale Street).
The Greek-Australians left the homeland for many reasons – poverty, civil war, political upheaval, the partition of Cyprus, the 1967 – 1974 dictatorship of the Colonels etc. though the majority of immigrants came to Australia after World War II, when the Greeks arrived in the tens of thousands.
It is an old story, a pattern repeated in immigrant communities worldwide.
Stereotypically, suburban milk bars and fish and chips shops up to the 1980s were owned by Greeks, and restaurants serving Greek fare can be found throughout Melbourne. Greek immigrants, however, have contributed to all facets of Melbourne’s cultural and social life, politics at federal, State and local government levels, and sport, particularly soccer. Most famous are the ‘Greek’ clubs: South Melbourne Hellas and Heidelberg Alexander.
Greek culture is celebrated throughout Melbourne, particularly in the annual Greek Festival that packs Lonsdale Street Melbourne’s CBD “Greek Quarter” with Greek dancing, Greek food, activities and rides.
From pita and dips to greek sweets, savour all your favourites at Melbourne’s best Greek establishments! The Greek Precinct has some of Melbourne’s premier Greek dining establishments, many of which have been open over 20 years!
Delicious traditional Greek fare can be found at both Stalactites and Tsindos Greek Restaurant. Then stroll down to Diethnes International Cakes to try a beautiful Greek Dessert!
Lonsdale St is host to the Lonsdale St Greek Festival each year. It celebrated 30 years in 2017! It is Melbourne’s biggest Greek street party, a weekend of Greek culture, food and entertainment in the city’s historic Greek Precinct.
Featuring 3 stages of free entertainment, children’s rides and activities, and over 60 food, drink and craft stalls, Melbourne’s largest celebration of Greek culture will takes over Lonsdale.
The Arts have a strong Greek presence in Melbourne through two prominent Greek centres – the Hellenic Museum and the The Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture as well as a prominent presence in the Australian contemporary art scene with artist such as Michael Zavros and Barry Keldoulis being two major players.
The Hellenic Museum is committed to safeguarding the past, celebrating the present and promoting the future of Hellenic artistic and cultural heritage. The museum supports the visual arts, film, music, architecture, history, culture and education.
With an extensive permanent collection, dynamic contemporary exhibitions and high quality education program, the museum aims to encourage an appreciation of Greece’s cultural legacy in the city of Melbourne.
The Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture (operated by The Greek Community of Melbourne), houses four levels dedicated to the interests of all Greek Australians. The Centre features function and exhibition spaces, education and community meeting spaces and the Greek Community of Melbourne’s offices.