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History > Photography

submitted by Robyn Florance on 25.07.2006

Aroney Cafe. Junction Street, Nowra.

Group picture in front of café. Standing, Left, Nicholas Theodore Aroney -
standing, far right, Peter Aroney.


Nicholas was a very hard worker and the business was quite successful but after taking over full control of the business was finding it hard to manage the shop on his own, so he wrote to his cousin Nick Aroney (Anastasopoulos) in Warren and asked if he would like to join him in Nowra as his partner.

Little Nick, as he became known to differentiate between the two Nicks) had arrived from Greece as a young boy and proved he was very capable and diligent in this type of business.

Nicholas Anthony Aroney (Anastasopoulos) was born in Cerigo, County Laconia, Greece, on 14th February 1900. He was travelling on a German ship to Australia in 1914 and because of the imminent beginning of World War 1 and the possible impounding of the ship in Australia, all passengers were disembarked in Batavia (Indonesia) necessitating the Australian Government sending a ship to bring the passengers on to Sydney.

He arrived in Sydney on 11th October 1914 on board the ship Tasman. He resided at Wingham for three years, and then moved to Kempsey for a year, then to Warren for a year where he took up employment working for an uncle. Times were difficult; wages were very low, but through hard work and frugality, Nick was able to accumulate some capital, and then moved south to Nowra during 1920.

In September 1921 Aroney Bros announced that new premises were in course of erection, and they had moved temporarily a few doors down from the old address – to the shop previously occupied as a billiard room. By December customers were invited to the new shop. This shop was possibly leased from the Muller family for in September 1922 Nowra Municipal Council approved a two-storey room to be erected at the rear of Muller’s building in Junction Street – occupied by Aroney Bros.

Around this time, Andrew (Anarginos) joined his brothers in Australia; by then all of them had the locally accepted surname of Aroney. Andrew was the youngest of the Aroney siblings; he was born on 15th April 1903, arrived in Sydney on board the Jervis Bay on 6th November 1922 and went directly to Nowra to be reunited with his brothers.

In 1923 Nicholas arranged for his sister Stamatina to accompany his wife and her sister Yiannoula on the voyage to Australia to join the other members of the family in Nowra. This represented a change of plans for Stamatina who had been preparing to join her sister Kalliopi and husband Basilios Cominos in America. Nicholas proved to be a generous family-oriented man; he paid for the fares from Greece and, more importantly, he extended a sincere and loving welcome to his relatives.

With the arrival of Stamatina in Nowra, the four siblings were reunited. Of the seven Aroney children Maroulia was the only one who stayed behind in Greece.

In 1924 Nicholas arranged for local builder, Albert Vost to erect a house at 14 Kinghorne Street Nowra, as the family home. Nicholas and Stella in subsequent years had two sons, Theodore and Brettos (Victor) and a daughter Helen. The children attended Nowra Public School until 1939 when the family moved to Wollongong.

Peter Aroney preferred a less demanding life and he opened a billiard room in Nowra, recorded in rate and valuation records as 64 Junction Street, the property being leased from Mrs B Muller. Peter met and married Kathleen Beaumont an Anglo-Australian woman in 1919. Kathleen had a young daughter Eileen; they added to the family when their daughter Theodora (Thea) was born in 1920. The family were living in Moss Street, Nowra, in 1930 and Peter’s occupation at that time was recorded as ‘billiard marker’.

The Kytherian grapevine was very effective spreading news and gossip to communities, and it was not long before someone undertook a matrimonial matchmaker (proxenia) between Stamatina in Nowra and Dimitrios Aroney who, since 1921, had been working in Townsville about fifteen hundred miles to the north.

Andrew escorted his sister Stamatina to North Queensland where she and Dimitrios met and became engaged. The wedding later took place in the Anglican Cathedral Church of St James on 5th June 1926 and Stamatina was accompanied by Andrew, Peter’s wife Kathleen and her young daughter Theodora.

In 1927 Jim and Stamatina established the Central Café at Mackay in Queensland. A few years later Stamatina sent for her brother Andrew (Andy) in Nowra to help work in the café and Andy moved to Mackay mid 1929.

Peter followed a few months later with his wife Kathleen and daughters Eileen and Thea. It is believed that he was sent to Mackay by Nicholas to get him away from the ‘undesirable ambience’ of the billiard saloon.

George Kepreotis, Stamatoula’s brother worked in the café until he moved to Mackay in 1934 to manage the Niagara Milk Bar which Andy and Peter Aroney had opened next door to the Central Café. Unfortunately, George was not a good businessman, being more preoccupied with fishing, hunting and gambling, so it was no surprise that the shop wasn’t going well. Andy and Peter decided to take it over themselves.

George volunteered for army service in the 1940s and served in the Middle East, including the El Alamein battle and later in New Guinea and was eventually flown out of there with severe malaria. After demobilisation he accompanied his parents home to Kythera in 1946. They had arrived in Australia on 1st September 1939 for a holiday, but because of the war were unable to return home. George later married there. He subsequently made a trip back to Australia but returned to Kythera to end his days.

Andy Aroney remained in Mackay later marrying Evangelia Lukas, a very fine lady from the Island of Castellorizo. He and his brother Peter opened and successfully ran the Niagara Café for a number of years. He suffered a massive stroke and heart attack and passed away in 1947 aged 43 years. He was interred in the Mackay Cemetery.

Peter Aroney died in the late 1950s and he and his wife, Kathleen, are also buried in Mackay.

Jean Prineas (nee Kepreotis) with her husband Tony opened and ran a number of take-away coffee lounges in Mackay and in several other country towns, finally retiring to the Sydney suburb of Belmore, passing away on 2nd March 1979 aged 69 years. Tony lived on at Belmore for a number of years then in a retirement complex, passing away at the ripe old age of 96 on 21st March 1995.

Jim Aroney, husband of Stamatina Aroney died on 10th August 1951 in Mackay aged 66. He is buried in the Mackay cemetery. Stamatina died in Sydney on 11th December 1959. Her funeral took place on 16th December 1959 and she was interred at Botany Cemetery, Sydney.

The Nowra Café was doing well from patrons of the nearby Crown Theatre and the School of Arts Pictures who were served chocolates and drinks at interval so Aroney Bros decided to erect new premises on the southern side of Junction Street, where the old billiard saloon had previously stood. The Nowra Amateur Cycling Club held regular meetings in the café and in October 1930 Nick Aroney ‘generously presented a cup for the 16 mile race’. The Aroney Cup was presented at a presentation night held in the café.

History > Photography

submitted by Georgia Cassimatis on 18.07.2006

George Miller and Michael Jonson. 2005.

Two Of Us – George Miller and Michael Johnson

Interviews by: Georgia Cassimatis

Director, Dr George Miller, 59 and best friend, pharmacist Michael Jonson, have known each other since they were 12 years old. With Michael funding George’s first film, Mad Max, they talk about the closeness of their enduring friendship over the past 45 years.

GEORGE:

Micky was the first person I met on my first day at Sydney Boys High School. At the gate there was a hazing ritual; new boys had the tags ripped off their ties the moment they stepped into the school ground. I grew up in rural Queensland so I was a bit green. Micky, this little kid, came out of nowhere and ran me through the gauntlet. The big boys didn’t lay a hand on us and we never lost our tie tags. We became best friends and have remained such for 45years.

We were never in the same class, or clique, but we did coach rowing together. He coxed the senior eight, and I was struck by his effortless authority; here were the cool guys, a lot older and towering over him, doing anything for him.

When he was fourteen he lost his father, so he took on adult responsibility young. He made it through university and started out in business young. That’s not to say he didn’t like to party, and his family home was always a magnet; on any given afternoon at the Johnson’s there’d be up to a dozen people, playing cards, raiding the fridge and, above all, playing cricket and touch football in the back yard.

Micky has always been a very active sportsman; he played rugby for South Australia and touch football for Australia. Then there’s his thing with racehorses. Basically he’s your classic Australian sports tragic; he’ll cross the globe to watch a horse run, or see a cricket or rugby test.

His big love, however, is women. Since we left school he’d call every few weeks to tell me about a fantastic new person he’d met. He’s always jumping in at the deep end, giving all of himself. It’s happened many times and what is amazing to me is that he retains warm friendships with almost all of them. They all fell in love with him for the same reason I did. He has the biggest heart in the world.

Micky is one of those rare souls who gives a whole lot more than he expects to get back. The paradox is of course, that it comes back to him in spades.

Way back, when we went out to raise money for my first movie, Mad Max, everyone thought I was a bit weird. "What’s George doing trying to make movies? What makes him think he can pull off a feature film with no real experience?” Micky never had a second of doubt. He was the first investor and with nothing but dumb faith in me, he brought in others. Without Micky there would have been no Mad Max or the successes that followed and, some would argue, no kick-starts to the careers of Mel and Nicole and so forth.

Of all the people I’ve known the one of whom he reminds me most is Jack Nicholson (Miller directed Nicholson in Witches of Eastwick). They’re both ridiculously loyal to their friends, always falling for beautiful women and both enjoy the deepest affection of anyone who has had the good fortune to encounter them in life.

Over the last couple of years Micky’s had this Herculean battle with cancer and this has somehow amplified all his virtues and wisdoms. When he called to tell me his diagnosis I was shaken, but then he did something that still boggles me; he said the main reason he was calling was to ask a favour for a friend…could I talk to their kid who was desperate to break into the movie business. Typical Micky. He never lacks courage in anything. Eros, Agape and now facing Thanatos. He’s an ornament to the game.

MICHAEL:

My father moved out from Cyprus in 1924 to start a family here. We had a really wonderful childhood: our family was always very close and there was lots of love and warmth. Even though we were Greek ozzies, our Greek heritage was always instilled in us, so we were always going to events like The Young Matrons societies: which were formed by Greek mothers who’d have parties for all the Greek kids so they could get together and maintain their heritage.

I first met George and his twin brother John, at Sydney Boys High School. They were new to town and, being Greek, we’d heard about them. I instantly liked George because of his soft, warm, gentle nature. He’s a considerate, caring guy, which is my type of person.

I remember George used to help his father in their chocolate shop, and I always thought his father was a little hard on him, probably because they had four kids and were doing it tough themselves. So when he didn’t have any money to go to the movies, I’d give him two shillings, and we’d hang out and buy popcorn at half time. He said he’s never forgotten it.

We used to get up to a lot of mischief, a lot of which I can’t mention. But there was one time I remember vividly. Being from the Eastern suburbs, we’d heard stories from my older brother and his mates, about these debaucherous North Shore surfie parties. The year George and I were finally allowed to go, we were so excited and our imaginations ran wild with thoughts of hot girls and lots of orgies. But all that happened was a bunch of guys ran around the house naked with lit newspapers in their butts, called ‘rooster tails’. And the older boys were trying really hard to crack onto all the chicks. We both just sat on the couch like little schoolboys.

George was never a typical Greek boy: he did his own thing and was more off-beat and eccentric. He’d do things like wear a Hawaiian shirt to a Greek dance, when everyone else would be wearing ties. Because of this I wasn’t allowed to have him as my best man; I had to have someone conservative. But when I got married the second time, no one was going to railroad me.

He was also popular with all the girls and had lots of girlfriends. The first time he really fell in love he wrote me a five-page letter about it, which I have framed on my wall here at home.

Even though he has gone on to become successful in the entertainment business, he’s actually quite shy and avoids the limelight if he can. One time at university he asked me to go up and accept an award for him, which I thought was silly and said no, but he got his twin brother to. He’s not into big awards nights either: at the Oscars for Babe, he took his niece just so she could experience it.

When George found out I had cancer he wanted to hop on the first plane from Los Angeles and come back, but I knew he was doing a big business deal and told him it could wait a week.

