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submitted by Vasilia Uhrweiss (nee Margetis) on 21.06.2012

Portrait of my grandmother, Agapi Lianos (nee Comino) c.1900

The Life story of George and Agapi Lianos

The Lianos Comino Odyssey


My Grandparents were Agapi and George Lianos from Kythera,Greece. Papou was born on the 9th June1873 in the village of Liananika to Emmanuel and Relia, farm owners. He was the only son and had four sisters, Irene, Kerani, Marigo and Stavroula. Agapi's birth date was in 1867.

He worked on the farm with his parents and at the age of twenty four married Agapi the seventeen year old daughter of Anthony and Theodora Comino on the 15th February 1897.

My Grandparents Agapi and George Lianos c. 1900

His parents gave them some land with a two room house on it and it was there that their first child Stavroula was born on the 31st July 1898. But conditions were very hard in Kythera so they decided that Papou should go to Australia to try his luck. Also his wife's brothers, Dimitrios, Menas and Nicholas,and her Uncles Zacharias and Ioanis Comino, were already settled in Sydney, which would be a great help to him, he hoped.

He arrived in Pireaus on 16th September 1898 where he arranged his papers and passport and arranged for his passage to Sydney. On the 20th September 1898 he left on an Egyptian Steam boat for Port Said where he stayed for several days. Then on the 28th September 1898 he boarded a new German steamer called the Barbarossa, and set sail for his new life in Australia.

After a lovely and uneventful trip he arrived at Circular Quay Sydney on the 30th of October 1898 and was met by his brothers-in-law and taken to lodgings and instructed in what was to be his life for some time to come. A bad joke was played on him by his brothers-in-law, who had put him in a bug infested room on his first night in Australia, but then gave him a room in one of their homes.

And it was hard. From the 3rd November 1898 he had to get up at 3.a.m. to go to the markets to collect oysters and fish and bring the produce back to the cellar and clean the fish and open the oysters. He then had to go upstairs to scrub the floor, clean the tables and wash the cutlery in preparation for the evening work in the restaurant. Then he had to go back to the cellar to open more oysters. Then it was back to the pantry to wash up the cutlery and dishes from the restaurant after it closed. He went to bed at midnight, and then the routine started again. He had Sundays off but had to clean his room and wash his clothes. Then he dressed up in the best clothes he had and went for a walk in the Domain but he had to be home by 5p.m. to prepare himself for the next day. And so it went on.

My Grandparents Agapi and George Lianos, early in their married life, with Emmanuel and Stavroula

During the next four years he had a series of good and bad experiences in business and family dealings, but he was finally doing well enough to bring his wife and child to join him. In November 1900 they were a united family again. They worked very hard in the latest business they had purchased which was very successful. Their first child to be born in Australia was Emmanuel born on 3rd January 1903. Their next child was Theodora born on 29th January 1905, and on 20th March 1907 another daughter Aspacia was born. He then made the decision to return to Greece and on the16th April 1907 left on the Orient Liner Ormes.

However Theodora became very ill and they had to disembark at Colombo, a decision which saved her life. They stayed there for fifteen days and continued on their journey on the Ortona, and arrived in Pireaus on the 7th June 1907, where they stayed for fifteen days and then travelled to their intended destination Agia Pelagia where they were greeted with great joy by his father and sisters. From there they travelled to their village Liananika and were greeted with great enthusiam by the villagers.

They spent the next few years (3yrs and 10mths to be exact) having a happy time. During this time another son Anthony was born on the 28th January 1908 and Papou built a beautiful home and furnished it with the best furniture which he bought from a shop in Pireaus owned by an in.law J.Venathis. The house was started on the 15th May and completed on the 28th November 1908.

Lianos family home on Kythera, built by my grandfather, George Lianos

Unfortunately he was persuaded by some in-laws to lend them money for their business ventures and then refused to repay him. As he was not receiving the monies due to him from his investments in Australia from his in-laws whom he trusted, he was forced to return to Australia to investigate things. His intention was to return to Greece in a couple of years. So in October 1910, they left Cerigo (as it was called then) and arrived back in Australia on the 7th February 1911, and took over his shop from his brother-in-law Menas Comino and was shocked to see how little money there was for him. However he worked very hard and built the business up and started doing well again . During this time another son Menas, was born on the 1th April 1911 and business was really booming. But he was too trusting of his in-laws and was tricked by them once again and he had many business problems as a result of their actions. About this time another daughter Coralia was born on the 24th April 1913.

At the end of 1912, he intended to sell up everything and return to Greec but once again he was persuaded by his in-laws to do otherwise and made bad decisions which cost him dearly. He opened a lolly shop and milk bar in Elizabeth St. Sydney but again he had bad partners and lost a lot of money. Another son Theodore was born on the 13th December 1914.

Then war had started in Europe in 1914, and business plunged dramatically because the soldiers behaved like larrikins and refused to pay for food and drinks and threatened to smash the windows (which they did once) if he complained. It was a bad time for all shopkeepers. He then went into business at 661 George St,and it was from there that his first daughter Stella married John Aroney in the 1st August 1917, and the wedding reception was held at the George St business and the 100 guests sang and danced till 2.a.m. It was the first genuine Cerigotis wedding held in Australia.

Cosmopolitan Oyster Parlour in Pitt St, owned by the Comino brothers - my grandmothers uncles, c 1900

Business was improving and his landlord then offered to sell him the shop and the one next door but the price was too high and he refused. It was then sold to a Theo Marks and when the current lease expired, his terms for a new lease were excessive and not worth while considering. But he had bills to pay, the wine licence and fittings being a few things to pay. His brother-in-law Menas told him that if he walked away from everything, because the bills were so small no one would chase him for it. But it was bad advice. With his wife and family and new son Socrates born on the 20th January 1918 they left Sydney for Murwillimbah where his daughter Stella and her husband John were in business and John offered him a small shop next door to theirs to open a business. But Theo Marks in Sydney did not walk away from monies owing to him and sent a summons to Murwillumbah. The severe flu epidemic had hit Australia and Papou was ill and unable to go to Sydney to defend the summons so he was declared bankrupt.

But things were no better in Murwillumbah as John Aroney had sold the small shop to help his brother return to Greece, and would not give Papou a larger share of his shop as compensation for the money he had put in renovating the smaller shop. They returned to Sydney and settled in Palmer St. Papou was out of work for five months and only Emanuel was working. He worked in Uncle Mena's and Uncle Nicholas' shop making five to ten gallons of ice cream every morning and serving in the restaurant at night. This helped to pay off the bankruptcy so that his father would not dip into the little money he had left.

Papou then opened a shop in Oxford St and fitted it out but it was not a success and he had to close it. And that was the last of his money. Another daughter Diamantoula was born on the 4th August 1920. Then in October 1921, they decided to go to Gunnedah and bought a broken down shop which he renovated completely as a milk bar. He put in a soda fountain and the business started to build up. It was there that great plans were made for the future and Papou thought he was on his way again at last.

But as the saying goes "Man proposes and God disposes" and so it was with my Grandfather.

Another son Constantine was born on the 4th October 1922. There were eleven children born to Agapi and George Lianos.

My mother with her 10 brothers and sisters

Back row: Aspacia, Menas, Theodora and Stavroula. Seated: Theodore, Diamantoula, Emanuel, Anthony, Socrates, Coralia and Constantine sitting on stool.

My Grandparents Agapi and George Lianos later in life – in 1942

My grandmother died soon after this photograph was taken, at age 62, in July 1942.

My grandfather in 1960, surrounded by his eleven children

8 remaining children of George and Agapi Lianos, 1987, in Uncle Tony's home, in Killarney Heights

Gravesite of the Lianos family, Botany Cemetery, Sydney

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vasilia Uhrweiss (nee Margetis) on 20.06.2012

The Lianos sisters. Daughters of George and Agapi Lianos

My mother Theodora was the eldest, and Diana, the youngest in this photograph

Standing: Stella and Coralia. Seated:Theodora, Diana, and Aspacia, and
Diana (christened Diamantoula).

The Life Story of Diana Rudkin (nee, Lianos)

Diana (Diamantoula) Rudkin (nee Lianos), in her prime, 1950

Diana (christened Diamantoula), was born in Sydney on the 4th August 1920,the youngest of five sisters and second youngest of the eleven children of George and Agapi Lianos from Kythera.

As can be seen in the photograph, above, she showed a flair for dressing at an early age and when she grew up went to the East Sydney Technical College to learn dress designing. But she soon found a job in a dress factory instead. It was nothing for her to take a length of material and drape it around herself, pin it into shape with large safety pins and with smart shoes and handbag was ready to go out and party with her friends.

She joined The Metropolitan Younger Set and organised a Ball and Mannequin Parade in aid of the Red Cross Society that was held in the Banquet Hall of the Hotel Australia on the 14th January 1941. Her brother Anthony was the Secretary and her sister Aspacia Sophios, a beautiful singer was on the programme. Diana was one of the mannequins.

Part of the programme of the Metropolitan Younger Set Ball and Mannequin Parade, 1941

Download the 5-pages of the Programme as a .pdf:

Metropolitan_Younger_Set_PROGRAMME_1941s.pdf

Diana continued working in fashion and did charity work with the Metropolitan Younger Set, and was named Miss Australia Legion in the Miss Australia Contest in 1946. Previously in 1945 she had met an American George Rudkin doctor of marine biology, during his leave from Townsville where many Americans were stationed. They corresponded when he returned to America and proposed marriage. She accepted and prepared for a new life in another country. She left Sydney Australia in 1946 and many members of the family went to the boat to see her off.

Diana Lianos (later, Rudkin) leaving for America. 1946

Diana is standing third from the right, next to Papou.

On her arrival in America where she was met by George they immediately travelled to Philadelphia where arrangements were made for their marriage. It was a very small affair at the Registry Office with no family or friends available at such short notice. It was their day and they were very happy.

Diana (Diamantoula) Rudkin (nee Lianos) with husband George Rudkin

And so began her life in America.
Within six months of her arrival she had formed the Australasian Women's Club (originally the Australian Women's Club) and later became the State President of the Pennsylvania branch of the Daughters of the British Empire. It was a new world to the new war brides and many were frightened and anxious. Some suffered real hardship at first and were very disillusioned. The Members, mostly Australian and New Zealand war brides who had settled in well, helped in any way they could financially or with other problems. Over the years most were comfortably settled with their own homes and cars. Now days besides being a social group, the Club still works for various charities in America.

George became a scientist with the Institute for Cancer Research in Philadelphia and soon after their marriage he was invited by the Nobel Institute to further his research at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Not to be idle,Diana opened the first International and Modelling School in Sweden. It was more a finishing than a modelling school where the girls were given lessons in hostessing,voice production and wardrobe planning. Diana made sure that the teachers were all experts in their field.

In 1960 she made her first trip home to Australia and spent many happy days catching up with members of her brothers and sisters and their families.

George Lianos surrounded by children and grandchildren, 1950

George in the meantime was is Paris where he was to be the guest speaker at the first international meeting of the Histo-Chemical Society. Before returning to the U.S.they visited Stockholm for the 12th anniversary of the school she founded,which was now under the direction of Count Olderman-Cronstadt. On returning to America she was asked by a travel agency to advise women on wardrobe planning for overseas travel and was offered a job at the agency.

During all these years Diana still managed to have four children,one girl and three boys. On her first trip home to Australia she took the two eldest Liana and Charles with her,and the other two boys Robert and Brian stayed at home with their father.

In 1965 she made another trip to Australia while doing a world trip this time with Robert and Brian.Her father had died suddenly in 1962 and she was unable to reach Australia in time. George continued his research into cancer at the Research Centre in Philadelphia, and Diana opened a small travel agency with a cardboard cut-out of a kangaroo in the window. The children had all completed their educations.Robert and Brian followed their father into research, Liana into finance, and Charles into the high tech field.

Children of George and Diana Rudkin (nee Lianos). Philadelphia. U.S.A

In 1985 George took Sabbatical leave and came to the C.S.I.R.O. in Sydney Australia. Diana came with him and spent time with members of the family remaining after the deaths of sister Stella and brothers Menas and Emanuel. They stayed with Anthony at his home in Killarney Heights,and she insisted that she come and help me at my pharmacy at Waverley. She certainly made her presence felt and fascinated the customers and my staff by her sometimes imperious stage manner (she would have made a great actress) but everyone laughed and loved it.

George and Diana celebrated their Ruby wedding anniversary at Uncle Tony's home and what a night it was. Everyone who was able to came -- aunts,uncles, nieces and nephews many who were married and had their own children.

8 remaining children of George and Agapi Lianos, 1987, in Uncle Tony's home, in Killarney Heights

This photograph taken at the Ruby Anniversary Party, at Uncle Tony's house in 1987.
Standing: Coralia and Diana. Seated: Socrates, Constantine, Anthony, Theodora, Theodore and Aspacia.

One evening George and Diana were invited to a formal dinner given by the C.S.I.R.O, so it was full dress for both of them. Towards the end of their trip a party was held at my mother Theodora's house at Rose Bay, and it was great for all to be together again. But this was to be their last trip to Australia.

Diana (Diamantoula) Rudkin (nee Lianos) with huband George Rudkin later in life,1987

This photograph was taken at the farewell party for Diana at Margetis family home, Rose Bay, Sydney.

In the early part of 1990 George died suddenly. Diana was heartbroken and could not be consoled and she too died suddenly on 6th of September in the same year 1990.

Diana (Diamantoula) Rudkin (nee Lianos) with huband George Rudkin later in life, 1987, in formal dress

The photograph depicts Diana and George Rudkin preparing for a night on the town, 1987.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vasilia Uhrweiss (nee Margetis) on 19.06.2012

Bretos Margetis serving in Redfern Pharmacy.

The pharmacy was owned by his son George.

Life Story of Bretos Margetis

24th November, 1889 - 12th November, 1961.

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Bretos Margetis as a young adullt, 1910's

My father Bretos Margetis was named after his grandfather, who is pictured here with his daughters, and was probably born about 1850. His son George married Vasilia Galanis and they had three boys, Bretos, Dimitri and Minas, and three girls Maria, Panayiotitsa and Evangelia.

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My great-grandfather, Bretos, (seated), with my grandfather, George Margetis, and two of his sisters c. 1830

Dad was born on the 24th November 1889 in Aroniathika and went to the village school with his brothers and sisters and was a keen student. (Of interest is the origin of the name. It appears to come from the baptismal name of the mother (Margeta or Marieta), but was used as a nickname in the beginning but appears for the first time in the parish register of Saint Mina in Logothetianika in 1801, but was still regarded as a nickname. Also it appears that three members Margetis, came from Koropi (on the coast going to Sounion) two of whom settled in Araniathika where they added the name Aroney in order to register their origin. A century later it made an appearance in Chora. It appears that the present day family name, Margetis was originally a nickname of one branch of the large family Aroney of Aroniathika, but it was decided by the Prefects of Argolidos and Corinthias, that the family name Aroney be replaced by Margetis.

