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submitted by The Daily Examiner, Grafton on 30.10.2014

Spiro and Angelo Notaras eating ice cream at “ The Proms” concert the Saraton Theatre .

"Biggest event to hit Grafton in 25 years"

Grafton Examiner, 28th Oct 2014

Clair Morton


GRAFTON'S Afternoon at the Proms may have even been better than the real thing.

Angelo Notaras thinks so, and judging by the crowd's enthusiastic standing ovations on Sunday afternoon, they do too.

An Afternoon at the Proms, based on the Proms Concert of London, was a first for the Clarence Valley and included all the classics, including Land of Hope and Glory and Sailor's Horn Pipe performed by the Clarence Valley Sinfonia Orchestra.

Having been to the Proms in London on many occasions, Mr Notaras, also the co-owner of the Saraton Theatre, said he was happy to report the success of the local version might have secured its future as an annual event.

"I think it might have been the biggest event to hit Grafton in 25 years," Mr Notaris said.

"The thing that stuck me was enthusiasm and community spirit of all the people on stage.

"Grafton doesn't understand how lucky they are to have people like composer Greg Butcher and everyone else in this town, and we need to have things like this so people like this can come out and blossom."

Composer Greg Butcher said the show was tremendous.

"I'm very proud of how well both the orchestra and choir played," Mr Butcher said. "Nothing like this has been done for a while with local musicians and it all came off."

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by The Daily Examiner, Grafton on 03.02.2014

Calling Australia home was a lucky move for Greek son

Grafton Examiner
27th Jan 2014

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Spiro and Angelo Notaras look out into one of the newly built smaller cinemas - at the Saraton Theatre. PHOTO: ADAM HOURIGAN

BUSINESSMAN, inventor, banana farmer, cinema owner, fundraiser - Angelo Notaras wears many hats and they all seem to fit comfortably.

His lifetime of achievement has been recognised with the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), with the notation emphasising his "service to the Greek community, particularly through the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia".

"It's a great honour," Mr Notaras said, adding he had no trouble keeping the award a secret until its official announcement yesterday.

"And being the son of a recent immigrant to Australia in the last 100 or so years it's a double honour."

Born into what is now one of Grafton's most notable families in 1933, Mr Notaras first ran a small cinema in Woolgoolga, then entered the banana industry.

That led him and his younger brother John into the import and manufacture of machinery, including two highly successful products - a minuscule computer ignition for small engines that was named New Invention of the Year on ABC-TV's The Inventors program in 1975, and the top-selling Atom Lawn Edger.

Their business success enabled them to become generous fundraisers and benefactors of many causes.

Grafton has seen the benefit of Mr Notaras's work in the painstaking restoration of the Saraton Theatre, that had been built by his father Tony and uncle Jack in the 1920s, and which he bought with his brothers and his cousin, Spiro.

He described the project as "an extraordinary challenge that I believe has given Grafton something to be really proud of".

"I was up there at Christmas time and was very pleased with how good it looks, and how clean and tidy it was," he said.

The Notaras family originated on the Greek island of Kythera, where many of the population decided to migrate to Australia.

The island's population is just 3000 but in Australia there are more than 60,000 Kytherians and their descendants.

Mr Notaras has worked and contributed funds to establish a comprehensive website, kythera-family.net, and the publication of 13 books about the history of the islanders and the wider Greek population in Australia.

His contributions to the Greek Orthodox Church have included helping to run a fundraising campaign that collected $700,000 to help an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program.

He was awarded the Cross of St Andrew, the Greek Orthodox Church's highest award, in 2003.

Mr Notaras said he was a proud Grafton product, adding there were many outstanding people who had come form the city, including his twin brother Mitchell, an eminent surgeon, who died in 2011.

"I'm very proud that our family name is up there with everyone else in Grafton," he said.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Kytherian Newsflash on 21.05.2013

Angelo Notaras demonstrating a previous award winning hand held machine

This year, Angelo and brother John of Atom Industries, have again been awarded fold medals at the prestigious Salon international des inventions de Genève - the International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva.

This year the Exhibition was held from the 10th April 2013 until the 14th April 2013.

http://www.inventions-geneva.ch/cgi-bin/fr-presse.php

Each Gold Medal won by Atom Industries was for:

1. Highly efficient portable powered wood drilling machine with automatic reverse gear combined with automatic de- accelerator rotating safety handle if wood auger suddenly jams in the wood. For use in rural fencing and construction.

2. Very efficient portable blower for use in the garden , with new fan design technology resulting in very high air thrust performance , lower noise levels and decreased fuel requirements.

Angelo & John and Atom Industries have secured a number of Gold Medals at this exhibition in previous years. Their achievements consistently display a skill and aptitude for 'design excellence'.

John Notaras, partner in the business, Atom Industries, surrounded by a bevy of Domestic and International Awards with brother Angelo Notaras

The International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva (Geneva Inventions) is a show that takes place annually in the canton of Geneva in Switzerland.

Gold medal awarded to Angelo and John Notaras of Atom Industries, obverse side

Gold medal awarded to Angelo and John Notaras of Atom Industries, reverse side

It was founded in 1972 by Jean-Luc Vincent. The event takes place every year at Palexpo, in the town of Grand-Saconnex . It attracts over 700 exhibitors from 45 countries are exhibiting 1,000 inventions and welcomes over 60,000 visitors each year

Inventions presented cover a wide area, including energy, environmental protection, information technology, mechanical engineering, industrial processes, watches, electricity, electronics, construction, engineering civil, carpentry, plumbing, ventilation, heating materials security and alarm, DIY, household arts, business and technical equipment, agriculture, gardening, textiles, medicine and hygiene, optics, teaching transportation, health, food, cosmetics, entertainment, advertising, packaging, toys and games.

The International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva in full swing

In 2009, the show won the patronage of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in addition to the patronage of Switzerland, canton and city of Geneva.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Kytherian Newsflash on 21.05.2013

John Notaras, partner in the business, Atom Industries, with brother Angelo Notaras

....surrounded by a bevy of Domestic and International Awards that the Company has won.

Amongst these awards are numerous Gold Medals won at the International Inventions & Technology Convention, Geneva, Switzerland.

John, and brother Angelo, share a 40 year history as successful inventors. Atom Industries focuses on supplying high quality hand held garden and agricultural implements to a national and international market.
See: http://www.atomindustries.com.au

Angelo and John have been awarded a further two Medals at the 2013 Salon international des inventions de Genève - the International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva.

This year the Exhibition was held from the 10th April 2013 until the 14th April 2013.

http://www.inventions-geneva.ch/cgi-bin/fr-presse.php

Each Gold Medal won by Atome Industries was for:

1. Highly efficient portable powered wood drilling machine with automatic reverse gear combined with automatic de- accelerator rotating safety handle if wood auger suddenly jams in the wood. For use in rural fencing and construction.

2. Very efficient portable blower for use in the garden , with new fan design technology resulting in very high air thrust performance , lower noise levels and decreased fuel requirements.

Angelo & John and Atom Industries have secured a number of Gold Medals at this exhibition in previous years. Their achievements consistently display a skill and aptitude for 'design excellence'.

The International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva (Geneva Inventions) is a show that takes place annually in the canton of Geneva in Switzerland .

It was founded in 1972 by Jean-Luc Vincent. The event takes place every year at Palexpo, in the town of Grand-Saconnex . It attracts over 700 exhibitors from 45 countries are exhibiting 1,000 inventions and welcomes over 60,000 visitors each year

Inventions presented cover a wide area, including energy, environmental protection, information technology, mechanical engineering, industrial processes, watches, electricity, electronics, construction, engineering civil, carpentry, plumbing, ventilation, heating materials security and alarm, DIY, household arts, business and technical equipment, agriculture, gardening, textiles, medicine and hygiene, optics, teaching transportation, health, food, cosmetics, entertainment, advertising, packaging, toys and games.

In 2009, the show won the patronage of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in addition to the patronage of Switzerland, canton and city of Geneva.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Kytherian Association Of Australia on 20.12.2012

Angelo Notaras holding the Kytherian Medal of Honour

On the 10th December, 2012, at a ceremony at the Athenian Restaurant, Barrack Street, Sydney, attended by family, friends, and members of the Committee of the Kytherian Association of Australia, Angelo Notaras was presented with the Kytherian Medal of Honour.

Kytherian Medal of Honour, Reverse side.

He was also presented with a Certificate of Recognition which read:

Hellenic Republic

Municipality of Kythera

Honorary Award

KYTHERIAN MEDAL OF HONOUR

To

Evangelos Notaras,

in recognition of his achievements for the Greek Orthodox Church

and his social and cultural contribution

to Greek-Australian & Kytherian Culture

both in Australia and in Kythera

Kythera, December 1, 2012,

The Mayor of Kythera

Theodore Koukoulis

The Medal of the Municipality of Kythera
awarded by Professor George Leontsinis,
Municipal Councillor,
Representative of the Municipality of Kythera

Angelo Notaras received the award for the following services:

Services to the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia and the Greek community & Kytherian community in Australia & on Kythera

Services to the Kytherian Association of Australia (established 1922).


Services to the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia and the Greek community & Kytherian community in Australia & on Kythera
.

In 2000 Angelo Notaras was a member of the Millennium Heritage Committee of the Greek Orthodox Church and of the Greek Australian Sports Hall of Fame. The Greek Australian Sports Hall of Fame ensured recognition for Australian athletes of Greek heritage who had represented Australia and had attained prominent positions in Australian sport. The Millennium Heritage Committee formed the Provicare Foundation, a charity established under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Church to aid disadvantaged persons suffering from alcohol and drug addiction.

Funding for the Provicare Foundation was undertaken on an Australia-wide basis under the direction of Angelo Notaras and Father Steven Scoutas of St Spyridon Church, Kingsford. Angelo Notaras and Father Steven developed a proposal under which Angelo and John manufactured (all at their own cost) moulds to create thousands of hollow plastic batons, fashioned to resemble Greek columns, that were distributed to communities and parishes throughout Australia, to be filled with coin donations. They also coordinated the packaging, transport and delivery of the plastic batons to every single Greek Orthodox parish and community across Australia, as well as monitoring and accounting for the returns after nine months. The initial efforts raised $500,000 and, with subsequent distribution and collection of batons, the final fundraising amount totalled some $700,000. This amount has been used to further the aims of the Provicare Foundation, focusing particularly on the Sydney metropolitan area. The success of these achievements is principally due to the inspiration, financial support and commitment of Angelo Notaras.

Angelo Notaras also participated in further fundraising for the purposes of refurbishing premises provided by the NSW Government at Marine Parade, Brighton-le-Sands; a sum in excess of $100,000 was raised for the Provicare Foundation and the Greek Welfare Centre to provide social services to disadvantaged persons.

As a result of these acts of beneficence, Angelo was awarded the "Cross of St. Andrew", the Greek Orthodox Church's highest award. The medal was presented on 28 November 2003 for “valuable services to the Church and the community”. (A photograph of Angelo Notaras, with wife Mary, taken on the day of presentation, is included with this nomination).
Services to the island of Kythera, Greece, and the Greek-Australian and Kytherian-Australian community.

Kythera is a small island that lies at the tip of the Peloponnese in southern Greece. The large island of Crete is located to the South of Kythera. Since 1854, a majority of the islands’ residents have chosen to migrate to Australia. 3000 Kytherians live on the island. There are 60,000 Kytherians and their descendants’ resident in Australia.

In 2003 James Prineas, a Kytherian-Australian living in Germany, devised the concept of an electronic cultural archive, based on an open access web-site. He proposed that www.kythera-family.net be established, and that instead of being based on the ‘standard’ principle of a ‘central’ web master, monitoring and ordering web content – the kythera-family site should be accessible to all. Kytherians from all around the world were empowered to upload photographs, stories and audio-files, directly onto the site. The concept sounds passé, 10 years ‘down the track’, but at the time, it was revolutionary.

Angelo Notaras recognised immediately that the idea was brilliant. He and John agreed to provide a substantial sum as seed capital to establish the web-site. With his contribution, and his imprimatur, the site became operational very quickly. In the past 10 years the site content has grown to almost 18,000 entries. It is construed as the ‘Encyclopaedia Kytherianika’ in the world, as well as an electronic museum of Kythera. Major encyclopaedias utilise its content. It is used by many universities for educational purposes and has already been the subject of a Master’s and Ph.D thesis. It is the envy of other Greek-Australian, and cultural institutions in Australia, and around the world. (See the original ‘prospectus’ form for the website which accompanies this nomination).
In 2005, Angelo Notaras was instrumental in setting up the Kytherian World Heritage Fund. (A 4-page brochure, summarising the achievements of the KWHF to 2010 is included with this nomination). The main aim of the fund was to preserve the Kytherian heritage for the benefit of Kytherians worldwide.

Kytherian World Heritage Fund

The work of the fund grew out of Angelo Notaras’ initiative, along with brothers John and Mitchell, to personally fund, the publication of former Ambassador to Greece, Hugh Gilchrist’s comprehensive historical research, detailing the relationship between Greeks and Australians. Australians and Greeks, Volume 1 was published in 1992. A large print run of 5000 units was produced.

Angelo Notaras also contributed funds to the second volume, Australians and Greeks, Volume 2 published in 1997. And to the third volume, Australians and Greeks, Volume 3, published in 2004. The three volumes are the definitive history of the Greek presence in Australia.
Since 1992, under Angelo Notaras’ stewardship, the KWHF has gradually evolved into a minor publishing house, with 22 books on its publication list. Over time the KWHF has either published, or been heavily associated with the best three volumes of the history of the Greeks in Australia, as well as the best individual volumes on Greek Life in Australia in 1916, Greeks in Queensland, Greeks in Australian Cafes, Greeks in Australian cinemas, and the Greeks relationship with the Australian military. Excellent individual biographies and life stories of Greek and Kytherian Australians also form part of the publication list. As does a very good Greek cookbook.

Kytherian history is also well represented. The Kytherian World Heritage Fund have produced a general history of Kythera, and specific histories of Kythera under British occupation, the origins of Kytherian Surnames, the history of the town of Potamos, books of vintage photographs taken on Kythera during the early part of the twentieth century, and the best DVD historical and tourist guide for Kythera, ever produced. All are in print, and available.

In 2012, KWHF plans to print four additional books, including Kytherian Surnames, which traces the derivation of every Kytherian surname, and a photographic book, detailing the island of Kythera from the air.

A book list can be downloaded at
/download/KWHFBookPriceList.pdf

Kytherian Photography & Realia. The plate glass negative collection of Panayotis Fatseas – 1,800 valuable prints – which would have been lost to posterity, without the intervention of Angelo Notaras (Sydney), the Kythera Cultural Association, (Potamos, Kythera), under the Directorship of John Stathatos, and the KWHF. Plate glass negatives photographs taken on Kythera from the 1920’s to 1940’s were deteriorating in a storeroom on the island. Angelo Notaras provided computers, scanners, printers, archiving material, and secure storage containers for this important preservation project. This led to a major exhibition at the prestigious Benaki Museum, Athens, in 2008, and to the publication of Panayotis Fatseas. Faces of Kythera, 1920-1938. (2008).
Angelo Notaras has also been involved with a number of Special Projects on the island of Kythera.

