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submitted by Eptanesian Union Greece on 19.12.2015

Professor Minas Coroneo speaking to the award he received for Kythera,

at the 3rd Presentation of Ionian (Eptanisian) Union of Greece, Awards. Dr Manolis Kalokerinos, was the other awardee from Kythera.

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

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

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

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

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Hellenic Post stamp issue, in honour of Minas Coroneo

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

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

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The Board of IONIAN UNION of GREECE

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


Report by Lefkada News:

Ionian Islands awards in the old Parliament House

12/14/2015 Views


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Sydney Morning Herald on 02.12.2015

Spectacular visual effects ... Mad Max: Fury Road

After winning the year's best film by the National Board of Review, Mad Max: Fury Road is lining up for Oscar nominations

December 1, 2015

Garry Maddox
Writer

Fury Road revisits Oscar-winning filmmaker George Miller's post-apocalyptic Mad Max trilogy.


As a new poll suggested it could receive a swag of Oscar nominations, Max Max: Fury Road has been named the year's best film by the National Board of Review in the US.

The New York organisation, which celebrates international cinema, gave its top award to director George Miller's action blockbuster with Ridley Scott winning best director for the sci-fi hit The Martian, Matt Damon best actor for the same film and Brie Larson best actress for the drama Room.

While the Board of Review, which draws on votes from 120 film fans, is not considered a predictor of Academy Awards results, Fury Road's win backs up the support it is receiving for six, seven or even eight Oscar nominations next month.

While Cate Blanchett is a virtual certainty for another nod next month, the latest predictions of Oscar pundits on the well-regarded Gold Derby web site suggest Fury Road could continue its success at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Industry Awards this week.

While it is still almost a month before voting opens for the nominations and Hollywood's Oscar experts are yet to see some films, including Star Wars; The Force Awakens, there is surprisingly strong support for Fury Road in the behind-the-scenes categories.

To no-one's surprise pundits from such publications as Variety, Vanity Fair, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone.are almost unanimous - predicted by 20 out of 21 - that Blanchett will receive her sixth Oscar nomination for the lesbian romance Carol. She has previous wins for Aviator and Blue Jasmine.

But there is just as much support - 20 experts out of 21 - for Fury Road's John Seale being nominated for best cinematography. A previous winner for The English Patient, he has also been nominated for Witness, Rain Man and Cold Mountain.

Almost as many experts - 19 out of 20 - believe Fury Road's Colin Gibson will get an Oscar nomination for best production design.

George Miller's fourth Mad Max film also has a chance of receiving a nomination for best costumes.

An overwhelming majority - 18 out of 20 - also believe Margaret Sixel will be nominated for best editing.

And while it was beaten at the AACTAs for best costume design by The Dressmaker, a fair number of experts - nine out of 20 - believe Fury Road's Jenny Beavan will get a nomination too.

But there seems to be no doubt when it comes to the two sound categories- sound editing and best sound mixing.

Contender: production designer Colin Gibson atop the War Rig from Mad Max: Fury Road.
Contender: production designer Colin Gibson atop the War Rig from Mad Max: Fury Road. Photo: Peter Rae
Every single expert - 16 out of 16 - believes Fury Road will be nominated in both categories.

And an overwhelming number believe Mad Max will also get nods for best visual effects (15 out of 18) and best make-up and hairstyling (18 out of 19).

The glowingly reviewed action film won six awards at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts industry awards on Monday, including best cinematography, production design, editing, sound, original music score and visual effects.

It is an excellent chance of adding best film and director at the main ceremony on December 9.

While Oscar voting does not open until the end of the month, the poll suggests Fury Road will be surprisingly prominent for a film released seven months ago when the nominations are announced on January 14.

In an entertaining twist, Tom Hardy, who took over as Mad Max from Mel Gibson, is considered a strong chance of an Oscar nomination as well - as predicted by 11 experts out of 21 - but for his supporting role in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's western epic The Revenant.

One of Australia's greatest directors, Miller's record at the Oscars includes a best animated feature win for Happy Feet and three other nominations - best screenplay (with Nick Enright) for Lorenzo's Oil and, for Babe, best picture (with Doug Mitchell and Bill Miller and best adapted screenplay (with Chris Noonan).

He has just scattered support for a best direction nomination for Fury Road (three experts out of 22), as there is for a best picture nod (four out of 21).

But that won't dampen the enthusiasm of a crew that took 12 years - overcoming countless setbacks - to bring Mad Max back to cinemas.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Sydney Morning Herald on 08.10.2015

Tom Hardy in George Miller's Mad Max Fury Road.

Miller reveals the magic and madness behind Fury Road

Sydney Morning Herald

Friday October 9th, 20125, page 2-3

Garry Maddox


Director George Miller has good news and bad news for fans of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Yes, he still wants to shoot the two sequels that were written during the 12 years it took to get that movie to the screen. But it is still too early to say when or even which new instalment – one centring on Tom Hardy's Max, the other on Charlize Theron's Furiosa – he will film next.

"We're certainly talking about them but exactly the timing of that, I don't know," Miller said. "We're still working all that out."

The sequels, which would be shot in Australia after extended rain at Broken Hill forced a shift to the Namibian desert for Fury Road, have been a hot topic since the movie became a rare box office hit, taking $US375 million worldwide, that was almost universally acclaimed by critics.

The fourth Mad Max movie started with an idea that flashed into Miller's head as he crossed a street in Los Angeles in 1998. Then two years later, the former doctor had what he calls a waking dream – with the movie playing out in his head – on a flight from from Los Angeles to Sydney.

Ahead of a talk on creating Fury Road at the Graphic Festival on Sunday, Miller said it grew out of his "strong sense of inquiry".

Recasting changed the storytelling: Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road. Photo: Jasin Boland

"One of the things that drew me to this film was the notion of an extended chase and seeing what [viewers] could pick up on the run as it were," he said. "We were trying to put as much iceberg as possible underneath the tip.

