submitted by John Minchin on 29.01.2014
Panagiotis Giorgos Stathis was born in Keramoto on the island of Kythera, Greece on 24th October 1891. His father Giorgios was a priest at a church in Keramouto.
In 1909 Panayiotis migrated to Australia, arriving in Sydney on 22nd May. He was only 18 years old.
He changed his name from Panagiotis to Peter , and commenced working for Mr Z Cominos in Pitt St Sydney. In 1910 he ventured away from the city to work for Mr G Potiri at Walcha. Then to Brisbane to work for the Frigilis Brothers in Edward St.
By August 1910 he was in Partnership with a Mr McCree in Townsville.
Between 1911 and 1920 he lived and worked as a shopkeeper in Hay, NSW. His brother Emmanuel arrived in Australia in 1914 and they were business partners in a Refreshment Room , providing "Fresh Fish and Oysters twice a week".
In October 1920, Panagiotis Chlentzos arrived in Australia from Kythera, Greece accompanied by his daughter Stamatina Chlentzos (aka Bylos), presumably to find her a husband or as part of an arrangement with the Stathis family.
In any case Peter Stathis married Stamatina Bylos in Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Surrey Hills Sydney on 13th December 1921.
They moved to Canowindra and operated a Fruit and Confectionary Shop (name and location unknown). They began their family with George in 1922, and Irene 2 years later in 1924.
Two of Stamatina's brothers, Angelo and Con Bylos lived nearby in Cowra.
In April 1926 a fire completely destroyed the building owned by Mr T Callan that housed the Stathis shop and 3 others (a Tailor, Stock and Station agent, and a hairdresser). Sometime after this in 1927 they were back in business operating the Garden of Roses café which is still operating today. Daughter Eleni, and youngest son Peter were born in 1927 and 1929 respectively.
In 1930 the family moved to Tumut where Peter Snr commenced operating the newly built Montreal Theatre; he took over the lease a year later and the theatre was operated by the family until the late 1960s.
The family were well respected members of the Tumut community. Peter was active in the local bowls club. Peter Snr died suddenly in 1959 whilst in the midst of planning a trip back to his birthplace.
His wife Stamatina remained in Tumut where 3 of her children had remained and had families of their own. She died in 1972 following some years of bad health.
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