I haven’t felt crash hot of late, but I did have a wonderful, life-changing experience at the Ian Gawler Foundation in Victoria, which is a retreat for cancer patients, and I’ve asked George if he could help me expand the retreat so it’s Australia-wide. He said he’d be more than willing to be the benefactor and do anything he could.

We both spend a lot of time these days hanging out up at his weekender in Whale Beach. At the end of the day I couldn’t have asked for a better friend who has gone through all my relationships, career, kids and marriages than George. In that respect I feel I’ve had a charmed and blessed life. We both do.


This article, was published in the Good Weekend Magazine, which forms part of the Sydney-Morning-Herald, Sydney - on April 30th, 2005, page 18.

Georgia Cassimatis is the author the article.

A brief profile of her life and career, appears below. It can also be viewed - with photograph - at Photography Diaspora, subsection, Working Life.

Georgia Cassimatis

Georgia Cassimatis began her career as a writer on Australian Cosmopolitan magazine in 1996. After a two year stint, she freelanced for various magazines before being appointed the Editor for teen magazine Barbie. During her time there she met an American man and moved to Los Angeles, which saw her world open up in ways she'd never imagined: she has since worked as a Los Angeles based writer, reporting for lucrative US titles Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Teen and Marie Claire magazines, as well as have her work syndicated internationally.

Born in Australia, Georgia is of Greek decent: her paternal grandfather, John Cassimatis, was born in 1902 in Kythera in the town of Potamos, where his Father was a priest known as Papa Nikolaki. His Mother was Ekaterini Levouni, also of Potamos. He was the 11th of 12 children. Of the nine surviving children, four went to live in Athens and five came to live in Australia, where they had cafes along the Murray River towns. Her grandfather worked in Swan Hill until 1936.

Georgia's paternal grandmother was Georgia Koroneos born in 1917. The second of six children, her father was Panagiotis Koroneos (Poulakis) from Karava and Ayia Pelayia. He was also the President of the Kytherian Society in Athens in the 1930's. Two of his sons went to the USA, and one the aeronautical Engineer returned to live out his life in Agia Pelagia, and the other, became a senator in the Greek parliament.

Panagiotis Koroneos built the wharf at Ayia Pelayia and came to Australia in the late 1950s to find fund raising for the wharf, which lead his travels to many NSW and Queensland towns visiting Kytherians. There is a plaque commemorating his achievement on the wharf.

Georgia Koroneos' mother was Hrisanthi Koroneos who was brought up in the town of Baltimore in the USA where Panagiotis married her, had three kids and returned to Greece.

Georgia's own father, Nicholas Cassimatis, was born in Australia and is a well-known Sydney psychiatrist. Her mother is Anglo Australian with some German blood and loves the Greeks and Kytherian family. Actually her anglo maternal grandfather came to Australia later than her Kytherian forebearers. And Georgia looks Kytherian.

History > Photography

submitted by Georgia Cassimatis on 18.07.2006

George Miller and Michael Jonson. At George's twin brother's wedding in 1970.

Two Of Us – George Miller and Michael Johnson

Interviews by: Georgia Cassimatis

Director, Dr George Miller, 59 and best friend, pharmacist Michael Jonson, have known each other since they were 12 years old. With Michael funding George’s first film, Mad Max, they talk about the closeness of their enduring friendship over the past 45 years.

GEORGE:

Micky was the first person I met on my first day at Sydney Boys High School. At the gate there was a hazing ritual; new boys had the tags ripped off their ties the moment they stepped into the school ground. I grew up in rural Queensland so I was a bit green. Micky, this little kid, came out of nowhere and ran me through the gauntlet. The big boys didn’t lay a hand on us and we never lost our tie tags. We became best friends and have remained such for 45years.

We were never in the same class, or clique, but we did coach rowing together. He coxed the senior eight, and I was struck by his effortless authority; here were the cool guys, a lot older and towering over him, doing anything for him.

When he was fourteen he lost his father, so he took on adult responsibility young. He made it through university and started out in business young. That’s not to say he didn’t like to party, and his family home was always a magnet; on any given afternoon at the Johnson’s there’d be up to a dozen people, playing cards, raiding the fridge and, above all, playing cricket and touch football in the back yard.

Micky has always been a very active sportsman; he played rugby for South Australia and touch football for Australia. Then there’s his thing with racehorses. Basically he’s your classic Australian sports tragic; he’ll cross the globe to watch a horse run, or see a cricket or rugby test.

His big love, however, is women. Since we left school he’d call every few weeks to tell me about a fantastic new person he’d met. He’s always jumping in at the deep end, giving all of himself. It’s happened many times and what is amazing to me is that he retains warm friendships with almost all of them. They all fell in love with him for the same reason I did. He has the biggest heart in the world.

Micky is one of those rare souls who gives a whole lot more than he expects to get back. The paradox is of course, that it comes back to him in spades.

Way back, when we went out to raise money for my first movie, Mad Max, everyone thought I was a bit weird. "What’s George doing trying to make movies? What makes him think he can pull off a feature film with no real experience?” Micky never had a second of doubt. He was the first investor and with nothing but dumb faith in me, he brought in others. Without Micky there would have been no Mad Max or the successes that followed and, some would argue, no kick-starts to the careers of Mel and Nicole and so forth.

Of all the people I’ve known the one of whom he reminds me most is Jack Nicholson (Miller directed Nicholson in Witches of Eastwick). They’re both ridiculously loyal to their friends, always falling for beautiful women and both enjoy the deepest affection of anyone who has had the good fortune to encounter them in life.

Over the last couple of years Micky’s had this Herculean battle with cancer and this has somehow amplified all his virtues and wisdoms. When he called to tell me his diagnosis I was shaken, but then he did something that still boggles me; he said the main reason he was calling was to ask a favour for a friend…could I talk to their kid who was desperate to break into the movie business. Typical Micky. He never lacks courage in anything. Eros, Agape and now facing Thanatos. He’s an ornament to the game.

MICHAEL:

My father moved out from Cyprus in 1924 to start a family here. We had a really wonderful childhood: our family was always very close and there was lots of love and warmth. Even though we were Greek ozzies, our Greek heritage was always instilled in us, so we were always going to events like The Young Matrons societies: which were formed by Greek mothers who’d have parties for all the Greek kids so they could get together and maintain their heritage.

I first met George and his twin brother John, at Sydney Boys High School. They were new to town and, being Greek, we’d heard about them. I instantly liked George because of his soft, warm, gentle nature. He’s a considerate, caring guy, which is my type of person.

I remember George used to help his father in their chocolate shop, and I always thought his father was a little hard on him, probably because they had four kids and were doing it tough themselves. So when he didn’t have any money to go to the movies, I’d give him two shillings, and we’d hang out and buy popcorn at half time. He said he’s never forgotten it.

We used to get up to a lot of mischief, a lot of which I can’t mention. But there was one time I remember vividly. Being from the Eastern suburbs, we’d heard stories from my older brother and his mates, about these debaucherous North Shore surfie parties. The year George and I were finally allowed to go, we were so excited and our imaginations ran wild with thoughts of hot girls and lots of orgies. But all that happened was a bunch of guys ran around the house naked with lit newspapers in their butts, called ‘rooster tails’. And the older boys were trying really hard to crack onto all the chicks. We both just sat on the couch like little schoolboys.

George was never a typical Greek boy: he did his own thing and was more off-beat and eccentric. He’d do things like wear a Hawaiian shirt to a Greek dance, when everyone else would be wearing ties. Because of this I wasn’t allowed to have him as my best man; I had to have someone conservative. But when I got married the second time, no one was going to railroad me.

He was also popular with all the girls and had lots of girlfriends. The first time he really fell in love he wrote me a five-page letter about it, which I have framed on my wall here at home.

Even though he has gone on to become successful in the entertainment business, he’s actually quite shy and avoids the limelight if he can. One time at university he asked me to go up and accept an award for him, which I thought was silly and said no, but he got his twin brother to. He’s not into big awards nights either: at the Oscars for Babe, he took his niece just so she could experience it.

When George found out I had cancer he wanted to hop on the first plane from Los Angeles and come back, but I knew he was doing a big business deal and told him it could wait a week.

I haven’t felt crash hot of late, but I did have a wonderful, life-changing experience at the Ian Gawler Foundation in Victoria, which is a retreat for cancer patients, and I’ve asked George if he could help me expand the retreat so it’s Australia-wide. He said he’d be more than willing to be the benefactor and do anything he could.

We both spend a lot of time these days hanging out up at his weekender in Whale Beach. At the end of the day I couldn’t have asked for a better friend who has gone through all my relationships, career, kids and marriages than George. In that respect I feel I’ve had a charmed and blessed life. We both do.


This article, was published in the Good Weekend Magazine, which forms part of the Sydney-Morning-Herald, Sydney - on April 30th, 2005, page 18.

Georgia Cassimatis is the author the article.

A brief profile of her life and career, appears below. It can also be viewed - with photograph - at Photography Diaspora, subsection, Working Life.

Georgia Cassimatis

Georgia Cassimatis began her career as a writer on Australian Cosmopolitan magazine in 1996. After a two year stint, she freelanced for various magazines before being appointed the Editor for teen magazine Barbie. During her time there she met an American man and moved to Los Angeles, which saw her world open up in ways she'd never imagined: she has since worked as a Los Angeles based writer, reporting for lucrative US titles Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Teen and Marie Claire magazines, as well as have her work syndicated internationally.

Born in Australia, Georgia is of Greek decent: her paternal grandfather, John Cassimatis, was born in 1902 in Kythera in the town of Potamos, where his Father was a priest known as Papa Nikolaki. His Mother was Ekaterini Levouni, also of Potamos. He was the 11th of 12 children. Of the nine surviving children, four went to live in Athens and five came to live in Australia, where they had cafes along the Murray River towns. Her grandfather worked in Swan Hill until 1936.

Georgia's paternal grandmother was Georgia Koroneos born in 1917. The second of six children, her father was Panagiotis Koroneos (Poulakis) from Karava and Ayia Pelayia. He was also the President of the Kytherian Society in Athens in the 1930's. Two of his sons went to the USA, and one the aeronautical Engineer returned to live out his life in Agia Pelagia, and the other, became a senator in the Greek parliament.

Panagiotis Koroneos built the wharf at Ayia Pelayia and came to Australia in the late 1950s to find fund raising for the wharf, which lead his travels to many NSW and Queensland towns visiting Kytherians. There is a plaque commemorating his achievement on the wharf.

Georgia Koroneos' mother was Hrisanthi Koroneos who was brought up in the town of Baltimore in the USA where Panagiotis married her, had three kids and returned to Greece.

Georgia's own father, Nicholas Cassimatis, was born in Australia and is a well-known Sydney psychiatrist. Her mother is Anglo Australian with some German blood and loves the Greeks and Kytherian family. Actually her anglo maternal grandfather came to Australia later than her Kytherian forebearers. And Georgia looks Kytherian.

History > Photography

submitted by Melanie Scinto on 17.07.2006

Protopsaltis Athanasis ( Arthur ) George

 

History > Photography

submitted by Melanie Scinto on 17.07.2006

titel

 

History > Photography

submitted by Peter Maneas on 12.07.2006

Maneas Peter

 

History > Photography

submitted by KCA Admin on 11.07.2006

John Stathatos: Chrysoula Fatseas working on the Fatseas Archive, July 2006

Chrysoula Fatseas, who is completing a photography degree at the Athens Technical Institute, is fulfilling her practical experience requirement by working on the photographic archive of her great-uncle Panayotis Fatseas. Here she is seen cleaning a glass negative plate.

History > Photography

submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 28.11.2007

The Hellenic Journal - Western Greek American News Monthly

Reprinted with permission from The Hellenic Journal

The Hellenic Journal Western Greek American News Monthly
Greek Life Starts Here
Founded in 1975, The Hellenic Journal is the only Greek American newspaper published in the western United States. The monthly guide delivers news about Greece, local communities, and Greek organizations It features, Greek cuisine, sports, dancing and much more to an audinec of savvy readers embracing Greek life.
The Hellenic Journal serves Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington and offers readership throughout the United States.

