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submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 02.10.2017

take me home ..country roads !

one of the best areas on the island north of potamo is the village of karava which once had an abandace of various fruit and vegetables growing on the steps of those hills surrounded by the homes of the people of karava , some of the houses in the village have been restored but a lot have been left to fall , great shame as they are wonderful old homes from a great past of the island ...

Photos > Architecture

submitted by James Victor Prineas on 05.09.2017

Saint Theodoros Protector of Kythera:

His story and timely influence in Kytherian life

On the 30th of July 2017 we attended an interesting presentation in the courtyard of Saint Theodoros by Yiannis Mavrommatis, educator-researcher from Pitsinades, titled: Saint Theodoros Protector of Kythera: His story and timely influence in Kytherian life.

Enriching his narration with pictures of documents, buildings, icons, short videos and interviews, he spoke about: Two important manuscripts concerning the life of the Saint and Kythera; the church and most important renovations made throughout the centuries; and the historical building of the school. Then he spoke of the Bishopric that had its headquarters at the Saint, the old festivals, the forestry, the new Hospital and the Asclepieion. Finally, he noted the need for renovation of the church and landscaping of the surrounding fields. He put emphasis on educational visits to Saint Theodoros, and other historical monuments of the island by the schools in order to foster students’ understanding of the island’s important heritage, so that they will respect and look after them in the future.

In the beginning Mr. Mavrommatis presented two valuable manuscripts that reference Saint Theodore and life in Kythera during the 10th and 15th centuries. These documents are valuable artefacts κειμήλια   (heirlooms) for Kythera because they are the only sources of information about life in Kythera during those times. The first, deals with, the Life of Osios Theodoros, containing noteworthy details for the deserted by pirates Kythera in that time. For the first time a copy of the original document was presented, with the original being kept in Moni Iviron, at Mount Athos. In this manuscript it is underlined that Saint Theodoros was the first Settler, because the threat of pirate raids those years discouraged the arrival of settlers on the island. Only after the arrival of the Saint, which coincided with the elimination of the pirates by Nikiforos Fokas in 961 AD, did the settling of the island begin. In the same document the Saint is referred to as Healer and Protector of Kythera, qualities derived from his miracles and depicted later in his typical icon where he holds the castle of Hora protecting the island as its Patron Saint. These qualities of his grace are expressed on the excellent hymns performed wonderfully by the chorus in his panigyri on the 12th of May 2017, and shown in video by the speaker.

The second manuscript is the famous Chronicle of Heilas, a copy of which Mr. Mavrommatis got from the Library of Saint Mark in Venice where it is kept. This document is a report on 1457 of a monk Heila that lived in those years in Saint Theodoros, through which he pled the Venetian commanders then of Kythera, to intervene and claim the return to the Saint lands that rightfully belonged to him, which previous vicars of the family Notaras had taken and were giving to their daughters as dowries. In the 16 paged surviving report however, there is valuable information contained about life in Kythera during the middle ages. Moreover, it refers on important renovations to the church, as well as to social conditions of the island.

Moreover, Mr Mavrommatis referred to the Bishopric, Επισκοπή,  that for centuries it had its headquarters at Saint Theodoros, confirmed from old census, the icon of the Saint on the Official registers, codes of the Bishops, the seal of the Bishopric with the icon of the Saint, and the synthrono, the special built seats for the Bishop and the clergy into the sanctuary  (μέσα στο ιερό).

Then, he spoke about the church building and noted the major renovations and changes made on it throughout the centuries. He mentioned the most important renovation that took place during the time of Bishop Valerianos on 1635 and showed the impressive blazon with his inscription, above the entrance of the church. Additionally he spoke about the indoor-renovations to the altar, and to other parts of the church. Renovations marked by the contemporary Bishops with their personal notes or crests, such as Nikiforos Mormoris, Kallonas, Meletios.

Also presented were the anniversary hymnology editions of the Saint that escorted important renovations.

Next was the presentation of the School that was built around 1650 to train priest-teachers in order to serve the church and teach Greek at the Ionian islands and Crete. This nice building with the elaborate windows and entrance, functioned as a public school for the north of Kythera from 1824 to 1829 and attended circa 120 students from Karavas to Mitata and Fratsia. It was subsequently abandoned, because other schools were built soon in every village, and as years passed by the roof collapsed. It was renovated in 1996 and is used as a reception hall, but also as a training centre for conferences and seminars.

Then Mr Mavrommatis referred to major donations by the Kytherians of diaspora during the years, the works paid for, and items donated to the church.

The festivals of the Saint being used as a Political Arena was also discussed, noting the election of the representatives of the villages of the whole island προεστοί  every 4 years on the Sunday of Orthodoxy taking place there, but also as Political barometer during pre elective periods, where the candidates delivered their political speeches to the crowd, after the litourgy. The massive presence of people gave strength to the villagers, so they manage  to kill two aristocrats αρχοντες  on the 12th of May 1799, as an expected result from their unbearable oppression and the high taxes forced upon them by the Venetians and abused by the άρχοντες.

About the forestry at Saint Theodoros at the time of Metropolitan Meletios and Koksma during 1960-70, there was long reference, emphasizing their importance because on the one hand, during the time of high unemployment they gave jobs to dozens of families coming from Hora to Karavas, with others working at Agios Theodoros nursery, and others planting in various places of the island.  On the other hand they created the greatest alloys from Gerakari to Myrtidia and Kapsali, reforesting the island. Now, especially after the catastrophic fire of August 2017 we can understand the great value of those trees.

The ancient Asclepieion, i.e. hospital,  in the valley south of the church, was referenced next with the presentation of findings which are on display at the Archaeological Museum of Kythera, and noted the mysterious coincidence to build the new Hospital in the same area. A short video showed the first official visit of the Holy Head, Agia Kara, at the new Hospital escorted by Metropolitans and the clergy.

Special emphasis was given to the magnificent celebrations of the past where nearly the whole of Kythira would show up, as happen on the 12th of May 1930, where approximately 5-6 thousand people gathered, as was documented in newspapers of the time, to honour the benefactors Kytherians of diaspora, who had done large fundraisings for the building of the High School in Hora, and the construction of the road towards the port of Diakofti. The narration here was supplemented with excerpts by the papers of the time, but also with the memories of our elderly compatriots, that lived during the time of these festivals.

The social offering of the Saint to Kythera was also shown from two great contributions towards the Kytherian people. First, a large plot donated to the Metropolis, for the building  of camps, mainly for the kids of Kytherian of diaspora, but also the very important donation from the Saint to the Trifylleio Institution, (that supervise the Old Peoples House and the Hospital in Kythira), of the plot on which the new Hospital was built.

