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Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 06.11.2004

Picture Gallery. Chapt 7. of KEVIN CORK's Ph.D thesis. Photograph 1. The Andronicus family. c. 1920.

ANDRONICOS, Janis (1872 - 1936); ANDRONICOS, Nicholas (20.5.1912 - )

Photo 1:

The original Andronicos Refreshment Room in Alice Street with George Kapsanis, John Andronicos and George Andronicos (nephew). The date is about 1920. Even in that year, the shop was well-presented. In the right window is fruit, possibly apples, stacked to attract customers' attention. In the left window are groceries including bottles of sauce and tins of food. On the left shop window is painted the sign "Oysters & Refreshment Room". The film poster at right has been advertising Charlie Chaplin in "The Rink" at one of the town's picture theatres
.

During the 1990's KEVIN CORK undertook extensive research into cinema's in Australia.

Tragically, he died before completing his work, but most of the chapters of his Ph.D. Thesis, were completed.

His wife and children have kindly given permission for his work to be reproduced.

Most Australian's would be unaware of the degree to which Greeks, and particularly Kytherian Greeks dominated cinema ownership in Australia - especially in New South Wales.

Chapter 7 of Kevin's thesis, is his attempt to provide a more intimate insight into the character and lives of the Hellenes and Kytherians, who owned, and operated cinema's in New South Wales in the pre-television era. Also to highlight the Cinema's themselves - and their importance in the Hellenic and Kytherian heritage in NSW, and Australia. He used photographs to provide this "intimacy".

The Chapter in written form flows as one piece. At kythera-family, I am posting the entries, photograph by photograph.

Kevin's Picture Gallery project was never completed. It was obviously meant to be far more extensive than appears in the uncompleted manuscript; designed to chronicle the lives of all Greeks and Kytherians mentioned in the thesis.

It is incumbent on Kytherians, and Australians, generally; in particular the descendants of those who have been the subject of his thesis, to help complete this project by posting the "additional" photographs to the web.

In the meantime, all photographs mentioned in Kevin's Picture Gallery section have been "tracked down", and posted to kythera-island.

The the importance of the Hellenic and Kytherian contribution to Australian cinema ownership and history is clearly demonstrated in Chapt 7, as in all other chapters.

It is difficult to know how to pass on to Kytherians the results of Kevin Cork's important research's.

In the end, I felt that the results should be passed on in the most extensive way - i.e. in full re-publication of Chapter's.

Eventually all Chapters will appear on the kythera-family web-site.

Other entries can be sourced by searching under Cork on the internal search engine.

See also, Kevin Cork, under People, subsection, High Achievers.


Special thanks to Julie Lee, (nee, Cork), Kevin's daughter, who painstakingly searched for the photographs referred to in Chapter 7; found, collated, and supplied them to me in electronic format. [See entry under Julie Lee.]

As she commented: "Finally we've found all the photos! It was very interesting to go through a lot of Dad's research to find these, but I think it was worth it. I can't believe how many drafts he had done of his thesis just to get to the point he finished at".


Chapter 7: Picture Gallery

"What a pity that humans, collectively, have not been endowed with more foresight than hindsight! There'd be more pride in the preservation of our heritage in all fields of endeavour."

"A picture says a thousand words", goes the old saying. This chapter is a photograph album, put together to show what the members of the subject group achieved. Photographs of the men and, in some cases, their wives and families, appear on the following pages as a record to show who they were. Some show people as they were many years ago, at the height of their picture-show days, while others show them as they were a year or two ago when the writer interviewed them. Also included are photographs of the picture theatres that they operated. Photographs of their refreshment rooms and streetscapes of the towns in which they worked are also presented, although these are more of a rarity.

The photographs come from a variety of sources, including the albums of former exhibitors and/or their families. Normally, they would never be seen outside of family circles. The writer was privileged to be permitted to have copies taken from them and to reproduce them here. The sources of all photographs have been acknowledged.

When one looks at streetscape photographs of Walgett and Lake Cargelligo in the 1930s, the architectural statement made by the new theatres is one of vibrancy - they cannot help but be noticed. Yet, there is a sadness associated with them. Picture theatres were meant to be seen at night, but were rarely photographed at night. C Day Lewis, in his poem Newsreel (1938), refers to the picture theatre as "the dream-house" - a place where dreamers can leave "your debts asleep, your history at the door". These buildings have an ambience which evolved because of what they represented. They were places where people socialised and were entertained. (In the case of some country theatres, they were also used for dancing.) The daytime snaps of picture theatres show prominent buildings but do not capture the magic of the buildings that was created once the sun had gone down and their lights came on. This was when they drew patrons to them who were eager for a night of socialising and entertainment. In her poem, Magic, Dorothea Mackellar writes,
"Would you see some magic?
Watch what comes to pass..."
She was writing about trams, not theatres, but the sentiment is the same. By day, trams were just trams. At night, with their lights on and with sparks flashing from their poles, they became "jewelled beetles" scurrying through the dark. Night time was the best time for picture theatres because their dimensions became blurred against the darkness that surrounded them and the only way to view them was by the aid of artificial lighting which, in turn, helped to create the magic associated with them.

With so many of the theatres demolished or altered, the photographs presented on the following pages are the only permanent record of what the men in the subject group achieved.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 02.11.2004

Athenium Theatre, Junee. Promotion for the movie, City of Song.

This, and a number of photographs that have been posted in sequence, are photo's that were given to Professor Ross Thorne, Department of Architecture, Sydney University, by Peter Laurantus, son of George Laurantus.

