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Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 20.10.2013

Paula Lexine Masselos BSW, ATCL,

Bronte NSW, 2024

Paula's email


A proven Senior Executive in high profile roles, in community, government and corporate sectors. An original, creative and strategic thinker with broad experience across a range of sectors nationally and internationally. A strong reputation in collaborative leadership, compassionate reform and with innovative solutions orientation. Builds cohesive and healthy teams while being highly results focussed, and an energetic, passionate advocate for progressive and responsible change.

Bachelor of Social Work (James Cook University of North Queensland), 1979

Associate of the Trinity College, London, 1979

August 2012 – current – elected as Councillor to Waverley Council

As a Councillor for Waverley Council, Paula engages with the community and key stakeholders on a regular basis. This ensures she stays in touch with issues at the grass roots level and remains up to date and relevant with respect to community and business sentiment.

A strong advocate, Paula is regularly called upon by media to comment on key issues of the day. Interviews are regularly conducted with press (SMH, Telegraph, Wentworth Courier, other local newspapers), and radio (702, 2UE, ABC and local FM stations). Television has recently begun to take an interest in key issues and Paula is now being called upon by TV journalists for interviews including ABC and Channel 10.

Paula is a member of a number of council committees including:
• Finance, Ethics and Strategic Planning committee
• Community Housing, Environment Services and Public Works Committee
• Public Art Committee
April 2010 - Current - Director, Strategic Marketing and Communication, Cultural Partners Australia
Heading up the Marketing and Communications Division of CPA, the role is a high level strategic and client relations position with a focus on social change marketing programs. In addition to new business development, strategic campaign planning and implementation, high level client liaison, business and contract negation and evaluation, and management of a small team, Paula is presently the Account Director for:
• Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA) – Donate Life .. the Gift of Life” CALD Program
o Strategic Elements
 Creative development and copy writing for brochure and poster in 7 languages (Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Italian, Korean, Spanish, Vietnamese) and for 6 faith groups (Buddhist, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim) + non-denomination
 1 x 8 minute film of faith leaders and community leaders supporting organ donation; 6 x 2 minute faith specific videos featuring faith leaders in support of organ donation
 Support of Faith leaders for organ donation and their active participation including modification of policy, introduction o new protocols and community training programs
 1 x high profile launch at Kirribilli House including briefing of Minister and PM’s partner, filming of KOLs and faith leaders statements of support
 3 weeks later high profile CALD special event featuring Minister , ethnic press, radio, TV and online, transplant recipient testimonials, and pledges re organ donation by 8 faith leaders to the Minister, audience and media
 Media training and key message briefing of KOLs for media interviews
 High level State Department negotiations re policy and program implementation
 High level Faith / Community leaders meeting with CEO of OTA
 Community engagement strategies including festivals and specific events
 Mailout of education kit to 500 community organisation and 250 healthcare professionals
o Outcomes
 Strategy, materials, launches and media coverage delivered in 12 weeks
 Strong buy in by Faith leaders including issuing of encyclicals, fatwas, policies and Beth Din rulings filtering to community level and to priests, rabbis, monks and imams
 Collateral materials very well received and adopted by the community
 Strong media interest with over $100,000 of PR generated in one week (55 stories). Faith leaders, transplant recipients and healthcare professionals in high demand for stories.
 CPA managed media talent as well as being spokesperson in some instances including for ethnic radio, press, Indian, Chinese and SBS television.
 Community engagement positive with community leaders creating / identifying special events for OTA lectures and information sessions
 Mailout materials very well received with 60 community organisations distributing through networks and becoming advocates for organ donation

