End of an era with NSW Humanist and UNAANSW Executive Committees

HumSoc LogoAfter 15 years with the HumSoc NSW committee, at different times as  Editor, President, Hon Secretary, Convenor of several events such as Australis 2000 a2k, CAHS Conventions, End of Year Party 2014 with entertainer Sam Pellegrino, Entertainer Sam, PellegrinoAvo Affie dancingand as HSNSW delegate to UNAANSW initiating the partnership event of joanne

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Logo

UN International Women’s Day which began with Waratah Gillespie’s (right) experience in Bougainville and ended 5 years later with The Hon Jillian Minister Jillian Skinner Jan15Skinner MP and which was my final event in March this year (2015) therefore ending my involvement with both committees. imageThe tulips, a lovely farewell gesture from Hum Soc NSW and the roses were presented to me at UNIWDAY by UNAANSW past President Valerie Weekes  whose support for the 5 years has been invaluable. It was also memorable having Robyn Carroll (right) Indigenous Community Worker from Walla Mulla Family and Community Support Woolloomooloo carry out the Acknowledgement to Country and to speak about Indigenous Women’s issues. Every year this event has taken place in Sydney State Parliament House gratis for which we are extremely grateful and proud. The Afternoon tea was delicious croissants with coffee or tea.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Logo
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

International Womens Day flowers for speakersgoodbye flowers

UN International Women’s Day 2015

The Hon Jillian Skinner MP NSW Minister for Health
The Hon Jillian Skinner MP
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Logo
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

UN International Women’s Day Seminar – CEDAW 2015 March 8 was celebrated for the 5th year in State Parliament House Sydney on Monday 9th March this year with our Parliamentary sponsorMinister for Health The Hon Jillian Skinner MP opening the Seminar  immediately after Acknowledgement to Country by Indigenous speaker Robyn Carroll from Mulla Walla Family & Community Support at Woolloomooloo.


Robyn Carrol
Robyn Carrol
Pam Lemoine
Pam Lemoine
Valerie Weeks
Valerie Weeks

Pamela Lemoine UNAANSW member read out the message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to UNIWDay. Valerie Weeks, Co-Convenor of UNIWD and past President of co-sponsor of the event UNAANSW spoke on the History of Women in Australia.

Robyn Carrol and Affie Adagio
Robyn Carrol and Affie Adagio

Sue Conde past President of UN Women Australia was to speak on the topic CEDAW Convention for Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Committee for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women which was set up to monitor the progress of the Convention; but unfortunately had to attend a funeral so sent her paper which I spoke to as I was speaking about my experience with attending as one of 22 community representative the UN Conference/Forum for Women Peace and Development in Copenhagen in 1980 when CEDAW was launched to the world and Australia had signed the Convention during the Frasier government.

Jillian Skinner MP -  NSW Minister for Health
Jillian Skinner MP

The same number of women government representatives had also been chosen by the Minister for Home and Women Affairs The Hon Bob Ellicott. Decades later we still  have a lot to achieve. At that time in the Scandinavian Parliaments there were many women members. We still have women in countries such as USA and Australia not being paid the same as men for the same work! And murder, rape and verbal and physical abuse is still rampant throughout the world however, the Minister advised that the Baird government would ensure a Minister for Domestic Violence as the priority if they are re-instated, that is how serious the situation is.

Robyn Carroll spoke of the history of Walla Mulla Family and Community Support which was created by a nun and is now a vital service to the Indigenous community. Robyn also shared about her struggle in life and we were all so happy for her because she has been awarded the NSW Woman Award for Sydney 2015 in the NSW WOMEN AWARDS 2015 and we presented her with a box of congratulatory chocolates along with her bunch of flowers for being a speaker.

Margaret Conway
Margaret Conway

The next speaker was Margaret Conway from GLAPDGreat Lakes Agency for Peace and Development. Margaret spoke about the Great Lakes of Africa especially women from Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Congo.