History > Photography

submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 06.02.2007

1932 Olympian - Peter Clentzos

Reprinted by permission, from the Desert Dispatch, August 10, 2004

Lisa Hart/Staff Photographer
Olympian Pete Clentzos looks through his collection of articles and newspaper clippings about his accomplishments at his Pasadena home. Most recently, Clentzos, 95, was one of the carriers of the Olympic torch in Los Angeles in June.

Backward Glance, by Steve Smith (part one)

Backward Glance, by Steve Smith (part two)

See also:

Pete Clentzos

Kythera Connections

History > Photography

submitted by KCA Admin on 03.07.2006

"A Kytherian Century"

Edited by John Stathatos and published by the Kythera Cultural Association, this 72-page, bilingual Greek/English illustrated monograph is entitled A Kytherian Century: Images from the Kythera Photographic Archive, 1890-2006. It includes 62 full-page photographs in black and white and colour, among them work by historic Kytherian photographers Panayotis Fatseas, Manolis Fatseas and Emmanouil Sofios, but also by distinguished contemporary Greek photographers. Other contributors include James Prineas and Kristina Williamson, both of whom have recently completed extensive photographic surveys of island society.

History > Photography

submitted by Epsilon Magazine on 01.08.2006

Kythera-Family.Net Needs You!

An Extended and amended version, of the interview published in:

Epsilon Magazine,
Volume 1, Issue 6,
15th June, 2006.
pp. 32-35

Family ties

George Poulos talks to Savvas Limnatitis about www.kythera-family.net, a web site dedicated to preserving Kytherian history and culture.


Unlike the Castelorizians, Cypriots or Lemnians, to name a few, the Kytherians of Sydney haven't got their own club, a place where they can meet and chat over a cup of coffee or a game of poker, where their kids can meet other kindred spirits, and engage themselves in the learning of their forefather's culture. But what the Kytherians lack in bricks and mortar; they more than make up for in enthusiasm and innovation. And in the case of www.kythera-family.net, unlike the three above-mentioned Hellenic organisations, they have a website dedicated to gathering the history of their tiny island, the plight of the Diaspora from the island; and preserving that history forever.

The concept of the site is so simple; it's a surprise it has not yet been copied. Members of the Kytherian community have been invited to submit their familys' collection of stories, photographs, recipes, maps, oral histories, biographies, historical documents, songs and poems, home remedies etc. to the site. The creators and administrators thereby avoid the crippling costs of maintaining such a high quality operation, as well as widening their pool of contributors. The latter come from everywhere: from here in Australia, in the USA, Europe, even Africa and South America. What binds them together is the love of their island and a need to “make available valuable and interesting material for current and future generations, and inspire young Kytherians to learn more about their fascinating heritage".

How and when did www.kythera-family.net get started?

The concept for kythera-family was the brainchild of a young man called James Prineas who lives in Berlin, Germany. His father, Vic, who now lives in Rose Bay, used to travel around country towns in NSW, and take orders for products for United Linen and Crockery Pty Ltd. When he returned to Sydney, these orders would be despatched to his various customers. After a few years helf ULCPL, and set up his own business. As he travelled from town to town, he "transmitted" stories, gossip, and information from Kytherian to Kytherian in NSW. Vic lived in Kingsford.

Vic's son James went to Rainbow Street Primary School, and later Sydney Boys High. After graduating from High School he realised his long-held dream to travel Greece. After 2 years in Greece - much of it spent on Kythera, he travelled through Germany and England and subsequenty started studying in the USA. He gravitated to the design industry, and after settling in Berlin began lecturing on the subject at the Potsdam Polytechnic. In 1993 he met Pia Betton, a Danish national, and two years later, they were married. They have two children, Louie and Jasper, and live in Berlin, Germany.

James works in the human resources and publishing areas. He is also a superb photographer. Pia works in corporate identity and is the managing director of Framework Identity.

James spent considerable time on Kythera. He regretted the fact that, as Kytherians on the island aged, and died, many without children; all their stories, all their memories, all their heritage, and often their gardens, died with them. Having a background in computer-aided-design, he conceived the idea of a cultural archive website for Kythera - where all these stories, photographs and heritage could be stored electronically for posterity. He decided the best way to go about this was to make the site self-publishing. Instead of a central web-master, all Kytherians around the world could become "webmasters". Kytherians would be empowered to load up "their" Kytherian heritage to the website. He worked on the concept for many years. Then, in 2003, the idea was transformed into a reality.

It strikes me as ironical that the "transmission of Kytherian information" that father Vic used to achieve inadvertently in the 50's and 60's, by spending long hours travelling on NSW roads, has now been taken up by his son, working out of Europe, and achieving even more profound results electronically, automatically, and remotely.

How difficult was it to set up the site?

The main problem was that James' idea required a lot of money to be "real-ised". We needed to raise more than $30,000. We were very lucky in two respects: as Kytherians we have access to the "Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust" which provides funding for projects pertaining to Kytherian cultural "themes" and activities. The "Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust" provided $15,000 for the project.

A second key factor was the involvement of the Notaras brothers, Angelo and John. They were bought up in Grafton, NSW, and in adult life, developed an aptitude for "invention". They were Australian inventors of the Year in 1976. One of their more successful inventions was the replaceable ignition switch. Ultimately they established a factory, Atom Industries in Lilyfield, Sydney, to manufacture their own inventions. They achieved a measure of economic success. Of course, not all wealthy persons become great benefactors. But, inspired by a deep love for Kythera, and their Kytherian heritage, the Notaras family have been great benefactors for various Hellenic and Kytherian causes. In the early 1990's they provided very substantial funds for the publication of Hugh Gilchrist's, monumental and ground-breaking book "Greeks and Australians Vol 1". The impetus and validation received by Gilchrist for Volume I, led subsequently to the publication of Volumes II & III.

The Notaras brothers also became heavily involved with Provicare. Provicare is a charity, focusing on drug and alcohol issues, administered by the The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.

http://www.provicare.org.au

Aimed at the Greek community, it provides free counselling and education services for individuals, coping strategies for families, and support mechanisms for carers. Provicare also endeavours to counter the "stigma" attached to mental health issues. For a recent charity drive, the Notaras brothers "invented" a superb funding "campaign". Collection boxes were distributed to churches throughout Australia, and patrons of the churches were encouraged to donate. The brothers designed a "baton" in the form of the Ionic columns of the Parthenon, with the Parthenon as the motif on each end. At their own cost, they provided the moulding tools for the design, and then proceeded to manufacture enough batons to distribute to all Greek Orthodox churches in Australia. They arranged the distribution and despatch of the batons, and set up and administered a register of the distribution points. $750,000 was raised for Provicare, utilisng this strategy.

In 2005, Angelo's twin brother, Mitchell, a medical specialist, resident in England, donated $1.1 million to establish a fund, to grant a regular Colo-Rectal Research Scholarship in Australia. This fund is administered by the Medical Faculty, at the University of Sydney. The Notaras family are extraordinary benefactors.

In October 2002, Ann Coward, former Kytherian Association of Australia Secretary, historian, and doctoral fellow, sent Angelo Notaras an email advising him of the hitherto frustrated efforts of James Prineas to establish a Kytherian archival web-site. James had developed a sophisticated "business plan and mission statement" which was circulated in Kytherian circles. He was finding it difficult, however, to raise the funds required. Angelo read the plan, and quickly accessed that the idea was superb. "We knew he had a great idea, and it was worth pursuing. Thats how we got involved." James and Angelo made contact by letter and email. They did not meet face-to-face for one year. But through the constant communication, an effective strategy for involving a broad base of the Kytherian diaspora in Australia, and for raising the necessary funds, was devised.

I cannot stress enough the pivotal role played by Angelo & John Notaras. Particularly Angelo, who has been involved in the adminstration of the site from day one. He has been absolutely steadfast and dynamic in his involvement. A great deal of credit for the website's quality and continuity goes to Angelo and his brother John.

Additional to the seed capital provided by the Aroney Trust and the Notaras brothers, a number of Kytherians donated $2000 each to become sponsors of the site. Angelo is both proud and fond of affirming that of the original 10 sponsors he approached to donate $2000, all gave "willingly and without hesitation." The idefatigable Ladies Auxiliary, of the Kytherian Association of Australia, also contributed $5000. Other Kytherians, seeing the benefits that the web-site would provide, also contributed sums from $10 to $1000. We collected all the funds required very quickly - the Kytherian and Hellenic community were amazed just how quickly we collected the money . We had overcome our first hurdle - the economic one.

The next hurdle was to determine, the best structure for the web-site. We had to create the best mix of categories, so that when contributors submitted their entries - their "entries" could be placed in some sought of order. We spent a great deal of time determing the categories, and creating the structure of the site. Much of this was derived by "trial and error", and by "fine tuning".

Some of the categories would obviously not apply to other parts of Greece, and to other parts of the world, for that matter. For example, in Kythera everyone has a paratsoukli, a nickname, so we have a special section where we slowly started to collect a list of them all. Recently, Jim Koroneos, whose own parachoukli is Poulaki, has collected 108 nicknames of the 19th and 20th century residents of the small village of Karavas, in northern Kythera,and put them on the site.

There are other, less ideosyncratic categories of course, which relate to many other important aspects of Kythera, Kytherians and their history and heritage. These include; Vintage Portraits & People,- Cafes, Shops & Cinemas, Social Life, Sporting Life, Weddings and Proxenia, Working Life, Architecture, Bibliography (Books about Kythera), Food and Recipes, Home Remedies, Kytherian Arts & Craft, Kytherian Identity, Nature, Religion, Sayings and Proverbs, Songs and Poems......; to name only a few.

How did you get involved?

When James first began his funding drive, and Angelo and John Notaras got involved, I happened to be on the Committee of the Kytherian Association of Australia. I became involved with the Committee, with a Kytherian cultural agenda, and "mission" in mind. My Kytherian cultural consciousness stemmed from a 15-year involvement at the Committee level of the Karavitiko Symposium, an organisation which celebrates the heritage of one of the most beautiful villages on the island, Karavas. I am the self-styled cultural attache of the KAA. I pushed the whole idea very heavily through the committee.

I also had a lot of information that I had collected over the years to do with Kythera. It was a great opportunity for me to place that information on the website. That way the project started, to borrow a phrase from T S Eliot, with a "bang" rather than a "whimper". We developed a large information base very quicky, which encouraged other people to visit the site, and to add their contributions. My role is that of Editor. I have the task of asking people to send photos and stories, and calling them back to make sure they have placed them. That way we have new information being submitted on a regular basis.
www.kythera-family.net has three adminstrators, with three different roles. James Prineas, concerns himself with creative and electronic matters, Angelo Notaras, with the economic and operational, and I with the editorial. This division of reponsibilities has worked extremely well. The small size of the "Board" has also been very important. We actually get on and do things, instead of just talking about doing things!

As for me, I grew up in the small central western NSW town of Gilgandra where I worked in my father’s fruit shop from a young age. Later I became a retailer in the emerging Discount Trade in Bondi Junction. After a decade of trading I sold out.

At this time the concept of the web site was being developed and I decided to take extended time off work to devote my energies to the site. I felt it was important that the site be given a good "start in life", and that the progress of the web site should be rapid. Too many web sites take far too long to establish themselves, and hence they fade away, and eventually "die".

I am pleased to say that the web site has "grown up" very quickly, and can now stand on its own two cyber-feet. I am confidant that even if, from this point forward, not a single new entry was added to the site, what has been published to date would remain very significant. Those qualified to judge recognise our significance.

