submitted by Peter Makarthis on 03.10.2013
A Greek Soldier is Buried
(From “The Hillston Spectator and Lachlan Advertiser,” Thursday 21 June 1945)
We take the following from the Lithgow “Clarion” of 1st May 1945:-
“The funeral of late Mr. Simon Cordato, aged 65, of Main Street, Katoomba was held on Sunday afternoon. The service of the Greek Orthodox Church was held in St. Hilda’s Church of England by Rev. B. Christomes of Sydney.
Almost one hundred of the Greek Community were present, and followed the service with attention and reverence. Rev. Christomes also officiated at the Church of England portion of Katoomba Cemetery.
The late Mr Cordato served in the 1914-18 War, and was a member of the R.S.A.I.L.A., Leura Sub-Branch. On the coffin the Union Jack and Greek Flag were draped. The Greek community were represented by the Greek Consul General, Mr. A. Vrisakis.
The chief mourners were his wife and son. The Leura Sub-Branch was represented by J. White, G. Armstrong and F. Lampson. Katoomba Council was represented by the Deputy Mayor, Ald. W. Snelson, Wor. Master Harvey Gordon attended on behalf Lodge Katoomba 118, of which Lodge Mr. Cordato was a member. Rotary Club was represented by Mr. Bob Meek and the Coroner’s Court by Mr.P. Endicott. The Greek residents were represented by Mr. Jack Simos. There were also Greek soldiers in A.I.F. uniform present. The business people of the town were represented by Mr. Peter and H. Cholerton.. The wreaths were numerous and about 25 cars followed the cortege to the cemetery.”
The late Mr. Cordato will always be remembered by Hillstonites who were present at the 1934 Diggers’ Ball, when he entered the Hall mounted on a pony owned by Mr. Hughie Borden, passed a guard of honour of Diggers , dressed as Gypos, and then declared the ball open in Arabic, which was translated into English by Charlie Buchanan.
Truly, what a night that was!
(This report from The Hillston Spectator is unedited to preserve authenticity and reflect community attitudes of the period)
Simon Cordato (Stellianos Emmanuel Theodorakakis) was born 1880, Potamos, Cerigo, Greece arriving at Sydney, NSW on GMS Zieten 17 Jan 1904.
Simon, like many Greeks served his ‘time’ in oyster saloons, including his brother Kyriakos Cordato at Armidale NSW until 1908 when he conducted Cordato Bros. Oyster Saloon in Walker Street, Casino NSW. He returned to Greece 1909 and married Cornelia Chambaris at Potamos returning to Casino shortly afterwards with his wife.
Simon with wife Kornelia and children Ekaterene, Hariklia and Emmanuel returned to Kythera 1919 for a holiday leaving the business in the hands of their partners, Con and Theo Chambaris. The duration of their stay in Greece was extended as Simon was ‘called to colours’ and they returned to Casino August 1922.
“The Richmond River Express and Casino Kyogle Advertiser, Wednesday 23 August 1922 p 2 Article”
ON THE GRECIAN FRONTIER
AFFAIRS IN ASIA MINOR
CASINOITE WITH GREEK COLORS
“Mr. Simon Cordato, of the firm Chambiras and Chambiras, Casino, who left for Greece on a holiday tour some three years ago, returned to Casino last week. Some months after arrival in his home land, Mr. Cordato who is a reservist of the Grecian Army, was called to the colors in Asia Minor, where hostilities with the Turks were opened. With the infantry forces, Mr. Cordato saw service at Smyrna, around which centre the biggest battles on this frontier were fought. In the advance from Smyrna to Eysee Sehir, along which line the Greeks are now firmly established, Mr. Cordato states that there was evidence on every hand of the appalling atrocities of the Turks. In the wake of their retreat villages and towns were pillaged and burnt, among the ruins of which were mutilated bodies of Christians, including many women and children. Many Christian refugees, including Armenians and Greeks, were picked up, who told of appalling treatment by the Turks.
In an interview with an “Express” representative, Mr. Cordato stated that the Grecian Army on the Eysee Sehir frontier is now 450,000 strong, without the remotest chance of the Turks penetrating the line. “Greece’s army on this line,” he added, “is so firmly established that it can be safely reduced to 100,000.”
Mr. Cordato offered the opinion that France is largely blameable for the continuation of hostilities by the withdrawal of her troops from Cylekia, as otherwise by now the Turks would have been put to rout, contending in this that the French army was withdrawn through the country’s economic interests in Turkey in respect of trade relations.
At the present time and for the past eight months, Mr. Cordato states that the fighting between Turkey and Greece has practically ceased, being confined to isolated skirmishes at infrequent intervals.
Questioned regarding Greece’s internal affairs, Mr. Cordato stated that the Greek population now regretted the overthrow of Venizelos, believing at the last elections that with his defeat war would cease. “They have learned the reverse,” remarked Mr. Cordato, “and at the next elections his return is almost assured.”
Author’s notes continued-
The evaluation of the situation in Smyrna by Simon Cordato was soon dashed shortly afterwards as Turkish forces on 9 September 1922, expelled the Greek Army from Turkish territory and reclaimed Smyrna as Izmir.
Simon Cordato with his family removed to Hillston NSW 1923 trading as Cordato Bros remaining until 1935 when they again returned to Kythera. Perhaps sensing the dark clouds gathering over Europe they returned to Australia 1938, settling finally in Katoomba with his brother Jack Cordato at the ‘All British Café.’
Kornelia Cordato passed away 27 January 1973 and is interred with her husband at Katoomba Cemetery.
Researched and written
Peter McCarthy ( Makarthis)
3 October 2013
©S.Peter & Co 2013
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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