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submitted by Barbara Zantiotis on 25.04.2016

Wedding invitation 1956

This is the wedding invitation of my parents, Stephen Zantiotis and Anna (Kyrani) Anastasopoulos.  Of interest is that due to my mother's father being in Kythera, her brothers Con and Denis are named as the invitors.  The wedding was also held on a Monday which apparently wasn't uncommon.

History > Documents

submitted by Eptanesian Union Greece on 19.12.2015

Logo of the Ionian (Eptanisian) Union of Greece

Professor Minas Coroneo receives an Ionian Union awrad for Kythera, along with Dr Manolis Kalokerinos, at the 3rd Presentation of Ionian (Eptanisian) Union of Greece, Awards.

The awards were held on December 13, 2015,
December 13, 2015 in the National History Museum of the Old Parliament Building.

Invitation to Minas Coroneos to attend the ceremony to receive his award:

The awards ceremony takes place as an expression of respect and pride for Ionians who have excelled in various fields (art, science, culture, etc.) and helped to highlight their place of origin in their own special and unique way.

Consequently, we inform you that unanimously we have chosen among 14 personalities from the Ionian Islands, you Minas Coroneo from the island of Kythera, based on the undeniable recognition that you are one of the most distinguished ophthalmologists in the world. We would be deeply and emotionally honoured to have you and your present at the awards ceremony.

[[picture:"first day cover.tiff" ID:23281]]

Hellenic Post stamp issue, in honour of Minas Coroneo

Please be advised that the IONIAN UNION of GREECE to further honour the winners will proceed to create a private collector's stamp - of philatelic value - through the Hellenic Post Office - in the form of a special commemorative series. (A day cover, will utilise your photo, and to be allocated to you).

Hoping for a the positive response to our invitation. Thank you in advance, and wish you every personal and professional success.

[[picture:"Heptanisian citation.tiff" ID:23282]]

The Board of IONIAN UNION of GREECE

The President
Eleni Konofaou
The General. Secretary
Maria Grammatikou
First Deputy Speaker: Evangelos Giannoulatos
Deputy President: Katerina Dragona
Treasurer: Dimitris Mauropous
Assistant Secretary: Angelina Bears
Assistant Treasurer: Gerasimos Rosolymos
Public Relations: Eleftherios Katopodis
Advisors:
Thomas Katsaros
Dimitrios Argyros
Kavvada Basilica
Manias Chrysostom
Loutas Nikolaos
Helen Death
Nikos Glytsos


Report by Lefkada News:

Ionian Islands awards in the old Parliament House

12/14/2015 Views


On Sunday afternoon members of the Ionian Union gathered in the centre of Athens to honour Ionians who have made Ionia (the Eptanisian (seven islands)) proud. For the 3rd year, Old Parliament House, hosted in its imposing hall representatives of the the arts, sciences, and entrepreneurship. From Corfu in the north to Kythera, in the south, Paxos, Ithaca, Lefkada, Zakynthos, and Kefalonia.

They brought together all the leading Ionians who in their professional pathways have managed to make the Ionian Islands a proud and innovative place, and put on show the ‘values and greatness of our island’. The evening began with the greeting of the Union of the Ionian Islands president, Helen Konofaou and poetic rendition entitled "flashed light and how the young person came to know himself”. It was directed by Peter Gallia with Giorgos Vlachos, Katerina Georgakis and Petros Gallia.

Vicky Leandros from Corfu was the first to receive her award. Vicky is a grand and consummate artist, but one of great modesty. She worked alongside Hector Botrini. She said, it all started in Corfu when they built their first restaurant – the wonderful Etrusco. The packed room then waited impatiently for the presentation to Paxos. This was because the award to Paxos was to be presented to Christopher Papakaliatis. The premier of his avant-garde second film "Another World” had occurred just a few days before. The audience delighted in Christopher’s success. He talked about returning to Paxos. About his childhood trips to the island, and the nostalgia. What can you say about the other award for Paxos? Spyros Katsimi. The journalist, writer. The words would be few.

Then it was the turn of Lefkada. And the whole room applauded interminably on hearing the name of Elias Logothetis, of Froufalou, in Lefkada. Although the award was for all the Ionian Islands ..., he said, with his unique brand of humour has, his heart was pounding in Lefkada. The award was received by the deputy of the Cultural Centre, Spyros Arvanitis.

The next award from Lefkada was for a man who is deceased, but still helps and supports, always during the difficult times for Lefkada and Greece. One of these was the recent earthquake. And it was none other than the late Spyros Sklavenitis, owner of the super market SKLAVENITIS. Lefkada was always the dearest place in his life. He passed on his love for Lefkada to his children, who today continue his work. His daughter Maria obviously moved, received the award and spoke of the ‘father of Lefkada’, from the heart. "We will always be next to Lefkas, she said, because we learnt our love of Lefkada from our father. “This even though we grew up in Piraeus; we feel that our life begins from Lefkada ". The award was presented to Maria Sklavenitis by MP Thanassis Kavvadas.

This year Kefalonia honoured Akis Tselenti. Akis is a Seismologist. "The earthquakes should be our friend there in the Ionian islands”, he said. “Thanks to earthquakes we have these beautiful beaches” He also spoke about the dignity of the Cephalonian against the devastating passage of Enceladus. Second Cephalonian to be awarded was Thanos Ascetic, a neurologist, and a psychiatrist specializing in sexual health issues.

Ithaca awarded the teacher John Karantzi – and a doctor and healthcare worker who had excelled abroad, Constantine Rosolymo. Zakynthos honoured a woman who was well received. The businesswoman Vagionia Stasinopoulou. The owner of Empnefstria which sells ‘fresh’ cosmetics, through 250 stores around the world. The business was begun utilising simple recipes from her Zakynthian grandmother.

A moving moment for audience occurred when the mother of the second Zakynthian awardee, the internationally famous tenor, Thimou Flemotomou, received the award for her child, thanking the organizers profusely.

Manolis Kalokerinos, for years the President of the Panhellenic Medical Association and director of the First Surgical Clinic of the General State Athens, from Kythera, needs no introduction. "It's our doctor," exclaimed those who came to the old parliament to honour him. And that was enough to distinguish this great personality from ‘Tsirigo’. Kythera also honoured the great scientist in the field of ophthalmology, from Australia, Minas Coroneo, who has performed extraordinary work in the field of the bionic eye.

[[picture:"IMG_5433.jpg" ID:23280]]

An award was made also to the benefactor of the classical music festival Paxos - late Englishman, John Gough. Gough possessed the vision to begin this unique festival 26 years ago. The award was presented to the organiser of the festival, Eleftheria Arvanitaki.

The master of ceremonies for the event was journalist Peter Koumplis.

History > Documents

submitted by Eptanesian Union Greece on 19.12.2015

Ionian Union of Greece citation for Professor Minas Coroneo

advising him of his award. He was one of two candiadtes chosen from Kythera, along with Dr Manolis Kalokerinos, at the 3rd Presentation of Ionian (Eptanisian) Union of Greece, Awards.

The awards were held on December 13, 2015,
December 13, 2015 in the National History Museum of the Old Parliament Building.

Invitation to Minas Coroneos to attend the ceremony to receive his award:

The awards ceremony takes place as an expression of respect and pride for Ionians who have excelled in various fields (art, science, culture, etc.) and helped to highlight their place of origin in their own special and unique way.

Consequently, we inform you that unanimously we have chosen among 14 personalities from the Ionian Islands, you Minas Coroneo from the island of Kythera, based on the undeniable recognition that you are one of the most distinguished ophthalmologists in the world. We would be deeply and emotionally honoured to have you and your present at the awards ceremony.

[[picture:"first day cover.tiff" ID:23281]]

Hellenic Post stamp issue, in honour of Minas Coroneo

Please be advised that the IONIAN UNION of GREECE to further honour the winners will proceed to create a private collector's stamp - of philatelic value - through the Hellenic Post Office - in the form of a special commemorative series. (A day cover, will utilise your photo, and to be allocated to you).

Hoping for a the positive response to our invitation. Thank you in advance, and wish you every personal and professional success.

The Board of IONIAN UNION of GREECE

The President
Eleni Konofaou
The General. Secretary
Maria Grammatikou
First Deputy Speaker: Evangelos Giannoulatos
Deputy President: Katerina Dragona
Treasurer: Dimitris Mauropous
Assistant Secretary: Angelina Bears
Assistant Treasurer: Gerasimos Rosolymos
Public Relations: Eleftherios Katopodis
Advisors:
Thomas Katsaros
Dimitrios Argyros
Kavvada Basilica
Manias Chrysostom
Loutas Nikolaos
Helen Death
Nikos Glytsos


Report by Lefkada News:

Ionian Islands awards in the old Parliament House

12/14/2015 Views


On Sunday afternoon members of the Ionian Union gathered in the centre of Athens to honour Ionians who have made Ionia (the Eptanisian (seven islands)) proud. For the 3rd year, Old Parliament House, hosted in its imposing hall representatives of the the arts, sciences, and entrepreneurship. From Corfu in the north to Kythera, in the south, Paxos, Ithaca, Lefkada, Zakynthos, and Kefalonia.

They brought together all the leading Ionians who in their professional pathways have managed to make the Ionian Islands a proud and innovative place, and put on show the ‘values and greatness of our island’. The evening began with the greeting of the Union of the Ionian Islands president, Helen Konofaou and poetic rendition entitled "flashed light and how the young person came to know himself”. It was directed by Peter Gallia with Giorgos Vlachos, Katerina Georgakis and Petros Gallia.

Vicky Leandros from Corfu was the first to receive her award. Vicky is a grand and consummate artist, but one of great modesty. She worked alongside Hector Botrini. She said, it all started in Corfu when they built their first restaurant – the wonderful Etrusco. The packed room then waited impatiently for the presentation to Paxos. This was because the award to Paxos was to be presented to Christopher Papakaliatis. The premier of his avant-garde second film "Another World” had occurred just a few days before. The audience delighted in Christopher’s success. He talked about returning to Paxos. About his childhood trips to the island, and the nostalgia. What can you say about the other award for Paxos? Spyros Katsimi. The journalist, writer. The words would be few.

Then it was the turn of Lefkada. And the whole room applauded interminably on hearing the name of Elias Logothetis, of Froufalou, in Lefkada. Although the award was for all the Ionian Islands ..., he said, with his unique brand of humour has, his heart was pounding in Lefkada. The award was received by the deputy of the Cultural Centre, Spyros Arvanitis.

The next award from Lefkada was for a man who is deceased, but still helps and supports, always during the difficult times for Lefkada and Greece. One of these was the recent earthquake. And it was none other than the late Spyros Sklavenitis, owner of the super market SKLAVENITIS. Lefkada was always the dearest place in his life. He passed on his love for Lefkada to his children, who today continue his work. His daughter Maria obviously moved, received the award and spoke of the ‘father of Lefkada’, from the heart. "We will always be next to Lefkas, she said, because we learnt our love of Lefkada from our father. “This even though we grew up in Piraeus; we feel that our life begins from Lefkada ". The award was presented to Maria Sklavenitis by MP Thanassis Kavvadas.

This year Kefalonia honoured Akis Tselenti. Akis is a Seismologist. "The earthquakes should be our friend there in the Ionian islands”, he said. “Thanks to earthquakes we have these beautiful beaches” He also spoke about the dignity of the Cephalonian against the devastating passage of Enceladus. Second Cephalonian to be awarded was Thanos Ascetic, a neurologist, and a psychiatrist specializing in sexual health issues.

Ithaca awarded the teacher John Karantzi – and a doctor and healthcare worker who had excelled abroad, Constantine Rosolymo. Zakynthos honoured a woman who was well received. The businesswoman Vagionia Stasinopoulou. The owner of Empnefstria which sells ‘fresh’ cosmetics, through 250 stores around the world. The business was begun utilising simple recipes from her Zakynthian grandmother.

A moving moment for audience occurred when the mother of the second Zakynthian awardee, the internationally famous tenor, Thimou Flemotomou, received the award for her child, thanking the organizers profusely.

Manolis Kalokerinos, for years the President of the Panhellenic Medical Association and director of the First Surgical Clinic of the General State Athens, from Kythera, needs no introduction. "It's our doctor," exclaimed those who came to the old parliament to honour him. And that was enough to distinguish this great personality from ‘Tsirigo’. Kythera also honoured the great scientist in the field of ophthalmology, from Australia, Minas Coroneo, who has performed extraordinary work in the field of the bionic eye.

[[picture:"IMG_5433.jpg" ID:23280]]

An award was made also to the benefactor of the classical music festival Paxos - late Englishman, John Gough. Gough possessed the vision to begin this unique festival 26 years ago. The award was presented to the organiser of the festival, Eleftheria Arvanitaki.

The master of ceremonies for the event was journalist Peter Koumplis.

History > Documents

submitted by Catch That Cat on 18.12.2015

Catch that Cat. Book Cover. English Edition.

Author: Melina Mallos

When Published: 2015

Publisher: Kytherian World Heritage Fund

Available: /download/Book_Order_Form.pdf

ORDER FROM:

Melina Mallos</a>, <a href="mailto:admin@kytherianassociation.com.au">Kytherian Association of Australia</a>, <a href="mailto:anthea@atomindustries.com.au">Atom Industries</a> & <a href="mailto:transoz@bigpond.net.au">George Poulos

Illustrator: Tety Solou

Description: Hard back children's book. Beautifully illustrated.

Two editions: A bilingual version (Greek/English)
And an English version

ISBN: 978-0-9872473-8-4 (English Edition)



Melina Mallos, Author

Melina Mallos was born in Athens and now lives in Brisbane, Australia. She is a passionate writer, researcher and early childhood expert. Melina was the inaugural Children’s and Family Programs Officer at the Queensland Art Gallery. She is well-known for initiating a popular toddler art program which for over ten years, has inspired thousands of children. A longstanding
interest in children’s art development led her to undertake a research masters at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). In 2010, Melina was awarded a Queensland-Smithsonian Fellowship to research learning programs in museums in Washington D.C. An Australian of Kytherian heritage, she regularly visits the island of Kythera. Melina’s mission is to connect children with their community and cultural background in fun and meaningful ways. Catch that Cat! is her first book for children.

To learn more about Melina, visit www.melinamallos.com


Tety Solou, Illustrator

Tety Solou was born in Athens, studied piano at the Greek Conservatory and Law at the University of Thrace. She didn’t become a musician nor followed the family tradition as a lawyer, because what she loves the most is to design and illustrate books for children and create cartoons and comics for adults. She has illustrated and designed more than 150 books, educational and fiction. Tety has collaborated with major newspapers and magazines creating comic strips, brain puzzles, board games etc. She also written and illustrated 40 books for children, two historical books for adults and has translated Lafcadio Hearn into Greek.

Tety is a member of the Greek IBBY and of the Greek Association of Tourism Journalists & Writers – FIJET.

When she visited Kythera, Tety was fascinated by the wonderful island, the history, the traditions and its nice people.

To learn more about Tety, visit www.tetysolou.wix.com/solos

History > Documents

submitted by Catch That Cat on 18.12.2015

Catch that Cat. Book Cover

Author: Melina Mallos

When Published: 2015

Publisher: Kytherian World Heritage Fund

Available: /download/Book_Order_Form.pdf

ORDER FROM:

Melina Mallos</a>, <a href="mailto:admin@kytherianassociation.com.au">Kytherian Association of Australia</a>, <a href="mailto:anthea@atomindustries.com.au">Atom Industries</a> & <a href="mailto:transoz@bigpond.net.au">George Poulos

Description: Hard back children's book. Beautifully illustrated. By Tety Solou.

Two editions: A bilingual version (Greek/English)
And an English version

ISBN: 978-0-9872473-7-7 (Bilingual)

Melina Mallos, Author

Melina Mallos was born in Athens and now lives in Brisbane, Australia. She is a passionate writer, researcher and early childhood expert. Melina was the inaugural Children’s and Family Programs Officer at the Queensland Art Gallery. She is well-known for initiating a popular toddler art program which for over ten years, has inspired thousands of children. A longstanding
interest in children’s art development led her to undertake a research masters at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). In 2010, Melina was awarded a Queensland-Smithsonian Fellowship to research learning programs in museums in Washington D.C. An Australian of Kytherian heritage, she regularly visits the island of Kythera. Melina’s mission is to connect children with their community and cultural background in fun and meaningful ways. Catch that Cat! is her first book for children.