Eye Clinic on Kythera. KWHF provided some input into conceiving the idea. It was actioned by Professor Minas Coroneo, Professor of Ophthalmology, University of NSW. Minas mobilised ophthalmologists and optometrists from Europe and Australia, brought sophisticated equipment to the island, and tested the eye sight of many residents, and treated their eyes, en masse.

Medical Equipment containers to Kythera for distribution to the Hospital (Potamos), and Aged Care Facility, (Potamos). Financial and logistical aid in collecting, packing, and shipping beds, with internal moving parts, and equipment to enhance resident and patient mobility on the island. A 20ft container was sent in 2007, and a 40ft container in 2009. This should provide the residents on the island of Kythera with access to wheel chairs and other aids, for years to come.

Library Shelving for Kythera. Logistical and financial support to despatch library shelving, from Alhambra, Los Angeles, USA, to Kythera. (2009). These shelves will form part of the first lending library to be instigated on the island of Kythera. The projects was instigated and superbly managed by Cynthia Cavalenes-Jarvis, California, USA.

Services to the Kytherian Association of Australia (established 1922).

Angelo Notaras joined the Board of the Kytherian Association of Australia in 2005 and has had a profound impact on its activities. He has made a significant contribution in both terms of advice to and mentoring of the younger members of the Board .

Since his appointment to the Board his influence has been widespread and includes the following:
Angelo has encouraged a sharper focus on cultural issues, particularly through www.kythera-family.net and the book publishing arm of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund, with the result that the Association now expends far more funds on important cultural activities than it had done hitherto. As a result, many important works - in both the English and Greek language - have been published and made available for the first time.

With his proven business acumen, Angelo has provided wise counsel at the time the Association’s Board evaluated and purchased a building for investment purposes and for the creation of a substantial cultural resource centre and library in Rockdale known as Kythera House.

Angelo advised the Board on how to best achieve the refurbishment of Kythera House in order to provide a high quality cultural centre, which would be attractive to both members and friends of the Association, in order to promote greater use of the facility and the resources amongst members of the Kytherian and wider Greek-Australian community.

He has encouraged the setting up of record and account systems to increase the Association’s membership base.

Angelo has also determinedly pursued the revised and updating of the Association’s Constitution in order to help meet the needs of a 21st century cultural organisation.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Angelo L Notaras on 24.10.2011

Mitchell Notaras at the time of his graduation from university, with a degree in Medicine

An Obituary for Mitchell Notaras

*Variations of this Obituary have appeared in:

The Kytherian, Newsletter of the Kytherian Association of Australia, September 2011
The Grafton Examiner, August 6th, 2011
The (Brisbane) Courier Mail, Friday October 14, 2011, page 105
The Sydney Morning Herald, Friday October 21st, 2011, page 14
Eulogy by his twin brother, Angelo

MB BS, BSc, MD, MS, MSc, BA, MRACP, FRACS, FRCS, FRCS (Ed), FACS

A Medical Man Abroad Who Never Forgot Where He Came From


Dr Mitchell Notaras was born on 26th March in 1933 to Greek immigrant parents Antonius (Tony) Notaras and Ianthe (nee, Megalokonomos), in Grafton, where he was raised. Marble Bar Cafe, Grafton in 1916. (Tony is pictured at the front of the cafe as a nineteen year old).
Interior of the Marble Bar Cafe in its heyday
Interior of the Marble Bar Cafe in its heyday 2
Tony, John & Theo Notaras, Greek Parade Lismore 1940's

His secondary education commenced at Grafton High School and concluded at Newington College, Sydney. He entered Sydney University Medical School at age 16 as a recipient of a Commonwealth Government Scholarship. As a university student he appreciated the medical and surgical experience gained at the Grafton Base Hospital with doctors Mulhearn, Harris and Holland.

Dr Notaras undertook his clinical undergraduate studies at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, where he returned after graduation in the posts of Junior and Senior Medical Officer. To gain experience abroad, he travelled to England working as a ship’s surgeon on a cargo boat.

Dr Notaras continued his studies while working at the Hamersmith Hospital. He obtained Fellowships of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and England. He also held the posts of Senior Registrar and Medical Research Council Fellow at St Marks Hospital for Colorectal Diseases, London; and Senior Registrar in Surgery, University College Hospital, London.

Dr Notaras became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He held a number of consultant posts including Senior Lecturer and Hon. Consultant Surgeon, at University College Hospital, London; and was a Consultant Surgeon to the Italian Hospital London, St Lukes Hospital for the Clergy, and Barnet and Edgeware General Hospitals. He was a recognized teacher in surgery at the University of London, and visited and lectured in 28 countries.

An early area of specialisation for Dr Notaras was colorectal surgery, to which he introduced techniques which became established procedures. He was also a pioneer in the use of mesh repair of hernias, which only require a local anaesthetic and allows hernia sufferers to be in and out of hospital on the same day. This was a major step forward in what was previously a complex and invasive surgical procedure. He also introduced Lateral Subcutaneous internal Anal Spincterotomy for anal fissure, now an established procedure.

Visiting academic posts included Professor in Surgery, at the University of Curatiba, Brazil, the University of Bergen, Norway, and the University of Khartoum, Sudan.

Dr Notaras published in various surgical journals, and wrote chapters for a number of surgical textbooks, including Maingot’s Textbook of Abdominal Surgery, Robb and Smith’s Textbook of Operative Surgery, Nyhus’s Textbook of Operative Surgery, Nyhus’s Textbook of Abdominal Surgery (Spanish), and Surgical Clinics of North America. He was a member of the Editorial Board of two journals, ColoProctology, and Hernia.

Dr Notaras established a company, Abgene (later taken over by Apogent Corporation, USA). Abgene became a leader in Europe, specialising in the manufacture of molecular biological reagents, special plastic consumables and instrumentation for life sciences. It also became involved in research, both inhouse and through collaborations with universities and industrial partners, particularly in gene and DNA technology.

Dr Notaras never forgot his Australian citizenship and was grateful to the Australian people for his university education. As a form of appreciation, he funded a million dollar scholarship in perpetuity in colorectal surgery, the Mitchell J Notaras Fellowship in Colorectal Surgery.pdf. The Fellowship was inaugurated at a ceremony held at Sydney University in 2004. The Fellowship is both a generous gift to further expertise in this medical area within Australia, and a benefit to the community at large. It provides an opportunity for aspiring young Australian surgeons to spend three years involved in colorectal clinical work at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, colorectal research, and a period of one year abroad at a centre of excellence. See, the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand, Triennial Report. TriennialReport09.pdf

When he retired Dr Notaras restored his grandfather’s house on the island of Kythera, Greece. He also became involved with the Kytherian community, including the purchase of equipment needed by the local hospital. He was a key member of the Kytherian Hospital Appeal Committee

Dr Notaras regularly travelled to Australia including Grafton where he, along with his brothers Angelo and John, and cousin Spiro, restored the heritage listed Saraton theatre as he “wanted the Clarence Valley to have the best”. The theatre was originally built by his father and uncle in 1926. School children line up for the opening of the Saraton Theatre in 1926. See the comprehensive magazine liftout about the opening of the Saraton, 2011. Saraton_24p_Liftout_s.pdf

Dr Notaras was a prodigious reader throughout his life, and in his retirement, and a man of great knowledge. He was much loved by all those whose lives he touched. His vitality, kindness, lively intelligence and friendships with so many, will be missed.

He died in the town of Frilingianika, on the island of Kythera, Greece, on the 30th July, 2011.

He was much loved by all of those whose lives he touched. His vitality, kindness, lively intelligence and friendships with so many, will be missed.

Dr Lorna Martin McPhail, his first wife, predeceased him. Dr Notaras is survived by his three daughters from his first marriage, Fiona, Nicola and Lorna. Also by his second wife, Bente Fasmer Notaras, and their two sons Anthony and James, his six grand children, and his siblings, Angelo, Irene, John and Betty.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 24.09.2011

Dr Mitchell Notaras 1933 – 2011

Obituary

MB BS, BSc, MD, MS, MSc, BA, MRACP, FRACS, FRCS, FRCS (Ed), FACS

A Medical Man Abroad Who Never Forgot Where He Came From


Dr Mitchell Notaras was born in 1933 to Greek immigrant parents in Grafton, where he was raised. His secondary education commenced at Grafton High School and concluded at Newington College, Sydney. He entered Sydney University Medical School at age 16 as a recipient of a Commonwealth Government Scholarship. As a university student he appreciated the medical and surgical experience gained at the Grafton Base Hospital with doctors Mulhearn, Harris and Holland.

Dr Notaras undertook his clinical undergraduate studies at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, where he returned after graduation in the posts of Junior and Senior Medical Officer. To gain experience abroad, he travelled to England working as a ship’s surgeon on a cargo boat.

Dr Notaras continued his studies while working at the Hamersmith Hospital. He obtained Fellowships of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and England. He also held the posts of Senior Registrar and Medical Research Council Fellow at St Marks Hospital for Colorectal Diseases, London; and Senior Registrar in Surgery, University College Hospital, London.

Dr Notaras became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He held a number of consultant posts including Senior Lecturer and Hon. Consultant Surgeon, at University College Hospital, London; and was a Consultant Surgeon to the Italian Hospital London, St Lukes Hospital for the Clergy, and Barnet and Edgeware General Hospitals. He was a recognized teacher in surgery at the University of London, and visited and lectured in 28 countries.

Dr Notaras had a special interest in colorectal surgery, mesh repair of hernias, and rectal prolapse. He introduced Lateral Subcutaneous internal Anal Spincterotomy for anal fissure, now an established procedure.

Visiting academic posts included Professor in Surgery, at the University of Curatiba, Brazil, the University of Bergen, Norway, and the University of Khartoum, Sudan.

Dr Notaras published in various surgical journals, and wrote chapters for a number of surgical textbooks, including Maingot’s Textbook of Abdominal Surgery, Robb and Smith’s Textbook of Operative Surgery, Nyhus’s Textbook of Operative Surgery, Nyhus’s Textbook of Abdominal Surgery (Spanish), and Surgical Clinics of North America. He was a member of the Editorial Board of two journals, ColoProctology, and Hernia.

Dr Notaras established a company, Abgene (later taken over by Apogent Corporation, USA). Abgene became a leader in Europe, specialising in the manufacture of molecular biological reagents, special plastic consumables and instrumentation for life sciences. It also became involved in research, both inhouse and through collaborations with universities and industrial partners, particularly in gene and DNA technology.

Dr Notaras never forgot his Australian citizenship and was grateful to the Australian people for his university education. As a form of appreciation, he funded a million dollar scholarship in perpetuity in colorectal surgery. The Fellowship is both a generous gift to further expertise in this medical area within Australia, and a benefit to the community at large. It provides an opportunity for aspiring young Australian surgeons to spend three years involved in colorectal clinical work at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, colorectal research, and a period of one year abroad at a centre of excellence.

When he retired Dr Notaras restored his grandfather’s house on the island of Kythera, Greece. He also became involved with the Kytherian community, including the purchase of equipment needed by the local hospital.

Dr Notaras regularly travelled to Australia including Grafton where he, along with his brothers Angelo and John, and cousin Spiro, restored the heritage listed Saraton theatre as he “wanted the Clarence Valley to have the best”. The theatre was originally built by his father and uncle in 1926.

Dr Notaras was a prodigious reader throughout his life, and in his retirement, and a man of great knowledge. He was much loved by all of those whose lives he touched. His vitality, kindness, lively intelligence and friendships with so many, will be missed.

Dr Notaras is survived by his three daughters Fiona, Nicola and Lorna by his late first wife Dr Lorna McPhail, his wife Bente Fasmer Notaras and their two sons Anthony and James, his six grand children, and his siblings, Angelo, Irene, John and Betty.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 04.03.2011

Leonard (Len) George Notaras

AM 2003. LL.BA (Hons), BMed, MHA, DipComm (Newcastle), AFCHSE, MA (Military History);

Son of George and Mary-Theresa Notaras, born May 29, 1951, Educated at Marist Brothers, Newcastle. Married to Robyn Cahill.

Executive Director, National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre 2009-current.

General Manager Royal Darwin Hospital 2007-2009; Northern Territory Principal Medical Consultant, Royal Darwin Hospital; Director of Medical Services, Darwin Private Hospital, since 2001; Senior Lecturer, N.T. Clinical School. Newcastle, NSW.

Career: former Deputy Secretary, Service Provision Territory Health Services, General Manager Royal Darwin Hospital 1996-99, Executive Officer Orthopaedic Review, John Hunter Hospital, 1994, Clinical Superintendent 1990-1994, Deputy medical superintendent Royal Newcastle Hospital 1990. Medical registrar, 1988-1989, Manager Enterprise (Retail) 1974-82, Police and Military Service 1968-74; Vice-President, NT AMA , President. NT Br. ACHSE, President Country Liberal Party 2001-2003, Member . NT Road Traffic Council since 1999, Australian Council of Healthcare Standards, Member. Australian Healthcare Assoc, Chair NT Pharmacy Board, NT Radiographers Board, NT Quality and Best Practices Standing Committee, Member. Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Healthcare (ACSQHC), Deputy Chairman, NT Medical Board since 1997, Senior Cr NT British Australian Medical Association, Honorary Member Northern Command Officers Mess; Member NT Cancer Council, Government House Fund; recipient AMA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Bali response, Australian of the Year finalist 2004, Sarah Wheeler History. Award Newcastle 1979;

Publications: The Bali Response: 36 Redefining Hours,
The 1885 Washington Conference on Samoan Affairs.

Recreational activity: shooting, military history, wine collection, military memorabilia. Clubs: Lord Taverners, (NT), Darwin Sailing, Darwin Turf, President, Beefsteak and Burgundy (Darwin).

Entry from Who's Who, Australia

Len Notaras was Royal Darwin Hospital medical superintendent, in 2002, at the time of the Bali bombing. Victims and casulties were airlifted to Darwin, and placed under his medical supervision

Source: The Age
Date: 14 Oct 2002 13 AUSTRALIANS DEAD, 110 INJURED, 220 UNACCOUNTED FOR

At least 13 Australians are dead, 110 injured and 220 remain unaccounted for this morning after suspected terrorist bombs destroyed two crowded nightspots in Bali's Kuta Beach tourist strip at the weekend.
Byline: Malcolm Brown, Darwin, Josh Gordon, Canberra with agencies

"We understand that 13 Australians have died, although those figures are fluid,'' a spokesman for Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.

One of the first of 15 injured Australians evacuated by the RAAF from Bali died on the flight to Darwin today. By 8am today almost all the injured Australians had been flown from the island back to Australia.

World leaders united in condemning the attacks that have left at least 187 people dead and more than 300 injured, many with horrific burns caused by the blast and resulting inferno.

US ambassador to Indonesia Ralph Boyce said while no one had claimed responsibility for the bombing, early indications pointed to the al Qaeda terror network. He told CNN television: "There have been problems in Indonesia of late involving signs that al Qaeda may have been involved in activities here.''