Finally, Mr. Mavrommatis summed up and after making clear the importance of the Saint, historically and socially, but also his timely influence and protection of Kythera, showing relevant pictures from damages to the buildings and some neglected fields of the Saint, he noted the current need for renovation of the church, the school, the tidying up of the surrounding fields, and he noted that it is our generation’s duty to assist these projects, as our ancestors done many times in the past.  He also emphasised the requirement of organizing educational visits from the schools, Elementary, Middle and High, so that the new generations will understand and appreciate the importance of our monuments, and they therefore will respect and take care of them in the future.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by James Victor Prineas on 05.09.2017

Saint Theodoros Protector of Kythera:

His story and timely influence in Kytherian life

On the 30th of July 2017 we attended an interesting presentation in the courtyard of Saint Theodoros by Yiannis Mavrommatis, educator-researcher from Pitsinades, titled: Saint Theodoros Protector of Kythera: His story and timely influence in Kytherian life.

Enriching his narration with pictures of documents, buildings, icons, short videos and interviews, he spoke about: Two important manuscripts concerning the life of the Saint and Kythera; the church and most important renovations made throughout the centuries; and the historical building of the school. Then he spoke of the Bishopric that had its headquarters at the Saint, the old festivals, the forestry, the new Hospital and the Asclepieion. Finally, he noted the need for renovation of the church and landscaping of the surrounding fields. He put emphasis on educational visits to Saint Theodoros, and other historical monuments of the island by the schools in order to foster students’ understanding of the island’s important heritage, so that they will respect and look after them in the future.

In the beginning Mr. Mavrommatis presented two valuable manuscripts that reference Saint Theodore and life in Kythera during the 10th and 15th centuries. These documents are valuable artefacts κειμήλια   (heirlooms) for Kythera because they are the only sources of information about life in Kythera during those times. The first, deals with, the Life of Osios Theodoros, containing noteworthy details for the deserted by pirates Kythera in that time. For the first time a copy of the original document was presented, with the original being kept in Moni Iviron, at Mount Athos. In this manuscript it is underlined that Saint Theodoros was the first Settler, because the threat of pirate raids those years discouraged the arrival of settlers on the island. Only after the arrival of the Saint, which coincided with the elimination of the pirates by Nikiforos Fokas in 961 AD, did the settling of the island begin. In the same document the Saint is referred to as Healer and Protector of Kythera, qualities derived from his miracles and depicted later in his typical icon where he holds the castle of Hora protecting the island as its Patron Saint. These qualities of his grace are expressed on the excellent hymns performed wonderfully by the chorus in his panigyri on the 12th of May 2017, and shown in video by the speaker.

The second manuscript is the famous Chronicle of Heilas, a copy of which Mr. Mavrommatis got from the Library of Saint Mark in Venice where it is kept. This document is a report on 1457 of a monk Heila that lived in those years in Saint Theodoros, through which he pled the Venetian commanders then of Kythera, to intervene and claim the return to the Saint lands that rightfully belonged to him, which previous vicars of the family Notaras had taken and were giving to their daughters as dowries. In the 16 paged surviving report however, there is valuable information contained about life in Kythera during the middle ages. Moreover, it refers on important renovations to the church, as well as to social conditions of the island.

Moreover, Mr Mavrommatis referred to the Bishopric, Επισκοπή,  that for centuries it had its headquarters at Saint Theodoros, confirmed from old census, the icon of the Saint on the Official registers, codes of the Bishops, the seal of the Bishopric with the icon of the Saint, and the synthrono, the special built seats for the Bishop and the clergy into the sanctuary  (μέσα στο ιερό).

Then, he spoke about the church building and noted the major renovations and changes made on it throughout the centuries. He mentioned the most important renovation that took place during the time of Bishop Valerianos on 1635 and showed the impressive blazon with his inscription, above the entrance of the church. Additionally he spoke about the indoor-renovations to the altar, and to other parts of the church. Renovations marked by the contemporary Bishops with their personal notes or crests, such as Nikiforos Mormoris, Kallonas, Meletios.

Also presented were the anniversary hymnology editions of the Saint that escorted important renovations.

Next was the presentation of the School that was built around 1650 to train priest-teachers in order to serve the church and teach Greek at the Ionian islands and Crete. This nice building with the elaborate windows and entrance, functioned as a public school for the north of Kythera from 1824 to 1829 and attended circa 120 students from Karavas to Mitata and Fratsia. It was subsequently abandoned, because other schools were built soon in every village, and as years passed by the roof collapsed. It was renovated in 1996 and is used as a reception hall, but also as a training centre for conferences and seminars.

Then Mr Mavrommatis referred to major donations by the Kytherians of diaspora during the years, the works paid for, and items donated to the church.

The festivals of the Saint being used as a Political Arena was also discussed, noting the election of the representatives of the villages of the whole island προεστοί  every 4 years on the Sunday of Orthodoxy taking place there, but also as Political barometer during pre elective periods, where the candidates delivered their political speeches to the crowd, after the litourgy. The massive presence of people gave strength to the villagers, so they manage  to kill two aristocrats αρχοντες  on the 12th of May 1799, as an expected result from their unbearable oppression and the high taxes forced upon them by the Venetians and abused by the άρχοντες.

About the forestry at Saint Theodoros at the time of Metropolitan Meletios and Koksma during 1960-70, there was long reference, emphasizing their importance because on the one hand, during the time of high unemployment they gave jobs to dozens of families coming from Hora to Karavas, with others working at Agios Theodoros nursery, and others planting in various places of the island.  On the other hand they created the greatest alloys from Gerakari to Myrtidia and Kapsali, reforesting the island. Now, especially after the catastrophic fire of August 2017 we can understand the great value of those trees.

The ancient Asclepieion, i.e. hospital,  in the valley south of the church, was referenced next with the presentation of findings which are on display at the Archaeological Museum of Kythera, and noted the mysterious coincidence to build the new Hospital in the same area. A short video showed the first official visit of the Holy Head, Agia Kara, at the new Hospital escorted by Metropolitans and the clergy.

Special emphasis was given to the magnificent celebrations of the past where nearly the whole of Kythira would show up, as happen on the 12th of May 1930, where approximately 5-6 thousand people gathered, as was documented in newspapers of the time, to honour the benefactors Kytherians of diaspora, who had done large fundraisings for the building of the High School in Hora, and the construction of the road towards the port of Diakofti. The narration here was supplemented with excerpts by the papers of the time, but also with the memories of our elderly compatriots, that lived during the time of these festivals.

