submitted by Jim Comino on 23.04.2007
Theo Comino,s last Anzac march 1996 taken at the back of our Cafe The Transit Bar in Inverell Nsw
submitted by Leslie Comino on 08.06.2013
Theo came to Australia in 1924 after leaving service in the Greek Navy and other things after the war there in Europe, he went to a small town of Wee Waa tobe with his brother Andrew and work in the cafe there , the cafe included a picture theatre , gasoline , bottle drinks factory,and anything else a small town used .
he went to Bellingen NSW and worked the Picture theatre there for 4 odd years where he married Hazel Irene Donnelly who,s father Leslie owned the Ford Franchise there and worked in p/nership with a farming of 1000 acres of wheat in Moree NSW.
drought and depression caused these venture to fail and Theo and Hazel went with their 2 girls Martina and Maria with Hazel very sick with her pregnancy with Michael, into a cafe with a Potieros in Moree ,but the depression was getting worse and Hazel and Michael nearly died in hospital at birth causing them to move again.
Michael was inplaster for some time after being born and Hazel recovered , the next we see of them is in Warialda where Theo travelled around looking for work in Inverel NSW ,Delungra, Bingara and Tingha, eventually he met the representataive of Plume Petrol who use to service the Wee Waa cafe , he told him to go with him into the airforce as he was already involved heavily there , and so he did ,he spent 3 years in New Guinea against the Japanese there.
It was here in 1940 I was born in Bingara .
we didnt see much of Dad those days until the end of the war and then he bought a cafe in Merriwa off Sam and George Nicholas,where we moved to.
To buy this cafe ,as he had no money those days he was talking to George [Snowy] Comino at the SydneyMarkets one day telling him of this oportunity in Merriwa and that he didnt have the money to put the 500 pounds deposit down , George went behind a stack of spuds and came back with the 500 and said pay it back when you can .
Dad bought the cafe and it was so busy he had to employ 6 persons to help work there plus Mum and Gran Donnelly.
He repayed George Comino the 500 the next week .
It was here trouble struck with Maria going down with Poliomylitis, and those were troubled times , but he fought his way through this period and we all servived.
From this little cafe he bought a truck and twice a week we,d go to Newcastle to the Markets for vegetables and pick up all the other requirements for the business .
Four years later all us kids were working in the cafe too and he again went out to purchase ,coming home with a 1500 acre block of ground where he run 1000 sheep and 100 head cattle .
later he reduced stock some what, and went into wheat and fat lambs .and vealers.
As the years went on Martina married Bill Michael who ended up in Armidale NSW and he became after much study, a Master Builder, Maria Married Pasquale Cominos and they purchased a huge home in Alison road and later built a mall in Merriwa ,Michael married Wendy Pittman and went to work as a plumber in Merriwa .
I stayed with the farm and other then tradgedy occured again, Mum [Hazel] went down with Parkinsons disease, after having an operation to stop the shakes she was totally incapacitated and couldnt speak and had to be nursed like a baby.
Heres where Theo showed what he was made of .
I left in 1972 and went to Sydney to work as Dad was talking about selling up to look after Mum.
Dad would not anyone near her to help out ,he looked after her like a baby for 15 years when he awoke one night to find she had passed away.
After a while he decided he would like to go back to Kythera for a spell and did that twice before he became too fragile to go again .
At this time I was in Inverell with a cafe ,The Transit Bar, and there was a fantastic Nursing home there ,I picked him up from Merriwa and he went into the home ,but my instruction was I had to pick him up at 1 pm every day or he would walk 3 miles to the shop, which he couldnt do .
This photo is taken behind the shop on Anzac Day.
I look back and see this mans life , left home at 13 to do time in the Greek Navy , he says was the worst war he was in , then travel out here to Australia with no language skills whatever ,nearly losing his wife of 3 years at Moree, losing all his money there as well, finding himself in the RAAF in New Guinea in WW2, being carried back to Australia after an aircraft crash and spending time in Concord Hospital, then having to cope with the dreaded Polio with Maria, then again with Parkinsons with Mum, one would think he would be insane by then ,but no he kept on going till he turned 95 and passed away in Mc Lean Nursing home in Inverell,I had him returned to Merriwa to beburied next to Mum there .
Today is the 8th June I must remember to go see them on the 20 june 2013. A bigger man i,ve yet to meet.
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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