He said that bombings in Indonesia over the past few weeks indicated the group's presence there.

US President George Bush called the bombings "a cowardly act designed to create terror and chaos'' and offered condolences to the families of the victims.

"The world must confront this global menace, terrorism . . . And, we must call this despicable act by its rightful name, murder.''

Australia's national security committee, including Prime Minister John Howard, Defence Minister Robert Hill and Attorney-General Daryl Williams, will meet later today.

Mr Howard this morning urged Indonesia to become more involved in the international quest to stamp out terrorism following the Bali bombings.

"It does require a willingness on the part of the Indonesian authorities to have people sit with them and work with them in dealing with this problem,'' he told Sydney radio.

"I also speak on behalf of a country who's not only a neighbour but whose sons and daughters have died in this outrage. It's therefore very important that we work together and that all of us in this region understand the urgency of this issue.''

Mr Howard said ASIO and Australian Federal Police members were in Bali to help with the investigation.

Indonesia President Megawati Sukarnoputri wept at the smoking ruins of the Sari Club, before stopping briefly at the 770-bed Sanglah General Hospital, where she donned a surgical mask and visited burn victims.

Mrs Megawati, who went to Bali after an emergency cabinet meeting, said the explosions were a warning that terrorism was a threat to national security but she offered no clues on who authorities believed might be to blame.

Condolences poured in from around the globe, with French President Jacques Chirac denouncing the explosions as "blind terrorism'', while Britain described them as an "appalling terrorist act''.

The US has sent a FBI team and Britain a team of forensic and counter-terrorism specialists to Kuta to help with the investigation.

Republican US senator Richard Shelby said after a briefing from the FBI and CIA yesterday that there was "a definite terrorist link'' to the Bali bombings. "I believe that this is the beginning of a lot more (that) we're going to see,'' Senator Shelby, senior Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said.

The first of five C-130 aircraft left Denpasar last night only half full of casualties because some of the victims were too ill to delay take-off until more arrived, a defence spokesman said.

"I can tell you the first 15 victims of the tragedy have arrived and sadly one of those died in transit,'' Royal Darwin Hospital medical superintendent Len Notaras said after the first victims arrived in Darwin.

The first Hercules touched down at at Darwin airport at 2.15am where nine ambulances and an ambulance bus were ready to take them to the Royal Darwin Hospital.

The 11 men and three women were all Australians, coming from states including Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Most were young, all were burn victims. Other injuries included fractured limbs, shrapnel wounds and injuries from being impaled by wood and glass. As many as four were in critical conditions.

A second Hercules is expected in Darwin later this morning with 22 on board. Up to 100 victims are expected to arrive at the hospital in about 12 hours, Dr Notaras said.

Future medical evacuations were expected to also include American, Canadian and New Zealand patients.

"The sheer magnitude of what has actually occurred is going to take some considerable time to sink in for a lot of people including ourselves at the hospital,'' Dr Notaras said. ``It has been our own, in a sense, 11th of September; it's a tragedy.''

Scores of Australian tourists arrived back in Perth early today aboard the first of three special flights, from their nightmare Bali holidays. They were met by teams of Australian Federal Police and West Australian police officers who were interviewing all Bali passengers.

The injured were then taken by 12 ambulances to Perth's major hospitals.

The Federal Police's WA general manager, Steve Jackson, indicated passengers would be asked for their holiday photos and videos as investigators helped their Indonesian counterparts with inquiries into the blasts.

Mr Howard said Australia would take a measured response. "It is not an occasion for hot-headed responses, but certainly not an occasion to imagine that if you roll yourself up into a little ball all these horrible things will go away,'' he told Channel Nine. — with agencies

MASSACRE IN BALI

• AUSTRALIA Thirteen confirmed dead, 110 injured, including 60 critical, 220 unaccounted
• BRITAIN Five or six feared dead, at least 40 injured
• HONG KONG Nine missing feared dead
• INDONESIA Nine dead
• SINGAPORE Three reported dead
• GERMANY One dead, eight injured, five badly. Two reportedly missing
• SWITZERLAND One dead, two seriously injured, three slightly injured
• FRANCE One reported dead
• NETHERLANDS One reported dead
• ECUADOR One reported dead
• BELGIUM Six slightly injured
• ITALY Six slightly injured
• JAPAN Seven injured
• USA None reported dead, injured or missing

The wounded also include Swedes, Ecuadorans, South Koreans and South Africans.

SOURCE: REUTERS, AFP

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by The Daily Examiner, Grafton on 03.11.2010

Excited: Arron Larkin, Kira Johnstone and Lauren Thomas, of Grafton, get ready to enjoy one of the first movies shown at the redeveloped Saraton Theatre, Tomorrow When the War Began

Near seamless opening for Saraton

The Daily Examiner

3rd September 2010

Tim Howard


Apparently there were teething problems during the first day of screening at the redeveloped Saraton Theatre in Grafton yesterday.

Not that anyone would have noticed.

Patrons who came to see their first movie in two-and-a-half years at the historic cinema came away amazed and full of praise.

“Worth the wait,” said Danielle Boland just after she saw the first movie to screen.

“It's so much better than it was before.”

“We had to come to the first one,” said Julie Van Dalsen.

The heads of the family consortium that researched and funded the redevelopment, Spiro and Angelo Notaras, were encouraged by the public's response, but said they were not finished yet.

“It's going to get a whole lot better,” said Angelo.

“There's so many things for us to tweak so that we can get even more out of the equipment.”

For Spiro the steady stream of customers through the door during the morning was particularly gratifying after a hectic morning and night before.

“We didn't get the 3D set up until this morning, five minutes before it was going to show,” he said.

Cinema manager Robbie Seymour had been running on adrenalin throughout the days leading up to the opening.

“I've been doing 15 things at once,” he said.

“But the comments we've been getting have been nothing short of amazing and that makes it really gratifying.

“But it's not me. It's really Spiro and Angelo who deserve all the credit for what they've done with the Saraton.”

And did we say there were no hitches. Well there was one.

You could not get a choc top ice cream at the candy bar yesterday.

But according to the head of the candy bar and supervisor Johanne Kubik that's a problem that will be fixed, “real soon”.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by The Daily Examiner, Grafton on 03.11.2010

Saraton Theatre opens today

The Daily Examiner

2nd September 2010

Tim Howard

Photograph: Lights, camera, action: Saraton Theatre manager Robbie Seymour is all ready for the reopening of the historic theatre in Grafton.


Today Clarence Valley cinema lovers will get their first look inside a state-of-the-art movie complex that has been two and a half years in the building.

The Saraton Theatre’s three cinemas will hold a ‘soft’ opening today screening a premiere of the Australian movie Tomorrow When the War Began with a selection of other movies including: Inception, Salt, Despicable Me, Step Up Eclipse and Toy Story 3.

Cinema manager Robbie Seymour said yesterday he also hoped to have Avatar 3D available for the opening day but was not certain if it would be available in time.

He said a number of the movies had been loaded into the computerised Christie 2200 projectors.

But he said the cinema had not yet received all the computerised access codes, called key delivery messages (KDM), to some of the films.

“We’re not sure when they will come, it could be 10pm tonight,” Mr Seymour said.

He said technicians had installed the cinema’s 3D technology yesterday and it would be fully functioning for today’s screenings.

The owners of the theatre, the Notaras family, have spared no expense refurbishing the cinema originally built by the family in 1926.

While retaining the ambience of the cinema by paying careful attention to the original design features of the building and its colour scheme, the refurbished building conceals a network of the latest projection and sound equipment.

Cousins Spiro and Angelo Notaras, who head a family consortium that has redeveloped the historic building, have made sure their cinema has the latest technology – delaying the opening until they secured the projectors and sound equipment they wanted.

“There is no other complex like it in the country its size, offering live shows and movies. There are only five of these projectors in Australia; we’ve got three of them,” Angelo said.

The projectors provide the sharpest picture available anywhere and each cinema will boast a 3000-watt sound system with remarkably even sound distribution.

Cinema management has been coy about ticket pricing, except to say it will be lower than other regional cinemas.

“We want people to come down to the cinemas and be pleasantly surprised,” Mr Seymour said.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by The Daily Examiner, Grafton on 03.11.2010

Cinema is worth the wait

Spiro and Angelo Notaras look out into one of two 160-seat cinemas at the Saraton Theatre complex

Daily Examiner

21st May 2010


Like 12-year-old boys building a motorbike, Angelo and Spiro Notaras are giddy with excitement over their project.

Except the “project” has cost a motza and the “boys” are 77 years of age.

Two of Grafton’s best known faces, the cousins say they can’t go anywhere in public without people asking them when Grafton’s only cinema is opening.

“We are keener than anyone to open the doors,” said Spiro midway through a two-hour tour of the three-cinema complex yesterday. “And we understand people’s frustration.”

In a nutshell, the latest hold up in the two-year project is a question over whether the Federal Government will provide the heritage-listed theatre with a $1 million grant to remove the old stage and construct a new larger two-storey stage with an orchestra pit, dressing rooms and sound-proof band rehearsal space.

The success, or otherwise, of the grant application will not be known till the end of July.

If the grant comes through, minor adjustments will need to be made to allow a “movie-only” opening of the main theatre, while construction of the live stage is conducted behind a temporary wall. This may allow a public movie screening by the end of August, the Notarases said.

But if the grant is denied, an opening could be achieved early to mid-August, maybe even earlier, they said.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime change for this extension to the historic theatre, and we were keen not to miss the opportunity to apply and hopefully be successful,” Angelo said.

The large stage, which would be pushed back further than the current one, would enable the theatre to accommodate large live theatre and musical acts – enough room for the entire Sydney Symphony Orchestra, he said.

The Notaras cousins, who are partners in the enterprise with Angelo’s two brothers Mitchell (Angelo’s twin) and John, are eager to explain that any previous hold-ups with the theatre’s restoration had only benefited the end product because of technological advances. When questioned over this logic with the argument that anything was outdated shortly after it was produced, Angelo said the cinema industry was different.

“They have been using film since the early 1900s, now the industry is changing to digital – that’s only one major change in 100 years,” he said.

“And we weren’t prepared to go halfway,” added Spiro.

“It’s no good people thinking they can push it along.

“There is no other complex like it in the country – its size, offering live shows and movies.

“There are only five of these projectors in Australia; we’ve got three of them.”

The cousins said the Christie 2200 projectors would provide the sharpest picture available anywhere.

Each cinema will boast a 3000-watt sound system with remarkably even-sound distribution.

“The woofers shake the building,” Spiro said.

“They won’t be leaving Grafton to see movies I can tell you, they’ll be coming to Grafton.”

The development has been built with energy efficiency as a priority, and the intention is to have the whole complex, which boasts a great solar aspect, powered by solar panels once it is up and running.

“Wherever possible we have only used local people. All the tradespeople are local and they’ve all doing a great job,” Angelo said.

The pair provided a long list of tradesmen who had worked on the project which The Daily Examiner will publish at a later date.

Asked about why they hadn’t retired, the pair just laughed.

“I’m gonna die on the job I think,” Spiro said.

“Our fathers taught us how to work and we saw that work ethic and it’s very hard to shake,” said Angelo. “But doing a development like this is not work at all, its sheer pleasure.

“We are giving the community something that’s going to be long-lasting and worthwhile.

“And we are duplicating what our dads (Jack and Tony) did in 1926 when they built the theatre.”

The Saraton was heritage listed in 1999, and the Notaras family tried to hand over the cinema to Grafton City Council for $1 in the same year but the council declined the offer, the Notaras’ said.

Spiro, Angelo, Mitchell and John then bought out all other family members and began to develop a plan for the redevelopment.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by DAILY TELEGRAPH on 01.11.2008

Looking to expand. Envirolab Services Sydney managing director Tania Notaras is hoping to open up business in Perth

With right mix lab is confident of growth

Daily Telegraph Tuesday Oct 28 2008 page 49

Notaras Tania 2008 Oct Telegraph re growth.pdf


Jenny Dillon


At a time when businesses of every shape and hue are battening down the hatches, there is one that — despite having already experienced spectacular growth since it began three years ago — is looking to expand. The global financial Crisis is not going to stop Tania Notaras from pursuing her plans to open a branch of Envirolab Services in Perth.

When Ms Notaras started Envirolab in Sydney in 2005, she had a team of four. Now she has 38 on board. The company offers analytical testing to the environmental sector and tests for things such as asbestos in soil, or lead in paint.

Perth being a long way from Sydney, it is the city that is now offering the most opportunities, Ms Notaras said, “It looks like it’s tough, with high rentals and high wages, but there is lots of work and the indications are that there is a need for another laboratory,” she said.

The one difficulty the company is facing is finding appropriate space to set up operations. “We have a particular look and feel to our operations that we’d like to maintain,” she said. “A lot of labs operate out of buildings that don’t have windows. We want a nice building, with windows and lots of natural light. We’d like something existing because to design and construct would take 18 months.”

Ms Notaras is confident that she will have another branch in 12 to 18 months, and Australia-wide coverage within five to seven years.

And she’s not daunted by what’s happening with the credit crunch, although she is not ignoring it. “I’ve found that having a slow period inspires you to do things smarter and cheaper. It’s important to have opportunities to introduce efficiencies,” she said. “A slow time is a good time to work on other things.” Ms Notaras was working for another company during the economic downturn of the early ‘90s and can recall how difficult things can get. “We are worried, but we’re taking steps, making sure we have enough cash flow, not buying as much stuff, being more cautious. We’re concerned, but it’s not stopping us in our plans,” she said.

http://www.envirolabservices.com.au

Tania is the daughter-in-law of Spiro Notaras (Grafton). She is married to his eldest son John, who is also an owner of Envirolab.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vassilia Corones on 30.12.2005

Motor vehicle in Charleville loaded with Shell fuel tins, 1919.

Harry Corones (left) and George Herriman taking a truck loaded with fuel to Ross and Keith Smith's plane at Charleville.

The vehicle has a number of Shell Benzine tins stacked on its tray with the Australian flag and the Union Jack flying.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vassilia Corones on 30.12.2005

'Lores' Bonney and her aeroplane at Charleville airport, Queensland, 1933.

Harry Corones and aviatrix 'Lores' Bonney standing near her small single engine plane at the Charleville airport, Queensland.

Mrs Bonney was en route from Archerfield airport in Brisbane to Croydon in London.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vassilia Corones on 30.12.2005

Harry Corones and Commissioner W. H. Ryan, ca. 1932.

Commissioner Ryan and Harry Corones after a shooting exhibition in the courtyard of the Corones Hotel, Charleville.

...an endearing, story concerns Harry’s somewhat shaky grasp of written English. On one occasion, one of Harry’s guests had been a circuit judge from Brisbane who used to stay at the hotel, and who, every year, would go duck shooting with Harry. His visit to Charleville over, the judge had taken the train back to Brisbane when Harry discovered that he had left his gun behind, so Harry telephoned him to let him know. But the line between Charleville and Brisbane was very poor, compounded by Harry’s heavy accent, and the judge could not understand what Harry was talking about. “Spell it” the judge said, becoming rather exasperated. So Harry spelt “G for Jesus, U for onion, N for pneumonia”!