All the photographs pertain to the Junee Athenium Theatre.

I would like to thank Professor Ross Thorne for providing the photographs to me in digitalised format.

Ross Thorne's contribution to the preservation of "Kytherian" and Hellenic Cinema's in NSW, has been discusssed in other entries. [Search under Thorne]. Particularly influential was a report he co-authored with Les Tod and Kevin Cork, to the Australian Heritage Office (NSW), in 1996.

Thorne, Ross, Les Tod & Kevin Cork (1996) Movie Theatre Heritage Register for New South Wales 18,96-1996, Sydney: Department of Architecture, University of Sydney. A National Estate Project for the Heritage Office (NSW) and the Australian Heritage Commission.

Peters father Yeoryios - George - was born 10.6.1894, in Kalisperianika,Kythera
He died on 3.6.1980, in Sydney, NSW.

He arrived in Australia on 1.11.1908.
From 1923 he was engaged in businesses - including cinemas. He either co-owned or leased numerous cinemas, including, the Cootamundra Arcadia, Junee Lyceum, Junee Atheneum, Tumut Montreal (not run by him - leased to P Stathis), and the Liverpool Regal.

More details can be obtained on George Laurantus, by referring to Kevin Cork's Ph.D thesis, posted to kythera-family in this section, or by searching under Laurantus with the internal search engine.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 03.11.2004

Athenium Theatre, the Auditorium, Junee. 1954.

This, and a number of photographs that have been posted in sequence, are photo's that were given to Professor Ross Thorne, Department of Architecture, Sydney University, by Peter Laurantus, son of George Laurantus; and to Kevin Campion, a former owner of the theatre, (the 1950's).

All the photographs pertain to the Junee Athenium Theatre.

I would like to thank Professor Ross Thorne for providing the photographs to me in digitalised format.

Ross Thorne's contribution to the preservation of "Kytherian" and Hellenic Cinema's in NSW, has been discusssed in other entries. [Search under Thorne]. Particularly influential was a report he co-authored with Les Tod and Kevin Cork, to the Australian Heritage Office (NSW), in 1996.

Thorne, Ross, Les Tod & Kevin Cork (1996) Movie Theatre Heritage Register for New South Wales 18,96-1996, Sydney: Department of Architecture, University of Sydney. A National Estate Project for the Heritage Office (NSW) and the Australian Heritage Commission.

Peters father Yeoryios - George - was born 10.6.1894, in Kalisperianika,Kythera
He died on 3.6.1980, in Sydney, NSW.

He arrived in Australia on 1.11.1908.
From 1923 he was engaged in businesses - including cinemas. He either co-owned or leased numerous cinemas, including, the Cootamundra Arcadia, Junee Lyceum, Junee Atheneum, Tumut Montreal (not run by him - leased to P Stathis), and the Liverpool Regal.

More details can be obtained on George Laurantus, by referring to Kevin Cork's Ph.D thesis, posted to kythera-family in this section, or by searching under Laurantus with the internal search engine.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 01.11.2004

Athenium Theatre, Junee - George Laurantus, and the promotion of the Dad and Dave movie, On Our Selection.

Promotion for the Dad and Dave movie, On Our Selection. Again, these promotions would have had a very positive impact on small townships like Junee.

This, and a number of photographs that have been posted in sequence, are photo's that had been given to Professor Ross Thorne, Department of Architecture, Sydney University, by Peter Laurantus, son of George Laurantus.

All the photographs pertain to the Junee Athenium Theatre.

I would like to thank Professor Ross Thorne for providing the photographs to me in digitalised format.

Ross Thorne's contribution to the preservation of "Kytherian" and Hellenic Cinema's in NSW, has been discusssed in other entries. [Search under Thorne]. Particularly influential was a report he co-authored with Les Tod and Kevin Cork, to the Australian Heritage Office (NSW), in 1996.

Thorne, Ross, Les Tod & Kevin Cork (1996) Movie Theatre Heritage Register for New South Wales 18,96-1996, Sydney: Department of Architecture, University of Sydney. A National Estate Project for the Heritage Office (NSW) and the Australian Heritage Commission.

Peters father Yeoryios - George - was born 10.6.1894, in Kalisperianika,Kythera
He died on 3.6.1980, in Sydney, NSW.

He arrived in Australia on 1.11.1908.
From 1923 he was engaged in businesses - including cinemas. He either co-owned or leased numerous cinemas, including, the Cootamundra Arcadia, Junee Lyceum, Junee Atheneum, Tumut Montreal (not run by him - leased to P Stathis), and the Liverpool Regal.

More details can be obtained on George Laurantus, by referring to Kevin Cork's Ph.D thesis, posted to kythera-family in this section, or by searching under Laurantus with the internal search engine.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 01.11.2004

Athenium Theatre, Junee, 1954.

This, and a number of photographs that have been posted in sequence, are photo's that were given to Professor Ross Thorne, Department of Architecture, Sydney University, by Peter Laurantus, son of George Laurantus.

All the photographs pertain to the Junee Athenium Theatre.

I would like to thank Professor Ross Thorne for providing the photographs to me in digitalised format.

Ross Thorne's contribution to the preservation of "Kytherian" and Hellenic Cinema's in NSW, has been discusssed in other entries. [Search under Thorne]. Particularly influential was a report he co-authored with Les Tod and Kevin Cork, to the Australian Heritage Office (NSW), in 1996.

