submitted by Nicholas J Comino on 02.03.2007
DR NICHOLAS J COMINO. MB.BS (QLD)
60 Hardgrave Road,
West End Queensland. 4101
Telephone: (07) 3844 8227
Facsimile: (07) 3846 7717
NICHOLAS J COMINO PTY LTD ABN:12010470667
Report on 2nd International Symposium of Kytheraismos. The Queensland Perspective.
The Canberra symposium was absolutely fantastic! An amazing gathering of Tsirigotes from all over Australia, Greece and the USA. Mr Ilias Marsellos, head of the Department of International Relations at the University of Athens, and President of the Institute of Kytheraismos, introduced the Prime Minister, Mr John Howard who performed the official opening of the 2nd International Symposium of Kytheraismos. The Prime Minister spoke with complimentary words for the Greeks in Australia and he especially recognised two Kytherians for their efforts to the Australian community - Dr Archie Kalokerinos, of Collarenebri, NSW, for his wonderful work in drastically lowering the infant mortality rates of indigenous Australians, and the unforgettable Mr Harry Corones, of Quilpie, QLD, for his contributions to QANTAS and the hotel industry. For all this and during the entire symposium, the backdrop of the speeches was the 1.5 metre banner of the Kytherian Association of Queensland.
We heard many interesting and at times moving speeches from about fifty presenters on various topics, in particular the difficulties of the pioneer migrants, and the difficulties of the early years in Kythera and how things have changed today. From Brisbane five persons contributed:
Dr Nicholas Comino spoke of the general situation with Kytherians in Brisbane. He emphasised that interest has declined greatly. He said that whereas the Myrtidiotissa dances of the past would attract over 1200 patrons, now only a few people would attend organised Kytherian functions. He added that we must attract the youth back to the Kytherian functions and said that one way could be the offering of trips to Kythera for some of our Brisbane youth so that they can understand the life that their parents and grandparents led and the need for migration.
Miss Mary Londy, granddaughter of Harry Londy and daughter of Emmanuel & Vikki Londy, spoke beautifully about the survival of Kytheraismos through the youth. She also showed a video montage with “Tsirigotakia” from Brisbane that spurred interesting discussion. In addition, Mary recited a poem in front of Mr John Howard, which was especially written for the Prime Minister who was thrilled. The poet was the well known philokytherian, Mr Chris Antalis.
Mr John Carras spoke about a Retirement Village Complex at Potamos, which he said, would complete the triad of aged care for the island with the Nursing Home and Hostel. Mr Carras said that once the block of land next to the nursing home is for purchase, we should take advantage and move instantly, thus avoiding some of the problems experienced with St Nicholas & Bald Hills. Mr Carras added that if there is a person or persons who would wish to donate this land for the necessary building, then he or she will be offered the naming rights, as happened with the Kassimateion.
Mr Alex Poulos spoke about the Kytherian youth and suggested the establishment of special accommodation for the youth travelling to Kythera for holidays. He said that these youth hostels should have security and the youth should be taught all about Kythera and the Greek language etc.
Mr Con Galtos spoke among other things, about the extremely dire need for a special museum with appropriate climate control, for the maintenance and safe keeping of all the old books and photographs that have been saved until now.
Overall the Canberra symposium was magnificent and heartiest congratulations to the Canberra Kytherians for organising such a monumental event. My own sincere thanks to John Carras and Vikki Londy for their participation and support during our meetings at my surgery.
My friend Elias Marsellos found time and visited Brisbane for one day specifically to visit his relatives. He was hosted by the well known and generous Kytherian, George Kalligeros at his restaurant “Kapsali”, where he met up with the President of the Kytherian Association of Queensland, Peter Samios, and members of the committee. Also present was Dr Peter Marendy and Mr & Mrs Nick Careedy and relatives of Elias.
Finally I sincerely wish for all of us to attend Kythera for the 3rd symposium in September 2008, to visit the museum in Hora, the senior citizens at the nursing home, to taste to “thimarisio meli”, to drink crystal clear water from the wells on the island.
The only thing we will not see is the annual gaidouropazaro (donkey market) at Agios Theodoros. We will see lots of Mercedes though!!
That’s all for now. Yiasas!!
Dr Nicholas J Comino
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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