• Dept of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency – Clean Energy Future Education Campaign
o Strategic Elements
 Clean Energy Future face-to-Face education and information programs in English, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese and Spanish in 20 Centres in Sydney and Melbourne
 Advertising campaign in 17 languages including creative development and adaptation, copywriting, collateral development, radio, press and online ads, media planning
 2 x 2 minute YouTube videos of community leaders and Ambassadors endorsing Carbon Price and Clean Energy Future legislation used for social marketing, website and seminar content
 Press launch at Grocon’s flagship 5 start rated green building Castlereagh St, Sydney, including Minister, key industry stakeholders, 5 x CALD Ambassadors presenting singed Statement of Support and pledging support for Clean Energy future
 Ambassadors’ Program
 PR including media training of Ambassadors, significant media interest generating almost $200,000 in extra stories, (over 80 separate stories generated) KOL interviewed secured in ethnic press, radio and TV
 Mailout of education lit to 2,000 community organisations nationally
o Outcomes
 More than 600 people attended seminars
 Community organisations took materials and presented to their own communities
 Seminar feedback evaluation scores across all indicators either ‘good’, “very good” or “excellent”
 Movement of community attitudes from extremely negative / hostile to be more accepting and positive of Clean Energy Future message
 Ambassadors very effective in achieving cut through of message to their respective communities
 All collateral materials and videos positively accepted and distributed through community networks.
 Whole campaign was developed and delivered in 9 weeks.
• Dept of Broadband, Communications, Digital Economy – Regional National Broadband (NBN) Campaign
o Strategic elements
 NBN roll out education and information program in 40 centres across Australia across 15 language groups involving face to face community seminars, supporting media and community leadership endorsement
 2 x YouTube videos of first sessions produced for use in community seminars, on website and part of viral marketing
 25 stand- alone community information seminars presented by trained community leaders
 Development of all collateral materials, pamphlets, PPT presentations and backgrounders
 Two national media launches including production of media materials public relations, editorial generation, issues management, stakeholder media training and briefing
 Stakeholder management including NBN Co, Minister, Department and community leadership
 Feedback and Evaluation.
o Outcomes
 Strong community media interest and editorial generation including KOL – over $120,000(65 media stories generated) of additional PR coverage
 Strong community interest in issue including very good seminar registrations (up to 50 in sessions)n and evaluation scores across all indicators either ‘good’, “very good” or “excellent”
 Movement of community attitudes from extremely negative / hostile to be more accepting and positive of NBN
 All collateral materials and videos positively accepted and distributed through community networks.
 Whole campaign was developed and delivered in 12 weeks.
• FaHCSIA – “The Line” campaign targeting young people to build healthy and respectful relationships.
o Strategic elements
 An acknowledged innovative program including social media and viral marketing strategies targeting parents and young people ageds 12 – 20 years
 Advertising campaign including creative development, collateral development, media planning
 Strong youth driven content development with CPA facilitating young people’s input to ensure relevance
 Incorporating content elements of 4 x 2 minute short films, 6 x 2 minute radio dramas, 1 x 10 track hip hop music CD, hip hop song writing manual and 3 x dance events
 1 x 8 minute film developed to have 4 x 2 minute scenarios which can be used for discussion and awareness raising purposes
 Additional CSA content including 2 x 4 minute radio dramas in 6 languages from male and female perspective, Minister’s opinion piece and press release
 PR, media relations and stakeholder management including media training of The Line Music Ambassadors and mentors, PR generation for Ambassadors
 Extensive community consultation and stakeholder identification and support such as youth networks, schools, Mayor and Council. PCYC Partnership has ensures ongoing national legacy
 Mailout of education lit of materials to 500 community organisations nationally
o Outcomes
 Good support for campaign by young CALD people as per tracking research
 Strong media take up of materials including over 90 radio stations playing radio dramas and / or playing tracks from Liner Notes CD
 Video materials well received and used by community organisations
 Testing of 8 minute film (concerning sexting, cyber bullying, sexual harassment, controlling behaviour) 3 years after its production found to be still relevant, fresh and innovative with young people saying they had not seen these issues presented in this way – high level of engagement and message retention
 PR activities to date to the value of $150,000 (75 media stories generated) with more to come
 Ambassadors continue to give interviews and are now taking The Line message more broadly into other spheres and beyond The Line campaign – message extension
 Winners of Hip Hop song writing contest had song professionally recorded and broadcast over radio
 Mailout has community support with materials being posted onto websites, FaceBook, and information distributed through data base membership
• Fair Work Ombudsman - to increase awareness and understanding of the new industrial relations legislation
o Advertising, media relations, and specific education programs with key stakeholders such as employers, unions and other key bodies.
o A “Bare Foot Tutors’ program of self-running education materials have also been developed for community information and education programs tapping into local networks
• Maritime NSW - Jet Ski awareness and safe boating
o Targeting young Men of CALD background including a social media campaign, paid advertising, community relations and events, working closely with Mayor of Rockdale, collateral materials, give aways, PR, YouTube videos and issues management.
o Comedy main medium to deliver message effectively
o Significant issues management and stakeholder management including key messaging, media management and spokesperson
• Australian Building and Construction Commission –
o strategic development, review of internal systems and recommendations, creative development of new branding, icons and slogans, materials and collateral development, media relations and editorial generation, advertising, stakeholder and community relations, third party engagement, social media,
• Dept Families, Housing, Communities Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) – Paid Parental Leave legislation
o Launch and roll out including media relations and stakeholder management, creative development and advertising campaign in 20 languages
• Updating national multicultural mental health policy for Multicultural Mental Health Australia
• Research on behalf of the University of Queensland "social Inclusion and young people' project
• Boroondara Council – outreach into Multicultural communities for behaviour change and compliance on tree preservation, building permits and erection of satellite dishes including creative development and branding, press and radio campaign, PR , materials, community relations and partnerships, launch with Mayor
• Canterbury Council – Reduction of cross-contamination in recycling – media relations, branding and creative development, community relations, third party information dissemination.

2006 - 2009 - Director, Radio, SBS Corporation
Reporting to the Managing Director, the role is a senior executive position with a key responsibility to inform, educate and entertain Australia’s ethnic communities while contributing to social justice, social cohesion and community harmony.


