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submitted by Terry Chlentzos on 24.01.2006

Peter Clentzos and his aunt Kyrani Katsoulis

Peter Clentzos seated on "Krikos" the donkey, and his aunt Kyrani Chlentzos Katsoulis.

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Terry Chlentzos on 24.01.2006

Chris Tsampiras

Mr. Chris Tsampiras, a grocer. Photo by Peter Clentzos during his Greek Track and Field tour in 1935

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Terry Chlentzos on 24.01.2006

Mr. & Mrs. Bilekys and son

Mr. Bilekys (Bitsilakas)right, his wife Stamatoula Tsampiras Belikys, center, and their son George. Photo taken by Peter Clentzos during his 1935 Greek Track and Field Tour

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Eric C Poulos on 27.12.2005

Evangalia (Tzortzo)Poulos (nee, Koroneos), with the children of Gina Kalokerinos, of Greystanes, Sydney, and later Holland.

Gina, daughter of Markos and Helen Kalocerinos, married Felix ........, from Holland.

Evangalia and her husband Con (Tzortzo)Poulos, were very good friends with Markos and Helen Kalocerinos.

They have lived in Holland for a number of decades, but visit Kythera regularly.

Mum had journeyed to Kythera for a number of months, and lived in the Tzorzopoulos patriko spitti in Karavas.

Felix and family visited Envangalia there often.

Mum enjoyed interacting with the children immensely.

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Eric C Poulos on 27.12.2005

I Mummi, The Midwife, playing domino's.

All her relatives and friends will vouch for the fact that she was absolutely passionate about the game of domino's.

She was the "Queen of the table" when domino's was being played in her home - the Tzortzopoulos patriko spitti - Karavas.

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Eric C Poulos on 27.12.2005

Yia yia Kirrani Koroneos (nee, Souris), walking through the fields.

As my brother Phillip says:

"Yia yia Kirrani was a Souris, from Yerakari, who lived in my great-grandfather's Theothosios's house, on the 90º bend which leads down to the kendro at Amir Ali. Kirrani was my grandfather's (my namesake) Trunduphilos's second wife.

Kirrani worked extremely hard until she was almost 90, tending the many Koroneika properties in and around Karavas.

Her one dream was that all the properties pass in tact to all the descendants of Theothosios Koroneos who wished to receive them".

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Phillip Con Poulos on 27.12.2005

Kirrani Souris, a friend and three small goats.

On Koroneiko land in Karavas.

Yia yia Kirrani was a Souris, from Yerakari, who lived in my great-grandfather's Theothosios's house, on the 90º bend which leads down to the kendro at Amir Ali. Kirrani was my grandfather's (my namesake) Trunduphilos's second wife.

Kirrani worked extremely hard until she was almost 90, tending the many Koroneika properties in and around Karavas.

Her one dream was that all the properties pass in tact to all the descendants of Theothosios Koroneos who wished to receive them.

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Phillip Con Poulos on 18.03.2006

Kirrani Souris. My yia yia. Seated imperiously.

My yia yia always possessed a powerful sense of dignity.

She was a Souris, from Yerakari, who lived in my great-grandfather's Theothosios's house, on the 90º bend which leads down to the kendro at Amir Ali. Kirrani was my grandfather's (my namesake) Trunduphilos's second wife.

Triunduphilo, my pappou, was the mayor of Karavas for 13 years. During his administration he performed many fine civic deeds for Karavas and surrounding towns under his jurisdiction, such as helping create the mollos at Plattia Ammos.

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Phillip Con Poulos on 28.02.2006

Con George Poulos, family and friends, On Kythera. 1975.

Back Row:

Con Poulos, of Gilgandra Fruit Mart "fame", and later of Greystanes, near Parramatta, in Sydney, NSW.

My uncle Theothosios (Theo) Koroneos (Corones), my mother Evangalia's (Angie's) older brother, who tragically lost his leg as a young man.

He became a fairly good artist, and painted many Kytherian and Hellenic scenes in his life time. At this time he was making an attempt to transplant himself back to Kythera, having left at age 12, to settle in Australia.

He stayed for a few years, but his unconventional ways led to a number of clashes with authorities - which he could not abide.

He returned to Australia, and retired to live in Bargara, a coastal town near Rockhampton, in Northern Queensland.

Ri Ri. My fathers older brother Theothori - married to "Mummi" - the midwife. Tzortzopoulos patriko spitti was always owned by my father - and he always allowed his brother to live there free of charge.

Front Row

Left to Right


(???)

I Mummi, the midwife, wife of Ri Ri, and one of the great personalities of Karavas. Many Karavites and Kytherians on the island were bought into the world by her.

(???)

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Phillip Con Poulos on 27.12.2005

Con George Poulos, at the taverna. With family and friends. 1975.

Left to right:

Yia yia, Kirrani Souris, from Yerakari, who lived in my great-grandfather's Theothosios's house, on the 90º bend which leads down to the kendro at Amir Ali. Kirrani was my grandfather's (my namesake) Trunduphilos's second wife.

Young woman facing away(?)

Con Poulos, of Gilgandra Fruit Mart "fame", and later of Greystanes, near Parramatta, in Sydney, NSW.

Ri Ri. My fathers older brother Theothori - married to "Mummi" - the midwife. Tzortzopoulos patriko spitti was always owned by my father - and he always allowed his brother to live there free of charge.