The social offering of the Saint to Kythera was also shown from two great contributions towards the Kytherian people. First, a large plot donated to the Metropolis, for the building  of camps, mainly for the kids of Kytherian of diaspora, but also the very important donation from the Saint to the Trifylleio Institution, (that supervise the Old Peoples House and the Hospital in Kythira), of the plot on which the new Hospital was built.

Finally, Mr. Mavrommatis summed up and after making clear the importance of the Saint, historically and socially, but also his timely influence and protection of Kythera, showing relevant pictures from damages to the buildings and some neglected fields of the Saint, he noted the current need for renovation of the church, the school, the tidying up of the surrounding fields, and he noted that it is our generation’s duty to assist these projects, as our ancestors done many times in the past.  He also emphasised the requirement of organizing educational visits from the schools, Elementary, Middle and High, so that the new generations will understand and appreciate the importance of our monuments, and they therefore will respect and take care of them in the future.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Harry (Charalambos ) ZAGLANIKIS on 29.11.2015

Saint Nikon

One of the oldest churches on the island.

 

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Kytherian Sports Report on 29.10.2015

A sports ... miracle for Kythera!

by Dimitris Tomaras

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 16:37


http://www.gazzetta.gr/football/article/822873/ena-athlitiko-thayma-sta-kythira-pics

Follow at: @gazzetta_gr on Twitter | gazzetta.gr on Facebook

Such initiatives and achievements are not an everyday occurrence. You least expect them on a small island like Kythera.

But the local parish with the contribution of a prominent businessman from Australia, made a small sports ... miracle, happen!

By his initiative he has created facilities for football, tennis, basketball and volleyball! The financial expenditure was significant. It all began with the church donating a plot of 12 acres for the project. It was an initiative of the parish and father Panagiotis who has a great love and concern for the island's youth. (Father Panagiotis and other contributors are fans of Olympiakos – which is befitting on an on an island with so many reds elements.

The church council began funding the project, but is was completed with the beneficence of Peter Magiros, Managing Director of Frutex. Peter has house in Kythera and visits every summer; making the trip from Australia.

The rationale of the church and the Magiros family (- comprising 5 children and 17 grandchildren!) was to do something for the children of Kythera and encourage them to get get involved in sport. Before these facilities were built, all the children played in paddocks and..... fields. Now they have somewhere to work out!

A football coach from Melbourne, Australia, trains at least 100 children from second grade to C Grade at the facility. This has helped foster the local championship, in which 10 teams participate. They organisers are now seeking a a basketball coach. There is a great interest in basketball on Kythera, especially amongst the girls.

At the ayiasmos (opening / blessing) – many Kytherians took the opportunity to work out; displaying their skills. See the Image Gallery of all new sports venue on Kythera:

http://www.gazzetta.gr/football/article/822873/ena-athlitiko-thayma-sta-kythira-pics

Τετάρτη, 28 Οκτωβρίου 2015

από Δημήτρης Τομαράς

Ένα αθλητικό... θαύμα στα Κύθηρα!


Διάβασε περισσότερα στο: Ένα αθλητικό... θαύμα στα Κύθηρα! (pics) | Ποδόσφαιρο: Ελλάδα & Ολυμπιακός | gazzetta.gr
Follow us: @gazzetta_gr on Twitter | gazzetta.gr on Facebook

Σε ένα νησί λίγων χιλιάδων κατοίκων η τοπική ενορία και ένας επιφανής ομογενής δημιούργησαν ένα αθλητικό... θαύμα! Διαβάστε το θέμα για τα Κύθηρα στο Gazzetta.gr.

Τέτοιες κινήσεις και πρωτοβουλίες δεν τις βρίσκεις κάθε μέρα. Πόσω μάλλον σε ένα μικρό νησί σαν τα Κύθηρα.

Και όμως η τοπική ενορία με την συμβολή ενός επιφανούς ομογενούς επιχειρηματία από την Αυστραλία έκανε ένα μικρό αθλητικό... θαύμα!

Με την δημιουργία εγκαταστάσεων για ποδόσφαιρο, τένις, μπάσκετ και βόλεϊ! Μία δαπάνη πάρα πολύ σοβαρή. Όλα ξεκίνησαν και έγιναν σε ένα οικόπεδο 12 στρεμμάτων της εκκλησίας. Μία πρωτοβουλία της ενορίας και του πατέρα Παναγιώτη, που από τα... γεννοφάσκια του είναι φίλαθλος του Ολυμπιακού (σ.σ. σε ένα νησί με έντονο ερυθρόλευκο στοιχείο) και με μεγάλη αγάπη και ενδιαφέρον για το νησί και τη νεολαία του.

Το εκκλησιαστικό συμβούλιο ξεκίνησε την χρηματοδότηση του έργου, που ολοκληρώθηκε με την γενναία ενισχύση του ομογενούς επιχειρηματία, Παναγιώτη Μάγειρου, που έχει σπίτι στα Κύθηρα και το επισκέπτεται σχεδόν κάθε καλοκαίρι, κάνοντας το ταξίδι του από την Αυστραλία.

Η λογική και της εκκλησίας και του ομογενούς από την Αυστραλία (με τα 5 παιδιά και τα 17 εγγόνια!) ήταν να κάνουν κάτι για τα παιδιά των Κυθήρων και να τα σπρώξουν να ασχοληθούν με τον αθλητισμό. Βλέπετε, πριν φτιαχτούν όλες αυτές οι εγκαταστάσεις τα παιδιά έπαιζαν σε αλάνες και... χωράφια. Τώρα έχουν κάπου να αθληθούν!

Μάλιστα στο ποδόσφαιρο υπάρχει προπονητής από την Αυστραλία, που προπονεί τουλάχιστον 100 παιδιά από Β' Δημοτικού μέχρι Γ' Λυκείου. Μέχρι που γίνεται τοπικό πρωτάθλημα με την συμμετοχή 10 ομάδων! Και αναζητείται και ένας προπονητής μπάσκετ, καθώς υπάρχει πολύ μεγάλο ενδιαφέρον στο νησί ειδικά από κορίτσια.