• Manage the people and resources in SBS Radio for the provision if services to the Australian community, in particular those of non-English speaking background.
• Contribute to the growth, diversity and engagement of the SBS Radio audience through inclusion of innovative and distinctive local and overseas content that reflects the Charter obligations of SBS.
• Review SBS structure and develop strategies to improve Radio services including on existing and future platforms.
• Implement appropriate workplace reform for SBS Radio.
• Ensure available funds are used efficiently and that strategies are out in place that retain and build audiences.
• Work collaboratively with other SBS Managers as part of the senior Executive team, to formulate programming strategies including extensions or variations of the services of SBS Radio and the integration of radio services with other content formats and delivery platforms.
• Develop and implement strategies for efficient and effective use of SBS resources.
• Represent the interests of SBS Radio in local and international industry forums. Liaise with community organisations to ensure that service reflects the Charter obligations of the SBS Corporation.


• Reformed and restructured the Radio Division in Sydney and Melbourne, planned and executed high level change management strategies including redundancies and managed the unions during these processes.
• Managed and mentored a management team of 10 people whilst building a high performance team.
• Effectively lead and managed a staff of approximately 350 people (195 FTE), resources and activities in Sydney and Melbourne across 68 language groups and 70 Program groups.
• Managed a budget of $A20 million, using innovative funding and cost saving approaches including business casing, to restructure financial allocations to meet reprioritised objectives.
• 5 Year Divisional Plan and innovative Content Strategy which retained existing audiences and built new audiences whilst accommodating social policy especially social cohesion, community harmony, social inclusion agenda.
• Planning framework recognised as innovative, original and effective in planning for a complex environment with diverse and competing needs.
• Created a national focus to programming
• Commenced major reforms for radio including:
o Schedule Reforms,
o Introduction of world first best practice in Quality Measures for programming excellence; and
o review of staffing allocation paradigms for effective utilization of resources (also world first)
• Achieved effective use of, and integrated approach to, various media platforms including digital radio, analogue radio and online
• Worked collaboratively with other SBS Executive members and the MD in leading SBS’s strategic direction and Corporate Plan
• Ongoing, high level community relations and consultations with key community leaders, stakeholders, advocates, Consular Corp, Ministers and other politicians achieving synergies with corporate directions.
• High level and complex issues management with successful resolutions and contained fall out.
• Lobbied and advocated for SBS funds and contributed to raising revue through program reforms.
• In demand as a conference speaker both nationally and internationally and as a media awards judge internationally.
• Represented the interests of SBS Radio to Government, industry organizations and in public forums including at Senate Estimates. Liaised with community organizations to ensure relevance of service to community audience whilst reflecting Charter obligations.

1996 Nov 2006 - Director in WPP Group (WCJ (Young and Rubican), Sudler and Hennessey)


In addition to running advertising campaigns, Paula undertook the following key functions:
High level management and new business development:
• Strategic campaign planning, media planning (traditional and online) and implementation
High level client liaison, public relations and issues management
• Media management, community relations and sponsorship management
• Training and development in cross cultural issues and focus group research
• Voice over, scripting and radio and video producing


Product positioning into the Asia Pacific Region (Rogaine, Adobe)
• Successful campaigns and increase in market share for Optus, Foxtel, Citibank, Medibank Private,
• Effective social / public policy and community awareness campaigns for State and Federal Governments including Domestic Violence, Premier’s Drugs and Cannabis Campaigns, Constitution Convention and Telstra 2 and 3 Share Offers.
• Recognized and awarded new thinker in this emerging industry
• Recognized for creative and innovative practice winning a major Multicultural Marketing Award.
• Pioneered multicultural communications into the pharmaceutical sector winning a further Multicultural Marketing Award for innovative campaign for Rogaine.
• Successful pitch record grew multicultural marketing business
• Worked with internal Digital Division to develop digital strategies for client campaigns

Selected Client List
• Foxtel, Optus, Adobe, Darling Harbour Authority
• Citibank, American Express
• NSW Premiers Department, Police Dept
• Dept of Prime Minister and Cabinet,- anti drugs campaign
• Pfizer (Rogaine, Spiriva, Viagra), Sanofi (Eloxatin),
• Glaxo (Zeffix), NovoNordisk (Diabetes).
• Holden, Walker Corporation,
• Pam McLean Cancer Communications Centre,
• Quintiles, Accenture,
• State Library, Ashfield Library,
• Red Cross, Global Health Institute, Western Sydney Area Heath service.
1998 - 2004 - Commissioner Community Relations Commission
On the Board of Management, Community Relations Commission, responsible to the Chair and Premier


• High level advice on multiculturalism
• Input into policy and community relations issues including management of difficult community relations / issues management
• Chaired two Regional Advisory Councils with high level government and community representation
• Chaired Grants Committee to allocate $750,000 in grants.
• Advocacy for ethnic communities
• Community liaison, high level stakeholder / issues management, community relations
• Budget overview