Bubbi(?) our neighbour across the way, who tends our fruit trees, and the grapevine.

You may recognise some of the other people sitting at the other tables??

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Phillip Con Poulos on 27.12.2005

Con George Poulos, family and friends, on Kythera.

My father, Con George (Tzortzo)Poulos, was a reluctant traveller. He constantly resisted his own urges to travel back to Greece and Kythera.

However, when he succumbed, and he was on the island, he always enjoyed himeself.

The following is taken at the Tzortzopoulo patriko spitti, in Karavas.

The house is tucked into the hillside, on the left, as you walk down from the steps leading up to Ayios Haralambos, towards Koronianika.

Left to Right:

Ri Ri. My fathers older brother Theothori - married to "Mummi" - the midwife. Tzortzopoulos patriko spitti was always owned by my father - and he always allowed his brother to live there free of charge.

Yia yia, Kirrani Souris, from Yerakari, who lived in my great-grandfather's Theothosios's house, on the 90º bend which leads down to the kendro at Amir Ali. Kirrani was my grandfather's (my namesake) Trunduphilos's second wife.

Bubbi(?) (front) our neighbour across the way, who tends our fruit trees, and grapevine, with his two working donkeys.

Rouli Logothetis, brother of Harry Logothetis from Logothetyianika, who married my mother's younger sister - Voula. Rouli, for decades the carpenter in Potamos, lives on Ayia Pelagia.

Con Poulos, of Gilgandra Fruit Mart "fame", and later of Greystanes, near Parramatta, in Sydney, NSW.

I Mummi, the midwife, wife of Ri Ri, and one of the great personalities of Karavas. Many Karavites and Kytherians on the island where bought into the world by her.

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Woman's Day on 25.12.2005

Mrs Georgia Veneris, aged 88, in the doorway of her quarters...

...at the monastery of St Mirtidion, with Mr George Calligeros, the high school secretary. 1976.

One of 22 photographs in a supplement on Kythera, in the Woman's Day. August 2, 1976. pp. 20-25.

From this tiny Greek island came 100,000 'new' Aussies.

People of Kythera longed for opportunity so they came to Australia, bringing ways and traditions that were new and interesting to us. They worked hard and grew to love their new country but home-sickness sends some back to visit; some to stay.

Here's a look at the island today.

By JAN LIPMAN

Photos: GEORGE LIPMAN


There is a saying among Greek-born Australians which goes: “There are as many homesick Australians in Kythera as there are homesick Greeks in Australia. And if you ever visit Kythera, you'll know what they mean. Kythera is the 40-kilometre long Greek island which has provided Australia with the almost unbelievable number of 100,000 new citizens.
During a fve-day visit there in spring, we fell under its spell.

Not all of the 100,000 new Australians were born on Kythera, of course. Some are first, second, or even third-generation Aussies.

"You know what they call this? An Australian colony," one man told us, while his friend added: "I don't know which is my home anymore. You live here for a year, and you get homesick for there. You live there for a year and you get homesick for Kythera.”

An Olympic Airways Islander aircraft took us to Kythera where we were met by a welcoming committee of the three Calligeros, who wer to be our companions for the next five days. There was George Calligeros, President of the whole island, and Mayor of the capital town, Hora, George Calligeros, secretary of the high school, and owner of the villa at Capsali Beach, where we were to stay and Peter Calligeros, who has lived in Sydney for more than 20 years, and was in Kythera for a holiday.
Unlike many parts of Greece, Kythera has has abundant water.

"It is the wealth of the island," is a favourite phrase, and down through history they have valued their good fortune enough to build churches and chapels around the many springs and streams.

Almost anything grows there, and domestic animals flourish. Nothing is wasted. Even the wild broome is used as a natural fibre, and in the old days it was woven into a kind of coarse linen.
Barley and wheat grown there are ground to make the flour for some of the best bread in Greece.

The island is entirely self-supporting. Small local factories produce the olive oil which is essential to Greek cookery, and unsalted butter.

But to successful Greek-Australians who return there, there is a certain sadness about Kythera. Once there were more than 20,000 inhabitants, now there are less than 3000.

Tony Fardoulys, of Moorebank, NSW, and Jim Feros of Kogarah, NSW, were two of the many naturaliscd Australians visiting Kythera. Tony explained their sense of loss. "We grew up here together," he said, "and you should have seen it then. It was like a garden".
“And the fruit trees. I tell you. Figs as big as pears, and the peaches! They were everywhere.”

Well, they are still all there, gone wild. When the fruit is in season, it is yours for the asking.

Still there, too, are the stone houses abandoned. Slowly crumbling away, they line village streets and beautiful beachfronts. Windows are boarded up, wild grasses and flowers sprout from eaves and walls.

Thirty years ago, these houses were in good repair, painted wedding-cake white every Easter by their families.


Streets of laughter

“The streets were full of voices and kids’ laughter,” remembers Peter Calligeros. “Now the people who live here are old.”
Hundreds of Australian families still own property there, but they are unable to make use of it. Although self-supporting, Kythera has no exports.
To re-develop tracts of farming land, and begin export, would require something more than family enterprise. Without a work-force of young, active people there is no incentive for either government or private enterprise to invest in it.

Typical of these families are the Conomos, of Orange, NSW. Mr George Conomos and his wife, the late Mrs Stella Conomos, came to Australia more than a generation ago.

Now he and his two daughters, Regina and Gloria, are spending an extended holiday in Hora.