"So you read it on the surface as a kind of visual poem but underneath you're trying to pick up as much subtext as possible."
As well as being one of the country's great storytellers – an Oscar winner whose celebrated directing career includes four Mad Max movies, two Happy Feets, Lorenzo's Oil, The Witches of Eastwick and the mini-series The Dismissal – Miller has long been a deep thinker about how stories work and why they matter, drawing on the theories of American mythologist Joseph Campbell.

"One of the major attractions of working in this wasteland world with Mad Max and all his cohorts is that you're going forward to the past," he said. "You're going back to a much more elemental world, which allows you to basically work in allegory.
"So you're drawing on history. You're drawing on present-day events. You're drawing on speculations as to the future we may be heading towards. You're conflating all of those and putting them into the mix and being rigorous about the design criteria that you're working with ... so that even though the movie plays at a helter-skelter pace, [viewers] are picking up enough on the run to make it believable. You hope they're drawn up into the world of the screen without questioning it."

Miller, 70, said "dreaming" a movie was far from rare in his life.
"It probably means I'm crazy but I do it all the time. Ever since I was a little kid, I've been living this imaginative life.
"The more you do something, the more your neurology adjusts to it and I'm pretty well hard-wired for story. Out of habit now, stories are playing in my head all the time."

Every movie Miller has written has come from a similar experience.
"They're not sleeping dreams," he said. "They're what I call hypnagogic dreams or daydreaming – that place between sleep and wakefulness. That unguarded moment when you're in a kind of dissociated state ... It's always in those sort of moments: on a long flight or in the shower.
"I remember having a conversation with George Lucas once and he said just about every great idea he's ever had has come in the shower because you can't be on the internet, you can't be on the phone, you're not watching TV.
"You're just there in that kind of state and the ideas come to your mind."
Miller said it necessarily changed the storytelling in Fury Road when Hardy took over from Mel Gibson as Max in the action series.
"The essential architecture of the story is always going to be there. But the actual tones and colour are going to vary depending on what the actor brings.
"You have something in your mind as you've written or devised it but when it's captured in the camera, that becomes the new reality. That's what you've got to work with.
"It's impossible to know exactly how different it would be but it must be different and pretty soon you've forgotten what you had in your imagination."

After that waking dream one night over the Pacific, Miller and co-writers Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris developed Fury Road in an inventive way. Instead of a script, they created 3500 storyboard panels – effectively comic book scenes – that outlined what happened in the movie shot by shot.

"The task was to see how much story or experience or felt life you could create for an audience during a very fast action piece," he said. "I'm always interested as to how film language is evolving.
"It's an acquired language. It basically laid down its syntax in the silent era. In many ways Mad Max is a silent movie with sound."

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Sydney Morning Herald on 30.04.2015

Charlize Theron muscles in as Furiosa. Photo Jasin Boland Warner Bros. Entertainment

On the set of Mad Max: Fury Road with director George Miller

Sydney Morning Herald

April 25, 2015

Garry Maddox


The badlands of the latest Mad Max movie have never looked more forbidding. But for director George Miller, it’s a happy homecoming.

Mad Max: George Miller's enduring anti-hero
Thirty years on, the iconic Mad Max franchise has been reimagined by its original creator.The result is an explosive, 'very Australian' modern action movie. George Miller talks to Garry Maddox.

Inside a cavernous sound stage in sweltering heat, a surreal scene is taking place. A band of skinny, shirtless men wearing filthy shorts and bandannas are clambering onto two giant steel turbines. On a command, they begin to pedal. The job of these sorry souls, called Treadmill Rats, is to operate a platform that brings battle vehicles and warriors up to a mountaintop citadel then back down to a desert wasteland.

Milling around nearby are a group of bald youths, also shirtless and wearing combat pants. They are daubed in white paint and marked with a menacing skull tattoo. Called the War Pups, they answer to a masked warlord known as Immortan Joe, who styles himself as a cult leader in the post-apocalyptic future.

Charlize Theron with director George Miller.
Charlize Theron with director George Miller. Photo: Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

While the Treadmill Rats pedal, the War Pups lounge around waiting for their scene. A make-up artist touches up the white paint on one. Another has found a spot in the sun to study a school book.

Watching the action intently on a monitor is George Miller, the acclaimed director who is about to finally finish filming Mad Max: Fury Road at Sydney's Fox Studios.

The former doctor made his name with Mad Max in 1979, then followed up in 1981 with Mad Max 2 (known as The Road Warrior in the US) and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. While he has had many other successes, including the Oscar-winning Happy Feet, the trilogy about a damaged cop roaming the lawless Australian wasteland remains a cinema landmark.

Tom Hardy fires up as Mad Max.
Tom Hardy fires up as Mad Max. Photo: Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Still one of the most profitable films ever made, the first instalment launched an unknown Mel Gibson to stardom as Max Rockatansky and influenced countless celluloid versions of the post-apocalyptic future. Out of Miller's vivid imagination came such memorable characters as Toecutter, Goose, the Feral Kid, the Gyro Captain, Master Blaster and Aunt Entity, as well as an inspired range of futuristic vehicles.

And there, on the platform the Treadmill Rats have been lowering, is one of the icons of the series – Max's Interceptor, the black V8 muscle car he drove at turbo-charged speed in his battered leather jacket with a cattle dog by his side. Despite the heat, Miller is also wearing a black leather jacket as he directs one of the last of 135 gruelling days on the movie.

"I liked being hot from when I was making the first Mad Max," he says, joking that it might be an attempt to raise his metabolism, or just an idiosyncratic security blanket on set.

Charlize Theron muscles in as Furiosa.
Charlize Theron muscles in as Furiosa. Photo: Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Miller describes Fury Road as a "wild and operatic" chase movie that is neither a reboot, prequel nor sequel. "It's revisiting the world," he says. "For me, it's revisiting old friends."

Pursued by Immortan Joe's marauding hordes, a one-armed female warrior named Imperator Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, drives a giant tanker carrying a precious cargo – his five young wives – through the wasteland. Along the way, she gets help from Max, played this time by Tom Hardy.