To learn more about Melina, visit www.melinamallos.com


Tety Solou, Illustrator

Tety Solou was born in Athens, studied piano at the Greek Conservatory and Law at the University of Thrace. She didn’t become a musician nor followed the family tradition as a lawyer, because what she loves the most is to design and illustrate books for children and create cartoons and comics for adults. She has illustrated and designed more than 150 books, educational and fiction. Tety has collaborated with major newspapers and magazines creating comic strips, brain puzzles, board games etc. She also written and illustrated 40 books for children, two historical books for adults and has translated Lafcadio Hearn into Greek.

Tety is a member of the Greek IBBY and of the Greek Association of Tourism Journalists & Writers – FIJET.

When she visited Kythera, Tety was fascinated by the wonderful island, the history, the traditions and its nice people.

To learn more about Tety, visit www.tetysolou.wix.com/solos

History > Documents

submitted by Archaeology On Kythera on 04.11.2015

***Presentation - Archaeology of Antikythera***

See details of a lecture that Ari Tsaravopoulos will deliver on Antikytherian Archaeology on Monday, November 9th at 7pm in the room "Astrolabe", Agios Ioannis Rentis, Pericles 7.

See map of the area, to facilitate access

The distance from the crossing of Piraeus with Neo Faliro is less than 300 meters.

History > Documents

submitted by Archaeology On Kythera on 02.10.2015

Another of the treasures uncovered from the Antikythera shipwreck, 2015

Antikythera Shipwreck Yields More Treasures.

Archaeologists have discovered more than 50 artifacts hidden at the site of the ancient Greek shipwreck.

Jacqueline Howard
Associate Science Editor, The Huffington Post
Posted: 09/28/2015

The ancient Antikythera shipwreck -- a lavish Greek vessel that sank more than 2,000 years ago off the southwestern Aegean island of the same name -- isn't finished giving up its secrets.


The shipwreck was found by Greek sponge fishermen in 1900. Over the past century, marine archaeologists have recovered marble and bronze statues and sculptures from the wreck, along with an odd clock-like device that some call the "world's oldest computer."

Now an international team of archaeologists has recovered even more treasures -- a trove of more than 50 items, including a bronze armrest, remains of a bone flute, fine glassware, luxury ceramics, a pawn from an ancient board game and several pieces of the ship itself.

The researchers believe the new findings offer a glimpse into the opulent lifestyles of ancient Greece's elite societies.

"These artifacts show us the life of a newly emerging elite in Greece and Rome, with enormous wealth distributed among a larger elite than ever before in history," Dr. Brendan Foley, a marine archaeologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and co-director of the research team, told The Huffington Post in an email.

"The goods on the ship came from what is now Syria and Lebanon, cities in Anatolia and Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), and the Greek islands of Rhodes, Paros, and Delos," he continued. "The ship and its cargo represent the start of an economy based on consumption of products from a wide area, borne on sea lanes, and supported by new mechanisms of insurance and diversification of risk."

A video released Monday (above) shows the archaeologists and divers scouring the seafloor and unearthing the artifacts. Jump to 5:45 in the video for an up-close look at the items.

"We were very lucky this year, as we excavated many finds within their context, which gave us the opportunity to take full advantage of all the archaeological information they could provide," Dr. Theotokis Theodoulou, an archaeologist in the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports who participated in the research, said in a press release.

The artifacts were cleaned after being brought ashore, and the researchers have created 3D models of them. The archaeologists are also continuing to examine and analyze the artifacts to determine whether ancient DNA or remnants of food, perfumes or medicines can be identified.

They hope to recover even more items from the shipwreck.

"This wreck constantly surprises us with the array of artifacts it holds," Foley said in the email, adding that Theodoulou has said researchers should "expect the unexpected" from the ship.

"We believe there may be as many as six more life-sized bronze statues of gods and heroes still on the wreck," Foley said. "We suspect the skeletal remains of more passengers and crew remain in the sediments. And we expect many many more luxury goods."

History > Documents

submitted by Archaeology On Kythera on 02.10.2015

One of the treasures uncovered from the Antikythera shipwreck, 2015

Antikythera Shipwreck Yields More Treasures.

Archaeologists have discovered more than 50 artifacts hidden at the site of the ancient Greek shipwreck.

Jacqueline Howard
Associate Science Editor, The Huffington Post
Posted: 09/28/2015

The ancient Antikythera shipwreck -- a lavish Greek vessel that sank more than 2,000 years ago off the southwestern Aegean island of the same name -- isn't finished giving up its secrets.


The shipwreck was found by Greek sponge fishermen in 1900. Over the past century, marine archaeologists have recovered marble and bronze statues and sculptures from the wreck, along with an odd clock-like device that some call the "world's oldest computer."

Now an international team of archaeologists has recovered even more treasures -- a trove of more than 50 items, including a bronze armrest, remains of a bone flute, fine glassware, luxury ceramics, a pawn from an ancient board game and several pieces of the ship itself.

The researchers believe the new findings offer a glimpse into the opulent lifestyles of ancient Greece's elite societies.

"These artifacts show us the life of a newly emerging elite in Greece and Rome, with enormous wealth distributed among a larger elite than ever before in history," Dr. Brendan Foley, a marine archaeologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and co-director of the research team, told The Huffington Post in an email.

"The goods on the ship came from what is now Syria and Lebanon, cities in Anatolia and Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), and the Greek islands of Rhodes, Paros, and Delos," he continued. "The ship and its cargo represent the start of an economy based on consumption of products from a wide area, borne on sea lanes, and supported by new mechanisms of insurance and diversification of risk."

A video released Monday (above) shows the archaeologists and divers scouring the seafloor and unearthing the artifacts. Jump to 5:45 in the video for an up-close look at the items.

"We were very lucky this year, as we excavated many finds within their context, which gave us the opportunity to take full advantage of all the archaeological information they could provide," Dr. Theotokis Theodoulou, an archaeologist in the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports who participated in the research, said in a press release.

The artifacts were cleaned after being brought ashore, and the researchers have created 3D models of them. The archaeologists are also continuing to examine and analyze the artifacts to determine whether ancient DNA or remnants of food, perfumes or medicines can be identified.

They hope to recover even more items from the shipwreck.

"This wreck constantly surprises us with the array of artifacts it holds," Foley said in the email, adding that Theodoulou has said researchers should "expect the unexpected" from the ship.

"We believe there may be as many as six more life-sized bronze statues of gods and heroes still on the wreck," Foley said. "We suspect the skeletal remains of more passengers and crew remain in the sediments. And we expect many many more luxury goods."

History > Documents

submitted by Barbara Zantiotis on 25.05.2015

Stephen Zantiotis - Violinist

My father, Stephen Zantiotis was born in 1928 and began playing the violin in 1932.
This article was written about him in The Wollongong Advertiser on May 15, 2002.
My dad is now 87 and still plays in an orchestra!

History > Documents

submitted by Kytherian Cultural Exchange on 21.05.2015

Ο Δαρβίνος στην Αθήνα, Darwin in Athens.

A review of Kytherian Maria Zarimis' book: Darwins Footprint.Cultural Perspectives on Evolution in Greece (1880-1930s)
Εκδόσεις CEU Press, 2015,
σελ. 340, τιμή 45 ευρώ

Μια νέα σημαντική προσέγγιση για τη διάχυση της θεωρίας της εξέλιξης στο ελληνικό λογοτεχνικό τοπίο του 1900

ΔΗΜΟΣΙΕΥΣΗ: 03/05/2015

Κύριο άξονα της μελέτης αποτελεί ο Γρηγόριος Ξενόπουλος, φοιτητής των φυσικών επιστημών από το 1883 στο Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών


«Ο πόλεμος των ιδεών. Μύριες ιδέες και δυνάμεις πολεμάνε στις Ευρώπες και στις Αμερικές για τη νίκη και την επικράτηση. Φιλόσοφοι και πολιτειολόγοι· η Επιστήμη και η Θρησκεία. Σοσιαλιστές επαναστάτες με το δυναμίτη, κ' επαναστάτες που στρώνουνε δρόμους με την πίστη που χαμογελά, ουρανική, με τα θεία όπλα του λόγου. (...) Δαρβινιστές και λαμαρκιστές, με τους οπαδούς του νόμου που δείχνει τα πράγματα που μένουνε σταθερά, στο νόμο αγνάντια του ξετυλιμού και της μεταμόρφωσης». Το 1911 ο Κωστής Παλαμάς, επισκοπώντας το διανοητικό τοπίο του δυτικού κόσμου, αποτυπώνει μια διάχυτη ιδεολογική αναταραχή στο κάδρο της οποίας φροντίζει να τοποθετήσει και τη διαμάχη μεταξύ οπαδών και πολεμίων του δαρβινισμού. Πράγματι, η επίδραση της βιολογίας θα ορίσει το διανοητικό τοπίο του πρώτου μισού του 20ού αιώνα εξίσου καθοριστικά με τον κοινωνικοπολιτικό στοχασμό: ο κοινωνικός δαρβινισμός και ο λόγος περί φυλής, η υποκείμενη πρόταση μιας κοινωνίας προσανατολισμένης στη φυσική επιλογή και της εξιδανίκευσης του ανταγωνισμού και της σύγκρουσης ως νόμων φυσικών και απαράγραπτων θα ασκήσουν ανάλογη έλξη, είτε σε παράλληλη είτε σε τεμνόμενη πορεία, με τον φιλελευθερισμό και τον εθνικισμό, τον φασισμό και τον κομμουνισμό. Ωστόσο, όπως επισημαίνει η Μαρία Ζαρίμη, λέκτορας του Πανεπιστημίου της Νέας Νότιας Ουαλίας, ενώ η διασπορά των ιδεολογικών κατηγοριών στον λόγο των ελλήνων διανοουμένων της εποχής έχει διερευνηθεί σε μεγάλο βαθμό, εκείνη του βιολογικού λεξιλογίου, της θεωρίας της εξέλιξης ή της ευγονικής σπανίζει. Το βιβλίο της Darwin's Footprint αναζητεί ακριβώς αυτά τα αποτυπώματα της δεξίωσης της δαρβινικής θεωρίας στην Ελλάδα μέσα από το λογοτεχνικό έργο κυρίως του Γρηγορίου Ξενόπουλου και κατά δεύτερο λόγο των Εμμανουήλ Ροΐδη, Κωστή Παλαμά και Νίκου Καζαντζάκη.

Η αργή διείσδυση της θεωρίας του Δαρβίνου στον ελληνικό χώρο διαπιστώνεται από την έλλειψη σχετικών δημοσιευμάτων, παρατηρεί η Ζαρίμη. Μικρής έκτασης κείμενα σε περιοδικά και επιθεωρήσεις, αποσπασματικά και συχνά προϊόντα δευτερογενούς βιβλιογραφίας, αποτελούν τον κανόνα. Η ολοκληρωμένη απόδοση της Καταγωγής των ειδών στην ελληνική γλώσσα θα παρουσιαστεί μόλις το 1915, στην καθαρεύουσα, με μεταφραστή τον Νίκο Καζαντζάκη. Δειγματοληπτικά μπορεί να αναφέρει κανείς ότι μετά την έκδοση του πρωτοτύπου στα αγγλικά το 1859 ακολούθησε η κυκλοφορία του στη Γαλλία και στη Γερμανία το 1862, στη Ρωσία το 1869, στην Ισπανία το 1896 και στην Κίνα το 1903. Στην Ελλάδα πάλι αντιρρητικοί λόγοι στη θεωρία της εξέλιξης είχαν εμφανιστεί νωρίτερα από πολλά κείμενα δαρβινικού χαρακτήρα - «Η νεοτάτη του υλισμού φάσις, ήτοι ο δαρουινισμός και το ανυπόστατον αυτού», για παράδειγμα, με συγγραφέα τον «προλύτη της θεολογίας» Σπυρίδωνα Σούγκρα, χρονολογείται από το 1876.

Εξαιτίας της σχετικής υστέρησης του ενδιαφέροντος για τις θετικές επιστήμες στην Ελλάδα του 19ου αιώνα η Ζαρίμη εντοπίζει την ενασχόληση με την εξελικτική θεωρία σε συγκεκριμένο περιβάλλον: «συγγραφείς που είχαν κάποια σχέση με τις επιστήμες ή εκτέθηκαν σε γαλλικές, γερμανικές ή αγγλικές εκδοχές του έργου του Δαρβίνου». Το 1863, π.χ., ο Εμμανουήλ Ροΐδης «βυθίζεται» στη μελέτη της δαρβίνειας σχολής, από την ανάγνωση της οποίας προκύπτει το αχρονολόγητο διήγημα «Ιστορία ενός πιθήκου», σάτιρα των ομοιοτήτων και των διαφορών μεταξύ ενός πιθήκου-βιβλιοθηκαρίου και του κυρίου του. Στη βιβλιοθήκη του Κωστή Παλαμά ανιχνεύονται δύο γαλλικές μεταφράσεις της Καταγωγής των ειδών, η μία με ιδιόχειρες σημειώσεις. Ο Παλαμάς ήδη από το 1899 συγκαταλέγει τον Δαρβίνο στις κορυφές της παγκόσμιας διανόησης, μαζί με τον Φρίντριχ Ενγκελς και τον Ζαν-Ζακ Ρουσό, υιοθετεί εκείνη την περίοδο τη γλώσσα του εξελικτισμού («δαρβινική θεωρία του ξετυλιμού των όλων») και εντάσσει το έργο του σε επιστημονικό πλαίσιο: σχολιάζοντας τον Δωδεκάλογο του γύφτου τον αντιτάσσει στη «μεταφυσική ποίηση» ως δείγμα μιας «επιστημονικής ποίησης» που «δοξάζει την επιστήμη». Για τον Νίκο Καζαντζάκη, πρώτο μεταφραστή του The Origin of Species με τίτλο Περί της γενέσεως των ειδών, η πρώτη επαφή με τη θεωρία της εξέλιξης στα τέλη της εφηβείας του είναι οργανικά συνδεδεμένη με τον κλονισμό της θρησκευτικής του πίστης. Αντηχήσεις της ανιχνεύονται και μετέπειτα σε ένα τόσο κεντρικό για την κοσμοθεωρία του έργο όπως η Ασκητική, όπου, σύμφωνα με τη Ζαρίμη, πραγματεύεται «την ελπίδα κάποιου είδους αθανασίας παράλληλα με τη βιολογική θεματική της συνέχειας».

Ωστόσο, κύριο άξονα της μελέτης αποτελεί ο Γρηγόριος Ξενόπουλος, φοιτητής των Φυσικών Επιστημών από το 1883 στο Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών, όπου παρακολούθησε μάλιστα τις δαρβινικές διαλέξεις του καθηγητή της Φυσιολογίας Ιωάννη Ζωχιού - και τις αντιπαραθέσεις με τους θεολόγους συναδέλφους του. Ο Ξενόπουλος δεν ολοκλήρωσε τις σπουδές του, αυτό όμως δεν τον εμπόδισε να καταστεί γνώστης της πλήρους σχεδόν εργογραφίας του Δαρβίνου, μνείες της οποίας αφθονούν στη λογοτεχνία του. Η Ζαρίμη εντοπίζει, λ.χ., το θέμα της κληρονομικότητας και της μετάδοσης των φυσιογνωμικών χαρακτηριστικών στο μυθιστόρημα Πλούσιοι και φτωχοί (1919), μέρος από κοινού με τα Τίμιοι και άτιμοι και Τυχεροί και άτυχοι της λεγόμενης «κοινωνικής τριλογίας»: ο πρωταγωνιστής Πώπος Δαγάτορας διαβάζει την Καταγωγή των ειδών, αποδίδει τη χαμηλή κοινωνική του θέση στη «ράτσα» και στο «σόι», αναπτύσσει μια φυσιογνωμική θεωρία για την ερμηνεία των ανθρώπινων χαρακτήρων εστιασμένη στα μάτια. Η Τρίμορφη γυναίκα (1922) εισάγει τα ζητήματα του αφηγήματος της ευγονικής, η Τερέζα Βάρμα Δακόστα (1926) εμπεριέχει το φάσμα του αταβισμού και της «νέας γυναίκας» ως «σεξουαλικού αρπακτικού», ενώ Η νύχτα του εκφυλισμού (1926) απηχεί τον κατ' εξοχήν ηθικό πανικό της εποχής - την κατάπτωση των γενετικών χαρακτηριστικών και την επακόλουθη παρακμή ατόμων, κοινωνιών, εθνών και φυλών.