Apart from Kythera the family name is mentioned in Crete, and in an earlier period 1536 it is mentioned in a catalogue of conscripts from Chania, and in 1678 there is reference in Kefallinia to a painter of icons Christodoulos Margetis. These cases show that the family name Margetis has connections outside the region and are linked directly with Kythera.)

But to continue:
Judging by the photograph the men appear to be wearing their "Sunday Best", but life on the land was very hard,so their father decided that the boys had to seek a better life elsewhere, and chose Australia as they had relatives there already who would be able to help them.

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George Margetis with his sons, from left to right, Minas, Bretos and Jim, taken in Greece, about 1902

Bretos was the first to go and arrived in Sydney on the 3rd of December 1903 on the ship Orizaba.He stayed with an Uncle (name unknown) and went to school, and learnt English quickly by reading the local newspapers and having a dictionary beside him to look up words he didn't understand. He was a good student and did well,even with language difficulties. When he left school he helped his Uncle in his business and managed to save money to send home to his family in Kythera. He continued saving as much as he could and by the time he was nineteen he had his first restaurant.

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In 1915 he had to register with the government,and received a Certificate of Registration of Alien, under The War Precautions (Aliens Registration)Regulations 1916 and was finaly registered at a Police Station in Sydney. He then became active in the Kytherian Association, and was one of the founding members of the commitee,and was the Secretary 1924-1926.
Two of his sisters, Panayiotitsa (Bonney) and Evangalia, and his two brothers, Dimitri ( Uncle Jim) and Minas came to Australia, but Mina later returned to Greece to his parents and sister Maria.The girls married, Bonney to Vasili Georgopoulos who had been a chef at the royal court in Athens, and later opened the Athenian Restaurant in Castlreagh St., and Evangalia to Spiro Coroneo (Uncle Sam) who opened a business in Greenthorpe, south west, N.S.W. Uncle Jim never married because he was short and worried that he would have short children.

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Bretos Margetis with one of his good friends in 1904 and 1922

Bretos opened a restaurant at 617 George St Sydney with white tablecloths on the tables and red velvet covered chairs. It was an "up market" restaurant and served three course meals for two and sixpence,which was expensive for those times. It is interesting to note that the shop next door was a Chemist Shop which may have given Dad the idea for his future children to become Pharmacists (which they did).

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Bretos Margetis shop at 617 George Street, Sydney, 1920's

He developed a love for music, especially Opera, and took singing lessons with a Mrs Cresswell who taught him many songs from operas, but his favourite was La Donna Mobile wich he sang with great gusto at friends parties. Through this interest he met Theodora Lianos who was also a music lover, and had learnt to play the piano quite well, and soon there were wedding bells in the air and they married at the Agia Triatha in Surry Hills.

Extended wedding party photograph

Studio portrait of Bretos Margetis and Theodora Lianos

Bretos Margetis and Theodora Lianos outside Agia Triatha, Sydney

Studio portrait of Theodora Lianos on her wedding day

Studio portrait of Theodora Lianos on her wedding day, with mirror image

Dad had also bought two Picture Shows in Fairfield The Crescent and The Butterfly,and while he took care of the business in town, Mum travelled to Fairfield to manage the businesses out there.It was in Fairfield that Dad obtained his life long passion for cricket and in 1925 was asked by the Fairfield Cricket Club to be their Vice-President, which he accepted with pleasure.

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Crescent Theatre, Fairfield

But the Depression was still here and things were not going well in Australia and the rest of the world, and Dad had to close the restaurant at first,and later the Picture Shows, and so lost everything. But he was the eternal optimist, and always believed that when one door closed another one opened. He took jobs wherever he could find them and went to Parkes at one time, and back to Bondi, and was a cook in his brother-in-laws restaurant. He even opened a cake shop in Double Bay, the Niagara Cake Shop, but the economy was still bad, so he had to close it too. Then Dad was offered a job in Canberra with Harry Notaras and went there to try his luck.

At that time Mum, George and I lived in a flat in Double Bay and went to the Double Bay Public School (which is still there). Mum took a part-time job in a sweet factory, folding the little cardboard boxes that the sweets went in. Mum always made sure that she was home before we walked home from school and greeted us dressed as if she was going out.

Mum also arranged for George and I to have music lessons with Mrs Cresswell and paid for them by sewing dresses for her. When Mrs Cresswell came to give us our piano lessons she often heard me singing, and even though I was about eight years old, apart from teaching me the piano she taught me a few little songs, a couple of which I still remember.

I went on to the Wollahra Opportunity School and George went to Randwick Boys High School. Then Dad was offered the opportunity to buy one of the Notaras shops in Kingston which he accepted and at last at the age of fifty-three he was on his way to start a new life at Victor's Rotary Cafe in Kingston Canberra, and he sent for his family to join him at last.

Once in Canberra Mum and Dad joined the Greek Community and became very active in promoting Greece by broadcasting and arranging programmes on special Greek Days, the 25th of March and the 28th 0f October on the radio station 2CA. George read speeches about these days, and I sang Greek Songs, and records of Greek music were also played. These were fairly well received by the general community there, but there was still a certain amount of xenophobia, even though Greece was fighting with the Allies.

Dad met many young men who were customers, who came to say goodbye to him when they leaving for the war in Europe and some kept in touch by letters. Some cadets from the nearby Duntroon Military College,would ring to say they were coming in the evening for a meal. Even though it was after hours in Canberra,Dad served them in the large kitchen at the shop,and the boys sat around the table and laughed and talked to Dad while he cooked them steak and eggs on the fuel stove there. This was about 1942-43.

Mum was also instrumental in encouraging the Musical Society of Canberra to write to the A.B.C. in Sydney asking them to bring the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to Canberra which they did, and other cultural performances followed, including the concert given by the world famous Greek Soprano, Elena Nicholaides.

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Theodora Margetis with by the world famous Greek Soprano, Elena Nicholaides, at the concert after party. Theodora is far right, and Elena, fourth from right

George and I went to Canberra High School where we joined the choir and took up sport, hockey for me and athletics for George. I took the part of the leading soprano in the Opera Dido and Aeneas and George sang in the choir,and as a result of this performance was invited to perform in the same role at the Armidale University. Mum came with me and sat proudly in the audience, thinking of the interest and love of music that she and Dad had fostered in us. Mum and Dad then sent me to board at Frensham at Mittagong,where I became the head of the choir and represented the school at Singing School Festivals in Sydney. Mum or Dad always came to Mittagong if I was in any concert at the school.

George and I went to Sydney University to study pharmacy (George had given up studying Dentistry in Melbourne as he realized that it wasn't for him) so we were together. We had found our apprenticeships,George with our Uncle Theo Lianos who was managing Christians Pharmacy in Kings Cross,and I spent the first year of my apprenticeship with Fred Rolfe in Queanbeyan and the balance at Paul Kelly's Pharmacy at Brookvale which was a long way from Coogee especially by public transport,and I travelled three hours a day - (very few students had cars in those days).

We had joined the Olympic Club when we came back to Sydney to study, and met many members whose parents knew our parents previously so we felt quite at home.We took part in many of the club's activities,the parties and competitions and talent quest. Joan Varvaressos and I were keen but friendly adversaries. Some I remembered were Big Con and Little Con Mottee, Nick Marcels, Stan Georgiadis, Con Papalexion, Toti Stanley, Nina Aikonand Bill Psaltis, to name of few. They also staged a Greek Comedy "Sproxenia which "brought the house down" when it was performed.

We boarded with a family in Coogee, Mrs Parsonage (a great cook) and her husband, who were very good to us. They allowed us to have a party when they went on holidays, (they were very trusting)so we invited friends that we had made at the club and some from the university. Mum drove down with the local fruiterer Kyriacos Calligeros, (who was going to the markets) and brought some food for the party (and to join in the fun of course). A good time was had by all and we sang and danced and talked till late. I remember Con Mottee and Areanthe Simos and many more who were there that great night.

At Uni, George and I joined the S.U.P.A. (Sydney University Pharmacy Association), and helped organise the Pharmacy Ball one year, which was a great success mainly due to George's boundless enthusiam. I was also elected the Pharmacy representative on the S.R.C (the Student's Representative Council), and captained the Pharmacy Hockey Team (we never won a match).

Also about this time a group of Greek descent undergraduates were brought together by Manuel Aroney to form the Sigma Epsilon Phi Chapter and we met fairly regularly and arranged a dinner in honour of His Emminence, Archbishop Iezekiel. It was another great success. Manuel, who was head of the steering committee acted as M.C. and three toasts were proposed by Andrew Coroneo (to the University), fourth year Medical student George Papadopoulos(to Sigma Epsilon Phi), and final year Law student Helen Gleeson (to Hellenism), and Pharmacist George Margetis moved the vote of appreciation to His Emminence, in Greek.

At about this time George and I had moved from Coogee to Kings Cross to a boarding house, The Oriana, (which later became the Rex Hotel and is now units). The other residents in the house were mostly elderly ladies,who liked us very much, and fussed over us and said prayers and lit candles at St Canice's Church when we having our exams. (I like to think that their prayers helped).

In the meantime Mum and Dad were working very hard In Canberra,as there were very few scholarships to the Uni,so all fees and books had to be paid for, as well as our board,and as pharmacy apprentices we were not allowed travel passes either even though our wage was a mere pittance.Dad constantly urged us to work hard to get along and at one stage,after we had written letters about our social activities and nothng else,he sent a very stern letter, saying that he was pleased we were having a good time !!!!!!,but what about our studies???????, and not to forget that he and Mum were working very hard for us. I still have that letter.

But Mum and Dad were still active in the Canberra Greek Community,with Dad helping many new migrants in Canberra to translate any documents they had,and in 1951 the Very Rev.Archbishop Theophylactos was aproached by the organisers of the forthcoming Women's Jubilee Convention to be held in Canberra in October of that year, to send two delegates from the Ladies Welfare Committee of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australasia. Mum was approached to be one of two delegates,the other being Mrs.K.Hood (Melides)from Sydney,and Mum was greatly honoured and accepted. Her paper referred to the trials that Greek migrant women suffered on coming to Australia,and ways and means that could be done to overcome them,and for Australian women to do their part in helping them to learn the Australian way of life, and eventually to integrate into the general community.The papers of both delegates were well received.

After KIngs Cross we moved to a house in South Coogee, where we studied for our Finals and where a group of students met two or three times for coaching by a pharmacy lecturer. George and I supplied supper,(sandwiches) and served tea from a very large crockery teapot that George had found somewhere that held seventeen cups of tea( which was just enough). George and I found some permanent work in Pharmacy, George at Kings Cross again and I worked for a time at Stevens Pharmacy at Surry Hills which was near the Agia Triatha in Bourke St. I then went home to Canberra to do relieving work in the country, and George did likewise. We were never lonely on these jobs, as all we had to do was to enter any Greek Milk Bar and tell the owners we were young Greek pharmacists away from home, and they opened their arms to us.

After we had finished our various jobs in the country, we both returned to Sydney and lived in MacMahons Point, and we found permanent work, George at the Cross again, and I at Bradford's Pharmacy in Wynyard Station.

Then in 1956 Dad received from Coles an offer to buy the shop. We were all thrilled and looked forward once more to be a family together. Mum and Dad packed up and moved in with us at MacMahons Point until we found a lovely unit to move into at Neutral Bay.

In the meantime Dad financed George and I to purchase two pharmacies,one in Waverley, and the other in Redfern which had a large Greek population. We then opened a pharmacy in Caltex House in Kent Sydney, which at that time,1958 was the tallest building at that end of town. Mum went there to work with an employed pharmacist. Dad went to help George at Redfern because of so many Greek customers, and I employed a cousin, Elaine Theodore to help me.

They were small businesses compared to those of to-day, but they did well although the shop at Waverley starting from scratch was slower but Dad was in his element. He had his family with him, and we went to concerts and parties together, and many of our friends included them in our invitations as well.

But he wasn't going to be satisfied until he had bought a house for us, which he did when he found one in Victory St. Rose Bay. We moved in July 1961 and each morning Dad got up early to go down and buy the daily paper, and go back home to read it in the front family room,which looked out to the beautiful Harbour, and he would say "I wouldn't call the King my Uncle."

But it wasn't to last and in November he went into hospital for an operation,and his pancreas burst and he passed away on the 12th November 1961. It was a dreadful shock to us and everyone. Mum, George and I were devastated too that Dad, having succeded at last in everything that he could wish for,was not allowed to enjoy it more. But at least he made it,and he was a great Dad, and we loved him very much and George and I were very grateful that we had those few happy years together as a family and I remember a comment made by one of Dad's cousins Jim Galanis,at the funeral, that he had never seen a man who was so happy with his family and proud of them too. For that remark we were thankful. And we put on his headstone:

TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS WE LEAVE BEHIND ,IS NOT TO DIE.

And that's where Dad will
always be.

[[picture:"sc0035D.jpg" ID:20329]]

Bretos Margetis relaxing in his new home at Rose Bay, 1961

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vasilia Uhrweiss (nee Margetis) on 19.06.2012

My greatgrandfather

Life Story of my father, Bretos Margetis.

24th November, 1889 - 12th November, 1961.

[[picture:"00001G.jpg" ID:20330]]

Bretos Margetis as a young adullt, 1910's

My father Bretos Margetis was named after his grandfather, who is pictured here with his daughters, and was probably born about 1850. His son George married Vasilia Galanis and they had three boys, Bretos, Dimitri and Minas, and three girls Maria, Panayiotitsa and Evangelia.

Dad was born on the 24th November 1889 in Aroniathika and went to the village school with his brothers and sisters and was a keen student. (Of interest is the origin of the name. It appears to come from the baptismal name of the mother (Margeta or Marieta), but was used as a nickname in the beginning but appears for the first time in the parish register of Saint Mina in Logothetianika in 1801, but was still regarded as a nickname. Also it appears that three members Margetis, came from Koropi (on the coast going to Sounion) two of whom settled in Araniathika where they added the name Aroney in order to register their origin. A century later it made an appearance in Chora. It appears that the present day family name, Margetis was originally a nickname of one branch of the large family Aroney of Aroniathika, but it was decided by the Prefects of Argolidos and Corinthias, that the family name Aroney be replaced by Margetis.

Apart from Kythera the family name is mentioned in Crete, and in an earlier period 1536 it is mentioned in a catalogue of conscripts from Chania, and in 1678 there is reference in Kefallinia to a painter of icons Christodoulos Margetis. These cases show that the family name Margetis has connections outside the region and are linked directly with Kythera.)