Hence, we have become the number 1 site for "Kythera" on Google, in the world. Additionally, all the major electronic Enclopaedia's in the world, including Brittanica, use www.kythera-family.net as the first point of reference for "Kythera". Despite their immense resources these encycolpaedias's admit openly, that they could never amass the wealth of information that we have at www.kythera-family.net.

Are you happy with the way things turned out?

I’m very happy. From the official launch of the web-site at the Castellorizian Club, Kingsford on 14th January 2004, the website has been an incredible success.

/download/106KytheraJan2004.pdf

The atmosphere at the launch was "electric". 350 Kytherians and philekytherians attended. According to Nick Pappas, a leading member of the Castellorizian community, who was also in attendance, the Club auditorium had never been so full. "Only the Kytherians, could pull something like this off", he commented, to me. One 90 year old Kytherian ventured on the train alone, from the NSW central coast, to be at the launch. Others came in wheel chairs. Others cancelled alternative important engagements. The "buzz"' and the "electricity" has never diminished from that moment.

The success of the web-site can be attributed to a number of superior features inherent in the site:

The web-site is generative. One photograph or one story elicits a great deal more information. From one story, for example, sometimes, we might generate 15 additional stories "Information" on the site, and the site itself, has grown organically, in the way that a life-form grows. Roots lead to stem...leads to branches...lead to fruits.........lead to seeds......lead to roots....

The web-site is revelatory. New information is being uncovered all the time, which most Kytherians have previously been unaware of. To give you a simple example. A Kytherian in the USA might submit a photograph of his great-uncle. A young person in Australia recognises that the person in the photograph is their grandfather; and indicates that amongst members of their immediate family, no photograph of grandfather exist. The existence of an extremely important resource has been "revealed" to the young Kytherian in Australia.

The web-site is connective. Instance what has happened in California. Kytherians in Southern California didn't associate with each other very much. After visiting the website, many realised that they had relatives and fellow-Kytherians living in close proximity. They began to meet on a regular basis, and became inspired to visit the older Kytherians, write down, audiotape and videotape their stories, and submit them to the web site. I should point you here to the incredible "oral history" work of Vikki Fraioli and Terry Keramaris in the USA.

Reading through some of the stories in your website, the first thing that strikes me is that a lot of them are interlinked. A lot of families split up, with one brother going to America and the other coming to Australia. Has the site helped to reunite families?

Definitely. The beauty is that if you click on the nametag of a registered contributor, you can email them directly and get in contact with them. That way people from all over the world interact easily with each other, and you can find out what is happening in Kythera or any other part of the world for that matter. In September this year there will be a very large conference held in Canberra that will bring together people from all parts of the world who will deliver papers about Kythera. It will be a three-day event and it will be opened by non other than the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard.

Kythera has always depended on the good will of its xenitemenoi, its expatriates who regularly send money to the island. Has that changed in recent years?

The population of Kythera towards the end of the Second World War was about 15,000 people. Now it's 2900. Throughout the last one hundred years or even more - the first Kytherian come in Australia, for example, in 1854 - the population has declined. The result is that 97% of the worlds Kytherians do not live on the island. But what happened is that Kytherians left, first for Smyrna and Alexandria in Egypt, and other close destinations, and as they prospered, they started sending money back for projects of various sizes. So Kythera has benefited a lot from its immigrants.

For example, in Karavas, Patrikios sent money from Alexandria to create the Agricultural College there, (1930's), and the Tzortzopoulos family sent money from Baltimore in the USA, to establish a water supply to all the houses in the village (1950's).

More substantial projects ensured. With funds sent by Kytherian Australians and Kytherain Americans send, a hospital was built in the town of Potamos, that this year celebrates its 50th anniversary. Thanks to the Kasimatis family in Tasmania, there is now a very large aged care facility, also in Potamos. Over more than a century, the amenity of Kythera has been improved immensely, by the generosity of its xenitemenoi.

Is the website mainly supported by people in Australia and America?

Contributions derive from every part of the globe. We have had a number of entries from the Karavousanos family in Dublin, from Andrei de Roma, in France, who is a descendant of Diamantina Roma, the wife of the first governor of Queensland, as well as people from Africa and South America. It’s amazing where Kytherians contact us from. We have also learned that there used to be Kytherian organisations in parts of America and Africa that become defunct and are now being regenerated. We have contributed to this regeneration.

Because www.kythera-family.net is the first search result on internet search engines, we believe that the increase in tourism on the island, can be directly attributed to the website.

Also last year we sponsored a "Back to Kythera" event, were Kytherians from all over the world gathered to express their notions of Kytherian identity. The Kytherians who attended became very emotional, especially the Americans, who have lost contacts with their "roots"; more than the Australians have. You can listen to some of their emotional "testimony" on the website.

The website has brought the Kytherian family even closer together; although we have always been very close.

How do you manage to keep the website fresh? Are you dependant on what people submit, or do you ask people to contribute?

We work both ways. I'll give you an example. The Kings Cinema in Rose Bay North in Sydney used to be owned by two Kytherians, Peter Kosmas Sourry, i Kotsifos, and Alexander ("Alec") Andrew Coroneo, i Psomas. What we did was contact the families, as well as Greek newspapers that had run articles in the past on Sourrey and Coroneo, like O Kosmos, and managed to obtain early photographs of them, and of the Kings Cinema. We had previously been very diligent in establishing contacts with a number of well known researchers, such as Professor Ross Thorne, Les Tod, and Kevin Cork, (now deceased) whose entire PhD thesis "Greek Cinemas in Australia", is available on the site. Their knowledge has supplemented our knowledge of the Kytherian involvement in Australian cinematic history.

Australia's largest retailer, and second-largest supermarket chain, Coles, recently redeveloped the Rose Bay North, Kings Cinema site. Coles, and the lead architects, Gerard Thomas and Associates, were very helpful in providing us with additional information on the site. Graham Brooks and Associates, the Heritage Architects employed by Coles, even provided us with their 2002 Heritage Report for the site. If you are open to these other sources of information, you create information synergies. From a small base, this syn-ergia, allows you to generate a lot of input, from a lot of important people, with a lot of knowledge. The end result is a broadening and deepening of the knowledge base of "Kytherian" history.

You keep using the term "we". Why then do I get the feeling that kythera-family.net is pretty much a one-man show?

Actually, there are a number of people that have become involved in their own right, contributing a great deal. 1000's of Kytherian's, Hellenes, and others have registered to the site. Of those, 100's have contributed photographs and information to the site. We have a "core" group of about 18 to 20 people that contribute on a regular basis, and who have made multiple submissions. I regard this group as "co-editors". These submisions encourage other institutions and other knowledgeable individuals to send their contributions. The whole project is far from being a one-man show.

I do spend a great deal of time encouraging input from academic circles and that sort of material is very handy. People like Hugh Gilchrist, Effie Alexakis, Leonard Janiszewski, Peter Vanges, George Leontsinis, Tim Gregory, Lita Diacopoulos, Denis Conomos, and many others, have been very kind in allowing us to include their research material on the web-site. But the contributors to the web-site are now so diverse, and their contributions so varied, that no one person could ever hope to get a "complete" and exclusive "handle" on the site.

How close were we to losing all this information forever?

So much information has already been lost. Plus there is still a lot of information that is in Kytherians' homes that will be lost. We have a chance to preserve some of it. I have always said that the photographs, and stories, that families have in their own homes is the ousia, the essence of the website. It gives it that extra flavor. The academic people are good because they have the structure and they perform their research in a systematic way. But the essence comes from the individual families. Recently Peter Prineas wrote a great book called "Katsehamos and the Great Idea" which derived from his "visiting" our website and seeing a reference to his grandfather, who, he discovered, was a member of a partnership of three Kytherians, who built a picture theatre in the small northwest country town of Bingara. He realised that he didn't know anything about that aspect of his grandfather's life and neither did his family. So he took a year and a half out of his life and wrote a very sophisticated book about his family history. This is another example of the generative effect of the web site.

Where do you personally want to see the website go in the future?

The website has been designed to hold about to 2,000,000 submissions. At the moment it is really growing and has amost 10,000 entries. My dream is that we will continue to collect the data, and that people around the world will see the site and contribute to it, so the information is not lost.

You also have to consider this. When the material is held together in one place, it's much more significant than being in a hundred different places. There is much more impact when everything is stored in the same place. 21st century (wo)man, does not have the time to travel to Canberra to look up Kytherian information in the National Library, or National Archives, or try and collect various "bits and pieces" of information, from here, there and everywhere.

1 + 1+ 1 = 3, but 1 + 1 million other 1's = becomes a far greater number than 1,000,000. A kind of "mutiplier effect" sets in, which can be summed up by the formula "the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts". This multiplier effect has already been set in train at kythera-family.

There are two wonderful sections on the site which I would like to draw to your attention. One is the Natural History Museum, which is run by Robyn Tzannes from New York, and the other is the Kythera Cultural Association (KCA). The former contains photographs and information about natural phenomena on Kythera - from sea shells, wild flowers, through fossils, to large animals. The KCA, led by John Stathatos, has access to the Fatseas Collection of glass negatives, which includes over 4,500 photos of Kytherians from 1900 onwards. Again, with financial support from Angelo and John Notaras, this collection is curently being restored, preserved, and archived to the highest world standards. The photographs are also being digitally scanned, and placed on the web-site. This conserves them indefinitely, and makes them accessible to all Kytherians around the world.

The Benaki Museum in Athens is so impressed with the quality and significance of the collection, that they have agreed to stage an exhibition of the photographs in 2007. This "recognition of excellence" stems directly from the Kytherian heritage preservation work, which has been highlighted by the existence, and the work, of the web site.

There are still challeges to be met. For example, there are still not enough Kytherian contributors. Given the fact that most western European homes have access to a computer, ideally every Kytherian household in the world should be contributing to the site. What is the use of providing such an incredible resource, for Kytherians not to take advanatge of it? I hope the participation rate increases in the future.

But my big hopes for the future lies on Kythera. Access to the internet is very low on Kythera and the participation from residents of the island is fairly low. I would like to see a program established providing computers to residents on Kythera, and teaching programs to enhance computer knowledge. I would like to see the "participation rate" from Kythera on kythera-family, greatly enhanced. Particularly through a youth programme. As one resident of Kythera recently said to me, "the people who live here on Kythera have many of the answers to many of the questions that are consistently being asked on the web-site. The problem is they don't have access to the questions! They don't have access to the web-site."

Further, and I haven't really discussed this proposal with anyone before, I would like to see a large scale oral history program conducted on the island. Theoretically, with a population of only 2,900, it should be possible to take a 5-6 paragraph oral history of every person on the island. You may recall the British documentary series 7 Up. The series was based on a maxim of Loyola's - "Give Me the Child Until He Is Seven and I Will Show You the Man". The documentary film maker followed the lives of a number of British children from age 7, interviewing them every 7 years. The latest documentary was entitled 42 Up, that is, the "children" at 42 years of age. A similar kind of intensive oral history project could be conducted on Kythera.

Have you had any response from other Greek community groups, who wish to do what you have done?

Some of the members of committee of the Castelorizian Association would very dearly love to have a website of a similar type. But it takes two benefactors to put in the economic infrastructure. I've got a feeling that most of the rest of the Greek communities except the Cypriot and Castelorizian communities, haven't got the finances to be able to fund a website of this quality, and to maintain it. Unlike the Cypriot and Castelorizian communities, the Kytherians haven't got their own club, although we do have some funds towards buying one.

What we do with the website can best be described as a heritage preservation, a kind of encyclopedia of Kythera, where we preserve the heritage of Kytherians around the world. The best thing is to have both elements. I would definitely encourage the Cypriot and Castelorizian communities to establish a similar website, and hopefully the other communities will follow. If you have both a building and heritage preservation, I think you are helping to ensure the future of Hellenism.

Do you visit Kythera often?