Professor George Kanarakis's biography of Harry Corones.

1883—1972


On 14 June 1965 people poured in and out of the Hotel Corones in Charleville, Queensland all day. “The barmaids were run off their feet, the telephones ran hot and the local telegraph boy nearly wore out his bike”. Drinks were on the house for everyone, and everybody in the town was celebrating. The reason? The much-loved Harry Corones (or “Poppa” to everyone who knew him) had that day been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, (M.B.E.) in recognition of “his remarkable services to the people of Western Queensland over a great number of years”.

Sometime during that day a jovial and exuberant Harry, now eighty-two years old but still with brown eyes twinkling beneath his curly white hair, may have paused to remember that fateful day on 10 August 1907 when, without speaking a word of English and at twenty-three years of age already responsible for his twelve-year-old nephew Demetrios (Jim), he landed in Sydney from his native island of Kythera.

Harry (Haralambos) Corones was born in the village of Frylingianika, Kythera on 17 September 1883 to Panayiotis Coroneos, a fisherman, and his wife Stamatia. Harry’s mother, Stamatia, was a member of the Frylingos family, an extended family so large that the village in which many of them lived had been named after them, and one which was very close-knit - something which would help Harry later in life.
Little is known of Harry’s childhood and youth on the island until 1904 when, at the age of twenty-one, he began two years military service as a first-aid-orderly attached to a military hospital. This part of his life completed, a decision had to be made about which direction his future would take. On the small island of Kythera there were few opportunities other than fishing or tending the family’s plot of land, and so the family reached the conclusion that Harry would have to emigrate. Moreover, it was decided that he should take with him his young nephew Demetrios, in the hope that they would both be able to build a better life overseas.

Harry’s first choice was America but for medical reasons his application was rejected and so his hopes turned to Australia where, after all, his mother had relatives, in Brisbane. And so it was that the following year Harry and Jim embarked on the long trip towards an unknown life in the foreign land.

When the ship sailed into Sydney harbour and docked, Harry and Jim disembarked with few possessions other than their meagre luggage and Harry’s pocketful of change, with no English at all between them and so their real adventure began.

Harry’s immediate concern was to find work. He had the name of a Kytherian, Mr Aroney, who might give him a job
and so, leaving Jim on his own on the wharf to look after the luggage, Harry set off in search of his fellow-islander.

Despite being a total stranger in the city, he finally found Aroney who did indeed give him work in his fish shop. But Aroney had nowhere for Harry to stay and so finding accommodation for himself and Jim was Harry’s next priority.

Walking in the streets near the docks looking for a room was a daunting task when he could neither read the street signs nor seek information from passers-by, but eventually he came across a fellow-Greek who was cleaning the window of a shop. Harry helped him to complete his task and was introduced to the owner of the shop, who turned out to have a place where Harry and Jim could stay.

Evening was now falling, so Harry, elated by his achievements, rushed back to the wharf to collect Jim who by this time was feeling lost and afraid.The hours that Harry had been away had seemed very long to young Jim who had been unable to buy anything to eat or drink, or to converse with the strangers who had tried to help him.

This long day over, their new life began. But it was to be a hard life in Sydney with Harry working extremely long hours gutting and filleting the fish and opening oysters, with Jim working there, too, on the weekends and in the school holidays.

After about a year had passed, Harry decided that they should move on to Brisbane where, after all, he had relatives on his mother’s side.

This was to be a fortuitous move, for the Frylingos brothers (or Freeleagus as they were known in Australia) not only gave Harry a job in their oyster saloon on George Street but would help him in a venture which wotild be the start of a long and very successful business career.

At the oyster saloon Harry continued to work long hours, yet such was his care and concern for Jim that he lodged him with an Australian family, named Ballard, where he would not only be looked after but also improve his English, and then sent him to a school in Bundaberg.

But a life as an oyster opener, working for others, was not what Harry had in mind for his future. He wanted to start a business on his own and began to think about where this should be.

In the end he decided on Charleville, an inland town in south—west Queensland, six hundred and seventy kilometres from Brisbane, which was not only the centre of its region but where an empty cafe, owned by a Greek named Theo Comino, was for sale, With a loan of £120 from the Freeleagus brothers, Harry bought the cafe and so in l909, just a year after they had arrived in Brisbane, Harry and Jim set off for Charleville - another step into the unknown for both of them, but for Harry a journey to the town which would be his home for the rest of his life.

In those days, Charleville was a remote, hot, dry and dusty but thriving cattle—country town with saw mills, a meatworks and a few other small factories. With the railway running through, it was an important rail terminal, but even more significant for the traders in the town was the fact that it was a main stopping point for bullock trains and camel caravans, as well as for the many drovers who were moving their stock from one part of the State to another, and even interstate.

The cafe on Alfred Street which Harry had bought needed much work, but from the start he ran it in the way he would run all his businesses in his long business career of about sixty years, offering good service, good food and warm hospitality.

The following year, Harry went into partnership with another fellow—Greek named Megalocominos in another cafe, on Wills Street, which Harry ran with his usual hard work, efficiency and attention to detail, It was a bigger cafe than the first one, but its importance to Harry lay not in its size, but in the fact that it was here that he met Paddy Cryan, a travelling salesman from Perkins Brewery in Brisbane.

Impressed as he was with the way Harry ran the cafe, Paddy astutely recognised in Harry the qualities of a good hotel owner. He suggested that Harry should move into the hotel business and take on the lease of the Hotel Charleville which had become vacant, At first Harry was reluctant to make this move because he knew nothing about the hotel business, and moreover because he did not have any money. But Cryan continued to persuade him and to assure him that the brewery would finance the deal and train him in the business.

Harry discussed it at length with Jim, and in the end the decision was made — Harry Corones would become a hotelier, and Jim would accompany him in this venture. On 7 October 1912 Harry signed the lease on the Hotel Charleville on the corner of Alfred and Wills Streets for five years at a rent of £ 6 per week.

That year, 1912, was very significant for Harry for not only did it mark the beginning of a long career as a hotelier (the first Greek hotelier in Australia), but in June of that year, committing himself to Australia as his new homeland, Harry had become a naturalised Australian citizen.

Harry, with no knowledge of the hotel trade and with somewhat broken English, but assisted by Jim, threw himself into his new venture. The business was going well and Harry’s thoughts turned to his future as a family man.

Early in 1914 he left Charleville to go to Sydney for a few months, and there, on 29 April, he married Eftyhia Phocas at Holy Trinity church in Sydney. Eftyhia was the fourth of the six daughters of Reverend Serapheini Phocas and his wife Maria. Reverend Phocas was the first accredited resident Greek Orthodox priest in New South Wales (he had arrived in Sydney in March 1899) and only the second in Australia, and was a well-educated, scholarly man who spoke several languages fluently. Although he had been born on the Gallipoli Peninsula he had lived in Jerusalem, Crete, Alexandria, Port Said and Rhodes, and with this background he had brought up all his daughters to be well-educated, refined and with charming personalities. Apart from the youngest, Helen, who remained unmarried, all the other daughters eventually married well established members of the Greek communities in different States.

Yet joy would be mixed with tragedy, for early in the trip in Harry’s absence the hotel burnt down. Harry returned to Charleville with his new wife and the hotel was soon rebuilt. On 27 June Harry signed a new lease, this time for ten years, and at £540 per year.

The new hotel was bigger and more luxurious than its predecessor and Harry settled down to run it, assisted as always byJirn and now helped by Eftyhia, with his usual dedication to hard work and excellent service.

Running the hotel, though, was not without its unusual aspects. For example, boundary riders used to ride their horses into the bar, and at times there would be almost as many horses there as people, until Harry changed the doors and made them too narrow for a horse and its rider to pass through!

At the same time as running his hotel, though, Harry’s mind was on expanding his business interests as well as on providing new facilities for his fellow-townsfolk.

He formed a new partnership with three others, McWha, Crowley and Klass (though he would buy them out on 1 August 1919), and on 5 April 1915 they opened Charleville’s first cinema, the Excelsior, in premises at the rear of the Hotel Charleville. To this they brought not only silent movies (with two screens and the equipment set up in such a way that the films could be shown either indoors or outdoors according to the season) but also vaudeville acts from Sydney and Brisbane.

These were much appreciated by the town’s residents as well as by all who passed through, but what they admired most of all was the generator and electric lighting plant Harry had imported from London which lit both the cinema and the hotel — an alliazing innovation for the outback in those days.

Harry’s life was very busy, for two months later (3 June) he took a ten-year lease on the Paris Cafe in the same block as the hotel, although on 4 September 1921 he would sub-let it to his cousin Peter Locos, for £1,700.

By now Harry was not only a successful businessman and a family man (his first child, Peter, had been born on 23 February 1915), but he was a respected and much—liked member of the Charleville community, admired for his boundless energy and his unfailing sense of humour.

Recognition of his business acumen and his popularity came first in 1916 when he was invited to serve on the Charleville Hospital Board. Then in 1919 he was a member of the original committee of the Ambulance Centre and some time after that he was invited to serve on the Fire Brigade Board. He gave himself wholeheartedly to these activities, yet still he wanted to do more to help end the town’s isolation.

His inspiration for this came in 1919 when, on a flight from England to Australia, Sir Keith and Sir Ross Smith made a landing at Charleville for fuiel and urgently needed repairs.
Harry entertained the two aviators as his guests (naturally) while repairs were carried out on the plane and it was refuelled from four-gallon petrol tins. Overwhelmed by the hospitality
they received for three months and the splendid farewell dinner which Harry provided, the two aviators offered to take Jim up in their plane.Though very nervous, Jim went for a flight over Charleville and the surrounding countryside, seeing the vastness of his new homeland from the air for the first time, and being the envy of many other young men in the town!

The spectacle of a plane landing at Charleville fired Harry’s imagination as a way to end Charleville’s remoteness, and he became passionately interested in the fledgeling aviation industry in Australia.

When Sir Hudson Fysh and other men of foresight decided to form an airline, which they would name Qantas (Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services), several of their meetings were held in Harry’s hotel, and it was at one of these meetings that, at Harry’s suggestion, inspired by the classical mythology of his native Greece, they gave the Greek names Perseus, Pegasus, Atalanta, Hermes and Heppomenes to five of their first seven aircraft. When the company was launched in 1920 Harry Corones was one of the original shareholders of the infant airline with one hundred one-pound shares. Qantas’ first scheduled service was from Charleville to Cloncurry on 2 November 1922, and picnic hampers sent out to the planes became a regular part of Harry’s life. Many years later, Sir Hudson Fysh would write in a letter to Corones dated 10 July 1971, with much affection: “I want to see you again, great, and long friend and supporter that you have been, and to recall some of the old times long passed when the world was younger, simpler, and you used to bring out the morning tea.Yes, Qantas’ first caterer. And think what it has grown to today”.

In 1930, when Harry’s sons Peter and Alexander would go to school in Ipswich, Harry sent them there on Heppomenes as a sign of his faith in outback aviation.
In the meantime Harry and Jim decided to branch out and buy a hotel in another town, choosing Quilpie as the place of their expansion. Quiilpie, dusty and dry, was a smaller town than Charleville with only a few shops, a police station, a couirt house and lock-up, a small hospital and some houses, about two hundred and ten kilometres to the west, in opal country. The railway had reached there in 1917, and Quilpie became a rail terminal.

Harry and Jim saw the potential in this small town and on 19 August 1921 Harry bought the single-storey wooden Quilpie Hotel for £ 2,935. Now the close working partnership was to be severed for, while they remained business partners and best friends, Jim was to go to Quilpie to run the hotel there. Soon Jim’s brother Harry, known as “young Harry”, came over to join him in the running of the hotel, and he was to learn from jim everything that Jim in turn had learned from his uncle Harry.

Soon, however, Harry’s lease on the Hotel Charleville would be due to expire and he began to ma ke plans for the future, drawing on the experience he had gained so far. This would nclude the recollection of the time when, to help the people who had come from miles around to attend Charlevjlle’s annual picnic races, Harry had set up a long row of temporary hessian bathrooms -and some wag had set fire to them, at peak bathtime. In no time at all a large crowd had gathered to watch!

While the Hotel Charleville was now one of the best in the Queensland outback, his dream was to have a hotel which would be by far the best in Queensland outside Brisbane, and equal to any in that State capital.

Six days after the lease ran out (3 July 1924) Harry purchased with Jim the Norman Hotel, a one—storey ramshackle place dating from about 1895, which stood a block south of the Hotel Charleville on the corner of Wills and Galatea Streets. They also bought the rest of the land in that block to Edward Street, standing almost opposite the town hall.

Harry brought in a well-known, prize-winning architect, William Hodgen junior, and together they planned the Hotel Corones which would be the fulfilment of Harry’s dreams and Hodgen’s major single work, as well as the highlight of his career. Using a local builder, George Baker, and giving preference to local men on a day-labour basis, the hotel was built in four stages and took five years to complete. Work first began at the south end of the block, the opposite end to the Norman Hotel, and the first two stages were in reinforced concrete as Harry was well aware of the fire danger connected with wooden structures.

While the planning and the initial stages of this hotel were progressing, at the same time Harry and Jim had more plans for Quilpie. At Jim’s suggestion they bought a block of land on Main Street in the small town centre and there built the Imperial Hotel — a wooden building but Quilpie’s first two-storey structure. The hotel opened for business in 1925 and once more the high standard of a Corones Hotel became known throughout the area. It was also the first building in Quilpie to have electricity, a generator being brought over from Charleville. For a time, Harry and Jim also operated the first picture show in Quilpie, next to the Quilpie Hotel.

Disaster would strike however soon after the opening of the Imperial Hotel when in late January 1929 Harry and Jim’s original purchase in Quilpie, the Quilpie Hotel, burnt down, destroying the cinema at the same time.

Learning a lesson from this, in the same year they completely rebuilt the hotel, with two floors and in brick and concrete. This was the town’s first building constructed in anything other than wood and it was known affectionately by all as “The Brick”.

As the building of the Hotel Corones in Charleville progressed, the Norman Hotel was finally demolished and the last two stages of the new hotel were completed in brick. Such was the care which had been taken in planning the schedule of construction of the Hotel Corones that trading was able to continue throughout all that time.

In 1929, after five years of planning and construction, the magnificent two-storey white Hotel Corones with its sixty-three metre frontage on Wills Street was completed, rising “phoenix-like on the site of the old Norman Hotel”. Harry had envisaged, and achieved, a hotel which no other in the State surpassed and which no other in a country town could equal.

Built at a cost of, £ 50,000, it contained a lounge and writing room, a dining-room for a hundred and fifty people, a private and a public bar, a barber’s shop and, attached to the hotel, a magnificent ballroom capable of seating three hundred and twenty people at a banquet, while upstairs were bathrooms, about forty single and double bedrooms each with french doors opening to a verandah (the double rooms also had private bathrooms) and an upstairs louinge.