But to continue:
Judging by the photograph the men appear to be wearing their "Sunday Best", but life on the land was very hard,so their father decided that the boys had to seek a better life elsewhere, and chose Australia as they had relatives there already who would be able to help them.

[[picture:"00001B.jpg" ID:20323]]

George Margetis with his sons, from left to right, Minas, Bretos and Jim, taken in Greece, about 1902

Bretos was the first to go and arrived in Sydney on the 3rd of December 1903 on the ship Orizaba.He stayed with an Uncle (name unknown) and went to school, and learnt English quickly by reading the local newspapers and having a dictionary beside him to look up words he didn't understand. He was a good student and did well,even with language difficulties. When he left school he helped his Uncle in his business and managed to save money to send home to his family in Kythera. He continued saving as much as he could and by the time he was nineteen he had his first restaurant.

[[picture:"00001D.jpg" ID:20326]]

In 1915 he had to register with the government,and received a Certificate of Registration of Alien, under The War Precautions (Aliens Registration)Regulations 1916 and was finaly registered at a Police Station in Sydney. He then became active in the Kytherian Association, and was one of the founding members of the commitee,and was the Secretary 1924-1926.
Two of his sisters, Panayiotitsa (Bonney) and Evangalia, and his two brothers, Dimitri ( Uncle Jim) and Minas came to Australia, but Mina later returned to Greece to his parents and sister Maria.The girls married, Bonney to Vasili Georgopoulos who had been a chef at the royal court in Athens, and later opened the Athenian Restaurant in Castlreagh St., and Evangalia to Spiro Coroneo (Uncle Sam) who opened a business in Greenthorpe, south west, N.S.W. Uncle Jim never married because he was short and worried that he would have short children.

[[picture:"00001C.jpg" ID:20324]]

Bretos Margetis with one of his good friends in 1904 and 1922

Bretos opened a restaurant at 617 George St Sydney with white tablecloths on the tables and red velvet covered chairs. It was an "up market" restaurant and served three course meals for two and sixpence,which was expensive for those times. It is interesting to note that the shop next door was a Chemist Shop which may have given Dad the idea for his future children to become Pharmacists (which they did).

[[picture:"00001H6.jpg" ID:20325]]

Bretos Margetis shop at 617 George Street, Sydney, 1920's

He developed a love for music, especially Opera, and took singing lessons with a Mrs Cresswell who taught him many songs from operas, but his favourite was La Donna Mobile wich he sang with great gusto at friends parties. Through this interest he met Theodora Lianos who was also a music lover, and had learnt to play the piano quite well, and soon there were wedding bells in the air and they married at the Agia Triatha in Surry Hills.

Extended wedding party photograph

Studio portrait of Bretos Margetis and Theodora Lianos

Bretos Margetis and Theodora Lianos outside Agia Triatha, Sydney

Studio portrait of Theodora Lianos on her wedding day

Studio portrait of Theodora Lianos on her wedding day, with mirror image

Dad had also bought two Picture Shows in Fairfield The Crescent and The Butterfly,and while he took care of the business in town, Mum travelled to Fairfield to manage the businesses out there.It was in Fairfield that Dad obtained his life long passion for cricket and in 1925 was asked by the Fairfield Cricket Club to be their Vice-President, which he accepted with pleasure.

[[picture:"00001G2.jpg" ID:20327]]

Crescent Theatre, Fairfield

But the Depression was still here and things were not going well in Australia and the rest of the world, and Dad had to close the restaurant at first,and later the Picture Shows, and so lost everything. But he was the eternal optimist, and always believed that when one door closed another one opened. He took jobs wherever he could find them and went to Parkes at one time, and back to Bondi, and was a cook in his brother-in-laws restaurant. He even opened a cake shop in Double Bay, the Niagara Cake Shop, but the economy was still bad, so he had to close it too. Then Dad was offered a job in Canberra with Harry Notaras and went there to try his luck.

At that time Mum, George and I lived in a flat in Double Bay and went to the Double Bay Public School (which is still there). Mum took a part-time job in a sweet factory, folding the little cardboard boxes that the sweets went in. Mum always made sure that she was home before we walked home from school and greeted us dressed as if she was going out.

Mum also arranged for George and I to have music lessons with Mrs Cresswell and paid for them by sewing dresses for her. When Mrs Cresswell came to give us our piano lessons she often heard me singing, and even though I was about eight years old, apart from teaching me the piano she taught me a few little songs, a couple of which I still remember.

I went on to the Wollahra Opportunity School and George went to Randwick Boys High School. Then Dad was offered the opportunity to buy one of the Notaras shops in Kingston which he accepted and at last at the age of fifty-three he was on his way to start a new life at Victor's Rotary Cafe in Kingston Canberra, and he sent for his family to join him at last.

Once in Canberra Mum and Dad joined the Greek Community and became very active in promoting Greece by broadcasting and arranging programmes on special Greek Days, the 25th of March and the 28th 0f October on the radio station 2CA. George read speeches about these days, and I sang Greek Songs, and records of Greek music were also played. These were fairly well received by the general community there, but there was still a certain amount of xenophobia, even though Greece was fighting with the Allies.

Dad met many young men who were customers, who came to say goodbye to him when they leaving for the war in Europe and some kept in touch by letters. Some cadets from the nearby Duntroon Military College,would ring to say they were coming in the evening for a meal. Even though it was after hours in Canberra,Dad served them in the large kitchen at the shop,and the boys sat around the table and laughed and talked to Dad while he cooked them steak and eggs on the fuel stove there. This was about 1942-43.

Mum was also instrumental in encouraging the Musical Society of Canberra to write to the A.B.C. in Sydney asking them to bring the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to Canberra which they did, and other cultural performances followed, including the concert given by the world famous Greek Soprano, Elena Nicholaides.

[[picture:"00001H 1.jpg" ID:20331]]

Theodora Margetis with by the world famous Greek Soprano, Elena Nicholaides, at the concert after party. Theodora is far right, and Elena, fourth from right

George and I went to Canberra High School where we joined the choir and took up sport, hockey for me and athletics for George. I took the part of the leading soprano in the Opera Dido and Aeneas and George sang in the choir,and as a result of this performance was invited to perform in the same role at the Armidale University. Mum came with me and sat proudly in the audience, thinking of the interest and love of music that she and Dad had fostered in us. Mum and Dad then sent me to board at Frensham at Mittagong,where I became the head of the choir and represented the school at Singing School Festivals in Sydney. Mum or Dad always came to Mittagong if I was in any concert at the school.

George and I went to Sydney University to study pharmacy (George had given up studying Dentistry in Melbourne as he realized that it wasn't for him) so we were together. We had found our apprenticeships,George with our Uncle Theo Lianos who was managing Christians Pharmacy in Kings Cross,and I spent the first year of my apprenticeship with Fred Rolfe in Queanbeyan and the balance at Paul Kelly's Pharmacy at Brookvale which was a long way from Coogee especially by public transport,and I travelled three hours a day - (very few students had cars in those days).

We had joined the Olympic Club when we came back to Sydney to study, and met many members whose parents knew our parents previously so we felt quite at home.We took part in many of the club's activities,the parties and competitions and talent quest. Joan Varvaressos and I were keen but friendly adversaries. Some I remembered were Big Con and Little Con Mottee, Nick Marcels, Stan Georgiadis, Con Papalexion, Toti Stanley, Nina Aikonand Bill Psaltis, to name of few. They also staged a Greek Comedy "Sproxenia which "brought the house down" when it was performed.

We boarded with a family in Coogee, Mrs Parsonage (a great cook) and her husband, who were very good to us. They allowed us to have a party when they went on holidays, (they were very trusting)so we invited friends that we had made at the club and some from the university. Mum drove down with the local fruiterer Kyriacos Calligeros, (who was going to the markets) and brought some food for the party (and to join in the fun of course). A good time was had by all and we sang and danced and talked till late. I remember Con Mottee and Areanthe Simos and many more who were there that great night.

At Uni, George and I joined the S.U.P.A. (Sydney University Pharmacy Association), and helped organise the Pharmacy Ball one year, which was a great success mainly due to George's boundless enthusiam. I was also elected the Pharmacy representative on the S.R.C (the Student's Representative Council), and captained the Pharmacy Hockey Team (we never won a match).

Also about this time a group of Greek descent undergraduates were brought together by Manuel Aroney to form the Sigma Epsilon Phi Chapter and we met fairly regularly and arranged a dinner in honour of His Emminence, Archbishop Iezekiel. It was another great success. Manuel, who was head of the steering committee acted as M.C. and three toasts were proposed by Andrew Coroneo (to the University), fourth year Medical student George Papadopoulos(to Sigma Epsilon Phi), and final year Law student Helen Gleeson (to Hellenism), and Pharmacist George Margetis moved the vote of appreciation to His Emminence, in Greek.

At about this time George and I had moved from Coogee to Kings Cross to a boarding house, The Oriana, (which later became the Rex Hotel and is now units). The other residents in the house were mostly elderly ladies,who liked us very much, and fussed over us and said prayers and lit candles at St Canice's Church when we having our exams. (I like to think that their prayers helped).

In the meantime Mum and Dad were working very hard In Canberra,as there were very few scholarships to the Uni,so all fees and books had to be paid for, as well as our board,and as pharmacy apprentices we were not allowed travel passes either even though our wage was a mere pittance.Dad constantly urged us to work hard to get along and at one stage,after we had written letters about our social activities and nothng else,he sent a very stern letter, saying that he was pleased we were having a good time !!!!!!,but what about our studies???????, and not to forget that he and Mum were working very hard for us. I still have that letter.

But Mum and Dad were still active in the Canberra Greek Community,with Dad helping many new migrants in Canberra to translate any documents they had,and in 1951 the Very Rev.Archbishop Theophylactos was aproached by the organisers of the forthcoming Women's Jubilee Convention to be held in Canberra in October of that year, to send two delegates from the Ladies Welfare Committee of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australasia. Mum was approached to be one of two delegates,the other being Mrs.K.Hood (Melides)from Sydney,and Mum was greatly honoured and accepted. Her paper referred to the trials that Greek migrant women suffered on coming to Australia,and ways and means that could be done to overcome them,and for Australian women to do their part in helping them to learn the Australian way of life, and eventually to integrate into the general community.The papers of both delegates were well received.

After KIngs Cross we moved to a house in South Coogee, where we studied for our Finals and where a group of students met two or three times for coaching by a pharmacy lecturer. George and I supplied supper,(sandwiches) and served tea from a very large crockery teapot that George had found somewhere that held seventeen cups of tea( which was just enough). George and I found some permanent work in Pharmacy, George at Kings Cross again and I worked for a time at Stevens Pharmacy at Surry Hills which was near the Agia Triatha in Bourke St. I then went home to Canberra to do relieving work in the country, and George did likewise. We were never lonely on these jobs, as all we had to do was to enter any Greek Milk Bar and tell the owners we were young Greek pharmacists away from home, and they opened their arms to us.

After we had finished our various jobs in the country, we both returned to Sydney and lived in MacMahons Point, and we found permanent work, George at the Cross again, and I at Bradford's Pharmacy in Wynyard Station.

Then in 1956 Dad received from Coles an offer to buy the shop. We were all thrilled and looked forward once more to be a family together. Mum and Dad packed up and moved in with us at MacMahons Point until we found a lovely unit to move into at Neutral Bay.

In the meantime Dad financed George and I to purchase two pharmacies,one in Waverley, and the other in Redfern which had a large Greek population. We then opened a pharmacy in Caltex House in Kent Sydney, which at that time,1958 was the tallest building at that end of town. Mum went there to work with an employed pharmacist. Dad went to help George at Redfern because of so many Greek customers, and I employed a cousin, Elaine Theodore to help me.

They were small businesses compared to those of to-day, but they did well although the shop at Waverley starting from scratch was slower but Dad was in his element. He had his family with him, and we went to concerts and parties together, and many of our friends included them in our invitations as well.

But he wasn't going to be satisfied until he had bought a house for us, which he did when he found one in Victory St. Rose Bay. We moved in July 1961 and each morning Dad got up early to go down and buy the daily paper, and go back home to read it in the front family room,which looked out to the beautiful Harbour, and he would say "I wouldn't call the King my Uncle."

But it wasn't to last and in November he went into hospital for an operation,and his pancreas burst and he passed away on the 12th November 1961. It was a dreadful shock to us and everyone. Mum, George and I were devastated too that Dad, having succeded at last in everything that he could wish for,was not allowed to enjoy it more. But at least he made it,and he was a great Dad, and we loved him very much and George and I were very grateful that we had those few happy years together as a family and I remember a comment made by one of Dad's cousins Jim Galanis,at the funeral, that he had never seen a man who was so happy with his family and proud of them too. For that remark we were thankful. And we put on his headstone:

TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS WE LEAVE BEHIND ,IS NOT TO DIE.

And that's where Dad will
always be.

[[picture:"sc0035D.jpg" ID:20329]]

Bretos Margetis relaxing in his new home at Rose Bay, 1961

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vasilia Uhrweiss (nee Margetis) on 01.05.2012

Theodora Margetis with by the world famous Greek Soprano, Elena Nicholaides, at the concert after party

in Canberra. Theodora is on the far right. Elena 4th from the right.
2nd from right: Mrs Harry Notaras
3rd from right: man unknown, (can you help identify him?)
Far right: Mrs Aspacia Sophios. (Alex Sophios's mother)

I have written the Life Story of my father, which features in the Notable Kytherians section.

There I noted that "Mum was also instrumental in encouraging the Musical Society of Canberra to write to the A.B.C. in Sydney asking them to bring the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to Canberra which they did, and other cultural performances followed, including the concert given by the world famous Greek Soprano, Elena Nicholaides".

My father was a Founding Member of the Kytherian Association of Australia in 1922. He was also on the organising Committtee of Ayia Triatha church in Surry Hills.

Bretos Margetis

24th November, 1889 - 12th November, 1961.

My father Bretos Margetis was named after his grandfather, who is pictured here with his daughters,and was probably born about 1850. His son George married Vasilia Galanis and they had three boys, Bretos, Dimitri and Minas, and three girls Maria,Panayiotitsa and Evangelia.

Dad was born on the 24th November 1889 in Aroniathika and went to the village school with his brothers and sisters and was a keen student. (Of interest is the origin of the name. It appears to come from the baptismal name of the mother (Margeta or Marieta), but was used as a nickname in the beginning but appears for the first time in the parish register of Saint Mina in Logothetianika in 1801, but was still regarded as a nickname. Also it appears that three members Margetis, came from Koropi (on the coast going to Sounion) two of whom settled in Araniathika where they added the name Aroney in order to register their origin. A century later it made an appearance in Chora. It appears that the present day family name, Margetis was originally a nickname of one branch of the large family Aroney of Aroniathika, but it was decided by the Prefects of Argolidos and Corinthias, that the family name Aroney be replaced by Margetis.