Thorne, Ross, Les Tod & Kevin Cork (1996) Movie Theatre Heritage Register for New South Wales 18,96-1996, Sydney: Department of Architecture, University of Sydney. A National Estate Project for the Heritage Office (NSW) and the Australian Heritage Commission.

Peters father Yeoryios - George - was born 10.6.1894, in Kalisperianika,Kythera
He died on 3.6.1980, in Sydney, NSW.

He arrived in Australia on 1.11.1908.
From 1923 he was engaged in businesses - including cinemas. He either co-owned or leased numerous cinemas, including, the Cootamundra Arcadia, Junee Lyceum, Junee Atheneum, Tumut Montreal (not run by him - leased to P Stathis), and the Liverpool Regal.

More details can be obtained on George Laurantus, by referring to Kevin Cork's Ph.D thesis, posted to kythera-family in this section, or by searching under Laurantus with the internal search engine.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 01.11.2004

Atheneum Theatre Junee, George Laurantus - promotion for the Dad and Dave movie - On Our Selection.

Another movie promotion, this time for On Our Selection. Such promotions served to foster a "sense of community" in small townships like Junee.

This, and a number of photographs that have been posted in sequence, are photo's that were given to Professor Ross Thorne, Department of Architecture, Sydney University, by Peter Laurantus, son of George Laurantus.

All the photographs pertain to the Junee Athenium Theatre.

I would like to thank Professor Ross Thorne for providing the photographs to me in digitalised format.

Ross Thorne's contribution to the preservation of "Kytherian" and Hellenic Cinema's in NSW, has been discusssed in other entries. [Search under Thorne]. Particularly influential was a report he co-authored with Les Tod and Kevin Cork, to the Australian Heritage Office (NSW), in 1996.

Thorne, Ross, Les Tod & Kevin Cork (1996) Movie Theatre Heritage Register for New South Wales 18,96-1996, Sydney: Department of Architecture, University of Sydney. A National Estate Project for the Heritage Office (NSW) and the Australian Heritage Commission.

Peters father Yeoryios - George - was born 10.6.1894, in Kalisperianika,Kythera
He died on 3.6.1980, in Sydney, NSW.

He arrived in Australia on 1.11.1908.
From 1923 he was engaged in businesses - including cinemas. He either co-owned or leased numerous cinemas, including, the Cootamundra Arcadia, Junee Lyceum, Junee Atheneum, Tumut Montreal (not run by him - leased to P Stathis), and the Liverpool Regal.

More details can be obtained on George Laurantus, by referring to Kevin Cork's Ph.D thesis, posted to kythera-family in this section, or by searching under Laurantus with the internal search engine.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 02.11.2004

Junee Athenium, George Laurantus, promotion of the movie - Delicious.

These promotions must have seemed very exciting and dynamic to the residents of a small community like Junee.

This, and a number of photographs that have been posted in sequence, are photo's that were given to Professor Ross Thorne, Department of Architecture, Sydney University, by Peter Laurantus, son of George Laurantus.

All the photographs pertain to the Junee Athenium Theatre.

I would like to thank Professor Ross Thorne for providing the photographs to me in digitalised format.

Ross Thorne's contribution to the preservation of "Kytherian" and Hellenic Cinema's in NSW, has been discusssed in other entries. [Search under Thorne]. Particularly influential was a report he co-authored with Les Tod and Kevin Cork, to the Australian Heritage Office (NSW), in 1996.

Thorne, Ross, Les Tod & Kevin Cork (1996) Movie Theatre Heritage Register for New South Wales 18,96-1996, Sydney: Department of Architecture, University of Sydney. A National Estate Project for the Heritage Office (NSW) and the Australian Heritage Commission.

Peters father Yeoryios - George - was born 10.6.1894, in Kalisperianika,Kythera
He died on 3.6.1980, in Sydney, NSW.

He arrived in Australia on 1.11.1908.
From 1923 he was engaged in businesses - including cinemas. He either co-owned or leased numerous cinemas, including, the Cootamundra Arcadia, Junee Lyceum, Junee Atheneum, Tumut Montreal (not run by him - leased to P Stathis), and the Liverpool Regal.

More details can be obtained on George Laurantus, by referring to Kevin Cork's Ph.D thesis, posted to kythera-family in this section, or by searching under Laurantus with the internal search engine.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 04.11.2004

Junee Athenium, 1938.

This, and a number of photographs that have been posted in sequence, are photo's that were given to Professor Ross Thorne, Department of Architecture, Sydney University, by Peter Laurantus, son of George Laurantus.

All the photographs pertain to the Junee Athenium Theatre.

I would like to thank Professor Ross Thorne for providing the photographs to me in digitalised format.

Ross Thorne's contribution to the preservation of "Kytherian" and Hellenic Cinema's in NSW, has been discusssed in other entries. [Search under Thorne]. Particularly influential was a report he co-authored with Les Tod and Kevin Cork, to the Australian Heritage Office (NSW), in 1996.

Thorne, Ross, Les Tod & Kevin Cork (1996) Movie Theatre Heritage Register for New South Wales 18,96-1996, Sydney: Department of Architecture, University of Sydney. A National Estate Project for the Heritage Office (NSW) and the Australian Heritage Commission.

Peters father Yeoryios - George - was born 10.6.1894, in Kalisperianika,Kythera
He died on 3.6.1980, in Sydney, NSW.

