submitted by Kytherian World Heritage Fund on 02.02.2011
Author: Ruby Brown (nee, Feros)
When Published: 2010
Publisher: Kytherian World Heritage Fund. Kytherian Publishing and Media.
Dewey Number: 994.00489
Cost: $50 + $10 postage and handling.
(Up to three copies can be posted at the same time for the same cost of postage.)
Available: Phone Ruby Brown Ferros on 0427 484 002
Emal: Email, Ruby Brown Feros
You can also purchase the book by sending payment to:
Kytherian World Heritage Fund
PO Box 513
Rozelle NSW 2039
Make all cheques payable to:
KAA. Kytherian World Heritage Fund
CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED! Phone, or email details.
Enquiries: George C. Poulos
Ph: 61 2 9388 8320
e: Contact George here
Angelo Notaras p: 61 2 9810 0194 ext.711
f: 61 2 9810 6691
e: Contact Angelo here
Description: 368 pages
Superb quality hardback book, printed on 130 gsm art paper. Dust jacket.
George his passion. An Overview
Kytherians are proud. They are proud of their race, and their achievements.
One Kytherian of whom we should all be proud, is the late George Feros.
George, a ‘loveable eccentric’, was a humble man. He lived most of his seventy-eight years in Byron Bay. The story of George’s exploits has been recorded in a book, George his Passion, written by his daughter, Ruby. He was proud to be a Kytherian-Australian.
George was born in Mitata in 1902. He immigrated to Australia when he was twenty, and like a lot of Kytherians of his generation, he never returned to the ‘old country’ as he called it. George told me he was a stow-a-way on a fishing trawler on his way from Athens to Port Said.
Ruby M Feros (also known as Ruby M Brown) has chosen to write under her Kytherian birth name. Ruby is an accomplished author having written her first book in 1983. Since then she has written on a variety of food related topics. Ruby likens George his Passion to a doctoral thesis. It took her five years to research and write the book. Ruby said she hadn’t written for a year when her friend challenged her to write more. Once she took up the challenge to tell George’s story, she fell in love with his passion, and began to write about him, rather than simply relate his exploits.
In the foreword to George his Passion, Nick Towers wrote, “George Feros, like the lighthouse, was hard to miss in Byron Bay. When I arrived from the U K in the late 1960s, they both shone very different beacons. One was an elegant white fixture on the Cape, the other a selfless beacon of charity, manifested as a very strange man, with his bell and moneybox. First impressions – a beggar collecting for himself to buy shoes and clothing. On a closer inspection it was clear that the writing on the moneybox said he was collecting for a nursing home. When in 1968 I asked him where in fact the nursing home was, he replied it was still a dream and with the help of God it would get built. I will always remember those piercing eyes that went straight through me. I instantly knew that he was genuine. I also knew that there was no sidestepping his moneybox, without possible detriment to my very own soul. Thankfully the dollar was still in note form and not really expected to be poked through the small slit in the moneybox. Everybody gave a coin, some only a few cents. I was one of the latter”.
Ruby asserts in the opening chapter of her book that if this story of George his Passion had not been written, a grave injustice would have occurred, and the history of Australia would have been all the poorer. It would have been poorer in more ways than one. George was on a mission to raise money for aged care in his local area of Byron Bay on the far north coast of NSW. In the early 1970s there were no aged care facilities in Byron Bay and George set out single-handedly to raise funds to ensure that one was built.
Ruby believes that most Kytherians have a project or a mission. George was a man with a mission. His only mission was to raise money for aged care. How George set about doing this is the story of her book. Convention was not part of George’s way of life. The reader will be able to learn some of the unusual methods George employed to raise the necessary funds.
Ruby had tried for about two years to find someone who would publish her book about her father. She met a man called Geoff, through her friend Lorraine. Sadly Geoff’s body succumbed to the ravages of cancer. Ruby believes that when one door closes, another opens. Another door opened for Ruby when she met George C Poulos through the Kytheraismos Conference in Canberra, on 16 September 2006.
George C Poulos is a Kytherian who also is proud of his heritage. He too is passionate to see works published about notable Kytherians. Ruby says her book would never have been published without George C Poulos and his driving force and enthusiasm.
To learn about how George Feros lived his life, you will need to read George his Passion. Ruby is donating the profits of her book to Feros Care, the aged care facility that her father raised funds for. She said that by purchasing a copy of the book, you will be in some small way contributing to the ongoing work her father pioneered. Ruby said that when she was writing her book, her friend Lorraine said to her she had hoped the book would do well, and would be financially beneficial to Ruby in her retirement. Ruby explained to Lorraine how she wanted George’s dream to stay alive and said she was writing the book in that hope. She knew George would not have approved of it any other way.
When Ruby spoke about the work of her father at the Kytheraismos Conference, she challenged all Kytherians to be proud of their heritage and to keep the dream alive.
George’s story is about one man’s passion to do great things for the citizens of Australia. Ruby says writing her book has become one of her passions. If you have a passion for what you are doing the enjoyment is multiplied.
Feros Care Ltd started out as a small acorn. When you plant an acorn, as George did, you don’t know how big the oak will grow. The final size doesn’t matter; the acorn has to be planted first. You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. It is interesting that the first two letters of the word goal are GO. Some people just dream of worthy accomplishments, others wake up and do them. George tirelessly worked to see his acorn grow into a big tree. Feros Care now provides a range of aged care services. From the efforts of one man, grew a large not-for-profit organization that helps to care for people in their senior years.