• Highly involved in the drafting and passing of the unique NSW legislation which has enshrined multiculturalism in law.
• Set new standards and benchmarks for the operation and achievements of Regional Advisory committees
• Awarded a Community Relations Medal in recognition of services to Multiculturalism
• Provided high level policy advise to Government and Premier
• Recognised leader in the field
• Distributed over $1.5 million in funds to communities whilst chairing the Grants Committee
1989 - 1996 - Director, Education and Promotion, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
Reporting to the President, Five Commissioners and the General Manager
Manage the Community Education activities of the 5 Commissioners
• Plan and implement community relations plans and activities
• Managed staff and NGO stakehokders
• Manage the publications program
• Develop training program
• Provide policy input, report writing and submissions
• Manage staff and budgets
• Manage Human Rights Awards


Developed comprehensive mainstream and multicultural campaigns including Productive Diversity, Sex Discrimination and Race Discrimination.
• Successfully introduced new Privacy legislation with a high degree of public awareness
• won a $500,000 grant to work with the then Employers Federation, NSW Labour council (state Union body) and the Chamber of Manufactures to develop an innovative industry training program of best practice including productive diversity and sexual harassment
• input into key report recommendations
• Introduced highly successful industry training program and business breakfast sessions
• Developed new design livery for Race Discrimination Commissioner
• Built Human Rights Awards into highly valued awards presented at a popular black tie event

1987 - 1989 – Multicultural Policy Officer, Women's Coordination Unit
• Advise and develop policy concerning women of non-English speaking background
• Interdepartmental (state and Commonwealth) liaison on women's issues
• Community education and publications management
• Departmental representation at external meetings
• Ministerial correspondence, report writing and policy analysis
• Community and stakeholder liaison and management


Major campaigns and resource materials on Sexual Assault, domestic Violence and Child Sexual Assault
• Resource pack for police on dealing with child sex assault
• Major papers and policy input into national women's health policy
• Establishment of interdepartmental committee (state and Federal) on migrant women's issues
• Community outreach networks established between Unit and migrant women's groups
• Introduction of translated publications
1986 - Ethnic Aged Working Party Secretariat - Dept Community Services and Health (Canberra)
• Develop departmental policy parameters and implementation strategies for ethnic aged community
• Plan and execute national community and stakeholder consultations
• Provide input into report chapters
Successful national consultations with communities and key stakeholders
• Key policy development and contribution towards report chapters
1983 - 1987 - Social Worker, Dept Immigration and Ethnic Affairs
• Advise and develop policy concerning women of non-English speaking background
• Interdepartmental (state and Commonwealth) liaison on women's issues
• Community education and publications management
• Departmental representation at external meetings
• Ministerial correspondence, report writing and policy analysis
• Community and stakeholder liaison and management
Major campaigns and resource materials on Sexual Assault, domestic Violence and Child Sexual Assault
• Resource pack for police on dealing with child sex assault
• Major papers and policy input into national women's health policy
• Establishment of interdepartmental committee (state and Federal) on migrant women's issues
• Community outreach networks established between Unit and migrant women's groups
• Introduction of translated publications
1979 – 1983 - Social Worker Greek Welfare Centre, Brisbane
Establish the Greek Welfare Centre in Brisbane
• Deliver bi-lingual case work services to the Greek community in Brisbane
• Deliver community development services
• Assist with infrastructure develop within the Greek community
• Work closely with the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and other stakeholders
• Provide policy input and community consultation
• High level representation and lobbying on behalf of the Greek Community


• First ethnic social worker in Australia
• Greek Welfare Centre acknowledged as industry leader which quickly established large client base
• Sat of various Government Advisory boards including Ethnic Television Review Panel (SBS TV) and National Women's Advisory Council
• Established key infrastructure including Greek Youth Council, Greek Senior Citizens, Child Care initiatives, etc
• Established an ethnic social worker's peak advocacy body Queensland Ethnic Welfare Development Association (QEWDA)


Organisation Board and Function Position Date of Service
Waverley Council Waverley Council Councillor for Lawson Ward August 2012 - current
Waverley Council Finance, Ethics and Strategic Planning committee Member councillor August 2012 - current
Waverley Council Community Housing, Environment Services and Public Works Committee
Member councillor August 2012 - current
Waverley Council Public Art Committee Member Councillor August 2012 - current
Waverley Council Development control committee Member councillor August 2012 - current
Waverly Council Independent Housing Assessment Panel (IHAP) Member Nov 2009 - 2012
Department of Immigration and Citizenship Citizenship Test Review Panel
• reviewed and recommended major reforms to the Australian government’s Citizenship Test; contributed to writing the report national key stakeholders and community consultations
.national consultations Member 2008
Australian Film, Television and Radio School Radio Advisory Group Member 2008 - 2009
Commercial Radio Association Digital Radio Group Member 2007 - 2009
Australia Day Council NSW Australian of the Year Selection Committee
• Select NSW Australian of the Year Member 2008
NSW Art Gallery VisAsia Council member Member 2007 - 2008
Ministry for the Arts, NSW Carnivale - Multicultural Arts Festival
• Major professional event on arts calendar challenging traditional views and practice in this field.
• Multicultural arts practice challenged and moved from cultural community development to professional recognition
• Management and constitutional reviews, organizational restructure, business plan, identified strategic partners and attracted sponsorship; managed a large team of staff, artists and performers.
Chair of Board 1999 - 2004
Western Sydney Area Health Service Global Health Institute member 2003 - 2006
Ethnic Affairs Commission / Community Relations Commission
Griffith Regional Advisory Committee
South West NSW Regional Advisory Committee
Grants Committee Chair

