Greek Orthodox Church & Bell Tower

Greek Orthodox Church & Bell Tower

This church is the main place of worship for the Greek Community in the city and is a prominent symbol of non-British migration to Australia.

The first Greek community in South Australia began in Port Pirie in the early 1920s. At the same time, the Brotherhood of Kasterlorizian had also migrated to South Australia from the group of 12 islands of Kastelorizo (or Megisti), close to the Turkish mainland. When the islands came under Turkish sovereignty after World War I, the Brotherhood migrated to Port Pirie to tend to the religious wellbeing of its Greek community.

From this first small group a few travelled to Adelaide. By 1925 the tiny community had created a Greek Orthodox community in and around Franklin Street, where residential property was cheap. They held their first religious service in the Holy Trinity Church Hall in 1929 and continued to use the hall for important services and festivals. Ordinary services were held in Union Hall, Franklin Street.

By 1936 the community had built and consecrated the first Greek Orthodox church in South. Its first priest, Father Germanos Iliou, came from Perth, having travelled around Australia to raise funds to build the church.

The city’s Greek community grew slowly, from 211 in 1933 to 288 by 1947. It then leapt with the influx of post-war immigrants, reaching 703 by 1954. Numbers stayed at that level until the early 1970s, when many Greek families moved from the west end to the suburbs.

In 1957 a community hall was built beside the church. The congregation used this for fundraising activities to build a larger church as the original was by then too small. The new church replaced the old one in 1966.

The architects were S. Psaltis, H. Tsakalidis, Michael Beltsos and John Lentakis. Athanasious Vardatsikos took two years to complete the exquisite icons that decorate the walls.

The new building reflects very closely the original design specifications. The brief suggested that the final building should not be dominated by adjoining buildings, should provide for 500 people, draw from Greek architecture (particularly Byzantine elements such as the dome, arch and circle), and closely relate the sanctuary to the nave so that the congregation would be near the altar.


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The Greek Orthodox Church and Bell Tower is a significant reflection of non-British migration to Adelaide.

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Images of Greek Orthodox Church & Bell Tower

  • Greek Orthodox Church and Bell Tower, 2014
S Psaltis, H Tsakalidis, Michael Beltsos, John Lentakis
Athanasious Vardatsikos
Building materials
Architectural styles
5 Late Twentieth-Century Period 1960–2000, 5.10 Immigrant's Nostalgic
1966 -
Architecture and design features
Engineering features
West End
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Greek Orthodox Church
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Religious, Church
AS2482 classification
15500 - Religious Building
Public Access
Opening hours only
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5494/878 F4869 A3 CT 5494/879 F4869 A4 CT 5494/880 F4869 A5
NTSA file exists
Heritage Status
State Heritage listed
State heritage listing
State Heritage listed
Date of State heritage listing
Local heritage listing
Date of Local heritage listing
NTSA listing
Date of NTSA listing
Section 23 (4) crtiteria
Risk status
Historic Themes
2.2 Immigration
2.2.7 Greek Settlers
6.3 Worshipping
6.3.1 Places of worship/Churches
Australian Curriculum references
Year 6: Australia as a Nation


  • ACA, Annual report 1937-38, p. 10; Building and Architecture, Vol. 6, no.4, June/July 1967 pp.20-5; Langmead, D.(ed), Creed and pp.20-5; Langmead, D.(ed), Creed and architecture, SAIT, 1970, pp.65-72; Marinakis, Father & Milton, H.G., Verbal information, 18 December
  • 1985.

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