He arrived in Australia on 1.11.1908.
From 1923 he was engaged in businesses - including cinemas. He either co-owned or leased numerous cinemas, including, the Cootamundra Arcadia, Junee Lyceum, Junee Atheneum, Tumut Montreal (not run by him - leased to P Stathis), and the Liverpool Regal.

More details can be obtained on George Laurantus, by referring to Kevin Cork's Ph.D thesis, posted to kythera-family in this section, or by searching under Laurantus with the internal search engine.


A Depression years story from the Athenium, Junee

Professor Thorne has been a professor of Architecture at the University of Sydney. More recently he describes himeself as a Social Architectural Researcher. The following story was told to me by Professor Thorne, which was conveyed to him by Ben Cummin's daughter.

Ben Cummins and George Laurantus were partners in the Junee Athenium until 1938, when Ben was killed in a car accident.
At which time George took over the Cummins half share.
From an early age Ben's daughter worked at the ticket box of the counter - including the period during the Depression years.

During the Depression, itinerent workers moved from town to town looking for employment. They were allowed to stay a maximum of 2 days in a town, and then they were compelled to move on. They normally camped at the showground.

Ben's daughter would allow the (non) workers to sit at the back of the theatre -in a protected environment - away from the elements. Prof Thorne sees this as just another example of the social significance of cinema's. He believes that the psychology of place was often defined in small towns, through the local cinema.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 01.11.2004

George Laurantus. Publicity shot. Junee Athenium Theatre.

The new migrants obviously had enough confidence to indulge in promotion of their business's. George looks like he is really enjoying himself. There are surely other photographs of similar type featuring Kytherians from the years when Kytherians dominated Cinema ownership in NSW?

This, and a number of photographs that will be posted in sequence after it, are photo's that were given to Professor Ross Thorne, Department of Architecture, Sydney University, by Peter Laurantus, son of George Laurantus.

All the photographs pertain to the Junee Athenium Theatre.



I would like to thank Professor Ross Thorne for providing the photographs to me in digitalised format.

Ross Thorne's contribution to the preservation of "Kytherian" and Hellenic Cinema's in NSW, has been discusssed in other entries. [Search under Thorne]. Particularly influential was a report he co-authored with Les Tod and Kevin Cork, to the Australian Heritage Office (NSW), in 1996.

Thorne, Ross, Les Tod & Kevin Cork (1996) Movie Theatre Heritage Register for New South Wales 18,96-1996, Sydney: Department of Architecture, University of Sydney. A National Estate Project for the Heritage Office (NSW) and the Australian Heritage Commission.

Peters father Yeoryios - George - was born 10.6.1894, in Kalisperianika,Kythera
He died on 3.6.1980, in Sydney, NSW.

He arrived in Australia on 1.11.1908.
From 1923 he was engaged in businesses - including cinemas. He either co-owned or leased numerous cinemas, including, the Cootamundra Arcadia, Junee Lyceum, Junee Atheneum, Tumut Montreal (not run by him - leased to P Stathis), and the Liverpool Regal.

More details can be obtained on George Laurantus, by referring to Kevin Cork's Ph.D thesis, posted to kythera-family in this section, or by searching under Laurantus with the internal search engine.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 01.11.2004

1941 Wartime fund-raiser. Junee Athenium Theatre, and George Laurantus.

This, and a number of photographs that will be posted in sequence after it, are photo's that were given to Professor Ross Thorne, Department of Architecture, Sydney University, by Peter Laurantus, son of George Laurantus.

All the photographs pertain to the Junee Athenium Theatre.

I would like to thank Professor Ross Thorne for providing the photographs to me in digitalised format.

Ross Thorne's contribution to the preservation of "Kytherian" and Hellenic Cinema's in NSW, has been discusssed in other entries. [Search under Thorne]. Particularly influential was a report he co-authored with Les Tod and Kevin Cork, to the Australian Heritage Office (NSW), in 1996.

Thorne, Ross, Les Tod & Kevin Cork (1996) Movie Theatre Heritage Register for New South Wales 18,96-1996, Sydney: Department of Architecture, University of Sydney. A National Estate Project for the Heritage Office (NSW) and the Australian Heritage Commission.

Peters father Yeoryios - George - was born 10.6.1894, in Kalisperianika,Kythera
He died on 3.6.1980, in Sydney, NSW.

He arrived in Australia on 1.11.1908.
From 1923 he was engaged in businesses - including cinemas. He either co-owned or leased numerous cinemas, including, the Cootamundra Arcadia, Junee Lyceum, Junee Atheneum, Tumut Montreal (not run by him - leased to P Stathis), and the Liverpool Regal.

More details can be obtained on George Laurantus, by referring to Kevin Cork's Ph.D thesis, posted to kythera-family in this section, or by searching under Laurantus with the internal search engine.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Gregory Perry on 18.12.2004

Angelo Megaloconomos (Caponas) at Stanthorpe QLD

This is my grandfather Evangeli Megaloconomos sitting outside his cafe in Stanthorpe QLD in about 1917. He returned to Kythera soon after this - where he remained for the rest of his life. I was lucky to meet him in 1979, on my first trip to Kythera. I won't ever forget the kindness of that greeting

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Eleni Malanos on 01.11.2004

Civic Theatre Scone

THE SPEECH I DID GIVE By Minas T Coroneo

Prompted by Kiriaki Orfanos’s touching memoir of her family’s New York Café in the Kytherian of August 2004, I dug up a speech I gave in 1997 when the local Historical Society in Scone launched a book on the history of our family cinema, the Civic. I contacted one Kevin Cork at the time who was researching the Greek connection in cinemas in Australia – tragically Kevin died prematurely but a draft of his work has been handed on to the Kythera-Family web site organizers and publication is planned.