Chair 1998 - 2004
1998 - 2004

2002 - 2004
Migrant Skills and Qualifications Advisory Committee
• policy for recognition of overseas qualifications Member 1999 - 2003
NSW Vocational Education Training Accreditation Board
• development of training standards and accreditation of industry based training program Member 1991 - 1994
Federal Minister for Women National Women's Advisory Council
• high level advice to the Federal Minister on ethnic women’s issues Member 1981 - 1983
Minister for Transport and communications Ethnic Television Review Panel
• developed the policy and framework for Australia’s multicultural television service (SBS TV) Member 1979 - 1980
NSW Attorney - General "Quarter Way to Equal" Implementation Committee Member
Snowy Mountains Hydro Authority 50th Anniversary Cttee
developed an entertainment and celebration program Member 1999
Centennial Park Authority Centennial of Federation Committee
program of arts activities to celebrate the Centenary of Federation Member 2000 - 2001
Museums and Galleries Foundation Reference Group Member


Organisation Board / Committee Position Date of Service
St George Parish of Rose Bay 50th Anniversary Organising Committee:
• Organise fundraising activities to raise $250,000
• Write a commemorative history of the parish and attract advertising to self fund the book
• Organise a black tie ball for 500 people including celebrity speaker
• Develop a short film
• Organise and implement an art competition for a new work / installation for the new building
• Develop and implement a comprehensive marketing strategy
• Managing the team and run the meetings
• Conflict resolution Chair February 2011 - current
Tim Olsen Galleries • Project manage the successful production and writing of a book about Ann Thomson artist
• Organise a launch at the Art Gallery of NSW
• Drive distribution and sales strategy including pre-sales and cash flow management
• Manage the budget
• Manage the “personalities” Publishing Director:
May 2011 - current
Marine Discovery Centre MDC Management Committee
• Promote marine conservation in the eastern Suburbs
• Reform the MDC including new financial systems, organisational restructure, new strategic direction, and marketing
• Establish high level strategic relationships and partnerships advantageous to the MDC including Waverley Council. Secretary/Treasurer July 2010 - current
Ethnic Communities Council of NSW Multicultural Community Radio Association / FM 2000
• developed blueprint and won license for Australia’s first multicultural community radio station with 52 languages Convenor and Founding Chair 1990 - 1992
National Council of Churches
"Safe Churches" Working Party
• overcome sexual misconduct in the Church Member 2004 - 2006
National Council of Churches National Decade to Overcome violence Patron, 2005
Benevolent Society Sydney Leadership
SL2000 Alumni
• establishment of a social capital investment fund and work with business leaders to develop alternative models of financial sustainability for major arts organisations Since 2001
First Greek - Australian Museum Foundation Member

Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Industry Board of Management Vice President
2001 - 2006
Australian Hellenic Healthcare Organisation Board of Management Founding Secretary
Opera Foundation Committee Member
Bronte Society
advocate for community building and oral history of Bronte Founding President
2004 - 2006
Waverley Council Bronte Precinct DA Representative
Secretary / DA Rep 2005 - 2006
2009 - present
Ausdance Board Member 1998 - 2001
Institute of Easter Music Board of Management Vice President
1994 - 2000
Ethnic communities Council of NSW Board of Management Vice President and committee member 1990 - 1992

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Loretta Kassimatis Sword on 14.04.2010

Yanoula Kassimatis, Sister of Peter E. Kassimatis 1926

This is a photograph of my grandfather, Peter E. Kassimatis's sister Yanoula. She was from the village of Fratsia and her extended family is in Athens today.

This was taken in 1926. I did not see this photo listed in the 600 that they were trying to identify in the Fatseas Collection. However, the background and chair are identical to those in the other photographs.