Mr Conomos is currently building a new house in his home village. Kalamos, not far from Hora, even though Australia will still be their permanent home.

“This is our third trip back,” Gloria told us. “We’ve made so many trips that we feel it’s about time we built a house here.”

Regina, who speaks English with a broad Australian accent, married a local boy.
Now they have bouncing six-months-old twin daughters, Stamatina and Eviania.
Well-to-do Greek-Australians return to Kythera for holidays. Others, not so wealthy, make the longed-for trip when they retire.

An Australian pension goes about three times as far in Greece.

One such man is Mr Jim Cominos, 78. We met him one Sunday afternoon in the taverna (restaurant) in Livadi village. He’d ridden over for the day from his own village, Guleanica.

"My car is a donkey," he announced. "When I lived in Australia, I had a car, just like everyone else. But I traded it in for a donkey!
"Petrol is too expensive here in Greece two dollars a gallon and, if a donkey is a bit slow, it doesn’t matter to me. I’ve got plenty of time, and not far to go".
Mr Cominos lives with his daughter and her three children.

But he still has two sons and five grandchildren living in Albury, NSW, who often beg him to come back here.
“Sometimes I think I might go back. I love Australia, too. But then, I think it is too late now.”
Like many Greeks who have taken full Australian citizenship, he feels torn.

A better future

Back in Athens, someone tried to explain their feelings from a different point of view. He was Mr G. Koidakis, an official of Olympic Airways, who spent two years here as regional manager for Australasia. and now holds a similar position in Greece.

“Migration is always a good thing,” he said. “Everybody who migrates seeks a better future. And it is to the credit of the Greek migrant in Australia that he did succeed”.

“They have made money, certainly. But they are among the cleanest-living, most hard-working communities living in Australia.
“I have a love for these Greeks and I understand how they feel on leaving the country of their birth.”

Among Kythea’s best-known identities is Mrs Georgia Veneri, 88, who lives at the Monastery of Saint Mirtidion. Mrs Veneri lived for 10 years in Brisbane, and lost her two Sons in Australia. One was killed in World War II, and one in a fatal accident.

A pilgrimage to Saint Mirtidion is a must for every ex-­Kytherian, so Mrs Veneri’s otherwise lonely existence there is relieved by visitors.

The monastery is the only sign of life on a lonely stretch of coastline. It is surrounded by motel-type units which house pilgrims during the church’s three major festivals.

Kytherians have always been intensely religious. Most families have built their own - chapels dedicated to patron saints.
Climbing mountainsides to get to them, we sometimes cursed the zeal which inspired the families to build their chapels in such inaccessible places.

Everyone wanted us to drop in for coffee.
Caffe ellenica (the thick, sweetened kind in tiny cups) was never served without a sweet or two, and usually a glass of home­made liqueur.

Kytherian women pride them­selves on the sweets and cookies they make from the almonds which grow wild there, and the honey which they believe is the best in Greece.

There are tiny preserved figs, diples or thiples (deep-fried wafers drizzled with honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds), amigdolata (almonds, semolina and sugar in tiny pear-shapes with clove stems), or tsipoura (almond and honey cookies rolled in a crisp coating of powdered sugar).
Some relate to special festivities; diples used to be made when young girls gathered at someone’s home before a betrothal or marriage.

Many housewives on Kythera still cling proudly to the old traditions, and there is no way a Kytherian woman would paint her house instead of white­washing it.

We were transported back a century in time when we visited the home of Mr and Mrs John Prineas, in the village of Mitata.
Katina Prineas was out working in the fields, but her house was wide open and her nephew, Jim Feros, showed us around.
“I was born in this room,” he said, ushering us into a small room with a vaulted roof, now kept as a guest bedroom.
Round the walls were family portraits. There was Jim’s father (now almost 80 and living with his wife in Earlwood, NSW) as a younger man in his Australian Army uniform; a picture of him at Hillston, NSW, in 1922; at the opening of the corner shop he built back in Mitata in 1934, as a reliable living for the wife and family he left behind.

Dad on the move

Mr Feros first came to Australia in the early '20's, returned to Kythera in 1927 to marry, and start work on the shop, went back to Australia in 1930, and in 1937 returned to Kythera.

I was nearly seven years of age when I met my father for the first time,” recalled Jim. “He stopped with us for 20 months, until August 1938, then he went back again. But in 1947 - by then I had two sisters - we all went to Australia, My uncle used. to run the business after we left.”

His friend Tony chipped in: “That’s the way they did it in those days. The men came home to father the children.”
Outside in the courtyard again we were dazzled by the sunlight reflecting off whitewashed walls, paving stones and a well, from which Jim drew cold, sweet water.

Hanging under the eaves were maturing cheeses.

Kytherian style, the house was built of rough stone with 60 cm walls, plastered over then whitewashed inside and out. The kitchen was a long room, divided by a partition from the storeroom-cum-cellar. Copper pots and pans hung above the old fuel stove, and hand-made rag rugs were on the floor.

Wooden shelves in the pantry were laden with cane baskets of eggs, grey home-made soap, drying herbs, brass mortars and pestles, old flat irons.