Chris Hamer
Chris Hamer

Buddhist Venerable Dr. Tich Minh Tam UNAANSW Committee member brought Professor Chris Hamer UNSW who spoke on the work of Women, Peace and Sustainability. It was rewarding to have full attendance in the Waratah Room and especially that we had for the first time a large contingent of men in the audience.

The Humanist Society of NSW has also been a co-Sponsor of the UNIWDAY for 5 years especially generous with covering costs and Ian Bryce the current President was invited to say a few words.

Mina Batra AM
Mina Batra AM

Mina Batra AM member of the UNAANSW Committee and responsible for the Interfaith Portfolio dressed in a beautiful sari thanked the speakers while Valerie Weeks handed out the final bouquet of pink roses to me not only as a speaker and Convenor/MC but also because the UNIWDAY coincides with my birthday on March 8th. So it was indeed a great day for me.

Waratah Room
Waratah Room

We thank State Parliament House for letting us have the Waratah Room for the venue gratis. We had beautiful croissants and tea and coffee with a platter of fruit and gluten free cupcakes for those who have sensitive stomachs but that was not gratis and that is why we needed to charge for the event.

International Womens Day flowers for speakersMany thanks to Fred Flatow HSNSW member who sat at the door collecting entry monies which covered the expenses of the afternoon tea. We are pleased to announce that serendipitously Fred won the lucky door prize which was a huge heart shaped pink frame for family photos which could be mounted on a wall which he loved and truly deserved!

I would like to finish with mentioning 3 important points: There are two reasons I chose to convene the UNIWD for five years:

  1. To disseminate information about women’s issues
  2. I chose the venue to be State Parliament House Sydney to show that the community especially women have access to Parliament House and gratis.
  3. We have available printed copies of Valerie Weekes’ History of Women in Australia, and Sue Conde’s CEDAW History and the event has been taped and will be on YouTube soon – contact Dr. Affie Adagio <affie@affie.com.au> or 0421 101 163 or (02) 9690 1431 (h)

Australian Gypsies?

Bob-1a-314x235 This image shows the Bob (aka dING) campsite where his motorbike with sidecar and tent is how he   spends his time away from home as a “grey nomad” which is what we call people at the age of 72 who love to travel or live permanently in campsite communities. His partner is no longer able to accompany him for health reasons but that has not stopped him. All their lives they travelled often sometimes in different ways. In Australia there are swish caravans, some restored old ones some not! Also campervans and today I saw a program on TV44 where someone converted a stationwagon into a motel bedroom in the back (or so it was called) with a colourful huge quilt. The thought occurred to me, as I was born in Romania, how different is the permanent campsite life to that of the Romanian Gypsy? One program shows a well known country singer/TV sports announcer (whose name sadly escapes me now) where there is a whole community of happy campers who top it off with rock and rolling – how great! the gypsy in me is tempted at times especially that I love rock and roll but I’m a city girl so unless I get involved with a guy who likes rock and roll then I’m not likely to be ‘going bush’! Nevertheless have we got Australian Gypsies that we call more socially acceptable names like grey nomads, or happy campers, or caravan communities?!

UN International Women’s Day 10/3 a Success

Hon Marie FicarraAunty Joan Tranter2IWDPamela Lemoine IWD

UN International Women’s Day (8/3) Seminar was held on Monday 10th March at State Parliament House Theatrette with Australia’s theme Ending Poverty for Women and Girls which was the topic chosen by Sue Conde past president of UNWA.Sue Conde

Aunty Joan Tranter, Aboriginal Elder, Jambunna House of Learning at UTS carried out the Welcome to Country which was so touching.
Pamela Lemoine read out the lovely UN IWD message from Ban Ki-moon.

The Hon Marie Ficarra MLC Parliamentary/Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier of NSW representing the Premier for Opening Ceremony in which she addressed female violence as still a pressing matter.


Introduction: Valerie Weekes past president of  kept us mesmerised with her story of how Valerie Weekes IWD

difficult achieving university qualifications in all male family

GRAMEEN FOUNDATION: Duncan Power fascinated us with slides giving an update about the wonderful work done with loans to women from underdeveloped countries, so they may establish their small businesses.

