SYDNEY–The Armenian National Committee of Australia and the Australia-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group last week hosted in Canberra’s Parliament House a photo exhibit recognizing the human rights contribution of the Armenian Relief Fund of Australia.
Sponsored by the Australian Institute of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the photo exhibit, entitled "From Beyond Anzac Cove," was attended by key parliamentarians from both sides of the Australian political spectrum.
The photos of the Armenian Relief Fund of Australia were uncovered by the AIHGS from various Australian archive sources and represent the efforts of the Australian public who, from 1915-1929, provided humanitarian assistance to victims of the Armenian Genocide.
"The Armenian Relief Fund of Australia represents a proud moment in Australian history and today we thank you, as representatives of our great nation for the generosity of your forebears," said ANC Australia President Varant Meguerditchian.
Throughout World War I, some 300 Australians were taken prisoner by the Ottoman Empire. Many of these POWs lay witness to the systematic destruction of the indigenous Armenian, Greek and Assyrian populations of Anatolia at the hands of the Ottoman government.
The first genocide of the 20th century triggered an incredible humanitarian response across the globe. In Australia, from 1915 to 1929, the Armenian Relief Fund of Australia provided food, clothing and shelter to victims of the Armenian Genocide. By 1922, these efforts had become the first major international humanitarian project and set a precedent for providing aid to disaster areas to this day.