Nor was size the only impressive featuire of the Hotel Corones for the interior was decorated and furnished with nothing but luxury in mind and with exquisite attention to detail. Floors were of gleaming parquet and imported white marble, ceilings were exquisitely corniced, and coloured leadlight windows and doors, even a leadhight telephone booth, complemented silky oak panelling.

The hotel’s brochure published at the time gives detailed description:

“From the red and white cement footpath one steps into the Lounge, through widely—welcoming swinging doors — to find comfort awaiting. A cool, white marble floor seems to reflect the whiteness of the ceiling, where huge fans turn unceasingly to keep the temperature right in the heat of the summer, and in the winter time, wood fires make for warmth and comfort. Gleaming copper-topped tables throw back reflections on the flower-laden crystal vases, ever a feature of this room. Deep leather lounges and chairs are provided, where one may rest and entertain, and a door leads to a well—fitted writing room and telephone booth.....

The dining-room of Hotel Gorones is situated on the ground floor, and opens out through long folding glass doors into a piazza, which gives an impression of coolness and space....

A very modern and luxurious Public Bar forms one of the extra special features of this hotel. With the Roman mosaic floor, and time egg-shell mottled tiled walls and counters, the Bar is tinted in the faintest of pastel shades of blue and cream, and an air of coolness pervades this spacious room.

More than usual attention has been paid to time planning and furnishing of the Hotel Gorones bathrooms, and time best of modern equipment has been installed. Hot and cold baths and showers from running bore water are obtainable at any hour. The scrupulous cleanliness shining from the white porcelain baths adds to the personal comfort of each guest....

The bedrooms are furnished throughout in maple or sycamore, with spacious wardrobes, large mirrors, and writing tables. Soft, deep-piled carpets tone harmoniously with the furnishings, and from each double room one enters a luxurious private bathroom, mosaic floored, the walls tiled in shades agreeing with the colouring of the furniture and furnishings of the bedroom attached, where one may enjoy the delights of either a hot or cold bath....

To enjoy a quiet smoke, read, or a game of cards, one seeks the beautiful lounge upstairs. In this room and embossed ceiling in deep cream looks down on a polished floor, in which brown and cream boards alternate. The room is lined with French polished oak and a beautiful fireplace breaks the evenness of one wall. Comfort is the keynote here, and deep into velvet upholstered chairs time visitor sinks. Tables amid smokers’ stands in rosewood lend a deeper tone to the greys amid blues, which predominate in the rugs amid upholstering. Soft lights amid a perfect quietness make this room very dcsirable When the westerly winds turn Charleville into an Arctic region, log fires are lit in this room, transforming it into a snug retreat, beautifully warm and comfortable”


At the same time excellent service and catering were to be the hallmark of the hotel:

“An office staff ever courteous amid well-informed, is in attendance in one part of the lounge, amid deft attendants dispense hospitality when required.....

A capable, efficient staff pays attention to every tiny detail, and the most particular can have their every need supplied. A chef well versed in his art, serves up dishes to satisfy the most critical epicure, and every skill is employed to secure an appetising amid dainty effect. Iced dishes for hot days, and fans whirling unceasingly, make life in time Far West pleasant at this hotel, and brings a satisfied friendliness to those who mutually enjoy it...... ...

The best brands of liquors arc supplied, and the service unexcelled. A refrigerator keeps the drinks at just the degree of coolness individual taste requires, and the drinks being the very best obtainable, the Bar of the Hotel Corones depicts generally a very happy gathering. Bright, genial attendants, who seem to anticipate each client’s wishes, do much to add to the popularity of these extremely pleasant surroundings....

Every kind of liquid refreshment is stocked, in every degree of coolness, and no drink, however rare, is beyond the reach of the capable management”.


Pristine white starched damask tablecloths and napkins as well as the finest silver cutlery Harry could find were always used, while sparkling glassware and crystal vases filled with fresh flowers completed the picture.

This luxurious hotel, of which he used to say,”I built it, and the bank”, immediately became the gathering place for people from miles around and its reputation for elegance, luxury and fine service spread far and wide. But it was Harry’s personality which added the crowning touch to the hotel’s reputation, for he was the perfect host. His warm and welcoming hospitality knew no bounds, and his joy for living radiated to all around him. Moreover he was a keen sportsman, and loved to take hotel guests shooting, golfing, swimming or just exploring the surrounding countryside.

Many were the distinguished guests who stayed at the Hotel Corones throughout the following decades, one of the earliest being the aviator Amy Johnson who made Charleville a stopping point on her epic flight from Britain to Australia in 1930. Staying at the Hotel Corones, in celebration she filled her bath with twenty-four magnums of champagne, which all the other guests later wanted to drink in her honour!

Two years later the aviator Elly Beinhorn would also stop at Charleville at the Hotel Corones, and this time Harry took the aviator on a duck shooting expedition.

Other early distinguished guests included the aviators Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, Sir Hudson Fysh, the Wright brothers, Nancy Bird and Jean Batten, the then Governor of Queensland, Sir Leslie Orme Wilson, the internationally renowned baritone Peter Dawson and the much-loved English singer Gracie Fields. In fact Gracie Fields caused a sensation when, before departing from the hotel, she stood at the open windows in front of the large crowd and the troops who had gathered in front of the hotel, and sang one of the songs for which she was famous: “Wish Me Luck AsYou Wave Me Goodbye”.

Other celebrities staying at the hotel over the decades would include judges, politicians (including Gough Whitlam), pop stars (one of whom was Johnny O’Keefe) and even members of the royal family, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and the Duchess of Gloucester who later presented Harry with a gold lapel pin as a memento of their stay at the hotel. It was from the Duke of Gloucester, at that time Governor-General of Australia, that Harry was given permission to use the royal insignia with the wording “Under Vice Regal Patronage” on the hotel’s letter­heading.

The success of the hotel was due largely to Harry’s business acumen and his capacity for hard work. He demanded equal dedication and hard work from his staff but at the same time he was known for the fairness with which he treated his employees.Yet, the success of the hotel was also due in no small part to his wife Eftyhia (or Effte as she was known) who gave her complete support to Harry in all his activmties.

Loved and respected by all, she was an elegant, cultivated and beautifully spoken lady who was always impeccably and stylishly dressed, and she was a great asset to Harry when guests, especially dignitaries, were welcomed and entertained. Effie trained the staff to exacting standards and worked hard in the background supervising many aspects of running the hotel, including overseeing the kitchen and setting the menus for the guests and for the many banquets and special functions.

But it was Harry’s sense of humour which helped endear him to guests and townsfolk alike. He laughed along with the others when jokes were made about his heavy accent - even makingjokes against himself - and in the end would always see the funny side of any incident, And the incidents were many.There was the time when, again on picnic race day, people
strung his crockery in rows across the street, or the time when locals broke into his hotel in the early hours of the morning and sold liquor to the people in the main Street - giving him the takings the next morning.

Another time a race-goer bet Harry one hundred bottles of champagne that he could not serve all the guests in the dining-room with champagne in five minutes. Harry took on the bet. Corks popped like gunfire and he flew around the room, winning the bet.

Not so profitable for Harry was the time when a drunken guest rode his horse into the ballroom on the night that a very elegant ball was in progress.The horse slithered and slipped on the highly polished floor, sliding into tables which came crashing down bringing their crockery, cutlery, glassware and floral decorations with them, while expensive ballgowns which had been brought from Brisbane especially for the occasion were ripped and mangled in the melée that broke out!

Other stories affectionately related by Harry’s many friends concern Harry himself. On one occasion he was thrown into a panic when it was discovered that a honeymoon couple were not actually married because of a legal technicality, a shocking thing by the mores of those early days, which Harry immediately set about helping them to rectify.
Some of the stories involve distinguished guests like the late Sir James Blair, the Chief Justice of Queensland, who was being driven around Charleville with Harry in a somewhat dilapidated old taxi. Sir James upbraided the taxi driver for \vhat he considered to be the man’s atrocious driving, and announced that when he got back to Brisbane he would cancel the man’s licence. When Harry protested that he could not do that, Sir James indignantly asked why not since he was the Chie fJustice. Harry replied: “Because he hasn’t got a b.......... licence!”

But perhaps the most enduring, and endearing, story concerns Harry’s somewhat shaky grasp of written English. On one occasion, one of Harry’s guests had been a circuit judge from
Brisbane who used to stay at the hotel, and who, every year, would go duck shooting with Harry. His visit to Charleville over, the judge had taken the train back to Brisbane when Harry discovered that he had left his gun behind, so Harry telephoned him to let him know. But the line between Charleville and Brisbane was very poor, compounded by Harry’s heavy accent, and the judge could not understand what Harry was talking about. “Spell it” the judge said, becoming rather exasperated. So Harry spelt “G for Jesus, U for onion, N for pneumonia”!

Throughout this hectic but interesting time, Harry maintained his support for aviation and especially for Qantas. If ever the crew of one of the Qantas planes had to stay overnight in Charleville they were always his guests at his hotel, and Harry’s tradition of sending picnic baskets out to planes which stopped for refuelling continued faithfully. Then in 1934 Qantas was granted a licence for international flights, which began in Brisbane, flying to Darwin with a stop at Charleville en route.

Harry took over a disused hangar at the airfield and converted it into a dining-room where meals were served to passengers, with all the elegance with which they were served in his hotel dining—room, complete with damask tablecloths and silver cutlery. Harry continued to provide this service for Qantas until larger aeroplanes meant that the stop at Charleville was no longer necessary.

With all these activities in Charleville, not for one minute did Harry overlook his business affairs in Quilpie.

In October 1934 he and Jim leased in that town the Club Hotel (which they purchased on 31 July 1965 for £ 8,000) bringing the number of hotels they controlled there to three with, incidentally, all of them being on the same block in the main street.

Now with a number of hotels and other business concerns, Harry and Jin4 decided to put their small empire on a sounder basis and on 10 June 1935 they formed a company, Hotels Pty Ltd., the name of which they would change on 8 October 1936 to Corones Hotels Pty Ltd. In the meantime, on 13 December 1935, they sold all their equities to this company, of which Harry was the Managing Director.

The end of the 1930s and the period of World War II saw business boom in the Charleville hotels, with the establishment of an American Air Force Base in the new, but not yet operational, Charleville Hospital.

Harry welcomed the troops and treated them with his usual exuberance and hospitality, holding dances in the hotel every night, but life with the troops was not always without incident. While this was the time during which Gracie Fields visited Charleville, it was also marked, quite literally, by bullet holes inside the hotel. One night a crowd in one of the rooms had become so rowdy that an American Air Force officer, driven to distraction by the noise, fired his revolver down the corridor to shut them up, and hit the walls in several places!

It was the American troops who first began to call Harry “Poppa” and Eftyhia “Nana”.These names stuck and from this time on Harry and his wife were known affectionately to all by these names.

After the war business continued to prosper and on 4 December 1948 the company bought the Hotel Charleville, at a cost of £37,100. It flourished, too, throughout the following decade, but the rural economy suffered badly during the drought of the 1960s.The local pastoral industry was hit hard and with it the economy of Charleville, including the Corones empire.

While Harry’s personal life had received a great fillip with his M.B.E. in 1965, in 1966 tragedy struck with the death from a stroke of his dearly loved nephew Jim, on 4 July.

Now he was deprived of his closest friend and his partner in all his business enterprises.Together they had built up an empire which at its peak comprised two hotels, sixteen shops and one garage in Charleville, as well as three hotels, six shops, one bank building, one garage and one house in Quilpie, all under the
umbrella of Harry Corones. Other business interests included the six thousand, eight hundred and eighty hectare Whynot Station, near Thargomindah and at one time a half-share in Gatino and Company, a wine and spirit import business in Sydney, which operated until the Depression.With Jim’s death, Harry’s health began to deteriorate.

However, business alone was not Harry’s sole interest or concern in life.

He was an enthusiastic worker for many causes in the town, and a devoted family man. Effie bore him five children: Peter (b.23 February 19l5), Alexander (b.23 February 1916), George (b. 6 April l918), Anna (b. 15 January 1921) and Stamatia (b. 3 April 1923). Having great respect for education, and also influenced in this by his well-educated wife, Harry sent Peter and Alexander to Ipswich Grammar and George to Toowoomba Grammar, while the two girls spent some years at Arsakeion, the prestigious girls’ school in Athens.

Sadly, though, Alexander died when he was fifteen years old. While playing in a football match he injured his leg; an infection set in and developed into septicemia, and this took his young life which was so full of promise.

Harry’s warmth and concern for others did not stop with his family, and he was a generous benefactor of various causes in the town, especially the hospital. His dedicated service to the Ambulance Board lasted for thirty-nine years (1919— 1958), to the Fire Brigade Board for over twenty-five years (until 1958), and he served on the Hospital Board for an unbroken fifty-three years (1916-1969),— a period of service not remotely approached by any other individual in Charleville or elsewhere. For much of this time he was also chairman of the Board’s Works Committee and the hospital stands as a testimony to his unflagging dedication in this role, while the nurses’ quarters was officially named The Harry Corones Block.

Harry, a lover of sport, was a great supporter of local sporting groups. He was a foundation member and major developer of both the original Charleville golf club and the first bowling club, he helped to set up and finance a local basketball team, and was a foundation patron of the All Whites Football Club, who made him a life member in September 1966, in recognition of his continued support of the club.

Also, he was a Freemason and in appreciation of his long and significant service in 1972, just before his death, he was presented with the Life Governor’s Jewel of the Aged Masons, Widows and Orphans Institution.

The one institution in which he would never participate, though, was politics (despite his many politician friends), always declaring that he had no patience with politics and always refusing to get involved!

Nor was the individual overlooked in Harry’s concern and magnanimity. Whenever drovers were away on their lengthy trips, Harry always ensured that their faniilies (whether white or aboriginal) had enough food, and helped them sort out any other problems they might have. In the same way his generosity, based on respect, extended to all the nurses and doctors who worked at the Charleville Hospital, never allowing them to pay for any food or drinks they niight have in any of his hotels where there being anything other than Harry’s guests was out of the question.

In the years since Jim’s death, though, Harry had lost his hearing and a large part of his eyesight. He still lived in the hotel he had created, guided and controlled for so niany years, but now his days were drawing to a close. On 22 March 1972 Harry Corones, the man who had left his indelible mark on so many aspects of life in Charleville, passed away, at the grand old age of eighty-eight.The whole town was deeply saddened, and a huge procession, comprising most of the townspeople as well as many of his friends and former guests from other places, accompanied his coffin to the local cemetery where he was buried. Two years later, on 8 March 1974, Eftyhia (who was now living in Brisbane) followed her husband and was buried next to him in the Charleville cemetery, where Alexander had also been buried many years before.

The day after Harry’s funeral the dinner bell beside the entrance of the dining-room, which had been a part of a bore casing given to Harry by a wealthy grazier friend, bronzed and made into a dinner bell by Harry, was not rung. It has never been rung since.

The Hotel Corones still stands as a memorial to Harry Corones and his wife Eftyhia. In the last years of his life it had been run by their son Peter and his wife Mary. But a decade later it passed out of Corones hands, changing hands once more in 1985 when it was sold to Gordon and Andrew Harding.

