The Hellenic Lyceum was the first accredited branch of the Hellenic Lyceum outside of Greece. It was also the first Greek women’s association to be established in Australia. Its inception took place in 1951 under the guidance of its founder Mr Angelo Gooma. The Sydney Hellenic Lyceum is a branch of the Hellenic Lyceum Athens which is a member of the International Association of the Lyceums with its headquarters in Geneva.
Mr Gooma, the then General Secretary of the Greek Consul of Sydney realised the apparent need of a Lyceum here in Sydney. He had previous knowledge of the Lyceum due to the fact that his mother was part of the Lyceum in Greece. Knowing the workings of the Lyceum he was able to promote its application in Australia.
The Hellenic Lyceum in Athens Greece was established in 1911 by Callirrhoe Parren who saw the need to protect women and to revitalise and preserve Greek customs and traditions. Where more was this need necessary than here in Sydney where thousands of unprotected women came from Greece post WWII. Mr Gooma identified the need to promote and preserve the Greek culture, folklore and traditions of Greeks in Australia. Mrs Parren stated. “The Lyceum doesn’t just aim to unite us in the respect and the love of woman but also aims to work for the woman, the family and nation.”
The Sydney branch of Hellenic Lyceum was founded on the same principles, ideals and aims as the Hellenic Lyceum in Greece. The women of the first Lyceum visited hospitals and the homes of the sick. They assisted them by communicating and translating for all their medical conditions. They took the role of social workers in the absence of ones that the migrants could understand in their mother tongue.
The Lyceum established the very first dance group of Greek traditional dancers in Australia. These dancers were asked to perform at many functions representing the Greek culture in Australia. They travelled interstate to cities that longed to have the Greek dancers, culture and traditions brought to them.
The Hellenic Lyceum has involved itself in organising many artistic and cultural experiences. There have been talks and lectures from various professors to assist Greeks in Australia to connect to their home land. They have contributed to exhibitions with their collection of traditional costumes and artefacts.
The past and present committees of the Hellenic Lyceum work tirelessly. Their aims are always the same as when they started but today our needs have changed. What is important now is to be able to reach out to the new Australia born Greeks and promote Hellenism to them. It is with this in mind that we wish to establish a museum to display out collection for the access to all the Greeks and Australians in the community.