In its 114 minutes, Fury Road features no less than 300 stunts, all performed for real on set rather than simulated in a studio with digital effects. "Old school", Miller calls it. There are enough crashes, jumps, tumbles and explosions for producer Doug Mitchell to describe the movie as "Mad Max 2 on steroids".

Future shock: It took only minutes for George Miller to be inspired to make Fury Road. It took 12 years to bring it to the big screen. Photo: Tim Bauer

As epic as that sounds, the movie's production has been even more so. Over 12 years, Miller has had to persevere during three major delays, with three actors down to play Max – including Heath Ledger until his tragic death – a switch of continents, three different Hollywood studios and enough financial challenges to sink just about any other movie.

And with up to 10 cameras shooting the action, Fury Road has been assembled from a huge 480 hours of footage. Back in the sound stage, it's time for a shot that has two War Pups reacting to Max's arrival off screen. They are joined by one of Immortan Joe's sons, Corpus Colossus (Quentin Kenihan), in a harness seat.

"Can we ask Jamie to just drop his head a little
bit," Miller says calmly into a microphone. "Crouch down. Not too far forward, Riley. And we're in action. The vehicles arrive. We're watching Max."

Around the corner, production designer Colin Gibson prepares for another shot. Up a ladder, he is painting a slogan on the wall of what looks like a cave: "There's a new world coming … she's already on her way."

This is the mountaintop vault where Immortan Joe keeps The Wives, played by a glamorous group of actresses and models: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Courtney Eaton, Zoe Kravitz and Riley Keough.

Gibson describes the cave as a combined harem, library, crèche and museum for all the flotsam and jetsam of history. "In a world of horror, this is an attempt to keep all the other bits of civilisation you don't worry about anywhere else," he says. "There's music, art, literature, plants."

A short walk away on the busy lot – Angelina Jolie is directing Unbroken and Russell Crowe is shooting The Water Diviner on other sound stages – Mitchell and Gibson show off more
of the dystopian world. Their team
has built 150 metres of tunnels, where Max is held prisoner and treated as a blood donor.

In another corner stands the truck that Furiosa pilots across the desert. Called the War Rig – one of three built for the movie – it looks like a battered dusty petrol tanker with chunks of two other vehicles welded on top, spiked wheels and a fuel-pod trailer.

"For George, this was Stagecoach, this was John Ford," says Gibson in a reference to the classic John Wayne western that takes place on the move. "There may be 10 million stunts happening out there but this is the stage for the drama. The beating heart."

Upstairs in the elegant Metro Theatre in Potts Point, three kilometres away, is an office with a rich history that dates back to some of the famous miniseries Kennedy Miller made in the 1980s. It was the prime minister's office in The Dismissal, a ship's bar in Bodyline, and a prison in The Cowra Breakout. Now it's Mad Max Central. George Miller's office.

With only weeks until Fury Road opens worldwide on May 14, the director is still flat out finishing all the different versions required for a Hollywood blockbuster: subtitled, dubbed, IMAX and various sound and 3D formats.

Beneath three whirring ceiling fans, signs of the movie are everywhere. There are large black models of the War Rig and another vehicle called the Doof Wagon, which urges warriors into battle in the movie with musician Iota playing a flame-throwing guitar. Elsewhere, some of the ornate steering wheels worshipped by War Boys, grown-up War Pups, hang on a wall, and a pile of movie posters are waiting to be approved.

For much of the production, the office was lined with 3500 storyboard panels that outline what happens shot by shot in Fury Road. "That's how we conceived the film," says Miller.

A genial figure behind glasses, the 70-year-old has long been one of the country's finest filmmakers, telling serious, thoughtful stories in a variety of genres.

Since forming Kennedy Miller with the late Byron Kennedy in the 1970s, George Miller has directed and mostly produced The Dismissal, The Witches of Eastwick, Lorenzo's Oil, Babe: Pig in the City, two Happy Feet films and the Mad Max trilogy. He also produced Babe (which he co-wrote), Bodyline, Vietnam, The Year My Voice Broke, Dead Calm and Bangkok Hilton. And he's done it all while living in Sydney rather than moving full-time to Los Angeles.

The four-time Oscar nominee – he was a winner for Happy Feet – traces his intense imaginative life back to a childhood based around play, without television, as one of four sons of Kytherian Greek immigrant parents in the Queensland town of Chinchilla.

After studying medicine at the University of NSW with his twin brother John, then working at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, Miller was already making short films when he met Kennedy at a University of Melbourne film workshop.

He worked as a locum while they shot Mad Max around Melbourne, with the story influenced by seeing the damage caused by the country's car culture: the "death by autocide" in rural Queensland, and then dealing with the trauma as an emergency doctor.

"Ever since I was a kid, I've basically lived the imaginative life," Miller says. "I'm pretty hard-wired for that now. So these characters you've come up with, they live like imaginary characters in your head."

One of these characters, Max Rockatansky, unexpectedly jumped back to life as Miller crossed a street in Los Angeles in 1998. "Halfway across, this idea popped into my head," he says. "I thought, 'Oh my, that's a Mad Max movie.' By the time I got to the other side of the road, I said, 'There's no way I'm going to go anywhere near that because I've already done three.'

"Two years after that, I was on a plane flying across the Pacific during the night – from Los Angeles to Sydney – and the whole movie played in my head. It was in a rough form and it was very misty but the scenes played.

"By the time I landed, I told everyone, 'I think we're going to make another Mad Max movie.' "

Influenced by a love of silent movies and Alfred Hitchcock's theory about making films so people in other countries do not need to read subtitles, Miller conceived Fury Road as a helter-skelter action movie told largely through visuals rather than words.

After the apocalypse, there are no books, internet or TV, and language has become purely functional. So Max speaks just 41 lines and Furiosa less than 100. "There's very specific language in Fury Road but people don't do it recreationally and they don't think aloud because they're in extremis," Miller says. "They don't have time to think aloud."

