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submitted by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on 26.12.2005

Kourambiethes - Greek pastries

Greek pastries are baked by Harriet Matthews in her traditional Greek bakery, RosieÕs Gleeka, in Canonsburg. Beside these is an icon of Mary and the Christ child.
Jasmine Gehris/Tribune-Review


Kourambiethes

These traditional butter cookies are made for holidays and weddings. This recipe was contributed to "A Taste of Greece & More" by the Daughters of Penelope Pieria, Chapter 228, All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, Canonsburg (1998, spiral), contributed by Esther Lucas.


1 pound unsalted butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
1 shot whiskey
4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
Confectioners' sugar
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the butter, egg yolks, sugar and whiskey. Beat until smooth. Gradually add the flour and mix well by hand until smooth. Shape into desired shapes (balls, crescents or an "S" shape).

Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 20 to 25 minutes or until light brown. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, sift confectioners' sugar over them, covering completely.

From, article, Awaiting Saint Nikolaos
By Karin Welzel
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, December 7, 2005

History > Photography

submitted by O Kosmos on 26.12.2005

Dating Aphrodite. Modern adventures in the ancient world.

Author: Luke Slattery

When Published: 2005

Publisher: ABC Books

Available: All good bookshops, Australia

Description: 270 page hard back

O Kosmos. News in English. p.29
Friday 2 December 2005

Dating Aphrodite: Modern Adventures in the Ancient World


Luke Slattery might be a “stranger” to the Greek Community of Sydney - at least for the time being - but Greek history is no strange subject to him. His love and knolwledge of the Ancient Greek civilisation and its myri­ad stories, is well documented through his countless art­cles that have been pub­lished in the mainstream Australian press.

Further­more, Luke Slattery, a journalist who has written for The Australian, The Australian Financial Review as well as The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, has wrilten extensively about Greek philosophy, and and traveling in Greece. Therefore, it comes as no suprise that Slattery has de­cided to pass on his knowl­edge through a new book Dating Aphrodite: Modern Adventures in the Ancient World (ABC Books, $32.95).

To celebrate the release of the book and to officialy wel­come the well-known philhel­lene into Greek society, the Press and Communications Office of the Greek Consulate Gen@ral in Sydney, held a special function at 6.00pm on December the 16th, with the writer talking about his publication.

Book Review

It is hard to imagine a more companionable guide to the myths and heroes, ideas and at­titudes of the ancient Greeks and Romans than Luke Slat­tery. He weaves his elegant dis­cussions of the stories and per­sonalities of the ancient world into the narrative of his own wanderings on classic soil. At Gallipoli, near the Site of an­cient Troy, he introduces us to The Iliad. Homer’s story of vio­lence, defeat, heroism and re­spect for the enemy, becomes all the more powerful, when it is brought into dialogue with our own need for myth and truth. Then Slattery is off to Ithaca, the home Odysseus took so long to reach.

Weaving together the charming narrative of his own journey with bright, intelligent discussions of the great themes of ancient culture - love, the gods, the meaning of life -serves a serious purpose.

Slattery is determined to dis­play the continuing relevance of Greek and Roman culture for us today. Ironical1y, pushing rel­evance too hard has a bathetic effect - it veers to the ridiculous. What, for example, can we learn from paganism, with its multiple limited and imperfect gods? Well, perhaps we could apply this today. It sounds quite nice, but really what it means is that religious people should give up their beliefs. It’s completely un­clear what it would mean to think that Allah is one god a­mong many or the god of the Christians is limited. Slattery hasn’t thought this through.

But this is a minor point: “rele­vance” doesn’t require lifting specific beliefs form the past and dropping them into moder­nity. A deeper insight into rele­vance is given in the fine discus­sion of nostalgia. I had always felt embarrassed by my own
tendencies in this direction, fearing that there was some­thing disreputable about this emotion.

In Slattery’s generous and perceptive analysis, it be­comes something wonder­ful: “we need a name for good nostalgia, which leads us to the past but does not abandon us there”; and re­veals this hankering as a permanent condition of culture. He admits to an aching longing to return to an imagined home, the dwelling place of Greek myth. We tend to be a bit nervous about such ret­rospective desires; but because Slattery is so obviously at home in the modern world as well we can tak courage from his example. We may have feared that nostalgia was incompatible with being up-to-date. But he shows us how these things sit together; like much good education his writ­ing encourages a more sensible ‘view of ourselves.

It is striking that Slattery achieves this liberation not by bludgeoning us with clever ar­guments or forcing a grudging intellectual assent but by example - by being nice to us. For fear of nostalgia is just that, a fear, and the way past fear is the right kind of leadership, not the marshalling of intellectual bat­talions. Nostalgia as he puts it can be “a conduit for the ideas and tastes of the Greek world” into our own: “a source of ener­gy and renewal; a live current”. Slattery is teaching us how to love what he loves. This is the fi­nal truth about relevance: we po don’t love something because it thi is relevant; whatever we can re-learn to love becomes intimately relevant to us.

Slattery is bold enough to say un what he honestly. feels: that the ancient world has left us a legacy of “undying value”; and wise enough to know that appreciating that legacy is a matter of enjoyment, not duty. Because Slattery has made his name as a journalist (and his journalistic inheritance is a little too apparent in the sub-chapter headings) we might not appreciate just how sharp his insights are. In his discussion of the interplay of the god Apollo, who embodies restraint and reason, and Dionysus, who celebrates riotous excess, Slattery follows in the the steps of Nietzsche.

But despite having taught Nietzsche’s thesis, I found Slattery’s discussion bringing home home for the first time precisely the power, and the limitations, of this idea. Slattery’s work is rep­resentative of a movement in modern thought,- one that, as yet, has no special name. He is unafraid of being serious. He wants to understand and discuss the great topics of life; but he is generous and easy with his knowledge; he focuses on why ideas matter, how they connect with experience. He liberates the university ideal (love of knowledge) from its typical fail­ings (obscurity, technicality, gracelessness); he absorbs the postmodern vision of freedom - -why not mix the genres of travel writing and ancient history - but avoids its irritating “cleverness” and irony. The reader is treated as a friend, someone with whom the writer can be sincere as well as entertaining. Perhaps such writing needs no name, other than the name it has always had: humane literature.

Greek City

http://www.greekcity.com.au/content/content.cfm?id=1737

LUKE SLATTERY’S “DATING APHRODITE”

“Dating Aphrodite, modern adventures in the ancient world” is a book about Ancient history, philosophy and travel to sites of Antiquity.
The author of “Dating Aphrodite”, Luke Slattery, unfolds his exquisite analysis of the myths, gods, heroes and philosophies of Greek Antiquity. His writing is so convincing, so proficient about the Ancient World that makes you think he was nearby, present to the historical events, conversing with the protagonists, reporting with his journalistic sense about the past for today.
Luke Slattery’s journey is a delight. He popularises the complex ideas of Antiquity and takes the reader to the original sites where the ancient spirit shines eternally. He travels to Troy, theatre of war in Iliad, close to Gallipolis of the Anzacs, to Ithaca, the Odyssey’s destination, to Mani, in search of the author Paddy Leigh Fermor, to the Oracle at Delphi, the navel of the earth.
Luke Slattery depicts in an unparalleled way compelling Gods and Humans, their traits and deeds. Apollo and Dionysus, the symmetric Olympian Gods, Alexander the Great and his fusion of cultures, Zeno and Epicurus the two most companionable philosophic rivals, Aphrodite the goddess of beauty and harmony; are just some of the illustrious ancients skillfully elaborated in the book.
Slattery is a journalist, culture writer and book critic. His writing is positive and pleasurable and at the same time innovative, inclusive and inspiring. His work has appeared in The Australian, the Financial Review, the Age, The (UK) Spectator and The Times Literary Supplement, the International Herald Tribune.

The Press and Communications Office of the Consulate General of Greece in Sydney organized a presentation of “Dating Aphrodite” on the 16th of December at 6.00pm at its premises: (Suite 2004, 264 George Str, Sydney 2000).

Luke Slattery was present to speak about his book “Dating Aphrodite”.

MORE INFO:
Press and Communications Office – Consulate General of Greece Sydney
Tel. (02) 9247 0422,
Fax (02) 9247 0522,

Email, Press and Communications Office

http://shop.abc.net.au

'Greece has a profound and permanent message to mankind; it is humane and progressive and affects not only art but the whole of life.' Australian classicist Gilbert Murray


'Dating Aphrodite' is a modern celebration of the classics of ancient Greece and ancient Rome - their wisdom and humour, as well as the insights they offer our contemporary world.

In the best tradition of Alain de Botton and Simon Schama, journalist and traveller Luke Slattery illuminates the classical ideas underpinning so much of modern civilisation - our literature, art and architecture, our democracy, science and even our religion - with a cheeky sense of irony.

A combination of travel book, history book and a meditation on what it means to be living in the media-saturated twenty-first century, 'Dating Aphrodite' takes you to the actual places where the big ideas of Western civilisation were born. Slattery shows you the real landscape and explains how, even today, the spirit of these places and the meanings that can be found there shine through.

'Dating Aphrodite' follows 'the footsteps of the ancients on a journey in search of ourselves'.

History > Photography

submitted by Woman's Day on 25.12.2005

Two Greek Orthodox priests. 1976.

Can you name them??

One of 22 photographs in a supplement on Kythera, in the Woman's Day. August 2, 1976. pp. 20-25.

From this tiny Greek island came 100,000 'new' Aussies.

People of Kythera longed for opportunity so they came to Australia, bringing ways and traditions that were new and interesting to us. They worked hard and grew to love their new country but home-sickness sends some back to visit; some to stay.

Here's a look at the island today.

By JAN LIPMAN

Photos: GEORGE LIPMAN

There is a saying among Greek-born Australians which goes: “There are as many homesick Australians in Kythera as there are homesick Greeks in Australia. And if you ever visit Kythera, you'll know what they mean. Kythera is the 40-kilometre long Greek island which has provided Australia with the almost unbelievable number of 100,000 new citizens.
During a fve-day visit there in spring, we fell under its spell.

Not all of the 100,000 new Australians were born on Kythera, of course. Some are first, second, or even third-generation Aussies.

"You know what they call this? An Australian colony," one man told us, while his friend added: "I don't know which is my home anymore. You live here for a year, and you get homesick for there. You live there for a year and you get homesick for Kythera.”

An Olympic Airways Islander aircraft took us to Kythera where we were met by a welcoming committee of the three Calligeros, who wer to be our companions for the next five days. There was George Calligeros, President of the whole island, and Mayor of the capital town, Hora, George Calligeros, secretary of the high school, and owner of the villa at Capsali Beach, where we were to stay and Peter Calligeros, who has lived in Sydney for more than 20 years, and was in Kythera for a holiday.
Unlike many parts of Greece, Kythera has has abundant water.

"It is the wealth of the island," is a favourite phrase, and down through history they have valued their good fortune enough to build churches and chapels around the many springs and streams.

Almost anything grows there, and domestic animals flourish. Nothing is wasted. Even the wild broome is used as a natural fibre, and in the old days it was woven into a kind of coarse linen.
Barley and wheat grown there are ground to make the flour for some of the best bread in Greece.

The island is entirely self-supporting. Small local factories produce the olive oil which is essential to Greek cookery, and unsalted butter.

But to successful Greek-Australians who return there, there is a certain sadness about Kythera. Once there were more than 20,000 inhabitants, now there are less than 3000.

Tony Fardoulys, of Moorebank, NSW, and Jim Feros of Kogarah, NSW, were two of the many naturaliscd Australians visiting Kythera. Tony explained their sense of loss. "We grew up here together," he said, "and you should have seen it then. It was like a garden".
“And the fruit trees. I tell you. Figs as big as pears, and the peaches! They were everywhere.”