Just one other comment regarding the Fatseas Collection. I am so grateful to those who found it important to restore and preserve the photographs of total strangers. It is heartwarming to know that people cared enough to preserve the precious memories of our loved ones.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Loretta Kassimatis Sword on 14.04.2010

Peter E. Kassimatis' sisters Rosa and Stamatina 1924

This photograph is of my grandfather's sisters, Rosa seated and Stamatina standing. It was taken in 1924 and mailed to my grandfather, Peter E. Kassimatis in the U.S. They were from the village of Fratsia.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Loretta Kassimatis Sword on 14.04.2010

Peter Emmanuel Kassimatis and Sisters 1916

This photograph was taken in Athens in 1916. It is a photo of my grandfather, Peter Emmanuel Kassimatis and his sisters Frosso and Maria. This was taken the same year he emigrated to the United States. They lived in the village of Fratsia.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Loretta Kassimatis Sword on 22.01.2013

Stathoula Glitsos Kassimatis and daughter Stamatina 1935

This photograph is of my great grandmother, Stahtoula Glitsos Kassimatis and her daughter Stamatina. They lived in Fratsia. This picture was sent to my grandfather, Peter E. Kassmiatis who emigrated to the United States in 1916.

The photo has writing on the back. Unfortunately it is written in Greek and I do not have an accurate translation.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Loretta Kassimatis Sword on 16.04.2010

Stathoula Kassimatis and Family 1936

I was thrilled last week to find this listed as one of the photographs that were restored as part of the Fatseas collection in 2008. Recently my father gave me some old family photos. I had scanned them a week before stumbling across the collection through a link on your website and immediately recognized the photograph.

Approximatley 1936 - Left to Right are Kerani, wife of George Cassimatis, Stathoula Kassimatis, infant Philio, George Cassimatis and his first born child Stella. They were from Fratsia, Kythera.

My grandfather, Peter Kassimatis, (not pictured) another son of Stathoula, emigrated to Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, United States in 1916. This photograph was sent to him by his family. He had sisters, Yanoula, Stamatina, Rosa, Maria and Frosso who spent their lives in Greece. I have a few other photos some of which include the sisters. I'm pretty sure at least one of them was taken by the same photographer. I recognize the same background in many of the other photographs in the Fatseas collection.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Toni Risson on 31.10.2007

The Other Side of the Coin: Return to Kythera.

Above: Jim Pavlakis standing outside the entrance to his home in Fratsia, Kythera.
Below: The entrance to Jim's house, in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.

Chapter Twelve. Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill.


"If you’ve never heard of the Greek island of Kythera,” writes James Prineas, creator of the Kythera Family Website, “don’t worry — most Greeks don’t know where it is either. And if they have heard of it they probably don’t have anything nice to say about it.” Until I began a research project that eventually took me to this strangely haunting place, I’d never heard of it either, but I have since discovered a link between our two islands — Kythera and Australia — which is as remarkable as it is unrecognised. Although most Australians are unaware of this link, Kytherians call their homeland ‘Kangaroo Island’, and for very good reason.

Kythera’s population was 15,000 in the 1920s, but political instability and the poverty of an arid landscape caused such an exodus to the ‘land of opportunity’ that there are now only 3,000 people living on the island. There are, however, 60,000 Kytherian-born people living in Australia — that’s four times as many people as were living in Kythera in the 1920s. Prineas articulates both the link between the two islands and the state of life for most Kytherians in a recent newsletter:

It’s that time of the year again. . . the coldest, dampest, most solitary period of the Kytherian winter, when many older islanders feel like the world has deserted them. In some villages only one or two houses are inhabited, their occupants huddled close to the fire. Influenza and rheumatism is the norm rather than the exception. Many dread having to go out of the house into the permanent cloud which covers most of the island.

For those of you in Australia with heat-waves and droughts to contend with, you must think a bit of cold rain would be a pleasant change. It's easy to forget the isolation many of our relatives there are experiencing. Send them a bit of sunshine by calling them occasionally. They’ve literally kept Kythera alive so we can visit a “populated” island in the summer months, and it’s the least we can do.

The population on Kythera swells to about 20,000 in summer as expatriates fly back to visit aging relatives and enjoy the festival season. Little wonder that the Kytherians know Australia as ‘Big Kythera’. And it was the Greek café that forged this link.

Kythera is a small island to the south of the Peloponnesus. It is about 26 kilometres long and 16 kilometres wide, 282 square kilometres in all. The island’s main claim to fame is the mythological birth of Aphrodite, an event that came about when Cronus cut off his father’s genitals and threw them into the sea near the coast of Kythera. The severed genitals caused the sea to foam and the foam produced the beautiful goddess. Zephyrus blew upon Aphrodite, who came ashore in a giant scallop shell near the village of Paleopolis. It was also on the island of Kythera that Helen of Troy met with Paris. In addition to this wild, mythical, and romantic past, shaded terrace cafés, picturesque harbours, springs hidden in secluded, mossy grottoes, and some of the warmest people you will ever meet are part of the island’s appeal. But the desolation of Kythera’s mountainous landscape overshadows the visitor’s first impressions.