Στα εγκαίνια πάντως και οι μεγαλύτεροι βρήκαν την ευκαιρία να αθληθούν, δείχνοντας τις ικανότητές τους. Δείτε στην Gallery φωτογραφίες από όλους τους νέους αθλητικούς χώρους στα Κύθηρα:


Διάβασε περισσότερα στο: Ένα αθλητικό... θαύμα στα Κύθηρα! (pics) | Ποδόσφαιρο: Ελλάδα & Ολυμπιακός | gazzetta.gr
Follow us: @gazzetta_gr on Twitter | gazzetta.gr on Facebook

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 29.10.2015

little house on the island

a beautiful resorted home in the village of dourianika

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Neos Kosmos, Melbourne on 27.06.2015

The Castle of Aigila - Antikythera

Antikythera: a key to Greece's prosperity

Down under on a lecture tour, archeologist Aris Tsaravopoulos shares his groundbreaking discoveries on the ancient sites of Kythera and Antikythera

NEOS KOSMOS, 24 Jun 2015

ANASTASIA TSIRTSAKIS


"Knowing the past, you can make better steps to the future," archaeologist Aris Tsaravopoulos tells Neos Kosmos.

This is the premise behind Mr Tsaravopoulos' continued efforts over the past 20 years, researching the history of ancient Greece in the Hellenistic and Roman periods on the archaeological sites on Kythera and Antikythera.

Now for the first time, the Kytherian Association of Australia have made it possible for the archaeologist to travel down under on a lecture tour across the nation, sharing his findings with the Greek and wider Australian community.

In Melbourne this week, he presented two lectures at La Trobe University, the first based on the discovery of new sanctuaries of Laconian (Spartan) dieties on Kythera, and their influence on the everyday and religious life of the locals.

"Kythera was until recently, known only as the island of Aphrodite, but we discovered there in these last years, five more sanctuaries, which were linked with the specific religious beliefs of Laconians [Spartans]," he said.

This was followed by a second lecture delving into the history of Antikythera, a relatively unknown island made world famous by the discovery of the first ancient shipwreck in 1900, along with the world's first computer.

The archaeologist and his team have now discovered more about the history of the island's mainland.

Mr Tsaravopoulos' interest in the region was ignited whilst working for the Ministry of Culture, when he was posted in 1994 to Kythera and Antikythera, where he would be made responsible for the research and protection of its historical past - a role he continues to hold as a great responsibility.

"We are not a scientific service in the Ministry of Culture; we are a protection and controlling service for antiquities," he tells.

"You know that Greece's identity lives in its past and so this past has to be protected because there are a lot of developers, a lot of public works going on."

Although officially retired, the 70-year-old continues to work in Antikythera, explaining that archaeology is more than science, rather it is a continual journey of discovery linked to the present.

While he continues to work on the project, he hopes to be granted permission by the ministry to extend the excavation so that he can build the profile of the island, which he says holds great potential for tourism.

"Archaeology is not a dry science as it happens to be considered - it's linked with life.

"Antikythera today is an island with only 20 people and the average age there is 60. So you understand that if we go with a group of 40 young people, that gives life to the island. I want to improve the image of the island for tourism too."

While enthusiastic for the opportunity to share his research with Australians, the audience's demographic at his lectures mid-way through the tour have left him slightly disappointed.
"I did some other lectures, and in some of them I was the youngest person - and I am 70. I want to pass the ideology of looking to the past as a point of departure for the future for the young people, because they are the future - not us," he said.

Archaeologist Aris Tsaravopoulos will deliver his final lectures on Saturday 20 June at Kythera House, Kytherian Association of Australia, 24 King Street, Rockdale, NSW at 2.30 pm, and on Monday 22 June at the Archaeological Institute of Athens, University of Sydney. To attend, contact Kathy Samios on (02) 9349 1849.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Kytherian Ecology on 09.03.2015

Discover a historical haven, Paleochora

4 Ways to Fall Madly in Love with Kythera

Posted by Abbie Synan

February 11, 2015

Activities, Greece, Vacation

Abbie Synan, originally from Pennsylvania, now calls the world her home. After years of working in medical administration, she took to a nomadic lifestyle and has spent the last two years exploring new cities, writing, volunteering and consulting. She is constantly searching for exciting experiences, taking photographs and writing stories to share on Speck On The Globe

The warm, buttery Oia sunsets in Santorini, the southern charm of Crete, and the mazes of whitewashed buildings in Mykonos are some of the main attractions luring travelers to Greece. While it’s true that these are some must-see sites on your Mediterranean vacation, for me the ultimate treasure is one many travelers miss. A defining trait of my slow travel experience is making the major tourist destinations supporting characters rather than the main focus of the trips. My love of slow travel tied in seamlessly with my visit to the stunning island of Kythera. Ready to fall in love? Here are the four activities that shouldn't be missed.

1. Experience a hiker’s paradise

The slow travel movement is connected with sustainability, and one of Kythera’s main activities highlights responsible tourism. The region’s hiking project began as a way to make old trails and paths more accessible, which evolved into an ecotourism and sustainability endeavor. The trails are all easily marked, providing a route to beautiful, untapped valleys and serene mountain views. If blazing eco-friendly trails aren't alluring enough, Kythera boasts some impressive caves beckoning to be explored, and its landscape rivals that of any other Grecian island.

2. Get a glimpse of local life

Plenty of places in Greece made me feel at home, but Kythera’s way of warmly revealing itself became the most welcoming. I spent my time there learning about the olive-picking season and how the olive groves affect the island’s inhabitants. My experiential trip to Xenonas Fos ke Choros enabled me to not only live in a more traditional small town but also brought me closer to a simpler, more relaxing way of life in Greece. All the residents were cordial and I found the best way to catch up on island gossip was to show up to the open market in Potamos in your Sunday best. Because slow travel allowed me to make more personal connections, I realized that each of the towns have something to offer beyond their quaint exterior. Even just sampling some delicious traditional food at a local taverna can prompt a deeper appreciation.

3. Live the sea lover’s dream

Mythology marks Kythera as the birthplace of Aphrodite, likely due to its beauty beyond compare. The intoxicating shorelines draw you down from the hilltops, revealing small, sandy beaches and unforgettably blue Mediterranean water. The benefit of spending time on such a small island is that there isn't much more to do than relax and take in the gorgeous scenery. One of the more memorable views I uncovered was a small church clinging to a cliff at the edge of the water. Legend is that this church, Agios Nikolaos o Krasas, was built by a ship captain after being saved at sea. It is a breathtaking homage.

4. Discover a historical haven

You can find the icon of Panagia Myrtidiotissa (the black Madonna), Byzantine historical sites, castles, and archeological remnants on this island, with dozens of interesting stories accompanying their presence. Of course, the quickest way to learn all about the folklore is to hear it from a local. My favorite part of uncovering the history was exploring the abandoned water mills and ancient fresco in the medieval villages of Kato Chora and Paleochora. Adding to the attraction of the island are dozens of small churches, cathedrals and monasteries for you to visit.