Well, they are still all there, gone wild. When the fruit is in season, it is yours for the asking.

Still there, too, are the stone houses abandoned. Slowly crumbling away, they line village streets and beautiful beachfronts. Windows are boarded up, wild grasses and flowers sprout from eaves and walls.

Thirty years ago, these houses were in good repair, painted wedding-cake white every Easter by their families.


Streets of laughter

“The streets were full of voices and kids’ laughter,” remembers Peter Calligeros. “Now the people who live here are old.”
Hundreds of Australian families still own property there, but they are unable to make use of it. Although self-supporting, Kythera has no exports.
To re-develop tracts of farming land, and begin export, would require something more than family enterprise. Without a work-force of young, active people there is no incentive for either government or private enterprise to invest in it.

Typical of these families are the Conomos, of Orange, NSW. Mr George Conomos and his wife, the late Mrs Stella Conomos, came to Australia more than a generation ago.

Now he and his two daughters, Regina and Gloria, are spending an extended holiday in Hora.

Mr Conomos is currently building a new house in his home village. Kalamos, not far from Hora, even though Australia will still be their permanent home.

“This is our third trip back,” Gloria told us. “We’ve made so many trips that we feel it’s about time we built a house here.”

Regina, who speaks English with a broad Australian accent, married a local boy.
Now they have bouncing six-months-old twin daughters, Stamatina and Eviania.
Well-to-do Greek-Australians return to Kythera for holidays. Others, not so wealthy, make the longed-for trip when they retire.

An Australian pension goes about three times as far in Greece.

One such man is Mr Jim Cominos, 78. We met him one Sunday afternoon in the taverna (restaurant) in Livadi village. He’d ridden over for the day from his own village, Guleanica.

"My car is a donkey," he announced. "When I lived in Australia, I had a car, just like everyone else. But I traded it in for a donkey!
"Petrol is too expensive here in Greece two dollars a gallon and, if a donkey is a bit slow, it doesn’t matter to me. I’ve got plenty of time, and not far to go".
Mr Cominos lives with his daughter and her three children.

But he still has two sons and five grandchildren living in Albury, NSW, who often beg him to come back here.
“Sometimes I think I might go back. I love Australia, too. But then, I think it is too late now.”
Like many Greeks who have taken full Australian citizenship, he feels torn.

A better future

Back in Athens, someone tried to explain their feelings from a different point of view. He was Mr G. Koidakis, an official of Olympic Airways, who spent two years here as regional manager for Australasia. and now holds a similar position in Greece.

“Migration is always a good thing,” he said. “Everybody who migrates seeks a better future. And it is to the credit of the Greek migrant in Australia that he did succeed”.

“They have made money, certainly. But they are among the cleanest-living, most hard-working communities living in Australia.
“I have a love for these Greeks and I understand how they feel on leaving the country of their birth.”

Among Kythea’s best-known identities is Mrs Georgia Veneri, 88, who lives at the Monastery of Saint Mirtidion. Mrs Veneri lived for 10 years in Brisbane, and lost her two Sons in Australia. One was killed in World War II, and one in a fatal accident.

A pilgrimage to Saint Mirtidion is a must for every ex-­Kytherian, so Mrs Veneri’s otherwise lonely existence there is relieved by visitors.

The monastery is the only sign of life on a lonely stretch of coastline. It is surrounded by motel-type units which house pilgrims during the church’s three major festivals.

Kytherians have always been intensely religious. Most families have built their own - chapels dedicated to patron saints.
Climbing mountainsides to get to them, we sometimes cursed the zeal which inspired the families to build their chapels in such inaccessible places.

Everyone wanted us to drop in for coffee.
Caffe ellenica (the thick, sweetened kind in tiny cups) was never served without a sweet or two, and usually a glass of home­made liqueur.

Kytherian women pride them­selves on the sweets and cookies they make from the almonds which grow wild there, and the honey which they believe is the best in Greece.

There are tiny preserved figs, diples or thiples (deep-fried wafers drizzled with honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds), amigdolata (almonds, semolina and sugar in tiny pear-shapes with clove stems), or tsipoura (almond and honey cookies rolled in a crisp coating of powdered sugar).
Some relate to special festivities; diples used to be made when young girls gathered at someone’s home before a betrothal or marriage.

Many housewives on Kythera still cling proudly to the old traditions, and there is no way a Kytherian woman would paint her house instead of white­washing it.

We were transported back a century in time when we visited the home of Mr and Mrs John Prineas, in the village of Mitata.
Katina Prineas was out working in the fields, but her house was wide open and her nephew, Jim Feros, showed us around.
“I was born in this room,” he said, ushering us into a small room with a vaulted roof, now kept as a guest bedroom.
Round the walls were family portraits. There was Jim’s father (now almost 80 and living with his wife in Earlwood, NSW) as a younger man in his Australian Army uniform; a picture of him at Hillston, NSW, in 1922; at the opening of the corner shop he built back in Mitata in 1934, as a reliable living for the wife and family he left behind.

Dad on the move

Mr Feros first came to Australia in the early '20's, returned to Kythera in 1927 to marry, and start work on the shop, went back to Australia in 1930, and in 1937 returned to Kythera.

I was nearly seven years of age when I met my father for the first time,” recalled Jim. “He stopped with us for 20 months, until August 1938, then he went back again. But in 1947 - by then I had two sisters - we all went to Australia, My uncle used. to run the business after we left.”

His friend Tony chipped in: “That’s the way they did it in those days. The men came home to father the children.”
Outside in the courtyard again we were dazzled by the sunlight reflecting off whitewashed walls, paving stones and a well, from which Jim drew cold, sweet water.

Hanging under the eaves were maturing cheeses.

Kytherian style, the house was built of rough stone with 60 cm walls, plastered over then whitewashed inside and out. The kitchen was a long room, divided by a partition from the storeroom-cum-cellar. Copper pots and pans hung above the old fuel stove, and hand-made rag rugs were on the floor.

Wooden shelves in the pantry were laden with cane baskets of eggs, grey home-made soap, drying herbs, brass mortars and pestles, old flat irons.

On the stone floor stood earthenware jars holding olives, oil and pickles, wine casks, charcoal braziers for smoking meat and for barbecuing, and in a corner a well-like wine-press. To judge from the heady smell it was still very much in use.
Farmers, in the same way, still cling to their traditional methods. Why irrigate? Why buy machinery when you have a good, strong donkey? Dry-cropping (the practice of ploughing three times to let the soil absorb moisture) has always produced summer vegetables in a climate which has no rain between May and September. And small Kytherian cucumbers and tomatoes are infinitely more delicious than the giants we know.

World War II caused a big exodus from Kythera. Many families came to Australia, others went to the USA. Since then there has been a steady trickle of young people leaving the island.

Although there is a 250-pupil high school in Hora, a university education means moving to Athens.

Kytherians are mainly self­ employed or retired. Only 50 to 60 people on the island work for someone else.

The power station, or Public Lighting Company, operates on diesel engine. It provides jobs for about 20 employees. Others work as teachers, service station attendants and mechanics, police, or in the olive oil factory. The average wage of these people is only about $25 a week.

Poppy’s typical

Among the “employees” is Mrs Poppy Mazaraki, the married daughter of Mayor Calligeros. Poppy is typical of the young people of Kythera. “We grew up in Kythera. went to school here, then went away to Athens,” she told us. “Now we are back here as teachers.”

Poppy took us to the village of Livadi to visit the Gianiotis family, and to taste mizithra cheese. Mizithra, a soft, ricotta-style cheese, is made from goats’ milk or sheep’s milk. Mrs Gianiotis served it drizzled with honey, and accompanied by caffe ellenica. Many Kytherian families live almost entirely on what they grow themselves. They make their own wines, too. The best Kytherian wine is rose, more palatable to outsiders than the usual Greek retsina.

Kytherian men have a healthy appreciation of their local wines and liqueurs and yet - as elsewhere in Greece - you never see a local man drunk.
“When we drink, we eat,” they say and indeed olives, cheese, perhaps a little salad with fresh oil dressing is always served with drinks.

Hora, about 300 metres above the fishing village of Capsali, is one of the prettiest townships in Greece. Mayor Calligeros insists that villagers each sweep up their piece of street each morning.
Everything from bell-towers to benches is freshly whitewashed (the women spring-clean for Easter and sometimes in be­tween, slapping the wash with long-handled soft brooms).
Every window is shuttered, and every shutter is painted bright, light blue. Blue and white are Greece’s national colours.
What does the future hold for Kythera?
Tony Fardoulys, who is a real estate agent in Sydney, would like to see it become a resort.

Nick Athousis. who lived 20 years in Brisbane, is one of the few younger people who have moved back to Kythera for more than a holiday. His sons Charles, 12, Paul, 10 and George, 8, attend local schools and Nick is president of the high school committee.

“I want my children to become Greeks in a sense,” he told us. “But I want them to be Australians, too. “I brought them from Australia and they knew only English. Now, they know only Greek.
“I think English is the language of the present and of the future. And what I want is a teacher of English for the high school here. So I wrote to the Greek communities in Australia to ask for their support.”

A teaching post would have to be approved by the Greek Ministry of Education; but only a novice teacher would be given such a post and as a provincial high school is rated at the bottom end of the salary scale, the going salary would be only about 6000 to 7000 drachmae ($A 150) per month.

“I’d like to make the salary up to about $10,000 a year,” Nick continued. “1 want him to be able to live like a man".
"If we have Greeks in Australia who can endow churches and universities, surely the whole community there can raise a little for our school".

“You know, our only export is human beings. We want those human beings, when they leave Kythera, to be able to speak English.”

History > Photography

submitted by Woman's Day on 25.12.2005

Delicious thiples, or diples, made of wafer-like pastry...

...deep-fried, then filled with honey and sesame seeds

One of 22 photographs in a supplement on Kythera, in the Woman's Day. August 2, 1976. pp. 20-25.

From this tiny Greek island came 100,000 'new' Aussies.

People of Kythera longed for opportunity so they came to Australia, bringing ways and traditions that were new and interesting to us. They worked hard and grew to love their new country but home-sickness sends some back to visit; some to stay.

Here's a look at the island today.

By JAN LIPMAN

Photos: GEORGE LIPMAN

There is a saying among Greek-born Australians which goes: “There are as many homesick Australians in Kythera as there are homesick Greeks in Australia. And if you ever visit Kythera, you'll know what they mean. Kythera is the 40-kilometre long Greek island which has provided Australia with the almost unbelievable number of 100,000 new citizens.
During a fve-day visit there in spring, we fell under its spell.

Not all of the 100,000 new Australians were born on Kythera, of course. Some are first, second, or even third-generation Aussies.

"You know what they call this? An Australian colony," one man told us, while his friend added: "I don't know which is my home anymore. You live here for a year, and you get homesick for there. You live there for a year and you get homesick for Kythera.”

An Olympic Airways Islander aircraft took us to Kythera where we were met by a welcoming committee of the three Calligeros, who wer to be our companions for the next five days. There was George Calligeros, President of the whole island, and Mayor of the capital town, Hora, George Calligeros, secretary of the high school, and owner of the villa at Capsali Beach, where we were to stay and Peter Calligeros, who has lived in Sydney for more than 20 years, and was in Kythera for a holiday.
Unlike many parts of Greece, Kythera has has abundant water.

"It is the wealth of the island," is a favourite phrase, and down through history they have valued their good fortune enough to build churches and chapels around the many springs and streams.

Almost anything grows there, and domestic animals flourish. Nothing is wasted. Even the wild broome is used as a natural fibre, and in the old days it was woven into a kind of coarse linen.
Barley and wheat grown there are ground to make the flour for some of the best bread in Greece.

The island is entirely self-supporting. Small local factories produce the olive oil which is essential to Greek cookery, and unsalted butter.