On the stone floor stood earthenware jars holding olives, oil and pickles, wine casks, charcoal braziers for smoking meat and for barbecuing, and in a corner a well-like wine-press. To judge from the heady smell it was still very much in use.
Farmers, in the same way, still cling to their traditional methods. Why irrigate? Why buy machinery when you have a good, strong donkey? Dry-cropping (the practice of ploughing three times to let the soil absorb moisture) has always produced summer vegetables in a climate which has no rain between May and September. And small Kytherian cucumbers and tomatoes are infinitely more delicious than the giants we know.

World War II caused a big exodus from Kythera. Many families came to Australia, others went to the USA. Since then there has been a steady trickle of young people leaving the island.

Although there is a 250-pupil high school in Hora, a university education means moving to Athens.

Kytherians are mainly self­ employed or retired. Only 50 to 60 people on the island work for someone else.

The power station, or Public Lighting Company, operates on diesel engine. It provides jobs for about 20 employees. Others work as teachers, service station attendants and mechanics, police, or in the olive oil factory. The average wage of these people is only about $25 a week.

Poppy’s typical

Among the “employees” is Mrs Poppy Mazaraki, the married daughter of Mayor Calligeros. Poppy is typical of the young people of Kythera. “We grew up in Kythera. went to school here, then went away to Athens,” she told us. “Now we are back here as teachers.”

Poppy took us to the village of Livadi to visit the Gianiotis family, and to taste mizithra cheese. Mizithra, a soft, ricotta-style cheese, is made from goats’ milk or sheep’s milk. Mrs Gianiotis served it drizzled with honey, and accompanied by caffe ellenica. Many Kytherian families live almost entirely on what they grow themselves. They make their own wines, too. The best Kytherian wine is rose, more palatable to outsiders than the usual Greek retsina.

Kytherian men have a healthy appreciation of their local wines and liqueurs and yet - as elsewhere in Greece - you never see a local man drunk.
“When we drink, we eat,” they say and indeed olives, cheese, perhaps a little salad with fresh oil dressing is always served with drinks.

Hora, about 300 metres above the fishing village of Capsali, is one of the prettiest townships in Greece. Mayor Calligeros insists that villagers each sweep up their piece of street each morning.
Everything from bell-towers to benches is freshly whitewashed (the women spring-clean for Easter and sometimes in be­tween, slapping the wash with long-handled soft brooms).
Every window is shuttered, and every shutter is painted bright, light blue. Blue and white are Greece’s national colours.
What does the future hold for Kythera?
Tony Fardoulys, who is a real estate agent in Sydney, would like to see it become a resort.

Nick Athousis. who lived 20 years in Brisbane, is one of the few younger people who have moved back to Kythera for more than a holiday. His sons Charles, 12, Paul, 10 and George, 8, attend local schools and Nick is president of the high school committee.

“I want my children to become Greeks in a sense,” he told us. “But I want them to be Australians, too. “I brought them from Australia and they knew only English. Now, they know only Greek.
“I think English is the language of the present and of the future. And what I want is a teacher of English for the high school here. So I wrote to the Greek communities in Australia to ask for their support.”

A teaching post would have to be approved by the Greek Ministry of Education; but only a novice teacher would be given such a post and as a provincial high school is rated at the bottom end of the salary scale, the going salary would be only about 6000 to 7000 drachmae ($A 150) per month.

“I’d like to make the salary up to about $10,000 a year,” Nick continued. “1 want him to be able to live like a man".
"If we have Greeks in Australia who can endow churches and universities, surely the whole community there can raise a little for our school".

“You know, our only export is human beings. We want those human beings, when they leave Kythera, to be able to speak English.”

Comprehensive list of photographs that accompanied this article

Original Woman's Day article, including photograph of Mr Spyros Haros, riding home after a hard days work

Grandmother being farewelled at Athens airport

Villagers of Friligianika offer their hands in greeting

Miss Helen Calligeros, caretaker of the monastery of St. Mirtidion, draws water from the well

Mrs Eropheli Psaltis strands raw wool onto a bobbin

Housewife at Kapsali white-washes her house

The twin bays of Kapsali, 1976

Mrs Metaxia Frilingos & Mr Andres Psaltis make fresh mizithra cheese

Fisherman cleaning part of the night's catch

Maria Cassimatis, aged 17, wearing Kytherian island spaletta in Hora

Mr and Mrs Spyro Gianniotis and family, providing coffee and drinks for Australian guests

Mrs Maria Mangelo, headmistress, oversees her school on Kythera

Kytherian High School boys dance in their national costume

Senior pupils from Kythera's high school in national dress

Delicious thiples, or diples, made of wafer-like pastry...

Matina Hiraki grinds corn on a grindstone...

Writer Jan Lipman, and Mr George Calligeros, gather marguerite daisies...

Koula Calligeros, with her two nephews, rides home after a day's work

Traditional farming implements are often preferred to modern equipment

Two Greek Orthodox priests. 1976.

Gloria Conomos. of Orange NSW, in Hora. 1976. She was born in Australia

Mrs Georgia Veneris, aged 88, in the doorway of her quarters at the monastery of St Mirtidion

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Woman's Day on 25.12.2005

Gloria Conomos. of Orange NSW, in Hora. 1976. She was born in Australia.

One of 22 photographs in a supplement on Kythera, in the Woman's Day. August 2, 1976. pp. 20-25.

From this tiny Greek island came 100,000 'new' Aussies.

People of Kythera longed for opportunity so they came to Australia, bringing ways and traditions that were new and interesting to us. They worked hard and grew to love their new country but home-sickness sends some back to visit; some to stay.