Very few places I've been have made it as hard for me to leave as Kythera. I came to know the island so well, and when I left, I felt like I was saying goodbye to a little bit of home. This is a feeling you can't get from hurriedly taking a tour bus through the historic sites. Slowing down and appreciating everything allowed me to open up a special place in my heart for Greece.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by George Poulos on 16.09.2014

The Patrikio Scholi, Karavas, in its heyday

Then, Secretary of the Karavas 'kinotita', Theothori Tzortzopoulos in the foreground.

The Patrikio Scholi was also the birthplace of Nick Politis.

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.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by George Poulos on 11.05.2014

Guests gathered at the Mill Resort at Mitata in July 2013

to celebrate the 10th Birthday Party of kythera-family.net.

kythera-family.net turns ten. Χρόνια Πολλά. Να τα εκατοστήσεις

"I found Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on Kythera-Family.net and mailed her regarding her Hlentzos connection, and since the first email a couple of days ago, I have had many many emails from her with a huge amount of information regarding my relatives. If this website was not available to us, all this information would never have been shared."
Heather de Marco, April 2013

James Prineas:

It is now ten years since we first launched kythera-family.net (kfn). If you don't already know how it came to be, here's a short recap of the story:
The seed was actually sown back in 1996 when I put on a photographic exhibition called "A Village on Kythera" in the Bondi Pavilion. There I met so many lovely Kytherians (and others – like a group of Sicilian grand¬mothers who cried when they saw my pictures because it reminded them of home...). Many of the Kytherians told me of their collections of vintage pictures from Kythera. I would have loved to help them collate and scan and publish their pictures but it wasn't until about 2001 that I found an affordable and practical solution: to use the internet.

Back then, "community sites" were almost unheard of and the founder of Facebook was probably just out of nappies. So I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that my idea to create an online heritage repository, to which members of the Kytherian community could upload their family material to the site for the rest of the world to share and enjoy, fell on deaf ears in the beginning.

Then a man, who, up until that time, had never used the internet himself, saved the day: Angelo Notaras. Ann Coward suggested I get in touch with him and it didn't take long for Angelo to recognise the potential benefits to the Kytherian community and he put his conside-rable reputation behind the project. He and his equally generous brothers, John and the late Mitch Notaras, put their money where their vision was and helped convince others to financially support the endeavour.

Next came the ebullient George C. Poulos to the party and, when he wasn't fervently preaching to the less internet-savvy members of the Kytherian Association of Australia (KAA) that the internet wasn't just a fad, he was motivating community members to entrust copies of their heritage material to him to upload to the young site. He and Angelo managed to persuade the KAA Board to embrace the concept, and the latter have been loyal supporters ever since, as evidenced by this article.

The initial problem was that the people with the most knowledge and material on Kythera were of a generation who were still fazed by mobile telephones, never mind by "websites", "uploading" and "urls". Ten years on, even if that generation doesn't use the internet or emails regularly themselves, they generally know what it is about and allow their children and grandchildren to upload their family stories and picture to our site.

Over the past ten years the 3,000 registered users have submitted over 19 000 entries to KFN: life stories, maps, recipes, and other documents to the site, which are viewed by around 20 000 visitors each month!

The extensive Message Board on the site gives evidence of the hundreds of connections made by the site between Kytherians separated by thousands of kilometres, or far less. Two of our most avid contributors live only a few kilometres from each other in California, but discovered their family link through our site.

The possible significance of one group photo from Kythera from 1920 with a dozen people in it is exponential: a fifty-year-old in that picture might have had five children and twenty grandchildren and forty great-grandchildren. That makes sixty-five descendents per person in the picture and a total of 780 for all the subjects. Now, how many of those 780 will have ever seen that picture? Not many if it is stored under someone's bed. But online all of them have access if they care to look.

And the nice thing about a website as opposed to a publication is that there is virtually no limit to the amount which can be presented on it. So it's not too late to post your grandmother's Greek passport or your great-great-grandfather's birth certificate. It's the best way to make sure that your own great-grandchildren will be able to find it one day.

The ten-year anniversary of kythera-family was celebrated with a well-attended party held at the Mill Resort, Mitata, Kythera, in July 2013.

In Australia it was celebrated at the Kytherian Association November Family Dance, Westside Reception Lounge, Marrickville on 23 November 2013.

[[picture:"Familydance-0790ts.tif" ID:22315]]

George Poulos:

I agree with James that the key driver of kfn has been Angelo Notaras OAM. I also agree that the success of the web-site can be attributed to a number of superior features inherent in the site: The web-site is generative. One photograph or one story can elicit a great deal of additional inter-related information.

The web-site is connective. Individuals, families, and organisations have been connected, and re-connected. At every level, the spirit of kytheraismos has been greatly enhanced.

The web-site is revelatory. New information is being uncovered all the time, which most of the world’s Kytherians had previously been unaware of.

The number of Kytherians and Philokytherians who, like Heather der Marco, quoted earlier, who have derived immense pleasure from kythera-family.net? Unknowable! What we do know is that an economic and architectonic infrastructure has been put in place to ensure that www.kythera-family.net will be maintained indefinitely. Hence it will always remain a key force in the preservation, maintenance, and enhancement of Kytherian history, culture, artefacts, ethos and heritage.

By its very existence kythera-family.net has helped energise its principals and supporters to create new and exciting projects – many of which most Kytherians around the world would not guess have derived from kfn. These include the publishing accomplishments of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund – as of mid 2014 thirty-one books with a Kytherian theme available for sale in Australia and in Greece.

kfn has also forged powerful links with the Society of Kytherian Studies in Athens, who have also published 25 books with a Kytherian theme in the Greek language, and the Departments of History and Philosophy at Athens University through Professor’s George and Athanassia Leontsinis. Strong links with KIPA and the Kytheriasmos Institute have also been created. The website has already inspired a Masters Thesis in Germany by Angeliki Pentsi, and Alexander Riedmuller will soon publish his Ph.D thesis on the the kfn website in Bamberg, Germany.

kfn aids people in research, sometimes on a daily basis. For example, on the 7th of April 2014, I received an email from a person thanking kfn and me for providing information on the site which helped him with a paper he delivered the previous week to the 10th Panionian Conference. The topic being "Kythira-Smyrna: The steamboat connection between two places during the 19th century and their unknown perspective." Rosa Cassimatis's name found its way into all.