But to successful Greek-Australians who return there, there is a certain sadness about Kythera. Once there were more than 20,000 inhabitants, now there are less than 3000.

Tony Fardoulys, of Moorebank, NSW, and Jim Feros of Kogarah, NSW, were two of the many naturaliscd Australians visiting Kythera. Tony explained their sense of loss. "We grew up here together," he said, "and you should have seen it then. It was like a garden".
“And the fruit trees. I tell you. Figs as big as pears, and the peaches! They were everywhere.”

Well, they are still all there, gone wild. When the fruit is in season, it is yours for the asking.

Still there, too, are the stone houses abandoned. Slowly crumbling away, they line village streets and beautiful beachfronts. Windows are boarded up, wild grasses and flowers sprout from eaves and walls.

Thirty years ago, these houses were in good repair, painted wedding-cake white every Easter by their families.


Streets of laughter

“The streets were full of voices and kids’ laughter,” remembers Peter Calligeros. “Now the people who live here are old.”
Hundreds of Australian families still own property there, but they are unable to make use of it. Although self-supporting, Kythera has no exports.
To re-develop tracts of farming land, and begin export, would require something more than family enterprise. Without a work-force of young, active people there is no incentive for either government or private enterprise to invest in it.

Typical of these families are the Conomos, of Orange, NSW. Mr George Conomos and his wife, the late Mrs Stella Conomos, came to Australia more than a generation ago.

Now he and his two daughters, Regina and Gloria, are spending an extended holiday in Hora.

Mr Conomos is currently building a new house in his home village. Kalamos, not far from Hora, even though Australia will still be their permanent home.

“This is our third trip back,” Gloria told us. “We’ve made so many trips that we feel it’s about time we built a house here.”

Regina, who speaks English with a broad Australian accent, married a local boy.
Now they have bouncing six-months-old twin daughters, Stamatina and Eviania.
Well-to-do Greek-Australians return to Kythera for holidays. Others, not so wealthy, make the longed-for trip when they retire.

An Australian pension goes about three times as far in Greece.

One such man is Mr Jim Cominos, 78. We met him one Sunday afternoon in the taverna (restaurant) in Livadi village. He’d ridden over for the day from his own village, Guleanica.

"My car is a donkey," he announced. "When I lived in Australia, I had a car, just like everyone else. But I traded it in for a donkey!
"Petrol is too expensive here in Greece two dollars a gallon and, if a donkey is a bit slow, it doesn’t matter to me. I’ve got plenty of time, and not far to go".
Mr Cominos lives with his daughter and her three children.

But he still has two sons and five grandchildren living in Albury, NSW, who often beg him to come back here.
“Sometimes I think I might go back. I love Australia, too. But then, I think it is too late now.”
Like many Greeks who have taken full Australian citizenship, he feels torn.

A better future

Back in Athens, someone tried to explain their feelings from a different point of view. He was Mr G. Koidakis, an official of Olympic Airways, who spent two years here as regional manager for Australasia. and now holds a similar position in Greece.

“Migration is always a good thing,” he said. “Everybody who migrates seeks a better future. And it is to the credit of the Greek migrant in Australia that he did succeed”.

“They have made money, certainly. But they are among the cleanest-living, most hard-working communities living in Australia.
“I have a love for these Greeks and I understand how they feel on leaving the country of their birth.”

Among Kythea’s best-known identities is Mrs Georgia Veneri, 88, who lives at the Monastery of Saint Mirtidion. Mrs Veneri lived for 10 years in Brisbane, and lost her two Sons in Australia. One was killed in World War II, and one in a fatal accident.

A pilgrimage to Saint Mirtidion is a must for every ex-­Kytherian, so Mrs Veneri’s otherwise lonely existence there is relieved by visitors.

The monastery is the only sign of life on a lonely stretch of coastline. It is surrounded by motel-type units which house pilgrims during the church’s three major festivals.

Kytherians have always been intensely religious. Most families have built their own - chapels dedicated to patron saints.
Climbing mountainsides to get to them, we sometimes cursed the zeal which inspired the families to build their chapels in such inaccessible places.

Everyone wanted us to drop in for coffee.
Caffe ellenica (the thick, sweetened kind in tiny cups) was never served without a sweet or two, and usually a glass of home­made liqueur.

Kytherian women pride them­selves on the sweets and cookies they make from the almonds which grow wild there, and the honey which they believe is the best in Greece.

There are tiny preserved figs, diples or thiples (deep-fried wafers drizzled with honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds), amigdolata (almonds, semolina and sugar in tiny pear-shapes with clove stems), or tsipoura (almond and honey cookies rolled in a crisp coating of powdered sugar).
Some relate to special festivities; diples used to be made when young girls gathered at someone’s home before a betrothal or marriage.

Many housewives on Kythera still cling proudly to the old traditions, and there is no way a Kytherian woman would paint her house instead of white­washing it.

We were transported back a century in time when we visited the home of Mr and Mrs John Prineas, in the village of Mitata.
Katina Prineas was out working in the fields, but her house was wide open and her nephew, Jim Feros, showed us around.
“I was born in this room,” he said, ushering us into a small room with a vaulted roof, now kept as a guest bedroom.
Round the walls were family portraits. There was Jim’s father (now almost 80 and living with his wife in Earlwood, NSW) as a younger man in his Australian Army uniform; a picture of him at Hillston, NSW, in 1922; at the opening of the corner shop he built back in Mitata in 1934, as a reliable living for the wife and family he left behind.

Dad on the move

Mr Feros first came to Australia in the early '20's, returned to Kythera in 1927 to marry, and start work on the shop, went back to Australia in 1930, and in 1937 returned to Kythera.

I was nearly seven years of age when I met my father for the first time,” recalled Jim. “He stopped with us for 20 months, until August 1938, then he went back again. But in 1947 - by then I had two sisters - we all went to Australia, My uncle used. to run the business after we left.”

His friend Tony chipped in: “That’s the way they did it in those days. The men came home to father the children.”
Outside in the courtyard again we were dazzled by the sunlight reflecting off whitewashed walls, paving stones and a well, from which Jim drew cold, sweet water.

Hanging under the eaves were maturing cheeses.

Kytherian style, the house was built of rough stone with 60 cm walls, plastered over then whitewashed inside and out. The kitchen was a long room, divided by a partition from the storeroom-cum-cellar. Copper pots and pans hung above the old fuel stove, and hand-made rag rugs were on the floor.

Wooden shelves in the pantry were laden with cane baskets of eggs, grey home-made soap, drying herbs, brass mortars and pestles, old flat irons.

On the stone floor stood earthenware jars holding olives, oil and pickles, wine casks, charcoal braziers for smoking meat and for barbecuing, and in a corner a well-like wine-press. To judge from the heady smell it was still very much in use.
Farmers, in the same way, still cling to their traditional methods. Why irrigate? Why buy machinery when you have a good, strong donkey? Dry-cropping (the practice of ploughing three times to let the soil absorb moisture) has always produced summer vegetables in a climate which has no rain between May and September. And small Kytherian cucumbers and tomatoes are infinitely more delicious than the giants we know.

World War II caused a big exodus from Kythera. Many families came to Australia, others went to the USA. Since then there has been a steady trickle of young people leaving the island.

Although there is a 250-pupil high school in Hora, a university education means moving to Athens.

Kytherians are mainly self­ employed or retired. Only 50 to 60 people on the island work for someone else.

The power station, or Public Lighting Company, operates on diesel engine. It provides jobs for about 20 employees. Others work as teachers, service station attendants and mechanics, police, or in the olive oil factory. The average wage of these people is only about $25 a week.

Poppy’s typical

Among the “employees” is Mrs Poppy Mazaraki, the married daughter of Mayor Calligeros. Poppy is typical of the young people of Kythera. “We grew up in Kythera. went to school here, then went away to Athens,” she told us. “Now we are back here as teachers.”

Poppy took us to the village of Livadi to visit the Gianiotis family, and to taste mizithra cheese. Mizithra, a soft, ricotta-style cheese, is made from goats’ milk or sheep’s milk. Mrs Gianiotis served it drizzled with honey, and accompanied by caffe ellenica. Many Kytherian families live almost entirely on what they grow themselves. They make their own wines, too. The best Kytherian wine is rose, more palatable to outsiders than the usual Greek retsina.

Kytherian men have a healthy appreciation of their local wines and liqueurs and yet - as elsewhere in Greece - you never see a local man drunk.
“When we drink, we eat,” they say and indeed olives, cheese, perhaps a little salad with fresh oil dressing is always served with drinks.

Hora, about 300 metres above the fishing village of Capsali, is one of the prettiest townships in Greece. Mayor Calligeros insists that villagers each sweep up their piece of street each morning.
Everything from bell-towers to benches is freshly whitewashed (the women spring-clean for Easter and sometimes in be­tween, slapping the wash with long-handled soft brooms).
Every window is shuttered, and every shutter is painted bright, light blue. Blue and white are Greece’s national colours.
What does the future hold for Kythera?
Tony Fardoulys, who is a real estate agent in Sydney, would like to see it become a resort.

Nick Athousis. who lived 20 years in Brisbane, is one of the few younger people who have moved back to Kythera for more than a holiday. His sons Charles, 12, Paul, 10 and George, 8, attend local schools and Nick is president of the high school committee.

“I want my children to become Greeks in a sense,” he told us. “But I want them to be Australians, too. “I brought them from Australia and they knew only English. Now, they know only Greek.
“I think English is the language of the present and of the future. And what I want is a teacher of English for the high school here. So I wrote to the Greek communities in Australia to ask for their support.”

A teaching post would have to be approved by the Greek Ministry of Education; but only a novice teacher would be given such a post and as a provincial high school is rated at the bottom end of the salary scale, the going salary would be only about 6000 to 7000 drachmae ($A 150) per month.

“I’d like to make the salary up to about $10,000 a year,” Nick continued. “1 want him to be able to live like a man".
"If we have Greeks in Australia who can endow churches and universities, surely the whole community there can raise a little for our school".

“You know, our only export is human beings. We want those human beings, when they leave Kythera, to be able to speak English.”

History > Photography

submitted by Journal Of Australian Ceramics on 23.12.2005

Marea Gazzard's - Untitled, earthenware

Marea Gazzard had a design background when she began studying ceramics with Rushforth and Douglas at ESTC in the early 1950s.

She was influenced by the hand-building techniques of Ruth Duckworth and the form and scale of Grecian and Etruscan pots.

She persistently argued for interaction and cross-fertilisation between art forms, rejecting conventional art and craft boundaries. This was a position strongly supported by leading potters of the time as the art/craft debate increasingly marginalised craft from contemporary art practice.

Post-modern art development presented itself as the antithesis of craft processes although there was a lot of common ground in the impetus to confront and debate contemporary social issues through art and craft practice. However at this stage the expressive languages of each practice were perceived as oppositional.

History > Photography

submitted by Kytheraismos Institute on 19.12.2005

Kytheraismos Institute logo.

Heroon Polytechniou 81
Postal Code 185 36, Piraeus

Tel.: 003 210 45 99 414
Fax: 003 210 45 99 415

e-mail: info@kytheraismos.gr

Website: www.kytheraismos.gr

Kytheraismos Institute.pdf

Chairman of the Institute:

Elias Marsellos

The prosymposium of Kytheraismos


A preliminary meeting (prosymposium) was held on Monday the 24th of November, 2004, in Athens. During that day Elias Marsellos informed the Kytherians of Athens about the goals as well as the future plans of the Institute.

Moreover, representatives from the committees of the Institute and members of the Kytherian Associations all over the world sent their greetings, their ideas about the new Institute and the relationship among the pankytherians and a general planning were formed for the symposium of 2004 in Kythera.

