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Category: Interviews »

Subject: Contemporary History »

Ethnic groups join forces

Nick Xynias.

Nick Xynias tells about the way the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland came to be.



Date Added:

15 February 2006


Nick Xynias interviewed by Andrew Jakubowicz for MMA


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

3.5 MB


2 min 12 s


Nick Xynias

President, Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland

I said now I think Sydney's too busy for me, so I hopped in the train and I arrived in Brisbane…

I got back in the 60s, when the in-laws were involved with the community, with an organisation: AHEPA, Australian Hellenic Education Progressive Association. That's an American organisation, very powerful in America. And they started in 1923 about racism. They were talking about the Greeks, about wogs they talked about, about mafia they talked about. And the Greeks got together and said, look we've got to get together otherwise we're going to lose our identity. And we'll never get to go ahead. So we become very strong…

In 1964 I became a member of that organisation and I finished up chairman of that organisation, in 1974 in Brisbane. At that particular time, it was one of the best in Brisbane. We had balls, and I was supposed to invite ministers – so I invited ministers to accept the debutantes and I became very friendly with them. Then in 1976 the minister sent me a letter to do something about the ethnic communities. Because I was telling him, I said it's sad really, we've got so much to offer – it's them and us…

So he sent us a letter in all sincerity to get together. So 14 leaders, I was one of the Greek community – Russians, Germans, Croatians, Ukrainians – we had a meeting together. And we had a Finnish, who was working for the department and he was the secretary. So we started in 1976: the Ethnic Council of Queensland…

So in 1977 I became chairman of the Ethnic Council. That took us a couple of years and we become stronger – about 70, 80 people…

We've got to infiltrate through our second generation, through our children, these positions, and start making services which accommodate the people from diverse backgrounds.