Kythera is a barren, rocky island that rises sharply from the sea and has few natural resources. Perhaps this is because the wind, which blows you across the tarmac and into the airport, and makes the powerlines sing on the island’s higher vantage points, has blown the topsoil into the deep blue Ionian Sea. At the beginning of the 20th century, olive groves and a few fertile valleys terraced with fruit and vegetable gardens barely supplied the needs of the population. Peasant farmers raised small crops of wheat, legumes, grapes, almonds, and olives, kept a few goats, and produced home-made wine and olive oil, but most were acutely poor. Others searched for work on the mainland, leaving women and children struggling to put food on the table. Some exported olives, honey, figs, and wine to the mainland, but there was no opportunity to accumulate wealth. To make matters worse, this hand-to-mouth existence was lived in the shadow of the continual threat of war.

But to drive the roads scratched across the surface of this empty landscape, past decaying rock walls and tangles of thorny bushes and prickly pear, through silent villages with empty streets and crumbling stone houses, is to understand that Kythera has been eroded in other ways. Mass migration to Australia and other parts of the world has devastated the island. Fields arc neglected, clothing, diaries, and furniture are entombed in derelict dwellings, and decaying villages, deserted of young people or abandoned altogether, have virtually become ‘ghost towns . As Alexakis and Janiszewski explain, “The principal legacy of unbridled depopulation is a landscape inhabited mostly by elderly residents, and peppered with disintegrating villages, unkempt roads, unploughcd fields, collapsed windmills, and ahandoned homes, schools and churches.”

Greek cafés were certainly the means by which desperate people gave their children a better life, but in her unforgettable photographs of villages like Fratsia, Mitata, and Trifyllianika, Alexakis documents the devastation that represents the other side of the coin: an evening purse that rots on a wall hook, a warped family photograph that fades into dust, a petrified shoe that lies amongst the rubble, a torn letter that rests beside a postcard from Australia. This is the debris of abandoned lives. Prineas, whose family comes from the island, foresees in this devastation an even more tragic consequence — the demise of the simple Kytherian lifestyle.

In 1900, Aphrodite’s birthplace overflowed with inhabitants; 14,000 people lived in 60 bustling villages dotted across the island. The population swelled to about 15,000 in the 20's. But as the shock waves of Athanasios Comino’s first Greek fish shop in Sydney began to be felt on the other side of the world, Kytherians followed a pattern of chain migration that took most of the male population to Australia, and by the 1940's villages were emptying. It was as if someone had pulled a plug that drained Kythera of fathers, brothers, and eligible bachelors. Most emigrants intended to send money home while they worked toward the day when they could come back as wealthy men to care for their families. But few returned. Sometimes families joined them in Australia. Sometimes they returned briefly to find a bride. The Greek shopkeeping family, a singularly Australian phenomenon that contributed so much to the culture of a young nation, is a wonderful story, but Australia’s Greek café has its upside. And this is played out in the villages of Kythera, where elderly people are the main inhabitants.

There is a monument in Kythera that marks the place where tears were shed for loved ones who left for the other side of the world, loved ones who mostly didn’t come back. Above Potamos, the port from which boats departed for Piraeus and, eventually, Australia, a plain, rectangular block rests atop a low, circular platform trimmed with blue paint and edged with a simple scallop design formed in curved metal rods. Some locals call it the ‘Crying Stone’. The inscription reads:

The Place of Tears ofJoy and Grief for those who came and went, in the year 1908.

Erected in the memory of George and Cleopatra Khlentzos.

Historian, Hugh Gilchrist, describes it as “a memorial to those who went down the bill to the ships, and those who would never return.

Because of the process of chain migration, many of the men who had cafés in Ipswich came from one village in Kythera, the village of Fratsia. While Ithacans appear to have opened the earliest Greek shops in Ipswich, it was the Kytherians whose businesses endured. Harry, Charles, and Jim Londy left Fratsia in the second decade of the 20th century. They operated shops in several towns, at least three in Ipswich, and Harry went on to build one of the most successful and best-remembered café businesses in that city. The story of the Londy family typifies the way whole families left their homeland behind and the way families cooperated to establish themselves in Australia through their cafés.

Harry Leondarakis migrated to Australia at a young age under the guardianship of his uncle, Harry Andronicus, in Toowoomba. He was soon joined by his twelve-year-old brother, Charley, and his brother-in-law, Jim Leondarakis. Harry and Jim had the Paragon Café in Dalby before moving to Rockhampton. When he left school. Charley worked for a proprietor who had recently to introduce the latest milk bar products from Sydney, so he learned to make ice-cream, ice-cream sodas, malted milk shakes, sundaes, and parfaits. In about 1920, Harry and Jim bought the Sydney Café near the railway station in Ipswich and Charley joined them as a full partner. The three traded under the name ‘Londy Bros.’ because Pennys, Woollies, and Fosseys were successful business names at the time and ‘Londys’ had a similar sound. Soon afterwards, the partners adopted ‘Londy’ as their family name.