Lovingly and painstakingly restored after the disastrous floods of 1990, its architectural and social value were recognised by the National Trust of Queensland in 1993 when they included it on their Register, while in May 1997 it was placed on the Heritage List.

Today, guests still stay in the splendid I 920s rooms of the Hotel Corones, locals still drink in its magnificent bar and both visitors and locals eat in the splendid dining-room which retains much of its original decor and furnishings, including the specially made chairs with a carved C embellishing them and some of the beautifully engraved silverware.

Daily tours through the Hotel Corones mean that the vision and the high standards of Harry Corones, who built a hotel that was unequalled in rural Queensland, can still be appreciated, as can Harry hiniself the man who became known as “the uncrowned king of the West”.

From,

In The Wake Of Odysseus. Portraits of Greek Settlers in Australia.

George Kanarakis

RMIT University
124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne 3000

Greek-Australian Archives Publications

1997

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vassilia Corones on 30.12.2005

Harry Corones and Nancy Bird in Charleville, 1935.

Nancy Bird is a world-famous aviatrix.

Charleville Welcomes back high-flyer Nancy

http://www.pacificflyer.com.au - page no longer available

NAVIGATING with only a watch and compass, Nancy Bird fought to keep the Gipsy Moth in the air as the turbulence from the thermals threw the plane around the sky like a paper toy. Flying over the "never-never" on the way to Urisino in outback New South Wales was extremely dangerous. Several people had lost their lives in country like this and she knew that if she was forced down into the featureless landscape, with no tracks, no roads and no water, finding the plane would be like searching for a needle in a haystack and it would not be worth salvaging the aircraft from the scrub.

Packed into the front cockpit with the baby scales and clinic equipment, Sister Webb, a former World War 1 army nurse, was whitefaced and shaking, trying to control her panic. "I shall never forget how brave she was that day," Nancy said. "She loathed flying and certainly had no desire to go by air." It was Nancy's first flight out of Bourke for the Far West Children's Health Scheme, taking nursing sisters to the tiny settlement and homesteads of the west, to help mothers trying to raise children, far beyond the reach of the most basic medical care.

Nancy's interest in flying started in 1928 when working for her father at his country store at Mt.George in New South Wales. An air pageant came to town, with pilot Reg Annabel flying a beautiful, shining, blue and yellow Gipsy Moth. It was her first chance to get airborne. I enjoyed being aloft so much, that I went on a second flight and asked Reg to do some aerobatics for an extra pound. From then on, learning to fly was the ruling passion of my life," Nancy said.

Although her father strongly disapproved, Nancy took her first flying lessons with Charles Kingsford Smith at Mascot Airport. After many arduous hours studying and flying, at the age of 20, she obtained her licence to "fly for hire and reward". With the financial assistance of her father (now an enthusiastic supporter) and a great aunt, she purchased the same Gipsy Moth in which she had experienced her first flight.

In 1936, the federal government removed the £200 subsidy it had been paying the Far West Children's Health Scheme, and Nancy decided to move from Bourke to Charleville. "The main pleasure for me was being with other flying people," she said, "and I knew I would always see some of the Qantas pilots. "It was also great fun to be at Harry Corones' Hotel. Harry would do anything for flying people, such as driving us to and from the aerodrome".

Harry had the contract to feed Qantas. "Petrol was cheaper in Charleville, than anywhere else, but it did not offset the other costs such as the hotel bill, hangar rental and engineering costs." So I moved to Cunnamulla where there was a large clay pan for landing close to town and Mrs Davis had invited me to be her guest at the Cunnamulla Hotel, which was an attractive proposition". Although I had moved, I was still doing the same kind of work as before and more often than not, flying the same people.

Now aged 84 (in 1999 Ed.), Nancy Bird-Walton is in great demand in Australia and overseas as a guest speaker. International Women's Day celebrations and opened a terminal named after her at Bourke airport, where she was presented to the Queen and Prince Philip. She also attended a ball in Sydney which celebrated the 80th anniversary of the founding of Mascot Airport, a particularly appropriate honour for the girl who learned to fly there almost 70 years ago.


For those charmed by the story of Nancy Bird-Walton, a signed copy of her book My God! It's a Woman, is available at $20 plus $3.50 postage and handling, from the author at
22 Adderstone Avenue,
North Sydney,
NSW 2060 or through the

The Rural Bookshop,
telephone toll-free 1800 656028.

Nancy Bird-Walton, O.B.E (1915-)

http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/nancy_bird_walton_bio.html

Nancy Bird-Walton was the founder of the Australian Women Pilots' Association, which was the starting block for a proud generation of female pilots, who now fly alongside men in Australia's skies.

Nancy Bird was born in Sydney, NSW in 1915. When she was four, she attempted to launch herself off the backyard fence after hearing news about the Great England-Australia Race, which was gripping the country. When she turned thirteen, she went for a joy flight in a Gipsy Moth aeroplane at a local fair, and her future was decided. She began saving for flying lessons immediately.

Despite her actions being unapproved by her father, Nancy's first flying lesson was conducted by Charles Kingsford Smith - a legend himself. She was seventeen at the time and the year was 1933. She learned to fly at a time when women pilots where a rare breed. Given that it was "not the done thing" for women to wear long pants in those days as well, she required a degree of persistence in order that she continued in her chosen career.

In the beginning Kingsford Smith didn't take her as seriously as he should have, as Nancy only stood at five foot nothing (150cm), but she soon regained his respect. In 1935, she was hired to operate an air ambulance service in outback New South Wales. It was named the Far West Children's Health Scheme. Nancy's own Gipsy Moth was used as an air ambulance.

As well as saving the lives of patients by flying them to hospital, she required a good deal of skill to save her own life when using the airstrips available in those days. Often, landings had to be made in paddocks that were dotted with rabbit holes. Navigation instruments were basic and frequently road maps rather than aviation maps were needed in order to get from one place to another.

She continued to rouse feathers belonging to the conservative country people she came across in her work. Later in 1935, the state defence leader H.V.C Thorby, stated that flying was not "biologically suited" to women, and after much pressure from politicians and colleagues, 1938 became Bird's last year of flying for a while. In 1939 Bird fell in love while aboard an ocean liner bound back for Australia, she was returning after undertaking aviation research in England.

She was 24 when she married Englishman Charles Walton and they had two children named Anne Marie and John. While domesticity ruled for Bird-Walton at this time, her passion for flying stayed strong, and in the works was the idea to set up an Australian Women Pilots' Association. She founded the organisation in 1950 and Bird-Walton remained president until 1990, their motto was "skies unlimited".

Thanks to Bird-Walton's pioneering air days, women are now working as airline captains, helicopter musterers, search and rescue pilots, and even flying nuns. The Australian Airforce currently has ten female pilots and the Navy has eight. Now aged eighty-four (in 1999 Ed.) she is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Australian Women Pilots' Association and recently received the honour of having a terminal at Bourke Airport, N.S.W. named after her.

Source: Heroism in Action: Heroes & Heroines of the 20th Century
Nancy Bird-Walton
http://library.thinkquest.org

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vassilia Corones on 30.12.2005

Jim Corones, Nancy Bird and Mr O'Neil in Charleville, ca. 1936

Mr O'Neil was a Charleville bank manager.

Nancy Bird is a world-famous aviatrix.

Charleville Welcomes back high-flyer Nancy

http://www.pacificflyer.com.au - page no longer available

NAVIGATING with only a watch and compass, Nancy Bird fought to keep the Gipsy Moth in the air as the turbulence from the thermals threw the plane around the sky like a paper toy. Flying over the "never-never" on the way to Urisino in outback New South Wales was extremely dangerous. Several people had lost their lives in country like this and she knew that if she was forced down into the featureless landscape, with no tracks, no roads and no water, finding the plane would be like searching for a needle in a haystack and it would not be worth salvaging the aircraft from the scrub.

Packed into the front cockpit with the baby scales and clinic equipment, Sister Webb, a former World War 1 army nurse, was whitefaced and shaking, trying to control her panic. "I shall never forget how brave she was that day," Nancy said. "She loathed flying and certainly had no desire to go by air." It was Nancy's first flight out of Bourke for the Far West Children's Health Scheme, taking nursing sisters to the tiny settlement and homesteads of the west, to help mothers trying to raise children, far beyond the reach of the most basic medical care.

Nancy's interest in flying started in 1928 when working for her father at his country store at Mt.George in New South Wales. An air pageant came to town, with pilot Reg Annabel flying a beautiful, shining, blue and yellow Gipsy Moth. It was her first chance to get airborne. I enjoyed being aloft so much, that I went on a second flight and asked Reg to do some aerobatics for an extra pound. From then on, learning to fly was the ruling passion of my life," Nancy said.

Although her father strongly disapproved, Nancy took her first flying lessons with Charles Kingsford Smith at Mascot Airport. After many arduous hours studying and flying, at the age of 20, she obtained her licence to "fly for hire and reward". With the financial assistance of her father (now an enthusiastic supporter) and a great aunt, she purchased the same Gipsy Moth in which she had experienced her first flight.

In 1936, the federal government removed the £200 subsidy it had been paying the Far West Children's Health Scheme, and Nancy decided to move from Bourke to Charleville. "The main pleasure for me was being with other flying people," she said, "and I knew I would always see some of the Qantas pilots. "It was also great fun to be at Harry Corones' Hotel. Harry would do anything for flying people, such as driving us to and from the aerodrome".

Harry had the contract to feed Qantas. "Petrol was cheaper in Charleville, than anywhere else, but it did not offset the other costs such as the hotel bill, hangar rental and engineering costs." So I moved to Cunnamulla where there was a large clay pan for landing close to town and Mrs Davis had invited me to be her guest at the Cunnamulla Hotel, which was an attractive proposition". Although I had moved, I was still doing the same kind of work as before and more often than not, flying the same people.

Now aged 84 (in 1999 Ed.), Nancy Bird-Walton is in great demand in Australia and overseas as a guest speaker. International Women's Day celebrations and opened a terminal named after her at Bourke airport, where she was presented to the Queen and Prince Philip. She also attended a ball in Sydney which celebrated the 80th anniversary of the founding of Mascot Airport, a particularly appropriate honour for the girl who learned to fly there almost 70 years ago.


For those charmed by the story of Nancy Bird-Walton, a signed copy of her book My God! It's a Woman, is available at $20 plus $3.50 postage and handling, from the author at
22 Adderstone Avenue,
North Sydney,
NSW 2060 or through the

The Rural Bookshop,
telephone toll-free 1800 656028.

Nancy Bird-Walton, O.B.E (1915-)

http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/nancy_bird_walton_bio.html

Nancy Bird-Walton was the founder of the Australian Women Pilots' Association, which was the starting block for a proud generation of female pilots, who now fly alongside men in Australia's skies.

Nancy Bird was born in Sydney, NSW in 1915. When she was four, she attempted to launch herself off the backyard fence after hearing news about the Great England-Australia Race, which was gripping the country. When she turned thirteen, she went for a joy flight in a Gipsy Moth aeroplane at a local fair, and her future was decided. She began saving for flying lessons immediately.

Despite her actions being unapproved by her father, Nancy's first flying lesson was conducted by Charles Kingsford Smith - a legend himself. She was seventeen at the time and the year was 1933. She learned to fly at a time when women pilots where a rare breed. Given that it was "not the done thing" for women to wear long pants in those days as well, she required a degree of persistence in order that she continued in her chosen career.

In the beginning Kingsford Smith didn't take her as seriously as he should have, as Nancy only stood at five foot nothing (150cm), but she soon regained his respect. In 1935, she was hired to operate an air ambulance service in outback New South Wales. It was named the Far West Children's Health Scheme. Nancy's own Gipsy Moth was used as an air ambulance.

As well as saving the lives of patients by flying them to hospital, she required a good deal of skill to save her own life when using the airstrips available in those days. Often, landings had to be made in paddocks that were dotted with rabbit holes. Navigation instruments were basic and frequently road maps rather than aviation maps were needed in order to get from one place to another.

She continued to rouse feathers belonging to the conservative country people she came across in her work. Later in 1935, the state defence leader H.V.C Thorby, stated that flying was not "biologically suited" to women, and after much pressure from politicians and colleagues, 1938 became Bird's last year of flying for a while. In 1939 Bird fell in love while aboard an ocean liner bound back for Australia, she was returning after undertaking aviation research in England.

She was 24 when she married Englishman Charles Walton and they had two children named Anne Marie and John. While domesticity ruled for Bird-Walton at this time, her passion for flying stayed strong, and in the works was the idea to set up an Australian Women Pilots' Association. She founded the organisation in 1950 and Bird-Walton remained president until 1990, their motto was "skies unlimited".

Thanks to Bird-Walton's pioneering air days, women are now working as airline captains, helicopter musterers, search and rescue pilots, and even flying nuns. The Australian Airforce currently has ten female pilots and the Navy has eight. Now aged eighty-four (in 1999 Ed.) she is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Australian Women Pilots' Association and recently received the honour of having a terminal at Bourke Airport, N.S.W. named after her.

Source: Heroism in Action: Heroes & Heroines of the 20th Century
Nancy Bird-Walton
http://library.thinkquest.org

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vassilia Corones on 30.12.2005

Harry Corones and Paddy Cryan. ca.1912.

Harry Corones, licensee of the Charleville Hotel. Paddy Cryan worked for Perkins Brewery.

Professor George Kanarakis's biography of Harry Corones.

1883—1972


On 14 June 1965 people poured in and out of the Hotel Corones in Charleville, Queensland all day. “The barmaids were run off their feet, the telephones ran hot and the local telegraph boy nearly wore out his bike”. Drinks were on the house for everyone, and everybody in the town was celebrating. The reason? The much-loved Harry Corones (or “Poppa” to everyone who knew him) had that day been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, (M.B.E.) in recognition of “his remarkable services to the people of Western Queensland over a great number of years”.

Sometime during that day a jovial and exuberant Harry, now eighty-two years old but still with brown eyes twinkling beneath his curly white hair, may have paused to remember that fateful day on 10 August 1907 when, without speaking a word of English and at twenty-three years of age already responsible for his twelve-year-old nephew Demetrios (Jim), he landed in Sydney from his native island of Kythera.

Harry (Haralambos) Corones was born in the village of Frylingianika, Kythera on 17 September 1883 to Panayiotis Coroneos, a fisherman, and his wife Stamatia. Harry’s mother, Stamatia, was a member of the Frylingos family, an extended family so large that the village in which many of them lived had been named after them, and one which was very close-knit - something which would help Harry later in life.
Little is known of Harry’s childhood and youth on the island until 1904 when, at the age of twenty-one, he began two years military service as a first-aid-orderly attached to a military hospital. This part of his life completed, a decision had to be made about which direction his future would take. On the small island of Kythera there were few opportunities other than fishing or tending the family’s plot of land, and so the family reached the conclusion that Harry would have to emigrate. Moreover, it was decided that he should take with him his young nephew Demetrios, in the hope that they would both be able to build a better life overseas.

Harry’s first choice was America but for medical reasons his application was rejected and so his hopes turned to Australia where, after all, his mother had relatives, in Brisbane. And so it was that the following year Harry and Jim embarked on the long trip towards an unknown life in the foreign land.

