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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 2103..


MS PORTER (continuing):

Even in recent times, with his heath failing, you could still see him there. While I was doing my regular mobile offices, I often saw him there. He was interested in what was happening, always wanted to help people out and offer advice about people's businesses if he could. I think we have all experienced him doing that.

Many migrants who have come to Canberra have become successful businesspeople and civic leaders. We must recognise their contribution to us as a city, but none more than Tom Efkarpidis. His passing will be mourned by many and mourned by me and my family. His legacies will live on for many years to come. I wish to express my deepest condolences to all his family and friends.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.54): I was quite disappointed not to be able to get to the funeral of Tom Efkarpidis last week. It is sad that such a great man died at a relatively young age. He comes from a fabulous family and I think that was at the heart of the person that Tom was. He understood the value of many things, whether it be work, charity or church, but it was the value of family that I think people would most remember Tom for.

In many ways the Efkarpidis story is the Australian story: a very upset Europe post-World War II, immigration, travelling the country, various jobs, business, worked two jobs, worked hard and achieved success. But it was always done within the context of the family.

In fact, we moved into Curtin not long after the Efkarpidis boys set up the fish and chip shop. I can assure you that 20c of chips in the late sixties was a feast for a young boy-and a dollar would pay for a family for a night. The reputation they had of quality, fairness and good service stood them well into their further endeavours. ShopRite was a Canberra institution. But with success did not come swollen heads; in fact, with success came charitable work, compassion and a broadening of their network.

They always remembered. Tom in particular always remembered the debts that he felt he had to pay, particularly through the RSL and the Hellenic sub-branch, of which I have been a member. That sees Tom remembered every Anzac Day when the Hellenic sub-branch puts on the two-up at the Hellenic Club. That of course used to merge for Tom two of the things he was quite proud of.

From successful businessman, he went to philanthropist. His charitable work was not well known because he did not trumpet it, but he was very much a person who put back into his community, who understood culture and was very keen to see that the children of Greek families that had moved to Canberra still maintained and understood their heritage. He was very keen on learning and furthering the learning and understanding of what went on in the world.

I think that in many ways Tom really understood. But Tom not only understood what needed to be done, he just went and did it. That is the value of a man like Tom in your community. Whether it be work, charity, learning, church or community, Tom Efkarpidis just got on with the job. I think anybody who had the honour to call Tom Efkarpidis a mate was very lucky indeed and will remember him for a very long time.

Question resolved in the affirmative, members standing in their places.


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