Duncan Power IWDRESETTLEMENT OF IMMIGRANTS IN AUSTRALIA FROM GREAT LAKES OF AFRICA: Dr Nadine Shema spoke about the difficulties experienced by her people as they adjust to their new country.Dr Nadine Shema IWD

INDIGENOUS WOMEN IN AUSTRALIA: Aunty Joan Tranter spoke about her struggle in life to become an educated Aboriginal family woman when it was expected of her to become domestic help. Sadly we were reminded of the indigenous woman’s plight once again.

PALESTINE & ISRAEL – A WOMEN’S VIEW: Vivienne Prozsolt (Straight from the Airport to IWD Seminar) Vivienne showed slides of some of the  atrocities that have taken place and as she is Jewish it was a sensitive situation to witness. However when my Jewish friends were offended Valerie reminded me that the UN have investigated the allegations and found them to be true ttherefore they have a peacekeeping effort campaign there at the moment. As this was an UN event at the time I thought it had been a relevant  presentation. However  at some time I will invite representatives of both sides to discuss the issue  at a Humanist Afternoon Talk (HuVAT).Vivienne Porzsolt3 IWD

AFTERNOON TEA: We enjoyed a get together and delicious afternoon tea


Valerie Weekes prepared beautiful floral arrangements of white roses with a small green hydranger
which she gave to the speakers and purple delicate ribbons for all particpicants to the UN IWD. In this picture is also a beautiful vase of red roses for my 70th from my cousin Harry Polymeris, the President of the Hellenic Cultural Association “Akropolis” (Greeks from Romania): the committee of which I am a member due to the fact that my family and I were in the 300 families who came out on the same ship the General Ballou to Australia in 1950.Harrys 70th roses

Affie’s 70’s Birthday/IWD Fundraiser the Party

Patricia Diane kicking up a stormtwist againI twisted like never before and so went my 70th which was the best I ever had. My granddaughter Talia Nicolitsis who had turned 11 two days earlier is so talented and has taken after my late mother who used to sing love songs. Tina my daughter is her mother, and we sat hugging each other like to chooks watching Talia. Sam Pelegrino had us dancing rock n roll where Diane and Patricia were kicking up their heels, samba for Silvana and Victor. The Hellenic Cultural Association Akropolis (Greeks from Romania- we came out 64 years ago and I’m on the committee) were here with President my cousin Harry Polymeris, Michael Contos, Panagaki Dimitriadis.   Then there’s a great photo of The UNAA(NSW) Committee Lindsay Mell (past President), Diane Sackellariou (whose late husband was Greek Victor Silvana Samba at my 70thRomanian, Peter Airey (past President) and Patricia  Jenkins. Also a photo with the other sponsoring committee of HumSocNSW Sturt Duncan, John Levack (ex committee), Silvana (Victor’s wife), Victor Bien, Brian Edwards, Fred Flatow and dog Coach, Angela Drury and dog Panda, me and dog Pepi.  We are short of $1,000 for each sponsor UNAA(NSW) and HumSocNSW so please keep the donations coming into whichever organisation you support no matter how small an amount and I will keep you posted through the Newsletters as to our progress.

Talia singing    Akropolis at Affie 70th         UNAANSW at Affie 70th       Humanists at Affie 70th






Nella Pip chattingThe lovely Maori Hut in my lovely garden with my my daughter-in-law Nella Zagoridis and close friend Pip chatting away. Nella and her eldest daughter Gaby (a member of HumSocNSW) Nick my daughter’s 16 yrs old son. Angela is involved in a tet a tet with another friend and new member Vivienne Weidler. Also hard workers together Fred Flatow Vice President of HumSocNSW Nella Zagoridis wife of CAHS President Paul.