Apart from Kythera the family name is mentioned in Crete, and in an earlier period 1536 it is mentioned in a catalogue of conscripts from Chania, and in 1678 there is reference in Kefallinia to a painter of icons Christodoulos Margetis. These cases show that the family name Margetis has connections outside the region and are linked directly with Kythera.)

But to continue:
Judging by the photograph the men appear to be wearing their "Sunday Best", but life on the land was very hard,so their father decided that the boys had to seek a better life elsewhere, and chose Australia as they had relatives there already who would be able to help them.

George Margetis with his sons, from left to right, Minas, Bretos and Jim, taken in Greece, about 1902

Bretos was the first to go and arrived in Sydney on the 3rd of December 1903 on the ship Orizaba.He stayed with an Uncle (name unknown) and went to school, and learnt English quickly by reading the local newspapers and having a dictionary beside him to look up words he didn't understand. He was a good student and did well,even with language difficulties. When he left school he helped his Uncle in his business and managed to save money to send home to his family in Kythera. He continued saving as much as he could and by the time he was nineteen he had his first restaurant.

Registration of Alien Certificate of Bretos Margetis, 1915

In 1915 he had to register with the government,and received a Certificate of Registration of Alien, under The War Precautions (Aliens Registration)Regulations 1916 and was finaly registered at a Police Station in Sydney. He then became active in the Kytherian Association, and was one of the founding members of the commitee,and was the Secretary 1924-1926.

Two of his sisters, Panayiotitsa (Bonney) and Evangalia, and his two brothers, Dimitri ( Uncle Jim) and Minas came to Australia, but Mina later returned to Greece to his parents and sister Maria.The girls married, Bonney to Vasili Georgopoulos who had been a chef at the royal court in Athens, and later opened the Athenian Restaurant in Castlreagh St., and Evangalia to Spiro Coroneo (Uncle Sam) who opened a business in Greenthorpe, south west, N.S.W. Uncle Jim never married because he was short and worried that he would have short children.

Bretos Margetis with one of his good friends in 1904 and 1922

Bretos opened a restaurant at 617 George St Sydney with white tablecloths on the tables and red velvet covered chairs. It was an "up market" restaurant and served three course meals for two and sixpence,which was expensive for those times. It is interesting to note that the shop next door was a Chemist Shop which may have given Dad the idea for his future children to become Pharmacists (which they did).

He developed a love for music, especially Opera,and took singing lessons with a Mrs Cresswell who taught him many songs from operas, but his favourite was La Donna Mobile wich he sang with great gusto at friends parties. Through this interest he met Theodora Lianos who was also a music lover,and had learnt to play the piano quite well, and soon there were wedding bells in the air and they married at the Agia Triatha in Surry Hills.

Studio portrait of Bretos Margetis and Theodora Lianos

Bretos Margetis and Theodora Lianos outside Agia Triatha, Sydney

Studio portrait of Theodora Lianos on her wedding day

Studio portrait of Theodora Lianos on her wedding day, with mirror image

Dad had also bought two Picture Shows in Fairfield The Crescent and The Butterfly,and while he took care of the business in town, Mum travelled to Fairfield to manage the businesses out there.It was in Fairfield that Dad obtained his life long passion for cricket and in 1925 was asked by the Fairfield Cricket Club to be their Vice-President, which he accepted with pleasure.

Crescent Theatre, Fairfield

But the Depression was still here and things were not going well in Australia and the rest of the world,and Dad had to close the restaurant at first,and later the Picture Shows, and so lost everything. But he was the eternal optimist,and always believed that when one door closed another one opened. He took jobs wherever he could find them and went to Parkes at one time, and back to Bondi, and was a cook in his brother-in-laws restaurant. He even opened a cake shop in Double Bay, the Niagara Cake Shop, but the economy was still bad, so he had to close it too. Then Dad was offered a job in Canberra with Harry Notaras and went there to try his luck.

At that time Mum,George and I lived in a flat in Double Bay and went to the Double Bay Public School (which is still there). Mum took a part-time job in a sweet factory, folding the little cardboard boxes that the sweets went in. Mum always made sure that she was home before we walked home from school and greeted us dressed as if she was going out.

Mum also arranged for George and I to have music lessons with Mrs Cresswell and paid for them by sewing dresses for her .When Mrs Cresswell came to give us our piano lessons she often heard me singing, and even though I was about eight years old, apart from teaching me the piano she taught me a few little songs, a couple of which I still remember.

I went on to the Wollahra Opportunity School and George went to Randwick Boys High School. Then Dad was offered the opportunity to buy one of the Notaras shops in Kingston which he accepted and at last at the age of Fifty-three he was on his way to start a new life at Victor's Rotary Cafe in Kingston Canberra,and he sent for his family to join him at last.

Once in Canberra Mum and Dad joined the Greek Community and became very active in promoting Greece by broadcasting and arranging programmes on special Greek Days, the 25th of March and the 28th 0f October on the radio station 2CA .George read speeches about these days,and I sang Greek Songs, and records of Greek music were also played. These were fairly well received by the general community there, but there was still a certain amount of xenophobia, even though Greece was fighting with the Allies.

Dad met many young men who were customers, who came to say goodbye to him when they leaving for the war in Europe and some kept in touch by letters. Some cadets from the nearby Duntroon Military College,would ring to say they were coming in the evening for a meal. Even though it was after hours in Canberra,Dad served them in the large kitchen at the shop,and the boys sat around the table and laughed and talked to Dad while he cooked them steak and eggs on the fuel stove there. This was about 1942-43.

Mum was also instrumental in encouraging the Musical Society of Canberra to write to the A.B.C. in Sydney asking them to bring the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to Canberra which they did, and other cultural performances followed, including the concert given by the world famous Greek Soprano, Elena Nicholaides.

George and I went to Canberra High School where we joined the choir and took up sport, hockey for me and athletics for George. I took the part of the leading soprano in the Opera Dido and Aeneas and George sang in the choir,and as a result of this performance was invited to perform in the same role at the Armidale University. Mum came with me and sat proudly in the audience, thinking of the interest and love of music that she and Dad had fostered in us. Mum and Dad then sent me to board at Frensham at Mittagong,where I became the head of the choir and represented the school at Singing School Festivals in Sydney. Mum or Dad always came to Mittagong if I was in any concert at the school.

George and I went to Sydney University to study pharmacy (George had given up studying Dentistry in Melbourne as he realized that it wasn't for him) so we were together. We had found our apprenticeships,George with our Uncle Theo Lianos who was managing Christians Pharmacy in Kings Cross,and I spent the first year of my apprenticeship with Fred Rolfe in Queanbeyan and the balance at Paul Kelly's Pharmacy at Brookvale which was a long way from Coogee especially by public transport,and I travelled three hours a day - (very few students had cars in those days).

We had joined the Olympic Club when we came back to Sydney to study, and met many members whose parents knew our parents previously so we felt quite at home.We took part in many of the club's activities,the parties and competitions and talent quests .Joan Varvaressos and I were keen but friendly adversaries. Some I remembered were Big Con and Little Con Mottee, Nick Marcels, Stan Georgiadis, Con Papalexion, Toti Stanley, Nina Aikonand Bill Psaltis, to name of few. They also staged a Greek Comedy "Sproxenia which "brought the house down" when it was performed.

We boarded with a family in Coogee, Mrs Parsonage (a great cook)and her husband, who were very good to us. They allowed us to have a party when they went on holidays, (they were very trusting)so we invited friends that we had made at the club and some from the university. Mum drove down with the local fruiterer Kyriacos Calligeros, (who was going to the markets) and brought some food for the party (and to join in the fun of course). A good time was had by all and we sang and danced and talked till late. I remember Con Mottee and Areanthe Simos and many more who were there that great night.

At Uni, George and I joined the S.U.P.A. (Sydney University Pharmacy Association), and helped organise the Pharmacy Ball one year, which was a great success mainly due to George's boundless enthusiam. I was also elected the Pharmacy representative on the S.R.C (the Student's Representative Council), and captained the Pharmacy Hockey Team (we never won a match).

Also about this time a group of Greek descent undergraduates were brought together by Manuel Aroney to form the Sigma Epsilon Phi Chapter and we met fairly regularly and arranged a dinner in honour of His Emminence, Archbishop Iezekiel. It was another great success. Manuel, who was head of the steering committee acted as M.C. and three toasts were proposed by Andrew Coroneo (to the University), fourth year Medical student George Papadopoulos(to Sigma Epsilon Phi), and final year Law student Helen Gleeson (to Hellenism), and Pharmacist George Margetis moved the vote of appreciation to His Emminence, in Greek.

At about this time George and I had moved from Coogee to Kings Cross to a boarding house, The Oriana, (which later became the Rex Hotel and is now units). The other residents in the house were mostly elderly ladies,who liked us very much, and fussed over us and said prayers and lit candles at St Canice's Church when we having our exams. (I like to think that their prayers helped).

In the meantime Mum and Dad were working very hard In Canberra,as there were very few scholarships to the Uni,so all fees and books had to be paid for, as well as our board,and as pharmacy apprentices we were not allowed travel passes either even though our wage was a mere pittance.Dad constantly urged us to work hard to get along and at one stage,after we had written letters about our social activities and nothng else,he sent a very stern letter, saying that he was pleased we were having a good time !!!!!!,but what about our studies???????, and not to forget that he and Mum were working very hard for us. I still have that letter.

But Mum and Dad were still active in the Canberra Greek Community,with Dad helping many new migrants in Canberra to translate any documents they had,and in 1951 the Very Rev.Archbishop Theophylactos was aproached by the organisers of the forthcoming Women's Jubilee Convention to be held in Canberra in October of that year, to send two delegates from the Ladies Welfare Committee of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australasia. Mum was approached to be one of two delegates,the other being Mrs.K.Hood (Melides)from Sydney,and Mum was greatly honoured and accepted. Her paper referred to the trials that Greek migrant women suffered on coming to Australia,and ways and means that could be done to overcome them,and for Australian women to do their part in helping them to learn the Australian way of life, and eventually to integrate into the general community.The papers of both delegates were well received.

After KIngs Cross we moved to a house in South Coogee, where we studied for our Finals and where a group of students met two or three times for coaching by a pharmacy lecturer. George and I supplied supper,(sandwiches) and served tea from a very large crockery teapot that George had found somewhere that held seventeen cups of tea( which was just enough). George and I found some permanent work in Pharmacy, George at Kings Cross again and I worked for a time at Stevens Pharmacy at Surry Hills which was near the Agia Triatha in Bourke St. I then went home to Canberra to do relieving work in the country, and George did likewise. We were never lonely on these jobs, as all we had to do was to enter any Greek Milk Bar and tell the owners we were young Greek pharmacists away from home, and they opened their arms to us.

After we had finished our various jobs in the country, we both returned to Sydney and lived in MacMahons Point, and we found permanent work, George at the Cross again, and I at Bradford's Pharmacy in Wynyard Station.

Then in 1956 Dad received from Coles an offer to buy the shop. We were all thrilled and looked forward once more to be a family together. Mum and Dad packed up and moved in with us at MacMahons Point until we found a lovely unit to move into at Neutral Bay.

In the meantime Dad financed George and I to purchase two pharmacies,one in Waverley, and the other in Redfern which had a large Greek population. We then opened a pharmacy in Caltex House in Kent Sydney, which at that time,1958 was the tallest building at that end of town. Mum went there to work with an employed pharmacist. Dad went to help George at Redfern because of so many Greek customers, and I employed a cousin, Elaine Theodore to help me.

They were small businesses compared to those of to-day, but they did well although the shop at Waverley starting from scratch was slower but Dad was in his element. He had his family with him, and we went to concerts and parties together, and many of our friends included them in our invitations as well.

But he wasn't going to be satisfied until he had bought a house for us, which he did when he found one in Victory St. Rose Bay. We moved in July 1961 and each morning Dad got up early to go down and buy the daily paper, and go back home to read it in the front family room,which looked out to the beautiful Harbour, and he would say "I wouldn't call the King my Uncle."

But it wasn't to last and in November he went into hospital for an operation,and his pancreas burst and he passed away on the 12th November 1961. It was a dreadful shock to us and everyone. Mum, George and I were devastated too that Dad, having succeded at last in everything that he could wish for,was not allowed to enjoy it more. But at least he made it,and he was a great Dad, and we loved him very much and George and I were very grateful that we had those few happy years together as a family and I remember a comment made by one of Dad's cousins Jim Galanis,at the funeral, that he had never seen a man who was so happy with his family and proud of them too. For that remark we were thankful. And we put on his headstone:

TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS WE LEAVE BEHIND, IS NOT TO DIE.

And that's where Dad will
always be.

Bretos Margetis in 1961 relaxing in his new home at Rose Bay

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vasilia Uhrweiss (nee Margetis) on 01.05.2012

Bretos Margetis as a young adult 1910's

I have written the Life Story of my father, which features in the Notable Kytherians section. My father was a Founding Member of the Kytherian Association of Australia in 1922. He was also on the organising Committtee of Ayia Triatha church in Surry Hills.

Bretos Margetis

24th November, 1889 - 12th November, 1961.

My father Bretos Margetis was named after his grandfather, who is pictured here with his daughters,and was probably born about 1850. His son George married Vasilia Galanis and they had three boys, Bretos, Dimitri and Minas, and three girls Maria,Panayiotitsa and Evangelia.

Dad was born on the 24th November 1889 in Aroniathika and went to the village school with his brothers and sisters and was a keen student. (Of interest is the origin of the name. It appears to come from the baptismal name of the mother (Margeta or Marieta), but was used as a nickname in the beginning but appears for the first time in the parish register of Saint Mina in Logothetianika in 1801, but was still regarded as a nickname. Also it appears that three members Margetis, came from Koropi (on the coast going to Sounion) two of whom settled in Araniathika where they added the name Aroney in order to register their origin. A century later it made an appearance in Chora. It appears that the present day family name, Margetis was originally a nickname of one branch of the large family Aroney of Aroniathika, but it was decided by the Prefects of Argolidos and Corinthias, that the family name Aroney be replaced by Margetis.

Apart from Kythera the family name is mentioned in Crete, and in an earlier period 1536 it is mentioned in a catalogue of conscripts from Chania, and in 1678 there is reference in Kefallinia to a painter of icons Christodoulos Margetis. These cases show that the family name Margetis has connections outside the region and are linked directly with Kythera.)

But to continue:
Judging by the photograph the men appear to be wearing their "Sunday Best", but life on the land was very hard,so their father decided that the boys had to seek a better life elsewhere, and chose Australia as they had relatives there already who would be able to help them.