I don't go very often at all. I have been to Kythera once. I have attempted many times to go back, but something always crops up. But when I did go I fell deeply in love with it. As I approached the landing point at Ayia Pelagia, I was sobbing uncontrollably. The feeling I had was one of returning to my "spiritual" homeplace. The feedback I get from other exoteriki Kytherians is that the island also resonates with them at this very deep level. We all identify completely with the island.

As a bonus the island is geo-physically, extraordinarily beautiful. And its beautiful in a diverse way. Aphrodites Bath, the cave at Ayia Sophia, the view of the bays at Kapsali, the verdant green hills of Karavas - I could place you in 1000 locations on the island - and you would find them all beautiful in their own way.

For someone that doesn't visit Kythera often, you certainly spend a lot of time dealing with Kytherian issues. Is that some sort of substitute?

In a way it is a substitute. Through kythera-family I get to live on Kythera, vicariously. I am also a frustrated writer and artist. Again, kythera-family gives me an outlet for these creative urges.

More importantly, however, I realise that if we don't preserve this information soon, then we won't preserve at all, at least not properly. It's really important to do this while we still have with us some of the older members of the Kytherian family. They are the ones that know who the people in the photos are; they are the ones who can tell you the stories about how they collected water from the well, walked to school without shoes on, migrated to Australia or America alone at age 12, first established themselves in country towns in Australia, and large cities in America - and all the other stories. Even if we can save one tenth of these stories, one hundredth of the photos, then we will have done a great service for the preservation of Kytherian identity, heritage and history, which can benefit the next generation.

There are seven messages that I would like to send to people.

Firstly, please consider donating to the website, to keep it going, and to take some pressure off the other sponsors. Donate as little or as much as you can afford. But donate something. Don't leave it to the same visionary benefactors to always provide the funding for projects of this kind. Become a visionary yourself.

Secondly, in 1988 Nicholas Anthony Aroney beqeathed a considerable sum of money in his will, to advance Kytherian cultural and heritage projects. The positive impact of the Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust has been immense. Think seriously about bequeathing some money, or books, or artefacts, in your will, however young you may be, to help advance Kytheraismos.

Thirdly, remember, Kytherian heritage begins with you, and with your immediate family. Make the time to collate your family photographs, transcribe your family history, and create your Family Tree. Don't be lazy...don't put it off....don't spare the nominal expense. Start today!

Fourthly, if you are retired, or have time to spare, think about donating some of your time to making sure your Kytherian heritage is preserved. Particularly if you have type-writing, editing, photographic, scanning, oral-history gathering, and computer skills of any kind - think about putting these skills to good use.

Fifthly, if you need to dispose of any old photos, or books, or artefacts of Kytherians, please get in contact with us and donate them, so they are not lost. If you have to dispose of things like that, then dispose them to a group that can utilise them in the most effective way.

Sixthly, it has always struck me that the Kytherian political and cultural elite, on Kythera, and in Greece, have always been "disconnected from" the Kytherians of the diaspora. This connection has to be established and strengthened. This will require an "education process", whereby the elite on the island constantly inform the diaspora Kytherians of their aspirations and achievements. The elite must learn to communicate more effectively. What kythera-family has taught us is that the perpetuation and preservation of Kytherian heritage is not a Kythera-centric challenge, but a global one.

Seventhly, if you have any ideas about how to increase the participation rate on the island of Kythera, please contact us!


The National Film and Sound Archive

In May this year The National Film and Sound Archive contacted the web-site team, and asked for permission to archive the web site.

This is an extraordinary compliment to the quality of the web site. Obviously we have collected information, documents, research papers and photographs at www.kythera-family.net, which are not available at other sites, or major institutions in Australia.

Requests of this kind confirm to the team that they are "on the right track", and that their initial vision for the site was well worth pursuing.

History > Photography

submitted by Epsilon Magazine on 16.02.2007

Family ties.

An Extended and amended version, of the interview published in:

Epsilon Magazine,
Volume 1, Issue 6,
15th June, 2006.
pp. 32-35

Family ties

George Poulos talks to Savvas Limnatitis about www.kythera-family.net, a web site dedicated to preserving Kytherian history and culture.


Unlike the Castelorizians, Cypriots or Lemnians, to name a few, the Kytherians of Sydney haven't got their own club, a place where they can meet and chat over a cup of coffee or a game of poker, where their kids can meet other kindred spirits, and engage themselves in the learning of their forefather's culture. But what the Kytherians lack in bricks and mortar; they more than make up for in enthusiasm and innovation. And in the case of www.kythera-family.net, unlike the three above-mentioned Hellenic organisations, they have a website dedicated to gathering the history of their tiny island, the plight of the Diaspora from the island; and preserving that history forever.

The concept of the site is so simple; it's a surprise it has not yet been copied. Members of the Kytherian community have been invited to submit their familys' collection of stories, photographs, recipes, maps, oral histories, biographies, historical documents, songs and poems, home remedies etc. to the site. The creators and administrators thereby avoid the crippling costs of maintaining such a high quality operation, as well as widening their pool of contributors. The latter come from everywhere: from here in Australia, in the USA, Europe, even Africa and South America. What binds them together is the love of their island and a need to “make available valuable and interesting material for current and future generations, and inspire young Kytherians to learn more about their fascinating heritage".

How and when did www.kythera-family.net get started?

The concept for kythera-family was the brainchild of a young man called James Prineas who lives in Berlin, Germany. His father, Vic, who now lives in Rose Bay, used to travel around country towns in NSW, and take orders for products for United Linen and Crockery Pty Ltd. When he returned to Sydney, these orders would be despatched to his various customers. After a few years he left ULCPL, and set up his own business. As he travelled from town to town, he "transmitted" stories, gossip, and information from Kytherian to Kytherian in NSW. Vic lived in Kingsford.

Vic's son James went to Rainbow Street Primary School, and later Sydney Boys High. After graduating from High School he realised his long-held dream to travel Greece. After 2 years in Greece - much of it spent on Kythera, he travelled through Germany and England and subsequenty started studying in the USA. He gravitated to the design industry, and after settling in Berlin began lecturing on the subject at the Potsdam Polytechnic. In 1993 he met Pia Betton, a Danish national, and two years later, they were married. They have two children, Louie and Jasper, and live in Berlin, Germany.

James works in the human resources and publishing areas. He is also a superb photographer. Pia works in corporate identity and is the managing director of Framework Identity.

James spent considerable time on Kythera. He regretted the fact that, as Kytherians on the island aged, and died, many without children; all their stories, all their memories, all their heritage, and often their gardens, died with them. Having a background in computer-aided-design, he conceived the idea of a cultural archive website for Kythera - where all these stories, photographs and heritage could be stored electronically for posterity. He decided the best way to go about this was to make the site self-publishing. Instead of a central web-master, all Kytherians around the world could become "webmasters". Kytherians would be empowered to load up "their" Kytherian heritage to the website. He worked on the concept for many years. Then, in 2003, the idea was transformed into a reality.

It strikes me as ironical that the "transmission of Kytherian information" that father Vic used to achieve inadvertently in the 50's and 60's, by spending long hours travelling on NSW roads, has now been taken up by his son, working out of Europe, and achieving even more profound results electronically, automatically, and remotely.

How difficult was it to set up the site?

The main problem was that James' idea required a lot of money to be "real-ised". We needed to raise more than $30,000. We were very lucky in two respects: as Kytherians we have access to the "Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust" which provides funding for projects pertaining to Kytherian cultural "themes" and activities. The "Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust" provided $15,000 for the project.

A second key factor was the involvement of the Notaras brothers, Angelo and John. They were bought up in Grafton, NSW, and in adult life, developed an aptitude for "invention". They were Australian inventors of the Year in 1976. One of their more successful inventions was the replaceable ignition switch. Ultimately they established a factory, Atom Industries in Lilyfield, Sydney, to manufacture their own inventions. They achieved a measure of economic success. Of course, not all wealthy persons become great benefactors. But, inspired by a deep love for Kythera, and their Kytherian heritage, the Notaras family have been great benefactors for various Hellenic and Kytherian causes. In the early 1990's they provided very substantial funds for the publication of Hugh Gilchrist's, monumental and ground-breaking book "Greeks and Australians Vol 1". The impetus and validation received by Gilchrist for Volume I, led subsequently to the publication of Volumes II & III.

The Notaras brothers also became heavily involved with Provicare. Provicare is a charity, focusing on drug and alcohol issues, administered by the The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.

http://www.provicare.org.au

Aimed at the Greek community, it provides free counselling and education services for individuals, coping strategies for families, and support mechanisms for carers. Provicare also endeavours to counter the "stigma" attached to mental health issues. For a recent charity drive, the Notaras brothers "invented" a superb funding "campaign". Collection boxes were distributed to churches throughout Australia, and patrons of the churches were encouraged to donate. The brothers designed a "baton" in the form of the Ionic columns of the Parthenon, with the Parthenon as the motif on each end. At their own cost, they provided the moulding tools for the design, and then proceeded to manufacture enough batons to distribute to all Greek Orthodox churches in Australia. They arranged the distribution and despatch of the batons, and set up and administered a register of the distribution points. $750,000 was raised for Provicare, utilisng this strategy.

In 2005, Angelo's twin brother, Mitchell, a medical specialist, resident in England, donated $1.1 million to establish a fund, to grant a regular Colo-Rectal Research Scholarship in Australia. This fund is administered by the Medical Faculty, at the University of Sydney. The Notaras family are extraordinary benefactors.

In October 2002, Ann Coward, former Kytherian Association of Australia Secretary, historian, and doctoral fellow, sent Angelo Notaras an email advising him of the hitherto frustrated efforts of James Prineas to establish a Kytherian archival web-site. James had developed a sophisticated "business plan and mission statement" which was circulated in Kytherian circles. He was finding it difficult, however, to raise the funds required. Angelo read the plan, and quickly accessed that the idea was superb. "We knew he had a great idea, and it was worth pursuing. Thats how we got involved." James and Angelo made contact by letter and email. They did not meet face-to-face for one year. But through the constant communication, an effective strategy for involving a broad base of the Kytherian diaspora in Australia, and for raising the necessary funds, was devised.

I cannot stress enough the pivotal role played by Angelo & John Notaras. Particularly Angelo, who has been involved in the adminstration of the site from day one. He has been absolutely steadfast and dynamic in his involvement. A great deal of credit for the website's quality and continuity goes to Angelo and his brother John.

Additional to the seed capital provided by the Aroney Trust and the Notaras brothers, a number of Kytherians donated $2000 each to become sponsors of the site. Angelo is both proud and fond of affirming that of the original 10 sponsors he approached to donate $2000, all gave "willingly and without hesitation." The idefatigable Ladies Auxiliary, of the Kytherian Association of Australia, also contributed $5000. Other Kytherians, seeing the benefits that the web-site would provide, also contributed sums from $10 to $1000. We collected all the funds required very quickly - the Kytherian and Hellenic community were amazed just how quickly we collected the money . We had overcome our first hurdle - the economic one.

The next hurdle was to determine, the best structure for the web-site. We had to create the best mix of categories, so that when contributors submitted their entries - their "entries" could be placed in some sought of order. We spent a great deal of time determing the categories, and creating the structure of the site. Much of this was derived by "trial and error", and by "fine tuning".

Some of the categories would obviously not apply to other parts of Greece, and to other parts of the world, for that matter. For example, in Kythera everyone has a paratsoukli, a nickname, so we have a special section where we slowly started to collect a list of them all. Recently, Jim Koroneos, whose own parachoukli is Poulaki, has collected 108 nicknames of the 19th and 20th century residents of the small village of Karavas, in northern Kythera,and put them on the site.