The prosymposium took place in Athens
The Kytherians Cultural Centre,
6 Themistokleous Str.
Omonoia,
Tel. 210/3838190).

History > Photography

submitted by Sydney Magazine on 17.12.2005

Sheeps milk yoghurt and walnuts

500g sheep’s milk yoghurt
100g walnuts, toasted and chopped
l00g candied Greek walnuts, sliced with their syrup
Thyme honey
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water for 15 minutes or until frothy.
Place flour, salt and sugar in a bowl.
Make a well in the centre, add yeast mixture, remaining water and milk.
Mix well to make a thick batter. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 1 hour in a warm place until doubled in volume.

For syrup, place honey and water in a small saucepan and bring to simmering point, stirring and skimming occasionally.
Simmer for 10 minutes then remove and cool.
Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan and drop heaped tablespoonfuls of the batter into the oil, turning as they puff up.
Drain well and pile onto a large platter.
Drizzle with honey syrup and dust with cinnamon.
For yoghurt, top with walnuts, sliced candied walnuts and syrup then drizzle with honey.
Serve boukoumades with figs, yoghurt and walnuts.

Serves 4-6.

what i cook when....

Peter Conistis

Sydney Magazine, Issue #33, January, 2006.

Words Scott Bolles

Photography Jennifer Soo

Styling Trish Heagerty

Recipes tested by Lynne Mullins



For chef Peter Consistis, entertaining is very much a Greek family affair.

In a world of duplicated dishes and homogenous hors d’oeuvres, Peter Conistis is an original. With teasing creations such as anchovy baklava and confit tomato with truffled lobster pilafi, Conistis delivers the inspiring and the difficult to define. It is food that drags the anchor on his Mediterranean roots; perplexing purists and delighting the food adventurer.

Evidently it’s a family tradition. Conistis’s father, Kyriacos, joined the stream of immigrants working on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme in the late 1950s, where he mastered the diversion of more than just water.
“He used to cook us things like steak and eggs,” Conistis remembers, “And fried rice. But he didn’t use soy and he’d put tomato, eggplant and zucchini in it. He’d make it Greek.’

This playfulness with ingredients was copied by the next generation, albeit in a more refined way. Conistis’s most famous dish, scallop moussaka, was conceived with equal measures of inspiration, daring and chance.

“[Seafood supplier] John Susman brought some scallops in to try. I was working in the kitchen later making taramasalata and the flavours were still in my mouth and I thought, ‘that might go with this’,” he says. “I was in Greece recently and went to two restaurants that had it [the dish] on the menu.”

Not that cooking was the plan. Conistis, 38, wasn’t supposed to be in a professional kitchen at all. “Medicine and law were what they [Greek families] wanted for their children. It wasn’t the kudos. It was more ‘we’d love you guys to have what we didn’t’.” He lasted two semesters studying law.
“I remember walking out of a tort lecture thinking, ‘I don’t care about this’.” He switched to communications, mixing study with work in restaurants and a spell in the bar at Paul Merrony’s former restaurant at Circular Quay. “I asked him if I could work in the kitchen. I worked for free. Three months later I opened my own restaurant. I had more balls than brains.”

His first restaurant, Cosmos in Darlinghurst, was a revelation. It divided opinion, confusing Greek traditionalists who couldn’t put a finger on the food and delighting its legion of fans with its originality. It also offered a public glimpse of Conistis’s relationship in the kitchen with his mother, Eleni. “I wanted to pick her brains. But I didn’t want it to be a Greek restaurant.”

In the family home in Marrickville, everyone in the Conistis clan has their specialty. “Mum makes filo like no one else. There’s no such thing as a vegetarian in Greece, but she doesn’t like meat much. Her vegetarian dishes are always great. And the outdoors is Dad’s domain. Lamb on the spit, or he’ll go to the markets and buy half a swordfish.”

It’s usually left to Conistis to produce the more intricate dishes. It is, after all, his ability to jump from the simple to the serious that earned his city
restaurant, Omega, two hats and the gong for Best New Restaurant in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2005.

Conistis has done much for the promotion of Greek food, waving the culinary flag at the Olympic Games in Athens and hosting food tours to Greece. But at home it’s a more low-key affair, with people the most important ingredient. “My parents’ house was always a revolving door,” he says. “It wasnt entertaining, it was sharing with friends or relatives. When I entertain, it’s usually on Sundays for the people I really like to be with.”

History > Photography

submitted by Sydney Magazine on 17.12.2005

Loukoumades (honey puffs)

with fresh figs, sheep’s milk yoghurt and walnuts

History > Photography

submitted by Sydney Magazine on 17.12.2005

Peter Conistis' mum and dad, Eleni & Kyriacos...

...enjoy eating Peter's food, as much as he enjoys cooking it.

In the family home in Marrickville, everyone in the Conistis clan has their specialty. “Mum makes filo like no one else. There’s no such thing as a vegetarian in Greece, but she doesn’t like meat much. Her vegetarian dishes are always great. And the outdoors is Dad’s domain. Lamb on the spit, or he’ll go to the markets and buy half a swordfish.


what i cook when....

Peter Conistis

Sydney Magazine, Issue #33, January, 2006.

Words Scott Bolles

Photography Jennifer Soo

Styling Trish Heagerty

Recipes tested by Lynne Mullins



For chef Peter Consistis, entertaining is very much a Greek family affair.

In a world of duplicated dishes and homogenous hors d’oeuvres, Peter Conistis is an original. With teasing creations such as anchovy baklava and confit tomato with truffled lobster pilafi, Conistis delivers the inspiring and the difficult to define. It is food that drags the anchor on his Mediterranean roots; perplexing purists and delighting the food adventurer.

Evidently it’s a family tradition. Conistis’s father, Kyriacos, joined the stream of immigrants working on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme in the late 1950s, where he mastered the diversion of more than just water.
“He used to cook us things like steak and eggs,” Conistis remembers, “And fried rice. But he didn’t use soy and he’d put tomato, eggplant and zucchini in it. He’d make it Greek.’

This playfulness with ingredients was copied by the next generation, albeit in a more refined way. Conistis’s most famous dish, scallop moussaka, was conceived with equal measures of inspiration, daring and chance.

“[Seafood supplier] John Susman brought some scallops in to try. I was working in the kitchen later making taramasalata and the flavours were still in my mouth and I thought, ‘that might go with this’,” he says. “I was in Greece recently and went to two restaurants that had it [the dish] on the menu.”

Not that cooking was the plan. Conistis, 38, wasn’t supposed to be in a professional kitchen at all. “Medicine and law were what they [Greek families] wanted for their children. It wasn’t the kudos. It was more ‘we’d love you guys to have what we didn’t’.” He lasted two semesters studying law.
“I remember walking out of a tort lecture thinking, ‘I don’t care about this’.” He switched to communications, mixing study with work in restaurants and a spell in the bar at Paul Merrony’s former restaurant at Circular Quay. “I asked him if I could work in the kitchen. I worked for free. Three months later I opened my own restaurant. I had more balls than brains.”

His first restaurant, Cosmos in Darlinghurst, was a revelation. It divided opinion, confusing Greek traditionalists who couldn’t put a finger on the food and delighting its legion of fans with its originality. It also offered a public glimpse of Conistis’s relationship in the kitchen with his mother, Eleni. “I wanted to pick her brains. But I didn’t want it to be a Greek restaurant.”

In the family home in Marrickville, everyone in the Conistis clan has their specialty. “Mum makes filo like no one else. There’s no such thing as a vegetarian in Greece, but she doesn’t like meat much. Her vegetarian dishes are always great. And the outdoors is Dad’s domain. Lamb on the spit, or he’ll go to the markets and buy half a swordfish.”

It’s usually left to Conistis to produce the more intricate dishes. It is, after all, his ability to jump from the simple to the serious that earned his city
restaurant, Omega, two hats and the gong for Best New Restaurant in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2005.

Conistis has done much for the promotion of Greek food, waving the culinary flag at the Olympic Games in Athens and hosting food tours to Greece. But at home it’s a more low-key affair, with people the most important ingredient. “My parents’ house was always a revolving door,” he says. “It wasnt entertaining, it was sharing with friends or relatives. When I entertain, it’s usually on Sundays for the people I really like to be with.”

History > Photography

submitted by Sydney Magazine on 17.12.2005

Loukoumades (honey puffs) with fresh figs, sheep’s milk yoghurt and walnuts

1 sachet dry yeast
200mL warm water
300g plain flour, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
100mL milk
Vegetable oil for deep frying Syrup
200g honey
150mL water

To serve

1 tsp ground cinnamon
Fresh green or black figs
Sheep’s milk yoghurt and walnuts
500g sheep’s milk yoghurt
100g walnuts, toasted and chopped
l00g candied Greek walnuts, sliced with their syrup
Thyme honey
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water for 15 minutes or until frothy.
Place flour, salt and sugar in a bowl.
Make a well in the centre, add yeast mixture, remaining water and milk.
Mix well to make a thick batter. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 1 hour in a warm place until doubled in volume.

For syrup, place honey and water in a small saucepan and bring to simmering point, stirring and skimming occasionally.
Simmer for 10 minutes then remove and cool.
Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan and drop heaped tablespoonfuls of the batter into the oil, turning as they puff up.
Drain well and pile onto a large platter.
Drizzle with honey syrup and dust with cinnamon.
For yoghurt, top with walnuts, sliced candied walnuts and syrup then drizzle with honey.
Serve boukoumades with figs, yoghurt and walnuts.

Serves 4-6.

what i cook when....

Peter Conistis

Sydney Magazine, Issue #33, January, 2006.

Words Scott Bolles

Photography Jennifer Soo

Styling Trish Heagerty

Recipes tested by Lynne Mullins



For chef Peter Consistis, entertaining is very much a Greek family affair.

In a world of duplicated dishes and homogenous hors d’oeuvres, Peter Conistis is an original. With teasing creations such as anchovy baklava and confit tomato with truffled lobster pilafi, Conistis delivers the inspiring and the difficult to define. It is food that drags the anchor on his Mediterranean roots; perplexing purists and delighting the food adventurer.

Evidently it’s a family tradition. Conistis’s father, Kyriacos, joined the stream of immigrants working on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme in the late 1950s, where he mastered the diversion of more than just water.
“He used to cook us things like steak and eggs,” Conistis remembers, “And fried rice. But he didn’t use soy and he’d put tomato, eggplant and zucchini in it. He’d make it Greek.’

This playfulness with ingredients was copied by the next generation, albeit in a more refined way. Conistis’s most famous dish, scallop moussaka, was conceived with equal measures of inspiration, daring and chance.

“[Seafood supplier] John Susman brought some scallops in to try. I was working in the kitchen later making taramasalata and the flavours were still in my mouth and I thought, ‘that might go with this’,” he says. “I was in Greece recently and went to two restaurants that had it [the dish] on the menu.”

Not that cooking was the plan. Conistis, 38, wasn’t supposed to be in a professional kitchen at all. “Medicine and law were what they [Greek families] wanted for their children. It wasn’t the kudos. It was more ‘we’d love you guys to have what we didn’t’.” He lasted two semesters studying law.
“I remember walking out of a tort lecture thinking, ‘I don’t care about this’.” He switched to communications, mixing study with work in restaurants and a spell in the bar at Paul Merrony’s former restaurant at Circular Quay. “I asked him if I could work in the kitchen. I worked for free. Three months later I opened my own restaurant. I had more balls than brains.”

His first restaurant, Cosmos in Darlinghurst, was a revelation. It divided opinion, confusing Greek traditionalists who couldn’t put a finger on the food and delighting its legion of fans with its originality. It also offered a public glimpse of Conistis’s relationship in the kitchen with his mother, Eleni. “I wanted to pick her brains. But I didn’t want it to be a Greek restaurant.”