Kevin recognized the importance of these “Greek cinemas” in Australian society. Apart from entertainment and as a stimulus to the imagination of countless Australians, cinema owners determined what was shown and perhaps inadvertently were early censors. They may have hastened the acceptance and tolerance by Australians of the diverse cultural influences now hijacked as the fashionable notion of multiculturalism. Furthermore it was a great example of vertical integration of business – feed their minds in the cinema and their stomachs at interval.

Cousin Andrew Coroneo, whose family sold the Civic Theatre to my parents recounts a childhood encounter with Scone’s Pittman gang from which, on one occasion, he escaped by climbing a pepper tree. A gang member, Skinny Crackett said “Let’s get Andy, he’s a dago”. Bruce Pittman, gang leader replied “he’s not a dago, his father owns the picture show”. At least the Pittmans had some sense of priorities.

Minas Coroneo



BOOK LAUNCH - SCONE, 17 AUGUST 1997
“MOVING IMAGES AND THE THEATRE” BY HEATHER ASHFORD WITH MARY WOODLANDS. SCONE AND UPPER HUNTER HISTORICAL SOCIETY 1997.


It is a pleasure and indeed an honour to be here today and my family and I are grateful to the Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society for asking me to launch Heather Ashcroft’s wonderful book “Moving Images And The Theatre: The Shiralee..filming in The Upper Hunter... Scone’s Civic Theatre”.

Publication of the book marks 2 anniversaries - 16 August was the 40th anniversary of the Australasian premiere of “The Shiralee” and the 50th anniversary of my father’s taking over the licence of the Civic from Alec Coroneo, members of whose family are also here today. It has finally brought home to me an understanding of an image of my parents, my father in black tie, my mother in a sequined dress wearing long gloves photographed with a little girl who is not my sister. The little girl is carrying a posy of flowers which had been presented by Beverly Boniface. This photo occupied a prominent position in the manager’s office at the Civic Theatre and I really had not understood why. What did this have to do with the “The Shiralee” a word first recorded in the English language in 1892 and used for the third time in the title of D’Arcy Niland’s book published in 1955? I could see no swag or burden anywhere in the picture.

Growing up in Scone as the son of the cinema proprietors could not have been all that bad - indeed as it turns out I believe that I have had, thus far, a very fortunate life. From an early age until I left Scone at 16, I saw a lot of movies. This, before videos and some before television - most before the age of the gratuitous violence and debauchery that Hollywood now relies on to sell its product (however in the movie this morning, Peter Finch was handy with his fists and had an eye for the girls). I cannot be certain quite what this did to my psyche or to those of my brother and sister. However it is perhaps no accident that we all finished up in eye care - in optometry and ophthalmology. I had developed a fascination with light and lenses and ultimately sight and the eye - an organ considered to be at the pinnacle of evolution of sense organs.


In the last few weeks I have been trying to recollect my earliest memories of the Civic Theatre. Somehow I missed the premier of the Shiralee - I was after all, almost 4 years old - it denied me an early start to a career as a net worker. Where was I mum? It couldn’t have been much fun for the baby sitter either, given the accounts of what happened that night.

It turns out that I remember the cleaning up sessions in the mornings - and my introduction to rock and roll played on the theatres sound system - I think it was Bert Day or perhaps Brian Collison dancing with brooms to the tune of “rock around the clock.” As a boy growing up in Scone, my father saw to it that I was not idle and as a result I filled three positions designed to teach me the benefits of work. The best part of working in the Civic involved learning something about being a projectionist. My teachers were Stuart Burridge, Brian Collison and Bert Day - patient men who I imagine had to put up with the boss’s son. I entered the magical world of the projection box - film and sprockets and carbon arcs, changeovers, rewinding, joining film and looking out the window of the projection box onto Kelly Street at the hotted up cars of the local lairs. I learnt to make the Metro Goldwyn Mayer lion really roar by turning up the volume and frightening the living daylights out of the audience (although I missed my chance this morning). If things went wrong, the ultimate embarrassment of a black out occurred - and the derisive cry of “stick a penny in it” still rings in my ears when things go wrong. I have to admit that on occasion used this expression myself, much to the embarrassment of my wife. Yesterday, while going through some old film with Stuart, I felt like the boy in the movie “Cinema Paradiso”.

The book goes into the problems of an emergency power supply - I remember construction of the shed and delivery of a large diesel motor that must have replaced the tractor, which the book records as being used as an emergency generator.

Over the last few weeks I have realised that I know little about the early history of the Coroneo family in this district. Years ago on my first visit to the island of Kythera on which the family originated - I realised how being on the island felt like being in Australia - one road was lined with gum trees and oleanders. It must have felt like home. Certainly a lot of effort was put into our garden with olive and almond trees and other vegetation appropriate to a Mediterranean island in the Hunter Valley. Later on as an adult, I met Peter Hoban - Margaret Morris recalls that he grew flowers for the theatre, which I did not know - we visited his garden where he grew the most beautiful poppies.


My father I believe arrived here in 1922 and he appears in a photo in the 4th class of that year. I have searched in this photo for one Alex Ashford and am indebted to Heather for reminding me that it was Alex who taught my father to swear in “Australian”. I remember my father telling me that his older brother Con gave him a good hiding for this innovation. I have to say that my own education in Australian swearing was significantly advanced when I began training as an Eye Dr with Fred Hollows.