There are other, less ideosyncratic categories of course, which relate to many other important aspects of Kythera, Kytherians and their history and heritage. These include; Vintage Portraits & People,- Cafes, Shops & Cinemas, Social Life, Sporting Life, Weddings and Proxenia, Working Life, Architecture, Bibliography (Books about Kythera), Food and Recipes, Home Remedies, Kytherian Arts & Craft, Kytherian Identity, Nature, Religion, Sayings and Proverbs, Songs and Poems......; to name only a few.

How did you get involved?

When James first began his funding drive, and Angelo and John Notaras got involved, I happened to be on the Committee of the Kytherian Association of Australia. I became involved with the Committee, with a Kytherian cultural agenda, and "mission" in mind. My Kytherian cultural consciousness stemmed from a 15-year involvement at the Committee level of the Karavitiko Symposium, an organisation which celebrates the heritage of one of the most beautiful villages on the island, Karavas. I am the self-styled cultural attache of the KAA. I pushed the whole idea very heavily through the committee.

I also had a lot of information that I had collected over the years to do with Kythera. It was a great opportunity for me to place that information on the website. That way the project started, to borrow a phrase from T S Eliot, with a "bang" rather than a "whimper". We developed a large information base very quicky, which encouraged other people to visit the site, and to add their contributions. My role is that of Editor. I have the task of asking people to send photos and stories, and calling them back to make sure they have placed them. That way we have new information being submitted on a regular basis.
www.kythera-family.net has three adminstrators, with three different roles. James Prineas, concerns himself with creative and electronic matters, Angelo Notaras, with the economic and operational, and I with the editorial. This division of reponsibilities has worked extremely well. The small size of the "Board" has also been very important. We actually get on and do things, instead of just talking about doing things!

As for me, I grew up in the small central western NSW town of Gilgandra where I worked in my father’s fruit shop from a young age. Later I became a retailer in the emerging Discount Trade in Bondi Junction. After a decade of trading I sold out.

At this time the concept of the web site was being developed and I decided to take extended time off work to devote my energies to the site. I felt it was important that the site be given a good "start in life", and that the progress of the web site should be rapid. Too many web sites take far too long to establish themselves, and hence they fade away, and eventually "die".

I am pleased to say that the web site has "grown up" very quickly, and can now stand on its own two cyber-feet. I am confidant that even if, from this point forward, not a single new entry was added to the site, what has been published to date would remain very significant. Those qualified to judge recognise our significance.

Hence, we have become the number 1 site for "Kythera" on Google, in the world. Additionally, all the major electronic Enclopaedia's in the world, including Brittanica, use www.kythera-family.net as the first point of reference for "Kythera". Despite their immense resources these encycolpaedias's admit openly, that they could never amass the wealth of information that we have at www.kythera-family.net.

Are you happy with the way things turned out?

I’m very happy. From the official launch of the web-site at the Castellorizian Club, Kingsford on 14th January 2004, the website has been an incredible success.

/download/106KytheraJan2004.pdf

The atmosphere at the launch was "electric". 350 Kytherians and philekytherians attended. According to Nick Pappas, a leading member of the Castellorizian community, who was also in attendance, the Club auditorium had never been so full. "Only the Kytherians, could pull something like this off", he commented, to me. One 90 year old Kytherian ventured on the train alone, from the NSW central coast, to be at the launch. Others came in wheel chairs. Others cancelled alternative important engagements. The "buzz"' and the "electricity" has never diminished from that moment.

The success of the web-site can be attributed to a number of superior features inherent in the site:

The web-site is generative. One photograph or one story elicits a great deal more information. From one story, for example, sometimes, we might generate 15 additional stories "Information" on the site, and the site itself, has grown organically, in the way that a life-form grows. Roots lead to stem...leads to branches...lead to fruits.........lead to seeds......lead to roots....

The web-site is revelatory. New information is being uncovered all the time, which most Kytherians have previously been unaware of. To give you a simple example. A Kytherian in the USA might submit a photograph of his great-uncle. A young person in Australia recognises that the person in the photograph is their grandfather; and indicates that amongst members of their immediate family, no photograph of grandfather exist. The existence of an extremely important resource has been "revealed" to the young Kytherian in Australia.

The web-site is connective. Instance what has happened in California. Kytherians in Southern California didn't associate with each other very much. After visiting the website, many realised that they had relatives and fellow-Kytherians living in close proximity. They began to meet on a regular basis, and became inspired to visit the older Kytherians, write down, audiotape and videotape their stories, and submit them to the web site. I should point you here to the incredible "oral history" work of Vikki Fraioli and Terry Keramaris in the USA.

Reading through some of the stories in your website, the first thing that strikes me is that a lot of them are interlinked. A lot of families split up, with one brother going to America and the other coming to Australia. Has the site helped to reunite families?

Definitely. The beauty is that if you click on the nametag of a registered contributor, you can email them directly and get in contact with them. That way people from all over the world interact easily with each other, and you can find out what is happening in Kythera or any other part of the world for that matter. In September this year there will be a very large conference held in Canberra that will bring together people from all parts of the world who will deliver papers about Kythera. It will be a three-day event and it will be opened by non other than the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard.

Kythera has always depended on the good will of its xenitemenoi, its expatriates who regularly send money to the island. Has that changed in recent years?

The population of Kythera towards the end of the Second World War was about 15,000 people. Now it's 2900. Throughout the last one hundred years or even more - the first Kytherian come in Australia, for example, in 1854 - the population has declined. The result is that 97% of the worlds Kytherians do not live on the island. But what happened is that Kytherians left, first for Smyrna and Alexandria in Egypt, and other close destinations, and as they prospered, they started sending money back for projects of various sizes. So Kythera has benefited a lot from its immigrants.

For example, in Karavas, Patrikios sent money from Alexandria to create the Agricultural College there, (1930's), and the Tzortzopoulos family sent money from Baltimore in the USA, to establish a water supply to all the houses in the village (1950's).

More substantial projects ensured. With funds sent by Kytherian Australians and Kytherain Americans send, a hospital was built in the town of Potamos, that this year celebrates its 50th anniversary. Thanks to the Kasimatis family in Tasmania, there is now a very large aged care facility, also in Potamos. Over more than a century, the amenity of Kythera has been improved immensely, by the generosity of its xenitemenoi.

Is the website mainly supported by people in Australia and America?

Contributions derive from every part of the globe. We have had a number of entries from the Karavousanos family in Dublin, from Andrei de Roma, in France, who is a descendant of Diamantina Roma, the wife of the first governor of Queensland, as well as people from Africa and South America. It’s amazing where Kytherians contact us from. We have also learned that there used to be Kytherian organisations in parts of America and Africa that become defunct and are now being regenerated. We have contributed to this regeneration.

Because www.kythera-family.net is the first search result on internet search engines, we believe that the increase in tourism on the island, can be directly attributed to the website.

Also last year we sponsored a "Back to Kythera" event, were Kytherians from all over the world gathered to express their notions of Kytherian identity. The Kytherians who attended became very emotional, especially the Americans, who have lost contacts with their "roots"; more than the Australians have. You can listen to some of their emotional "testimony" on the website.

The website has brought the Kytherian family even closer together; although we have always been very close.

How do you manage to keep the website fresh? Are you dependant on what people submit, or do you ask people to contribute?

We work both ways. I'll give you an example. The Kings Cinema in Rose Bay North in Sydney used to be owned by two Kytherians, Peter Kosmas Sourry, i Kotsifos, and Alexander ("Alec") Andrew Coroneo, i Psomas. What we did was contact the families, as well as Greek newspapers that had run articles in the past on Sourrey and Coroneo, like O Kosmos, and managed to obtain early photographs of them, and of the Kings Cinema. We had previously been very diligent in establishing contacts with a number of well known researchers, such as Professor Ross Thorne, Les Tod, and Kevin Cork, (now deceased) whose entire PhD thesis "Greek Cinemas in Australia", is available on the site. Their knowledge has supplemented our knowledge of the Kytherian involvement in Australian cinematic history.

Australia's largest retailer, and second-largest supermarket chain, Coles, recently redeveloped the Rose Bay North, Kings Cinema site. Coles, and the lead architects, Gerard Thomas and Associates, were very helpful in providing us with additional information on the site. Graham Brooks and Associates, the Heritage Architects employed by Coles, even provided us with their 2002 Heritage Report for the site. If you are open to these other sources of information, you create information synergies. From a small base, this syn-ergia, allows you to generate a lot of input, from a lot of important people, with a lot of knowledge. The end result is a broadening and deepening of the knowledge base of "Kytherian" history.

You keep using the term "we". Why then do I get the feeling that kythera-family.net is pretty much a one-man show?

Actually, there are a number of people that have become involved in their own right, contributing a great deal. 1000's of Kytherian's, Hellenes, and others have registered to the site. Of those, 100's have contributed photographs and information to the site. We have a "core" group of about 18 to 20 people that contribute on a regular basis, and who have made multiple submissions. I regard this group as "co-editors". These submisions encourage other institutions and other knowledgeable individuals to send their contributions. The whole project is far from being a one-man show.

I do spend a great deal of time encouraging input from academic circles and that sort of material is very handy. People like Hugh Gilchrist, Effie Alexakis, Leonard Janiszewski, Peter Vanges, George Leontsinis, Tim Gregory, Lita Diacopoulos, Denis Conomos, and many others, have been very kind in allowing us to include their research material on the web-site. But the contributors to the web-site are now so diverse, and their contributions so varied, that no one person could ever hope to get a "complete" and exclusive "handle" on the site.

How close were we to losing all this information forever?

So much information has already been lost. Plus there is still a lot of information that is in Kytherians' homes that will be lost. We have a chance to preserve some of it. I have always said that the photographs, and stories, that families have in their own homes is the ousia, the essence of the website. It gives it that extra flavor. The academic people are good because they have the structure and they perform their research in a systematic way. But the essence comes from the individual families. Recently Peter Prineas wrote a great book called "Katsehamos and the Great Idea" which derived from his "visiting" our website and seeing a reference to his grandfather, who, he discovered, was a member of a partnership of three Kytherians, who built a picture theatre in the small northwest country town of Bingara. He realised that he didn't know anything about that aspect of his grandfather's life and neither did his family. So he took a year and a half out of his life and wrote a very sophisticated book about his family history. This is another example of the generative effect of the web site.

Where do you personally want to see the website go in the future?

The website has been designed to hold about to 2,000,000 submissions. At the moment it is really growing and has amost 10,000 entries. My dream is that we will continue to collect the data, and that people around the world will see the site and contribute to it, so the information is not lost.

You also have to consider this. When the material is held together in one place, it's much more significant than being in a hundred different places. There is much more impact when everything is stored in the same place. 21st century (wo)man, does not have the time to travel to Canberra to look up Kytherian information in the National Library, or National Archives, or try and collect various "bits and pieces" of information, from here, there and everywhere.

1 + 1+ 1 = 3, but 1 + 1 million other 1's = becomes a far greater number than 1,000,000. A kind of "mutiplier effect" sets in, which can be summed up by the formula "the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts". This multiplier effect has already been set in train at kythera-family.

There are two wonderful sections on the site which I would like to draw to your attention. One is the Natural History Museum, which is run by Robyn Tzannes from New York, and the other is the Kythera Cultural Association (KCA). The former contains photographs and information about natural phenomena on Kythera - from sea shells, wild flowers, through fossils, to large animals. The KCA, led by John Stathatos, has access to the Fatseas Collection of glass negatives, which includes over 4,500 photos of Kytherians from 1900 onwards. Again, with financial support from Angelo and John Notaras, this collection is curently being restored, preserved, and archived to the highest world standards. The photographs are also being digitally scanned, and placed on the web-site. This conserves them indefinitely, and makes them accessible to all Kytherians around the world.

The Benaki Museum in Athens is so impressed with the quality and significance of the collection, that they have agreed to stage an exhibition of the photographs in 2007. This "recognition of excellence" stems directly from the Kytherian heritage preservation work, which has been highlighted by the existence, and the work, of the web site.