In the family home in Marrickville, everyone in the Conistis clan has their specialty. “Mum makes filo like no one else. There’s no such thing as a vegetarian in Greece, but she doesn’t like meat much. Her vegetarian dishes are always great. And the outdoors is Dad’s domain. Lamb on the spit, or he’ll go to the markets and buy half a swordfish.”

It’s usually left to Conistis to produce the more intricate dishes. It is, after all, his ability to jump from the simple to the serious that earned his city
restaurant, Omega, two hats and the gong for Best New Restaurant in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2005.

Conistis has done much for the promotion of Greek food, waving the culinary flag at the Olympic Games in Athens and hosting food tours to Greece. But at home it’s a more low-key affair, with people the most important ingredient. “My parents’ house was always a revolving door,” he says. “It wasnt entertaining, it was sharing with friends or relatives. When I entertain, it’s usually on Sundays for the people I really like to be with.”

History > Photography

submitted by Sydney Magazine on 17.12.2005

Quail, fetta and watermelon salad

l00mL pomegranate molasses 5OmL cabernet vinegar
100mL verjuice
l00mL soy sauce
*75g thyme honey
Zest and juice of 1 orange 1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly roasted and ground
1 tsp black peppercorns,
lightly roasted and ground 1 tsp salt
6 quail, butterflied
Olive oil, for brushing

Combine all ingredients except quail and oil in a saucepan and stir well.
Bring to the boil over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove and cool.
Pour marinade over quail and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove quail from marinade and pat dry.
Brush quail with olive oil and grill for 3 minutes each side over high heat or roast at 2200 for 10-15 minutes or until cooked to your liking.

Salad
1kg seedless watermelon
100g Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
150g sheep’s milk fetta, crumbled
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 handful mint leaves, torn
100g toasted almonds, chopped

Dressing

25mL muscatel vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
Dice watermelon and place on serving platter.
Top with olives, fetta and onion, then scatter with mint and almonds.
Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl and pour over salad.
Place quail on salad, and rest for a few minutes before serving.
Serves 6.

* Thyme honey is available at Greek and Middle Eastern food stores.
* Muscatel vinegar is available at The Essential Ingredient, Crows Nest.

what i cook when....

Peter Conistis

Sydney Magazine, Issue #33, January, 2006.

Words Scott Bolles

Photography Jennifer Soo

Styling Trish Heagerty

Recipes tested by Lynne Mullins



For chef Peter Consistis, entertaining is very much a Greek family affair.

In a world of duplicated dishes and homogenous hors d’oeuvres, Peter Conistis is an original. With teasing creations such as anchovy baklava and confit tomato with truffled lobster pilafi, Conistis delivers the inspiring and the difficult to define. It is food that drags the anchor on his Mediterranean roots; perplexing purists and delighting the food adventurer.

Evidently it’s a family tradition. Conistis’s father, Kyriacos, joined the stream of immigrants working on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme in the late 1950s, where he mastered the diversion of more than just water.
“He used to cook us things like steak and eggs,” Conistis remembers, “And fried rice. But he didn’t use soy and he’d put tomato, eggplant and zucchini in it. He’d make it Greek.’

This playfulness with ingredients was copied by the next generation, albeit in a more refined way. Conistis’s most famous dish, scallop moussaka, was conceived with equal measures of inspiration, daring and chance.

“[Seafood supplier] John Susman brought some scallops in to try. I was working in the kitchen later making taramasalata and the flavours were still in my mouth and I thought, ‘that might go with this’,” he says. “I was in Greece recently and went to two restaurants that had it [the dish] on the menu.”

Not that cooking was the plan. Conistis, 38, wasn’t supposed to be in a professional kitchen at all. “Medicine and law were what they [Greek families] wanted for their children. It wasn’t the kudos. It was more ‘we’d love you guys to have what we didn’t’.” He lasted two semesters studying law.
“I remember walking out of a tort lecture thinking, ‘I don’t care about this’.” He switched to communications, mixing study with work in restaurants and a spell in the bar at Paul Merrony’s former restaurant at Circular Quay. “I asked him if I could work in the kitchen. I worked for free. Three months later I opened my own restaurant. I had more balls than brains.”

His first restaurant, Cosmos in Darlinghurst, was a revelation. It divided opinion, confusing Greek traditionalists who couldn’t put a finger on the food and delighting its legion of fans with its originality. It also offered a public glimpse of Conistis’s relationship in the kitchen with his mother, Eleni. “I wanted to pick her brains. But I didn’t want it to be a Greek restaurant.”

In the family home in Marrickville, everyone in the Conistis clan has their specialty. “Mum makes filo like no one else. There’s no such thing as a vegetarian in Greece, but she doesn’t like meat much. Her vegetarian dishes are always great. And the outdoors is Dad’s domain. Lamb on the spit, or he’ll go to the markets and buy half a swordfish.”

It’s usually left to Conistis to produce the more intricate dishes. It is, after all, his ability to jump from the simple to the serious that earned his city
restaurant, Omega, two hats and the gong for Best New Restaurant in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2005.

Conistis has done much for the promotion of Greek food, waving the culinary flag at the Olympic Games in Athens and hosting food tours to Greece. But at home it’s a more low-key affair, with people the most important ingredient. “My parents’ house was always a revolving door,” he says. “It wasnt entertaining, it was sharing with friends or relatives. When I entertain, it’s usually on Sundays for the people I really like to be with.”

History > Photography

submitted by Sydney Magazine on 17.12.2005

Wild Greens Pie

1kg mixed greens (such as English spinach, chicory, endive, rocket)
3 leeks (white part only), washed and thinly sliced 1 tsp sea salt
1 bunch dill, finely chopped
200g sheep’s milk fetta, crumbled
*50g Kefalotyri cheese, grated, or an extra 50g of the fetta 2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup short grain rice Freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg, to taste 6 sheets fib pastry, thawed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil Heat oven to 180G. Remove larger stalks from greens and wash well.
Shred finely and place in a very large bowl.
Add leeks and toss with salt.
Set aside for 30 minutes.
Squeeze out excess liquid then combine greens with the remaining ingredients, except filo and oil.
Lightly oil a 30cm baking dish.
Layer with a sheet of pastry and brush with oil.
Layer with a second sheet of pastry and brush with oil, then a third, brushed with oil.
Place spinach mixture in dish then cover with 3 more sheets of pastry brushed with oil.
Gather and crimp the sides of the pastry to ensure filling is encased.
Brush the top with olive oil and bake for 50-60 minutes or until cooked and golden.
Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6-8.

*Available at Greek delicatessens

what i cook when....

Peter Conistis

Sydney Magazine, Issue #33, January, 2006.

Words Scott Bolles

Photography Jennifer Soo

Styling Trish Heagerty

Recipes tested by Lynne Mullins



For chef Peter Consistis, entertaining is very much a Greek family affair.

In a world of duplicated dishes and homogenous hors d’oeuvres, Peter Conistis is an original. With teasing creations such as anchovy baklava and confit tomato with truffled lobster pilafi, Conistis delivers the inspiring and the difficult to define. It is food that drags the anchor on his Mediterranean roots; perplexing purists and delighting the food adventurer.

Evidently it’s a family tradition. Conistis’s father, Kyriacos, joined the stream of immigrants working on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme in the late 1950s, where he mastered the diversion of more than just water.
“He used to cook us things like steak and eggs,” Conistis remembers, “And fried rice. But he didn’t use soy and he’d put tomato, eggplant and zucchini in it. He’d make it Greek.’

This playfulness with ingredients was copied by the next generation, albeit in a more refined way. Conistis’s most famous dish, scallop moussaka, was conceived with equal measures of inspiration, daring and chance.

“[Seafood supplier] John Susman brought some scallops in to try. I was working in the kitchen later making taramasalata and the flavours were still in my mouth and I thought, ‘that might go with this’,” he says. “I was in Greece recently and went to two restaurants that had it [the dish] on the menu.”

Not that cooking was the plan. Conistis, 38, wasn’t supposed to be in a professional kitchen at all. “Medicine and law were what they [Greek families] wanted for their children. It wasn’t the kudos. It was more ‘we’d love you guys to have what we didn’t’.” He lasted two semesters studying law.
“I remember walking out of a tort lecture thinking, ‘I don’t care about this’.” He switched to communications, mixing study with work in restaurants and a spell in the bar at Paul Merrony’s former restaurant at Circular Quay. “I asked him if I could work in the kitchen. I worked for free. Three months later I opened my own restaurant. I had more balls than brains.”

His first restaurant, Cosmos in Darlinghurst, was a revelation. It divided opinion, confusing Greek traditionalists who couldn’t put a finger on the food and delighting its legion of fans with its originality. It also offered a public glimpse of Conistis’s relationship in the kitchen with his mother, Eleni. “I wanted to pick her brains. But I didn’t want it to be a Greek restaurant.”

In the family home in Marrickville, everyone in the Conistis clan has their specialty. “Mum makes filo like no one else. There’s no such thing as a vegetarian in Greece, but she doesn’t like meat much. Her vegetarian dishes are always great. And the outdoors is Dad’s domain. Lamb on the spit, or he’ll go to the markets and buy half a swordfish.”

It’s usually left to Conistis to produce the more intricate dishes. It is, after all, his ability to jump from the simple to the serious that earned his city
restaurant, Omega, two hats and the gong for Best New Restaurant in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2005.

Conistis has done much for the promotion of Greek food, waving the culinary flag at the Olympic Games in Athens and hosting food tours to Greece. But at home it’s a more low-key affair, with people the most important ingredient. “My parents’ house was always a revolving door,” he says. “It wasnt entertaining, it was sharing with friends or relatives. When I entertain, it’s usually on Sundays for the people I really like to be with.”

History > Photography

submitted by Sydney Magazine on 17.12.2005

what i cook when.....Peter Conistis

Peter Conistis bringing cooked food to the table.

Sydney Magazine, Issue #33, January, 2006.

Words Scott Bolles

Photography Jennifer Soo

Styling Trish Heagerty

Recipes tested by Lynne Mullins



In a world of duplicated dishes and homogenous hors d’oeuvres, Peter Conistis is an original. With teasing creations such as anchovy baklava and confit tomato with truffled lobster pilafi, Conistis delivers the inspiring and the difficult to define. It is food that drags the anchor on his Mediterranean roots; perplexing purists and delighting the food adventurer.

Evidently it’s a family tradition. Conistis’s father, Kyriacos, joined the stream of immigrants working on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme in the late 1950s, where he mastered the diversion of more than just water.
“He used to cook us things like steak and eggs,” Conistis remembers, “And fried rice. But he didn’t use soy and he’d put tomato, eggplant and zucchini in it. He’d make it Greek.’

This playfulness with ingredients was copied by the next generation, albeit in a more refined way. Conistis’s most famous dish, scallop moussaka, was conceived with equal measures of inspiration, daring and chance.

“[Seafood supplier] John Susman brought some scallops in to try. I was working in the kitchen later making taramasalata and the flavours were still in my mouth and I thought, ‘that might go with this’,” he says. “I was in Greece recently and went to two restaurants that had it [the dish] on the menu.”

Not that cooking was the plan. Conistis, 38, wasn’t supposed to be in a professional kitchen at all. “Medicine and law were what they [Greek families] wanted for their children. It wasn’t the kudos. It was more ‘we’d love you guys to have what we didn’t’.” He lasted two semesters studying law.
“I remember walking out of a tort lecture thinking, ‘I don’t care about this’.” He switched to communications, mixing study with work in restaurants and a spell in the bar at Paul Merrony’s former restaurant at Circular Quay. “I asked him if I could work in the kitchen. I worked for free. Three months later I opened my own restaurant. I had more balls than brains.”

