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Stories to preserve history of Olympic Hall


first_imgOver the years, Adelaide’s Olympic Hall has been a place where the Greek Australian community has met to socialise, meet future spouses and, of course, dance. The reason we thought of doing the book was, as a group of friends we would laugh about the embarrassing moments, with boys asking fathers if they could dance with their daughtersAnd now, as the building faces demolition, a small group are compiling a book to make sure those memories are not lost. In 2007, when it was announced the building would be demolished, Sophia Orphanos and some friends founded a group called The Olympic Hall Revisited, to manage the book. “The reason we thought of doing the book was, as a group of friends we would laugh about the embarrassing moments, with boys asking fathers if they could dance with their daughters,” she said. “We’re not getting political about it, but when we heard the hall was going to be demolished, we thought we couldn’t let it go without remembering the way it had impacted the Greek Adelaidian community.” Although the group is all women, Orphanos said they’ve got plenty of stories from young men. “The boys talk about how they developed a language of gesticulation about who was going to ask first, and then there was the twirling of the fingers towards girls, trying to book ahead,” she said. Orphanos said Olympic Hall was also the place where community values were instilled. “It was something my dad said to me: we were to dance with the first person to ask, we weren’t to be selective because it took a lot of courage for a boy to cross the floor,” she said. “That stayed with me because I felt it was right.” The group has collected 46 stories so far, about half of which are written first-hand. Orphanos, who has an education background, has conducted interviews in both Greek and English to write the other half of the stories. “I’ve encouraged people to write their own stories, but some people are not very confident writing in English,” she said. She said only six or seven of the stories are written in Greek, although hopefully that will change. “It was our desire to have all the stories bilingual, but we haven’t been able to source enough volunteer support,” she said. Although they’ve got George Zikas volunteering with the graphic design, the group is looking for more people to help out with translation, layout, and, of course, to tell their stories. The Olympic Hall book will be released in 2011. For more information contact Sophia Orphanos on 0412 929 646. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more