George Margetis with his sons, from left to right, Minas, Bretos and Jim, taken in Greece, about 1902

Bretos was the first to go and arrived in Sydney on the 3rd of December 1903 on the ship Orizaba.He stayed with an Uncle (name unknown) and went to school, and learnt English quickly by reading the local newspapers and having a dictionary beside him to look up words he didn't understand. He was a good student and did well,even with language difficulties. When he left school he helped his Uncle in his business and managed to save money to send home to his family in Kythera. He continued saving as much as he could and by the time he was nineteen he had his first restaurant.

Registration of Alien Certificate of Bretos Margetis, 1915

In 1915 he had to register with the government,and received a Certificate of Registration of Alien, under The War Precautions (Aliens Registration)Regulations 1916 and was finaly registered at a Police Station in Sydney. He then became active in the Kytherian Association, and was one of the founding members of the commitee,and was the Secretary 1924-1926.

Two of his sisters, Panayiotitsa (Bonney) and Evangalia, and his two brothers, Dimitri ( Uncle Jim) and Minas came to Australia, but Mina later returned to Greece to his parents and sister Maria.The girls married, Bonney to Vasili Georgopoulos who had been a chef at the royal court in Athens, and later opened the Athenian Restaurant in Castlreagh St., and Evangalia to Spiro Coroneo (Uncle Sam) who opened a business in Greenthorpe, south west, N.S.W. Uncle Jim never married because he was short and worried that he would have short children.

Bretos Margetis with one of his good friends in 1904 and 1922

Bretos opened a restaurant at 617 George St Sydney with white tablecloths on the tables and red velvet covered chairs. It was an "up market" restaurant and served three course meals for two and sixpence,which was expensive for those times. It is interesting to note that the shop next door was a Chemist Shop which may have given Dad the idea for his future children to become Pharmacists (which they did).

He developed a love for music, especially Opera,and took singing lessons with a Mrs Cresswell who taught him many songs from operas, but his favourite was La Donna Mobile wich he sang with great gusto at friends parties. Through this interest he met Theodora Lianos who was also a music lover,and had learnt to play the piano quite well, and soon there were wedding bells in the air and they married at the Agia Triatha in Surry Hills.

Studio portrait of Bretos Margetis and Theodora Lianos

Bretos Margetis and Theodora Lianos outside Agia Triatha, Sydney

Studio portrait of Theodora Lianos on her wedding day

Studio portrait of Theodora Lianos on her wedding day, with mirror image

Dad had also bought two Picture Shows in Fairfield The Crescent and The Butterfly,and while he took care of the business in town, Mum travelled to Fairfield to manage the businesses out there.It was in Fairfield that Dad obtained his life long passion for cricket and in 1925 was asked by the Fairfield Cricket Club to be their Vice-President, which he accepted with pleasure.

Crescent Theatre, Fairfield

But the Depression was still here and things were not going well in Australia and the rest of the world,and Dad had to close the restaurant at first,and later the Picture Shows, and so lost everything. But he was the eternal optimist,and always believed that when one door closed another one opened. He took jobs wherever he could find them and went to Parkes at one time, and back to Bondi, and was a cook in his brother-in-laws restaurant. He even opened a cake shop in Double Bay, the Niagara Cake Shop, but the economy was still bad, so he had to close it too. Then Dad was offered a job in Canberra with Harry Notaras and went there to try his luck.

At that time Mum,George and I lived in a flat in Double Bay and went to the Double Bay Public School (which is still there). Mum took a part-time job in a sweet factory, folding the little cardboard boxes that the sweets went in. Mum always made sure that she was home before we walked home from school and greeted us dressed as if she was going out.

Mum also arranged for George and I to have music lessons with Mrs Cresswell and paid for them by sewing dresses for her .When Mrs Cresswell came to give us our piano lessons she often heard me singing, and even though I was about eight years old, apart from teaching me the piano she taught me a few little songs, a couple of which I still remember.

I went on to the Wollahra Opportunity School and George went to Randwick Boys High School. Then Dad was offered the opportunity to buy one of the Notaras shops in Kingston which he accepted and at last at the age of Fifty-three he was on his way to start a new life at Victor's Rotary Cafe in Kingston Canberra,and he sent for his family to join him at last.

Once in Canberra Mum and Dad joined the Greek Community and became very active in promoting Greece by broadcasting and arranging programmes on special Greek Days, the 25th of March and the 28th 0f October on the radio station 2CA .George read speeches about these days,and I sang Greek Songs, and records of Greek music were also played. These were fairly well received by the general community there, but there was still a certain amount of xenophobia, even though Greece was fighting with the Allies.

Dad met many young men who were customers, who came to say goodbye to him when they leaving for the war in Europe and some kept in touch by letters. Some cadets from the nearby Duntroon Military College,would ring to say they were coming in the evening for a meal. Even though it was after hours in Canberra,Dad served them in the large kitchen at the shop,and the boys sat around the table and laughed and talked to Dad while he cooked them steak and eggs on the fuel stove there. This was about 1942-43.

Mum was also instrumental in encouraging the Musical Society of Canberra to write to the A.B.C. in Sydney asking them to bring the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to Canberra which they did, and other cultural performances followed, including the concert given by the world famous Greek Soprano, Elena Nicholaides.

George and I went to Canberra High School where we joined the choir and took up sport, hockey for me and athletics for George. I took the part of the leading soprano in the Opera Dido and Aeneas and George sang in the choir,and as a result of this performance was invited to perform in the same role at the Armidale University. Mum came with me and sat proudly in the audience, thinking of the interest and love of music that she and Dad had fostered in us. Mum and Dad then sent me to board at Frensham at Mittagong,where I became the head of the choir and represented the school at Singing School Festivals in Sydney. Mum or Dad always came to Mittagong if I was in any concert at the school.

George and I went to Sydney University to study pharmacy (George had given up studying Dentistry in Melbourne as he realized that it wasn't for him) so we were together. We had found our apprenticeships,George with our Uncle Theo Lianos who was managing Christians Pharmacy in Kings Cross,and I spent the first year of my apprenticeship with Fred Rolfe in Queanbeyan and the balance at Paul Kelly's Pharmacy at Brookvale which was a long way from Coogee especially by public transport,and I travelled three hours a day - (very few students had cars in those days).

We had joined the Olympic Club when we came back to Sydney to study, and met many members whose parents knew our parents previously so we felt quite at home.We took part in many of the club's activities,the parties and competitions and talent quests .Joan Varvaressos and I were keen but friendly adversaries. Some I remembered were Big Con and Little Con Mottee, Nick Marcels, Stan Georgiadis, Con Papalexion, Toti Stanley, Nina Aikonand Bill Psaltis, to name of few. They also staged a Greek Comedy "Sproxenia which "brought the house down" when it was performed.

We boarded with a family in Coogee, Mrs Parsonage (a great cook)and her husband, who were very good to us. They allowed us to have a party when they went on holidays, (they were very trusting)so we invited friends that we had made at the club and some from the university. Mum drove down with the local fruiterer Kyriacos Calligeros, (who was going to the markets) and brought some food for the party (and to join in the fun of course). A good time was had by all and we sang and danced and talked till late. I remember Con Mottee and Areanthe Simos and many more who were there that great night.

At Uni, George and I joined the S.U.P.A. (Sydney University Pharmacy Association), and helped organise the Pharmacy Ball one year, which was a great success mainly due to George's boundless enthusiam. I was also elected the Pharmacy representative on the S.R.C (the Student's Representative Council), and captained the Pharmacy Hockey Team (we never won a match).

Also about this time a group of Greek descent undergraduates were brought together by Manuel Aroney to form the Sigma Epsilon Phi Chapter and we met fairly regularly and arranged a dinner in honour of His Emminence, Archbishop Iezekiel. It was another great success. Manuel, who was head of the steering committee acted as M.C. and three toasts were proposed by Andrew Coroneo (to the University), fourth year Medical student George Papadopoulos(to Sigma Epsilon Phi), and final year Law student Helen Gleeson (to Hellenism), and Pharmacist George Margetis moved the vote of appreciation to His Emminence, in Greek.

At about this time George and I had moved from Coogee to Kings Cross to a boarding house, The Oriana, (which later became the Rex Hotel and is now units). The other residents in the house were mostly elderly ladies,who liked us very much, and fussed over us and said prayers and lit candles at St Canice's Church when we having our exams. (I like to think that their prayers helped).

In the meantime Mum and Dad were working very hard In Canberra,as there were very few scholarships to the Uni,so all fees and books had to be paid for, as well as our board,and as pharmacy apprentices we were not allowed travel passes either even though our wage was a mere pittance.Dad constantly urged us to work hard to get along and at one stage,after we had written letters about our social activities and nothng else,he sent a very stern letter, saying that he was pleased we were having a good time !!!!!!,but what about our studies???????, and not to forget that he and Mum were working very hard for us. I still have that letter.

But Mum and Dad were still active in the Canberra Greek Community,with Dad helping many new migrants in Canberra to translate any documents they had,and in 1951 the Very Rev.Archbishop Theophylactos was aproached by the organisers of the forthcoming Women's Jubilee Convention to be held in Canberra in October of that year, to send two delegates from the Ladies Welfare Committee of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australasia. Mum was approached to be one of two delegates,the other being Mrs.K.Hood (Melides)from Sydney,and Mum was greatly honoured and accepted. Her paper referred to the trials that Greek migrant women suffered on coming to Australia,and ways and means that could be done to overcome them,and for Australian women to do their part in helping them to learn the Australian way of life, and eventually to integrate into the general community.The papers of both delegates were well received.

After KIngs Cross we moved to a house in South Coogee, where we studied for our Finals and where a group of students met two or three times for coaching by a pharmacy lecturer. George and I supplied supper,(sandwiches) and served tea from a very large crockery teapot that George had found somewhere that held seventeen cups of tea( which was just enough). George and I found some permanent work in Pharmacy, George at Kings Cross again and I worked for a time at Stevens Pharmacy at Surry Hills which was near the Agia Triatha in Bourke St. I then went home to Canberra to do relieving work in the country, and George did likewise. We were never lonely on these jobs, as all we had to do was to enter any Greek Milk Bar and tell the owners we were young Greek pharmacists away from home, and they opened their arms to us.

After we had finished our various jobs in the country, we both returned to Sydney and lived in MacMahons Point, and we found permanent work, George at the Cross again, and I at Bradford's Pharmacy in Wynyard Station.

Then in 1956 Dad received from Coles an offer to buy the shop. We were all thrilled and looked forward once more to be a family together. Mum and Dad packed up and moved in with us at MacMahons Point until we found a lovely unit to move into at Neutral Bay.

In the meantime Dad financed George and I to purchase two pharmacies,one in Waverley, and the other in Redfern which had a large Greek population. We then opened a pharmacy in Caltex House in Kent Sydney, which at that time,1958 was the tallest building at that end of town. Mum went there to work with an employed pharmacist. Dad went to help George at Redfern because of so many Greek customers, and I employed a cousin, Elaine Theodore to help me.

They were small businesses compared to those of to-day, but they did well although the shop at Waverley starting from scratch was slower but Dad was in his element. He had his family with him, and we went to concerts and parties together, and many of our friends included them in our invitations as well.

But he wasn't going to be satisfied until he had bought a house for us, which he did when he found one in Victory St. Rose Bay. We moved in July 1961 and each morning Dad got up early to go down and buy the daily paper, and go back home to read it in the front family room,which looked out to the beautiful Harbour, and he would say "I wouldn't call the King my Uncle."

But it wasn't to last and in November he went into hospital for an operation,and his pancreas burst and he passed away on the 12th November 1961. It was a dreadful shock to us and everyone. Mum, George and I were devastated too that Dad, having succeded at last in everything that he could wish for,was not allowed to enjoy it more. But at least he made it,and he was a great Dad, and we loved him very much and George and I were very grateful that we had those few happy years together as a family and I remember a comment made by one of Dad's cousins Jim Galanis,at the funeral, that he had never seen a man who was so happy with his family and proud of them too. For that remark we were thankful. And we put on his headstone:

TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS WE LEAVE BEHIND, IS NOT TO DIE.

And that's where Dad will
always be.

Bretos Margetis in 1961 relaxing in his new home at Rose Bay

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vasilia Uhrweiss (nee Margetis) on 30.04.2012

Bretos Margetis in 1961 relaxing in his new home at Rose Bay

My father Bretos Margetis was named after his grandfather, who is pictured here with his daughters,and was probably born about 1850. His son George married Vasilia Galanis and they had three boys, Bretos, Dimitri and Minas, and three girls Maria,Panayiotitsa and Evangelia.

Dad was born on the 24th November 1889 in Aroniathika and went to the village school with his brothers and sisters and was a keen student. (Of interest is the origin of the name. It appears to come from the baptismal name of the mother (Margeta or Marieta), but was used as a nickname in the beginning but appears for the first time in the parish register of Saint Mina in Logothetianika in 1801, but was still regarded as a nickname. Also it appears that three members Margetis, came from Koropi (on the coast going to Sounion) two of whom settled in Araniathika where they added the name Aroney in order to register their origin. A century later it made an appearance in Chora. It appears that the present day family name, Margetis was originally a nickname of one branch of the large family Aroney of Aroniathika, but it was decided by the Prefects of Argolidos and Corinthias, that the family name Aroney be replaced by Margetis.
Apart from Kythera the family name is mentioned in Crete, and in an earlier period 1536 it is mentioned in a catalogue of conscripts from Chania, and in 1678 there is reference in Kefallinia to a painter of icons Christodoulos Margetis. These cases show that the family name Margetis has connections outside the region and are linked directly with Kythera.)

But to continue:
Judging by the photograph the men appear to be wearing their "Sunday Best", but life on the land was very hard,so their father decided that the boys had to seek a better life elsewhere, and chose Australia as they had relatives there already who would be able to help them.

Bretos was the first to go and arrived in Sydney on the 3rd of December 1903 on the ship Orizaba.He stayed with an Uncle (name unknown) and went to school, and learnt English quickly by reading the local newspapers and having a dictionary beside him to look up words he didn't understand. He was a good student and did well,even with language difficulties. When he left school he helped his Uncle in his business and managed to save money to send home to his family in Kythera. He continued saving as much as he could and by the time he was nineteen he had his first restaurant.

In 1915 he had to register with the government,and received a Certificate of Registration of Alien, under The War Precautions (Aliens Registration)Regulations 1916 and was finaly registered at a Police Station in Sydney. He then became active in the Kytherian Association, and was one of the founding members of the commitee,and was the Secretary 1924-1926.
Two of his sisters, Panayiotitsa (Bonney) and Evangalia, and his two brothers, Dimitri ( Uncle Jim) and Minas came to Australia, but Mina later returned to Greece to his parents and sister Maria.The girls married, Bonney to Vasili Georgopoulos who had been a chef at the royal court in Athens, and later opened the Athenian Restaurant in Castlreagh St., and Evangalia to Spiro Coroneo (Uncle Sam) who opened a business in Greenthorpe, south west, N.S.W. Uncle Jim never married because he was short and worried that he would have short children.