The director and his team devised a new dark age. "All the worst-case scenarios we see in the news come to pass all at once. Economic collapse, power-grid collapse, oil wars, water wars and things we just didn't see coming. There's wholesale organ failure of all the things that glue us together. You jump 45 years into the future. All the coastal cities so far as we know have been razed. Great gangs have marauded like locusts across the land. In the centre of a continent like Australia, there's a new dominance hierarchy, where all the resources are controlled."

Immortan Joe controls artesian water from his citadel and trades with other warlords who run Gas Town, which has the fuel, and the Bullet Farm, which has the weapons.

With computer systems wiped out, the wasteland is filled with whatever can be cobbled together from a more robust technological era. "Everything is found objects," says Miller. Everything on screen, including the wardrobe, weapons, vehicles, dialogue and the way the actors behave, was created from these found objects. Two other rules governed what takes place in the movie. "Just because it's after the apocalypse, it doesn't mean people can't make beautiful things. We see that in early man. The palaeolithics did all that wonderful rock art. In refugee camps in the most impoverished parts of the world, they can make beautiful things. And just because it's the wasteland, it doesn't mean people lose their sense of humour. There's a certain rambunctiousness to the world and the story."

As he talks, editor Margaret Sixel – Miller's partner – arrives in the office. When he praises her "massive brain", she jokes that "together we make the complete person".

He chimes in: "If you can imagine the world's biggest Rubik's Cube, that's what Margie had to deal with."

She chips back: "It takes you three months to view all the material, just watching, before you can do anything – it's the bloody digital cameras they can stick everywhere. Then everyone leaves and the poor editor is left in the cutting room. 'See you later, guys. There's 400 hours. Good luck.' "

The movie has a rapid-cutting style that reflects Miller's view that audiences can process information much quicker than years ago. While Mad Max 2 was made up of 1200 shots, Fury Road has more than twice that many at 2750. "Film language – this relatively new language – has evolved that much in 30 years," says Miller.

What keeps him making movies is the same intense curiosity that once drew him to medicine, a fascination with the power of stories and a passion for new filmmaking technology. "It took us 10 years to get the technology to make Babe talk," he says. "The Happy Feet movies came from seeing motion capture and developing it when [cinematographer] Andrew Lesnie came from Lord of the Rings and showed me the first Gollum motion capture."

Doug Mitchell, who joined what is now called Kennedy Miller Mitchell after Mad Max 2 and took over as producer when Byron Kennedy was killed in a helicopter crash in 1983, says the good doctor's genial nature is deceptive. "You've got to be tough," Mitchell says. "George is very gentle and very humorous and very affable but behind that he's a very capable, strong man. You can't lead a company into a filmmaking venture like this without that."

Back when John Howard was still prime minister, Miller planned to shoot Fury Road in and around Broken Hill in western NSW, with Mel Gibson returning as Max. But shortly before filming in 2003, production stalled due to the looming Iraq War, the rising US dollar, insurance issues and problems with the star's deal.

When the movie was eventually revived – with Miller making two Happy Feet movies in the interim – filming was delayed again when heavy rain caused the desert around Broken Hill to bloom in 2009. And it was delayed again when the desert was still too green in 2010 for a start the following year.

After the first delay, Gibson was no longer young enough (and becoming too controversial) to play the role. Miller wanted to replace him with Heath Ledger until his sudden death in 2008. So the role went to Tom Hardy, best known for Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. "In casting sessions, Tom Hardy walked through the door and I just got the same intense vibe that I got when Mel Gibson first walked through the door," Miller says. They both have "an animal-like charisma".

While Beyond Thunderdome was made with Warner Bros, Miller's unhappy experience trying to make the sci-fi movie Contact with the studio meant Fury Road would be made with Universal Pictures, which had great success with Babe. But after the movie stalled for the first time, it went to 20th Century Fox because of its deal with Gibson. When he dropped out, Warner Bros, with a new executive team, took over the movie.

Without Broken Hill, the filmmakers considered deserts in China and Chile but decided to shoot in Namibia in southern Africa, which had a variety of landscapes, a population that spoke English and enough accommodation for a crew that ranged from 1200 to 1700 during the shoot, plus a cast of 55. But it was prohibitively expensive to ship more than 200 vehicles and all those people across the world. "By the time we got to Namibia, the cost and the additional expense of getting there required us to cut back on what we were going to shoot," Mitchell says. They also found themselves fielding flak from Hollywood executives, who were fearful about what else could go wrong so far from home.

While Miller and his crew wanted to shoot for 150 days, the extra costs meant cutting back to 100 days in the Namibian desert and another 20 days in a South African studio. "The sacrifice was to cut off the start and the end of the film," Mitchell says. "George wisely agreed that was the way to go because at least we could get all the action in the desert, which was what we needed – the essence of the film. We'd find somehow, later on, a way to cope with the problem."

Two units went out to shoot moving vehicles every day – one with Miller directing, the other with stunt co-ordinator and second-unit director Guy Norris at the helm. Along the way, they abandoned plans to shoot the movie in 3D because it was taking too much time, deciding to convert the movie in post-production.

They persevered, making safety a priority as they shot from June to December 2012. From their base in the town of Swakopmund, they had to move a giant tent city six times to shoot in locations that allowed more rugged terrain, canyons and bogs.

Heat was not the only challenge. At times it was so cold the Wives wore overcoats and carried hot water bottles between takes. "I must confess I got massively stressed for a period out there in Africa, where I'd be on the phone at four in the morning to the States," Mitchell says. "There was a lot of noise going on through the film."

Former model Megan Gale, who plays a rifle-toting warrior named Valkyrie, describes the shoot as "completely surreal". "It was just wild," she says. "There were hundreds of guys in character. My first impression
was – everyone says it – it's mad, it's mental, it's just this crazy world that's just full of people who are desperate to survive and are ruthless. It was just a trip to see it on day one."

Gale was so thrilled to be involved that she took on the stunts she could handle safely, including one that involved rolling out of the way of pursuing vehicles after a motorbike crash. "I just had to trust that they would all drive and hit their mark and miss me," she says. "I had to just roll to the left, to the right, to the left, to the right over rocks. That was pretty exhilarating."