After research I have concluded that Rosa is NOT buried, as most believe, in the Angelo Cavallini tomb in the Saint Spyridon of Kapsali cemetery but was, most likely, buried in Corfu where she died. If she had been buried in Kythera she should have been mentioned on the gravestone, as her (second) husband died much later than her. No such thing. The Corfu Mental Hospital Archives do not report any final resting place, but as she died in 1882 even if she had been buried in the city of Corfu cemetery her grave is probably lost. Again I'd like to thank all contributors to the site who helped me with my research”. This is a tangential Kytherian interest. But the communication indicates into how many different areas kfn managed to penetrate.

kfn inspiration also led to the preservation and archiving of the Fatseas collection of plate glass negative photographs. This in turn led to the publication of the books, A Kytherian Century and Panayotis Fatseas: Kytherian Faces, 1920-1938, and an Exhibition in the prestigious Benaki Museum, Athens.

Other Special Projects included the importation into Kythera of medical and aged care equipment to benefit residents and patients at the Aged Care facility and Hospital at Potamos. The importation into Kythera of Library shelving from the USA, and later the organisation and funding to completion of both the interior and exterior of the Kytherian Municipal Library, the first Lending Library established on Kythera in 3,000 years. Principals of kfn also aided in creating the first Greek Australian Museum of migration in Australia – the Roxy Museum, located within the Roxy Museum ‘complex’ in Bingara.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) asserted that "creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found." By that criterion www.kythera-family.net is a very creative entity indeed. Να τα εκατοστήσεις.

You are the authors! Kythera-Family.net - the online cultural archive for Kythera - aims to preserve and reflect the rich heritage of a wonderful island. Members of the community are actively invited to submit their family collection of Kytherian stories, photographs, recipes, oral histories, and home remedies etc. to the site. Uploading directly to the site is easy and free. Thus we can help make available valuable and interesting material for current and future generations, and inspire young Kytherians to learn more about their fascinating heritage.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Kytherian Association Of Australia on 09.12.2013

Local children dancing at the ayiasmos at Avlemonas

Spaletta were made by parents in the local community.

The ayiasmos ceremony was conducted to bless the new park that lies between the rear of the Cavalini house at Avlemonas and the church of Ayios Nikolaos.

Kytherian-Australian, John Claudianos has spent many years restoring and renovating the landmark Cavallini residence in Avlemonas. It’s also known as the house with a sun-dial, a heritage listed building which took about a decade of permissions and hard work to restore.

Taking philanthropy to a new level, John recently gifted land behind the Cavallini residence to the community, in the form of a public park and lookout.

John financed the landscaping and construction, turning the vacant land behind the Cavallini building, next to the Agios Nikolaos church in Avlemonas, into a place for the local community and visitors to enjoy.
Using architectural elements of wood, stainless steel and stone, the park and lookout is very pleasant and modern, with a feeling similar to that of the Bondi to Bronte walk in Sydney.

An ayiasmos (blessing) took place in July by Kythera’s Metropoliti, Bishop Seraphim, attended by a broad cross-section of the local community and members of the diaspora. Local children performed traditional dances at the end of the ceremony, dressed in spaletta made by parents from Avlemonas.

Providing Avlemonas (and Kythera) with a new park is a very noble and selfless gesture, and for that John Clau-dianos deserves a great deal of thanks.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Kytherian Association Of Australia on 09.12.2013

John Claudianos giving a speech in impeccable Greek

at the ayiasmos ceremony to bless the dedication of a new park that lies between the rear of the Cavalini house at Avlemonas and the church of Ayios Nikolaos.

Kytherian-Australian, John Claudianos has spent many years restoring and renovating the landmark Cavallini residence in Avlemonas. It’s also known as the house with a sun-dial, a heritage listed building which took about a decade of permissions and hard work to restore.

Taking philanthropy to a new level, John recently gifted land behind the Cavallini residence to the community, in the form of a public park and lookout.

John financed the landscaping and construction, turning the vacant land behind the Cavallini building, next to the Agios Nikolaos church in Avlemonas, into a place for the local community and visitors to enjoy.
Using architectural elements of wood, stainless steel and stone, the park and lookout is very pleasant and modern, with a feeling similar to that of the Bondi to Bronte walk in Sydney.

An ayiasmos (blessing) took place in July by Kythera’s Metropoliti, Bishop Seraphim, attended by a broad cross-section of the local community and members of the diaspora. Local children performed traditional dances at the end of the ceremony, dressed in spaletta made by parents from Avlemonas.

Providing Avlemonas (and Kythera) with a new park is a very noble and selfless gesture, and for that John Clau-dianos deserves a great deal of thanks.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Kytherian Association Of Australia on 09.12.2013

An ayiasmos (blessing) took place in July by Kythera’s Metropoliti, Bishop Seraphim,

....attended by a broad cross-section of the local community and members of the diaspora. Local children performed traditional dances at the end of the ceremony, dressed in spaletta made by parents from Avlemonas.
Providing Avlemonas (and Kythera) with a new park is a very noble and selfless gesture, and for that John Claudianos deserves a great deal of thanks.

Kytherian-Australian, John Claudianos has spent many years restoring and renovating the landmark Cavallini residence in Avlemonas. It’s also known as the house with a sun-dial, a heritage listed building which took about a decade of permissions and hard work to restore.

Taking philanthropy to a new level, John recently gifted land behind the Cavallini residence to the community, in the form of a public park and lookout.

John financed the landscaping and construction, turning the vacant land behind the Cavallini building, next to the Agios Nikolaos church in Avlemonas, into a place for the local community and visitors to enjoy.
Using architectural elements of wood, stainless steel and stone, the park and lookout is very pleasant and modern, with a feeling similar to that of the Bondi to Bronte walk in Sydney.

An ayiasmos (blessing) took place in July by Kythera’s Metropoliti, Bishop Seraphim, attended by a broad cross-section of the local community and members of the diaspora. Local children performed traditional dances at the end of the ceremony, dressed in spaletta made by parents from Avlemonas.

Providing Avlemonas (and Kythera) with a new park is a very noble and selfless gesture, and for that John Clau-dianos deserves a great deal of thanks.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Kytherian Association Of Australia on 09.12.2013

Large crowd gathered for the Ayiasmos ceremony at Avlemonas

Kytherian-Australian, John Claudianos has spent many years restoring and renovating the landmark Cavallini residence in Avlemonas. It’s also known as the house with a sun-dial, a heritage listed building which took about a decade of permissions and hard work to restore.

Taking philanthropy to a new level, John recently gifted land behind the Cavallini residence to the community, in the form of a public park and lookout.