There are still challeges to be met. For example, there are still not enough Kytherian contributors. Given the fact that most western European homes have access to a computer, ideally every Kytherian household in the world should be contributing to the site. What is the use of providing such an incredible resource, for Kytherians not to take advanatge of it? I hope the participation rate increases in the future.

But my big hopes for the future lies on Kythera. Access to the internet is very low on Kythera and the participation from residents of the island is fairly low. I would like to see a program established providing computers to residents on Kythera, and teaching programs to enhance computer knowledge. I would like to see the "participation rate" from Kythera on kythera-family, greatly enhanced. Particularly through a youth programme. As one resident of Kythera recently said to me, "the people who live here on Kythera have many of the answers to many of the questions that are consistently being asked on the web-site. The problem is they don't have access to the questions! They don't have access to the web-site."

Further, and I haven't really discussed this proposal with anyone before, I would like to see a large scale oral history program conducted on the island. Theoretically, with a population of only 2,900, it should be possible to take a 5-6 paragraph oral history of every person on the island. You may recall the British documentary series 7 Up. The series was based on a maxim of Loyola's - "Give Me the Child Until He Is Seven and I Will Show You the Man". The documentary film maker followed the lives of a number of British children from age 7, interviewing them every 7 years. The latest documentary was entitled 42 Up, that is, the "children" at 42 years of age. A similar kind of intensive oral history project could be conducted on Kythera.

Have you had any response from other Greek community groups, who wish to do what you have done?

Some of the members of committee of the Castelorizian Association would very dearly love to have a website of a similar type. But it takes two benefactors to put in the economic infrastructure. I've got a feeling that most of the rest of the Greek communities except the Cypriot and Castelorizian communities, haven't got the finances to be able to fund a website of this quality, and to maintain it. Unlike the Cypriot and Castelorizian communities, the Kytherians haven't got their own club, although we do have some funds towards buying one.

What we do with the website can best be described as a heritage preservation, a kind of encyclopedia of Kythera, where we preserve the heritage of Kytherians around the world. The best thing is to have both elements. I would definitely encourage the Cypriot and Castelorizian communities to establish a similar website, and hopefully the other communities will follow. If you have both a building and heritage preservation, I think you are helping to ensure the future of Hellenism.

Do you visit Kythera often?

I don't go very often at all. I have been to Kythera once. I have attempted many times to go back, but something always crops up. But when I did go I fell deeply in love with it. As I approached the landing point at Ayia Pelagia, I was sobbing uncontrollably. The feeling I had was one of returning to my "spiritual" homeplace. The feedback I get from other exoteriki Kytherians is that the island also resonates with them at this very deep level. We all identify completely with the island.

As a bonus the island is geo-physically, extraordinarily beautiful. And its beautiful in a diverse way. Aphrodites Bath, the cave at Ayia Sophia, the view of the bays at Kapsali, the verdant green hills of Karavas - I could place you in 1000 locations on the island - and you would find them all beautiful in their own way.

For someone that doesn't visit Kythera often, you certainly spend a lot of time dealing with Kytherian issues. Is that some sort of substitute?

In a way it is a substitute. Through kythera-family I get to live on Kythera, vicariously. I am also a frustrated writer and artist. Again, kythera-family gives me an outlet for these creative urges.

More importantly, however, I realise that if we don't preserve this information soon, then we won't preserve at all, at least not properly. It's really important to do this while we still have with us some of the older members of the Kytherian family. They are the ones that know who the people in the photos are; they are the ones who can tell you the stories about how they collected water from the well, walked to school without shoes on, migrated to Australia or America alone at age 12, first established themselves in country towns in Australia, and large cities in America - and all the other stories. Even if we can save one tenth of these stories, one hundredth of the photos, then we will have done a great service for the preservation of Kytherian identity, heritage and history, which can benefit the next generation.

There are five messages that I would like to send to people.

Firstly, please consider donating to the website, to keep it going, and to take some pressure off the other sponsors. Donate as little or as much as you can afford. But donate something. Don't leave it to the same visionary benefactors to always provide the funding for projects of this kind. Become a visionary yourself.

Secondly, remember, Kytherian heritage begins with you, and with your immediate family. Make the time to collate your family photographs, transcribe your family history, and create your Family Tree. Don't be lazy...don't put it off....don't spare the nominal expense. Start today!

Thirdy, if you are retired, or have time to spare, think about donating some of your time to making sure your Kytherian heritage is preserved. Particularly if you have type-writing, editing, photographic, scanning, oral-history gathering, and computer skills of any kind - think about putting these skills to good use.

Fourthly, if you need to dispose of any old photos, or books, or artefacts of Kytherians, please get in contact with us and donate them, so they are not lost. If you have to dispose of things like that, then dispose them to a group that can utilise them in the most effective way.

Fifthly, if you have any ideas about how to increase the participation rate on the island of Kythera, please contact us!


The National Film and Sound Archive

In May this year The National Film and Sound Archive contacted the web-site team, and asked for permission to archive the web site.

This is an extraordinary compliment to the quality of the web site. Obviously we have collected information, documents, research papers and photographs at www.kythera-family.net, which are not available at other sites, or major institutions in Australia.

Requests of this kind confirm to the team that they are "on the right track", and that their initial vision for the site was well worth pursuing.

History > Photography

submitted by Metohos (Magazine) on 21.06.2006

Metohos (Magazine)

[[picture:"Metohos.jpg" ID:10826]]

Introducing the magazine to Australia.

Metamedia Corp. Australasia Pty Ltd.

Our company is involved with a unique, informative, and attractive magazine that has content of interest in the areas of business, life, culture, and travel.

Our magazine is called ΜΕΤΟΧΟΣ. It is available at all major news agencies around the country and has been in circulation for about five months in Australia.

The direct translation of "METOΧΟΣ" is Shareholder, but in relation to our magazine it means being a shareholder in Hellenism. It is written in both English and Greek to reach and inform the Hellenic Diaspora regarding all things relevant and of interest to people who want to promote and preserve Hellenic culture. Many of our readers particularly enjoy sharing the language and culture between generations.

We invite you to visit our website at www.metohos.com to get a small taste of what our magazine is like.

Metohos is distributed around the world to Hellenic descent individuals and businesses. We hope you will agree that it is an excellent way to enhance brand recognition and build relationships with our very qualified audience, as well as reach them through the pages of METOHOS.

I look forward to hearing your feedback once you have had a chance to review our magazine.

Nikos Kolendrianos

Director

Metamedia Corp. Australasia Pty Ltd.

PH/FAX: (03) 9497 2540

EMAIL: australia@metohos.com

WEBPAGE: www.metohos.com

Whats happening in the Hellenic World?

http://www.metohos.com/?Func=calendar

History > Photography

submitted by Metohos (Magazine) on 21.06.2006

Metohos Magazine.

Introducing the magazine to Australia.

Metamedia Corp. Australasia Pty Ltd.

Our company is involved with a unique, informative, and attractive magazine that has content of interest in the areas of business, life, culture, and travel.

Our magazine is called ΜΕΤΟΧΟΣ. It is available at all major news agencies around the country and has been in circulation for about five months in Australia.

The direct translation of "METOΧΟΣ" is Shareholder, but in relation to our magazine it means being a shareholder in Hellenism. It is written in both English and Greek to reach and inform the Hellenic Diaspora regarding all things relevant and of interest to people who want to promote and preserve Hellenic culture. Many of our readers particularly enjoy sharing the language and culture between generations.

We invite you to visit our website at www.metohos.com to get a small taste of what our magazine is like.

Metohos is distributed around the world to Hellenic descent individuals and businesses. We hope you will agree that it is an excellent way to enhance brand recognition and build relationships with our very qualified audience, as well as reach them through the pages of METOHOS.

I look forward to hearing your feedback once you have had a chance to review our magazine.

Nikos Kolendrianos

Director

Metamedia Corp. Australasia Pty Ltd.

PH/FAX: (03) 9497 2540

WEBPAGE: www.metohos.com

EMAIL: australia@metohos.com

History > Photography

submitted by Epsilon Magazine on 20.06.2006

Set in Gold. Stepahie Magiros works magic for New South Wales.

Volume 1, Issue 5, Epsilon (Magazine), 31st May, 2006; pages 1, & 34-39

Epsilon is a new Greek-Australian magazine, which is published bi-weekly.

Volume 1, Issue 1, was launched on April 1, 2006.

It is available at all newstands in Australia, which sell the O Kosmos newspaper.


Contact <b>Epsilon</b> here

Epsilon, more details

Stephanie Magiros is not used to giving up easily. She might be small and young - she is barely fifteen - but after twelve long years living and breathing gymnastics she has learned that the harder the fall, the quicker you need to get back on your feet, a broad smile plastered all over your face as you bravely march on to your next apparatus. And to be quite frank, her never-give-up attitude couldn't have come handier at a better time. Not for her sake, that is, but for mine.

Thing is, we have just finished our interview, when to my horror I realise that my trusty old recorder has given up on me, capturing for prosperity only the first minutes of our almost hour-long conversation.

"No need to panic" she offers, as thick drops of sweat start running down my face, warm as baby tears. "You'll just have to do it again, won't we"? Problem is, can you trust the damn recorder? Again, Stephanie has the solution. Within a matter of minutes, she has come with a more viable solution than my old companion. She sets up her computer as a make shift recorder and we off we go, to (re) capture the essence of the pocket sized dynamo that is Stephanie Magiros.
In the hour that follows we talk about her gold and bronze medal performances during this year's recent National Gymnastics Championships, the sacrifices she had to make to reach the dizzy heights of success, her dreams and aspirations, occasionally posing to discuss the nature of the sport and the effect it can have on a young girl's life.

And if you think success has gone to her head, then think again. Bright and articulate, she answers my questions with the bravado of someone that knows how much ground they have covered in the long and often thorny road to glory, but somehow manages to exude the humbleness of a novice, her feet firmly stuck to the ground. And rather than having a good old whine about the small pleasures of life denied to her by her chosen path, Stephanie takes it all in her stride, showing a maturity not usually associated with her age.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of one very determined young lady.

Tell me a little bit more about the competition you recently excelled in.

It was a national championship where I had the chance to represent my state. NSW made history books by winning levels seven to nine in team events. I was a part of the level eight team. In these types of competition an athlete competes in four different apparatus: floor, vault, beams and bar. During the competition every team is made up of six girls. Out of the six girls, the four best results count towards the team's overall score. All my four scores counted for the team total. I suppose if I wasn't part of the NSW team and if I hadn't performed as well as I did, my team probably wouldn't have won the gold. A couple of days later I won bronze in the individual vault competition. What basically happens is that they get your score from the team competition and add it to the individual competition. The competition was held at Homebush Bay at the State Sports Centre. Sydney has held the event for the last three years in a row. Apparently it's supposed to change next year but nothing is certain.

From what your parents have been telling me, during competitions, you have to leave home and stay with the rest of the team.

That’s right. This time we stayed in a hotel at Ryde. What this means is that you don't get to see your family or your school friends for a week. The only people you see are your coaches, your chaperons and your fellow team members. Usually all six girls stay together in a room, which is good for the team morale as we get to know each other better and learn to work as a team. Everyday we have to drive to the venue. You get one day of competition, followed by a day of training and then you go back to compete again. When you are not competing, you usually stay at the venue to see your teammates and cheer them on.

Is the gold medal you have just won the highlight of your career so far?

There have been other success stories. Last year I won the NSW State Championships in level 7, and I had the chance to represent my state in last year's national competition as well.

You talk a lot about levels. How are these measured? By age or ability?

It's all down to the individual's ability and skills, by what everyone is capable of doing. It's pretty pointless to compete at level eight when I do not have the necessary skills required at that level.

How long have you been doing this?