Bretos opened a restaurant at 617 George St Sydney with white tablecloths on the tables and red velvet covered chairs. It was an "up market" restaurant and served three course meals for two and sixpence,which was expensive for those times. It is interesting to note that the shop next door was a Chemist Shop which may have given Dad the idea for his future children to become Pharmacists (which they did).

He developed a love for music, especially Opera,and took singing lessons with a Mrs Cresswell who taught him many songs from operas, but his favourite was La Donna Mobile wich he sang with great gusto at friends parties. Through this interest he met Theodora Lianos who was also a music lover,and had learnt to play the piano quite well, and soon there were wedding bells in the air and they married at the Agia Triatha in Surry Hills.

Studio portrait of Bretos Margetis and Theodora Lianos

Bretos Margetis and Theodora Lianos outside Agia Triatha, Sydney

Studio portrait of Theodora Lianos on her wedding day

Studio portrait of Theodora Lianos on her wedding day, with mirror image

Dad had also bought two Picture Shows in Fairfield The Crescent and The Butterfly,and while he took care of the business in town, Mum travelled to Fairfield to manage the businesses out there.It was in Fairfield that Dad obtained his life long passion for cricket and in 1925 was asked by the Fairfield Cricket Club to be their Vice-President, which he accepted with pleasure.

But the Depression was still here and things were not going well in Australia and the rest of the world,and Dad had to close the restaurant at first,and later the Picture Shows, and so lost everything. But he was the eternal optimist,and always believed that when one door closed another one opened. He took jobs wherever he could find them and went to Parkes at one time, and back to Bondi, and was a cook in his brother-in-laws restaurant. He even opened a cake shop in Double Bay, the Niagara Cake Shop, but the economy was still bad, so he had to close it too. Then Dad was offered a job in Canberra with Harry Notaras and went there to try his luck.

At that time Mum,George and I lived in a flat in Double Bay and went to the Double Bay Public School (which is still there). Mum took a part-time job in a sweet factory, folding the little cardboard boxes that the sweets went in. Mum always made sure that she was home before we walked home from school and greeted us dressed as if she was going out.

Mum also arranged for George and I to have music lessons with Mrs Cresswell and paid for them by sewing dresses for her .When Mrs Cresswell came to give us our piano lessons she often heard me singing, and even though I was about eight years old, apart from teaching me the piano she taught me a few little songs, a couple of which I still remember.

I went on to the Wollahra Opportunity School and George went to Randwick Boys High School. Then Dad was offered the opportunity to buy one of the Notaras shops in Kingston which he accepted and at last at the age of Fifty-three he was on his way to start a new life at Victor's Rotary Cafe in Kingston Canberra,and he sent for his family to join him at last.

Once in Canberra Mum and Dad joined the Greek Community and became very active in promoting Greece by broadcasting and arranging programmes on special Greek Days, the 25th of March and the 28th 0f October on the radio station 2CA .George read speeches about these days,and I sang Greek Songs, and records of Greek music were also played. These were fairly well received by the general community there, but there was still a certain amount of xenophobia, even though Greece was fighting with the Allies.

Dad met many young men who were customers, who came to say goodbye to him when they leaving for the war in Europe and some kept in touch by letters. Some cadets from the nearby Duntroon Military College,would ring to say they were coming in the evening for a meal. Even though it was after hours in Canberra,Dad served them in the large kitchen at the shop,and the boys sat around the table and laughed and talked to Dad while he cooked them steak and eggs on the fuel stove there. This was about 1942-43.

Mum was also instrumental in encouraging the Musical Society of Canberra to write to the A.B.C. in Sydney asking them to bring the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to Canberra which they did, and other cultural performances followed, including the concert given by the world famous Greek Soprano, Elena Nicholaides.

George and I went to Canberra High School where we joined the choir and took up sport, hockey for me and athletics for George. I took the part of the leading soprano in the Opera Dido and Aeneas and George sang in the choir,and as a result of this performance was invited to perform in the same role at the Armidale University. Mum came with me and sat proudly in the audience, thinking of the interest and love of music that she and Dad had fostered in us. Mum and Dad then sent me to board at Frensham at Mittagong,where I became the head of the choir and represented the school at Singing School Festivals in Sydney. Mum or Dad always came to Mittagong if I was in any concert at the school.

George and I went to Sydney University to study pharmacy (George had given up studying Dentistry in Melbourne as he realized that it wasn't for him) so we were together. We had found our apprenticeships,George with our Uncle Theo Lianos who was managing Christians Pharmacy in Kings Cross,and I spent the first year of my apprenticeship with Fred Rolfe in Queanbeyan and the balance at Paul Kelly's Pharmacy at Brookvale which was a long way from Coogee especially by public transport,and I travelled three hours a day - (very few students had cars in those days).

We had joined the Olympic Club when we came back to Sydney to study, and met many members whose parents knew our parents previously so we felt quite at home.We took part in many of the club's activities,the parties and competitions and talent quests .Joan Varvaressos and I were keen but friendly adversaries. Some I remembered were Big Con and Little Con Mottee, Nick Marcels, Stan Georgiadis, Con Papalexion, Toti Stanley, Nina Aikonand Bill Psaltis, to name of few. They also staged a Greek Comedy "Sproxenia which "brought the house down" when it was performed.

We boarded with a family in Coogee, Mrs Parsonage (a great cook)and her husband, who were very good to us. They allowed us to have a party when they went on holidays, (they were very trusting)so we invited friends that we had made at the club and some from the university. Mum drove down with the local fruiterer Kyriacos Calligeros,
(who was going to the markets) and brought some food for the party (and to join in the fun of course). A good time was had by all and we sang and danced and talked till late. I remember Con Mottee and Areanthe Simos and many more who were there that great night.

At Uni, George and I joined the S.U.P.A.
(Sydney University Pharmacy Association), and helped organise the Pharmacy Ball one year, which was a great success mainly due to George's boundless enthusiam. I was also elected the Pharmacy representative on the S.R.C (the Student's Representative Council), and captained the Pharmacy Hockey Team (we never won a match).

Also about this time a group of Greek descent undergraduates were brought together by Manuel Aroney to form the Sigma Epsilon Phi Chapter and we met fairly regularly and arranged a dinner in honour of His Emminence,Archbishop Iezekiel. It was another great success. Manuel, who was head of the steering committee acted as M.C. and three toasts were proposed by Andrew Coroneo (to the University), fourth year Medical student George Papadopoulos(to Sigma Epsilon Phi), and final year Law student Helen Gleeson (to Hellenism), and Pharmacist George Margetis moved the vote of appreciation to His Emminence, in Greek.

At about this time George and I had moved from Coogee to Kings Cross to a boarding house, The Oriana, (which later became the Rex Hotel and is now units). The other residents in the house were mostly elderly ladies,who liked us very much, and fussed over us and said prayers and lit candles at St Canice's Church when we having our exams.( Ilike to think that their prayers helped).
In the meantime Mum and Dad were working very hard In Canberra,as there were very few scholarships to the Uni,so all fees and books had to be paid for,as well as our board,and as pharmacy apprentices we were not allowed travel passes either even though our wage was a mere pittance.Dad constantly urged us to work hard to get along and at one stage,after we had written letters about our social activities and nothng else,he sent a very stern letter ,saying that he was pleased we were having a good time !!!!!!,but what about our studies???????,and not to forget that he and Mum were working very hard for us .I still have that letter.
But Mum and Dad were still active in the Canberra Greek Community,with Dad helping many new migrants in Canberra to translate any documents they had,and in 1951 the Very Rev.Archbishop Theophylactos was aproached by the organisers of the forthcoming Women's Jubilee Convention to be held in Canberra in October of that year, to send two delegates from the Ladies Welfare Committee of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australasia. Mum was approached to be one of two delegates,the other being Mrs.K.Hood (Melides)from Sydney,and Mum was greatly honoured and accepted. Her paper referred to the trials that Greek migrant women suffered on coming to Australia,and ways and means that could be done to overcome them,and for Australian women to do their part in helping them to learn the Australian way of life,and eventually to integrate into the general community.The papers of both delegates were well rceived.
After KIngs Cross we moved to a house in South Coogee,where we studied for our Finals and where a group of students met two or three times for coaching by a pharmacy lecturer. George and I supplied supper,(sandwiches) and served tea from a very large crockery teapot that George had found somewhere that held seventeen cups of tea( which was just enough). George and I found some permanent work in Pharmacy,George at Kings Cross again and I worked for a time at Stevens Pharmacy at Surry Hills which was near the Agia Triatha in Bourke St. I then went home to Canberra to do relieving work in the country, and George did likewise. We were never lonely on these jobs, as all we had to do was to enter any Greek Milk Bar and tell the owners we were young Greek pharmacists away from home, and they opened their arms to us.

After we had finished our various jobs in the country, we both returned to Sydney and lived in MacMahons Point, and we found permanent work, George at the Cross again,and I at Bradford's Pharmacy in Wynyard Station.

Then in 1956 Dad received from Coles an offer to buy the shop. We were all thrilled and looked forward once more to be a family together. Mum and Dad packed up and moved in with us at MacMahons Point until we found a lovely unit to move into at Neutral Bay.

In the meantime Dad financed George and I to purchase two pharmacies,one in Waverley, and the other in Redfern which had a large Greek population. We then opened a pharmacy in Caltex House in Kent Sydney, which at that time,1958 was the tallest building at that end of town. Mum went there to work with an employed pharmacist. Dad went to help George at Redfern because of so many Greek customers, and I employed a cousin, Elaine Theodore to help me.

They were small businesses compared to those of to-day, but they did well although the shop at Waverley starting from scratch was slower but Dad was in his element. He had his family with him, and we went to concerts and parties together, and many of our friends included them in our invitations as well.

But he wasn't going to be satisfied until he had bought a house for us, which he did when he found one in Victory St. Rose Bay. We moved in July 1961 and each morning Dad got up early to go down and buy the daily paper, and go back home to read it in the front family room,which looked out to the beautiful Harbour,and he would say "I wouldn't call the King my Uncle."
But it wasn't to last and in November he went into hospital for an operation,and his pancreas burst and he passed away on the 12th November 1961. It was a dreadful shock to us and everyone. Mum, George and I were devastated too that Dad, having succeded at last in everything that he could wish for,was not allowed to enjoy it more. But at least he made it,and he was a great Dad, and we loved him very much and George and I were very grateful that we had those few happy years together as a family and I remember a comment made by one of Dad's cousins Jim Galanis,at the funeral, that he had never seen a man who was so happy with his family and proud of them too. For that remark we were thankful.And we put on his headstone:

TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS WE LEAVE BEHIND ,IS NOT TO DIE.

And that's where Dad will
always be.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vasilia Uhrweiss (nee Margetis) on 30.04.2012

Bretos Margetis with one of his good friends, in 1904 and 1922

Can you help, by identifying the person standing next to my father in these photographs?

I have written the Life Story of my father, which features in the Notable Kytherians section. My father was a Founding Member of the Kytherian Association of Australia in 1922. He was also on the organising Committtee of Ayia Triatha church in Surry Hills.

Bretos Margetis

24th November, 1889 - 12th November, 1961.

My father Bretos Margetis was named after his grandfather, who is pictured here with his daughters,and was probably born about 1850. His son George married Vasilia Galanis and they had three boys, Bretos, Dimitri and Minas, and three girls Maria, Panayiotitsa and Evangelia.

Dad was born on the 24th November 1889 in Aroniathika and went to the village school with his brothers and sisters and was a keen student. (Of interest is the origin of the name. It appears to come from the baptismal name of the mother (Margeta or Marieta),but was used as a nickname in the beginning but appears for the first time in the parish register of Saint Mina in Logothetianika in 1801, but was still regarded as a nickname. Also it appears that three members Margetis, came from Koropi (on the coast going to Sounion) two of whom settled in Araniathika where they added the name Aroney in order to register their origin. A century later it made an appearance in Chora. It appears that the present day family name, Margetis was originally a nickname of one branch of the large family Aroney of Aroniathika, but it was decided by the Prefects of Argolidos and Corinthias, that the family name Aroney be replaced by Margetis.

Apart from Kythera the family name is mentioned in Crete, and in an earlier period 1536 it is mentioned in a catalogue of conscripts from Chania, and in 1678 there is reference in Kefallinia to a painter of icons Christodoulos Margetis. These cases show that the family name Margetis has connections outside the region and are linked directly with Kythera.)

But to continue:
Judging by the photograph the men appear to be wearing their "Sunday Best", but life on the land was very hard, so their father decided that the boys had to seek a better life elsewhere, and chose Australia as they had relatives there already who would be able to help them.

George Margetis with his sons, from left to right, Minas, Bretos and Jim, taken in Greece, about 1902

Bretos was the first to go and arrived in Sydney on the 3rd of December 1903 on the ship Orizaba.He stayed with an Uncle (name unknown) and went to school, and learnt English quickly by reading the local newspapers and having a dictionary beside him to look up words he didn't understand. He was a good student and did well,even with language difficulties. When he left school he helped his Uncle in his business and managed to save money to send home to his family in Kythera. He continued saving as much as he could and by the time he was nineteen he had his first restaurant.

In 1915 he had to register with the government,and received a Certificate of Registration of Alien, under The War Precautions (Aliens Registration)Regulations 1916 and was finaly registered at a Police Station in Sydney. He then became active in the Kytherian Association, and was one of the founding members of the commitee,and was the Secretary 1924-1826.
Two of his sisters, Panayiotitsa (Bonney) and Evangalia, and his two brothers, Dimitri ( Uncle Jim) and Minas came to Australia, but Mina later returned to Greece to his parents and sister Maria.The girls married, Bonney to Vasili Georgopoulos who had been a chef at the royal court in Athens, and later opened the Athenian Restaurant in Castlreagh St., and Evangalia to Spiro Coroneo (Uncle Sam) who opened a business in Greenthorpe, south west, N.S.W. Uncle Jim never married because he was short and worried that he would have short children.

Bretos opened a restaurant at 617 George St Sydney with white tablecloths on the tables and red velvet covered chairs. It was an "up market" restaurant and served three course meals for two and sixpence,which was expensive for those times. It is interesting to note that the shop next door was a Chemist Shop which may have given Dad the idea for his future children to become Pharmacists (which they did).

He developed a love for music, especially Opera,and took singing lessons with a Mrs Cresswell who taught him many songs from operas, but his favourite was La Donna Mobile wich he sang with great gusto at friends parties. Through this interest he met Theodora Lianos who was also a music lover,and had learnt to play the piano quite well,and soon there were wedding bells in the air and they married at the Agia Triatha in Surry Hills.