Over the years, I have come to realise that the Coroneos made brief appearances in a number of local publications. The earliest I could find was in Edith Potter’s “The Scone I Remember” (1981). She records “When the Coroneo Brothers, Con and Sam, opened their shop in Kelly Street many, many years ago, they burst upon a quiet and well-conducted scene with the sudden brilliance of an unexpected fireworks display at a very tame small-town Sunday School Picnic. The brothers fitted their shop with powerful lights that shone and sparkled everywhere, especially on the highly-coloured, glossy pictures of their native Mediterranean Coast decorating the walls and on the polished glass showcases displaying within exotic boxes of Turkish Delight, fancy sweets, chocolates wrapped in shining metal papers in gold, silver, red and emerald green patterned with roses, dots and stars in contrasting colours; packets of dried figs on which were pictures of sultans with luxuriant, curling, jet-black moustaches, thick shining hair crowned with splendid, bejewelled turbans; and on the counter, great glass jars, round-shaped with a large opening for the hands, holding sugar-coated almonds, assorted caramels, candies and liquorice allsorts charmingly displayed.

To my knowledge, in Scone, the Coroneos were the first of the shop-keepers of Mediterranean or Central European origin. They made a mighty impact on the town when they built their highly decorated shop and refreshment room in Kelly Street. It was a new type of shop selling a new type of goods. Who had ever been served with chipped potatoes accompanying their steak before? Where else could one buy very well-cooked fried fish in batter? Or ice-cream sodas, or Sundaes?”

Another event that may not be well known is that on the 22 May 1935 one of the first and largest meetings of an organisation known as AHEPA (Australian Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) occurred in Scone. The originators of AHEPA in Australia were Greek shopkeepers in NSW country towns. Its primary objective was “to revive and marshal
into active service for Australia the noblest attributes of Hellenism”. There is a photo taken at this meeting and I believe my father was there and took some notice of this aim.

Later (1986), in Leslie Poidevin’s book “Goodbye Doctor” describing life in Scone in the late 1940’s records...

“Scone, at this time and for many years later, had few outside entertainments. The ‘Civic’ picture theatre would have to be classed as number one. Films were shown six nights a week with two changes of programmes.......There is no doubt the ‘pictures’ gained our regular custom. Saturday night was pretty regular, Wednesday, if a specially good film was ‘on’. We often ridiculed our addiction, making disinterested noises, but ending up by going. The ‘doctors’ had reserved seats in the third row of the dress circle on the centre aisle. The floor in front of the first seat had a hole about one inch in diameter with a glass insert. Below this was an electric light globe, which, when switched on, would make a flash and so attract the one seated there. The doctors’ movements were always known. We were never off the phone. One flash of the light meant Walter (Pye) was needed down on the office phone, two flashes was my call. Sometimes the flash would only mean some phone advice, other times it meant a call away. Theo, the manager, would always know where the doctor had gone so the empty seat could be accounted for as the rest of the party left.

This call system was quite a modern innovation by Theo even though we hated to see the flash. It saved him walking up stairs and disturbing those around by talking (I looked for this hole yesterday but it appears to have been filled in). There were, of course, no carpets in picture theatres in those days, even in the dress circle. Neither was there any heating which meant that in winter, with Scone’s freezing temperatures, we went heavily clothed taking a rug and a hot water bag each.” So much for the efficiency of the heating and ventilating which the book records as having been installed by “Unit Air conditioners of Sydney”.

The trade magazine “Australasian Exhibitor” of 5/8/48 (page 4) features Scone’s Civic Theatre. Len Wade records... “The Civic Theatre is an all-round credit to its management; thoroughly renovated 10 months ago, its exterior and interior boast a new face, it is air-conditioned and floral decorations include 18 vases tastefully placed at vantage points. Usherettes are smartly uniformed, well groomed and the essence of good service to the patrons. Theo’s belief in advertising is reflected in the many avenues he utilises to marked advantage: eight display boards in front of the theatre feature exchange and domestic posters with strong representations also in picked positions throughout the town. Fifteen hundred dodgers are distributed in theatre and around town; local “Scone Advertiser” carries the theatre advertisements. Theo also advertisers special programmes over Radio 2HK, Scone. Revivals are shown on the special Bargain Nights. Theo pays a monthly visit to Sydney to arrange programmes for his show, looks after the box-office when at Scone. Theo is a returned soldier with 31/2 years’ service.”

I was quite touched by some of the recollections in the memories section of the book. I knew Ray Clay as my teacher in 3A in 1962. I had no idea of his involvement with the theatre but years later he gave advice on which subjects I chose in high school. By finding out that I did not need to study Latin to gain entrance into Medical school, he saved me from boarding school and delayed the family’s departure from Scone. I did not know of Fred Winter’s early career as a “lolly boy” or his later career as an actor.

I remember my father as an optimist - unfortunately I did not inherit this quality. On 22 (Wednesday) September 1954 (just before my first birthday) there was a fire at the Civic.
The show went on within 2-3 days. There are photos of this event, with Scone firemen in brass helmets scaling the walls - I remember the stage end of the theatre was damaged and years later when I discovered how to get in behind the screen found beams of charred timber still there. A photo of my father standing in the ruins shows no evidence of defeat.