Gale says they shot the scene several times for different camera angles and that the expert stunt crew did exactly what they had to do each time. Even working in extreme conditions, Miller still made himself available to discuss dialogue and costumes to help her with the role.

"It was a gruelling shoot," she says. "I came in quite a few months after they'd been there and he was just collected and calm. I never saw him lose his cool, even logistically a lot of things were happening. There's always something that can go wrong, whether it's a car that breaks down or someone's sick or a stunt is not quite working, and he was just so calm."

Miller says shooting stunts "where if it went wrong, it could go horribly wrong" plus the heat, dust and long days in remote locations, were exhausting. "Every day for 120 days was doing heavy-duty action. It was the relentless quality of it that really took its toll."

Security was also an issue, especially with so many actors and the families of crew members who had joined the shoot. A former SAS soldier, John Iles, headed a security team and moonlighted as a warrior named Ace in the movie. "There were a number of burglaries and he was first there," Mitchell says. "John billeted himself near where the Wives were, so if
anything happened, I had an emergency hotline to him to get down and help."

Mitchell takes great pride in completing Fury Road without anyone sustaining serious injuries during filming. "Without patting ourselves on the back, we got through an extensive war in terms of the potential carnage with real vehicles going at speed – massive vehicles – not just one behind the other but in a convoy attacking each other."

If Fury Road is a hit, it will not be the last audiences see of Mad Max. While working on the movie, Miller and co-writer Nico Lathouris came up with two other stories. One was due to be made as a Japanese-style anime but, with a full script written, has been held back as a live-action movie. The other story has been written as a 200-page novella. There are also plans for a Mad Max live-action arena spectacular with producer-director David Atkins.

Clearly as resilient as he is driven, Miller seems calm about what's at stake. A movie made with a budget of $US150 million to $US200 million – and possibly costing more than $US240 million, including government subsidies – will open on the same weekend in every major cinema territory bar Japan and China.

"Our test screenings have gone well," says Miller. "I'm very cautiously hoping for the best but that's not to say that all this effort won't be for naught."

Miller plans some family time – he and Sixel have two sons aged 19 and 14 and he has a 27-year-old daughter, Augusta, with former wife Sandy Gore – but clearly wants to turn more of those ideas that leap to mind crossing roads into movies. "I often say that if I end up in a nursing home staring into the distance, I'll be playing some movie in my head," he says.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Sydney Morning Herald on 30.04.2015

Tom Hardy fires up as Mad Max. Photo Jasin Boland Warner Bros. Entertainment

On the set of Mad Max: Fury Road with director George Miller

Sydney Morning Herald

April 25, 2015

Garry Maddox


The badlands of the latest Mad Max movie have never looked more forbidding. But for director George Miller, it’s a happy homecoming.

Mad Max: George Miller's enduring anti-hero
Thirty years on, the iconic Mad Max franchise has been reimagined by its original creator.The result is an explosive, 'very Australian' modern action movie. George Miller talks to Garry Maddox.

Inside a cavernous sound stage in sweltering heat, a surreal scene is taking place. A band of skinny, shirtless men wearing filthy shorts and bandannas are clambering onto two giant steel turbines. On a command, they begin to pedal. The job of these sorry souls, called Treadmill Rats, is to operate a platform that brings battle vehicles and warriors up to a mountaintop citadel then back down to a desert wasteland.

Milling around nearby are a group of bald youths, also shirtless and wearing combat pants. They are daubed in white paint and marked with a menacing skull tattoo. Called the War Pups, they answer to a masked warlord known as Immortan Joe, who styles himself as a cult leader in the post-apocalyptic future.

Charlize Theron with director George Miller.
Charlize Theron with director George Miller. Photo: Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

While the Treadmill Rats pedal, the War Pups lounge around waiting for their scene. A make-up artist touches up the white paint on one. Another has found a spot in the sun to study a school book.

Watching the action intently on a monitor is George Miller, the acclaimed director who is about to finally finish filming Mad Max: Fury Road at Sydney's Fox Studios.

The former doctor made his name with Mad Max in 1979, then followed up in 1981 with Mad Max 2 (known as The Road Warrior in the US) and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. While he has had many other successes, including the Oscar-winning Happy Feet, the trilogy about a damaged cop roaming the lawless Australian wasteland remains a cinema landmark.

Tom Hardy fires up as Mad Max.
Tom Hardy fires up as Mad Max. Photo: Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Still one of the most profitable films ever made, the first instalment launched an unknown Mel Gibson to stardom as Max Rockatansky and influenced countless celluloid versions of the post-apocalyptic future. Out of Miller's vivid imagination came such memorable characters as Toecutter, Goose, the Feral Kid, the Gyro Captain, Master Blaster and Aunt Entity, as well as an inspired range of futuristic vehicles.

And there, on the platform the Treadmill Rats have been lowering, is one of the icons of the series – Max's Interceptor, the black V8 muscle car he drove at turbo-charged speed in his battered leather jacket with a cattle dog by his side. Despite the heat, Miller is also wearing a black leather jacket as he directs one of the last of 135 gruelling days on the movie.

"I liked being hot from when I was making the first Mad Max," he says, joking that it might be an attempt to raise his metabolism, or just an idiosyncratic security blanket on set.

Charlize Theron muscles in as Furiosa.
Charlize Theron muscles in as Furiosa. Photo: Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Miller describes Fury Road as a "wild and operatic" chase movie that is neither a reboot, prequel nor sequel. "It's revisiting the world," he says. "For me, it's revisiting old friends."

Pursued by Immortan Joe's marauding hordes, a one-armed female warrior named Imperator Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, drives a giant tanker carrying a precious cargo – his five young wives – through the wasteland. Along the way, she gets help from Max, played this time by Tom Hardy.

In its 114 minutes, Fury Road features no less than 300 stunts, all performed for real on set rather than simulated in a studio with digital effects. "Old school", Miller calls it. There are enough crashes, jumps, tumbles and explosions for producer Doug Mitchell to describe the movie as "Mad Max 2 on steroids".