Εύστοχη ως προς την επιλογή του υλικού και άκρως ενδιαφέρουσα ως προς την ανάλυσή του, η προσέγγιση της Μαρίας Ζαρίμη καλύπτει ένα ουσιαστικό κενό στη μελέτη της διανοητικής ιστορίας της περιόδου 1880-1930. Η καίρια επισήμανσή της για τις βιολογικές προεκτάσεις στη λογοτεχνία ως «αναπόσπαστο στοιχείο, μαζί με το κοινωνικοπολιτικό, για τη διαμόρφωση του ατόμου, της κοινωνίας και του έθνους στην Ελλάδα» σηματοδοτεί την ανάγκη εστίασης στους μηχανισμούς εισαγωγής, πρόσληψης και διάθλασης του επιστημονικού λόγου προκειμένου να προσδιοριστεί πώς στα ίχνη του Δαρβίνου βάδισαν, εκτός από τον ορθολογισμό και την εκκοσμίκευση, ο κοινωνικός δαρβινισμός, η ευγονική, οι φυλετικές θεωρίες και άλλα παρόμοια ρεύματα με υπόγεια, τεθλασμένη, υπαρκτή όμως, διαδρομή εντός της ελληνικής κοινωνίας.

History > Documents

submitted by Hellenic War History on 09.05.2015

The Award presented to Maria Hill by the Greek Ambassador Charalambos Dafaranos and his wife Eva

Maria was invited to give a talk in Canberra on 29 April 2015, at the opening for the art exhibition called "Lemnos - the Greek dimension in the Anzac Centenary."

Maria made historical reference to Lemnos and its contribution to the Allied War effort during World War I.

The 'Lemnos' presentation was organised as part of the events for the Centenary of the Australian and New Zealand Expeditionary Corps, in the presence of diplomatic corps representatives, local media, Australian Foreign Ministry officials and Greek Diaspora members.

The exhibition, curated by Eva Dafaranos, included the works of 14 artists from various Australian states, such as New South Wales, Victoria, Perth and the Australian Capital Territory. “The ANZAC Centenary is a historic milestone for two countries that I hold dear, Australia and New Zealand, so there is no doubt that I felt the need to commemorate in an artistic way the Greek connection to this landmark anniversary,” said the curator.

The Greek Australian artists participating in the exhibition were: Karen Barbouttis, Nick Bonovas, Stephen Caldis, Olga Cironis, George Comino, Alexandra Danalis, Eva T. Dafaranos, Stella Karydiotou, Dean Manning, Peter Michalandos, George Raftopoulos, Ros Psakis, George Zindilis and Athena Xenakis.

The exhibition was presented at the Greek Embassy in Canberra (115 Empire Circuit, Yarralumla) and it remained open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, May 2 and 3 from 11 am to 4 pm. Admission was free.

At the event the Ambassador presented Maria Hill - a military historian - with an award for her outstanding contribution to Hellenism.

History > Documents

submitted by Barbara Zantiotis on 30.04.2015

Newpaper article - Peter Zantiotis

This article appeared in the 'Cessnock Eagle and South Maitland Recorder' on January 21, 1927.
Peter Zantiotis was my grandfather, my dad's dad. He was from Agia Anastasia and came to Australia in July, 1914.

History > Documents

submitted by James Victor Prineas on 18.04.2015

Australians & Greeks Volume 1

Author:Hugh Gilchrist
When Published: 1992
Publisher:Halstead Press

Available from:
Angelo Notaras
Atom Industries
PO Box 513, Rozelle NSW 2039
AUSTRALIA
Fax +61 2 9810 6691

Email order, here

or,

Email order, here
 
Price: A$60 each incl GST + $10 postage for up to three books, including air post and packaging to anywhere in the world.

Description:
Volume 1, The Early Years, detailed and richly illustrated, picks up the story from the very beginning: the ancient Greeks' conceptions of a great continent far to their south. Centuries later, in Australia's convict era, the first contacts are made, paving the way for an influx of gold-rush immigrants, and a pattern of gradual settlement until the eve of World War 1.

Pirates, pashas and paramours, aristocrats and adventurers: all aspects of Greek-Australian inter-relations are recounted - the perceptions, historically, each of the other; the forging of cultural, economic and political links between the two. Immigration, settlement, religion, sport, agriculture, politics: the whole gamut of the Greek-Australian experience is explored, comprehensively, informatively. It is a vital account.

Unearthing many previously unknown documents and photographs, and amply documented to assist the interested reader and future researchers, Hugh Gilchrist's book is a landmark in Australian studies and the life of the Greek community.


"It testimony to the quality of these works, that all three volumes of Australians & Greeks, have remained in print, since the date of publication."

All three Volumes of Gilchrist's monumental work can be purchased from the contacts above.

To gain an insight into Hugh's motivation for writing Australians and Greeks

History > Documents

submitted by George Poulos on 18.04.2015

Australians & Greeks Volume 3

Author: Hugh Gilchrist
When Published: 2004
Publisher: Halstead Press
Available: Halstead Press
Description: ISBN 1920831193
Retail Price : $60.00

The final volume in Hugh Gilchrist’s multiaward winning survey of all the connections between two nations is full of the same superbly objective history and colourful stories as the other two. It covers the Greeks and Australians in World War II, and the post War era of migration and diplomacy. Richly illustrated and indexed.

[[picture:"Epsilon Gilchrist Books montage_col LARGER.jpg" ID:18183]]

Available from:

Angelo Notaras
Atom Industries
PO Box 513, Rozelle NSW 2039
AUSTRALIA

Fax +61 2 9810 6691

Email order, here

or,

Email order, here

Price: A$60 each incl GST and air post and packing to anywhere in the world.

The book can also be ordered from all major bookshops, if you provide the publishing details that are advised above.

To gain an insight into Hugh's motivation for writing Australians and Greeks


Review: John Yiannakis, Curtin University of Technology

jas review of books
Issue 30, February 2005

http://www.api-network.com/cgi-bin/reviews/jrbview.cgi?n=1920831193&issue=30

This is the third and final volume of an exceptional work, which brings to a close 35 years of research in both Greece and Australia by former Australian Ambassador to Greece, Hugh Gilchrist. Those readers who have been waiting for this publication won't be disappointed. Like Gilchrist's first two volumes for which he earned critical accolades, Volume III is also a significant and highly readable account of aspects of the historical relationship between Australia and Greece. It is an impressive work. The third volume begins in 1939 and covers one of the most significant periods of relations between Australians and Greeks: An age of war and migration — when world crisis brought Greeks and Australians into intimate contact. Gilchrist's book is about the relationships in both directions between Australians and Greeks.

Gilchrist describes the Cretan and mainland Greeks who looked after the Australians who fought on in occupied Greece — including Lela Karayianni, shot by the Nazis having saved dozens of Australians in Athens. The war effort on the home front, including the Greek branch of the Australian Red Cross, is also examined. Less well known are the experiences of the Australians who served as guerrillas or intelligence agents in the mountains of enemy-occupied Greece, and the heroic efforts of Greek civilians to protect them.

A comprehensive appendix records nearly a thousand Australian Greek men and women who fought for their adopted country in World War II. There is also an extensive list of Australian war dead from both World Wars. It reports heroic exploits like those of Angelo Barbouttis — who destroyed two barges full of Japanese soldiers in New Guinea.

Australians and Greeks, Volume III, thoroughly traces Australian attempts to relieve the appalling poverty of war-devastated Greece, through United Nations agencies such as UNRA, UNICEF and WHO and through the Australian Red Cross and Jewish medical teams which worked in Greece after the war. Gilchrist graphically recreates the dismal conditions of post-war Greece. Australian efforts to reunite with their parents the children taken into Communist countries during the civil war are also traced. Also related is Australia's role, through the United Nations, in monitoring Greece's northern frontiers from 1947 to 1952 and in trying to mediate between Greece and its northern neighbours.

Greek Australians making their mark in the professions and other walks of life are considered. So are aspects of Greek society in wartime and post-war Australia — the Church, the press, education, politics and social life. The intricacies, features and developments within Australia's Greek communities receive broad coverage. Some readers may have hoped for more detail in this regard and could be disappointed, but then this isn't the intent of the book. Though meticulously researched, fluently written, and well crafted, this is not a typical ethnic history. Rather, it is primarily a military, political and diplomatic history of the relationships between two countries and their people.

Other topics include the now defunct Greek-Australian League, Australian war graves in Greece, the Athens war memorial to British, Australia and New Zealand war dead, the resumption of migration, and the polarisation of Greek-Australian politics during the civil war as seen with the League for Democracy in Greece.

The post-war period was one of growing trade, travel and communication; Hugh Gilchrist surveys these economic relations. He records the Greek ships which came to Australia — many sunk in the war, others bringing migrants to a new home. Immigration programs brought large numbers from a troubled post-war Greece. Yet, while thorough in its coverage of the establishment of an immigration mission in Athens, the negotiations pursued for the creation of the ICEM Assisted Passage Agreement between the two countries could have received more attention. The mass migration period is outside the scope of this work, but the intense debates surrounding the Agreement are deserving of consideration.

This book goes through to the establishment of Greece's permanent diplomatic mission in Australia in the 1950s. The work ends in 1953 because that is when Greece's first Minister (later Ambassador) to Australia, Dimitri Lambros, presented his credentials, opening a new period in Greek-Australian relations. As with Volumes I and II, Gilchrist's referencing could be more helpful. Certainly very comprehensive, the chapter endnotes are not identified numerically. This is not to say the references are not valuable for other researchers, but by not matching references to a number they become frustrating.

Gilchrist has created a monumental and praiseworthy work of three volumes, which will be treasured not only by historians but also by the community at large, both in Australia and Greece. One can be assured that the contents of this invaluable reference book will enlighten the reader about Australia's ties with Greece and Greece's relationship with Australia.

History > Documents

submitted by James Victor Prineas on 18.04.2015

Australians & Greeks Volume 2

Author:Hugh Gilchrist
When Published: 1997
Publisher:Halstead Press

Available from:

Angelo Notaras
Atom Industries
PO Box 513, Rozelle NSW 2039
AUSTRALIA

Fax +61 2 9810 6691
 
Email order, here

or,

Email order, here

Price: A$60 each incl GST and air post and packing to anywhere in the world.

Description:
Australians and Greeks – "The Middle Years". Volume II of this award-winning work observes two closely linked peoples in world war and the unsettled interwar years.

PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS of many of today's Greek Australians settled in their new country in this period and many Greeks went to war in Australian uniform. It was a time when some Australians vented their hostility in anti-Greek riots, while others devoted their lives to helping and understanding Greece and its people.

AUSTRALIANS AT WAR in Macedonia and the Aegean contributed bravely to the Allied cause in little-known campaigns which AUSTRALIANS AND GREEKS examines in detail. Miles Franklin's unpublished wartime books, the recollections of Chief Justice Herring — and of many other Australian men and women who served in Macedonia and Thrace — are quoted at length for the first time.

THE GREEK CHURCH — beset by scandals and political divisions — was remarkable for its headstrong clergy and congregations which Hugh Gilchrist examines with careful objectivity. In the early decades of the 20th century Australia's Greek language press began publishing important books and newspapers. The way they too reflect church and community divisions makes their chequered history an intriguing one.

FAMOUS AUSTRALIANS who visited Greece include Ross and Keith Smith the aviators, and the eminent prehistorian V. Gordon Childe. These and a variety of travellers, scholars, philanthropists and cranks enliven the pages of Volume II. The fascinating range of absorbing topics makes Hugh Gilchrist's work a unique combination of definitive history and rivetting reading.


"It testimony to the quality of these works, that all three volumes of Australians & Greeks, have remained in print, since the date of publication."

All three Volumes of Gilchrist's monumental work can be purchased from the contacts above.

To gain an insight into Hugh's motivation for writing Australians and Greeks

History > Documents

submitted by Society of Kytherian Studies on 18.03.2015

Smyrna. The Kytherian History.

Author: Koula Kasamati

When Published: 2015

Publisher: Society of Kytherian Studies. The 23rd publication of the Society.

Available: In Greece, from the Society of Kytherian Studies, which operates under the auspices of the Kytherian Association of Athens.

Description: Paperback

ISBN:


The synopsis for the book:

Kytherians in Smyrna who migrated from the second half of the 18th century and remained there until the Catastrophe (1922) show an exciting journey that made them stand out in this area.

The book is divided into three parts:

Part One is devoted to the transition of the Greeks in Ionia and especially in Smyrna and describes important milestones in the political, economic, social and cultural life of this place.

In Part Two, with a focus on the Kytherians, it analyses (a) their transitions to Smyrna, with data obtained from passports, voter lists and ledger sailing ships to Ionia: (b) the presence of Kytherians and their professional undertakings in Smyrna; (c) the corporative organisation of the Kytheran Brotherhood, which was very active, and the worship in honour of Our Lady Mirtidiotissa ;(d) the human geography opf the nine regions of the prefecture of Smyrna where there was a significant concentration of Kytherians, and ( e) details of eminent Kytherian families and individuals who achieved success in in fields such as the sciences, literature and culture.

The Third Part deals with the refugees as a whole who fled to Greece and experienced relocation problems and economic and social integration in our country. Specific reference is made to Kytherian refugees in Kythera, as well as in the Municipality of Evosmos Thessaloniki and Kaisarianis in the Municipality of Athens.

Οι Κυθήριοι στη Σμύρνη που μετανάστευσαν από το δεύτερο μισό του 18ου αιώνα και παρέμειναν εκεί μέχρι την Καταστροφή (1922) εμφανίζουν ένα συναρπαστικό οδοιπορικό που τους κατέστησε ξεχωριστούς σ’ αυτή την περιοχή. Η ανά χείρας έκδοση χωρίζεται σε τρία Μέρη:

Το Πρώτο Μέρος αφιερώνεται στη μετάβαση των Ελλήνων στην Ιωνία και ιδιαίτερα στη Σμύρνη• περιγράφονται σημαντικοί σταθμοί στην πολιτική, οικονομική, κοινωνική και πολιτιστική ζωή του τόπου αυτού.

Στο Δεύτερο Μέρος, με επίκεντρο τους Κυθήριους, αναλύονται (α) οι μεταβάσεις τους προς τη Σμύρνη, με στοιχεία που προκύπτουν από τα διαβατήρια, τους εκλογικούς καταλόγους και κατάστιχο απόπλου πλοίων προς την Ιωνία• (β) η παρουσία των Κυθηρίων και η επαγγελματική τους απασχόληση στη Σμύρνη• (γ) η σωματειακή οργάνωση στην Κυθηραϊκή Αδελφότητα, η οποία έδειξε σημαντική δραστηριότητα, και οι λατρευτικές εκδηλώσεις προς τιμήν της Παναγίας της Μυρτιδιώτισσας• (δ) η ανθρωπογεωγραφία εννέα περιοχών του Νομού της Σμύρνης, όπου υπήρχε σημαντική συγκέντρωση Κυθηρίων και (ε) στοιχεία εξεχουσών κυθηραϊκών οικογενειών και μεμονωμένων ατόμων, όπου η παρουσία και η δράση τους απέκτησαν υπερτοπική εμβέλεια στις επιστήμες, τα γράμματα και τον πολιτισμό.

Το Τρίτο Μέρος αφορά τους πρόσφυγες ως σύνολο που κατέφυγαν στην Ελλάδα και αντιμετώπισαν προβλήματα εγκατάστασης και οικονομικής και κοινωνικής ένταξης στη χώρα μας. Ειδική μνεία γίνεται στους Κυθηρίους πρόσφυγες στα Κύθηρα, στον Δήμο Ευόσμου Θεσσαλονίκης και στον Δήμο Καισαριανής στην Αθήνα

History > Documents

submitted by Kathimerini Newspaper, Athens on 22.12.2014

Visitors looking at the sculpture of the river god Ilissos, one of the Parthenon Marbles, at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg on December 5.

Kathamerini article

The Empire museum strikes back

By George Vardas *

The “loan” by the British Museum of a sculpture from the Elgin Collection of the Parthenon Sculptures to the State Hermitage Museum in Russia has created considerable furore around the world and amongst activists who want to see the Parthenon Marbles returned to Greece. But the secret dealings surrounding the placement of the sculpture on temporary exhibition in St Petersburg reveal a lot more about the strategy and sophistry of the British Museum and should serve as a wake-up call to Greece that mediation with the British over the return of the Parthenon Sculptures will never succeed.

Ilissos is a headless reclining sculpture of marbled immortality that sat for centuries at one end of the western pediment of the Parthenon. This sculpture together with other figures and water deities depicts the battle between Athena and Poseidon over Attica.