Dad had also bought two Picture Shows in Fairfield The Crescent and The Butterfly,and while he took care of the business in town,Mum travelled to Fairfield to manage the businesses out there.It was in Fairfield that Dad obtained his life long passion for cricket and in 1925 was asked by the Fairfield Cricket Club to be their Vice-President, which he accepted with pleasure.

But the Depression was still here and things were not going well in Australia and the rest of the world,and Dad had to close the restaurant at first,and later the Picture Shows, and so lost everything. But he was the eternal optimist,and always believed that when one door closed another one opened. He took jobs wherever he could find them and went to Parkes at one time, and back to Bondi, and was a cook in his brother-in-laws restaurant. He even opened a cake shop in Double Bay, the Niagara Cake Shop, but the economy was still bad, so he had to close it too. Then Dad was offered a job in Canberra with Harry Notaras and went there to try his luck.

At that time Mum, George and I lived in a flat in Double Bay and went to the Double Bay Public School (which is still there). Mum took a part-time job in a sweet factory, folding the little cardboard boxes that the sweets went in. Mum always made sure that she was home before we walked home from school and greeted us dressed as if she was going out.

Mum also arranged for George and I to have music lessons with Mrs Cresswell and paid for them by sewing dresses for her .When Mrs Cresswell came to give us our piano lessons she often heard me singing, and even though I was about eight years old, apart from teaching me the piano she taught me a few little songs, a couple of which I still remember.

I went on to the Wollahra Opportunity School and George went to Randwick Boys High School. Then Dad was offered the opportunity to buy one of the Notaras shops in Kingston which he accepted and at last at the age of Fifty-three he was on his way to start a new life at Victor's Rotary Cafe in Kingston Canberra,and he sent for his family to join him at last.

Once in Canberra Mum and Dad joined the Greek Community and became very active in promoting Greece by broadcasting and arranging programmes on special Greek Days, the 25th of March and the 28th 0f October on the radio station 2CA .George read speeches about these days,and I sang Greek Songs, and records of Greek music were also played. These were fairly well received by the general community there, but there was still a certain amount of xenophobia, even though Greece was fighting with the Allies.

Dad met many young men who were customers, who came to say goodbye to him when they leaving for the war in Europe and some kept in touch by letters. Some cadets from the nearby Duntroon Military College,would ring to say they were coming in the evening for a meal. Even though it was after hours in Canberra,Dad served them in the large kitchen at the shop,and the boys sat around the table and laughed and talked to Dad while he cooked them steak and eggs on the fuel stove there. This was about 1942-43.

Mum was also instrumental in encouraging the Musical Society of Canberra to write to the A.B.C. in Sydney asking them to bring the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to Canberra which they did, and other cultural performances followed, including the concert given by the world famous Greek Soprano, Elena Nicholaides.

George and I went to Canberra High School where we joined the choir and took up sport, hockey for me and athletics for George. I took the part of the leading soprano in the Opera Dido and Aeneas and George sang in the choir,and as a result of this performance was invited to perform in the same role at the Armidale University. Mum came with me and sat proudly in the audience, thinking of the interest and love of music that she and Dad had fostered in us. Mum and Dad then sent me to board at Frensham at Mittagong,where I became the head of the choir and represented the school at Singing School Festivals in Sydney. Mum or Dad always came to Mittagong if I was in any concert at the school.

George and I went to Sydney University to study pharmacy (George had given up studying Dentistry in Melbourne as he realized that it wasn't for him) so we were together. We had found our apprenticeships,George with our Uncle Theo Lianos who was managing Christians Pharmacy in Kings Cross, and I spent the first year of my apprenticeship with Fred Rolfe in Queanbeyan and the balance at Paul Kelly's Pharmacy at Brookvale which was a long way from Coogee especially by public transport,and I travelled three hours a day - (very few students had cars in those days).

We had joined the Olympic Club when we came back to Sydney to study, and met many members whose parents knew our parents previously so we felt quite at home.We took part in many of the club's activities,the parties and competitions and talent quests .Joan Varvaressos and I were keen but friendly adversaries. Some I remembered were Big Con and Little Con Mottee, Nick Marcels, Stan Georgiadis, Con Papalexion, Toti Stanley, Nina Aikon and Bill Psaltis, to name of few. They also staged a Greek Comedy "Sproxenia which "brought the house down" when it was performed.

We boarded with a family in Coogee, Mrs Parsonage (a great cook)and her husband, who were very good to us. They allowed us to have a party when they went on holidays, (they were very trusting)so we invited friends that we had made at the club and some from the university. Mum drove down with the local fruiterer Kyriacos Calligeros, (who was going to the markets) and brought some food for the party (and to join in the fun of course). A good time was had by all and we sang and danced and talked till late. I remember Con Mottee and Areanthe Simos and many more who were there that great night.

At Uni, George and I joined the S.U.P.A. (Sydney University Pharmacy Association), and helped organise the Pharmacy Ball one year, which was a great success mainly due to George's boundless enthusiam. I was also elected the Pharmacy representative on the S.R.C (the Student's Representative Council), and captained the Pharmacy Hockey Team (we never won a match).

Also about this time a group of Greek descent undergraduates were brought together by Manuel Aroney to form the Sigma Epsilon Phi Chapter and we met fairly regularly and arranged a dinner in honour of His Emminence,Archbishop Iezekiel. It was another great success. Manuel, who was head of the steering committee acted as M.C. and three toasts were proposed by Andrew Coroneo (to the University), fourth year Medical student George Papadopoulos (to Sigma Epsilon Phi), and final year Law student Helen Gleeson (to Hellenism), and Pharmacist George Margetis moved the vote of appreciation to His Emminence, in Greek.

At about this time George and I had moved from Coogee to Kings Cross to a boarding house, The Oriana, (which later became the Rex Hotel and is now units). The other residents in the house were mostly elderly ladies,who liked us very much, and fussed over us and said prayers and lit candles at St Canice's Church when we having our exams.( Ilike to think that their prayers helped).

In the meantime Mum and Dad were working very hard In Canberra,as there were very few scholarships to the Uni, so all fees and books had to be paid for, as well as our board,and as pharmacy apprentices we were not allowed travel passes either even though our wage was a mere pittance. Dad constantly urged us to work hard to get along and at one stage, after we had written letters about our social activities and nothng else, he sent a very stern letter, saying that he was pleased we were having a good time !!!!!!,but what about our studies???????, and not to forget that he and Mum were working very hard for us. I still have that letter.

But Mum and Dad were still active in the Canberra Greek Community,with Dad helping many new migrants in Canberra to translate any documents they had,and in 1951 the Very Rev. Archbishop Theophylactos was aproached by the organisers of the forthcoming Women's Jubilee Convention to be held in Canberra in October of that year, to send two delegates from the Ladies Welfare Committee of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australasia. Mum was approached to be one of two delegates, the other being Mrs.K.Hood (Melides) from Sydney, and Mum was greatly honoured and accepted. Her paper referred to the trials that Greek migrant women suffered on coming to Australia, and ways and means that could be done to overcome them, and for Australian women to do their part in helping them to learn the Australian way of life, and eventually to integrate into the general community. The papers of both delegates were well received.

After KIngs Cross we moved to a house in South Coogee,where we studied for our Finals and where a group of students met two or three times for coaching by a pharmacy lecturer. George and I supplied supper,(sandwiches) and served tea from a very large crockery teapot that George had found somewhere that held seventeen cups of tea( which was just enough). George and I found some permanent work in Pharmacy,George at Kings Cross again and I worked for a time at Stevens Pharmacy at Surry Hills which was near the Agia Triatha in Bourke St. I then went home to Canberra to do relieving work in the country, and George did likewise. We were never lonely on these jobs, as all we had to do was to enter any Greek Milk Bar and tell the owners we were young Greek pharmacists away from home, and they opened their arms to us.

After we had finished our various jobs in the country, we both returned to Sydney and lived in MacMahons Point, and we found permanent work, George at the Cross again,and I at Bradford's Pharmacy in Wynyard Station.

Then in 1956 Dad received from Coles an offer to buy the shop. We were all thrilled and looked forward once more to be a family together. Mum and Dad packed up and moved in with us at MacMahons Point until we found a lovely unit to move into at Neutral Bay.

In the meantime Dad financed George and I to purchase two pharmacies,one in Waverley, and the other in Redfern which had a large Greek population. We then opened a pharmacy in Caltex House in Kent Sydney, which at that time,1958 was the tallest building at that end of town. Mum went there to work with an employed pharmacist. Dad went to help George at Redfern because of so many Greek customers, and I employed a cousin, Elaine Theodore to help me.

They were small businesses compared to those of to-day, but they did well although the shop at Waverley starting from scratch was slower but Dad was in his element. He had his family with him, and we went to concerts and parties together, and many of our friends included them in our invitations as well.

But he wasn't going to be satisfied until he had bought a house for us, which he did when he found one in Victory St. Rose Bay. We moved in July 1961 and each morning Dad got up early to go down and buy the daily paper, and go back home to read it in the front family room, which looked out to the beautiful Harbour, and he would say "I wouldn't call the King my Uncle."

But it wasn't to last and in November he went into hospital for an operation,and his pancreas burst and he passed away on the 12th November 1961. It was a dreadful shock to us and everyone. Mum, George and I were devastated too that Dad, having succeded at last in everything that he could wish for, was not allowed to enjoy it more. But at least he made it,and he was a great Dad, and we loved him very much and George and I were very grateful that we had those few happy years together as a family and I remember a comment made by one of Dad's cousins Jim Galanis, at the funeral, that he had never seen a man who was so happy with his family and proud of them too. For that remark we were thankful. And we put on his headstone:

TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS WE LEAVE BEHIND ,IS NOT TO DIE.

And that's where Dad will
always be.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vasilia Uhrweiss (nee Margetis) on 30.04.2012

George Margetis, with his sons, left to right, Minas, Bretos, and Jim

Photograph taken in Greece, when my father Bretos was about 14 years of age (approx, 1902), just prior before Bretos's departure for Australia.

I have written the Life Story of my father, which features in the Notable Kytherians section. My father was a Founding Member of the Kytherian Association of Australia in 1922. He was also on the organising Committtee of Ayia Triatha church in Surry Hills.

Bretos Margetis

24th November, 1889 - 12th November, 1961.

My father Bretos Margetis was named after his grandfather, who is pictured here with his daughters,and was probably born about 1850. His son George married Vasilia Galanis and they had three boys, Bretos, Dimitri and Minas, and three girls Maria, Panayiotitsa and Evangelia.

Dad was born on the 24th November 1889 in Aroniathika and went to the village school with his brothers and sisters and was a keen student. (Of interest is the origin of the name. It appears to come from the baptismal name of the mother (Margeta or Marieta),but was used as a nickname in the beginning but appears for the first time in the parish register of Saint Mina in Logothetianika in 1801,but was still regarded as a nickname. Also it appears that three members Margetis,came from Koropi (on the coast going to Sounion) two of whom settled in Araniathika where they added the name Aroney in order to register their origin. A century later it made an appearance in Chora. It appears that the present day family name, Margetis was originally a nickname of one branch of the large family Aroney of Aroniathika, but it was decided by the Prefects of Argolidos and Corinthias, that the family name Aroney be replaced by Margetis.
Apart from Kythera the family name is mentioned in Crete, and in an earlier period 1536 it is mentioned in a catalogue of conscripts from Chania, and in 1678 there is reference in Kefallinia to a painter of icons Christodoulos Margetis. These cases show that the family name Margetis has connections outside the region and are linked directly with Kythera.)

But to continue:
Judging by the photograph the men appear to be wearing their" Sunday Best", but life on the land was very hard,so their father decided that the boys had to seek a better life elsewhere, and chose Australia as they had relatives there already who would be able to help them.

Bretos was the first to go and arrived in Sydney on the 3rd of December 1903 on the ship Orizaba.He stayed with an Uncle (name unknown) and went to school ,and learnt English quickly by reading the local newspapers and having a dictionary beside him to look up words he didn't understand. He was a good student and did well,even with language difficulties. When he left school he helped his Uncle in his business and managed to save money to send home to his family in Kythera. He continued saving as much as he could and by the time he was nineteen he had his first restaurant.

In 1915 he had to register with the government,and received a Certificate of Registration of Alien,under The War Precautions(Aliens Registration)Regulations 1916 and was finaly registered at a Police Station in Sydney. He then became active in the Kytherian Association,and was one of the founding members of the commitee,and was the Secretary one year.
Two of his sisters,Panayiotitsa(Bonney) and Evangalia,and his two brothers,Dimitri(Uncle Jim) and Minas came to Australia,but Mina later returned to Greece to his parents and sister Maria.The girls married,Bonney to Vasili Georgopoulos who had been a chef at the royal court in Athens,and later opened the Athenian Restaurant in Castlreagh St and Evangalia to Spiro Coroneo(Uncle Sam) who opened a business in Greenthorpe south west in N.S.W.Uncle Jim never married because he was short and worried that he would have short children.

Bretos opened a restaurant at 617 George St Sydney with white tablecloths on the tables and red velvet covered chairs. It was an "up market" restaurant and served three course meals for two and sixpence,which was expensive for those times. It is interesting to note that the shop next door was a Chemist Shop which may have given Dad the idea for his future children to become Pharmacists (which they did).

He developed a love for music, especially Opera,and took singing lessons with a Mrs Cresswell who taught him many songs from operas, but his favourite was La Donna Mobile wich he sang with great gusto at friends parties. Through this interest he met Theodora Lianos who was also a music lover,and had learnt to play the piano quite well,and soon there were wedding bells in the air and they married at the Agia Triatha in Surry Hills.

Dad had also bought two Picture Shows in Fairfield The Crescent and The Butterfly,and while he took care of the business in town,Mum travelled to Fairfield to manage the businesses out there.It was in Fairfield that Dad obtained his life long passion for cricket and in 1925 was asked by the Fairfield Cricket Club to be their Vice-President, which he accepted with pleasure.
But the Depression was still here and things were not going well in Australia and the rest of the world,and Dad had to close the restaurant at first,and later the Picture Shows, and so lost everything. But he was the eternal optimist,and always believed that when one door closed another one opened. He took jobs wherever he could find them and went to Parkes at one time, and back to Bondi, and was a cook in his brother-in-laws restaurant. He even opened a cake shop in Double Bay, the Niagara Cake Shop, but the economy was still bad, so he had to close it too. Then Dad was offered a job in Canberra with Harry Notaras and went there to try his luck.
At that time Mum,George and I lived in a flat in Double Bay and went to the Double Bay Public School (which is still there). Mum took a part-time job in a sweet factory, folding the little cardboard boxes that the sweets went in. Mum always made sure that she was home before we walked home from school and greeted us dressed as if she was going out.