When the ship sailed into Sydney harbour and docked, Harry and Jim disembarked with few possessions other than their meagre luggage and Harry’s pocketful of change, with no English at all between them and so their real adventure began.

Harry’s immediate concern was to find work. He had the name of a Kytherian, Mr Aroney, who might give him a job
and so, leaving Jim on his own on the wharf to look after the luggage, Harry set off in search of his fellow-islander.

Despite being a total stranger in the city, he finally found Aroney who did indeed give him work in his fish shop. But Aroney had nowhere for Harry to stay and so finding accommodation for himself and Jim was Harry’s next priority.

Walking in the streets near the docks looking for a room was a daunting task when he could neither read the street signs nor seek information from passers-by, but eventually he came across a fellow-Greek who was cleaning the window of a shop. Harry helped him to complete his task and was introduced to the owner of the shop, who turned out to have a place where Harry and Jim could stay.

Evening was now falling, so Harry, elated by his achievements, rushed back to the wharf to collect Jim who by this time was feeling lost and afraid.The hours that Harry had been away had seemed very long to young Jim who had been unable to buy anything to eat or drink, or to converse with the strangers who had tried to help him.

This long day over, their new life began. But it was to be a hard life in Sydney with Harry working extremely long hours gutting and filleting the fish and opening oysters, with Jim working there, too, on the weekends and in the school holidays.

After about a year had passed, Harry decided that they should move on to Brisbane where, after all, he had relatives on his mother’s side.

This was to be a fortuitous move, for the Frylingos brothers (or Freeleagus as they were known in Australia) not only gave Harry a job in their oyster saloon on George Street but would help him in a venture which wotild be the start of a long and very successful business career.

At the oyster saloon Harry continued to work long hours, yet such was his care and concern for Jim that he lodged him with an Australian family, named Ballard, where he would not only be looked after but also improve his English, and then sent him to a school in Bundaberg.

But a life as an oyster opener, working for others, was not what Harry had in mind for his future. He wanted to start a business on his own and began to think about where this should be.

In the end he decided on Charleville, an inland town in south—west Queensland, six hundred and seventy kilometres from Brisbane, which was not only the centre of its region but where an empty cafe, owned by a Greek named Theo Comino, was for sale, With a loan of £120 from the Freeleagus brothers, Harry bought the cafe and so in l909, just a year after they had arrived in Brisbane, Harry and Jim set off for Charleville - another step into the unknown for both of them, but for Harry a journey to the town which would be his home for the rest of his life.

In those days, Charleville was a remote, hot, dry and dusty but thriving cattle—country town with saw mills, a meatworks and a few other small factories. With the railway running through, it was an important rail terminal, but even more significant for the traders in the town was the fact that it was a main stopping point for bullock trains and camel caravans, as well as for the many drovers who were moving their stock from one part of the State to another, and even interstate.

The cafe on Alfred Street which Harry had bought needed much work, but from the start he ran it in the way he would run all his businesses in his long business career of about sixty years, offering good service, good food and warm hospitality.

The following year, Harry went into partnership with another fellow—Greek named Megalocominos in another cafe, on Wills Street, which Harry ran with his usual hard work, efficiency and attention to detail, It was a bigger cafe than the first one, but its importance to Harry lay not in its size, but in the fact that it was here that he met Paddy Cryan, a travelling salesman from Perkins Brewery in Brisbane.

Impressed as he was with the way Harry ran the cafe, Paddy astutely recognised in Harry the qualities of a good hotel owner. He suggested that Harry should move into the hotel business and take on the lease of the Hotel Charleville which had become vacant, At first Harry was reluctant to make this move because he knew nothing about the hotel business, and moreover because he did not have any money. But Cryan continued to persuade him and to assure him that the brewery would finance the deal and train him in the business.

Harry discussed it at length with Jim, and in the end the decision was made — Harry Corones would become a hotelier, and Jim would accompany him in this venture. On 7 October 1912 Harry signed the lease on the Hotel Charleville on the corner of Alfred and Wills Streets for five years at a rent of £ 6 per week.

That year, 1912, was very significant for Harry for not only did it mark the beginning of a long career as a hotelier (the first Greek hotelier in Australia), but in June of that year, committing himself to Australia as his new homeland, Harry had become a naturalised Australian citizen.

Harry, with no knowledge of the hotel trade and with somewhat broken English, but assisted by Jim, threw himself into his new venture. The business was going well and Harry’s thoughts turned to his future as a family man.

Early in 1914 he left Charleville to go to Sydney for a few months, and there, on 29 April, he married Eftyhia Phocas at Holy Trinity church in Sydney. Eftyhia was the fourth of the six daughters of Reverend Serapheini Phocas and his wife Maria. Reverend Phocas was the first accredited resident Greek Orthodox priest in New South Wales (he had arrived in Sydney in March 1899) and only the second in Australia, and was a well-educated, scholarly man who spoke several languages fluently. Although he had been born on the Gallipoli Peninsula he had lived in Jerusalem, Crete, Alexandria, Port Said and Rhodes, and with this background he had brought up all his daughters to be well-educated, refined and with charming personalities. Apart from the youngest, Helen, who remained unmarried, all the other daughters eventually married well established members of the Greek communities in different States.

Yet joy would be mixed with tragedy, for early in the trip in Harry’s absence the hotel burnt down. Harry returned to Charleville with his new wife and the hotel was soon rebuilt. On 27 June Harry signed a new lease, this time for ten years, and at £540 per year.

The new hotel was bigger and more luxurious than its predecessor and Harry settled down to run it, assisted as always byJirn and now helped by Eftyhia, with his usual dedication to hard work and excellent service.

Running the hotel, though, was not without its unusual aspects. For example, boundary riders used to ride their horses into the bar, and at times there would be almost as many horses there as people, until Harry changed the doors and made them too narrow for a horse and its rider to pass through!

At the same time as running his hotel, though, Harry’s mind was on expanding his business interests as well as on providing new facilities for his fellow-townsfolk.

He formed a new partnership with three others, McWha, Crowley and Klass (though he would buy them out on 1 August 1919), and on 5 April 1915 they opened Charleville’s first cinema, the Excelsior, in premises at the rear of the Hotel Charleville. To this they brought not only silent movies (with two screens and the equipment set up in such a way that the films could be shown either indoors or outdoors according to the season) but also vaudeville acts from Sydney and Brisbane.

These were much appreciated by the town’s residents as well as by all who passed through, but what they admired most of all was the generator and electric lighting plant Harry had imported from London which lit both the cinema and the hotel — an alliazing innovation for the outback in those days.

Harry’s life was very busy, for two months later (3 June) he took a ten-year lease on the Paris Cafe in the same block as the hotel, although on 4 September 1921 he would sub-let it to his cousin Peter Locos, for £1,700.

By now Harry was not only a successful businessman and a family man (his first child, Peter, had been born on 23 February 1915), but he was a respected and much—liked member of the Charleville community, admired for his boundless energy and his unfailing sense of humour.

Recognition of his business acumen and his popularity came first in 1916 when he was invited to serve on the Charleville Hospital Board. Then in 1919 he was a member of the original committee of the Ambulance Centre and some time after that he was invited to serve on the Fire Brigade Board. He gave himself wholeheartedly to these activities, yet still he wanted to do more to help end the town’s isolation.

His inspiration for this came in 1919 when, on a flight from England to Australia, Sir Keith and Sir Ross Smith made a landing at Charleville for fuiel and urgently needed repairs.
Harry entertained the two aviators as his guests (naturally) while repairs were carried out on the plane and it was refuelled from four-gallon petrol tins. Overwhelmed by the hospitality
they received for three months and the splendid farewell dinner which Harry provided, the two aviators offered to take Jim up in their plane.Though very nervous, Jim went for a flight over Charleville and the surrounding countryside, seeing the vastness of his new homeland from the air for the first time, and being the envy of many other young men in the town!

The spectacle of a plane landing at Charleville fired Harry’s imagination as a way to end Charleville’s remoteness, and he became passionately interested in the fledgeling aviation industry in Australia.

When Sir Hudson Fysh and other men of foresight decided to form an airline, which they would name Qantas (Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services), several of their meetings were held in Harry’s hotel, and it was at one of these meetings that, at Harry’s suggestion, inspired by the classical mythology of his native Greece, they gave the Greek names Perseus, Pegasus, Atalanta, Hermes and Heppomenes to five of their first seven aircraft. When the company was launched in 1920 Harry Corones was one of the original shareholders of the infant airline with one hundred one-pound shares. Qantas’ first scheduled service was from Charleville to Cloncurry on 2 November 1922, and picnic hampers sent out to the planes became a regular part of Harry’s life. Many years later, Sir Hudson Fysh would write in a letter to Corones dated 10 July 1971, with much affection: “I want to see you again, great, and long friend and supporter that you have been, and to recall some of the old times long passed when the world was younger, simpler, and you used to bring out the morning tea.Yes, Qantas’ first caterer. And think what it has grown to today”.

In 1 930, when Harry’s sons Peter and Alexander would go to school in Ipswich, Harry sent them there on Heppomenes as a sign of his faith in outback aviation.
In the meantime Harry and Jim decided to branch out and buy a hotel in another town, choosing Quilpie as the place of their expansion. Quiilpie, dusty and dry, was a smaller town than Charleville with only a few shops, a police station, a couirt house and lock-up, a small hospital and some houses, about two hundred and ten kilometres to the west, in opal country. The railway had reached there in 1917, and Quilpie became a rail terminal.

Harry and Jim saw the potential in this small town and on 19 August 1921 Harry bought the single-storey wooden Quilpie Hotel for £ 2,935. Now the close working partnership was to be severed for, while they remained business partners and best friends, Jim was to go to Quilpie to run the hotel there. Soon Jim’s brother Harry, known as “young Harry”, came over to join him in the running of the hotel, and he was to learn from jim everything that Jim in turn had learned from his uncle Harry.

Soon, however, Harry’s lease on the Hotel Charleville would be due to expire and he began to ma ke plans for the future, drawing on the experience he had gained so far. This would nclude the recollection of the time when, to help the people who had come from miles around to attend Charlevjlle’s annual picnic races, Harry had set up a long row of temporary hessian bathrooms -and some wag had set fire to them, at peak bathtime. In no time at all a large crowd had gathered to watch!

While the Hotel Charleville was now one of the best in the Queensland outback, his dream was to have a hotel which would be by far the best in Queensland outside Brisbane, and equal to any in that State capital.

Six days after the lease ran out (3 July 1924) Harry purchased with Jim the Norman Hotel, a one—storey ramshackle place dating from about 1895, which stood a block south of the Hotel Charleville on the corner of Wills and Galatea Streets. They also bought the rest of the land in that block to Edward Street, standing almost opposite the town hall.

Harry brought in a well-known, prize-winning architect, William Hodgen junior, and together they planned the Hotel Corones which would be the fulfilment of Harry’s dreams and Hodgen’s major single work, as well as the highlight of his career. Using a local builder, George Baker, and giving preference to local men on a day-labour basis, the hotel was built in four stages and took five years to complete. Work first began at the south end of the block, the opposite end to the Norman Hotel, and the first two stages were in reinforced concrete as Harry was well aware of the fire danger connected with wooden structures.

While the planning and the initial stages of this hotel were progressing, at the same time Harry and Jim had more plans for Quilpie. At Jim’s suggestion they bought a block of land on Main Street in the small town centre and there built the Imperial Hotel — a wooden building but Quilpie’s first two-storey structure. The hotel opened for business in 1925 and once more the high standard of a Corones Hotel became known throughout the area. It was also the first building in Quilpie to have electricity, a generator being brought over from Charleville. For a time, Harry and Jim also operated the first picture show in Quilpie, next to the Quilpie Hotel.

Disaster would strike however soon after the opening of the Imperial Hotel when in late January 1929 Harry and Jim’s original purchase in Quilpie, the Quilpie Hotel, burnt down, destroying the cinema at the same time.

Learning a lesson from this, in the same year they completely rebuilt the hotel, with two floors and in brick and concrete. This was the town’s first building constructed in anything other than wood and it was known affectionately by all as “The Brick”.

As the building of the Hotel Corones in Charleville progressed, the Norman Hotel was finally demolished and the last two stages of the new hotel were completed in brick. Such was the care which had been taken in planning the schedule of construction of the Hotel Corones that trading was able to continue throughout all that time.

In 1929, after five years of planning and construction, the magnificent two-storey white Hotel Corones with its sixty-three metre frontage on Wills Street was completed, rising “phoenix-like on the site of the old Norman Hotel”. Harry had envisaged, and achieved, a hotel which no other in the State surpassed and which no other in a country town could equal.

Built at a cost of, £ 50,000, it contained a lounge and writing room, a dining-room for a hundred and fifty people, a private and a public bar, a barber’s shop and, attached to the hotel, a magnificent ballroom capable of seating three hundred and twenty people at a banquet, while upstairs were bathrooms, about forty single and double bedrooms each with french doors opening to a verandah (the double rooms also had private bathrooms) and an upstairs louinge.

Nor was size the only impressive featuire of the Hotel Corones for the interior was decorated and furnished with nothing but luxury in mind and with exquisite attention to detail. Floors were of gleaming parquet and imported white marble, ceilings were exquisitely corniced, and coloured leadlight windows and doors, even a leadhight telephone booth, complemented silky oak panelling.

The hotel’s brochure published at the time gives detailed description:

“From the red and white cement footpath one steps into the Lounge, through widely—welcoming swinging doors — to find comfort awaiting. A cool, white marble floor seems to reflect the whiteness of the ceiling, where huge fans turn unceasingly to keep the temperature right in the heat of the summer, and in the winter time, wood fires make for warmth and comfort. Gleaming copper-topped tables throw back reflections on the flower-laden crystal vases, ever a feature of this room. Deep leather lounges and chairs are provided, where one may rest and entertain, and a door leads to a well—fitted writing room and telephone booth.....

The dining-room of Hotel Gorones is situated on the ground floor, and opens out through long folding glass doors into a piazza, which gives an impression of coolness and space....

A very modern and luxurious Public Bar forms one of the extra special features of this hotel. With the Roman mosaic floor, and time egg-shell mottled tiled walls and counters, the Bar is tinted in the faintest of pastel shades of blue and cream, and an air of coolness pervades this spacious room.

More than usual attention has been paid to time planning and furnishing of the Hotel Gorones bathrooms, and time best of modern equipment has been installed. Hot and cold baths and showers from running bore water are obtainable at any hour. The scrupulous cleanliness shining from the white porcelain baths adds to the personal comfort of each guest....

The bedrooms are furnished throughout in maple or sycamore, with spacious wardrobes, large mirrors, and writing tables. Soft, deep-piled carpets tone harmoniously with the furnishings, and from each double room one enters a luxurious private bathroom, mosaic floored, the walls tiled in shades agreeing with the colouring of the furniture and furnishings of the bedroom attached, where one may enjoy the delights of either a hot or cold bath....