Vivienne & Angela                           Fred Nella

dancing at my 70th The dancing goes on and everyone is in a good mood – good KEFI as the Greeks call it or good MOJO as the Americans call it. It was sunny even though the weather forecast was going to be showers so I hired a tarpaulin which we didn’t even open up. We had 10 bbq chickens in pieces ($100 donated by Fred Flatow), a huge potato salad (Tina donated) huge rice salad (Angela donated) huge pasta Bolognaise (Nella donated), a huge cabbage salad and cutlery, plates, drinks, venue etc (Affie donated), Birthday cake ($130 donated by UNAA(NSW), Entertainer and tarpaulin($350 donated by Molly Campbell HumSocNSW member). Avo and his fiancee Lee straight from Bangkok enjoyed themselves in the Maori Hut and he saved us $50 by delivering the tarpaulin back to Meadowbank on Monday morning for me. Thanks Avo.

Avo and partner           Pip with her Aussie family at my 70thPip having fun

Nick Gaby Zia Nella

End of Year Party Humanists NSW 2013

Every year the Humanist Society of NSW has an End of Year Party in DecembeSamENY'14r instead of a Xmas party because we are not religious and as secular Humanists we do celebrate the season without the religious tones.


George Eynon Entertainer                                                                                                                                   Silvana Victor ENY'14

Christmas ornament, photo by Kinki Chew, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, cc.1asphost/mydreamsland, Chrismas time


Viky's bright skirt


  2012 was held at 2pm 2nd Saturday in December 9 and our entertainer George Eynon a New Zealand ex-patriot who can croon the most romantic tunes of Sinatra Elvis and Bee Gees to Country and Western and jive (also transform as he sings the most amazing Maori songs) kept us entertained. We had a great time and enjoyed each others company over food and drinks.

2011 and 2010 the wonderful Rubella caused full house at Humanist House with his Latin American diva act which he performed on cruise ships.

So up until 2009 our parties were Mad Hatters or such which were fun nevertheless poorly attended by a handful of people


Mind you some of us have family who celebrate Xmas and we respect their needs.For example on Xmas eve I have my family over and we have Xmas Eve with the carols the Xmas tree and as in Europe (as we are origiChristmas Tree, photo by Martin Boose, Dresden, Germany, Christmas Evenally Greeks from Romania)  open our presents. In that way I don’t compete with my offspring’s family personal time and the time they spend with their father and in-laws.

Xmas at Tina '12


CAHS Convention June 2013 SYDNEY

Humanist Society of NSW bravely accepted its the responsibility to take on the helm of the national body of all the HumanistSydney States – the Executive of the Council of Australian Humanist Societies (CAHS) 2013-16 and that meant convening the CAHS Convention in Sydney which included the AGM with the election of the new Executive.  The Sydney Committee takes great pride in putting on a ‘good’ show and as I have the experience and enjoy the effort usually end up being the Convenor. The Committee is a great supportive group of people and this can make the planning quite enjoyable. The outcome was quite a success as we had:-

Friday 3rd May: 6pm Registration – Humanist House then Dinner Broadway Food Court

Saturday 4th May: 9.30-3pm CAHS AGM – Humanist House morning tea and lunch resulting in Paul Zagoridis as the new President, Mary Bergin -  Secretary and Ken Wright – Treasurer

Saturday Dinner Dance: 7.30 Ridges Hotel $65 (free under cover parking)


Paul, Robyn Williams, Ross, Mary





Entertainers:      George Eynon

George Eynon Entertainer




Talia  Nicolitsis, sang the Eva Cassidy version of  somewhere over the rainbow so see for her recent version see link:


for other Talia performances see You Tube : Talia Georgia Nicolitsis






Speakers: AHOY 2013 (Australian Humanist of the Year) Jane Caro and AHOY 1993 Robyn Williams AM (HumSocNSW Patron), Fred Flatow OHA 2013 (Outstanding Humanist Achiever), Dorothy Buckland Fuller (HumSocNSW Patron), Roslyn Ives (Past President CAHS), Paul Jane, Robyn& AffieZagoridis (President CAHS 2013),  Affie Adagio MC. Others present were Lee Rhianon The Hon member for NSW MLC Lee & John