He had spent time in the ambulance corps in the Northern Territory during WWII. The best bedtime stories were of this time in his life. There was the cook nicknamed “Tiny” who weighed 20 stone - for years whenever we acquired large man-eating dogs, they were all called “Tiny”. During this time he developed a healthy scepticism about the medical profession... particularly the surgeons who he saw in action. He did not want his children to become doctors, he thought that civil engineering would be better.. perhaps based on his experiences during the war and the construction of Glenbawn Dam. He tried subtle and perhaps not so subtle dissuasion - I spent a vacation working at the Aberdeen abattoirs. I enjoyed it and finished up as a surgeon.

In the last few weeks I have made attempts to obtain a big screen 35mm copy of the Shiralee - ever one for rituals, I felt some obligation that the movie should be rescreened in the Civic. There is now no copy in Australia - I believe that this demonstrates a significant inadequacy of the National Film and Sound Archives. The newsreel made at the time of the premier of “The Shiralee” (which was blacked out when first shown, by a power failure, relieved by the emergency generator) I thought had vanished but a short section has been saved by Stuart Burrage and a few frames were shown this morning. Tony Kato of Reel Movies, kindly made available the 16mm copy we were able to show today and I am grateful to him for his efforts. Sue Andrews made the Civic available at very short notice for this morning’s screening.

After all this time Ealing and Metro Goldwyn Mayer have ceased to exist, Peter Finch and D’Arcy Niland have passed on and even Dana Wilson seems to have vanished from the scene. Almost against the odds the Civic, one of the last Crick and Furse cinemas still in active service, survives. I am indebted to Kevin Cork for information on the Civic and art deco theatres.

Heather’s book provides valuable documentation of movie making in this area and it will be interesting to see how many of these movies are still available. I am glad that the Civic’s history has been recorded for posterity.

A few years ago I came across a book (“Screening History”, Andre Deutsch 1992) by the famous American man of letters Gore Vidal who, as it turns out, was involved in the movie business in the early days of Hollywood. I was taken by his opening lines that read. “As I now move, graciously, I hope, toward the door marked Exit (he is now quite elderly), it occurs to me that the only thing I ever really liked to do was to go to the movies. Naturally Sex and Art always took precedence over the cinema. Unfortunately, neither ever proved to be as dependable as the filtering of present light through that moving strip of celluloid which projects past images and voices onto a screen. Thus in a seemingly simple process, screening history.”

Well, today we have been involved in screening a small piece of Australia’s history and with the publication of Heather Ashford’s book, there has been a recording of a piece of Scone’s history. I believe that my family have been fortunate in playing a part in this story through our involvement with the Civic Theatre. We were lucky to have settled here and well before the days of political correctness and the fashionable notion of multiculturalism know we were amongst friends.

I wish Heather every success with the book and The Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society continued success in their endeavours. Again on behalf of my family, I thank you for inviting us here today to share in this event with you.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 30.10.2004

Paragon Cafe - Cheque.

As Kytherian shop keepers became more affluent in the period after WWII, they began to make displays of this new found affluence.

This is reflected in the ornate Art Deco re-furbishment of many of the shops and shop fixtures - but is also manifest in simple things - such as the elaborate and artistic designs of business and Company cheques, for example.

This is cheque from the famous Paragon Cafe in Katooomba, NSW. [There are multiple entries for the Paragon Cafe in this, and other sections of kythera-family.]

Note that, £1,498.00.00 would have been considered a substantial sum of money at the time.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 28.10.2004

Harry Aliferis's Bondi Junction butchery. With father-in-law Evangelos Dermatis, and 5 staff members.

Evanagelos is the suited gentleman on the extreme left.

Harry Aliferis was born on 13.11.1914, in Lahi, Greece.
His wife, Maria (nee, Dermatis), is from Neapolis.
[Both villages located in Southern Greece, opposite Kythera].
Current address: Dover Heights, NSW.
[Both alive, as of Oct 2004.]

Harry Aliferis came to Australia in 1938 aged in his early 20s, having been sent by his father who saw few opportunities for him in Greece. On arrival, Aliferis worked as a cleaner in a butchers's shop.

In 1941 he started in partnership in a butcher shop on Albion Street, Sydney. Having acquired sufficient skills by the late 1940s, he set himself up in a butchery at 425 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction.

In another entry under History, subsection, Archive/Research, entitled, "Cinema Research 11: Appendix 11: Harry Aliferis, and the Hellenic Talkies Coy Australasia", the following history on Harry's involvement with Cinema is revealed.

"It was at this address that the Hellenic Talkies Coy Australasia could be found from 1951 to 1955. Realising that there were a number of Greek people in Sydney and other major centres, Aliferis, who was assisted by his father-in-law and his own brother, imported five Greek dialogue films from Finos Films in Greece. They cost £2000 for the hiring and screening rights."

A number of Kytherians entered the butchering trade in this era, and I include this entry here, in an endevour to encourage families of these butchers to post information and photographs to kythera-family.

Search under Aliferis on the internal serach engine for other entries pertaining to Harry Aliferis.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 25.10.2004

Gunnedah Museum - Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia, housing a number of Kytherian photographs and artefacts.

Gunnedah Museum - Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia, was created from a disused Water Tower.

From the the nondescript exterior it would be impossible to realise that the interior houses three-storey's of photographs, articles, letters, and other artefacts, pertaining to Gunnedah's history.

It also houses a number of Kytherian photographs and artefacts.