George his Passion is a must for your reading list, and for your library. Again, to purchase the book,
Phone Ruby Brown Ferros on 0427 484 002
Emal: Email, Ruby Brown Feros
Remember by purchasing this book you are keeping the Kytherian dream alive and helping a worthwhile charity.
submitted by George Poulos on 02.02.2011
In June 2006, I contacted long term contributor to www.kythera-family.net, Peter Tsicalas, to ask him whether he would write an essay on the Kytherian presence in northern New South Wales (NSW), for a book I was proposing to edit. Peter lives in Montecollum, near Mullumbimby and Byron Bay. He politely declined my offer, but suggested that if I wanted to do something really useful, why not contact a woman called Ruby Brown, (nee, Feros), who was working on the biography of her father, George. Peter gave me Ruby’s email address.
George Feros, Peter Tsicalas advised, was a Greek & Kytherian Australian who had obtained the funding to establish superior aged care facilities in north eastern NSW. Having been interested in Kytherian history for more than 30 years, and the incumbent editor of www.kythera-family.net, a hub of Kytherian information, for 5 years, I was surprised that I had not heard of George Feros. Who was George Feros?
I made contact with Ruby, and she elaborated on her fathers achievements. Soon after, we met in Goulburn, NSW, which lies …….kilometres from the Brown-Feros family property, and she provided me with a copy of the very thick manuscript she had been working on.
Meanwhile, the Organising Committee of Kytheraismos Institute was preparing for the Second International Symposium of Kytheraismos, to be held at the Hellenic Club in Canberra from the 15-17th September, 2006. I asked Ruby to consider presenting a paper at the Conference, and she took up the offer. She was scheduled to speak after the two “stars” of the Conference, Vikki Fraioli, and Terry Keramaris from California, USA, and I was very concerned that she would be unnerved or upstaged by their presentation. I needn’t have worried.
Ruby’s speech, delivered with great verve and confidence, concentrated on a number of key themes. The first of these was pride. “I am truly proud of my Kytherian heritage,” she began, “ and I would like to share with you the endeavours of my father”. “I am very proud of Feros Care, the organisation bearing the name of my father….George’s story is one great Australian story, or more precisely, a story about one man’s passion to do great things for…Australia”.
A second theme was the celebration of the unconventional, the eccentric, the radical. Before she spoke, a portrait of George Feros, had been placed to the side of the podium. The audience, of about 250 people, were overwhelmed and confronted by it. That portrait appears on the front cover of this book. You could almost “feel” the audience striving to understand what the portrait of that “wild man”, had to do with a conference on Kytherian identity. Kytherians were mild, conservative people.
“George had strong convictions by which he lived,” Ruby observed. “He did things his way. Convention was not part of George’s way of living. Every day in the last 20 years of George’s life, he would mount his bike and ride off”. What George did next, is recounted in the remainder of this book. I won’t preempt what you will discover there about George. Be assured however, it is unconventional.
A third minor, but significant theme, is typically Kytherian. Young children, wrenched from their mothers arms, removed from their homes, and sent off, halfway around the world. “From when he left in 1923, George never returned to Kythera. He told me many times how much he missed his dear mother, and how he cried many times, because he was unable to see her again”. Jim Miller, father of George Miller, my own father, Con, and three of his brothers Dimitri, Minas & Peter, were amongst thousands of other Greeks & Kytherians of that generation, destined never to see their mother’s again.
The fourth theme that Ruby stressed was the need to preserve the Greek and Kytherian heritage. “If this story is not preserved”, Ruby asserted, “then a grave injustice will have occurred, and the history of Australia will be all the poorer”. Thankfully this story is now written……. I trust those who read it will be fired up to continue the passion of people like George Feros to do great things…”. “Kytherians”, she concluded, “I charge you to keep the dream alive – let us always be proud of our heritage”.
It became clear to me immediately that Ruby’s aspirations and those of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund (KWHF) are congruent. The “mission” of the KWHF is to understand, explain, preserve, maintain and enhance, Kytherian history, culture, artefacts, ethos & heritage. Under its aegis fall, www.kythera-family.net, Kytherian Photography & Realia, and Kytherian Publishing & Media. It is through the latter arm that the printing and publication of this superb book has been undertaken.
The KWHF is a concept devised by Angelo Notaras and George C Poulos in 2003. It arose out of their perception that a "Kytherian Renaissance" had gathered momentum throughout the latter part of the 20th century. It was evident to them that a plethora of projects had emerged designed to preserve the Kytherian heritage.
The renaissance was driven by numerous associations, institutions, and individuals on a number of fronts, and a number of continents. Some groups, such as the Society of Kytherian Studies, based in Athens, under the stewardship of Professor Nikos Petrochilos, had become well established and well organised. They had been working inexorably and diligently on the preservation of the Kytherian heritage for many years. The Society has published 17 books with an intrinsic Kytherian theme. Other organisations which played a significant role, included the Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust, Sydney, the Institute of Kytheraismos, Athens, the Kythera Cultural Association, Potamos, Kythera, and George N Leontsinis, Professor of History at Athens University. Numerous archaeologists and archaeological institutions, have also served to raise the profile of Kythera around the world.
To read more about the unified spirit of kytheraismos impelling the KWHF, see www.kythera-family.net/GeorgeCPoulosPhilosophies.
The organisations mentioned above are well established. It is inevitable that their endeavours will help preserve and enhance the Kytherian and Hellenic heritage. It is often the contribution of passionate, diligent, assertive and dogged individuals, like Ruby Brown, however, who give me the most pleasure. They work in isolation, are under-resourced, and commit themselves to significant expenses. Ruby Feros must be commended for the love and devotion that she has invested in this book.
To reiterate the conclusions that Ruby arrived at in her speech to the Kytheraismos Conference in September 2006. The history of Australia has been enriched by telling George Feros’s story. It will inspire others to “follow their passions”, and to strive to achieve great things”. And Kytherians, will be encouraged to “keep the dream alive, and always remain, proud of their heritage”.
May his memory be eternal Ayion to mimni sou.
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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