(a HumSocNSW  member since her youth whom I believe, if I have the correct title, will  not be pleased with me using it), delegates from interstate, our Viewpoints editor (Frank Gomez and his partner Marco),  our Treasurer – Victor Bien and his wife Silvana, and our President – John August, of course Angela Drury, Brian Edwards and our pioneer Vicky Potempa and our generous an lucky Sturt Duncan who not only bought one of our Affie artworks but also won the second one that was raffled. We also had guests who were friends of our members and hence had a full house at the dinner. Our entertainer George Eynon who is originally a New Zealander ended his performance with some Maori amazing songs. Fantastic evening it certainly was.Silvana Victor

Marco Fabiani  Frank Gomez Editor





Fred OHA











Sunday: The Manly Ferry trip was the chosen tourist attraction and John August led the group of interstate and Sydney hosts to Manly on the beautiful half hour ride on our fascinating harbour which can get a bit choppy at the crossing of the heads but I thought everyone would benefit from a little adventure. One they reach Manly they had a walk to the Promenade and lunch at a lovely place near the beach                    What memories?Manly tour


Monday:   At State Parliament House Theatrette we had a Conference

9.30 Paul Zagoridis – CAHS President – WelcomeDr Nadine ShemaPaul Affie & GLAPD Panel





9.45 The African GLAPD Panel (Great Lakes Agency for Peace & Development)  led by Dr. Nadine Shema who introduced us to their work of raising awareness and funds for the countries surrounding the Great Lakes and not only the situation improvement but how much needs to still be achieved. As a result HumSocNSW became an organisational member for $100 p.a. to support them in there work and a resolution had eventuated from that session encouraging assististance.

11.30 Ethics Education Initiatives in Australia – After morning tea Ian Bryce  convened a panel of outstandingIan Bryce leaders in the field of ethics classes: St. James Ethics School – Simon Longstaff AOM (Executive Director) and Teresa Russel (General Manager) Ethics Classes; John Kaye – Greens MP; John Russell (Social Worker) Humanist Society Vic, Dr Victor Bien originally member of Federation of P&C Association commissioning (2005) St. James Ethics Centre instigating ethics classes.

Ethics Panel





Dorothy Buckland Fuller (Humanist Society NSW Patron) expressed our appreciation and gratitude to the speakers of both Panels.






   1.oo Lunch and close of CAHS Convention

Feedback from attendees from Sydney and interstate was extremely favourable as to the standard of the CAHS Convention and that it had been an enjoyable experience. We were all grateful for participants being so thoughtful as to give us feedback as this makes all the effort worthwhile. For example, 2 weeks prior to the weekend of the Convention we had 9 firm bookings when the function room was booked for 50 people! Cancelling the dinner dance was not at all in question and on the night we had a full house. So it was worth the stress because it was indeed wonderful to connect with everyone from interstate  and celebrate.





Remembering Eugenia Polimeris – My Mum

Dusty Springfield singing – You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me
Eugenia Polimeris
photo of Eugenia and Pepi

here with Pepi who visited

Eugenia’s story by Celebrant: Affie
Eugenia dedicated her life to her intellectually
developmentally disabled son Apollon and
she was also dedicated to any children in need of attention
her other love was rescuing/caring for animals
when Eugenia was younger

a beauty resembling Rita Hayworth in her
youth and a talented singer in a family
restaurant where my father, a
businessman, found her and fell instantly
in love with her, the love of his life until the
day he died even though she later married
Lazaro Markaris who loved her too,
her talent included art and crafts so that she could
sew designer clothes out of Vogue magazines, no
pattern, so whatever the shape of a woman when
Eugenia finished it was as though her body
matched the model in Vogue absolutely magically,
all agreed and paid well, at one stage my wedding
and bridesmaids’ dresses were divinely put together
in the last few days before the special day
as well as her own dress, the mother of the bride,
that’s the way it happened, everyone stressed out!
another time her talent extended to the then
trend of rendering the internal walls with a shining
plaster of a duck egg colour in a swirling pattern –
amazing, or glass flowers in different colours –
another trend millinery – beautiful fancy hats of
wondrous fantasy yet Eugenia did nothing to follow
through with her talent because of her disabled
son, Apollon, who was the centre/love of her life!
Apollon with Eugenia