In the early 1920’s, Londy Bros opened the Café Australia in Ipswich and the American Bar in Gympie, which was managed by their sister, Arete, and her husband. Harry then established Londy Brothers Paris Café in Ipswich with Jim’s son, Mick. Charley opened Londy Brothers Blue Bird Café in Bundaberg with another brother-in-law, Mick Levonis. Jim moved the Capitol Café and the Paragon Café in Toowoomba. When Jim died, his wife, Rene, set up Londy’s Café in Texas, and later moved to Townsville, where she started another Londy’s Café in partnership with another relative. Mick and Calliope Levoms moved on to Londy Brothers Café Mimosa in Maryborough and their sons bought out the Capitol Café in Toowoomba. The Londy family eventually went into the Theatre business on the Redcliffe Peninsula.

In the wake of the Londy family’s departure for Australia, the Londy home in Fratsia is abandoned and dilapidated. Stalks of grass sprawl into the open doorway, the tiled floor disappears here and there under layers of grit the wind has blown in, the black, skeletal remains of a light fitting perch on the pine table, and the chairs, which seem to wait bravely for the inhabitants to return, are weathered and broken. In the eerie silence, as the wind blows across the desolate landscape and in through the unglazed window, one can almost hear voices bringing news of a land of promise, and as the afternoon sun slides across the furniture and onto the cloud-like faded blue wash on the crumbling walls, it is not hard to imagine the silent tears of the women as they prepare the farewell meal. Those who lived to see their grandchildren grow up in their adopted homeland still carry the land of their fathers in their hearts. Speaking of the Greek migrants who eventually carved out a new life in Australia, Conomos, also a Kytherian, observes that “even 50 or 60 years of life in Australia could not make them forget the rock from which they were hewn.” Those memories eventually called some migrants back. Not surprisingly, a number of café proprietors have remigrated. Jim Pavlakis is one of them. After owning a café in Ipswich for more than 20 years, Jim returned to Kythera to spend his later years amongst the homes of his ancestors. Like so many other proprietors in Ipswich, Jim was born in Fratsia and followed members of his family to Australia.

Jim’s sister, Maria, brought him to Ipswich, where her husband was a partner in the Kentrotis brothers’ Regal Café. After working for some time at the Regal, Jim bought Tony’s Café after the proprietor, Tony Veneris, was murdered in 1962. The shop was submerged for five days beneath floodwaters in 1974, but otherwise Jim’s business flourished. He made good food, his customers liked him, and his shop was the hub of Ipswich’s youth car culture. During the 1980s, Jim built a house near the city centre. It is much like any other two-story brick Queenslander except that the wide front steps and deep verandah are covered with tiles and edged with an impressive white concrete balustrade. The house encapsulates the history of Greek immigrants who have embraced Australian culture but manage to imprint it with something of their earlier identity. For those who know about the Greek café phenomenon, however, the seven letters welded into the front gate tell the whole story. Jim called his Queensland home FRATSIA.

Unfortunately, not long after work on the house began, Jim suffered some health problems and over a period of years decided to return to Kythera. That was nearly 20 years ago. Jim became mayor of Fratsia and is still active in the community there. He is even restoring some of his family’s homes, or at least trying to prevent further deterioration. The houses in Fratsia are mostly two-storey rectangular buildings with wide arches on the bottom level, a strong construction method that accounts for the fact that so many still survive. They are made of stone and plastered with concrete. There is not a verandah in sight. Jim feels a strong attachment to Ipswich and is grateful for the opportunities it brought into his life, but when I ask him why he returned to Kythera, he explains, “Well I just did not want to die in Australia, you understand.” When I visited Jim, his lovely wife, Lumbrini, and their gang of feline hangers-on, I stayed with them in their home.

I follow Jim across the silent street to the house he has restored. A black iron gate swings open and I step onto the tiles of the front patio. On the concrete wall beside the front door, seven letters are written in gold and framed with marble — IPSWICH.

TO ORDER a copy of Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill:

Phone: (07) 3281 1525 or

0439 664 291


Contact Toni Risson by email here

Or, send, name, address and cheque/money order to

Toni Risson
130 Woodend Road
Woodend, 4305.

$49.50 (incl. GST)

Plus $11 (Postage and handling).

Composite Front-Back Cover as a .pdf

Aphrodite coverV1.pdf

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Spyro Calocerinos on 11.11.2004

Hristos Kalokairinos and Yiannis Kallinikos 1948

Yiannis Kallinikos was born in Fratsia. Finished High School in Kythera with my late brother Hristos,then came to Australia for a number of years. He returned back to Kythera where he passed away in Kythera "Gerokomeio". Hristos also passed away.

Photos > Diaspora Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Robin Tzannes on 13.08.2003

John and Gus Tzannes

This is a photograph of my father-in-law, John George Tzannes (standing), with his brother Costantinos (Gus) and Gus’s son George. It was taken in New York in the early 1930s.