submitted by George Poulos on 18.10.2004
Harry Alferis in his butcher's shop, 425 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction.
(and the Hellenic Talkies Coy Australasia)
GREEK EXHIBITOR TO GREEK-AUSTRALIANS.
This page is presented purely as a record of one Greek man's attempt to provide Greek dialogue films for his compatriots in the days before television and before the mainstream foreign dialogue film exhibitors commenced. Information from telephone interview on 5.12.1996.
Born: 13.11.1914, Lahi, Greece
Wife, Maria (nee, Dermatis), 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.
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.
The first attempt to screen them in a local hall was thwarted because it did not have a projection box and the film, being nitrate, was considered dangerous.
In Bronte Road, Hoyts owned the former Kings theatre and, in 1951, it was here that the Hellenic Talkies Coy Australasia first started. The films were also shown at Five Dock, Newcastle, Melbourne and Brisbane over the next few years.
Because Aliferis was unable to travel with the films, other arrangements had to be made for the screenings. Unfortunately, the operating costs affected the viability of the project and it was discontinued within a few years.
Aliferis was, in a way, 'before his time'. Before the close of the decade, an enterprising Cypriot Greek, Chris Louis, was importing foreign dialogue films and screening them to audiences in Sydney and Melbourne.
For other entries and photographs of Harry Aliferis, type Aliferis into the internal search engine.
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