her love of cooking showed another talent which
she may have had from her ancestors – her father
was Hungarian and her mother Russian and she
was born in Vatra Dornei a Romanian city which
had a large Jewish population and as Mum spoke
Hebrew and Yiddish as well as participating in
the Shabbat lighting the candles in the ceremony as a
young person, we came to the conclusion that
perhaps she was in fact Jewish before she married
Dad then became Greek Orthodox which was the
custom and as Germans occupied Romania at the
time it would have been safer for her family to be
quiet about being Jewish and for her to do the same
nevertheless she was full of fun and as eccentric as
Auntie Mame and to know and experience her was
at times heaven and at times madness but truly
not to be forgotten and always remembered  fondly,
once Apollon passed away on 1st November 2011
she spiralled down into full dementia and lost her
language and recognition of me and anyone else,
spontaneously out of the blue on one visit – I
remembered the doctor said she had an untreated
mental illness and realising why we had conflicted
so much during our times together  I said to her
“you’ve been a good mother to Apollon Mum and
you’ve been a good mother to me too, I was difficult
sorry sorry sorry – forgive me,
sihorese me (Greek), yiarta ma (Romanian)”
it was an attempt, on my part, at closure,
I didn’t know if it would register or not but to my
amazement her eyes opened wide and tears poured
out and with that I softly burst out crying too and
held her hand, Pepi my Chihuahua moved in and
licked both our hands trying to console us both,
and on the last day when I visited, the doctor had
said Mum was not eating and she was on the way
out, I kissed her on the forehead saying again
“sorry sorry sorry Mum, much I love you, bye” as I
left to go to the chemist to pick up my medicine, and
as I arrived  20 minutes later the sister told me she
had just died and that she must have been just
waiting for me to arrive in the first instance for her
to go.

now at last she has passed away and found peace
she will be missed and always remembered

Talia Nicolitsis
Mum’s singing talent has been inherited by one
person in our family and that is her great
granddaughter Talia Nicolitsis
(my daughter Tina’s daughter) who has won an
award for 2013 potential young singer. So for that
reason we have asked Talia to sing 4 songs for us
here today the first one will be Hallelujah for the
spiritual members here:


Talia sings Halleluja…

Affie read: Psalm 23 King James Version (KJV)
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth
me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of
righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and
thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine
enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of
my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Paul to share his experience with his grandmother
(Paul related the experience when his grandmother (Nona)
babysat him at age 4 and Tina at age 3 and she had black
plastic spiders and snakes on her wall and would take them to
the local park at 2 a.m. in the morning to play because they
wanted to, and it was such fun)

Talia to sing The Prayer (moving on to more
modern/ethnic) Mum loved Italian songs
Tina to share her experience with her grandmother
(Tina related her experience with Nona when having found
out that Tina at age 3 wished, on a hot day, that her
grandmother had an indoor swimming pool, Nona sealed the
bottom of her kitchen doors, turned the sink tap on and
running over eventually created an indoor swimming pool in
her kitchen, for the children causing them to have great fun –
(swearing them to secrecy!)

Talia to sing Somewhere over the Rainbow after Affie
explains that Eugenia used to sing this song often because it
represented  achieving a person’s dreams.

Affie Asking people to share about their experiences with

(Eugenia’ great great grandchildren Gaby and Sabrina
(Paul’s daughters) related their experiences with Nona’s
huge personalised  chocolate Easter egg gifts for them)

After this part.

Talia to lead us with Eugenia and Apollon’s favourite song

You are my Sunshine
(all to join in)

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away

The other night dear, as I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms
But when I awoke, dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head and I cried.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away

Affie: Thank you for being here with us
to remember Eugenia Polimeris
and also Apollon Polimeris

and please join us at Humanist House
10 Shepherd St. Cnr Grafton St
Chippendale (Broadway)
lunch will be served there`

Also  the donation envelopes are available for