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Development   /  Pria Viswalingam

Lemnos: Heroes Behind Gallipoli

A History Remembered


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Pria Viswalingam

  • PRODUCER Elizabeth Kaydos & Jacinta Dunn



The extraordinary story of a Greek island in the Aegean and its pivotal role in the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915.

With rare visual archive and compelling personal accounts, this unique documentary explores a little known setting during Australia’s first war that was crucial in the shaping of our modern identity with themes that reach through the decades and stir the national interest. These include:

* The critical role of Lemnos in the Gallipoli Campaign
* Women in Conflict Contexts (in National School Curriculum)
* Pioneering medicine in war zones
* The foundation of Greek-Australian relations

Few people are aware that Lemnos served as the base for the Allied campaign against the Ottoman Empire. The island became the M*A*S*H for the Gallipoli campaign where medical procedures were pioneered in make-shift conditions under challenging environmental extremes.

Support this project

22.00% funded
  • $50,000.00

  • $11,000.00

  • 3

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Theodore and Diane Kailis $500.00
Emmanuel Alfieris $10,000.00
Spiros Hrambanis $500.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Lemnos was crucial to the Gallipoli Campaign but has been largely forgotten by history.
This story of Lemnos provides rare insight into life away from the horror of the trenches. The film will highlight pioneering medical procedures and nursing practices used to deal with some of never-before-seen wounds inflicted by this "modern" war. The film also celebrates women's role in conflict zones: Just 136 Australian nurses cared for thousands of wounded, sick and dying in chaotic conditions. We follow the story of one Australian nurse who recorded her time in Lemnos with an unrivalled collection of photos, letters and postcards. And the film celebrates Australian-Greek relations - enduring friendships with the locals were evidenced in the fact that more than a few Australian and New Zealand babies were named "Lemnos" in the years following the war. The documentary will tell this little known yet compelling history and draw out themes that are in our national interest today.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

The documentary will bring to light a forgotten foundational history and draw out themes in Australia's national interest such as Lemnos's role in the Gallipoli Campaign, Women in Conflict Zones, Pioneering Medicine and Australian-Greek Relations.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Heralding the little known yet vital role of Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign should widen and deepen understanding of that formative moment in Australia's early nationhood. While much has been written, said and filmed about Gallipoli, few of us know about Greek support, sacrifice and friendship that has endured through the decades with Australian-Greeks contributing significantly to Australia's post war success, socially, politically and economically. Also, few Australians know about our pioneering medicine and nursing practice in extreme conditions. Innovation and selfless effort that were truly remarkable at the time and need wider recognition because they were early evidence of a new nation's spirit and humanity forged in the furnace of war.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

"Lemnos" documents a little known yet vital element of Australia and Greece's wartime histories. The documentary will hear personal accounts from direct descendants of those who fought, nursed and lived on Lemnos during the Gallipoli Campaign: a digger, a nurse and a local who bravely joined the ANZACs in the fight against the Ottoman forces.
Supported by rich and extensive archive and broadcast TV production values, the story of Lemnos brings to life the wartime tales of suffering, resilience and enduring friendship.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

Broadcasting on SBS Television will enable a national reach which ensures LEMNOS will be seen. The producers are working with some key individuals and organisations that have been helping to promote WW1 history in Australia and Greece, for example, the "Lemnos1915 WWI Commemorative Committee" who have unique access to key talent and information about Lemnos.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

The Gallipoli Campaign is a cornerstone in the history of modern Australia. And yet, so few know about the "shoulders" that the campaign stood upon - Lemnos. By heralding that critical role, we hope to inform, educate and update not just a new generation of Australians but all Australians who value our contemporary foundational history.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

We hope that as many Australians can see this film as possible through terrestrial/online broadcast, educational institutions, social media, urban and regional communities and international distribution.