As the curator of the Greek and Roman collections at the British Museum, Ian Jenkins, has written, one of the hallmarks of the Parthenon sculptures is the “way they lead the eye from one to another, each figure or group of figures drawing energy from the previous and passing it on the next.” That applies equally to the frieze and the pedimental sculptures.

So why send a solitary sculpture to the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg on the Baltic, and for a limited time only? The official reason is that the loan is a “birthday present.” According to the British Museum’s director, Neil MacGregor, when the Hermitage asked the British Museum Trustees if they could make an important loan to celebrate its 250th anniversary, the trustees immediately answered “yes.” MacGregor goes on to claim that “no loan could more fittingly mark the long friendship of our two houses, or the period of their founding, than a sculpture from the Parthenon." Moreover, he claimed that the Greeks should be elated at the spectre of Greece’s “stone ambassador to the world” on display on a solitary plinth in the Hermitage.

Really? The temporary loan of one pedimental sculpture from the British Museum’s extensive collection is nothing more than a gimmick that reflects a consistent pattern of historical revisionism employed by the British Museum and its acolytes. The British Museum was established in 1753 at the height of the Empire. Since 2002 it has consistently tried to rebrand itself as a universal museum encompassing the so-called “collective memory of mankind.” At the behest of MacGregor, in October 2002 the British Museum and various other major institutions, including the Hermitage, issued a self-serving declaration on the “importance and value of universal museums” decrying the alleged threat to the integrity of universal collections posed by demands for the restitution of objects to their countries of origin. In other words, we will say or do anything to keep the Parthenon Sculptures.

MacGregor continues literally to attempt to erase the Greek origin of these sculptures by insisting that the Parthenon Sculptures now in London tell a different story to those in Athens and that they have, in effect, no contextual relevance to the Acropolis. Ian Jenkins, when speaking at the “Body Beautiful” exhibition in the Victorian town of Bendigo in August 2014 reaffirmed that the museum regards the Elgin collection of Parthenon Sculptures as mere art objects which are now physically, spiritually and historically detached from the Parthenon. As far as the British Museum is concerned, the sculptures are no longer architectural ornament but objects d’art which have acquired a new meaning as part of the museum’s self-legitimating narrative.

So it is only natural that the British Museum seeks to justify its position by placing fragments in other collections. The museum had previously announced its intention to stage a “Greek Body” exhibition in May 2015 and the river god now at the Hermitage was to be moved there to be part of that exhibition. When I confronted Jenkins about that proposal, he responded by accusing the Greeks of “Elginising” the surviving sculptures on the Parthenon over the decades through their removal and eventual relocation in the Acropolis Museum. And then, almost imperiously, he declared “I will be taking some of the Parthenon Sculptures for the ‘Greek Body’ exhibition for the purposes of comparison.”

As for the Hermitage “loan,” we are informed that the whole idea was a birthday surprise for a brethren universal museum and, according to Sir Richard Lambert, chairman of the Trustees of the British Museum, the deal was literally approved at the last minute as they wanted to “leave room for flexibility if the political relationship between Europe and Russia changed.”

International inter-museum art and sculptural loans are very delicate and complex arrangements that are not finalised on a whim or at a moment’s notice or under a veil of secrecy. Here we learn that it was a clandestine operation to remove the sculpture from the British Museum under the cover of darkness and air freight it to Russia as if a covert military exercise was under way. Even the English version of the Hermitage’s web version still does not reveal what the ”masterpiece” from the British Museum is.

And how will the sculpture in the Hermitage be viewed? All you see is the river god Ilissos mounted on a plinth, surrounded by walls of artificial marble and located as a solitary fragmented object, alienated from its archaeological and sculptural context. In these conditions, how can anyone truly be confronted by the immortal “Grecian grandeur” and magnitude projected by the Parthenon Sculptures which so captivated a young Romantic poet, John Keats, whose sylvan historian could only enquire, “What men or gods are these?”

And MacGregor is certainly being disingenuous when he claims that the placement of this sculpture in St Petersburg will act as a stone ambassador for Classical Greece. There was no advance notice or promotion given of this exhibition. As Eric Gibson wrote in the Wall Street Journal, museums normally break news like this months in advance to publicise such an event. But in this case, it was an “unprecedented state of affairs” that by the time the news was out the sculpture was already at the Hermitage and ready to go on public view the next day.

Interestingly, Neil MacGregor is also the chairman of the Internal Advisory Council of the Hermitage, which includes the NSW Art Gallery’s Michael Brand and Francoise Riviere, assistant director-general for culture at UNESCO. That council met in August this year according to the Hermitage’s website. It stretches credulity that the proposed loan of the Parthenon sculpture was not discussed, let alone ratified, at that or any subsequent meeting of the advisory council.

This was not a loan for art’s sake, but a cynical gesture aimed squarely at the Greeks who in recent times have been agitating for a negotiated resolution of this centuries-old cultural dispute.

The Greeks have labelled the decision to lend one of the Parthenon Sculptures as provocative and insulting, particularly at a time when Greece has since June 2013 called on Britain to agree to mediation under the auspices of UNESCO. Mediation or any form of consensus-based resolution will simply not work if one party is unwilling to act in good faith. Not only have the British failed to respond to the request for mediation but MacGregor has declared that UNESCO “is an intergovernmental organisation but the trustees of the British Museum are not part of the British government.” That is simply playing semantics. For more than two decades at meetings of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation, the British Museum has been represented – indeed, it is fair to say that it is embedded within the UK Ministry of Culture – and has in fact orchestrated the predictable British response.

In the latest issue of Hermitage News, Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky triumphantly declares that the Hermitage Museum “is not an object of cultural heritage, it’s an object of culture.” In its website the museum graciously acknowledges that the sculptures of the Parthenon are considered to be the pinnacle of human artistic achievement. And yet whilst it may possess a magnificent art collection, the Hermitage Museum has allowed itself to become an object of the Elgin marbles-driven universal museum myopia which, according to the MacGregor doctrine, will tolerate fragments of the Parthenon Sculptures being disassembled and displayed on their own and devoid of their proper context anywhere in the world, except in the place where they were conceived and executed to perfection: Athens, Greece.

In the Parthenon Sculptures the immortality of the Athenians as declared by Pericles in his famous funeral oration has been achieved. They are inextricably linked to the Parthenon which they once adorned and to the story of Athens. Dispersing fragmentary pieces to distant museums is pure tokenism as the British Museum merely restates the obvious, namely, that it can do as it pleases with the spoils of empire.

As the respected art commentator Jonathon Jones recently proclaimed, it is Greece and not the British Museum that deserves to be the custodian of the world’s greatest art for the world.

And so the Greek government must finally and decisively disabuse itself of the idea that the marbles can somehow be regained through diplomacy and mediation. Litigation in the international courts is now inevitable to try to reclaim the marbles and finally bring them home.

* George Vardas, Researcher, Australians for the Return of the Parthenon Sculptures

History > Documents

submitted by George Poulos on 16.09.2014

AP Eagers logo

Prominent Kytherian, Nick Politis, owns a substantial shareholding in A P Eagers, as you will find if you read the biographical sketch of Nick Politis, below.

You can access and download this e-book, A Driving Force. A. P. Eagers Centenary. 1913-2013, at http://www.apeagers.com.au/100-years/centenary-history-book/

Nicholas (Nick) George Politis

Nick Politis is one of five Australian-Kytherian’s to receive Australian honours in 2014. On the Queen’s birthday he was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia, for significant service to rugby league football as an administrator.

He could equally have been bestowed with the honour as one of Kytherian-Australia’s, Greek-Australia’s, and Australia’s most prominent and successful businessmen.

His AM citation also mentions: Philanthropic supporter to a range of charitable organisations, ongoing.

A Kytherian and Greek Immigrants story.

The Background


The Politis story begins during the early period of the 20th century in the two major centres of the Kytherian diaspora – Egypt and Constantinople. It then devolves on the village of Karavas, Kythera. Dimitrios Kosmas Patrikios, (1860-1930), born in Karavas, migrated to Egypt as a young boy. He became a great cotton merchant and property owner in Alexandria. He was a significant benefactor to the island, donating funds to create a ‘port’ for Kythera, and in 1934-1935, with money left in his will, his descendants built the ‘Patrikio skoli’ – the Agricultural School in central Karavas.

George Nicholas Politis was born in the area around Constantinople. His family’s early life was disrupted by events in the Pontian region of Greece in the period leading up to ‘the catastrophe’ of 1922. As a young boy, the family relocated to Athens. As a young adult he gained skills and qualifications in agricultural science. Soon after the Agricultural School was constructed, he was enticed to migrate to Kythera, and take up the position of ‘thiapontos’ – agricultural teacher. He maintained this position until 1940. The enterprise was fully funded by the Dimitrios Patrikios bequest. With the advent of WWII, the fund for the agricultural school ‘dried up’, and the school was appropriated by the military. Subsequently it has occasionally been rented out as a private residence. In most of the past seven decades, however, it has been used as a place to grow agricultural products, and as a civic centre. It continues to be used for these purposes today.

George Politis settled quickly into the Karavas community, and in 1940 he married Aryiro Evangalos Venardos – parachoukli “Mull-yaros”. Aryiro is the sister of Panayotis ‘Bulli’ Venardos, who along with Poppy, continue to run the ‘cafenion’ opposite the church of Ayios Haralambos in Karavas. Other brothers and sisters included Zafaria, Emmanuel (Bill), Minas (Mick) and Poppy, the high school teacher (‘i thaskalos). Only the latter remained in Greece with Panayotis. All the others migrated to Australia. As of 2014, the surviving siblings are Aryiro and Panayotis.

Nicholas (Nick) George Politis was born at the Patrikio skoli in Karavas, Kythera in 1942. After WWII George Politis and family relocated to Athens.

Zafaria Venardos was sponsored to Australia by Mick and Bill Venardos. She married George Petrohilos, originally from Fratsia, who had been in Australia for some time. In 1950 the Venardos brothers sponsored George Politis and family to Australia. The Politis family departed from the port city of Piraeus on the migrant ship – Kirinea. Another passenger on this ship recalls that “the trip was exhausting and took 30 days. During this time we attended English language classes. We were treated very well on the ship; we were entertained by musicians, and were shown movies about our new country.” The ship berthed in Melbourne. Bill Venardos drove down from Queensland to meet the family, and drove them back to Queensland. The Politis family first went to Ipswich, which lies 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the Brisbane CBD, and stayed for a year or more. In 1952 Mick Venardos went to Blackhall, to run the Central Cafe with his brother Bill. The Central Cafe had a long history from the 1920’s of Kytherian ownership through the Cominos and Logos families.

Blackall is a small town and rural locality in the Blackall-Tambo Region in central west Queensland, Australia. Named after Sir Samuel Blackall, the second Governor of Queensland, it lies approximately 960 kilometres (600 mi) by road from the state capital, Brisbane. The town is situated on the Barcoo River and Landsborough Highway (Matilda Highway). At the 2011 census Blackhall had a population of 1,588. It is the service centre for the Blackall-Tambo Region. The dominant industry in the area is grazing.

The Venardos family were heavily involved in Rugby League. Angelo Venardos played Rugby League for Toowoomba in the Bulimba Cup competition. He now lives at Forest Beach. Bill Venardos was President of the Blackhall Rugby League Club, and a senior Administrator in Queensland Rugby League. He was also a prominent local government administrator, as well as a former president of the Kytherian Association of Queensland. His achievements were sufficiently prominent to warrant an entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

In 1953 George Politis decided to move to Blackhall, and with a partner, Peter Aloysios purchased the Central Cafe from the Vernardos brothers. View / download a copy of the history of the Central Cafe, from a plaque created by the Blackhall City Council, here:
Blackhall Plaque Central Cafe.pdf

Maria, George and Aryiro’s second child was born in Blackhall at this time. Maria would eventually go to Greece to study as a young adult, marry Dr John Tsellonis, and decide to reside in Greece permanently. Nick attended year four primary school at Blackhall. One of his classmates describes him as a likeable and boisterous boy.

The Politis family stayed in Blackhall for another few years before selling their half share in the Central Cafe to Peter Aloysios’ brother Mick. The family then returned to Brisbane. From 1958 George Politis made a number of astute property purchases in Brisbane. He also developed properties, including a commercial block of shops opposite the Princess Alexandra Hospital on Ipswich Road, Wooloongabba. George moved the family from Ipswich to Saint Lucia, where the University of Queensland is located. George and Aryiro’s last ‘shop keeping’ venture seems to have been purchasing a cinema at West End in South Brisbane, which they ran for 2 or 3 years and then sold. They subsequently retired.

George died in 1986. Aryiro is 97 years of old and very much alive. She spends her time on Kythera and in Athens. Kytherians who know her gain immense pleasure from meeting her in Ayia Pelagia and engaging her in conversation, during the Kytherian summer.

Nick Politis was educated at Ipswich Grammar School, for the final four years of high school (1956-1960). Nick was one of four Army Cadets under Officers in his senior year and was identified as having ‘leadership qualities’. Ipswich Grammar is one of the oldest educational institutions in Queensland (151 years old in 2014). The School takes great pride in ‘advertising’ the achievements of its most prominent ‘old boys’ who include Sydney Harbour Bridge designer John Bradfield, former Chief of Army and military historian Lieutenant General John Coates, and retired High Court Judge Harry Gibbs, and of course, influential Sydney businessman Nick Politis. The School has also produced many of Australia’s elite sportsmen.

Whilst at school, Nick was a ‘cafe kid’; he worked in a fruit shop to supplement his income. For more information about cafe culture in Queensland, with particular reference to Ipswich, see Toni Rissons’ Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill. From Ipswich Grammar School Nick followed the pathway of so many other children of Kytherian and Greek immigrants of his generation, into tertiary education. He attended the University of Queensland where he graduated in Commerce and Economics. A career with the Ford motor company would follow.

Nick is a private, almost guarded person. Something of a ‘mystery man’ to the media, he rarely gives interviews or speaks publicly. ‘I sit back, watch. You learn more that way’, he says. He is also a very tough man. Speaking about the ‘tough times’ at the Roosters, 2009-2012, he philosophises: “It (was) the toughest two or three years. It was tough but that's sport. It's all about the experience. You get addicted because you can't bank the results. If money could buy the results, all the billionaires in the world would have the trophy. You've got to be ready to take the fall and you've got to stand (during adversity). The character of people comes out when you're going bad, not when you're going well. When things go bad, that's when you've got to stay strong.” Loyalty is another trait that Nick values. He has often supported employees, friends and associates long after continuing to provide that support is in his best interest. “The thing in life is that you've got to support people when they get in trouble if they are good people,” Politis says. “That's what (I try and) do”.

As his AM citation states Nick is a philanthropic supporter to a range of charitable organisations, ongoing. In Greek we would could him a ‘sporti’. Don’t bother to sit down, however, and try and chronicle the depth and breadth of his philanthropy and benefaction. Chances are that only those who are the beneficiaries will ever know that it was he who provided the funds. He is not the kind of person who feels the need to have his benefaction acknowledged.

As he has grown older, many have noticed that he has increasingly embraced, and engaged with, his Kytherian and Greek roots. Of Kythera he says - “I just love the place”. He has visited Kythera more often over the past decade, and recently developed three units and a shop on the southern end of the beach at Ayia Pelagia, Kythera. The size of the development is modest by his standards, but the quality of the development and integration into the streetscape is superior. The shame is that so few other developers on Kythera follow his lead.

More recently he and other like minded Pelagian’s have formed a group whose purpose is to enhance the beauty and cleanliness of the Ayia Pelagia area, particularly the area on the sea frontage. Ayia Pelagia is the cleanest and best maintained beach on Kythera.

Nick Politis interest in the sporting world and business are inextricably intertwined. Somehow he has managed to balance and integrate his interest in both worlds. We will return to Nick’s career with Ford and his emergence as one of Australia’s most influential automotive dealers shortly. Firstly let’s examine his involvement in sport, and his emergence as.........