For about twelve years now. I started gymnastics when I was two and a half years old. Not that I remember anything from that time. But from what my parents were telling me, the reason they enrolled my in gymnastics was simply because I was a jumping jellybean. I was almost teaching myself somersaults on my bed. She thought that if she enrolled me, I would stop jumping around and being so hyperactive at home. Of course, her plan never worked. It actually had the opposite effect. I would come home from the gym and practice everything I had learned on my bed.

Who has been the biggest influence of our career so far?

Apart from m parents, I have to say my coach Bill Parsons. He has been my coach since I walked through the doors of the NSW Academy of Gymnastics as a three year old. He has been with me all the way, and he is more than a coach, he is my mentor and a friend.

At what stage did gymnastics stop being what you parents enrolled you in and become what you wanted to do?

I thing I must have been four or five. I remember I was also doing ballet at the time, which I completely hated. I found it really boring, not something that consumed a lot of my energy. Ballet is all about looking pretty and elegant and I have always been more the jumpy, hyperactive type. I know from then on that gymnastics was more suited to me. As I grew older, I realised that my body wasn't suited for ballet, so I suppose I made the right choice.

I suppose it's fair to presume, that you have never considered trying rhythmic gymnastics?

No. Definitely not. And even if I had, I don't think I would have been able to do it. Again, my body is not suited to that. With rhythmic gymnastics you need to be flexible and tall and skinny, which I am not. And it's too much like ballet, which I still can't stand.

What's an average day in the life of Stephanie Magiros like?

I get up at seven o clock, get to school by eight thirty, come back just after three o'clock in the afternoon. After a quick lunch I get ready for the gym. I have to be there by four and I finish training at eight thirty at night. I have my dinner, then do a bit of homework and go to sleep around eleven - eleven thirty. I suppose I'm lucky to be one of those people that can get by with only five to six hours of sleep. It's the same routine four times a week. I train Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is my day off, which gives me the chance to spend some time with my family. On Saturdays I train from ten o'clock in the morning till two in the afternoon and the rest of my weekend is free.

Is that too hard, physically as well as mentally, on a young person like yourself?

I do get tired sometimes, but that depends on what training season we are in, if there is a competition coming up or if we are learning new techniques and skills. I believe that I handle it very well, though. I never think that I don't want to do it anymore or something.

How do you manage to fit your schoolwork into your schedule?

I do my school work when ever I can, which is pretty much during free days, weekends and after the gym when I get home. I've learned not to waste time in order to fit everything in.

What did you have to sacrifice to get to the level you are today?

I don't look at it as being a sacrifice. But I had to miss out on my school life with my friends. Sometimes they might be going out shopping on a Saturday morning and I always have to turn them down and say "Sorry, I can't do this, I have to train". Sometimes they will pressure me telling me "just skip a day, it's only one day, you train all year", but they don't understand that missing a day of training adds up in the end. For example, if I skip training on a Saturday, when I go back on Monday my muscles are sore. Plus one day away from the gym might mean that I will miss out on learning a new skill. When it's competition season I have to sacrifice all the other sports I enjoy. I am not allowed to do things like ice-skating, rollerblading and all the other sports you can injure yourself. I really love water skiing and when I'm in competition season I have to stay away from it in case I have a wipe out and hurt myself. If that happens at the gym, I'd understand. If it happens elsewhere I'd be really disappointed with myself.

What about missing out on social events, like a friend's birthday or yiayia's name day? Does that have a negative effect on you?

Not really. If it's a friend's birthday I just tell them I can't go because I'm training. At first they are upset but then they understand that my life at this stage is dedicated to gymnastics.

What drives you to dedicate so much of your life to gymnastics? Wouldn't it be easier to quit, for example?

I wouldn't quit gymnastics. Apart from my love for the sport, I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I did. I would have twenty spare hours that I would have to fill with something else. Also, I haven't achieved all the goals I have set for myself.

What else would you like to achieve?

I would love to represent Australia at some point. To do that, I first have to reach level 10, and compete at that level at the nationals.

How far away is that dream?

Two years I would say.

What does it take to get to level 10? How many more hours of training do you have to put in?

It's not only the hours. You have to be more consistent with your training and work hard all the time.

What's the major difference between the life you are leading now, and that of a girl your age that represents her country at Olympics level?

Olympians on an average, train between 38 to 46 hours per week. They pretty much don't have a reasonably normal life like I do. They have three hours of school and six hours of gym everyday.

Has it ever crossed your mind to put more hours in and get to that level or are you happy where you are now?

I'm happy with how my gymnastics career is going and how it has been in the past. It's probably a bit late now anyway. You have to make that decision when you are ten or eleven. I have chosen not to go that way, and I am happy with it. I think I have a nice balance: a good gymnastics career, a great family, and some very good friends.

Is it hard being away from your family? How often do you have to do that?

It's good to get away from my two brothers every now and then. I usually go away two to three times a year. I had to go away from home and compete in Queensland, Victoria, and Canberra and recently in Hawaii. I am not normally totally away from my family. My mum always comes with my as a chaperon of the squad and it's good to have her there with me. I don't really miss my school friends or my family because I see them every day. Sometimes it's fun going away and concentrating on a competition with your gymnastic friends. And anyway, there are times that I feel I am closer to the friends I have made in gymnastics. They do the same hours of training as me, they have the same routine, and we know the sacrifices we have to make.

What gives you more pleasure: winning or learning new skills?

You do feel proud when you have learned a new skill, especially when you start putting it into your routine. Then you do your routine at a competition, knowing that if you do well, you will have the chance to win a medal. If that happens, you do feel proud for what you have achieved.

What about when an award doesn't come your way. How do you deal with the disappointment?

I do feel disappointed if something goes wrong in a competition. But that failure makes me go back to the gym and work harder to get it right the second time. When you go to a competition and you fall on your first attempt, you can't just think that everything is over. You have to put that behind you and focus on the next three apparatus and try to finish strong.

Have you considered your life away from gymnastics? What would you like to do once your career is over?

After I retire I might do a bit of diving. I already have some of the skills required, like aerial sense, the motion, all the twisting and somersaulting, and the speed I have learned from gymnastics. A sport like that would be easy for me to learn. I would also love to go into coaching. It would be much easier for me to be a coach than a person off the street. I have been there and done that, I know the sport and I know what it takes to coach and develop good gymnasts, as it was done to me.

What was the hardest competition you had to take part in?

During the competition in Hawaii, a teammate and me had to compete at level ten, three levels higher than what we were at the time. We went up against a girl who had just come fifth in the world championships. We really appreciated the opportunity to compete against someone who was almost at the top.

What is your favorite apparatus?

In competition my favorite is vault and floor. Vault because it is a fast apparatus, whereas bars and beam are much longer and much easier to fall down. If your last apparatus is floor, then you can let go, show off your skills, your routine, you can show off your expressions. But in training I really enjoy beam because you get to practice the skills you've learned on the floor on a piece of wood that's 10cm wide. When you pull it off, it's the best feeling. At the moment my strongest apparatus is vault because it required speed and strength, which are my best skills. Plus I have a good aerial sense and I know where my body is when I am twisting. At the moment I am really struggling with bars. It used to be my best apparatus, but as my body changes I find it difficult. With bars you need more technique and a longer body, and as you can see I am not the tallest person in the world.

Growing up, who were your idols?

I used to look up to a girl called Trudy Macintosh. She used to have a vault named after her. She was the first girl in the world to ever perform that vault and I thought it was really cool to have a vault named after you. I was hoping in the future to learn that vault and be as good as her. I got the chance to meet Trudy during the Sydney Olympics. I was part of the closing ceremony. I was dressed as a teddy bear, doing headstands and cartwheels around the stadium. We were part of the Bananas and Pajamas float. After you did your little bit you could go in the middle and party with all the Olympians. It was there that I met Trudy Macintosh and she signed my costume. I will never throw that teddy bear outfit away.


**The parents' point of view**

Helen Magiros

How much of your time does Stephanie's career take?


It does take a lot of time driving her to training everyday and then picking her up at night. I do have another two boys and I try to divide my time equally between my children. I don't want the boys to turn around in ten of fifteen years and say "we didn't do this; we couldn't do that because of Stephanie and her gym". Most afternoons I have three drop-offs and three pick ups, because I want to give the boys their opportunities as well. They have their soccer, their baseball, their ten pin bowling.

As a parent of an athlete, do you find that you have to sacrifice a lot of things as well?

I can't say that I miss out on a lot of things, but Stephanie's career does take a lot of my spare time. When you have a child that's so heavily involved into the sport, you usually have to do a lot of other things, like helping out in the fundraising committees. And then you have the other extra things that Stephanie needs like physio appointments and doctor appointments, she might need a massage and of course I have to drive her to all those places.

Shouldn't that be the club's responsibility? Isn't it ironic that the parents’ role is often played down; when in reality without the parents' dedication we would have had the likes of Ian Thorpe for example?

The parents are in the background but they are the ones that actually provide the foundation for the children to have these sporting career. It's not as if she could drive herself to the gym when she was five. The reality is that parents need to be just as dedicated as their children, Sure we do sacrifice a bit. We miss out on holidays, on long weekends etc because Stephanie needs to train.

History > Photography

submitted by Clarence River Historical Society on 08.06.2006

Grafton's Jacaranda Festival.

Jacaranda Avenue Grafton

Grafton, NSW, Australia
.

From the early 1900's to date there has always been a powerful Kytherian presence in the town of Grafton, NSW.

No less than 7 cafes were owned by Kytherians in Grafton in the post WWII era.

Their busiest time of the year was always the time of the

Jacaranda Festival

The world-renowned Jacaranda Festival is Australia's oldest family floral festival. It is held yearly in Grafton, Northern Rivers New South Wales, from the last weekend in October to the first weekend in November.

In 2006 the festival officially starts on Friday, October 27th and concludes on Sunday, 5th November.

It is based upon the magnificent spectacle of the hundreds of lilac-blossomed trees which grow in Grafton's broad tree lined avenues.

It expresses the people's thanksgiving for the generosity with which nature blesses this part of the globe.

The Jacaranda

The Jacaranda (sp Jacaranda Mimosifolia), is of South American origin, principally Brazil. It grows well in sub-tropical regions and may attain a height of twenty metres.

On 2nd July 1879, Mr H. A. Volkers, a Grafton seed merchant, was contracted to plant trees for the Grafton Council. During the 1880's he was instrumental in supplying and planting hundreds of Jacaranda trees in the streets of Grafton.

Jacaranda trees now have flowers in maroon and white as well as the popular blue-mauve. Life expectation may be up to 200 years if in private care and the timber is a creamy to rich yellow pinkish colour and may be used for ornamental woodwork.

http://www.jacarandafestival.org.au/index.htm

History > Photography

submitted by James Gavriles on 07.06.2006

Gavrilis Demetrios Yioannis

 

History > Photography

submitted by Peter Tsicalas on 04.06.2006

Vogue Cafe Lismore

Angelo Crethar and Nick Crones established the Vogue Milk Bar next to the new theatre in 1936, the place remaining under this name until it closed in the 1960s. Presumably this tea/coffee pot, (or milk jug?), was part of the original outfitting purchase.

History > Photography

submitted by Peter Tsicalas on 04.06.2006

Canberra Cafe Lismore

This tea pot probably came from Paul Coronakes’s Canberra Café, although the Canberra name disappeared from Lismore around 1925 and wasn’t resurrected until about 1935, (in a different location), when the Carkagis Bros acquired Peter Bavea’s original shop.

History > Photography

submitted by Peter Tsicalas on 04.06.2006

Regent Cafe Lismore

The cup carries the batch number 01-1947 and the saucer 10-1948. By this time the Regent was in the hands of Veniamin Gialouris of Mytilini. Presumably he decided to start with a clean slate upon acquiring the place from Harry and Nick Jim Crethar in ~1946.