His first restaurant, Cosmos in Darlinghurst, was a revelation. It divided opinion, confusing Greek traditionalists who couldn’t put a finger on the food and delighting its legion of fans with its originality. It also offered a public glimpse of Conistis’s relationship in the kitchen with his mother, Eleni. “I wanted to pick her brains. But I didn’t want it to be a Greek restaurant.”

In the family home in Marrickville, everyone in the Conistis clan has their specialty. “Mum makes filo like no one else. There’s no such thing as a vegetarian in Greece, but she doesn’t like meat much. Her vegetarian dishes are always great. And the outdoors is Dad’s domain. Lamb on the spit, or he’ll go to the markets and buy half a swordfish.”

It’s usually left to Conistis to produce the more intricate dishes. It is, after all, his ability to jump from the simple to the serious that earned his city
restaurant, Omega, two hats and the gong for Best New Restaurant in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2005.

Conistis has done much for the promotion of Greek food, waving the culinary flag at the Olympic Games in Athens and hosting food tours to Greece. But at home it’s a more low-key affair, with people the most important ingredient. “My parents’ house was always a revolving door,” he says. “It wasnt entertaining, it was sharing with friends or relatives. When I entertain, it’s usually on Sundays for the people I really like to be with.”

History > Photography

submitted by Woman's Day on 12.12.2005

1976. Mr Spyros Haros....

...rides home after a day's work in the fields, carrying a bundle of kindling twigs.

One of 22 photographs in a 1976 Woman's Day article

From this tiny Greek island came 100,000 'new' Aussies'.

Woman's Day. August 2, 1976. pp. 20-25.

People of Kythera longed for opportunity so they came to Australia, bringing ways and traditions that were new and interesting to us. They worked hard and grew to love their new country but home-sickness sends some back to visit; some to stay.

Here's a look at the island today.

By JAN LIPMAN

Photos: GEORGE LIPMAN


There is a saying among Greek-born Australians which goes: “There are as many homesick Australians in Kythera as there are homesick Greeks in Australia. And if you ever visit Kythera, you'll know what they mean. Kythera is the 40-kilometre long Greek island which has provided Australia with the almost unbelievable number of 100,000 new citizens.
During a fve-day visit there in spring, we fell under its spell.

Not all of the 100,000 new Australians were born on Kythera, of course. Some are first, second, or even third-generation Aussies.

"You know what they call this? An Australian colony," one man told us, while his friend added: "I don't know which is my home anymore. You live here for a year, and you get homesick for there. You live there for a year and you get homesick for Kythera.”

An Olympic Airways Islander aircraft took us to Kythera where we were met by a welcoming committee of the three Calligeros, who wer to be our companions for the next five days. There was George Calligeros, President of the whole island, and Mayor of the capital town, Hora, George Calligeros, secretary of the high school, and owner of the villa at Capsali Beach, where we were to stay and Peter Calligeros, who has lived in Sydney for more than 20 years, and was in Kythera for a holiday.
Unlike many parts of Greece, Kythera has has abundant water.

"It is the wealth of the island," is a favourite phrase, and down through history they have valued their good fortune enough to build churches and chapels around the many springs and streams.

Almost anything grows there, and domestic animals flourish. Nothing is wasted. Even the wild broome is used as a natural fibre, and in the old days it was woven into a kind of coarse linen.
Barley and wheat grown there are ground to make the flour for some of the best bread in Greece.

The island is entirely self-supporting. Small local factories produce the olive oil which is essential to Greek cookery, and unsalted butter.

But to successful Greek-Australians who return there, there is a certain sadness about Kythera. Once there were more than 20,000 inhabitants, now there are less than 3000.

Tony Fardoulys, of Moorebank, NSW, and Jim Feros of Kogarah, NSW, were two of the many naturaliscd Australians visiting Kythera. Tony explained their sense of loss. "We grew up here together," he said, "and you should have seen it then. It was like a garden".
“And the fruit trees. I tell you. Figs as big as pears, and the peaches! They were everywhere.”

Well, they are still all there, gone wild. When the fruit is in season, it is yours for the asking.

Still there, too, are the stone houses abandoned. Slowly crumbling away, they line village streets and beautiful beachfronts. Windows are boarded up, wild grasses and flowers sprout from eaves and walls.

Thirty years ago, these houses were in good repair, painted wedding-cake white every Easter by their families.


Streets of laughter

“The streets were full of voices and kids’ laughter,” remembers Peter Calligeros. “Now the people who live here are old.”
Hundreds of Australian families still own property there, but they are unable to make use of it. Although self-supporting, Kythera has no exports.
To re-develop tracts of farming land, and begin export, would require something more than family enterprise. Without a work-force of young, active people there is no incentive for either government or private enterprise to invest in it.

Typical of these families are the Conomos, of Orange, NSW. Mr George Conomos and his wife, the late Mrs Stella Conomos, came to Australia more than a generation ago.

Now he and his two daughters, Regina and Gloria, are spending an extended holiday in Hora.

Mr Conomos is currently building a new house in his home village. Kalamos, not far from Hora, even though Australia will still be their permanent home.

“This is our third trip back,” Gloria told us. “We’ve made so many trips that we feel it’s about time we built a house here.”

Regina, who speaks English with a broad Australian accent, married a local boy.
Now they have bouncing six-months-old twin daughters, Stamatina and Eviania.
Well-to-do Greek-Australians return to Kythera for holidays. Others, not so wealthy, make the longed-for trip when they retire.

An Australian pension goes about three times as far in Greece.

One such man is Mr Jim Cominos, 78. We met him one Sunday afternoon in the taverna (restaurant) in Livadi village. He’d ridden over for the day from his own village, Guleanica.

"My car is a donkey," he announced. "When I lived in Australia, I had a car, just like everyone else. But I traded it in for a donkey!
"Petrol is too expensive here in Greece two dollars a gallon and, if a donkey is a bit slow, it doesn’t matter to me. I’ve got plenty of time, and not far to go".
Mr Cominos lives with his daughter and her three children.

But he still has two sons and five grandchildren living in Albury, NSW, who often beg him to come back here.
“Sometimes I think I might go back. I love Australia, too. But then, I think it is too late now.”
Like many Greeks who have taken full Australian citizenship, he feels torn.

A better future

Back in Athens, someone tried to explain their feelings from a different point of view. He was Mr G. Koidakis, an official of Olympic Airways, who spent two years here as regional manager for Australasia. and now holds a similar position in Greece.

“Migration is always a good thing,” he said. “Everybody who migrates seeks a better future. And it is to the credit of the Greek migrant in Australia that he did succeed”.

“They have made money, certainly. But they are among the cleanest-living, most hard-working communities living in Australia.
“I have a love for these Greeks and I understand how they feel on leaving the country of their birth.”

Among Kythea’s best-known identities is Mrs Georgia Veneri, 88, who lives at the Monastery of Saint Mirtidion. Mrs Veneri lived for 10 years in Brisbane, and lost her two Sons in Australia. One was killed in World War II, and one in a fatal accident.

A pilgrimage to Saint Mirtidion is a must for every ex-­Kytherian, so Mrs Veneri’s otherwise lonely existence there is relieved by visitors.

The monastery is the only sign of life on a lonely stretch of coastline. It is surrounded by motel-type units which house pilgrims during the church’s three major festivals.

Kytherians have always been intensely religious. Most families have built their own - chapels dedicated to patron saints.
Climbing mountainsides to get to them, we sometimes cursed the zeal which inspired the families to build their chapels in such inaccessible places.

Everyone wanted us to drop in for coffee.
Caffe ellenica (the thick, sweetened kind in tiny cups) was never served without a sweet or two, and usually a glass of home­made liqueur.

Kytherian women pride them­selves on the sweets and cookies they make from the almonds which grow wild there, and the honey which they believe is the best in Greece.

There are tiny preserved figs, diples or thiples (deep-fried wafers drizzled with honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds), amigdolata (almonds, semolina and sugar in tiny pear-shapes with clove stems), or tsipoura (almond and honey cookies rolled in a crisp coating of powdered sugar).
Some relate to special festivities; diples used to be made when young girls gathered at someone’s home before a betrothal or marriage.

Many housewives on Kythera still cling proudly to the old traditions, and there is no way a Kytherian woman would paint her house instead of white­washing it.

We were transported back a century in time when we visited the home of Mr and Mrs John Prineas, in the village of Mitata.
Katina Prineas was out working in the fields, but her house was wide open and her nephew, Jim Feros, showed us around.
“I was born in this room,” he said, ushering us into a small room with a vaulted roof, now kept as a guest bedroom.
Round the walls were family portraits. There was Jim’s father (now almost 80 and living with his wife in Earlwood, NSW) as a younger man in his Australian Army uniform; a picture of him at Hillston, NSW, in 1922; at the opening of the corner shop he built back in Mitata in 1934, as a reliable living for the wife and family he left behind.

Dad on the move

Mr Feros first came to Australia in the early '20's, returned to Kythera in 1927 to marry, and start work on the shop, went back to Australia in 1930, and in 1937 returned to Kythera.

I was nearly seven years of age when I met my father for the first time,” recalled Jim. “He stopped with us for 20 months, until August 1938, then he went back again. But in 1947 - by then I had two sisters - we all went to Australia, My uncle used. to run the business after we left.”

His friend Tony chipped in: “That’s the way they did it in those days. The men came home to father the children.”
Outside in the courtyard again we were dazzled by the sunlight reflecting off whitewashed walls, paving stones and a well, from which Jim drew cold, sweet water.

Hanging under the eaves were maturing cheeses.

Kytherian style, the house was built of rough stone with 60 cm walls, plastered over then whitewashed inside and out. The kitchen was a long room, divided by a partition from the storeroom-cum-cellar. Copper pots and pans hung above the old fuel stove, and hand-made rag rugs were on the floor.

Wooden shelves in the pantry were laden with cane baskets of eggs, grey home-made soap, drying herbs, brass mortars and pestles, old flat irons.

On the stone floor stood earthenware jars holding olives, oil and pickles, wine casks, charcoal braziers for smoking meat and for barbecuing, and in a corner a well-like wine-press. To judge from the heady smell it was still very much in use.
Farmers, in the same way, still cling to their traditional methods. Why irrigate? Why buy machinery when you have a good, strong donkey? Dry-cropping (the practice of ploughing three times to let the soil absorb moisture) has always produced summer vegetables in a climate which has no rain between May and September. And small Kytherian cucumbers and tomatoes are infinitely more delicious than the giants we know.

World War II caused a big exodus from Kythera. Many families came to Australia, others went to the USA. Since then there has been a steady trickle of young people leaving the island.

Although there is a 250-pupil high school in Hora, a university education means moving to Athens.

Kytherians are mainly self­ employed or retired. Only 50 to 60 people on the island work for someone else.

The power station, or Public Lighting Company, operates on diesel engine. It provides jobs for about 20 employees. Others work as teachers, service station attendants and mechanics, police, or in the olive oil factory. The average wage of these people is only about $25 a week.

Poppy’s typical

Among the “employees” is Mrs Poppy Mazaraki, the married daughter of Mayor Calligeros. Poppy is typical of the young people of Kythera. “We grew up in Kythera. went to school here, then went away to Athens,” she told us. “Now we are back here as teachers.”

Poppy took us to the village of Livadi to visit the Gianiotis family, and to taste mizithra cheese. Mizithra, a soft, ricotta-style cheese, is made from goats’ milk or sheep’s milk. Mrs Gianiotis served it drizzled with honey, and accompanied by caffe ellenica. Many Kytherian families live almost entirely on what they grow themselves. They make their own wines, too. The best Kytherian wine is rose, more palatable to outsiders than the usual Greek retsina.

Kytherian men have a healthy appreciation of their local wines and liqueurs and yet - as elsewhere in Greece - you never see a local man drunk.
“When we drink, we eat,” they say and indeed olives, cheese, perhaps a little salad with fresh oil dressing is always served with drinks.