The consummate Rugby League chief executive

In almost 40 years, Nick Politis has been the central figure in some of the most momentous events, and the biggest ‘deals’, in the 105-year history of the code of Rugby League. His involvement in what would later become the National Rugby League (NRL) began in 1976, when a group of Kings Cross detectives nicknamed the ‘Darlo Desperates’, who included legendary South Sydney player, Jack Rayner, introduced Nick Politis to NSW Rugby League (NSW RL) supremo John Quayle and Eastern Suburbs Roosters CEO Ron Jones. Initially, NSW Rugby League boss Kevin Humphreys rejected Politis' proposal to sponsor the Eastern Suburbs Roosters with City Ford in 1975. In 1976, Nick broke new ground in marketing, when City Ford became the first company to sponsor a team in the NSW RL. For his first foray into rugby league, budding businessman Politis brokered a three-year $150,000 deal to have his City Ford car dealership emblazoned on the front of the Roosters jersey as major sponsor. By 1977, St George, Manly, Cronulla and every club in Sydney were brokering deals to tap into the new revenue stream. Retrospectively Politis’ idea can be assessed as a visionary and pioneering deal that altered the nature of sponsorship across many sports. I also constituted very good value for money.

In 1993 Nick moved from being sponsor to Chairman of the Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club (Sydney Roosters). He assumed the Chairmanship from Keith Steele. Long standing secretary-manager Ron Jones, stood down at the same time.

Many believe that the transformation of the Sydney Roosters coincided with Politis appointment. Hand-picking his own team of directors, which in recent years has included James Packer, Channel Nine boss David Gyngell, Mark Bouris of Wizard Home Loans and Yellow Brick Road, mining identity Peter ‘Talky’ Newton and Premier Retail chief executive Mark McInnes, Shine Australia CEO Mark Fennessy, the Roosters have sometimes not had to hold board elections for more than 10 years at a time, as there have not been disgruntled members to challenge them.

“There's no doubt that the current success of the club is the result of 15 years of hard work by Nick," said former ARL general manager John Quayle, a member of the Roosters' 1975 grand-final-winning team. “If you go back to the mid-1980s when the league was looking very closely at its struggling clubs, Easts were one of those ... so to turn things around the way they have is a tribute to Nick and his board. The changes he introduced brought stability and a professionalism ... which is now the benchmark of how a football club should be administered and coached.” Nick Politis is the Roosters. Around the club they call him ‘Uncle Nick’ or ‘The Godfather’.

“We needed to restore the Roosters DNA to the place,” Politis has asserted. “I don’t want to detract from anyone who worked here before, but we really wanted to get people back who had a feeling for this club. When we did that, I remember one of the staff rang me and thanked me for getting them back. That call meant a lot to me.” Roosters sources reveal that from time to time ‘he still dips into his vast fortune to a ‘significant degree’, when other high-profile figures on his board do not’. “Nick is the driving force of the Roosters,” says Channel Nine chief executive David Gyngell, a former director, and close Politis ally. “He has built a cult of loyalty in staff, players and friends who love the club. People often think he's all passion but he's not. He's very strategic and will always make his calls based on smart long-term decisions that are good for the club.”

The Roosters success has been obscured somewhat by the fact that the club has reached six grand finals in the past 13 years – and won only two of them. But, Politis rightly asserts “this is a record only matched by the Melbourne Storm. People forget that record. This is a great record.” Nick Politis is obsessed by the Roosters. He is a Roosters man through and through. If you're looking for proof, ask him to roll up his sleeve. Before the grand final in 2002, Nick, not a man enamoured of tattoo’s, had a Roosters logo tattooed on his arm. Before the grand final Nick said to the team: “You have to win.... don’t let me down... because you can’t take these tattoos off easily.” Subsequent to the 2002 Grand Final win – the first Roosters premiership since Nick first sponsored the team in 1976 - most of the Roosters players joined their Chairman in getting a premiership logo tattoos as well. “I'm very passionate about sport and the club. It becomes a part of your life.”

Nick gained immense satisfaction from the Roosters Grand final victory in 2013. For a precious moment on that Sunday night in October chairman Nick Politis savoured the chance to watch from afar. “As players, coaches, staff, board members and sponsors celebrated after full-time, the proud patriarch of Bondi sat alone a few rows from the fence and silently contemplated the jubilation. I just wanted to sit there for a while and take it all in by myself. I was sitting near the sidelines and everyone else had gone out on the field to celebrate. Everyone had jumped up, but I thought I'd sit back before I joined them. It was a very special moment.”

Analysing the performance later, Politis explained, “When we last won in 2002, we were in the mix and had been in the Grand Final just two years earlier. But the previous two years (2011, 2012) we finished 11th and 13th. No-one gave us a chance to win in the off-season. Not only did we win, but we broke a lot of records. We won the minor premiership, our for and against was the best-ever, and we held six teams scoreless.”

“How does that happen”, journalist Josh Massoud asked?
“It's about belief, and that's what ‘Robbo’ (coach, Trent Robinson) was able to instil in everyone this year. I noticed over the last few months of the season, no one doubted we were going to win. There was always going to be a next week. So even when we were down 18-8 in the second half, the players didn’t stop believing they would win. And if you believe in something strongly enough, it usually happens.” You can watch a very enthusiastic Nick Politis interviewed in the ‘sheds’, after the 2013 Grand Final win at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkcwHsX-X_Q

The Super League war. Politis maintains his loyalty.

Those not au fait with Rugby League and its history, may not understand what the Super League war was. The Super League war was the corporate dispute that was fought in and out of court during the mid-1990s between the Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation-backed Super League (Australia) and the Kerry Packer and Optus Vision-backed Australian Rugby League organisations, over broadcasting rights for, and ultimately control of the top-level professional rugby league football competition of Australasia. After much court action from the already-existing ARL to prevent it from happening, Super League ran one premiership season parallel to the ARL's in 1997 after signing enough clubs disenchanted with the traditional administration to do so. At the conclusion of that season a peace deal was reached and both Leagues united to form the National Rugby League of today.

During the Super League war, Politis spent long periods overseas attending to other business interests. At the time, his mobile phone would go off at all hours of the night with executives from News Limited, publisher of The Sunday Telegraph, attempting to lure the Roosters from the ARL side of the fence. Had Politis, Gould, Ken Arthurson and John Quayle not stuck solid, the ARL would have been doomed. Politis, ever true to his dictum of loyalty, couldn’t betray his friend, ARL supremo John Quayle, despite the money on offer. This loyalty also helped secure the future of many Sydney-based NRL clubs, most of which were destined for extinction under the Super League ‘model’.

“If he'd jumped it would have been the end of the ARL and a lot of our clubs here in Sydney,” says Rugby League commentator, administrator, and fellow 2014 AM recipient, Phil Gould. “You can't believe the amount of pressure they put on him, but he hung in there … I honestly doubt that today we would have the Roosters if it wasn't for Nick.” John Quayle, to this day one of Politis' best mates, agrees: “History has never marked how important that stand was; what it meant to so many Sydney clubs.”

The Roosters culture is more akin to a close knit family, rather than an institution. A typical ‘family’ gesture occurred when Roosters legend Artie Beetson fell on hard times. Legendary Roosters coach Jack Gibson arranged a testimonial dinner. With the $400,000 raised, they bought Beetson a house in Newtown. After a nearly 40-year association with the Roosters ‘family’, Nick was asked in 2010 if he was tempted to end his association with the club. He replied: “Not at this stage. But eventually it's going to happen. I haven't got too many good summers left, you know. Somebody sooner or later will take over from me. Hopefully whoever takes over can continue the good work.” Alternatively, it may prove to be the case that Politis will remain, a Rooster for life?

Beyond his involvement with the Roosters, Nick Politis has held a number of senior positions in rugby league at the NSW and Australian levels. In 1996 he was appointed as a Director of the New South Wales Rugby League Club, a position he maintained until the year 2000. In 1997 Politis was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Australian Rugby League. He was a member of the Board for the duration of the Super League war, and again, maintained a directorship until the year 2000. After ‘peace was declared’, Politis was appointed in 1998 as a Director, of the Partnership Executive Committee, of the National Rugby League. He maintained this directorship until 2011.Throughout his Rugby League administrative career Nick maintained positions that ensured that he was one of the most powerful and influential figures in Australian Rugby League.

Involvement in other sports. The Sports Hall of Fame, Soccer and the Sydney Olympics

In September 2000, through an initiative of the Millennium Heritage Council, under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Greek Australian Sports Hall of Fame was established. Its purpose was to record and research the sporting achievements attained by Australians of Greek heritage who have distinguished themselves at either a National or International level.

As a result, 166 sports people were inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame, in the presence of the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, and the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. John Howard, during the unforgettable Millennium Ball held on Saturday, 2nd September, 2000, at the Westin Hotel in Sydney.

The evening was a historic milestone that revealed how vast the contribution was, by citizens of Greek descent, to Australian and world sport, in a very wide range of disciplines. Sportspeople travelled from all over Australia to attend the memorable event and felt enormous pride and honour at their induction. Nick Politis was amongst the first group of inductees.

In February 2000 Politis was honoured with an appointment as the Attaché to the Greek Olympic Team at the Sydney Olympic Games. On June 4th, he carried the Olympic flame along Bay Street in Brighton Le Sands, with great pride.

Nick Politis also had a brief six year involvement with the soccer club, Sydney Olympic, which had been founded by Greek migrants as Pan Hellenic in the 1950s. In 1998 Sydney Olympic was a member of the now-defunct National Soccer League (NSL). The club was being rejuvenated and privatised, and big business was circling. For a moment, it looked as if legendary stockbroker Rene Rivkin would take control of the club, but at the 11th hour Nick Politis decided to throw his lot in with a consortium labelled the Friends of Sydney Olympic.

Nick Balagiannis coined the phrase ‘five filthy rich Greeks’ to describe the new owners. Nick Politis was not fond of the epithet – it runs counter to his humble and understated style – but the local press keenly ‘ran with it’. The new owners envisaged a bright future for the club.

A number of factors contributed to the demise of the NSL. Chief among them was the loss of lucrative television rights revenue after the withdrawal of Channel Seven’s C7 Sports in 2002. By 2004 the NSL had ceased to exist. Having poured millions of dollars into the club with very little likelihood of a ‘turnaround’, Nick Politis resigned his position at the club, along with the Friends of Sydney Olympic chairman, Peter Raskopulos. When Sydney FC was being formed to take its place in the A-League (2004-2005) Nick was quick to quash unfounded rumours that he would become an owner or co-owner of the club.

Nick is very sanguine about the amount of money he has expended on sport, and the ability of anyone to make money out of sport. “I haven't seen anyone make money out of sport in Australia. It's a country of 22 million and we've got four types of football. It doesn't stack up. Think of the world - what other country that size has so many clubs? We've got 16 NRL clubs, we've got 16 AFL clubs, and we’ve got soccer, five rugby union franchises - all for 22 million.”

Throughout his life, Nick Politis kicked a lot more economic goals by involving himself with the Ford motor company. In the final sections of this biographical sketch it is time for us to turn away from his involvement in sport, and endeavour to explain how Nick became one of the most influential automotive dealers in Australia; amassing a very substantial fortune in the process. The Ford story begins soon after he graduated from High School.

Ford. A very YES place to be involved in.
"yes...yes...yes...,City Ford says yes more often"


Career counselling in his final year of school at Ipswich Grammar steered Nick Politis towards a career in sales. Upon completing University, Nick joined the Ford Graduates Trainee Program. And after 12 months in Melbourne his new career was in sales and marketing. From regional manager in the early 1970s, he moved on to take over from Jack Stratigos as the Queensland State Manager for Ford. He was an employee of the Ford Motor Company from 1966 until 1974.

In 1974 Nick bought the Wright Ford car dealership business in Sydney and changed its name to City Ford. He made the purchase through a corporation called WFM Motors Pty Ltd, trading as City Ford. He maintained that entity until 2001, when he sold the business. He continued to trade beyond 2001 as WFM Motors Pty Ltd, still engaged in the motor trade, as the owner of numerous motor vehicle franchises, car dealerships and properties.

His marketing skills were extraordinary. Even two decades after Australians last saw and heard the Ford advertisements - "yes...yes...yes...,City Ford says yes more often" – the jingle is indelibly etched on the collective Australian psyche. The secret to selling cars, Nick believes, is the same as running a successful club. ''You have to be prepared to work hard, be very enthusiastic and not give up. You need perseverance. Enthusiasm”.

Additionally, his work ethic, knowledge of the automotive industry, his business acumen and instinct, are extraordinary. He seems to know intuitively when to buy into and when to sell out of various businesses.
WFM Motors Pty Ltd has enjoyed a sustained period of economic expansion. To track this business development for 1974 to 2001, and from 2001 to date, is well beyond the scope of this biographical sketch. Suffice to say, the development was based on astute and strategic purchases and sales, which engendered great success.

This culminated in early April 2014, when Nick finalised an agreement with listed South African company Barloworld one of Australia’s largest Volkswagen dealerships in a deal worth about $130 million. “Barloworld is a good South African company and is expanding into other areas,” Politis explains. “They are also very big in mining and Caterpillar machinery.” Barloworld Motor Australia represents Holden, HSV, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen with nine dealerships. As part of the deal, Politis bought seven dealerships in Melbourne and Sydney, including the Mercedes-Benz dealership in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton, and a dealership on the Mornington Peninsula. The transaction also included a Holden dealership in Melbourne’s Glen Waverley and four Volkswagen outlets — two each in Sydney and Melbourne.

The properties of the two Melbourne dealerships, worth at least $70m, were included in the sale. However, the total value of the transaction is far less than industry sources had conjectured — between $250m and $500m. They said early in April 2014, that Politis was unlikely to be able to secure all nine dealerships, suggesting two would probably be sold if he bought the entire business to avoid market concentration issues. This is an example of yet another astute and timely purchase of a business by Nick Politis. The purchase also returned a significant segment of the automotive industry from overseas to Australian control.

Nick Politis has been a Member of the Motor Traders' Association of NSW, since 1985.

Nick Politis even greater involvement in the automotive industry is through a very significant shareholding in a Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) listed company called A. P Eagers Limited (AP Eagers). The history of AP Eagers is an intriguing one.

AP Eagers. A Driving Force. 101 years of successful involvement in the Australian Automotive Industry.

“AP Eagers currently represents both the best-selling and luxury brands, has nearly 100 dealerships, including their formidable bus and truck operations. And though still a purely automotive business they have acquired a great deal of prime real estate. The transformation of the corporation over a century is a fascinating story, of how the entity has read the prospective market and catered accordingly”.

2013 heralded 100 years involvement in the automotive Industry in Australia, for A.P. Eagers Limited. A brief history of the company’s emergence and growth is provided below. You can access and download a more substantial history, in the e-book, A Driving Force. A. P. Eagers Centenary. 1913-2013, at http://www.apeagers.com.au/100-years/centenary-history-book/

You can access, listen to, and view an interesting audiovisual history of AP Eagers at the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame web-site at: http://leaders.slq.qld.gov.au/inductees/a-p-eagers-limited/

Most of what ensures below derives from the e-book A Driving Force.