[[picture:"Future shock It took only minutes for George Miller to be inspired to make Fury Road It took 12 years to bring it to the big screen. Photo Tim Bauer.jpg" ID:22902]]

Future shock: It took only minutes for George Miller to be inspired to make Fury Road. It took 12 years to bring it to the big screen. Photo: Tim Bauer

As epic as that sounds, the movie's production has been even more so. Over 12 years, Miller has had to persevere during three major delays, with three actors down to play Max – including Heath Ledger until his tragic death – a switch of continents, three different Hollywood studios and enough financial challenges to sink just about any other movie.

And with up to 10 cameras shooting the action, Fury Road has been assembled from a huge 480 hours of footage. Back in the sound stage, it's time for a shot that has two War Pups reacting to Max's arrival off screen. They are joined by one of Immortan Joe's sons, Corpus Colossus (Quentin Kenihan), in a harness seat.

"Can we ask Jamie to just drop his head a little
bit," Miller says calmly into a microphone. "Crouch down. Not too far forward, Riley. And we're in action. The vehicles arrive. We're watching Max."

Around the corner, production designer Colin Gibson prepares for another shot. Up a ladder, he is painting a slogan on the wall of what looks like a cave: "There's a new world coming … she's already on her way."

This is the mountaintop vault where Immortan Joe keeps The Wives, played by a glamorous group of actresses and models: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Courtney Eaton, Zoe Kravitz and Riley Keough.

Gibson describes the cave as a combined harem, library, crèche and museum for all the flotsam and jetsam of history. "In a world of horror, this is an attempt to keep all the other bits of civilisation you don't worry about anywhere else," he says. "There's music, art, literature, plants."

A short walk away on the busy lot – Angelina Jolie is directing Unbroken and Russell Crowe is shooting The Water Diviner on other sound stages – Mitchell and Gibson show off more
of the dystopian world. Their team
has built 150 metres of tunnels, where Max is held prisoner and treated as a blood donor.

In another corner stands the truck that Furiosa pilots across the desert. Called the War Rig – one of three built for the movie – it looks like a battered dusty petrol tanker with chunks of two other vehicles welded on top, spiked wheels and a fuel-pod trailer.

"For George, this was Stagecoach, this was John Ford," says Gibson in a reference to the classic John Wayne western that takes place on the move. "There may be 10 million stunts happening out there but this is the stage for the drama. The beating heart."

Upstairs in the elegant Metro Theatre in Potts Point, three kilometres away, is an office with a rich history that dates back to some of the famous miniseries Kennedy Miller made in the 1980s. It was the prime minister's office in The Dismissal, a ship's bar in Bodyline, and a prison in The Cowra Breakout. Now it's Mad Max Central. George Miller's office.

With only weeks until Fury Road opens worldwide on May 14, the director is still flat out finishing all the different versions required for a Hollywood blockbuster: subtitled, dubbed, IMAX and various sound and 3D formats.

Beneath three whirring ceiling fans, signs of the movie are everywhere. There are large black models of the War Rig and another vehicle called the Doof Wagon, which urges warriors into battle in the movie with musician Iota playing a flame-throwing guitar. Elsewhere, some of the ornate steering wheels worshipped by War Boys, grown-up War Pups, hang on a wall, and a pile of movie posters are waiting to be approved.

For much of the production, the office was lined with 3500 storyboard panels that outline what happens shot by shot in Fury Road. "That's how we conceived the film," says Miller.

A genial figure behind glasses, the 70-year-old has long been one of the country's finest filmmakers, telling serious, thoughtful stories in a variety of genres.

Since forming Kennedy Miller with the late Byron Kennedy in the 1970s, George Miller has directed and mostly produced The Dismissal, The Witches of Eastwick, Lorenzo's Oil, Babe: Pig in the City, two Happy Feet films and the Mad Max trilogy. He also produced Babe (which he co-wrote), Bodyline, Vietnam, The Year My Voice Broke, Dead Calm and Bangkok Hilton. And he's done it all while living in Sydney rather than moving full-time to Los Angeles.

The four-time Oscar nominee – he was a winner for Happy Feet – traces his intense imaginative life back to a childhood based around play, without television, as one of four sons of Kytherian Greek immigrant parents in the Queensland town of Chinchilla.

After studying medicine at the University of NSW with his twin brother John, then working at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, Miller was already making short films when he met Kennedy at a University of Melbourne film workshop.

He worked as a locum while they shot Mad Max around Melbourne, with the story influenced by seeing the damage caused by the country's car culture: the "death by autocide" in rural Queensland, and then dealing with the trauma as an emergency doctor.

"Ever since I was a kid, I've basically lived the imaginative life," Miller says. "I'm pretty hard-wired for that now. So these characters you've come up with, they live like imaginary characters in your head."

One of these characters, Max Rockatansky, unexpectedly jumped back to life as Miller crossed a street in Los Angeles in 1998. "Halfway across, this idea popped into my head," he says. "I thought, 'Oh my, that's a Mad Max movie.' By the time I got to the other side of the road, I said, 'There's no way I'm going to go anywhere near that because I've already done three.'

"Two years after that, I was on a plane flying across the Pacific during the night – from Los Angeles to Sydney – and the whole movie played in my head. It was in a rough form and it was very misty but the scenes played.

"By the time I landed, I told everyone, 'I think we're going to make another Mad Max movie.' "

Influenced by a love of silent movies and Alfred Hitchcock's theory about making films so people in other countries do not need to read subtitles, Miller conceived Fury Road as a helter-skelter action movie told largely through visuals rather than words.

After the apocalypse, there are no books, internet or TV, and language has become purely functional. So Max speaks just 41 lines and Furiosa less than 100. "There's very specific language in Fury Road but people don't do it recreationally and they don't think aloud because they're in extremis," Miller says. "They don't have time to think aloud."