Mum also arranged for George and I to have music lessons with Mrs Cresswell and paid for them by sewing dresses for her .When Mrs Cresswell came to give us our piano lessons she often heard me singing, and even though I was about eight years old, apart from teaching me the piano she taught me a few little songs, a couple of which I still remember.

I went on to the Wollahra Opportunity School and George went to Randwick Boys High School. Then Dad was offered the opportunity to buy one of the Notaras shops in Kingston which he accepted and at last at the age of Fifty-three he was on his way to start a new life at Victor's Rotary Cafe in Kingston Canberra,and he sent for his family to join him at last.

Once in Canberra Mum and Dad joined the Greek Community and became very active in promoting Greece by broadcasting and arranging programmes on special Greek Days, the 25th of March and the 28th 0f October on the radio station 2CA .George read speeches about these days,and I sang Greek Songs, and records of Greek music were also played. These were fairly well received by the general community there, but there was still a certain amount of xenophobia, even though Greece was fighting with the Allies.

Dad met many young men who were customers, who came to say goodbye to him when they leaving for the war in Europe and some kept in touch by letters. Some cadets from the nearby Duntroon Military College,would ring to say they were coming in the evening for a meal. Even though it was after hours in Canberra,Dad served them in the large kitchen at the shop,and the boys sat around the table and laughed and talked to Dad while he cooked them steak and eggs on the fuel stove there. This was about 1942-43.

Mum was also instrumental in encouraging the Musical Society of Canberra to write to the A.B.C. in Sydney asking them to bring the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to Canberra which they did, and other cultural performances followed, including the concert given by the world famous Greek Soprano, Elena Nicholaides.

George and I went to Canberra High School where we joined the choir and took up sport, hockey for me and athletics for George. I took the part of the leading soprano in the Opera Dido and Aeneas and George sang in the choir,and as a result of this performance was invited to perform in the same role at the Armidale University. Mum came with me and sat proudly in the audience, thinking of the interest and love of music that she and Dad had fostered in us. Mum and Dad then sent me to board at Frensham at Mittagong,where I became the head of the choir and represented the school at Singing School Festivals in Sydney. Mum or Dad always came to Mittagong if I was in any concert at the school.

George and I went to Sydney University to study pharmacy (George had given up studying Dentistry in Melbourne as he realized that it wasn't for him) so we were together. We had found our apprenticeships,George with our Uncle Theo Lianos who was managing Christians Pharmacy in Kings Cross,and I spent the first year of my apprenticeship with Fred Rolfe in Queanbeyan and the balance at Paul Kelly's Pharmacy at Brookvale which was a long way from Coogee especially by public transport,and I travelled three hours a day - (very few students had cars in those days).

We had joined the Olympic Club when we came back to Sydney to study, and met many members whose parents knew our parents previously so we felt quite at home.We took part in many of the club's activities,the parties and competitions and talent quests .Joan Varvaressos and I were keen but friendly adversaries. Some I remembered were Big Con and Little Con Mottee, Nick Marcels, Stan Georgiadis, Con Papalexion, Toti Stanley, Nina Aikonand Bill Psaltis, to name of few. They also staged a Greek Comedy "Sproxenia which "brought the house down" when it was performed.

We boarded with a family in Coogee, Mrs Parsonage (a great cook)and her husband, who were very good to us. They allowed us to have a party when they went on holidays, (they were very trusting)so we invited friends that we had made at the club and some from the university. Mum drove down with the local fruiterer Kyriacos Calligeros,
(who was going to the markets) and brought some food for the party (and to join in the fun of course). A good time was had by all and we sang and danced and talked till late. I remember Con Mottee and Areanthe Simos and many more who were there that great night.

At Uni, George and I joined the S.U.P.A.
(Sydney University Pharmacy Association), and helped organise the Pharmacy Ball one year, which was a great success mainly due to George's boundless enthusiam. I was also elected the Pharmacy representative on the S.R.C (the Student's Representative Council), and captained the Pharmacy Hockey Team (we never won a match).

Also about this time a group of Greek descent undergraduates were brought together by Manuel Aroney to form the Sigma Epsilon Phi Chapter and we met fairly regularly and arranged a dinner in honour of His Emminence,Archbishop Iezekiel. It was another great success. Manuel,who was head of the steering committee acted as M.C. and three toasts were proposed by Andrew Coroneo (to the University), fourth year Medical student George Papadopoulos(to Sigma Epsilon Phi), and final year Law student Helen Gleeson (to Hellenism), and Pharmacist George Margetis moved the vote of appreciation to His Emminence, in Greek.

At about this time George and I had moved from Coogee to Kings Cross to a boarding house, The Oriana, (which later became the Rex Hotel and is now units). The other residents in the house were mostly elderly ladies,who liked us very much, and fussed over us and said prayers and lit candles at St Canice's Church when we having our exams.( Ilike to think that their prayers helped).
In the meantime Mum and Dad were working very hard In Canberra,as there were very few scholarships to the Uni,so all fees and books had to be paid for,as well as our board,and as pharmacy apprentices we were not allowed travel passes either even though our wage was a mere pittance.Dad constantly urged us to work hard to get along and at one stage,after we had written letters about our social activities and nothng else,he sent a very stern letter ,saying that he was pleased we were having a good time !!!!!!,but what about our studies???????,and not to forget that he and Mum were working very hard for us .I still have that letter.
But Mum and Dad were still active in the Canberra Greek Community,with Dad helping many new migrants in Canberra to translate any documents they had,and in 1951 the Very Rev.Archbishop Theophylactos was aproached by the organisers of the forthcoming Women's Jubilee Convention to be held in Canberra in October of that year, to send two delegates from the Ladies Welfare Committee of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australasia. Mum was approached to be one of two delegates,the other being Mrs.K.Hood (Melides)from Sydney,and Mum was greatly honoured and accepted. Her paper referred to the trials that Greek migrant women suffered on coming to Australia,and ways and means that could be done to overcome them,and for Australian women to do their part in helping them to learn the Australian way of life,and eventually to integrate into the general community.The papers of both delegates were well rceived.
After KIngs Cross we moved to a house in South Coogee,where we studied for our Finals and where a group of students met two or three times for coaching by a pharmacy lecturer. George and I supplied supper,(sandwiches) and served tea from a very large crockery teapot that George had found somewhere that held seventeen cups of tea( which was just enough). George and I found some permanent work in Pharmacy,George at Kings Cross again and I worked for a time at Stevens Pharmacy at Surry Hills which was near the Agia Triatha in Bourke St. I then went home to Canberra to do relieving work in the country, and George did likewise. We were never lonely on these jobs, as all we had to do was to enter any Greek Milk Bar and tell the owners we were young Greek pharmacists away from home, and they opened their arms to us.

After we had finished our various jobs in the country, we both returned to Sydney and lived in MacMahons Point, and we found permanent work, George at the Cross again,and I at Bradford's Pharmacy in Wynyard Station.

Then in 1956 Dad received from Coles an offer to buy the shop. We were all thrilled and looked forward once more to be a family together. Mum and Dad packed up and moved in with us at MacMahons Point until we found a lovely unit to move into at Neutral Bay.

In the meantime Dad financed George and I to purchase two pharmacies,one in Waverley, and the other in Redfern which had a large Greek population. We then opened a pharmacy in Caltex House in Kent Sydney, which at that time,1958 was the tallest building at that end of town. Mum went there to work with an employed pharmacist. Dad went to help George at Redfern because of so many Greek customers, and I employed a cousin, Elaine Theodore to help me.

They were small businesses compared to those of to-day, but they did well although the shop at Waverley starting from scratch was slower but Dad was in his element. He had his family with him, and we went to concerts and parties together, and many of our friends included them in our invitations as well.

But he wasn't going to be satisfied until he had bought a house for us, which he did when he found one in Victory St. Rose Bay. We moved in July 1961 and each morning Dad got up early to go down and buy the daily paper, and go back home to read it in the front family room,which looked out to the beautiful Harbour,and he would say "I wouldn't call the King my Uncle."
But it wasn't to last and in November he went into hospital for an operation,and his pancreas burst and he passed away on the 12th November 1961. It was a dreadful shock to us and everyone. Mum, George and I were devastated too that Dad, having succeded at last in everything that he could wish for,was not allowed to enjoy it more. But at least he made it,and he was a great Dad, and we loved him very much and George and I were very grateful that we had those few happy years together as a family and I remember a comment made by one of Dad's cousins Jim Galanis,at the funeral, that he had never seen a man who was so happy with his family and proud of them too. For that remark we were thankful.And we put on his headstone:

TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS WE LEAVE BEHIND ,IS NOT TO DIE.

And that's where Dad will
always be.
.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vasilia Uhrweiss (nee Margetis) on 03.11.2011

Bretos Margetis with sister Evangelia.

Bretos Margetis, was featured in Life in Australia, and was a founding member of the Kytherian Association of Australia.

Evangelia later married Sam Coroneo and moved to Grenfell.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vasilia Uhrweiss (nee Margetis) on 03.11.2011

Bretos Margetis and family, outside Ayia Triatha, Surry Hills

From left to right:
Bretos holding son George, standing next to his wife Theodora (nee Lianos).
In front Diana and Socrates, younger siblings of Theodora.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vasilia Uhrweiss (nee Margetis) on 03.11.2011

Bretos Margetis and friend

Taken in Sydney in 1920's.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vasilia Uhrweiss (nee Margetis) on 03.11.2011

Bretos Margetis as a young man

Taken in Sydney, in a natural enviroment.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vasilia Uhrweiss (nee Margetis) on 03.11.2011

Bretos Margetis, his father and brothers

From Left to Right:

Minas Margetis, Bretos Margetis, George Margetis (father), and Dimitri (Jim) Margetis.

Photograph c. 1903.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vasilia Uhrweiss (nee Margetis) on 03.11.2011

Bretos G Margetis

Entry from Life in Australia, published in 1916, page 201.

Mr Vretos G. Margetis, who hails from Kythera, is extremely young,
but capable and full of drive. He is today owner and manager of two splendid and profitable shops standing in the most central locations in the great city of Sydney. These shops afford work to many fellow Greeks.

Bretos Margetis as a 12 year old with his father and brothers in Greece

Mr Margetis came to Australia in 1903 and, after working hard for a few years, bought the first of his shops. The second he bought shortly afterwards, in partnership with his brother, Minas.

Shop of Bretos Margetis at 615 George St Sydney

As his commercial career has developed, Mr Margetis has indeed
been revealed as a young man of worth. Thanks to his polite behaviour, he has always earned the goodwill of those who have come to know him personally.

Download a .pdf of page 201, here:

LIA_English_p201.pdf

His name is spelt Vretos in Life in Australia but I have always spelt it Bretos.

Bretos was born on 24 Nov 1889, He landed in Australia on 5 Dec 1903 per ‘Orizaba.’

Arrivals Australia, 1903

He was married in 1925 at the Agia Triatha Church Bourke St Sydney.

Wedding Photographs

Studio portrait of Bretos Margetis and Theodora Lianos

Bretos Margetis and Theodora Lianos outside Agia Triatha, Sydney

Wedding party photograph, Wedding of Bretos Margetis and Theodora Lianos

Studio portrait of Theodora Lianos on her wedding day

Studio portrait of Theodora Lianos on her wedding day, with mirror image

Bretos Margetis at the wedding of Nicholas Sophios to Aspacia Lianos c, 1927

He was a Foundation member of the Kytherian Association of Australia, 1922 -1924, along with Cosmas J. Cassimatis, President, Peter Minoukos, Vice President, Bill Feros, Secretary, Nick Marcello, Treasurer, Theodore E. Kritharis, John Psaltis, and Cosmas Andronicos.

He rejoined the Committee from 1926 - 1928, when he fulfilled the role of Secretary.

In 1924, a year before his marriage to Theodora Lianos, Bretos had acquired two cinemas in the outer Sydney suburb of Fairfield. These were called the The Crescent and The Butterfly. While Bretos looked after his restaurant in George Street, Sydney, Theodora used to travel to Fairfield to supervise the running of the cinemas. This lasted until 1928 when Margetis left cinema exhibition.

He lost everything in the Depression of 1929, but undeterred, and with a wife and two children to provide for, he took various jobs around the country, finally settling on employment with Harry Notaras in Canberra, in 1940. He brought his family to live in Canberra. Mr Notaras had two cafes,and sold one to Bretos, which he called Victor's Rotary cafe. He and Theodora worked there, and put their children George and Vasilia through University. Both graduated in Pharmacy.

In 1956 the Cafe was sold to Coles, and he and Theodora moved to Sydney, where he bought a shop for George in Redfern, and opened a shop for Vasilia in Waverley, and another in Caltex House in Kent Street, City. His happiness was complete when they moved into their own home in Rose Bay in 1961, but he did not live to enjoy it, as he died suddenly, after an operation in hospital on November 12 1961.

Bretos Margetis lived his life as the eternal optimist, whereby the glass was always half full.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Peter (Panagiotis) Prineas on 02.12.2007

Manuel and Marilyn at the Roxy Theatre, Bingara, April 2007.

16th April 2007 - driving back to Sydney with Manuel Aroney from a Kytherian event in Brisbane, we took the back roads so that Manuel [and Dr Archie Kalokerinos who was travelling with George Poulos] could visit the Roxy Theatre in Bingara NSW, part of the story in "Katsehamos and the Great Idea".

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by George Poulos on 26.10.2004

Arthur (Athanasios) Gerakiteys, Aronathika, Bondi Junction Sydney 2004

Arthur is 92 years of age and lives in Bondi Junction, Sydney, Australia.

His parents were Panayiotis, and Maria (nee, Trifilis) from Aroniathika.

The family's parachoukli was "Ksipolitos".

The nickname proabably derived from the famiy's poverty - not having sufficient funds in order to buy shoes - or from an ancestor who refused to wear shoes - whilst performing his day to day activities.

It would be great to have Athur's more detailed family history on the web-site.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Kiriaki Orfanos on 10.06.2004

The Aroney Boys outside the New York Cafe, Nowra, circa 1930

Images of Nick Theodore Aroney outside the cafe he built in 1930.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Alexandra Ermolaeff on 02.12.2003

Manuel J Aroney with his parents in Mackay, circa 1949-50

Manuel J Aroney with his parents Jim and Stamatia Aroney in the front yard of their home in Mackay, circa 1949-50

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Alexandra Ermolaeff on 02.12.2003

Century Cafe, Mackay, North Queensland

The Central Café, Mackay, North Queensland. Photo taken circa 1930.

Pictured left to right: the café cook, Dimitrios Aroney, Andy and Peter Aroney, and the café waitresses