1913: E.G. Eagers & Son Pty Ltd established by Messrs Edward and Fred Eager.
1922: Eagers installs the first motor vehicle assembly plant in Queensland.
1930: General Motors-Holden franchises acquired.
1957: Eagers Holdings Limited listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
1992: Eagers merges with A.P. Group Ltd, a company of which Mr Alan Piper was the majority shareholder, operating Ford, Toyota, Honda and Land Rover franchises.
1993-98: Porsche, VW, KIA, Volvo, Mazda and MG Rover franchises acquired.
2000: Mr Nick Politis’ WFM Motors Pty Ltd acquires a substantial interest after the death of Alan Piper.
2001: Metro/Torque Ford and Toyota business acquired.
2002: A.P. Eagers posts a record pre-tax profit of $12.3M and acquires Jaguar franchise.
2003: Market capitalization passes $100M.
2004: City Automotive Group Pty Ltd acquired in July with Mitsubishi, Subaru and Peugeot franchises. Record Group pre-tax profit of $17.2M achieved.
2005: Record Group pre-tax profit of $19.1 million achieved, turnover surpasses $1 billion.
A.P. Eagers acquires first interstate franchise, Bridge Toyota, in Darwin. Shareholders enjoyed capital growth and increased income – ‘That’s what we’re there for’, declared Nick Politis recently, ‘to give value to shareholders’. AP Eagers is proud of its consistent earnings and dividends that are not dependent solely on vehicle sales, but rest as well on the Company’s parts and service operations.
2006: Brisbane Motor Auctions and Bayside Honda/Kia businesses acquired in first quarter.
Hidden Valley Ford and the Stuart Motor Group Darwin acquired August 2006.
Record group pre-tax profit of $36.8million achieved inclusive of a $15million profit on sale of surplus property.
2007: Record group pre-tax trading profit of $40 million achieved on turnover of $1.67 billion.
Surfers City Holden, Saab and Hummer acquired in August 2007.
Kloster Motor Group acquired in February 2007. Klosters is the largest automotive retailer in the Newcastle and Hunter Valley region of New South Wales with exclusive representation for BMW / Mini, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Suzuki and VW.
2008: Bill Buckle Auto Group acquired in March 2008. The Bill Buckle Auto Group is the premier motor dealership group in Sydney’s Northern Beaches region of Brookvale and Mosman and was AP Eagers first acquisition in the Sydney market. They operate four premium brands, Toyota, Volkswagen, Subaru and Audi.
2009: Record group net profit before tax of $52.5 million, record underlying profit before tax of $50.1 million and record annual dividend of 62 cents per share.
2010: Late 2010 witnessed further expansion of the group’s truck and bus operations with the acquisition of Western Star, MAN, Dennis Eagle and Foton truck franchises at Sydney Truck Centre in Narellan, NSW, and Hyundai truck franchises at both Dandenong, Victoria, and Regency Park, South Australia, together with the Higer bus franchises at both Regency Park, South Australia and Narellan, NSW.
Adtrans Group was acquired in late 2010. Adtrans, the premier automotive retailer in South Australia, was A P Eagers’ initial entry into the South Australian and Victorian markets with Adtrans operating 7 car brands and 8 truck and bus brands across South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
Caloundra City Autos group of dealerships acquired in April 2010. Caloundra City Autos operate five brands, Holden, Honda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Great Wall on two prime sites in Queensland’s growing Sunshine Coast region.
2011: Daimler Trucks Adelaide was acquired in September 2011. This business represents Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner and Fuso products, including trucks, buses and vans, and was relocated to our existing Regency Park site.
Eblen Motors, located at Glenelg and Angaston, South Australia, and representing Subaru, Suzuki and Isuzu Ute, was acquired in March 2011 to complement Adtrans’ existing motor vehicle operations.
2012: Carzoos was established to provide used car buyers with the Carzoos Happiness Guarantee and a 48 hour money back guarantee.
In July 2012 AP Eagers purchased a stake in listed Perth-based Automotive Holdings Group, or AHG. By year’s end, AP Eagers had increased its stake to 19%, just below the trigger for notifying the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) of a takeover.
Record earnings per share (EPS) of 34 cents.
2013: AP. Eagers celebrates its centenary on 7 January 2013.
Main North Nissan and Renault and Unley Nissan and Renault, Adelaide, were acquired in September 2013 to complement the group’s strongly performing SA cars division. AP Eagers reported 2013 annual revenue was up 1% to $2.67 billion, and statutory net profit was $64 million for a 15% gain. Earnings per share (EPS) rose to a record of 36.4 cents.
Precision Automotive Technology was established as a new business to source and distribute their own range of car care products under the brand names, Perfexion and 365+.
2014: On July 16, 2014, AP Eagers provided earnings guidance for the half-year ended June 30, 2014. The company expects to achieve a record profit result for the half-year ended June 30. Operating profit is forecast around $46 million, up 10% from $42.0 million for the corresponding period of 2013, and net profit is expected to be $33.5 million, up 7% from $31.4 million, due to non-recurring tax deductions in 2013.

He who pays the piper, tunes the cars

The critical year for Nick Politis involvement in AP Eagers Ltd was 2000. On March 31st, Nick Politis, through his private company WFM Motors Pty Ltd, acquired a substantial interest of three million shares in AP Eagers Ltd - thus heading the list of shareholders - with a holding 34.69 per cent. In April 2014, this shareholding was worth $319.9 million.

The lead into this purchase occurred when Alan Piper, long-standing executive at Eagers, became ill. Continuity within Eagers was assured with Ken Macdonald remaining as Managing Director and Dennis Hull continuing as Company Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, and it was understood that all employees would continue to support them. The meeting was assured that from an operational point of view the Company was ‘as strong as ever’, and there was an indication from Nick Politis that he would accept a seat on the Board should one be offered. The Board had no doubt that with his extensive motor industry interests in Australia and abroad he would add significantly to the Company’s future. In other words AP Eagers were banking on his impeccable economic credentials, and his profile in the industry – the Greeks would call it charisma or ‘hurisma’ - to enhance the status and performance of the company.

Alan Piper, despite his serious illness, had planned for the structure of the business to remain in good hands and had asked Nick Politis to take an interest in the Company. Nick was appointed a Director on 5 May 2000, less than a month after Alan’s death. They went back a long way, having been ‘Ford dealers together’, as Nick explains; recalling Alan Piper’s years at Torque Ford and Coachcraft. Both had been part of the Ford graduate training programme, though Alan was younger. Both were sports fanatics: Alan had been Chairman of the Brisbane Lions Australian Rules Football Club while Nick was Chairman of the Sydney Roosters Rugby League Football Club. They gave birth to the current concept of corporate sponsorship for sporting clubs.

Gradually the story of the share transfer emerged, how at Pipers’ instigation Ben Macdonald rang Nick Politis on his mobile phone unexpectedly one Sunday. They knew of each other but had never met. Alan was not well and had told Ben he had only a couple of months to live. ‘He wants you to buy his stake’, said Ben, ‘he trusts you to do the right thing by his family’. Nick Politis who was about to board a flight overseas, without hesitation or fuss said: ‘Tell him I’ll buy his shares and I will come and see him as soon as I get back.’ The rest is history.

Denis Alan Aitken was appointed a Director on 30 March 2001, and would serve in that capacity until 31 March 2006. He was a Director of Auto Group Ltd, and a Director and Deputy Chairman of WFM Motors Pty Ltd. Nick Politis was described as a Motor Vehicle Dealer, Chairman of Ford’s Sydney RJV, and a Director and Executive Chairman of a substantial number of Proprietary Limited companies. WFM Motors Pty Ltd, Nick Politis’ private company, headed the list of shareholders, holding 34.69 per cent of AP Eagers in 2000. Nick Politis on 5 September 2000 had sought shareholder approval to increase his stake in AP Eagers through the acquisition of 2,300,000 shares from Damelian Automobile Ltd at $4.70 per share. This was approved by shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting on 8 November 2000. They had been assured by the Chairman that there was no indication from Nick Politis or Rick Damelian of a desire to take over the Company, and that ‘it was necessary to endorse a cornerstone investor with strong motor industry skills’. The meeting heard from Nick Politis that car manufacturers, unlike other industries, identified with personalities, not with companies. They had identified with Alan Piper and the inference was clear that now they would identify with him.

Further synergies between AP Eagers and WFM Motors were achieved in 2004. AP Eagers had acquired all the shares in City Automotive Group Pty Ltd on 1 July 2004, and the associated land and buildings, from WFM Motors, for $14.1 million. This brought them the City Mitsubishi, City Subaru and City Peugeot franchises, all conveniently situated at Newstead, adjoining the property recently bought by the Company from the Reliance Worldwide Manufacturing Group. This was achieved with shareholder approval of a special resolution, Board members Nick Politis and Denis Aitken being also directors of WFM Motors did not vote on the resolution. Shareholders were advised that this acquisition was a ‘key plank’ in the Directors’ strategy to grow the Company, and that an independent expert had found the move fair and reasonable to non-associated shareholders. That year a record Group pre-tax profit of $17.2 million was achieved by AP Eagers.

Perth based Automotive Holdings Group AHG is the largest automotive dealer listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). AP Eagers is the second largest automotive dealer on the ASX. AP Eagers has made many strategic purchases. One of its most strategic occurred with the purchase of a very substantial stake in Automotive Holdings Group during the course of 2012. In 2013, AP Eagers biggest gain in earnings came from its investments - predominantly its 19.57% stake in Automotive Holdings Group.

AHG has 152 and 87 dealerships around Australia, and in New Zealand, but it has the lion's share of the lucrative Perth market with 40 dealerships in the city, including several at the top end of the market. While AHG is based in Perth it has been expanding aggressively into the eastern states, Victoria in particular, where AP Eagers does not have a strong presence.

The AP Eagers purchase of AHG enhanced its national presence in the industry. AHG is a very high performing company. Group half-year total revenue grew 6.8% to $2.32 billion. Net profit was $38.3 million, up 1.1%. Its automotive segment revenue increased 8% to $1.92 billion and profit was up 20%. The company also operates logistics services for storage and transport.

Nick Politis position as an individual shareholder is clear. He owns almost a third of AP Eagers, which in turn owns almost 20% of Automotive Holdings Group – the two largest automotive dealers on the ASX. Nick seems to be sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat of the Australian automotive industry.

Personal Wealth

According to Business Review Weekly magazine, Nick Politis wealth as of 2010 was estimated at $182 million. However, by 2013, it was estimated at more than $200 million, with business turn-over of $4 billion annually. The following year in 2014, BRW released its annual Rich 200 list which listed Politis' wealth at $410 million. He was 171st on this list, and amongst the five wealthiest Greek-Australians in Australia. The other four are Con Makris a shopping centre magnate from South Australia. Kerry Harmanis, a nickel miner whose Jubilee Mines was acquired by resources giant Xstrata in 2007 for $3.1 billion. Harry Stamoulis and family originally owners of the Gold Medal Soft Drink company, and later property developers. Theo Karedis, originally a Neutral Bay delicatessen, who later built up the Theo’s Liquor emporium, which he sold to Coles Myer in 2002. Theo still maintains an interest in Hotels, and has invested heavily in property. And, George Koukis originally from Chalkis, near Athens who is the founder of banking software company Temenos. Temenos is a global leader in the development of banking software.

Many of Nick Politis’ achievements have been clearly laid out above. How do you sum up and commend his achievements? Aside from the economic success Nick has led a busy, interesting, exciting, significant, beneficent, fully engaged life. Who could ask for more than that?

Like the other five Australia Award recipients of 2014, he is a positive and significant role model for Kytherian-Australians, Greek-Australians, Greeks and Australians around the world.

Congratulations Nick on an honour richly deserved.

History > Documents

submitted by George Poulos on 15.09.2014

The AP Eagers book, celebrating 100 years since the Company's inception

Prominent Kytherian, Nick Politis, owns a substantial shareholding in A P Eagers, as you will find if you read the biographical sketch of Nick Politis, below.

You can access and download this e-book, A Driving Force. A. P. Eagers Centenary. 1913-2013, at http://www.apeagers.com.au/100-years/centenary-history-book/

Nicholas (Nick) George Politis

Nick Politis is one of five Australian-Kytherian’s to receive Australian honours in 2014. On the Queen’s birthday he was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia, for significant service to rugby league football as an administrator.

He could equally have been bestowed with the honour as one of Kytherian-Australia’s, Greek-Australia’s, and Australia’s most prominent and successful businessmen.

His AM citation also mentions: Philanthropic supporter to a range of charitable organisations, ongoing.

A Kytherian and Greek Immigrants story.

The Background


The Politis story begins during the early period of the 20th century in the two major centres of the Kytherian diaspora – Egypt and Constantinople. It then devolves on the village of Karavas, Kythera. Dimitrios Kosmas Patrikios, (1860-1930), born in Karavas, migrated to Egypt as a young boy. He became a great cotton merchant and property owner in Alexandria. He was a significant benefactor to the island, donating funds to create a ‘port’ for Kythera, and in 1934-1935, with money left in his will, his descendants built the ‘Patrikio skoli’ – the Agricultural School in central Karavas.

George Nicholas Politis was born in the area around Constantinople. His family’s early life was disrupted by events in the Pontian region of Greece in the period leading up to ‘the catastrophe’ of 1922. As a young boy, the family relocated to Athens. As a young adult he gained skills and qualifications in agricultural science. Soon after the Agricultural School was constructed, he was enticed to migrate to Kythera, and take up the position of ‘thiapontos’ – agricultural teacher. He maintained this position until 1940. The enterprise was fully funded by the Dimitrios Patrikios bequest. With the advent of WWII, the fund for the agricultural school ‘dried up’, and the school was appropriated by the military. Subsequently it has occasionally been rented out as a private residence. In most of the past seven decades, however, it has been used as a place to grow agricultural products, and as a civic centre. It continues to be used for these purposes today.

George Politis settled quickly into the Karavas community, and in 1940 he married Aryiro Evangalos Venardos – parachoukli “Mull-yaros”. Aryiro is the sister of Panayotis ‘Bulli’ Venardos, who along with Poppy, continue to run the ‘cafenion’ opposite the church of Ayios Haralambos in Karavas. Other brothers and sisters included Zafaria, Emmanuel (Bill), Minas (Mick) and Poppy, the high school teacher (‘i thaskalos). Only the latter remained in Greece with Panayotis. All the others migrated to Australia. As of 2014, the surviving siblings are Aryiro and Panayotis.

Nicholas (Nick) George Politis was born at the Patrikio skoli in Karavas, Kythera in 1942. After WWII George Politis and family relocated to Athens.

Zafaria Venardos was sponsored to Australia by Mick and Bill Venardos. She married George Petrohilos, originally from Fratsia, who had been in Australia for some time. In 1950 the Venardos brothers sponsored George Politis and family to Australia. The Politis family departed from the port city of Piraeus on the migrant ship – Kirinea. Another passenger on this ship recalls that “the trip was exhausting and took 30 days. During this time we attended English language classes. We were treated very well on the ship; we were entertained by musicians, and were shown movies about our new country.” The ship berthed in Melbourne. Bill Venardos drove down from Queensland to meet the family, and drove them back to Queensland. The Politis family first went to Ipswich, which lies 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the Brisbane CBD, and stayed for a year or more. In 1952 Mick Venardos went to Blackhall, to run the Central Cafe with his brother Bill. The Central Cafe had a long history from the 1920’s of Kytherian ownership through the Cominos and Logos families.

Blackall is a small town and rural locality in the Blackall-Tambo Region in central west Queensland, Australia. Named after Sir Samuel Blackall, the second Governor of Queensland, it lies approximately 960 kilometres (600 mi) by road from the state capital, Brisbane. The town is situated on the Barcoo River and Landsborough Highway (Matilda Highway). At the 2011 census Blackhall had a population of 1,588. It is the service centre for the Blackall-Tambo Region. The dominant industry in the area is grazing.

The Venardos family were heavily involved in Rugby League. Angelo Venardos played Rugby League for Toowoomba in the Bulimba Cup competition. He now lives at Forest Beach. Bill Venardos was President of the Blackhall Rugby League Club, and a senior Administrator in Queensland Rugby League. He was also a prominent local government administrator, as well as a former president of the Kytherian Association of Queensland. His achievements were sufficiently prominent to warrant an entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

In 1953 George Politis decided to move to Blackhall, and with a partner, Peter Aloysios purchased the Central Cafe from the Vernardos brothers. View / download a copy of the history of the Central Cafe, from a plaque created by the Blackhall City Council, here:
Blackhall Plaque Central Cafe.pdf

Maria, George and Aryiro’s second child was born in Blackhall at this time. Maria would eventually go to Greece to study as a young adult, marry Dr John Tsellonis, and decide to reside in Greece permanently. Nick attended year four primary school at Blackhall. One of his classmates describes him as a likeable and boisterous boy.

The Politis family stayed in Blackhall for another few years before selling their half share in the Central Cafe to Peter Aloysios’ brother Mick. The family then returned to Brisbane. From 1958 George Politis made a number of astute property purchases in Brisbane. He also developed properties, including a commercial block of shops opposite the Princess Alexandra Hospital on Ipswich Road, Wooloongabba. George moved the family from Ipswich to Saint Lucia, where the University of Queensland is located. George and Aryiro’s last ‘shop keeping’ venture seems to have been purchasing a cinema at West End in South Brisbane, which they ran for 2 or 3 years and then sold. They subsequently retired.

George died in 1986. Aryiro is 97 years of old and very much alive. She spends her time on Kythera and in Athens. Kytherians who know her gain immense pleasure from meeting her in Ayia Pelagia and engaging her in conversation, during the Kytherian summer.

Nick Politis was educated at Ipswich Grammar School, for the final four years of high school (1956-1960). Nick was one of four Army Cadets under Officers in his senior year and was identified as having ‘leadership qualities’. Ipswich Grammar is one of the oldest educational institutions in Queensland (151 years old in 2014). The School takes great pride in ‘advertising’ the achievements of its most prominent ‘old boys’ who include Sydney Harbour Bridge designer John Bradfield, former Chief of Army and military historian Lieutenant General John Coates, and retired High Court Judge Harry Gibbs, and of course, influential Sydney businessman Nick Politis. The School has also produced many of Australia’s elite sportsmen.