Here's a look at the island today.

By JAN LIPMAN

Photos: GEORGE LIPMAN

There is a saying among Greek-born Australians which goes: “There are as many homesick Australians in Kythera as there are homesick Greeks in Australia. And if you ever visit Kythera, you'll know what they mean. Kythera is the 40-kilometre long Greek island which has provided Australia with the almost unbelievable number of 100,000 new citizens.
During a fve-day visit there in spring, we fell under its spell.

Not all of the 100,000 new Australians were born on Kythera, of course. Some are first, second, or even third-generation Aussies.

"You know what they call this? An Australian colony," one man told us, while his friend added: "I don't know which is my home anymore. You live here for a year, and you get homesick for there. You live there for a year and you get homesick for Kythera.”

An Olympic Airways Islander aircraft took us to Kythera where we were met by a welcoming committee of the three Calligeros, who wer to be our companions for the next five days. There was George Calligeros, President of the whole island, and Mayor of the capital town, Hora, George Calligeros, secretary of the high school, and owner of the villa at Capsali Beach, where we were to stay and Peter Calligeros, who has lived in Sydney for more than 20 years, and was in Kythera for a holiday.
Unlike many parts of Greece, Kythera has has abundant water.

"It is the wealth of the island," is a favourite phrase, and down through history they have valued their good fortune enough to build churches and chapels around the many springs and streams.

Almost anything grows there, and domestic animals flourish. Nothing is wasted. Even the wild broome is used as a natural fibre, and in the old days it was woven into a kind of coarse linen.
Barley and wheat grown there are ground to make the flour for some of the best bread in Greece.

The island is entirely self-supporting. Small local factories produce the olive oil which is essential to Greek cookery, and unsalted butter.

But to successful Greek-Australians who return there, there is a certain sadness about Kythera. Once there were more than 20,000 inhabitants, now there are less than 3000.

Tony Fardoulys, of Moorebank, NSW, and Jim Feros of Kogarah, NSW, were two of the many naturaliscd Australians visiting Kythera. Tony explained their sense of loss. "We grew up here together," he said, "and you should have seen it then. It was like a garden".
“And the fruit trees. I tell you. Figs as big as pears, and the peaches! They were everywhere.”

Well, they are still all there, gone wild. When the fruit is in season, it is yours for the asking.

Still there, too, are the stone houses abandoned. Slowly crumbling away, they line village streets and beautiful beachfronts. Windows are boarded up, wild grasses and flowers sprout from eaves and walls.

Thirty years ago, these houses were in good repair, painted wedding-cake white every Easter by their families.


Streets of laughter

“The streets were full of voices and kids’ laughter,” remembers Peter Calligeros. “Now the people who live here are old.”
Hundreds of Australian families still own property there, but they are unable to make use of it. Although self-supporting, Kythera has no exports.
To re-develop tracts of farming land, and begin export, would require something more than family enterprise. Without a work-force of young, active people there is no incentive for either government or private enterprise to invest in it.

Typical of these families are the Conomos, of Orange, NSW. Mr George Conomos and his wife, the late Mrs Stella Conomos, came to Australia more than a generation ago.

Now he and his two daughters, Regina and Gloria, are spending an extended holiday in Hora.

Mr Conomos is currently building a new house in his home village. Kalamos, not far from Hora, even though Australia will still be their permanent home.

“This is our third trip back,” Gloria told us. “We’ve made so many trips that we feel it’s about time we built a house here.”

Regina, who speaks English with a broad Australian accent, married a local boy.
Now they have bouncing six-months-old twin daughters, Stamatina and Eviania.
Well-to-do Greek-Australians return to Kythera for holidays. Others, not so wealthy, make the longed-for trip when they retire.

An Australian pension goes about three times as far in Greece.

One such man is Mr Jim Cominos, 78. We met him one Sunday afternoon in the taverna (restaurant) in Livadi village. He’d ridden over for the day from his own village, Guleanica.

"My car is a donkey," he announced. "When I lived in Australia, I had a car, just like everyone else. But I traded it in for a donkey!
"Petrol is too expensive here in Greece two dollars a gallon and, if a donkey is a bit slow, it doesn’t matter to me. I’ve got plenty of time, and not far to go".
Mr Cominos lives with his daughter and her three children.

But he still has two sons and five grandchildren living in Albury, NSW, who often beg him to come back here.
“Sometimes I think I might go back. I love Australia, too. But then, I think it is too late now.”
Like many Greeks who have taken full Australian citizenship, he feels torn.

A better future

Back in Athens, someone tried to explain their feelings from a different point of view. He was Mr G. Koidakis, an official of Olympic Airways, who spent two years here as regional manager for Australasia. and now holds a similar position in Greece.

“Migration is always a good thing,” he said. “Everybody who migrates seeks a better future. And it is to the credit of the Greek migrant in Australia that he did succeed”.

“They have made money, certainly. But they are among the cleanest-living, most hard-working communities living in Australia.
“I have a love for these Greeks and I understand how they feel on leaving the country of their birth.”

Among Kythea’s best-known identities is Mrs Georgia Veneri, 88, who lives at the Monastery of Saint Mirtidion. Mrs Veneri lived for 10 years in Brisbane, and lost her two Sons in Australia. One was killed in World War II, and one in a fatal accident.

A pilgrimage to Saint Mirtidion is a must for every ex-­Kytherian, so Mrs Veneri’s otherwise lonely existence there is relieved by visitors.

