Tom Lemnos

Approximately forty years ago a man called Eleftherios Canellos, known as Tom Lemnos (pictured right), from the island of Limnos, had a dream about dedicating a monastery to the Panagia, to be built by the sea.

The late Tom Lemnos passed away in Brisbane on 29th May 1971 and under his Will, he left his major asset, a property at Wellington Point (an outlying suburb of Brisbane over looking Moreton Bay) to the Greek Orthodox Church. The location of the bequeathed property was not suitable for the fulfillment of Tom's dream as the local authority had indicated that it would not look favourably at any development application for a monastery. The property, under direction from the trustees, was subsequently sold and the funds held in trust, to be used for the purpose of a youth camp and retreat centre for the Orthodox Church. A Steering Committee was appointed by the Archdiocese and, as an educational centre, it was decided to bring the project under the wing of St Andrew's Theological College and to be known as the Bribie Island Campus.

In response to a request from the Steering Committee and with the assistance of the then Speaker of the Queensland State Parliament, Mr Jim Fouras, the Queensland Government granted a Crown lease of about 5Ha of land at Woorim, Bribie Island to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. The land is currently held by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia Consolidated Trust as lessee. The grant was conditional upon development of the site for a youth camp.

Site Arial Shot

The Committee appointed architect Steve Costi of Thomson Adsett Architects, to prepare a master plan for the development of accommodations cabins for 100 people with a church, a central dining and lecture auditorium, playing field, caretaker's residence and associated facilities.

The site was rezoned in 1997 and construction commenced with the installation of infrastructure connections: water, sewer, kerb and channeled road access including a creek culvert and electricity. Hence, the site is connected to reticulated water, sewerage and power and fully sealed, kerbed and channeled roads.

The Bribie Island Campus project has received town planning approval and all other necessary approvals, including tax deductibility of donations. It also has the support of both State and Local government authorities.

On Sunday 7th October, 2001 approximately 700 people attended the first Divine Liturgy followed by the laying of the foundation stone by his Eminence Archbishop Stylianos. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated out in the open under enormous marquees. Buses from the four Parishes of south-east Queensland ferried the faithful to the site.

Construction of the Church

Construction of Stage One commenced in 2002 (pictured left) and the first Divine Liturgy in the Church was held on 24th September 2003. Later that year, on Sunday 23rd November, the 8th Queensland State Youth Conference was held. Sunday and weekday Liturgies are held regulary with the assistance of the parish priests from Brisbane. Greek Community associations, Ladies Philoptochos and senior citizen groups together with Orthodox youth groups use the facilities. The bi-annual Bribie Island Sports Challenges with the youth from the Brisbane Greek Orthodox parishes have become very popular. These events provide a spiritual, educational and social as well as a sporting experience for the youth.

The funds held in trust from the late Tom Lemnos Estate have been used to fund the infrastructure requirements and Stage One of the project - a Church dedicated to Panagia and an amenities block - toilets/storage/kitchen.

Construction of the cabins

Stage Two commenced with the construction of the caretaker's residence "Kastellorizo House" generously donated by the Kastellorizian Association of Queensland. "Kastellorizo House" was jointly opened on Sunday 24 October 2010 by Father Dimitri Tsakas who performed a liturgy at the adjoining Panagia Theotokos chapel, Nick Politis, President of the Kastellorizian Association of Queensland and John Panaretos, Chairman of the Steering Committee. The cabin is named to honour the Kastellorizian Community of Queensland who made a $52,000 donation toward its construction.

In 2012 a request by His Eminence, Archbishop Stylianos, was successful in securing a federal government grant of $1.9 million to complete Stage Two. Construction has commenced and will be completed by June 2013. The grant covers the construction of the remaining 7 modern self-contained accommodation cabins, spacious community hall, carparking and a coach setdown area. Stage Two of the development will be completed by June 2013. In March 2013 the existing cabin "Kastellorizo House" will be relocated alongside the new cabins. The Centre will begin to operate on 1st July 2013.