Whilst at school, Nick was a ‘cafe kid’; he worked in a fruit shop to supplement his income. For more information about cafe culture in Queensland, with particular reference to Ipswich, see Toni Rissons’ Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill. From Ipswich Grammar School Nick followed the pathway of so many other children of Kytherian and Greek immigrants of his generation, into tertiary education. He attended the University of Queensland where he graduated in Commerce and Economics. A career with the Ford motor company would follow.

Nick is a private, almost guarded person. Something of a ‘mystery man’ to the media, he rarely gives interviews or speaks publicly. ‘I sit back, watch. You learn more that way’, he says. He is also a very tough man. Speaking about the ‘tough times’ at the Roosters, 2009-2012, he philosophises: “It (was) the toughest two or three years. It was tough but that's sport. It's all about the experience. You get addicted because you can't bank the results. If money could buy the results, all the billionaires in the world would have the trophy. You've got to be ready to take the fall and you've got to stand (during adversity). The character of people comes out when you're going bad, not when you're going well. When things go bad, that's when you've got to stay strong.” Loyalty is another trait that Nick values. He has often supported employees, friends and associates long after continuing to provide that support is in his best interest. “The thing in life is that you've got to support people when they get in trouble if they are good people,” Politis says. “That's what (I try and) do”.

As his AM citation states Nick is a philanthropic supporter to a range of charitable organisations, ongoing. In Greek we would could him a ‘sporti’. Don’t bother to sit down, however, and try and chronicle the depth and breadth of his philanthropy and benefaction. Chances are that only those who are the beneficiaries will ever know that it was he who provided the funds. He is not the kind of person who feels the need to have his benefaction acknowledged.

As he has grown older, many have noticed that he has increasingly embraced, and engaged with, his Kytherian and Greek roots. Of Kythera he says - “I just love the place”. He has visited Kythera more often over the past decade, and recently developed three units and a shop on the southern end of the beach at Ayia Pelagia, Kythera. The size of the development is modest by his standards, but the quality of the development and integration into the streetscape is superior. The shame is that so few other developers on Kythera follow his lead.

More recently he and other like minded Pelagian’s have formed a group whose purpose is to enhance the beauty and cleanliness of the Ayia Pelagia area, particularly the area on the sea frontage. Ayia Pelagia is the cleanest and best maintained beach on Kythera.

Nick Politis interest in the sporting world and business are inextricably intertwined. Somehow he has managed to balance and integrate his interest in both worlds. We will return to Nick’s career with Ford and his emergence as one of Australia’s most influential automotive dealers shortly. Firstly let’s examine his involvement in sport, and his emergence as.........

The consummate Rugby League chief executive

In almost 40 years, Nick Politis has been the central figure in some of the most momentous events, and the biggest ‘deals’, in the 105-year history of the code of Rugby League. His involvement in what would later become the National Rugby League (NRL) began in 1976, when a group of Kings Cross detectives nicknamed the ‘Darlo Desperates’, who included legendary South Sydney player, Jack Rayner, introduced Nick Politis to NSW Rugby League (NSW RL) supremo John Quayle and Eastern Suburbs Roosters CEO Ron Jones. Initially, NSW Rugby League boss Kevin Humphreys rejected Politis' proposal to sponsor the Eastern Suburbs Roosters with City Ford in 1975. In 1976, Nick broke new ground in marketing, when City Ford became the first company to sponsor a team in the NSW RL. For his first foray into rugby league, budding businessman Politis brokered a three-year $150,000 deal to have his City Ford car dealership emblazoned on the front of the Roosters jersey as major sponsor. By 1977, St George, Manly, Cronulla and every club in Sydney were brokering deals to tap into the new revenue stream. Retrospectively Politis’ idea can be assessed as a visionary and pioneering deal that altered the nature of sponsorship across many sports. I also constituted very good value for money.

In 1993 Nick moved from being sponsor to Chairman of the Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club (Sydney Roosters). He assumed the Chairmanship from Keith Steele. Long standing secretary-manager Ron Jones, stood down at the same time.

Many believe that the transformation of the Sydney Roosters coincided with Politis appointment. Hand-picking his own team of directors, which in recent years has included James Packer, Channel Nine boss David Gyngell, Mark Bouris of Wizard Home Loans and Yellow Brick Road, mining identity Peter ‘Talky’ Newton and Premier Retail chief executive Mark McInnes, Shine Australia CEO Mark Fennessy, the Roosters have sometimes not had to hold board elections for more than 10 years at a time, as there have not been disgruntled members to challenge them.

“There's no doubt that the current success of the club is the result of 15 years of hard work by Nick," said former ARL general manager John Quayle, a member of the Roosters' 1975 grand-final-winning team. “If you go back to the mid-1980s when the league was looking very closely at its struggling clubs, Easts were one of those ... so to turn things around the way they have is a tribute to Nick and his board. The changes he introduced brought stability and a professionalism ... which is now the benchmark of how a football club should be administered and coached.” Nick Politis is the Roosters. Around the club they call him ‘Uncle Nick’ or ‘The Godfather’.

“We needed to restore the Roosters DNA to the place,” Politis has asserted. “I don’t want to detract from anyone who worked here before, but we really wanted to get people back who had a feeling for this club. When we did that, I remember one of the staff rang me and thanked me for getting them back. That call meant a lot to me.” Roosters sources reveal that from time to time ‘he still dips into his vast fortune to a ‘significant degree’, when other high-profile figures on his board do not’. “Nick is the driving force of the Roosters,” says Channel Nine chief executive David Gyngell, a former director, and close Politis ally. “He has built a cult of loyalty in staff, players and friends who love the club. People often think he's all passion but he's not. He's very strategic and will always make his calls based on smart long-term decisions that are good for the club.”

The Roosters success has been obscured somewhat by the fact that the club has reached six grand finals in the past 13 years – and won only two of them. But, Politis rightly asserts “this is a record only matched by the Melbourne Storm. People forget that record. This is a great record.” Nick Politis is obsessed by the Roosters. He is a Roosters man through and through. If you're looking for proof, ask him to roll up his sleeve. Before the grand final in 2002, Nick, not a man enamoured of tattoo’s, had a Roosters logo tattooed on his arm. Before the grand final Nick said to the team: “You have to win.... don’t let me down... because you can’t take these tattoos off easily.” Subsequent to the 2002 Grand Final win – the first Roosters premiership since Nick first sponsored the team in 1976 - most of the Roosters players joined their Chairman in getting a premiership logo tattoos as well. “I'm very passionate about sport and the club. It becomes a part of your life.”

Nick gained immense satisfaction from the Roosters Grand final victory in 2013. For a precious moment on that Sunday night in October chairman Nick Politis savoured the chance to watch from afar. “As players, coaches, staff, board members and sponsors celebrated after full-time, the proud patriarch of Bondi sat alone a few rows from the fence and silently contemplated the jubilation. I just wanted to sit there for a while and take it all in by myself. I was sitting near the sidelines and everyone else had gone out on the field to celebrate. Everyone had jumped up, but I thought I'd sit back before I joined them. It was a very special moment.”

Analysing the performance later, Politis explained, “When we last won in 2002, we were in the mix and had been in the Grand Final just two years earlier. But the previous two years (2011, 2012) we finished 11th and 13th. No-one gave us a chance to win in the off-season. Not only did we win, but we broke a lot of records. We won the minor premiership, our for and against was the best-ever, and we held six teams scoreless.”

“How does that happen”, journalist Josh Massoud asked?
“It's about belief, and that's what ‘Robbo’ (coach, Trent Robinson) was able to instil in everyone this year. I noticed over the last few months of the season, no one doubted we were going to win. There was always going to be a next week. So even when we were down 18-8 in the second half, the players didn’t stop believing they would win. And if you believe in something strongly enough, it usually happens.” You can watch a very enthusiastic Nick Politis interviewed in the ‘sheds’, after the 2013 Grand Final win at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkcwHsX-X_Q

The Super League war. Politis maintains his loyalty.

Those not au fait with Rugby League and its history, may not understand what the Super League war was. The Super League war was the corporate dispute that was fought in and out of court during the mid-1990s between the Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation-backed Super League (Australia) and the Kerry Packer and Optus Vision-backed Australian Rugby League organisations, over broadcasting rights for, and ultimately control of the top-level professional rugby league football competition of Australasia. After much court action from the already-existing ARL to prevent it from happening, Super League ran one premiership season parallel to the ARL's in 1997 after signing enough clubs disenchanted with the traditional administration to do so. At the conclusion of that season a peace deal was reached and both Leagues united to form the National Rugby League of today.

During the Super League war, Politis spent long periods overseas attending to other business interests. At the time, his mobile phone would go off at all hours of the night with executives from News Limited, publisher of The Sunday Telegraph, attempting to lure the Roosters from the ARL side of the fence. Had Politis, Gould, Ken Arthurson and John Quayle not stuck solid, the ARL would have been doomed. Politis, ever true to his dictum of loyalty, couldn’t betray his friend, ARL supremo John Quayle, despite the money on offer. This loyalty also helped secure the future of many Sydney-based NRL clubs, most of which were destined for extinction under the Super League ‘model’.

“If he'd jumped it would have been the end of the ARL and a lot of our clubs here in Sydney,” says Rugby League commentator, administrator, and fellow 2014 AM recipient, Phil Gould. “You can't believe the amount of pressure they put on him, but he hung in there … I honestly doubt that today we would have the Roosters if it wasn't for Nick.” John Quayle, to this day one of Politis' best mates, agrees: “History has never marked how important that stand was; what it meant to so many Sydney clubs.”

The Roosters culture is more akin to a close knit family, rather than an institution. A typical ‘family’ gesture occurred when Roosters legend Artie Beetson fell on hard times. Legendary Roosters coach Jack Gibson arranged a testimonial dinner. With the $400,000 raised, they bought Beetson a house in Newtown. After a nearly 40-year association with the Roosters ‘family’, Nick was asked in 2010 if he was tempted to end his association with the club. He replied: “Not at this stage. But eventually it's going to happen. I haven't got too many good summers left, you know. Somebody sooner or later will take over from me. Hopefully whoever takes over can continue the good work.” Alternatively, it may prove to be the case that Politis will remain, a Rooster for life?

Beyond his involvement with the Roosters, Nick Politis has held a number of senior positions in rugby league at the NSW and Australian levels. In 1996 he was appointed as a Director of the New South Wales Rugby League Club, a position he maintained until the year 2000. In 1997 Politis was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Australian Rugby League. He was a member of the Board for the duration of the Super League war, and again, maintained a directorship until the year 2000. After ‘peace was declared’, Politis was appointed in 1998 as a Director, of the Partnership Executive Committee, of the National Rugby League. He maintained this directorship until 2011.Throughout his Rugby League administrative career Nick maintained positions that ensured that he was one of the most powerful and influential figures in Australian Rugby League.

Involvement in other sports. The Sports Hall of Fame, Soccer and the Sydney Olympics

In September 2000, through an initiative of the Millennium Heritage Council, under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Greek Australian Sports Hall of Fame was established. Its purpose was to record and research the sporting achievements attained by Australians of Greek heritage who have distinguished themselves at either a National or International level.

As a result, 166 sports people were inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame, in the presence of the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, and the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. John Howard, during the unforgettable Millennium Ball held on Saturday, 2nd September, 2000, at the Westin Hotel in Sydney.

The evening was a historic milestone that revealed how vast the contribution was, by citizens of Greek descent, to Australian and world sport, in a very wide range of disciplines. Sportspeople travelled from all over Australia to attend the memorable event and felt enormous pride and honour at their induction. Nick Politis was amongst the first group of inductees.

In February 2000 Politis was honoured with an appointment as the Attaché to the Greek Olympic Team at the Sydney Olympic Games. On June 4th, he carried the Olympic flame along Bay Street in Brighton Le Sands, with great pride.

Nick Politis also had a brief six year involvement with the soccer club, Sydney Olympic, which had been founded by Greek migrants as Pan Hellenic in the 1950s. In 1998 Sydney Olympic was a member of the now-defunct National Soccer League (NSL). The club was being rejuvenated and privatised, and big business was circling. For a moment, it looked as if legendary stockbroker Rene Rivkin would take control of the club, but at the 11th hour Nick Politis decided to throw his lot in with a consortium labelled the Friends of Sydney Olympic.

Nick Balagiannis coined the phrase ‘five filthy rich Greeks’ to describe the new owners. Nick Politis was not fond of the epithet – it runs counter to his humble and understated style – but the local press keenly ‘ran with it’. The new owners envisaged a bright future for the club.

A number of factors contributed to the demise of the NSL. Chief among them was the loss of lucrative television rights revenue after the withdrawal of Channel Seven’s C7 Sports in 2002. By 2004 the NSL had ceased to exist. Having poured millions of dollars into the club with very little likelihood of a ‘turnaround’, Nick Politis resigned his position at the club, along with the Friends of Sydney Olympic chairman, Peter Raskopulos. When Sydney FC was being formed to take its place in the A-League (2004-2005) Nick was quick to quash unfounded rumours that he would become an owner or co-owner of the club.

Nick is very sanguine about the amount of money he has expended on sport, and the ability of anyone to make money out of sport. “I haven't seen anyone make money out of sport in Australia. It's a country of 22 million and we've got four types of football. It doesn't stack up. Think of the world - what other country that size has so many clubs? We've got 16 NRL clubs, we've got 16 AFL clubs, and we’ve got soccer, five rugby union franchises - all for 22 million.”

Throughout his life, Nick Politis kicked a lot more economic goals by involving himself with the Ford motor company. In the final sections of this biographical sketch it is time for us to turn away from his involvement in sport, and endeavour to explain how Nick became one of the most influential automotive dealers in Australia; amassing a very substantial fortune in the process. The Ford story begins soon after he graduated from High School.

Ford. A very YES place to be involved in.
"yes...yes...yes...,City Ford says yes more often"


Career counselling in his final year of school at Ipswich Grammar steered Nick Politis towards a career in sales. Upon completing University, Nick joined the Ford Graduates Trainee Program. And after 12 months in Melbourne his new career was in sales and marketing. From regional manager in the early 1970s, he moved on to take over from Jack Stratigos as the Queensland State Manager for Ford. He was an employee of the Ford Motor Company from 1966 until 1974.

In 1974 Nick bought the Wright Ford car dealership business in Sydney and changed its name to City Ford. He made the purchase through a corporation called WFM Motors Pty Ltd, trading as City Ford. He maintained that entity until 2001, when he sold the business. He continued to trade beyond 2001 as WFM Motors Pty Ltd, still engaged in the motor trade, as the owner of numerous motor vehicle franchises, car dealerships and properties.

His marketing skills were extraordinary. Even two decades after Australians last saw and heard the Ford advertisements - "yes...yes...yes...,City Ford says yes more often" – the jingle is indelibly etched on the collective Australian psyche. The secret to selling cars, Nick believes, is the same as running a successful club. ''You have to be prepared to work hard, be very enthusiastic and not give up. You need perseverance. Enthusiasm”.

Additionally, his work ethic, knowledge of the automotive industry, his business acumen and instinct, are extraordinary. He seems to know intuitively when to buy into and when to sell out of various businesses.
WFM Motors Pty Ltd has enjoyed a sustained period of economic expansion. To track this business development for 1974 to 2001, and from 2001 to date, is well beyond the scope of this biographical sketch. Suffice to say, the development was based on astute and strategic purchases and sales, which engendered great success.

This culminated in early April 2014, when Nick finalised an agreement with listed South African company Barloworld one of Australia’s largest Volkswagen dealerships in a deal worth about $130 million. “Barloworld is a good South African company and is expanding into other areas,” Politis explains. “They are also very big in mining and Caterpillar machinery.” Barloworld Motor Australia represents Holden, HSV, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen with nine dealerships. As part of the deal, Politis bought seven dealerships in Melbourne and Sydney, including the Mercedes-Benz dealership in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton, and a dealership on the Mornington Peninsula. The transaction also included a Holden dealership in Melbourne’s Glen Waverley and four Volkswagen outlets — two each in Sydney and Melbourne.

The properties of the two Melbourne dealerships, worth at least $70m, were included in the sale. However, the total value of the transaction is far less than industry sources had conjectured — between $250m and $500m. They said early in April 2014, that Politis was unlikely to be able to secure all nine dealerships, suggesting two would probably be sold if he bought the entire business to avoid market concentration issues. This is an example of yet another astute and timely purchase of a business by Nick Politis. The purchase also returned a significant segment of the automotive industry from overseas to Australian control.

Nick Politis has been a Member of the Motor Traders' Association of NSW, since 1985.