The director and his team devised a new dark age. "All the worst-case scenarios we see in the news come to pass all at once. Economic collapse, power-grid collapse, oil wars, water wars and things we just didn't see coming. There's wholesale organ failure of all the things that glue us together. You jump 45 years into the future. All the coastal cities so far as we know have been razed. Great gangs have marauded like locusts across the land. In the centre of a continent like Australia, there's a new dominance hierarchy, where all the resources are controlled."

Immortan Joe controls artesian water from his citadel and trades with other warlords who run Gas Town, which has the fuel, and the Bullet Farm, which has the weapons.

With computer systems wiped out, the wasteland is filled with whatever can be cobbled together from a more robust technological era. "Everything is found objects," says Miller. Everything on screen, including the wardrobe, weapons, vehicles, dialogue and the way the actors behave, was created from these found objects. Two other rules governed what takes place in the movie. "Just because it's after the apocalypse, it doesn't mean people can't make beautiful things. We see that in early man. The palaeolithics did all that wonderful rock art. In refugee camps in the most impoverished parts of the world, they can make beautiful things. And just because it's the wasteland, it doesn't mean people lose their sense of humour. There's a certain rambunctiousness to the world and the story."

As he talks, editor Margaret Sixel – Miller's partner – arrives in the office. When he praises her "massive brain", she jokes that "together we make the complete person".

He chimes in: "If you can imagine the world's biggest Rubik's Cube, that's what Margie had to deal with."

She chips back: "It takes you three months to view all the material, just watching, before you can do anything – it's the bloody digital cameras they can stick everywhere. Then everyone leaves and the poor editor is left in the cutting room. 'See you later, guys. There's 400 hours. Good luck.' "

The movie has a rapid-cutting style that reflects Miller's view that audiences can process information much quicker than years ago. While Mad Max 2 was made up of 1200 shots, Fury Road has more than twice that many at 2750. "Film language – this relatively new language – has evolved that much in 30 years," says Miller.

What keeps him making movies is the same intense curiosity that once drew him to medicine, a fascination with the power of stories and a passion for new filmmaking technology. "It took us 10 years to get the technology to make Babe talk," he says. "The Happy Feet movies came from seeing motion capture and developing it when [cinematographer] Andrew Lesnie came from Lord of the Rings and showed me the first Gollum motion capture."

Doug Mitchell, who joined what is now called Kennedy Miller Mitchell after Mad Max 2 and took over as producer when Byron Kennedy was killed in a helicopter crash in 1983, says the good doctor's genial nature is deceptive. "You've got to be tough," Mitchell says. "George is very gentle and very humorous and very affable but behind that he's a very capable, strong man. You can't lead a company into a filmmaking venture like this without that."

Back when John Howard was still prime minister, Miller planned to shoot Fury Road in and around Broken Hill in western NSW, with Mel Gibson returning as Max. But shortly before filming in 2003, production stalled due to the looming Iraq War, the rising US dollar, insurance issues and problems with the star's deal.

When the movie was eventually revived – with Miller making two Happy Feet movies in the interim – filming was delayed again when heavy rain caused the desert around Broken Hill to bloom in 2009. And it was delayed again when the desert was still too green in 2010 for a start the following year.

After the first delay, Gibson was no longer young enough (and becoming too controversial) to play the role. Miller wanted to replace him with Heath Ledger until his sudden death in 2008. So the role went to Tom Hardy, best known for Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. "In casting sessions, Tom Hardy walked through the door and I just got the same intense vibe that I got when Mel Gibson first walked through the door," Miller says. They both have "an animal-like charisma".

While Beyond Thunderdome was made with Warner Bros, Miller's unhappy experience trying to make the sci-fi movie Contact with the studio meant Fury Road would be made with Universal Pictures, which had great success with Babe. But after the movie stalled for the first time, it went to 20th Century Fox because of its deal with Gibson. When he dropped out, Warner Bros, with a new executive team, took over the movie.

Without Broken Hill, the filmmakers considered deserts in China and Chile but decided to shoot in Namibia in southern Africa, which had a variety of landscapes, a population that spoke English and enough accommodation for a crew that ranged from 1200 to 1700 during the shoot, plus a cast of 55. But it was prohibitively expensive to ship more than 200 vehicles and all those people across the world. "By the time we got to Namibia, the cost and the additional expense of getting there required us to cut back on what we were going to shoot," Mitchell says. They also found themselves fielding flak from Hollywood executives, who were fearful about what else could go wrong so far from home.

While Miller and his crew wanted to shoot for 150 days, the extra costs meant cutting back to 100 days in the Namibian desert and another 20 days in a South African studio. "The sacrifice was to cut off the start and the end of the film," Mitchell says. "George wisely agreed that was the way to go because at least we could get all the action in the desert, which was what we needed – the essence of the film. We'd find somehow, later on, a way to cope with the problem."

Two units went out to shoot moving vehicles every day – one with Miller directing, the other with stunt co-ordinator and second-unit director Guy Norris at the helm. Along the way, they abandoned plans to shoot the movie in 3D because it was taking too much time, deciding to convert the movie in post-production.

They persevered, making safety a priority as they shot from June to December 2012. From their base in the town of Swakopmund, they had to move a giant tent city six times to shoot in locations that allowed more rugged terrain, canyons and bogs.

Heat was not the only challenge. At times it was so cold the Wives wore overcoats and carried hot water bottles between takes. "I must confess I got massively stressed for a period out there in Africa, where I'd be on the phone at four in the morning to the States," Mitchell says. "There was a lot of noise going on through the film."

Former model Megan Gale, who plays a rifle-toting warrior named Valkyrie, describes the shoot as "completely surreal". "It was just wild," she says. "There were hundreds of guys in character. My first impression
was – everyone says it – it's mad, it's mental, it's just this crazy world that's just full of people who are desperate to survive and are ruthless. It was just a trip to see it on day one."

Gale was so thrilled to be involved that she took on the stunts she could handle safely, including one that involved rolling out of the way of pursuing vehicles after a motorbike crash. "I just had to trust that they would all drive and hit their mark and miss me," she says. "I had to just roll to the left, to the right, to the left, to the right over rocks. That was pretty exhilarating."