The monastery is the only sign of life on a lonely stretch of coastline. It is surrounded by motel-type units which house pilgrims during the church’s three major festivals.

Kytherians have always been intensely religious. Most families have built their own - chapels dedicated to patron saints.
Climbing mountainsides to get to them, we sometimes cursed the zeal which inspired the families to build their chapels in such inaccessible places.

Everyone wanted us to drop in for coffee.
Caffe ellenica (the thick, sweetened kind in tiny cups) was never served without a sweet or two, and usually a glass of home­made liqueur.

Kytherian women pride them­selves on the sweets and cookies they make from the almonds which grow wild there, and the honey which they believe is the best in Greece.

There are tiny preserved figs, diples or thiples (deep-fried wafers drizzled with honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds), amigdolata (almonds, semolina and sugar in tiny pear-shapes with clove stems), or tsipoura (almond and honey cookies rolled in a crisp coating of powdered sugar).
Some relate to special festivities; diples used to be made when young girls gathered at someone’s home before a betrothal or marriage.

Many housewives on Kythera still cling proudly to the old traditions, and there is no way a Kytherian woman would paint her house instead of white­washing it.

We were transported back a century in time when we visited the home of Mr and Mrs John Prineas, in the village of Mitata.
Katina Prineas was out working in the fields, but her house was wide open and her nephew, Jim Feros, showed us around.
“I was born in this room,” he said, ushering us into a small room with a vaulted roof, now kept as a guest bedroom.
Round the walls were family portraits. There was Jim’s father (now almost 80 and living with his wife in Earlwood, NSW) as a younger man in his Australian Army uniform; a picture of him at Hillston, NSW, in 1922; at the opening of the corner shop he built back in Mitata in 1934, as a reliable living for the wife and family he left behind.

Dad on the move

Mr Feros first came to Australia in the early '20's, returned to Kythera in 1927 to marry, and start work on the shop, went back to Australia in 1930, and in 1937 returned to Kythera.

I was nearly seven years of age when I met my father for the first time,” recalled Jim. “He stopped with us for 20 months, until August 1938, then he went back again. But in 1947 - by then I had two sisters - we all went to Australia, My uncle used. to run the business after we left.”

His friend Tony chipped in: “That’s the way they did it in those days. The men came home to father the children.”
Outside in the courtyard again we were dazzled by the sunlight reflecting off whitewashed walls, paving stones and a well, from which Jim drew cold, sweet water.

Hanging under the eaves were maturing cheeses.

Kytherian style, the house was built of rough stone with 60 cm walls, plastered over then whitewashed inside and out. The kitchen was a long room, divided by a partition from the storeroom-cum-cellar. Copper pots and pans hung above the old fuel stove, and hand-made rag rugs were on the floor.

Wooden shelves in the pantry were laden with cane baskets of eggs, grey home-made soap, drying herbs, brass mortars and pestles, old flat irons.

On the stone floor stood earthenware jars holding olives, oil and pickles, wine casks, charcoal braziers for smoking meat and for barbecuing, and in a corner a well-like wine-press. To judge from the heady smell it was still very much in use.
Farmers, in the same way, still cling to their traditional methods. Why irrigate? Why buy machinery when you have a good, strong donkey? Dry-cropping (the practice of ploughing three times to let the soil absorb moisture) has always produced summer vegetables in a climate which has no rain between May and September. And small Kytherian cucumbers and tomatoes are infinitely more delicious than the giants we know.

World War II caused a big exodus from Kythera. Many families came to Australia, others went to the USA. Since then there has been a steady trickle of young people leaving the island.

Although there is a 250-pupil high school in Hora, a university education means moving to Athens.

Kytherians are mainly self­ employed or retired. Only 50 to 60 people on the island work for someone else.

The power station, or Public Lighting Company, operates on diesel engine. It provides jobs for about 20 employees. Others work as teachers, service station attendants and mechanics, police, or in the olive oil factory. The average wage of these people is only about $25 a week.

Poppy’s typical

Among the “employees” is Mrs Poppy Mazaraki, the married daughter of Mayor Calligeros. Poppy is typical of the young people of Kythera. “We grew up in Kythera. went to school here, then went away to Athens,” she told us. “Now we are back here as teachers.”

Poppy took us to the village of Livadi to visit the Gianiotis family, and to taste mizithra cheese. Mizithra, a soft, ricotta-style cheese, is made from goats’ milk or sheep’s milk. Mrs Gianiotis served it drizzled with honey, and accompanied by caffe ellenica. Many Kytherian families live almost entirely on what they grow themselves. They make their own wines, too. The best Kytherian wine is rose, more palatable to outsiders than the usual Greek retsina.

Kytherian men have a healthy appreciation of their local wines and liqueurs and yet - as elsewhere in Greece - you never see a local man drunk.
“When we drink, we eat,” they say and indeed olives, cheese, perhaps a little salad with fresh oil dressing is always served with drinks.

Hora, about 300 metres above the fishing village of Capsali, is one of the prettiest townships in Greece. Mayor Calligeros insists that villagers each sweep up their piece of street each morning.
Everything from bell-towers to benches is freshly whitewashed (the women spring-clean for Easter and sometimes in be­tween, slapping the wash with long-handled soft brooms).
Every window is shuttered, and every shutter is painted bright, light blue. Blue and white are Greece’s national colours.
What does the future hold for Kythera?
Tony Fardoulys, who is a real estate agent in Sydney, would like to see it become a resort.