Hora, about 300 metres above the fishing village of Capsali, is one of the prettiest townships in Greece. Mayor Calligeros insists that villagers each sweep up their piece of street each morning.
Everything from bell-towers to benches is freshly whitewashed (the women spring-clean for Easter and sometimes in be­tween, slapping the wash with long-handled soft brooms).
Every window is shuttered, and every shutter is painted bright, light blue. Blue and white are Greece’s national colours.
What does the future hold for Kythera?
Tony Fardoulys, who is a real estate agent in Sydney, would like to see it become a resort.

Nick Athousis. who lived 20 years in Brisbane, is one of the few younger people who have moved back to Kythera for more than a holiday. His sons Charles, 12, Paul, 10 and George, 8, attend local schools and Nick is president of the high school committee.

“I want my children to become Greeks in a sense,” he told us. “But I want them to be Australians, too. “I brought them from Australia and they knew only English. Now, they know only Greek.
“I think English is the language of the present and of the future. And what I want is a teacher of English for the high school here. So I wrote to the Greek communities in Australia to ask for their support.”

A teaching post would have to be approved by the Greek Ministry of Education; but only a novice teacher would be given such a post and as a provincial high school is rated at the bottom end of the salary scale, the going salary would be only about 6000 to 7000 drachmae ($A 150) per month.

“I’d like to make the salary up to about $10,000 a year,” Nick continued. “1 want him to be able to live like a man".
"If we have Greeks in Australia who can endow churches and universities, surely the whole community there can raise a little for our school".

“You know, our only export is human beings. We want those human beings, when they leave Kythera, to be able to speak English.”

History > Photography

submitted by Peter Peter Poulos on 10.12.2005

By George

Author: Harris "Bud" George [Tzortzopoulos]

When Published: 2005

Publisher: BrickHouse Books, Inc.

Available:http://www.itascabooks.com/index.cfm?page=Detail&isbn=0-932616-78-X

Description: 7 x 9 · Paperback · 248 pp

New!

December 2005

ISBN 0-932616-78-X
Biography & Autobiography

Price $ 20.00


"...I asked them whether this was the road to Karava. The oldest of the three smiled even more broadly and said, 'Monsieur, this is not Paris. There is only one road to Karava.' "
Harris 'Bud' George's collection of stories begins with his father coming to America as an orphaned immigrant at 16 and becoming the first Greek businessman in Towson, Maryland, in 1912.

His mother’s imperatives about growing up in the Baltimore Greek community, his brother’s establishment of what is today the largest Greek Orthodox parish library in the western hemisphere, and his sisters’ first attempt at Greek cooking and monomania about teaching English vocabulary are deftly and engagingly chronicled, as are the author’s fascination with Kythera - the island of his parents’ birth - and its lore. George shows how Greek as a second language is handy, how the Greek character manifests itself in airline passengers, in Greek newspaper reporters, in the Greek reaction to a Greek-American naval officer’s being stationed aboard the largest ship in the world on its maiden visit to Athens, and in the Greeks of Capetown, Manila, and Gdansk.

The story of his years in the US Navy offer interesting and amusing adventures in Capetown, Ceylon, the Singapore Straits of Malacca, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, Portugal, and Greece.

"Anybody in the legal community will get a tremendous charge out of this book. That goes double for anybody who has also been in the Navy." - Richard A. Reid, Esq.


------------------------------------------------------------------------

Towson, Maryland native Harris “Bud” George finished his Duke University undergraduate Phi Beta Kappa work at age 19 and passed the Maryland Bar at 22. He entered the US Navy, and after having served as Assistant Legal Officer aboard the USS Midway (CVA-41), was the plank owner first Legal Officer aboard the USS Forrestal (CVA-59), the first of the US Navy supercarriers. His tours of duty included visits to South Africa, Ceylon, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, the Caribbean, Portugal, Gibraltar, France, Italy and Greece.

After leaving the Navy, George served as a law clerk to the Honorable Hall Hammond, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, Maryland’s highest court. After working for a Baltimore City law firm, he opened his legal office in Towson, Maryland in 1960. He continues his practice today in a multifaceted private practice which has ranged as widely as foreclosing a chattel mortgage on a herd of cattle to defending the accused in Maryland's first savings and loan scandal.

History > Photography

submitted by James Victor Prineas on 03.12.2005

George and Maria Stamatakou

George and Maria outside their famous restaurant in Mitata in the 1990's. See the article about them in the Notable Kytherians section of this website.

History > Photography

submitted by Wentworth Courier on 20.11.2005

Bondi waves its own flag.

"It really is a flag for all the beaches". George C Poulos, with Bondi Lifesaver, sporting the rising sun "bathers" extant in the inter-War period.

By James Wilkinson

Wentworth Courier
Wednesday, August 5, 1998, p.16.


The closest Bondi beach has come to having a flag is the yellow and red, placed as a marker of where to show you the safest places for swimming.
Now, Australia’s most famous beach really does have its own flag.
Waverley Council has approved a proposal for a flag from George Poulos, who said it was a humbling experience knowing a dream had finally come true. His idea started a year and a half ago - now it is reality and flags have started production.
Already there have been several purchases of the flag, which will be seen this Sunday when tens of thousands of people converge on Bondi for the annual City to Surf.
"I have always felt that we have never had a visual sense of identity for the beach. The beach culture has contributed to that sense of identity more than most people realise," Mr Poulos said.
When he designed the flag, Mr Poulos was hoping to accomplish several things.First to supply the correct canton, and in this case, it is the sun in the corner of the flag.
Mr Poulos said he wanted to represent the sun from original surf lifesaving banners, the Waverley crest, and the rising sun emblem of the military forces.
"We earned our freedom as a nation on another beach — at a place called Gallipoli in 1915. That was in my mind when I was designing the flag".
“It really is a flag for all of the beaches. This flag can also represent 80 per cent of us who lie on the yellow periphery represented by my flag.”
Anyone interested in buying a flag can email here

History > Photography

submitted by Wentworth Courier on 20.11.2005

Gallipoli Star. Honours for flag creators.

Wentworth Courier
Wednesday April 14th, 1999
page 12.

By James Wilkinson


George Poulos and Joe Bollen* have been awarded the Gallipoli Star medal for their efforts in creat­ing and designing the Bondi Beach flag.

The first two non-war veterans to be awarded the medal, Mr Poulos and Mr Bollen have joined an elite group.

Mr Poulos, a Dover Heights resident, said:
‘The Bondi Beach flag was always considered to be a Gallipoli flag.”
When designing the flag, Mr Poulos con­sidered a number of things to represent Gallipoli. These in­cluded the rising sun of the Anzacs; eight-pointed Gallipoli stars; the beach; and the blood on the beach.

The medals were presented by Vietnam veteran Ross Smith, who in 1989 re­created the medals and gave them to 200 Anzacs.
The medals are based on those originally made for the Australian and New Zealand soldiers in 1916. However, the British government did not formally ap­prove them at the time and they were melted down.

Mr Poulos said: “What the medals mean is that Australia was born in Gallipoli and it is the womb of the nation. We were born from a blood sacrifice in 1915. I want Australians to understand their birth place and the rising sun. Let’s be proud of it.”

Last year, Mr Pou­los’s Bondi Beach flag was adopted by Waverley Council after many years spent on the design of the flag.

They were flying high on the Campbell Parade flagpoles for six months last year.

Mr Poulos said:
"We have the greatest beach in the world and having a flag for it is a way of showing it. It gives the commu­nity a sense of identity and a sense of belong­ing".

A Gallipoli Star Medal was also awarded to the flag. That medal is being presented to Waverley Council on Tuesday, April 27.


*Joe Bollen is the designer of the City of Sydney Sesqui-centenary flag.
Joe aided in the design of the Bondi Beach flag.
In 2000 he was appointed Flag Manager of the Sydney Olympic.
He is a long-standing believer in the fact that the Rising Sun is the prime symbol of Australia.


The Gallipoli Star

The Star That ….Almost …..Never Shone


The Gallipoli Star had its genesis in a proposal by Lt Gen Birdwood GOC 1 ANZAC in October 1917, that members of the AIF and NZEF, who had departed their homelands before 31 Dec 1914, be awarded the “1914 Star”. After their first engagement, the momentous battle at – Gallipoli – this proposal was converted to a medal recognising service at Gallipoli.

In a cablegram from the Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, received by the Colonial Office on the 11th May, 1918, the GG stated clearly that the “…Commonwealth Government considers Gallipoli star should be issued only to officers and men who landed actually on Gallipoli.”

His Majesty the King, approved of the design for the Gallipoli Star medal and ribbon to be awarded, in his own words, to “..all Dominion officers and soldiers of the Aust, NZ, and Newfoundland military forces who actually served with an Expeditionary Force provided that they landed on the Gallipoli peninsula prior to the evacuation thereof.”

The star and the ribbon were designed by Warrant Officer, R. K. Peacock of the Defence Department.

The Gallipoli Star consists of an eight pointed star in bronze and on the face of the star is a silver circle with a crown in the centre surrounded by the words “Gallipoli 1914-15”, a point of the star representing each of the six States of the Commonwealth, the Territories and New Zealand.

Historians indicate the significance of having both 1914 and 1915 on the medal is the the ANZACs sailed for Gallipoli in December, 1914, landing on 25 April, 1915 and the campaign concluded in December, 1915.

The symbolic ribbon consists of an outer edge of gold and red representing the silvery sheen of the fern and the flower of the Rata of New Zealand, separated by a central strip of blue representing the sea which the troops depended on. Australian War Memorial Accession tag No. 6327 confirms that thousands of metres of ribbon were woven, and were actually ready for issue.

Serious difficulties arose after the announcement of the award of the medal had been made, owing to the strong objection being taken by some British Members of Parliament and the press in England because the GALLIPOLI STAR could not be conferred on the British troops who fought on Gallipoli . It was then abandoned.

Since 1918, notably in 1949-50, and in the period 1962-66, efforts have been made in Australia, through parliamentary representation, to have the Gallipoli Star awarded. These efforts resulted in the Gallipoli Medallion, with corresponding lapel badge, being issued by the Aust. and NZ governments in 1967.

However, the Gallipoli Star did not shine again, until, Ross E. Smith, OAM of Canberra manufactured the medal and ribbon from the original design in order to commemorate the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the Landing of the ANZACs on Gallipoli, 25 April, 1915-90.

Ross Smith was born and educated in Dalby, Queensland, attending the Dalby State School and the Dalby State High School. He enlisted in the Army in 1963 and after recruit training was allocated to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. He served with the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment in Australia and Papua New Guinea and with the 6th Battalion on operational service in South Vietnam during 1966 and 1967.

He transferred to the Australian Army Aviation Corps in 1979 and held the appointments of Squadron Sergeant Major and Regimental Sergeant Major with the 1st Aviation Regiment and Australian Army Aviation Corps Regimental Sergeant Major with the Directorate of Aviation (Army). In December, 1986, he assumed duty as the Sergeant Major Ceremonial with the Directorate of Personnel Support (Army).

Mr Smith was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queens Honours List 1984 for his services as Regimental Sergeant Major of the 1st Aviation Regiment, and in 1988, he was also awarded the Chief of the General Staff’s Commendation for meritorious service as Sergeant Major Ceremonial of the Australian Army.

By Ross Smith’s initiative, one thousand Gallipoli Medals were produced and of these, two hundred were awarded as a personal gift by Mr Smith to the remaining veterans, at the time, of the Gallipoli campaign (one hundred and fifty Australians and fifty New Zealanders).

The remaining medals were made available through a sole franchise agent, Suttle Medals, of Summer Hill, Sydney.

It should be noted that, regrettably, the Gallipoli Star remains a private award, without official standing.

