submitted by Peter Makarthis on 11.06.2007
Aka Smith O’Poulos - Initials J.C (apologies to William McInnes the Australian actor)
Date of birth c1890
Place – small gold mining site now beyond a fading memory at the back of Bingara (?) NSW.
Smithopoulos is the offspring of an illegitimate liaison between a young wholesome lass by the name of Smith and a handsome transient Greek miner – perhaps both minors.
Like the paternal transient miner, the record of ‘Smithopoulos’ birth has faded and probably rests in the depths of the NSW State Archives unless time has conveniently condemned the yellowed pages into dust.
Kalliope de Muse related the oral tale of Smithopoulos as follows:
The clerk (himself a European immigrant) made a note of the birth in the proper register. The father was not present, the some what less than literate mother, with crying infant on hip was confused by the clerk as to how the name of the infant should be recorded. He thought the name sounded Irish- O’Poulos however with her insistence he recorded ‘Smithopoulos’ as she wanted to ensure the child would be aware of his father’s origin in the future whilst preserving her own interest.
The young Smithopoulos later adopted either Smith or Poulos as his name and has been absorbed into the greater Australian populace.
The descendants of this cacophony are now happily unaware of their origins.
You may be tempted to think that this is some sort of joke. Let me assure that this is not the case. I am constantly confronted with ‘Smithopoulos’ and the clerk in my research of Kytherians arriving in Australia before WW1. The clerk has been joined by Brirish,French and German ships officers, Immigration/Customs clerks and of late archivists and digitizers. To add to this mix ‘Smithopoulos’(Σμιδοπουλι?) has also tinkered with his own name and details.
Peter Emmanuel Fatseas (ΦΑΤΣΕΑΣ) born c1860 Fatsadika Kythera moved to Smirni in search of employment and decided to venture to Australia. His passport was prepared in Smirni with some French connotation as ‘Phacheas.’ Since his arrival in NSW in 1889 his name was recorded on some occasions as ‘Facheas.’ However his Naturalization Papers of 1898 record him as ‘Phacheas.’ This form appears to have followed him to the remainder of his life until he died at Maitland in 1932.
The Clerk who entered the ‘Smithopoulos’ records in 1890 appears to have made the move to Maitland in 1932. In a bizarre twist the clerk records Peter Phacheas’ place of birth as Kythera IRELAND on his Death Certificate!
George Emanuel Fatseas the elder brother Peter Phacheas arrived in Australia 1900 also via Symni with his name as Phacheas. George returned to marry in Symirni 1903 and returned with his wife Sophia later that year on the German ship Grosser Kurfurst. The ships Register of Passengers records their name as “Falzeas.” The Aliens Census of 1916 later records George and Sophia at Kurri Kurri as “Phcheas.”
George and Sophia Phacheas are buried in Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park Sydney. The records in the office show them as “Phacheas”.
The headstone preserves the original - ‘ΦΑΤΣΕΑΣ.’(see Gravestones)
John Emmanuel Phacheas also of Fatsadika arrived from Symrni 1900 with his brothers Peter and George. John’s descendents at some time later dropped the second ‘h’ from their name and have assumed “Phaceas” as their surname.
Perhaps we should adopt the two Ottoman Greek rules of business to our searches:
1. Trust no one! & 2 There are no rules!
aka Peter McCarthy (seem to be doing this myself)
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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