Nick Athousis. who lived 20 years in Brisbane, is one of the few younger people who have moved back to Kythera for more than a holiday. His sons Charles, 12, Paul, 10 and George, 8, attend local schools and Nick is president of the high school committee.

“I want my children to become Greeks in a sense,” he told us. “But I want them to be Australians, too. “I brought them from Australia and they knew only English. Now, they know only Greek.
“I think English is the language of the present and of the future. And what I want is a teacher of English for the high school here. So I wrote to the Greek communities in Australia to ask for their support.”

A teaching post would have to be approved by the Greek Ministry of Education; but only a novice teacher would be given such a post and as a provincial high school is rated at the bottom end of the salary scale, the going salary would be only about 6000 to 7000 drachmae ($A 150) per month.

“I’d like to make the salary up to about $10,000 a year,” Nick continued. “1 want him to be able to live like a man".
"If we have Greeks in Australia who can endow churches and universities, surely the whole community there can raise a little for our school".

“You know, our only export is human beings. We want those human beings, when they leave Kythera, to be able to speak English.”

Comprehensive list of photographs that accompanied this article

Original Woman's Day article, including photograph of Mr Spyros Haros, riding home after a hard days work

Grandmother being farewelled at Athens airport

Villagers of Friligianika offer their hands in greeting

Miss Helen Calligeros, caretaker of the monastery of St. Mirtidion, draws water from the well

Mrs Eropheli Psaltis strands raw wool onto a bobbin

Housewife at Kapsali white-washes her house

The twin bays of Kapsali, 1976

Mrs Metaxia Frilingos & Mr Andres Psaltis make fresh mizithra cheese

Fisherman cleaning part of the night's catch

Maria Cassimatis, aged 17, wearing Kytherian island spaletta in Hora

Mr and Mrs Spyro Gianniotis and family, providing coffee and drinks for Australian guests

Mrs Maria Mangelo, headmistress, oversees her school on Kythera

Kytherian High School boys dance in their national costume

Senior pupils from Kythera's high school in national dress

Delicious thiples, or diples, made of wafer-like pastry...

Matina Hiraki grinds corn on a grindstone...

Writer Jan Lipman, and Mr George Calligeros, gather marguerite daisies...

Koula Calligeros, with her two nephews, rides home after a day's work

Traditional farming implements are often preferred to modern equipment

Two Greek Orthodox priests. 1976.

Gloria Conomos. of Orange NSW, in Hora. 1976. She was born in Australia

Mrs Georgia Veneris, aged 88, in the doorway of her quarters at the monastery of St Mirtidion

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 06.02.2007

Chlentzos / Alfieris

Can anyone help identify this person? I beleive it is an aunt of Maria Chlentzos Alfieris in Alexandria, Egypt.
I believe it is the same person as the person on the left in this picture:
Maria (Chlentzos) Alfieris

For more photos and videos see:
Kythera Connections

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 11.12.2005

Kythera 1951

Top left in the back of the truck from left to right is my grandfather, Ioannis Alfieris (1882-1966 Potamos-USA), his wife Maria's sister Kiriani Chlentzos Katsulis. The others I do not know. If anyone recognizes the other people in this photo, please email me.

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 02.11.2008

Diakofti 1951

From left to right: John Alfieris (1882-1966), his wife Maria Chlentzos Alfieris (1882-1968), Maria's brother Diamantis' wife Yanoula Coulentianos Chlentzos. Sitting on the right with the white hat is Manoli Sofios.

(amended 3-7-2007)
Sitting fourth from the left is Kosmas Antoniou Zaglanikis holding his hat.

Sitting fifth from the left after man holding his hat is Maria Panagiotou Kastrisiou. Sitting on the right is her husband Panagiotis Antoniou Kastrisios.

Standing at the back on left hand side is Vasilios Harilaou Kassimatis(Karinos). He had one of the Buses in Potamos.


The rest I do not know. If someone recognizes the others in this photo, please email me. This was my grandparents first trip back to Kythera, after having immigrated to the USA in 1906-1907 via Alexandria, Egypt.

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by George Poulos on 30.10.2005

Kirranni Koroneos.

My yia-yia Kirranni Koroneos (nee, Souris), originally from Gerakari, and later a long term resident of Karavas.

One of the most spiritually beautiful women I have ever met.

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Dimitri Prineas on 12.09.2005

Prineas Sotiris

This is a photo taken Approx 1919 showing my father Sotiris Prineas (Karapatis, also known as Cecil Prineas in Brisbane) as a soldier with my uncle Kosma and their father Dimitris Prineas.
I am not sure about the date, because my uncle Kosma who was an officer in the Greek army, was killed during the Smirni war.
CAN ANYONE HELP

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by Paul Vlandys on 10.09.2005

Maria Vlandis

My grandmother maria vlandis and me paul nickolas vlandis.Kalokerines Kythera around the year 1959.

Photos > Vintage Portraits/ People

submitted by George Poulos on 26.08.2005

Yeoryia Koroneos (nee, Mentis). With her 6 of her 7 children. c.1939.

My mothers mother.

The photograph was taken in c. 1938.

The grande matriarche of Karavas, Louisa Psaltis (nee, Kritharis) [See, People, subsection High Achievers section for details about Louisa's life], was a close friend of Yeorgia Mentis. Louisa described her as the prettiest and most vivacious young girl of her generation.