Nick Politis even greater involvement in the automotive industry is through a very significant shareholding in a Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) listed company called A. P Eagers Limited (AP Eagers). The history of AP Eagers is an intriguing one.

AP Eagers. A Driving Force. 101 years of successful involvement in the Australian Automotive Industry.

“AP Eagers currently represents both the best-selling and luxury brands, has nearly 100 dealerships, including their formidable bus and truck operations. And though still a purely automotive business they have acquired a great deal of prime real estate. The transformation of the corporation over a century is a fascinating story, of how the entity has read the prospective market and catered accordingly”.

2013 heralded 100 years involvement in the automotive Industry in Australia, for A.P. Eagers Limited. A brief history of the company’s emergence and growth is provided below. You can access and download a more substantial history, in the e-book, A Driving Force. A. P. Eagers Centenary. 1913-2013, at http://www.apeagers.com.au/100-years/centenary-history-book/

You can access, listen to, and view an interesting audiovisual history of AP Eagers at the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame web-site at: http://leaders.slq.qld.gov.au/inductees/a-p-eagers-limited/

Most of what ensures below derives from the e-book A Driving Force.

1913: E.G. Eagers & Son Pty Ltd established by Messrs Edward and Fred Eager.
1922: Eagers installs the first motor vehicle assembly plant in Queensland.
1930: General Motors-Holden franchises acquired.
1957: Eagers Holdings Limited listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
1992: Eagers merges with A.P. Group Ltd, a company of which Mr Alan Piper was the majority shareholder, operating Ford, Toyota, Honda and Land Rover franchises.
1993-98: Porsche, VW, KIA, Volvo, Mazda and MG Rover franchises acquired.
2000: Mr Nick Politis’ WFM Motors Pty Ltd acquires a substantial interest after the death of Alan Piper.
2001: Metro/Torque Ford and Toyota business acquired.
2002: A.P. Eagers posts a record pre-tax profit of $12.3M and acquires Jaguar franchise.
2003: Market capitalization passes $100M.
2004: City Automotive Group Pty Ltd acquired in July with Mitsubishi, Subaru and Peugeot franchises. Record Group pre-tax profit of $17.2M achieved.
2005: Record Group pre-tax profit of $19.1 million achieved, turnover surpasses $1 billion.
A.P. Eagers acquires first interstate franchise, Bridge Toyota, in Darwin. Shareholders enjoyed capital growth and increased income – ‘That’s what we’re there for’, declared Nick Politis recently, ‘to give value to shareholders’. AP Eagers is proud of its consistent earnings and dividends that are not dependent solely on vehicle sales, but rest as well on the Company’s parts and service operations.
2006: Brisbane Motor Auctions and Bayside Honda/Kia businesses acquired in first quarter.
Hidden Valley Ford and the Stuart Motor Group Darwin acquired August 2006.
Record group pre-tax profit of $36.8million achieved inclusive of a $15million profit on sale of surplus property.
2007: Record group pre-tax trading profit of $40 million achieved on turnover of $1.67 billion.
Surfers City Holden, Saab and Hummer acquired in August 2007.
Kloster Motor Group acquired in February 2007. Klosters is the largest automotive retailer in the Newcastle and Hunter Valley region of New South Wales with exclusive representation for BMW / Mini, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Suzuki and VW.
2008: Bill Buckle Auto Group acquired in March 2008. The Bill Buckle Auto Group is the premier motor dealership group in Sydney’s Northern Beaches region of Brookvale and Mosman and was AP Eagers first acquisition in the Sydney market. They operate four premium brands, Toyota, Volkswagen, Subaru and Audi.
2009: Record group net profit before tax of $52.5 million, record underlying profit before tax of $50.1 million and record annual dividend of 62 cents per share.
2010: Late 2010 witnessed further expansion of the group’s truck and bus operations with the acquisition of Western Star, MAN, Dennis Eagle and Foton truck franchises at Sydney Truck Centre in Narellan, NSW, and Hyundai truck franchises at both Dandenong, Victoria, and Regency Park, South Australia, together with the Higer bus franchises at both Regency Park, South Australia and Narellan, NSW.
Adtrans Group was acquired in late 2010. Adtrans, the premier automotive retailer in South Australia, was A P Eagers’ initial entry into the South Australian and Victorian markets with Adtrans operating 7 car brands and 8 truck and bus brands across South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
Caloundra City Autos group of dealerships acquired in April 2010. Caloundra City Autos operate five brands, Holden, Honda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Great Wall on two prime sites in Queensland’s growing Sunshine Coast region.
2011: Daimler Trucks Adelaide was acquired in September 2011. This business represents Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner and Fuso products, including trucks, buses and vans, and was relocated to our existing Regency Park site.
Eblen Motors, located at Glenelg and Angaston, South Australia, and representing Subaru, Suzuki and Isuzu Ute, was acquired in March 2011 to complement Adtrans’ existing motor vehicle operations.
2012: Carzoos was established to provide used car buyers with the Carzoos Happiness Guarantee and a 48 hour money back guarantee.
In July 2012 AP Eagers purchased a stake in listed Perth-based Automotive Holdings Group, or AHG. By year’s end, AP Eagers had increased its stake to 19%, just below the trigger for notifying the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) of a takeover.
Record earnings per share (EPS) of 34 cents.
2013: AP. Eagers celebrates its centenary on 7 January 2013.
Main North Nissan and Renault and Unley Nissan and Renault, Adelaide, were acquired in September 2013 to complement the group’s strongly performing SA cars division. AP Eagers reported 2013 annual revenue was up 1% to $2.67 billion, and statutory net profit was $64 million for a 15% gain. Earnings per share (EPS) rose to a record of 36.4 cents.
Precision Automotive Technology was established as a new business to source and distribute their own range of car care products under the brand names, Perfexion and 365+.
2014: On July 16, 2014, AP Eagers provided earnings guidance for the half-year ended June 30, 2014. The company expects to achieve a record profit result for the half-year ended June 30. Operating profit is forecast around $46 million, up 10% from $42.0 million for the corresponding period of 2013, and net profit is expected to be $33.5 million, up 7% from $31.4 million, due to non-recurring tax deductions in 2013.

He who pays the piper, tunes the cars

The critical year for Nick Politis involvement in AP Eagers Ltd was 2000. On March 31st, Nick Politis, through his private company WFM Motors Pty Ltd, acquired a substantial interest of three million shares in AP Eagers Ltd - thus heading the list of shareholders - with a holding 34.69 per cent. In April 2014, this shareholding was worth $319.9 million.

The lead into this purchase occurred when Alan Piper, long-standing executive at Eagers, became ill. Continuity within Eagers was assured with Ken Macdonald remaining as Managing Director and Dennis Hull continuing as Company Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, and it was understood that all employees would continue to support them. The meeting was assured that from an operational point of view the Company was ‘as strong as ever’, and there was an indication from Nick Politis that he would accept a seat on the Board should one be offered. The Board had no doubt that with his extensive motor industry interests in Australia and abroad he would add significantly to the Company’s future. In other words AP Eagers were banking on his impeccable economic credentials, and his profile in the industry – the Greeks would call it charisma or ‘hurisma’ - to enhance the status and performance of the company.

Alan Piper, despite his serious illness, had planned for the structure of the business to remain in good hands and had asked Nick Politis to take an interest in the Company. Nick was appointed a Director on 5 May 2000, less than a month after Alan’s death. They went back a long way, having been ‘Ford dealers together’, as Nick explains; recalling Alan Piper’s years at Torque Ford and Coachcraft. Both had been part of the Ford graduate training programme, though Alan was younger. Both were sports fanatics: Alan had been Chairman of the Brisbane Lions Australian Rules Football Club while Nick was Chairman of the Sydney Roosters Rugby League Football Club. They gave birth to the current concept of corporate sponsorship for sporting clubs.

Gradually the story of the share transfer emerged, how at Pipers’ instigation Ben Macdonald rang Nick Politis on his mobile phone unexpectedly one Sunday. They knew of each other but had never met. Alan was not well and had told Ben he had only a couple of months to live. ‘He wants you to buy his stake’, said Ben, ‘he trusts you to do the right thing by his family’. Nick Politis who was about to board a flight overseas, without hesitation or fuss said: ‘Tell him I’ll buy his shares and I will come and see him as soon as I get back.’ The rest is history.

Denis Alan Aitken was appointed a Director on 30 March 2001, and would serve in that capacity until 31 March 2006. He was a Director of Auto Group Ltd, and a Director and Deputy Chairman of WFM Motors Pty Ltd. Nick Politis was described as a Motor Vehicle Dealer, Chairman of Ford’s Sydney RJV, and a Director and Executive Chairman of a substantial number of Proprietary Limited companies. WFM Motors Pty Ltd, Nick Politis’ private company, headed the list of shareholders, holding 34.69 per cent of AP Eagers in 2000. Nick Politis on 5 September 2000 had sought shareholder approval to increase his stake in AP Eagers through the acquisition of 2,300,000 shares from Damelian Automobile Ltd at $4.70 per share. This was approved by shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting on 8 November 2000. They had been assured by the Chairman that there was no indication from Nick Politis or Rick Damelian of a desire to take over the Company, and that ‘it was necessary to endorse a cornerstone investor with strong motor industry skills’. The meeting heard from Nick Politis that car manufacturers, unlike other industries, identified with personalities, not with companies. They had identified with Alan Piper and the inference was clear that now they would identify with him.

Further synergies between AP Eagers and WFM Motors were achieved in 2004. AP Eagers had acquired all the shares in City Automotive Group Pty Ltd on 1 July 2004, and the associated land and buildings, from WFM Motors, for $14.1 million. This brought them the City Mitsubishi, City Subaru and City Peugeot franchises, all conveniently situated at Newstead, adjoining the property recently bought by the Company from the Reliance Worldwide Manufacturing Group. This was achieved with shareholder approval of a special resolution, Board members Nick Politis and Denis Aitken being also directors of WFM Motors did not vote on the resolution. Shareholders were advised that this acquisition was a ‘key plank’ in the Directors’ strategy to grow the Company, and that an independent expert had found the move fair and reasonable to non-associated shareholders. That year a record Group pre-tax profit of $17.2 million was achieved by AP Eagers.

Perth based Automotive Holdings Group AHG is the largest automotive dealer listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). AP Eagers is the second largest automotive dealer on the ASX. AP Eagers has made many strategic purchases. One of its most strategic occurred with the purchase of a very substantial stake in Automotive Holdings Group during the course of 2012. In 2013, AP Eagers biggest gain in earnings came from its investments - predominantly its 19.57% stake in Automotive Holdings Group.

AHG has 152 and 87 dealerships around Australia, and in New Zealand, but it has the lion's share of the lucrative Perth market with 40 dealerships in the city, including several at the top end of the market. While AHG is based in Perth it has been expanding aggressively into the eastern states, Victoria in particular, where AP Eagers does not have a strong presence.

The AP Eagers purchase of AHG enhanced its national presence in the industry. AHG is a very high performing company. Group half-year total revenue grew 6.8% to $2.32 billion. Net profit was $38.3 million, up 1.1%. Its automotive segment revenue increased 8% to $1.92 billion and profit was up 20%. The company also operates logistics services for storage and transport.

Nick Politis position as an individual shareholder is clear. He owns almost a third of AP Eagers, which in turn owns almost 20% of Automotive Holdings Group – the two largest automotive dealers on the ASX. Nick seems to be sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat of the Australian automotive industry.

Personal Wealth

According to Business Review Weekly magazine, Nick Politis wealth as of 2010 was estimated at $182 million. However, by 2013, it was estimated at more than $200 million, with business turn-over of $4 billion annually. The following year in 2014, BRW released its annual Rich 200 list which listed Politis' wealth at $410 million. He was 171st on this list, and amongst the five wealthiest Greek-Australians in Australia. The other four are Con Makris a shopping centre magnate from South Australia. Kerry Harmanis, a nickel miner whose Jubilee Mines was acquired by resources giant Xstrata in 2007 for $3.1 billion. Harry Stamoulis and family originally owners of the Gold Medal Soft Drink company, and later property developers. Theo Karedis, originally a Neutral Bay delicatessen, who later built up the Theo’s Liquor emporium, which he sold to Coles Myer in 2002. Theo still maintains an interest in Hotels, and has invested heavily in property. And, George Koukis originally from Chalkis, near Athens who is the founder of banking software company Temenos. Temenos is a global leader in the development of banking software.

Many of Nick Politis’ achievements have been clearly laid out above. How do you sum up and commend his achievements? Aside from the economic success Nick has led a busy, interesting, exciting, significant, beneficent, fully engaged life. Who could ask for more than that?

Like the other five Australia Award recipients of 2014, he is a positive and significant role model for Kytherian-Australians, Greek-Australians, Greeks and Australians around the world.

Congratulations Nick on an honour richly deserved.

History > Documents

submitted by Kytherian Photography Snapshots on 05.08.2014

Kristina Williamson’s One Year on Kythera EXHIBITION

"ONE YEAR ON KYTHERA"

• Photograph exhibition & book presentation
Follow Your Art Gallery, Kapsali
Opening, Tuesday 5 August at 9.00 pm
Daily, 5-10 August

• Reception & Slide Projection
Zeidoros Art Centre, Kapsali
Saturday 9 August at 9.00 pm

“Kristina Williamson’s One Year on Kythera is a unique depiction of an island’s social and natural environment at a time of flux, and one which will prove an invaluable part of Kythera’s historical record. It is also the reflection of a stranger’s gradual acceptance of and by a culture at first seemingly strange and impenetrable. Last, but far from least, it can be read as an account of a young artist’s coming of age.”

John Stathatos, “Portrait of an island”

FOLLOW YOUR ART Gallery, Kapsali

ΔΕΛΤΙΟ ΤΥΠΟΥ

KRISTINA WILLIAMSON, «ONE YEAR ON KYTHERA»

Εγκαίνια: Τρίτη 5 Αυγούστου και ώρα 21:00

Διάρκεια έκθεσης 5/8 εώς 10/8/2014

Xάρη σε υποτροφία του ιδρύματος Fulbright και με την υποστήριξη της Πολιτιστικής Εταιρείας Κυθήρων, η Αμερικανίδα φωτογράφος Kristina Williamson έφθασε στα Κύθηρα τον Αύγουστο 2004. Έζησε έναν ολόκληρο χρόνο στα Κύθηρα με αποστολή τη φωτογραφική καταγραφή του νησιού και της ζωής των κατοίκων του.

Κατά τη διαμονή της, η Williamson μπόρεσε να πλησιάσει τις περισσότερες ομάδες που συνθέτουν την Κυθηραϊκή κοινωνία, γνώρισε πολλούς ανθρώπους όλων των ηλικιών και απέσπασε την εκτίμησή τους. Χωρίς ποτέ να χάσει την ταυτότητα του ξένου παρατηρητή, έγινε γρήγορα δεκτή ανάμεσά τους και μπόρεσε να απαθανατίσει, με διακριτικότητα αλλά και εμπάθεια, ιδιωτικές όσο και δημόσιες στιγμές του βίου των. Οι φωτογραφίες τις, διαποτισμένες με χιούμορ και τρυφερότητα, συνθέτουν ένα σαγηνευτικό χρονογράφημα της Κυθηραϊκής ζωής.

Με χρηματοδότηση του Ταμείου Παγκόσμιας Κυθηραϊκής Κληρονομιάς της Αυστραλίας, οι φωτογραφίες δημοσιεύθηκαν πρόσφατα σε εξαιρετικής ποιότητας δίγλωσσο λεύκωμα με τίτλο «Ένας Χρόνος στα Κύθηρα» και εισαγωγικό κείμενο του Γιάννη Σταθάτου. Το λεύκωμα παρουσιάζεται στη γκαλερί Follow Your Art στο Καψάλι, μαζί με μια επιλογή από φωτογραφίες (5-10 Αυγούστου, εγκαίνια 5 Αυγούστου). Θα ακολουθήσει δεξίωση, παρουσίαση του έργου της Williamson και προβολή διαφανειών στον Πολυχώρο Τέχνης Ζείδωρος (Καψάλι) στις 9 Αυγούστου, ώρα 9.00 μμ.

Το λεύκωμα «Ένας Χρόνος στα Κύθηρα» διατίθεται στα βιβλιοπωλεία των Κυθήρων και στη γκαλερί Follow Your Art.

FOLLOW YOUR ART: Καψάλι, Κύθηρα, τηλ: 6973639044 https://www.facebook.com/FollowYourArtgallery