Anzac Memorial Strengthening Serbo-Russian Ties in Australia

 

The Serbian Orthodox Church community of Saint Nicholas in Wacol built the first Anzac memorial park in Richlands, Queensland to honour the sacrifice of Serbia’s World War I allies from Australia, including Russian Anzacs that fought together with Australian forces in Gallipoli.

The memorial, approved by the Minister for Veterans Affairs, was officially opened on the 26th of April 2015 by The Hon Bernie Ripoll MP and Senator Clair Moore. The opening ceremony was also attended by prominent members of the Brisbane Russian community including Serge Voloschenko OAM Chair of the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland and Deputy Chair of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia, Konstantin Drozdovskii from the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Woolloongabba and Daryl Sluggett from the Parish of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God in Rocklea.

Paul Noskoff from the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Woolloongabba provided important architectural advice on the building of a memorial as part of Stage 1 of the project. In addition to the Brisbane Russian community, other parties that have expressed their formal support for this project include the Australian Federal Government, Queensland State Government, Lord Mayor of Brisbane City Council, Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand, Greek Orthodox Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Mount Gravatt, members of the Returned and Services League, Councillor Stephen Jolly from Yarra City Council in Victoria and Ranko Cosic from The University of Melbourne.

On the 1st of November 2015, at the Feast of Saint Paraskeva at the Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas in Wacol, Her Excellency Irina Bruk Honorary Consul-General of Russia to Queensland and Victoria met with Stevo and Ranko to discuss Stage 2 of the project. Following this meeting, Stevo and Ranko co-authored the charter for Stage 2 of the project. This document is available upon request and emphasises the unique opportunity that this project provides for Serbians, Russians and Australians to come together to honour the Anzacs and strengthen their long standing bonds.

Stage 2 of the project was formally approved by the Minister for Veterans Affairs and officially opened on the 24th of April 2016. The opening ceremony was attended by a number of Russian dignitaries including Her Excellency Irina Bruk, Alla Ekzarkho Artistic Director Russian Folkloric Ensemble Samotsvety and Associate Professor Dr Vladis Kosse Chair SlavFest 2017 Organising Committee.

At present, the Serbian Orthodox Church community of Saint Nicholas in Wacol is working on Stage 3 of project, which commenced on the 25th of June 2016 with the presentation of a draft master plan to Australian war veterans, indigenous and multicultural community leaders in Richlands. This document is also available upon request.

A key part of Stage 3 is an extensive community consultation process and, as always, we are most grateful for and welcome the support, feedback and ideas of our colleagues and partners in the Brisbane Russian community. We would also like to thank the Premier of Queensland the Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, the Premier’s office, Brisbane City Council Ward Councillors and Officers for their assistance and advice.

On the 23rd of April 2017, the Serbian and Russian communities in Brisbane joined in prayer at a special memorial service for Orthodox Anzacs held at Toowong cemetery. The service was led by Father Gabriel Makarov of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Woolloongabba and Father Velibor Bojicic of the Serbian Orthodox Church community of Saint Nicholas in Wacol.

The Serbian and Russian communities in Brisbane are also working closely together on SlavFest2017. For more information about the Richlands Anzac park memorial project, SlavFest 2017, or our ongoing efforts to strengthen Serbo-Russian ties in Australia, please contact us via

 

https://sites.google.com/site/svetinikolawacol/contact.

Article by Mr. Stevo Vlaisavljevic

Edited by Mr. Ranko Cosic

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