kythera family kythera family
  

Notable Kytherians

People > Notable Kytherians > Louisa Psaltis (nee, Kritharis)

People > Notable Kytherians

submitted by Kytherian Newsletter Sydney on 26.04.2005

Louisa Psaltis (nee, Kritharis)

Louisa Psaltis was born Louisa Kritharis (Crithary) on 25 September, 1906 in the village of Karavas, Kythera. Her father was Evangelis Ieros Kritharis from Karavas and her mother Stamatouia Panarettos from Potamos, Kythera.

Their family consisted of 3 boys - Theodoros, Panagiotis, Haralambos and 5 girls - Georgitsa (Comma), Kanella (Moulos), Maria (Georgopoulos), Kalomera (Zantiotis) and Louisa (Psaltis). The youngest of 8 children, Louisa went to school in Karavas for 5 years until 1918; in those years there some 40 girls and 60 boys in separate schools in the town.

Louisa left Kythera on 14 March 1922 at the age of 15 years to come to Australia with her brother Theo, who was one of the earliest Kytherians to come here. Originally, Theo was to bring Kalomera (an older sister) with him back to Australia, but Kalomera had become engaged to Sarandos Zantiotis and did not want to leave Kythera. Instead, Louisa (with the passport of her sister) came with Theo to Australia, arriving in June 1922. Soon after their arrival, Theo took Louisa with him to his cafe the Marathon Cafe, (at 72 Oxford St., Sydney) for the first meeting of the Kytherian Brotherhood. The organisers of this meeting included Cosmas Cassimatis (who had the Canberra Cafe in Oxford St., Darlinghurst), Theo Crithary, Vassilis Feros, Peter Minoukas and Paul Calopedes (with later help from people such as Cosmas Andronicus,Bretos Margetis, and Nicholas Marcellos). Cosmas Cassimatis was to become the first president of the Kytherian Brotherhood of Australia. [See entry for the Kytherian Association, at for more details]

At this meeting, there were some 30 women and 50 men. It was here that Louisa met Nicholas James Psaltis, a prominent business man, and became engaged to him on her sixteenth birthday, 25 September, 1922. They were married on 21 January, 1923 at the Holy Trinity Greek Outhodox Church, in Bourke St., Surry Hills. Louisa and Nick had one child, Anna, born 16 October, 1923.

Nick and his brother John, ran the Psaltis Brothers Cafe, in Kings Cross for some years. They sold the cafe and the building in 1928. Soon after, the brothers lost a fortune in those days (10,000 pounds) by going guarantors for Kytherian friends to set up a business.- The business went bankrupt leaving Nick and John with a very hefty debt.

In 1931, Nick and Louisa were forced to take over a run-down shop in the small country town of Blayney, NSW. In the first week they took 30 pounds. They remained there 15 years, before returning to Sydney. By this time, their daughter Anna had grown into a lovely young woman and in 1944. during World War II, she was married to Captain Dennis Mavrokefalos (Black), from Ithica. Dennis and Anna had 4 children - 3 girls and 1 boy.

Nick and Louisa ran a small mixed business in Killara, Sydney, from 1948-1953. In 1954 they made their first trip back to Greece, staying for 18 months. (Louisa went on to make 14 trips to Greece.)

On their return from their first trip to Greece, Nick and Louisa lived in Woollahra, and Nick worked for his his son-in-law, Dennis, who manufactured Convair shirts and pyjamas. After Nick died in 1968, at which time Nick and Louisa had been married for 45 happy years, Louisa moved to Double Bay, where she lived for over 28 years. Unfortunately, not long after Nick's death, Anna’s husband Dennis, died, in 1971.

Anna remarried in 1978: her second husband Ted Gowing being the grandson of the founder of the famous Gowing’s store on the corner of George Street and Market Street, Sydney.

Over all her years in Australia, Louisa has been closely associated with the various Greek churches to which she made significant donations. For more than 30 years, she was the v which she patron of the Ayios Haralambos Church Fund; (her grandfather founded the Ayios Haralambos Church, in Karavas, Kythera), and of the Karavitiko Symposium - an organisation devoted to helping people from Karavas and their descendants maintain contact with each other. Louisa did a great deal of work assisting Karavites, both in Kythera and in Australia. In 1996, when she celebrated her 90th birthday, she was the only living person, who had been present at the inaugural meeting of the Kytherian Brotherhood.

Louisa Psaltis was a unique and caring person. Her kindness and consideration for others, her determination and courage through difficult times, her love and understanding of the needs of people, endeared Louisa to every person fortunate enough to know her.

Louisa passed away peacefully in July, 2001, age 94 years. The touching funeral service (private at her request) was held at the St George Greek Orthodox Church, Rose Bay - a a church that she helped establish - and her body was laid to rest with her late husband, Nick, at Botany Cemetery.

With her passing, so ends an era in Kytherian Brotherhood/Association of Australia history. No person is still alive who was present when the Brotherhood officially begun, in 1922.

May God rest her her soul in peace.

Jim Coroneos, September, 2001
Former President of the Kytherian Brotherhood of Australia, Present Patron of the Karavitiko Symposium, Sydney.

From, The KYTHYERIAN, October 2001, page 5.

To subscribe to the Kytherian Newsletter you only need to join the
Kytherian Association of Australia
P. O. Box A203
Sydney South, NSW 1235
Australia.

See first entry under Community Services, sub-section, Associations, for more details about the Kytherian Association of Australia.

Leave a comment