John financed the landscaping and construction, turning the vacant land behind the Cavallini building, next to the Agios Nikolaos church in Avlemonas, into a place for the local community and visitors to enjoy.
Using architectural elements of wood, stainless steel and stone, the park and lookout is very pleasant and modern, with a feeling similar to that of the Bondi to Bronte walk in Sydney.

An ayiasmos (blessing) took place in July by Kythera’s Metropoliti, Bishop Seraphim, attended by a broad cross-section of the local community and members of the diaspora. Local children performed traditional dances at the end of the ceremony, dressed in spaletta made by parents from Avlemonas.

Providing Avlemonas (and Kythera) with a new park is a very noble and selfless gesture, and for that John Clau-dianos deserves a great deal of thanks.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Kytherian Association Of Australia on 09.12.2013

Superbly appointed park and recreation area in Avlemonas

The park lies at the rear of the "Cavalini" house, the house with the sundial, and adjoins the Church of Ayios Nikolaos.

Kytherian-Australian, John Claudianos has spent many years restoring and renovating the landmark Cavallini residence in Avlemonas. It’s also known as the house with a sun-dial, a heritage listed building which took about a decade of permissions and hard work to restore.

Taking philanthropy to a new level, John recently gifted land behind the Cavallini residence to the community, in the form of a public park and lookout.

John financed the landscaping and construction, turning the vacant land behind the Cavallini building, next to the Agios Nikolaos church in Avlemonas, into a place for the local community and visitors to enjoy.
Using architectural elements of wood, stainless steel and stone, the park and lookout is very pleasant and modern, with a feeling similar to that of the Bondi to Bronte walk in Sydney.

An ayiasmos (blessing) took place in July by Kythera’s Metropoliti, Bishop Seraphim, attended by a broad cross-section of the local community and members of the diaspora. Local children performed traditional dances at the end of the ceremony, dressed in spaletta made by parents from Avlemonas.

Providing Avlemonas (and Kythera) with a new park is a very noble and selfless gesture, and for that John Clau-dianos deserves a great deal of thanks.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Kytherian Association Of Australia on 09.12.2013

Father Yiorgy, John Claudianos and some of the children who often frequent the new park

At the Ayiasmos ceremony for the new park that lies between the rear of the "Cavalini" house, and the church of Ayios Nikolaos in Avlemonas.

Kytherian-Australian, John Claudianos has spent many years restoring and renovating the landmark Cavallini residence in Avlemonas. It’s also known as the house with a sun-dial, a heritage listed building which took about a decade of permissions and hard work to restore.

Taking philanthropy to a new level, John recently gifted land behind the Cavallini residence to the community, in the form of a public park and lookout.

John financed the landscaping and construction, turning the vacant land behind the Cavallini building, next to the Agios Nikolaos church in Avlemonas, into a place for the local community and visitors to enjoy.
Using architectural elements of wood, stainless steel and stone, the park and lookout is very pleasant and modern, with a feeling similar to that of the Bondi to Bronte walk in Sydney.

An ayiasmos (blessing) took place in July by Kythera’s Metropoliti, Bishop Seraphim, attended by a broad cross-section of the local community and members of the diaspora. Local children performed traditional dances at the end of the ceremony, dressed in spaletta made by parents from Avlemonas.

Providing Avlemonas (and Kythera) with a new park is a very noble and selfless gesture, and for that John Clau-dianos deserves a great deal of thanks.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Kytherian Association Of Australia on 05.12.2013

Ayiasmos (blessing) of the New Park in Avlemonas. Aerial view 2

An aerial view of the new park and look-out, which is located next to the church in Avlemonas, overlooking the bay where the molo is located. The arial shots were taken by John Fardoulis' hexacopter (photography drone)

Kytherian-Australian, John Claudianos has spent many years restoring and renovating the landmark Cavallini residence in Avlemonas. It’s also known as the house with a sun-dial, a heritage listed building which took about a decade of permissions and hard work to restore.

Taking philanthropy to a new level, John recently gifted land behind the Cavallini residence to the community, in the form of a public park and lookout.

John financed the landscaping and construction, turning the vacant land behind the Cavallini building, next to the Agios Nikolaos church in Avlemonas, into a place for the local community and visitors to enjoy.
Using architectural elements of wood, stainless steel and stone, the park and lookout is very pleasant and modern, with a feeling similar to that of the Bondi to Bronte walk in Sydney.

An ayiasmos (blessing) took place in July by Kythera’s Metropoliti, Bishop Seraphim, attended by a broad cross-section of the local community and members of the diaspora. Local children performed traditional dances at the end of the ceremony, dressed in spaletta made by parents from Avlemonas.

Providing Avlemonas (and Kythera) with a new park is a very noble and selfless gesture, and for that John Clau-dianos deserves a great deal of thanks.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Kytherian Association Of Australia on 05.12.2013

Ayiasmos (blessing) of the New Park in Avlemonas.

An aerial view of the new park and look-out, which is located next to the church in Avlemonas, overlooking the bay where the molo is located. The arial shots were taken by John Fardoulis' hexacopter (photography drone)

Kytherian-Australian, John Claudianos has spent many years restoring and renovating the landmark Cavallini residence in Avlemonas. It’s also known as the house with a sun-dial, a heritage listed building which took about a decade of permissions and hard work to restore.

Taking philanthropy to a new level, John recently gifted land behind the Cavallini residence to the community, in the form of a public park and lookout.

John financed the landscaping and construction, turning the vacant land behind the Cavallini building, next to the Agios Nikolaos church in Avlemonas, into a place for the local community and visitors to enjoy.
Using architectural elements of wood, stainless steel and stone, the park and lookout is very pleasant and modern, with a feeling similar to that of the Bondi to Bronte walk in Sydney.

An ayiasmos (blessing) took place in July by Kythera’s Metropoliti, Bishop Seraphim, attended by a broad cross-section of the local community and members of the diaspora. Local children performed traditional dances at the end of the ceremony, dressed in spaletta made by parents from Avlemonas.

Providing Avlemonas (and Kythera) with a new park is a very noble and selfless gesture, and for that John Clau-dianos deserves a great deal of thanks.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Kytherian Association Of Australia on 04.12.2013

Ayiasmos (blessing) of the New Park in Avlemonas

The Claudianos family: Charles, John, George and their mother Marika, with Avlemonas local mayor Bubby Petrohilos (centre, back)

Kytherian-Australian, John Claudianos has spent many years restoring and renovating the landmark Cavallini residence in Avlemonas. It’s also known as the house with a sun-dial, a heritage listed building which took about a decade of permissions and hard work to restore.

Taking philanthropy to a new level, John recently gifted land behind the Cavallini residence to the community, in the form of a public park and lookout.