Yeoryia married Triunduphilo Theothosios Koroneos Belos, from Karavas.

She died tragically in child-birth whilst giving birth to her 7th child. To see a photograph of Yeoryia and Triunduphilo in the months prior to this event go to:
http://www.kythera-family.net/index.php?nav=104-111&did=7346-1&searchResult=searchResult

This followed a trend in the family - my Great-grandfather Theothosios - also lost his first wife - Zufaria in childbirth. He was so devastated by her death - that he walked away from the house in which they lived - and never returned to it. The house is now iripio - in ruins. It lies in an area called Rupyanika.

Death during childbirth was common in Kythera during the 19th and early 20th century. It is a theme which demands far more attention on kythera-family.

Yeoryia's children

Older brother Theo Koroneos (Corones), later to lose a leg to infection, and become a prominent artist of Kythera, had probably already migrated to Australia, when this photograph was taken. He left as a young boy, sponsored by his Uncle George and his auntie Georgia, later of Beverley Hills, Sydney. Theo drove taxi's in Sydney for many years, before retiring to Bargara, in Northern Queensland. He died in Bargara on the 8th September, 1998.

On the far left hand side is the second oldest child, Stamatoula (Toula), later to marry a Vaggis (Vanges) - and to live in Germany for many years. In later life she moved to Australia, where she was tragically killed in a road accident near Bathurst, New South Wales, on the way to visiting her younger brother and sister, Manuel and Voula, in Gilgandra, NSW. She was 49 years of age. Her two youngest sons, George and Nick, then aged 21 and 19, were also killed in the car accident. The date was the 25th December 1975.

My mother is Envangalia (Angela) Coroneos, originally of Gilgandra, NSW, and later of Pendle Hill, NSW. She is standing on the far right hand side of the photograph.

She was sponsored to Australia by her aunty and uncle, Peter and Chrisannthe (nee, Koroneos) Katsoolis, then living in Wyong NSW. Later they would retire to Rainbow Street, Kingsford.

To see a photograph of her taken in an orchard in Wyong, soon after her arrival in Australia, see:
http://www.kythera-family.net/index.php?nav=117-118&did=7981

In 1951 she would marry Con George (Tzortzo)Poulos, Hlihlis, also from Karavas, and they would live in the central western NSW town of Gilgandra for the next 20 years, before moving to Pendle Hill, in western Sydney, to retire.

In front of her is her sister Helen, later to marry George Calligeros, and live and work in Dubbo, NSW. She has since moved to Canberra. To see a 2004 photograph of Helen, and to read her slightly more detailed life-history, from a newspaper article in the Daily Liberal, Dubbo, go to:
http://www.kythera-family.net/index.php?nav=117-119&did=2230-1&searchResult=searchResult

Standing next to his mother on the left is Nickola (Nick) Coroneos. As detailed in the Dubbo newspaper article Helen and Nick arrived together in Australia, sponsored by their paternal uncle Nick, of Blacktown shop, and North Parramatta, "fame".

Nick would move to Gilgandra, NSW, and work for more than a decade in two fruit shops owned by his brother-in-law Con George (Tzortzo)Poulos.

To see a photograph of Nick standing in the first of the two fruit shops, at 41 Miller Street, Gilgandra, soon after his arrival in Australia, go to:
http://www.kythera-family.net/index.php?nav=117-118&did=6024-1&searchResult=searchResult

Nick married a young woman he met, whilst she was working at the ABC Cafe Beryl Palmer, on 12th June 1960. Nick and Beryl both worked in the Fruit Shop for many years, before moving to live in Wentworthville, in western Sydney. Nick Coroneos died at the tender age of 44 on the 26th May, 1979.

The younger boy standing in front of Toula, is Manuel Coroneos. Manuel would emigrate to Australia as a young man. He worked initially for George Miller's father Dimitri, in Chinchilla, Quensland. To see a photograph of Manuel at this time go to:
http://www.kythera-family.net/index.php?nav=117-120&did=5326-1&searchResult=searchResult

He would later move to Bankstown in Sydney, where he married Katina Lazanas, from Kensington, before acquiring the Warren Fruit Shop from Peter (Tzortzo)Poulos's widow Aryiro (Silvia) Poulos, (nee, Aloizios). Later in life he moved to Sydney, where he became a successful greyhound owner and trainer.

The youngest child, seated on Yeoryia's knee is Voula, (Stella), who was sponsored to Australia by sister Angie. She married Haralambos Logothetis, Harry Logus, and they lived in Dubbo for many years. To see a photograph of Stella on her wedding day go to:
http://www.kythera-family.net/index.php?nav=117-132&did=5683-1&searchResult=searchResult

Later they acquired the Gilgandra Fruit Shop, which they ran for more than a decade. Upon selling that shop, they moved back to Dubbo, and later, to Canberra.


To see a photograph of six of the brothers and sisters together, 24 years later, in 1960, go to:
http://www.kythera-family.net/index.php?nav=117-118&did=7962-1&searchResult=searchResult


Yeoryia's grandaughter's- two generations later

Two of my first cousins carry my maternal grandmother's name - Yeorgia (Georgia) Logus, (daughter of Harry Logus, and Voula Coroneos) Melbourne, and Georgia Coroneos, (daughter of Emmanuel Coroneos and Katina Lazanas), Sydney.