submitted by Site Administrator on 10.12.2004
(Honorary President of the Greek Community of New South Wales)
This biography is part of a collection from "Life in Australia" :
Simple, modest, a prodigy of commercial ability, an inexhaustible source of good works and patriotism, the very model of a head and protector of a family, the august Honorary President of the Greek Community of New South Wales - Mr. Ioannis D. Kominos is all of these things in the eyes of the whole Greek community. It is he who is the richest of the Greeks of Australia. What one should remember in particular is that Mr. Ioannis Kominos happens to possess but the slightest knowledge of letters. Until his enlistment in the Greek army, to perform his military service, he worked in the Peiraeus as a simple labourer. After discharge from the Greek army, quite by chance he received a letter, via the hand of a compatriot, containing a monetary remittance from his elder brother, Athanasios, of whose fate Ioannis Kominos had known nothing for many years. He learned from this letter that his brother had established himself with perfect success in Sydney, in Australia. Mr. Ioannis Kominos therefore decided to migrate.
Having thus arrived in Sydney, he was taken into employment by his brother, at whose side Mr. Kominos worked first as an employee and then as a partner, remaining so until the time of his brother´s death. Thanks to his love of hard work, his ability and his activity, he greatly contributed to the expansion and consolidation of his brother´s business. He was justly valued by his brother and so inherited half of his brother´s property. From this point onwards, a splendid career opened up for Mr. I. Kominos, as well as for the Greeks of New South Wales and Queensland. From that time, 1897, thanks to his commercial abilities and inventiveness, his wealth began to grow extraordinarily, while the situation of Greeks, who are now rich, in various parts of New South Wales began to improve.
No one can doubt that numerous Greeks are already in comfortable circumstances, thanks to the initial help, supervision and advice given by Mr I. Kominos. Mr Kominos is the first to have founded a company in Australia and is an eternal leader with a fatherly interest on behalf of every fellow Greek. He is has donated to the Greek Church of Sydney and to various hospitals, to which he brings many Greeks for treatment. He is a warm supporter and devotee of every good cause. Father of Hellenism throughout New South Wales, he is a straightforward counselor and guide for every fellow Greek. In recognition of his virtues and good qualities, the Greek have deservedly proclaimed him a lifelong Honorary President of the Greek Community of New South Wales.
Very many of the Greek shops of New South Wales bear the name “Κόμηνος“ (Comino), which enjoys such a well-known and enviable place in commercial circles in Australia. Marrying the daughter, who is distinguished for her upbringing and education, of the Very Reverend Seraphim Phokas, Mr Kominos is the father of four male children who, thanks to their careful and attentive upbringing and education at the hand of the loving parents, wish to continue the lofty mission of their august father. Mr I. Kominos was the first to teach the Greeks of New South Wales the benefits and advantages of co-operatives. Furthermore, he is the first and chief benefactor in the founding of the Sacred Shrine in Sydney of the Holy Trinity. He was also the first of all Greeks in Australia to hear the voice of the flagships Constantinos Vassilievs, as she was being built. On account of this, he was appointed by the Central Committee in Athens President of the General Committee of New South Wales for Contributions.
And, of course, it was thanks to his care that this volume was brought to completion. The historical first fruits of Hellenism in Australia and a brief guide, our work aims firmly at contributing to a picture of Greek activity in Australia up to the present, as well as providing information and knowledge of which even those who have long been settled in Australia are ignorant. Mr. I. Kominos has eagerly and generously offered his help in every way. He has a deep and full awareness of the need for the wealth that he came to possess in Australia. Furthermore, his dream is to further the grandeur of the Greek race.
He has been a noble and valuable protector of his relations and of Greeks in general, on account of which his residence in Australia is of great importance, since Mr Kominos has linked his sojourn in Australia so firmly and unbreakably with the Greeks of Australia and with the GREEK NATION.
This biography is part of a collection from "Life in Australia" published in 1916 by John Comino. It is an important book as it was one of the first Greek books published in Australia for the Greeks back in the homeland. If they needed any more convincing of the golden opportunities awaiting them in Australia, it probably helped create interest amongst young Kytherians and other Greeks. Each of the men portrayed in the book paid for the honour, which, considering their reputation for thriftiness, must have made the decision a hard one for many a Kytherian.
The Kythera-Family.net team, with the support of the Nicolaus Aroney Trust and other generous sponsors, has undertaken to transcribe the entire book for the website and to translate it into English for the non-greek-speaking diaspora community. We hope to also produce a printed version of the translation of Life in Australia sometime in 2005.
For valuable information about the historical background of the publication of Life in Australia, please read the entry by Hugh Gilchrist I ZOI EN AFSTRALLIA in the History, General History section.
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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