War hero honoured at St Patrick’s College

October 25, 2015

One of Ballarat’s greatest unsung World War I heroes has finally been honoured in his home town with the installation of a plaque and the planting of an olive tree in his honour at St Patrick’s College.

George Devine Treloar was a Military Cross medal winner for his heroic actions on the Somme and at Ypres, yet it was his post-war deeds for which he has been remembered across the world as a man who saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

At the end of World War I Major Treloar, a former student of St Patrick’s College, dedicated his time to working with the British Mission, helping resettle displaced families. Major Treloar worked voluntarily for two years assisting Russian, Armenian and Assyrian refugees and was the awarded several prestigious Russian military honours for his efforts.

Then, from 1922-1926, Major Treloar was appointed as a representative of the League of Nations High Commissariat for refugees in northern Greece and was responsible for the resettlement of 108,000 Pontian Greek refugees.

For his humanitarian efforts, he was awarded the Order of the Redeemer (gold cross) and the Greek village of Thrilorio has been named in his honour.

Australian-based descendants of the Pontian Greek community have this year sought to honour the man they consider the hero of their people and contacted St Patrick’s College to ensure the Ballarat community was aware of Major Treloar’s incredible deeds.

On Sunday, October 25, around 70 descendants of refugees who were saved by Major Treloar attended a luncheon at St Patrick’s College and participated in a plaque laying and tree planting ceremony.

Chairman of the Commemoration Committee for the Pontian Greeks Mr Kostas Antoniadis announced at the ceremony that an annual scholarship of $500 would be presented in Major Treloar’s honour to a St Patrick’s College student who worked tirelessly for the good of the wider community, as George Treloar had done a century ago.

-Such men are sculpted with such strong convictions from a young age and Major Treloar’s schooling must have played a major role in making the man he became,- Mr Antoniadis said.

-He has since passed on but his alma mater still exists and we wish to pay respects to him and St Patrick’s.-

St Patrick’s College Headmaster Mr John Crowley said the College was delighted to be able to honour such an esteemed Old Collegian and hoped the laying of the plaque would help inform the wider Ballarat community about George Treloar’s bravery and community compassion.

-At St Patrick’s College our aim is to raise fine boys to the status of great men and it is clear that Major George Treloar was indeed a great man,- Mr Crowley said.

-He is a hero of many nations, a man responsible for saving thousands of lives, all done with compassion and care for the individual.

-We are delighted to welcome to St Patrick’s College descendants of those who Major Treloar cared for, and are excited that his name will live long in the history of St Patrick’s College through the initiation of the George Treloar Scholarship.-

More information about George Treloar and his war-time heroics can be found at this link:- https://www.stpats.vic.edu.au/news/george-devine-treloar/