When Ms. Marie Hobson, researched her two articles on Kytherians, published in the:

Namoi Valley Independent.
Gunnedah Publishing Company Pty Ltd
287 Connadilly St.,
Gunnedah. 2380.
NSW. Australia.

02 6742 0455

gunpub@gunnedahpublishing.com.au,

she obtained photographs for the articles, from the Water Tower Museum.

[Both articles, and all photographs have been reproduced on the kythera-family web-site.]

Water Tower Museum,
Anzac Park
Gunnedah


PO Box 244
Gunnedah
NSW 2380

02 67402230
02 6742 1184
02 6742 3764
02 6742 1519

The Historical Societies and Museum's of local town's, particularly well organised ones, like this one at Gunnedah, often hold very valuable Kytherian and Greek-Australian, source material

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 25.10.2004

Gunnedah - Under-cover Pool - Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia.

A covered pool, for year-round swimming, was later added to the large, impressive, and well-equipped, Gunnedah Pool - in Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia.

Gunnedah did not have a swimming pool located in the town, until a Kytherian drowning tragedy, involving the Vernardos family.

The drowning involved a nephew of Peter Venardos, that occurred during a picnic on the Namoii River. The event was instrumental in mobilising the town to provide Gunnedah with a swimming pool.

Many individuals and businesses in the town provided both equipment and labour for the project, free of charge, to ensure that all children in the town had a safe place in which to swim, and to provide a facility for swimming lessons within the town. A very important community resource, derived from a Kytherian tragedy.

Here, swimming classes are being conducted, in October, 2004, continuing a emphasis on water safety that derives from the initial tragedy.

See other entries for Peter Venardos, including, Peter Venardos - aged 82, in his lounge room, Gunnedah, NSW, Australia, April, 2004.

More precise information as to how the pool was built would be of great interest.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 25.10.2004

Gunnedah Pool - Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia.

The large, impressive, and well-equipped, Gunnedah Pool - Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia.

Gunnedah did not have a swimming pool located in the town, until a Kytherian drowning tragedy, involving the Vernardos family.

The drowning involved a nephew of Peter Venardos, that occurred during a picnic on the Namoii River. The event was instrumental in mobilising the town to provide Gunnedah with swimming pool depicted above.

Many individuals and businesses in the town provided both equipment and labour for the project, free of charge, to ensure that all children in the town had a safe place in which to swim, and to provide a facility for swimming lessons within the town. A very important community resource, derived from a Kytherian tragedy.

See other entries for Peter Venardos, including, Peter Venardos - aged 82, in his lounge room, Gunnedah, NSW, Australia, April, 2004.

More precise information as to how the pool was built would be of great interest.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 15.11.2012

Zantiotis Car Park - Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia.

All the major carparks in Gunnedah, NSW, are named after Kytherians, as a mark of respect for the impact they had on the growth and development of the town.

Kytherians, and Greek-Australians generally, are held in very high esteem in the town of Gunnedah.

This sign heralds the Zantiotis Carpark, and both their' - and "Gunnedah's" Kytherian and Greek heritage.

The Zantiotis Car Park is located in Little Conadilly Street.

For more a more extensive history of the impact of the Zantiotis family on Gunnedah, use the internal search engine of the site to search under Zantiotis, or Gunnedah.

There are a number of photo's of the Gunnedah Carpark signs on kythera-family.net. Other Car Park signs are located at:

Souris Carpark

Melitas Car Park

Kepreotes Car Park

Comino Car Park

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 15.11.2012

Souris Carpark - Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia.

All the major carparks in Gunnedah, NSW, are named after Kytherians, as a mark of respect for the impact they had on the growth and development of the town.

Kytherians, and Greek-Australians generally, are held in very high esteem in the town of Gunnedah.

This sign heralds the Souris Carpark, and both their' - and "Gunnedah's" Kytherian and Greek heritage.

The Souris Car Park is located in Little Conadilly Street.

There are a number of photo's of the Carpark signs on kythera-family.net. Photographs of other Car Park signs are located at:

Melitas Car Park

Kepreotes Car Park

Comino Car Park

Zantiotis Carpark

For more a more extensive history of the impact of the Souris family on Gunnedah, use the internal search engine of the site to search under Souris, or Gunnedah.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 15.11.2012

Melitas Carpark - Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia.

All the major carparks in Gunnedah, NSW, are named after Kytherians, as a mark of respect for the impact they had on the growth and development of the town.

Kytherians, and Greek-Australians generally, are held in very high esteem in the town of Gunnedah.

This sign heralds the Melitas Carpark, and both their' - and "Gunnedah's" Kytherian and Greek heritage.

The Melitas Car Park is located in Little Conadilly Street.

[There exists some confusion with the spelling of the name.
Peter Tsicalas notes that the spelling in the 1916 Greek census was:

Mellitas, James, 32, Restaurateur, Gunnedah.

Mellitas, Peter, 15, Waiter, Coonabarabran.

The bold lettering over the Acropolis Cafe, as it stands today is clearly - Mellita. {See photograph, this section, or search under Acropolis}.

The Council of Gunnedah has spelt the name Melitas.]

For a more extensive history of the impact of the Melitas family on Gunnedah, use the internal search engine of the site to search under Melitas, Mellitas, or Gunnedah.

There are a number of photo's of the Gunnedah Carpark signs on kythera-family.net. Other Car Park signs are located at:

Souris Carpark

Kepreotes Car Park

Comino Car Park

Zantiotis Carpark