Councillor Klonaris

Growing Up in Darwin

I had been privilege to be born in Darwin in the 70’s and I have experienced life in Darwin over the last 52 years. My life experiences have shaped me, and I have a lot to thank as my upbringing was influenced by my parents who both immigrated to Australia.  My father arrived from France in 1950 and my mother from Greece in 1959. I am the second eldest child and only daughter of Dominique & Poppy Lambrinidis, I also have four brothers.  

Young Sylvia

I went to school at Wagaman primary and completed year 12 at Casuarina Senior College, furthering my education at then NT University in the 80’s and continued further study at Charles Darwin University whilst working full time and studying part time.  I got married and had two children and continued studying throughout my career.  I have obtained qualifications in Business Management, Workplace Health and Safety, Human Resource Management.

It was important to my parents that we would retain our Greek/French heritage.  My mother could only speak Greek, therefore we attended night school to learn Greek in the 70-80’s.   My early memories involving Greek dance and performing at the Greek Hall and citing poems of the Greek Anthem at Independence Day Dance were from the 70’s.

My parents played a big role in how and why I love to give back to the community.  Growing up in Darwin, was simple and were limited to entertainment following cyclone Tracy’s destruction. We went fishing, camping and swam at Nightcliff and Casuarina beaches. Our regular Sunday’s included church service and shopping in the city, (we eventually went to Casuarina Shopping Centre after it was built), we would walk to Casuarina Swimming Pool to swim and cool down in the wet season, as we lived in Wagaman.Sylvia Graduation

My Father was multilingual and spoke 5 languages.  Through my father’s involvement within the Greek Community, who was the Public Officer for many Years, we followed his community spirit supporting and actively engaging at events, such as the Bougainvillea Wine festival followed by the Greek Glenti. He was one of the key players that worked to get the Glenti started in Darwin.  I would help at the stores, selling cake and coffee.  

Growing up in Darwin pre cyclone Tracy was a simple town with a small community of Greeks who all knew each other very well.  Over the years, I have lived and experienced how our city is evolving into such a multi diversity community.  Many older generations who arrived here after Tracy, who help build our city to what it is today, and these same residents still living in their original homes.  My mother still lives in our family home which was built in 1970.  The same house still standing that survived Cyclone Tracy in 1974.  My love for this city is to continue to improve access for our seniors and people living with disabilities helping them to be socially engaging by giving back to them after rebuilding our city.   I would like to keep the Darwin lifestyle as I remember growing up, and to upgrade facilities to be more family friendly to meet our growing city. Also enjoying working with the youth and providing mentorship to them, as they will be our future leaders, being part of the Youth Advisory Committee makes me feel optimistic.   An active sport enthusiast, I have supported sports clubs and active in the gym, I also helped locally at schools’ committees where my children were involved. 

In the early 80’s, before internet and Austar/Foxtel (cable) - My first part time job was working on the weekends in a family business at the very first Video store in Palmerston known as “Interstar Video” providing me experience in management and customer service skills, this led me to want to study Business.  I worked until we had to close the store once cable arrived in Darwin.  I worked until I got married in the early 90’s.

My first full time job was a Business Traineeship in the late 80’s with St John Ambulance Aust NT.  Working with a non-for-profit organisation helping in community spirit, this was an incredible experience which lasted 21 years working in a variety of roles during my time.   I worked my way up through the organisation and studied concurrently, Business Management, Health and Safety and Human Resources.  I hold an Honorary Fellowship and was admitted to the Order as a Serving Member with St John Ambulance Aust NT. During my time, I married an Australian born Greek who was also from another old Darwin family, Peter Klonaris.  My husband’s grandfather being the first Greek Kalymnian Settler, Petros Mihailou who arrived in Darwin 1927.  He built our Greek Orthodox Church at Cavenagh street.  Both our children are 3rd generation Darwin Greeks from my husband side.  Darwin has been a wonderful place to grow up and raise our family and called home for 3 generations.Sylvia Volunteering

When I started working at Charles Darwin University in 2009, as a HR professional, I found the connection wanting to help people not only in a HR capacity, but I also to advocate for social justice and fairness in the workplace.  This journey led me to be actively involved in activism in supporting staff in the workplace.  I was elected as the Vice President of the National Tertiary Education union NT Division, and National Councillor advocating on improving entitlements in Academia for the last 12 years.

I was inspired by my brother George Lambrinidis who was an elected Councillor in the City of Darwin for 2 terms.   Supporting George through his journey over the years and seeing how much he had been able to make a difference.  I wanted to contribute to Darwin’s future planning.  I felt I could provide my experience to improve our city. When George decided not to run, I felt it right time for me to do my duty in the community to help with addressing some of the local issues in our ward. 

I am currently working part time as HR Business Partner with The Salvation Army.  I find this very rewarding working with non-for-profit organisations that empowers, care for people and building healthy lives. 

As the recent Deputy Lord Mayor, I was privilege as acting Lord Mayor. I am truly honoured to have the opportunity and be able to meet so many wonderful people and new citizens whilst conducting the citizenship ceremonies.  I truly embrace our multi diversity and ethnic cultures which makes our City of Darwin such a beautiful and unique place to live.