Commemorating as it does, the birthplace of the Australian nation, it should be Australia’s highest military award.

Gallipoli’s distance from both Australia and New Zealand is its greatest drawback and yet it’s greatest asset. It means that few Australians and New Zealanders can visit the battlefield, yet it deepens the roots of ANZAC in our minds. An ironic paradox is that in life the ANZAC did not capture Gallipoli; yet in death they hold it immortally – LEST WE FORGET.

George Poulos. Iconographer, Vexillographer and Vexillologist.

[Written, with the aid of material supplied by Ross E Smith and the RSL Branches, Mackay, Queensland.]

History > Photography

submitted by SUN HERALD on 20.11.2005

Temple of the Sun: George C Poulos flies the flag at Bondi.

Sun and beach flag the future.

THE SUN-HERALD,
August 9
1998
p.12.


If Waverley mayor Paul Pearce has his way, there will be a new flag flying over Bondi Beach during the Sydney Olympics.
Mr Pearce said the flag — designed to depict the sun and the beach will be raised above Bondi’s golden sands as well as at Bronte and Tamarama beaches.
And, he said, Bondi may fly its own flag when it hosts the volleyball at the Olympics.

“I think it’s an attractive design,” Mr Pearce said. “It gives a sense of identity to the beaches.”

Flag designer George Poulos said it was the first flag in Australian history to truly represent the 80 per cent of people who live on the country’s coastal fringe.
“We have the greatest beach in the world and this flag is a way to show it,” Mr Poulos said. “Many Australians don’t realise how powerful the national identity has arisen from our beach culture.”

The rising sun on the flag is taken from Waverley Council’s coat of arms while a red line represented the blood shed by Australian patriots.

“Although we go to beach for relaxation and freedom, Australia’s identity was forged on another beach thousands of miles away on Galllpoli,” Mr Poulos said.
The use of red and yellow was deliberately chosen to represent the Australian life-saving movement. A white line represents waves building up as they approach the beach.

Mr Pearce hoped to fly the flag at today’s finish of the City to Surf race.

History > Photography

submitted by O Kosmos on 20.11.2005

George C Poulos. The Man Behind the Flag.

O Kosmos,
Young World
Editor, Joan Messaris
Tuesday 25 August 1998.
Cover Page, and page 19/5


When Constantine and Evangelia Tzortzopoulos were growing up in the Kytherian village of Karavas, never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined that they would become husband and wife, migrate to Australia, and thai their son George (born and raised in’ Gilgandra NSW, educated at UNSW , and resident of Waverley Municipality for the past 25 years) would design a flag that would become accepted as the Beaches Flag in their new country!

It was in fact last month, on July 29, that George C. Poulos received notification from Councillor Paul Pearce, Mayor of Waverley that Council had adopted the rec~ommenda­tion of the Committee for a Waverley Council Beaches Flag and that our compatriot’s design had been accepted. The flag - which is the result of 14 months of research and design - had its national and international debut during the Sun City to Surf where it featured prominently throughout the race on the Channel 10 coverage. Since then the flag
- denoting the beaches of Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama and created by George Poulos with the assistance of Joe Bollen of Bollen Design Turramurra - can be seen flying at numerous locations around Bondi Beach including all 25 flag poles along the centre of Campbell Parade. This will constitute the longest continuous public display of an Australian ensign which is not the incumbent flag of Australia, in Australian history.

Speaking to Young World, George Poulos (who describes himself as a vexillologist, iconographer and vexillographer) mentioned that it was back in 1974 that he had visited Bondi Beach for the first time “and instantly I decided that this was the only place in the world where I wanted to live. I moved to Bondi Road in the same year - bought a home unit in Ramsgate Avenue, Bondi Beach in 1978, with wife Lorraine; and we bought a house in Eastern Avenue, Dover Heights in 1993. I have lived and worked in Waverley for a quarter of a century. I have always been attracted by the very deep sense of community that exists in the Bondi area. It has always reminded me of the deep sense of community that existed in the small NSW country town, Gilgandra, where I was born and schooled. By contrast I have found a weaker or non-existent sense of community in many other parts of Sydney I have lived in or visit­ed over the years.”

George PouIos went on to explain that the meaning of the flag is multi-layered. Put sim­ply, it is meant to celebrate our beach culture out of which a great deal of our Australian sense of identity has been created. The theme of Sun-Gods, Bronzed Aussies and Surf Life Savers, and Golden Sportspersons has run throughout history.
The “rising sun” which denoted Advance Australia in 19th century Australia, and which features on the crest of the Waverley Council Coat-of-Arms, created in 1859, features prominently in the canton (Honour point on the far top left hand corner of a flag).
The “rising sun” also featured on the early swimming costumes of the Bondi Surf Club. The colours of the Australian Surf-Lifesaving Movement - red and yellow - feature promi­nently.
The stars evoke the Eureka Stockade flag of 1854. The eight points on each star repre­sent each State and Territory of Australia.
The flag celebrates the fact that demo­graphically 80% of Australians live very close to the “5” words - Sea, Sun, Surf, Sky and Sand... under the Southern Cross.
The red also signifies the terra cotta roofs in Waverley - the most densely populated area in Australia.
The “rising sun” badge of the AIF and the Anzacs is also evoked. The red on the flag denotes the blood that they shed at another beach - Gallipoli - where our nation “came of age” - in order that we could, in future gen­erations, enjoy beaches like Bondi, in our uniquely Australian way.
“Clearly - notes George Poulos - the Flag is also a Gallipoli Beach Flag. Why has it taken Australians nearly a century to devise a Gallipoli flag? We have exhorted all our lives ‘never to for­get’. This flag is the perfect means by which to ensure that those of us ‘who are left.., to grow old’ will never forget.”

George Poulos does not hide the fact that Greek blood runs through his veins.
Proof of this is when he states that even as a young child he was doubly grateful for the ANZACs’ courage in war - as an Australian for giving birth to a genuine national spirit, and as a Greek-Australian for their services to Greece, ‘pay­ing back’ the Turkish nation for the 400 years of oppression, for helping the German-Turkish alliance to lose WWI and at least until the ‘error of judgment’ of 1922 restored the relative Turkish-Greek power balance in favour of the Greeks.

With regard to his creation, he emphasises that it must also be realised that this is the first flag in the 3,000 years of world vexillo­logical (flag) history, which uses the total field of a flag as a beach.
The enclosed nature of the beach indi­cates how protected and relatively safe it is to swim in. It also indicates the very close sense of community that exists around. Waverley Beaches.The red land mass is curved, so that it also connotes a wave breaking onto a shore. The white line of surf that gets larger as it moves to the right - indi­cates how waves build up momentum as they approach the beach.
Anyone wishing to purchase a huge 6ft by 3ft (1800 x 900 cm's) flag at the manufactured cost, can email here

NEWSPAPER COVERAGE

George Poulos’ flag has already featured on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald, Sun Herald and 0 Kosmos and in suburban publications including the Wentworth Courier. Perhaps the most glow­ing commentary on the flag came from a life­long journalist and former editor of the Mosman Daily, Barry Laws who sent a Letter to the Editor to the Sun Herald where he wrote:
“I was so struck by the flag as designed by Mr George Poulos, which was the subject of an article and colour photograph in today’s Sun Herald (9.8.98, p.12) that I felt compelled to write to you to put my views and to put for­ward a suggestion for your consideration. To put it simply, I believe Mr Poulos and Waverley Council are selling themselves short thinking this\flag should be flown at Bondi and other beaches. Before even read­ing the article, the flag 'jumped' out at me as our future national flag . It had that elusive ‘it’ quality - something which was absolutely missing from the various boxy, contrived and trite designs which were’put up some months ago for people to consider and which have apparently sunk without trace. To my eye, Mr Poulos’s flag flowed; its vivid colours, depict­ing this . island continent’s blue skies and sea and golden beaches, the retention of the Southern Cross to show the world where we are and the pow­erful symbolism of young Australians blood spilt upon the beach of Gallipoli and many other beaches which followed in the name of peace and freedom says it all for all Australians, whatever their colour or creed. It is well accepted by historians that the Gallipoli horror was the event which forged the States together as one in spirit as well as by the Constitution. How better could we honour this momentous event than to pre­sent it as part of the symbolism of our nation­al flag for the 21st century?
There is no doubt in my mind, because of the striking appearance of the design and especially after reading the raison d’ etre for the design, that this flag should be promoted to the Australian public for it to vote on its views as to whether or not this design should become our national flag. In considering the design from a national viewpoint, the only suggestion for a slight change that I would make (if I may be so bold), is instead of red, the blood would be depicted in the colour of ochre, so that the red soils of Australia’s out­back are included, thus honouring our peo­ple of the country and outback generally;
A significant feature of Mr Poulos’ design, apart from presenting a flag to the world which would stand out and be uniquely Australian (as the maple leaf stands out for Canada) is that this flag would be for all Australians, black and white. All Australians are surrounded by the . seas and all Australians enjoy the. clear blue and gold colours of this country and the warmth of the sun, regardless of their colour or origin. It is simply stating what Australians see and feel about their land. Also, in this time of terrible divisiveness which unfortunately marks Australian society, I believe this flag could quite well be a source for helping to bring Australians back together. The current flag has served us well, but it belongs to another time. One can easily imagine this new flag flying over our Olympic champions in the Year 2000. It would not be mistaken for the flag of New Zealand and it would not appear to indicate to the world that Australia is still a colony,” wrote Barry Laws before acknowl­edging the magnificent contribution of Greeks to Australia.
“And what is more fitting that this new flag has been designed by an Australian who, presumably, because of his name, is of Greek heritage, a country which has provid­ed thousands of fine people to Australia over the past decades to assist in building this nation to where it is today,” stated Barry Laws and ended his letter by asking if the Sun Herald would consider re-publishing George Poulos’ flag for the purpose of con­ducting a poll to ascertain whether or not the flag would be accepted as the new national flag of Australia.
Mr Laws ended his letter thus:
“With appropriate promotion, my feeling is that this issue would create great interest and who knows where it will go? The great line from the film ‘The Dead Poets’ Society’ comes to mind when the teacher exhorts his students to ‘seize the moment’. This could just be one of those moments!” exclaimed Barry Laws.

OTHER DESIGNS

In a comment to Young World, George Poulos noted that together with Joe Bollen he has two other designs using the same template that they could put forward as the Australian national flag for the 21st century.
“Again quite clearly, Gallipoli features heavily in the design. But this time we include ‘Uluru’ and references to the (Ab)Original Australians (red, gold and black), the Australian national colours (green and gold) and multicultural Australians (sig­nified by six colours of the multi-national Olympic logo). Reference is also made to Asian Australians - in the colours red and gold - one/both of which colours feature on virtually every flag of Asia. The British colours- red, white and blue are still the predomi­nant colour scheme. I commend this design to Waverlians and to all Australians,” stated George Poulos, a member of the Flag Society of Australia and Friend of the University of NSW Library who has also been commissioned by Australian-American Publishing House Simon and Schuster to submit a manuscript on the Emerging Australian Flag.

With regard to his Hellenic background, George Poulos emphasised that he is extremely proud of the Greek ethos - the giv­ing, bringing, sharing, laughter and dancing. Furthermore he is proud of his parents’ birth­place, Karava and enthusiastically serves as Co-President of the Karavitiko Symposium, an event which for the past 32 years has been bringing together Kytherians from Karava for a traditional luncheon on the Sunday immediately after the feast day of their patron saint Haralambos.

Also in following the Greek tradition, George and Lorraine’s children have been named after their paternal grandparents. Angelique is now 15 and Dean is 13 years of age. Perhaps at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games teenagers Evangelia and Constantino~sPoulos can fly the flag created by their father in honour of their grandpar­ents who assisted in building this nation to where it is today!