John financed the landscaping and construction, turning the vacant land behind the Cavallini building, next to the Agios Nikolaos church in Avlemonas, into a place for the local community and visitors to enjoy.
Using architectural elements of wood, stainless steel and stone, the park and lookout is very pleasant and modern, with a feeling similar to that of the Bondi to Bronte walk in Sydney.

An ayiasmos (blessing) took place in July by Kythera’s Metropoliti, Bishop Seraphim, attended by a broad cross-section of the local community and members of the diaspora. Local children performed traditional dances at the end of the ceremony, dressed in spaletta made by parents from Avlemonas.

Providing Avlemonas (and Kythera) with a new park is a very noble and selfless gesture, and for that John Clau-dianos deserves a great deal of thanks.

Photos > Architecture

submitted by Kytherian Association Of Australia on 04.12.2013

The House with the Sundial. Sundial above the front door after restoration

By, George Vardas

In his book “The Secret Lives of Buildings” the architect Edward Hollis surveys some of the world’s most famous buildings, including the Parthenon and Aghia Sophia, and argues that the soul of a building is not necessarily gauged from its plans or by examining the details of its construction. Rather, its essence is to be found in the layers of history within its walls. When a building changes over time, whether through degradation, destruction or historical changes, any restoration or alteration is, according to Hollis, a “retelling of the building as it exists at a particular time – and when the changes are complete it becomes the existing builing for the next retelling”.

The Cavallini house, better known as the house with the sundial in Avlemonas, is one of the most iconic and historic buildings of Kythera and also one of the most recognisable. It has recently been restored to its former grandeur but in so doing the owner and his team of architects, builders and restorers have succeeded in retelling the rich and, at times, seemingly improbable history of this house.

A remarkable history

The story begins in the early part of the nineteenth century. Angelo Cavallini was the Genoa-born captain of a merchant ship sailing between Venice to Constantinople and Smyrna. During one eventful journey he injured his hand and the ship made for the nearest local port which happened to be Kapsali on the island of Kythera to recover from his injuries. Cavallini later returned to Venice but he had found the island so enchanting that he came back and married a local girl, Rosa, who had nursed him. They went on to have a number of children, possibly five sons and five daughters.

At some stage between 1821 and 1827, as the first flames of revolutionary fervour were being fanned in mainland Greece, Cavallini bought a property in Avlemonas from the Kountourioti family upon which stood a modest dwelling. After purchasing the property, Angelo Cavallini hired craftsmen from Crete to upgrade and expand the building. The work was completed in 1827 and included the construction of a sundial over the front entrance.

Angelo lived in the house along with Rosa and their children while using it as a Customs House for the port of Avlemonas. At that time, he served as Vice-Consul for the Austro-Hungarian Empire and also performed diplomatic duties on behalf of the Greek State in a region that still did not officially belong to Greece.

In the decades following the unification of Greece in 1864, Kythera once again became the stop-over port of call for Austrian ships operated by Lloyds of Trieste, with the house at Avlemonas acting as a customs house and commercial trade centre.

After Angelo Cavallini’s death in 1886 his children inherited his estate and divided it amongst themselves with the property at Avlemonas vesting in two of his sons, John and Spyros. By a remarkable twist of fate, Angelo’s oldest son, John, who was a lawyer by trade and one of the Kytherian nobility, had met and eventually married Rosa Cassimatis, who had returned to Kythera after her marriage to Major Patrick Hearn had dissolved. Rosa was the mother of Lafcadio Hearn who went on to become one of Japan’s most recognised poets and writers in the late 19th century. But it was Spyros who was the one who finally lived in the home together with his family.

After the death of Spyros Kavallini in 1932, the home passed to one of his four sons, John Kavallini who had migrated for a time in the 1910's to America. He returned in 1926 shortly before the death of his father and married Georgia Firou from Mitata. They had three children and used the ground floor of the property in Avlemonas as a café which was patronised by captains and sailors from boats docked at Avlemonas when weather conditions did not permit their anchorage in the bay of Kapsali. After John’s death in 1945, his wife Georgia took over the running of the café.

During the Second World War the house with the sundial survived the German bombardment of the port of Avlemonas that preceded the invasion of Crete. It also hosted passing officers and men of the Allied Forces. In fact there are caves near the house in which the Allies had installed a large cannon that sank a German patrol boat that had been sent to intercept them. You can still see traces of bullet holes in the rocks near the property as a testimony to that fierce battle. The house also served as a makeshift field hospital for German soldiers during the war. Andreas Calocerinos once related to the writer how he remembered, as a young boy, seeing wounded men being operated on tables within the house.

After the war, Georgia Kavallini remained alone in the house once her children migrated to Australia. She died in 1990.

The reconstruction and restoration works

Today, the property consists of two separate properties. The property which hosts the famous sundial is owned by John Klaudianos, Georgia’s grandson, who wanted to realise the dream of his mother, Marika Kavallini, which was to see the house in which she had spent her childhood years come back to life.

In order to do this, John commissioned the architectural firm RCTECH to undertake the necessary design, restoration and reconstruction work having regard to the building’s unique architectural features and history. Indeed, their aim was to “highlight the plasticity of the building and to reinstate the positive aura that the building holds”.

The restoration works took about 15 months and involved reinforcement of the masonry walls, removal of the old coatings, installing a new concrete roof slab, maintaining the unique limestone frames around the openings to the doors and windows, coating the building with a new external coating, new plastering works and undertaking full waterproofing.

Restoration of the Cavallini Sundial

Last but not least the owner’s brief called for the restoration of
various architectural elements on the building and, most notably, the famous sundial. For this delicate work an expert conservator with specialist knowledge and 30 years of service in the maintenance of the antiquities of the Parthenon, was engaged to oversee the restoration works. The aim of the restoration was to protect the sundial from additional wear, revive its colours and reinstall it as a functioning sundial.

The result, as the various photos depicting the house before, during and after its extensive restoration attest, is simply outstanding. The intervention is characterised by the innovative use of materials and colours, attention to detail and painstaking restoration works to produce an authentic restoration of the fabric of the building and at the same time preserving its distinctive architectural features. The house with the sundial, in that quiet corner of Avlemonas harbour, will forever remain a monument to time and memory on Kythera.

Its restoration by John Klaudianos, a descendant of the original Cavallini family, is a story of passion and determination to complete the sensitive retelling of the history of an iconic building.

Note: The sources for this article include the website of RC TECH; material on the Kythera family net website; Peter Vanges’ Kythera, and an extensive history of the house from visit kythera