To enjoy a quiet smoke, read, or a game of cards, one seeks the beautiful lounge upstairs. In this room and embossed ceiling in deep cream looks down on a polished floor, in which brown and cream boards alternate. The room is lined with French polished oak and a beautiful fireplace breaks the evenness of one wall. Comfort is the keynote here, and deep into velvet upholstered chairs time visitor sinks. Tables amid smokers’ stands in rosewood lend a deeper tone to the greys amid blues, which predominate in the rugs amid upholstering. Soft lights amid a perfect quietness make this room very dcsirable When the westerly winds turn Charleville into an Arctic region, log fires are lit in this room, transforming it into a snug retreat, beautifully warm and comfortable”


At the same time excellent service and catering were to be the hallmark of the hotel:

“An office staff ever courteous amid well-informed, is in attendance in one part of the lounge, amid deft attendants dispense hospitality when required.....

A capable, efficient staff pays attention to every tiny detail, and the most particular can have their every need supplied. A chef well versed in his art, serves up dishes to satisfy the most critical epicure, and every skill is employed to secure an appetising amid dainty effect. Iced dishes for hot days, and fans whirling unceasingly, make life in time Far West pleasant at this hotel, and brings a satisfied friendliness to those who mutually enjoy it...... ...

The best brands of liquors arc supplied, and the service unexcelled. A refrigerator keeps the drinks at just the degree of coolness individual taste requires, and the drinks being the very best obtainable, the Bar of the Hotel Corones depicts generally a very happy gathering. Bright, genial attendants, who seem to anticipate each client’s wishes, do much to add to the popularity of these extremely pleasant surroundings....

Every kind of liquid refreshment is stocked, in every degree of coolness, and no drink, however rare, is beyond the reach of the capable management”.


Pristine white starched damask tablecloths and napkins as well as the finest silver cutlery Harry could find were always used, while sparkling glassware and crystal vases filled with fresh flowers completed the picture.

This luxurious hotel, of which he used to say,”I built it, and the bank”, immediately became the gathering place for people from miles around and its reputation for elegance, luxury and fine service spread far and wide. But it was Harry’s personality which added the crowning touch to the hotel’s reputation, for he was the perfect host. His warm and welcoming hospitality knew no bounds, and his joy for living radiated to all around him. Moreover he was a keen sportsman, and loved to take hotel guests shooting, golfing, swimming or just exploring the surrounding countryside.

Many were the distinguished guests who stayed at the Hotel Corones throughout the following decades, one of the earliest being the aviator Amy Johnson who made Charleville a stopping point on her epic flight from Britain to Australia in 1930. Staying at the Hotel Corones, in celebration she filled her bath with twenty-four magnums of champagne, which all the other guests later wanted to drink in her honour!

Two years later the aviator Elly Beinhorn would also stop at Charleville at the Hotel Corones, and this time Harry took the aviator on a duck shooting expedition.

Other early distinguished guests included the aviators Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, Sir Hudson Fysh, the Wright brothers, Nancy Bird and Jean Batten, the then Governor of Queensland, Sir Leslie Orme Wilson, the internationally renowned baritone Peter Dawson and the much-loved English singer Gracie Fields. In fact Gracie Fields caused a sensation when, before departing from the hotel, she stood at the open windows in front of the large crowd and the troops who had gathered in front of the hotel, and sang one of the songs for which she was famous: “Wish Me Luck AsYou Wave Me Goodbye”.

Other celebrities staying at the hotel over the decades would include judges, politicians (including Gough Whitlam), pop stars (one of whom was Johnny O’Keefe) and even members of the royal family, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and the Duchess of Gloucester who later presented Harry with a gold lapel pin as a memento of their stay at the hotel. It was from the Duke of Gloucester, at that time Governor-General of Australia, that Harry was given permission to use the royal insignia with the wording “Under Vice Regal Patronage” on the hotel’s letter­heading.

The success of the hotel was due largely to Harry’s business acumen and his capacity for hard work. He demanded equal dedication and hard work from his staff but at the same time he was known for the fairness with which he treated his employees.Yet, the success of the hotel was also due in no small part to his wife Eftyhia (or Effte as she was known) who gave her complete support to Harry in all his activmties.

Loved and respected by all, she was an elegant, cultivated and beautifully spoken lady who was always impeccably and stylishly dressed, and she was a great asset to Harry when guests, especially dignitaries, were welcomed and entertained. Effie trained the staff to exacting standards and worked hard in the background supervising many aspects of running the hotel, including overseeing the kitchen and setting the menus for the guests and for the many banquets and special functions.

But it was Harry’s sense of humour which helped endear him to guests and townsfolk alike. He laughed along with the others when jokes were made about his heavy accent - even makingjokes against himself - and in the end would always see the funny side of any incident, And the incidents were many.There was the time when, again on picnic race day, people
strung his crockery in rows across the street, or the time when locals broke into his hotel in the early hours of the morning and sold liquor to the people in the main Street - giving him the takings the next morning.

Another time a race-goer bet Harry one hundred bottles of champagne that he could not serve all the guests in the dining-room with champagne in five minutes. Harry took on the bet. Corks popped like gunfire and he flew around the room, winning the bet.

Not so profitable for Harry was the time when a drunken guest rode his horse into the ballroom on the night that a very elegant ball was in progress.The horse slithered and slipped on the highly polished floor, sliding into tables which came crashing down bringing their crockery, cutlery, glassware and floral decorations with them, while expensive ballgowns which had been brought from Brisbane especially for the occasion were ripped and mangled in the melée that broke out!

Other stories affectionately related by Harry’s many friends concern Harry himself. On one occasion he was thrown into a panic when it was discovered that a honeymoon couple were not actually married because of a legal technicality, a shocking thing by the mores of those early days, which Harry immediately set about helping them to rectify.
Some of the stories involve distinguished guests like the late Sir James Blair, the Chief Justice of Queensland, who was being driven around Charleville with Harry in a somewhat dilapidated old taxi. Sir James upbraided the taxi driver for \vhat he considered to be the man’s atrocious driving, and announced that when he got back to Brisbane he would cancel the man’s licence. When Harry protested that he could not do that, Sir James indignantly asked why not since he was the Chie fJustice. Harry replied: “Because he hasn’t got a b.......... licence!”

But perhaps the most enduring, and endearing, story concerns Harry’s somewhat shaky grasp of written English. On one occasion, one of Harry’s guests had been a circuit judge from
Brisbane who used to stay at the hotel, and who, every year, would go duck shooting with Harry. His visit to Charleville over, the judge had taken the train back to Brisbane when Harry discovered that he had left his gun behind, so Harry telephoned him to let him know. But the line between Charleville and Brisbane was very poor, compoumnded by Harry’s heavy accent, and the judge could not understand what Harry was talking about. “Spell it” the judge said, becoming rather exasperated. So Harry spelt “G for Jesus, U for onion, N for pneumonia”!

Throughout this hectic but interesting time, Harry maintained his support for aviation and especially for Qantas. If ever the crew of one of the Qantas planes had to stay overnight in Charleville they were always his guests at his hotel, and Harry’s tradition of sending picnic baskets out to planes which stopped for refuelling continued faithfully. Then in 1934 Qantas was granted a licence for international flights, which began in Brisbane, flying to Darwin with a stop at Charleville en route.

Harry took over a disused hangar at the airfield and converted it into a dining-room where meals were served to passengers, with all the elegance with which they were served in his hotel dining—room, complete with damask tablecloths and silver cutlery. Harry continued to provide this service for Qantas until larger aeroplanes meant that the stop at Charleville was no longer necessary.

With all these activities in Charleville, not for one minute did Harry overlook his business affairs in Quilpie.

In October 1934 he and Jim leased in that town the Club Hotel (which they purchased on 31 July 1965 for £ 8,000) bringing the number of hotels they controlled there to three with, incidentally, all of them being on the same block in the main street.

Now with a number of hotels and other business concerns, Harry and Jin4 decided to put their small empire on a sounder basis and on 10 June 1935 they formed a company, Hotels Pty Ltd., the name of which they would change on 8 October 1936 to Corones Hotels Pty Ltd. In the meantime, on 13 December 1935, they sold all their equities to this company, of which Harry was the Managing Director.

The end of the 1930s and the period of World War II saw business boom in the Charleville hotels, with the establishment of an American Air Force Base in the new, but not yet operational, Charleville Hospital.

Harry welcomed the troops and treated them with his usual exuberance and hospitality, holding dances in the hotel every night, but life with the troops was not always without incident. While this was the time during which Gracie Fields visited Charleville, it was also marked, quite literally, by bullet holes inside the hotel. One night a crowd in one of the rooms had become so rowdy that an American Air Force officer, driven to distraction by the noise, fired his revolver down the corridor to shut them up, and hit the walls in several places!

It was the American troops who first began to call Harry “Poppa” and Eftyhia “Nana”.These names stuck and from this time on Harry and his wife were known affectionately to all by these names.

After the war business continued to prosper and on 4 December 1948 the company bought the Hotel Charleville, at a cost of £37,100. It flourished, too, throughout the following decade, but the rural economy suffered badly during the drought of the 1960s.The local pastoral industry was hit hard and with it the economy of Charleville, including the Corones empire.

While Harry’s personal life had received a great fillip with his M.B.E. in 1965, in 1966 tragedy struck with the death from a stroke of his dearly loved nephew Jim, on 4 July.

Now he was deprived of his closest friend and his partner in all his business enterprises.Together they had built up an empire which at its peak comprised two hotels, sixteen shops and one garage in Charleville, as well as three hotels, six shops, one bank building, one garage and one house in Quilpie, all under the
umbrella of Harry Corones. Other business interests included the six thousand, eight hundred and eighty hectare Whynot Station, near Thargomindah and at one time a half-share in Gatino and Company, a wine and spirit import business in Sydney, which operated until the Depression.With Jim’s death, Harry’s health began to deteriorate.

However, business alone was not Harry’s sole interest or concern in life.

He was an enthusiastic worker for many causes in the town, and a devoted family man. Effie bore him five children: Peter (b.23 February 19l5), Alexander (b.23 February 1916), George (b. 6 April l918), Anna (b. 15 January 1921) and Stamatia (b. 3 April 1923). Having great respect for education, and also influenced in this by his well-educated wife, Harry sent Peter and Alexander to Ipswich Grammar and George to Toowoomba Grammar, while the two girls spent some years at Arsakeion, the prestigious girls’ school in Athens.

Sadly, though, Alexander died when he was fifteen years old. While playing in a football match he injured his leg; an infection set in and developed into septicemia, and this took his young life which was so full of promise.

Harry’s warmth and concern for others did not stop with his family, and he was a generous benefactor of various causes in the town, especially the hospital. His dedicated service to the Ambulance Board lasted for thirty-nine years (1919— 1958), to the Fire Brigade Board for over twenty-five years (until 1958), and he served on the Hospital Board for an unbroken fifty-three years (1916-1969),— a period of service not remotely approached by any other individual in Charleville or elsewhere. For much of this time he was also chairman of the Board’s Works Committee and the hospital stands as a testimony to his unflagging dedication in this role, while the nurses’ quarters was officially named The Harry Corones Block.

Harry, a lover of sport, was a great supporter of local sporting groups. He was a foundation member and major developer of both the original Charleville golf club and the first bowling club, he helped to set up and finance a local basketball team, and was a foundation patron of the All Whites Football Club, who made him a life member in September 1966, in recognition of his continued support of the club.

Also, he was a Freemason and in appreciation of his long and significant service in 1972, just before his death, he was presented with the Life Governor’s Jewel of the Aged Masons, Widows and Orphans Institution.

The one institution in which he would never participate, though, was politics (despite his many politician friends), always declaring that he had no patience with politics and always refusing to get involved!

Nor was the individual overlooked in Harry’s concern and magnanimity. Whenever drovers were away on their lengthy trips, Harry always ensured that their faniilies (whether white or aboriginal) had enough food, and helped them sort out any other problems they might have. In the same way his generosity, based on respect, extended to all the nurses and doctors who worked at the Charleville Hospital, never allowing them to pay for any food or drinks they niight have in any of his hotels where there being anything other than Harry’s guests was out of the question.

In the years since Jim’s death, though, Harry had lost his hearing and a large part of his eyesight. He still lived in the hotel he had created, guided and controlled for so niany years, but now his days were drawing to a close. On 22 March 1972 Harry Corones, the man who had left his indelible mark on so many aspects of life in Charleville, passed away, at the grand old age of eighty-eight.The whole town was deeply saddened, and a huge procession, comprising most of the townspeople as well as many of his friends and former guests from other places, accompanied his coffin to the local cemetery where he was buried. Two years later, on 8 March 1974, Eftyhia (who was now living in Brisbane) followed her husband and was buried next to him in the Charleville cemetery, where Alexander had also been buried many years before.

The day after Harry’s funeral the dinner bell beside the entrance of the dining-room, which had been a part of a bore casing given to Harry by a wealthy grazier friend, bronzed and made into a dinner bell by Harry, was not rung. It has never been rung since.

The Hotel Corones still stands as a memorial to Harry Corones and his wife Eftyhia. In the last years of his life it had been run by their son Peter and his wife Mary. But a decade later it passed out of Corones hands, changing hands once more in 1985 when it was sold to Gordon and Andrew Harding.

Lovingly and painstakingly restored after the disastrous floods of 1990, its architectural and social value were recognised by the National Trust of Queensland in 1993 when they included it on their Register, while in May 1997 it was placed on the Heritage List.

Today, guests still stay in the splendid I 920s rooms of the Hotel Corones, locals still drink in its magnificent bar and both visitors and locals eat in the splendid dining-room which retains much of its original decor and furnishings, including the specially made chairs with a carved C embellishing them and some of the beautifully engraved silverware.

Daily tours through the Hotel Corones mean that the vision and the high standards of Harry Corones, who built a hotel that was unequalled in rural Queensland, can still be appreciated, as can Harry hiniself the man who became known as “the uncrowned king of the West”.

From,

In The Wake Of Odysseus. Portraits of Greek Settlers in Australia.

George Kanarakis

RMIT University
124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne 3000

Greek-Australian Archives Publications

1997

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Betty Summers (nee, Notaras) on 31.05.2006

Notaras Family.

Frilingianika.

Back Row:

Left: Anthony Notaras

Right: Theo Notaras

Seated:

Left: Muriel Notaras (nee, Frilingos)

Baby: Lambrinos Notaras

Right: Jack Notaras

Photograph taken in 1930. (March 3)

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Peter Tsicalas on 31.07.2003

Notaras of Grafton

L to R: Emmanuel Dimitrios Notaras and his first cousins Anthony and John Lambrinos Notaras, at Grafton 1912.
Twenty three year old Emmanuel, in partnership with 20yr old Nick Harry Flaskas, took over the Olympia Cafe in Lismore from 'Andronicos Bros & Comino' in late 1915.
They sold out to Theo George Fardouly around late 1918 and went their separate ways; Emmanuel to Rockhampton and Nick to Toogoolawah.
John (1892-1962) and Anthony (1895-1991) Notaras of Friligianika put down roots in Grafton, where their descendants remain prominent citizens to this day.