Gale says they shot the scene several times for different camera angles and that the expert stunt crew did exactly what they had to do each time. Even working in extreme conditions, Miller still made himself available to discuss dialogue and costumes to help her with the role.

"It was a gruelling shoot," she says. "I came in quite a few months after they'd been there and he was just collected and calm. I never saw him lose his cool, even logistically a lot of things were happening. There's always something that can go wrong, whether it's a car that breaks down or someone's sick or a stunt is not quite working, and he was just so calm."

Miller says shooting stunts "where if it went wrong, it could go horribly wrong" plus the heat, dust and long days in remote locations, were exhausting. "Every day for 120 days was doing heavy-duty action. It was the relentless quality of it that really took its toll."

Security was also an issue, especially with so many actors and the families of crew members who had joined the shoot. A former SAS soldier, John Iles, headed a security team and moonlighted as a warrior named Ace in the movie. "There were a number of burglaries and he was first there," Mitchell says. "John billeted himself near where the Wives were, so if
anything happened, I had an emergency hotline to him to get down and help."

Mitchell takes great pride in completing Fury Road without anyone sustaining serious injuries during filming. "Without patting ourselves on the back, we got through an extensive war in terms of the potential carnage with real vehicles going at speed – massive vehicles – not just one behind the other but in a convoy attacking each other."

If Fury Road is a hit, it will not be the last audiences see of Mad Max. While working on the movie, Miller and co-writer Nico Lathouris came up with two other stories. One was due to be made as a Japanese-style anime but, with a full script written, has been held back as a live-action movie. The other story has been written as a 200-page novella. There are also plans for a Mad Max live-action arena spectacular with producer-director David Atkins.

Clearly as resilient as he is driven, Miller seems calm about what's at stake. A movie made with a budget of $US150 million to $US200 million – and possibly costing more than $US240 million, including government subsidies – will open on the same weekend in every major cinema territory bar Japan and China.

"Our test screenings have gone well," says Miller. "I'm very cautiously hoping for the best but that's not to say that all this effort won't be for naught."

Miller plans some family time – he and Sixel have two sons aged 19 and 14 and he has a 27-year-old daughter, Augusta, with former wife Sandy Gore – but clearly wants to turn more of those ideas that leap to mind crossing roads into movies. "I often say that if I end up in a nursing home staring into the distance, I'll be playing some movie in my head," he says.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian Cultural Exchange on 23.04.2015

Presentation by the author on her book Darwins Footprint

The Kytherian Association of Australia, in association with the Education Committee of AHEPA-NSW

INVITE YOU TO A PRESENTATION of the Book

DARWIN’S FOOTPRINT CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES ON EVOLUTION IN GREECE (1880-1930S)

With a talk by Dr Maria Zarimis

Σας καλούμε σε παρουσίαση βιβλίου και ομιλίας
της Δρ Μαρίας Ζαρίμη ( η διάλεξη θα γίνει στα αγγλικά )

To be held

On Thursday 28th May

At 7pm

At the Greek Bilingual Bookshop
837 New Canterbury Rd
Dulwich Hill

02 95594424


For catering purposes please RSVP to

George Poulos on 0409634185
Harry Fandakis on 0419 662 821
Eleni Elefterias-Kostakidis on 02 95594424

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian Newsletter Sydney on 20.04.2014

A sign informs punters of the cancellation of the Royal Randwick meeting due to the equine influenza outbreak

Peter V'landys initiatives helped militate against the devastating effect of the equine influenza virus.

"V’landys oversaw the administration of the schemes to combat Equine Influenza, which were directed at participants, not only in the thoroughbred racing industry, but also in the standardbred racing and leisure horse industries.

On a State level Peter worked closely with the Minister for Primary Industries and his Department to contain the spread of the disease and our joint activities helped to mitigate the financial impact of the outbreak.

He also lobbied relevant NSW Ministers for the provision of further financial assistance which resulted in the provision of a $7.5 million grants scheme for the industry’s participants and race clubs and the establishment of a Special Mortgage Deferment Scheme for racing industry participants and a further one off grant to help promote the industry following the resumption of normal racing activities."

Peter V'landys. Member of the Order of Australia (AM)

On Australia Day 2014, Peter V’landys was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for services to racing.


To view / download a copy of this article as a .pdf, go to:

Peter V'landys.pdf

In the Australian honours system, appointments to the Order of Australia confer recognition for outstanding achievement and service. The Member of the Order of Australia is awarded for service in a particular locality or field of activity or to a particular group.

Recipients of the Order of Australia are from many fields of endeavour and all walks of life. The Order of Australia has four levels:
• Companion of the Order (AC)
• Officer of the Order (AO)
• Member of the Order (AM), and
• Medal of the Order (OAM)

Peter V’landys is one of those fortunate people who are able to combine their passion with their profession. He is an Australian racing administrator who holds the position of Chief Executive and Board Member with Racing NSW (an independent body established to control and regulate the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Industry). As chief executive of Racing NSW, Peter oversees the state’s massive thoroughbred racing industry - the ideal job for someone who has been passionate about racing since childhood. He formerly held the position of Chief Executive of the NSW Harness Racing Club and currently serves on a number of Boards associated with the thoroughbred racing industry.

Peter attributes his Member of the Order of Australia honour to the hard work of his parents, who migrated from Kythera, Greece when he was a young boy.

Kytherian roots

Peter V’landys was born in the Vlandis “patriko” house, in the village of Kalokerines on Kythera, Greece, in 1962. The patriko house of Peter’s grandfather is easy to locate. It lies 80 metres from the church of Ayios Spyridonas, Kalokerines, on the road to Myrtidiotissa. There, 30 metres off the road, on the right, is a ‘camara’, known to all the locals, as “Fossa”. Another ‘patriko’, Peter’s father’s family’s house, is located adjacent to the ‘camara’ of his grandfather.

His pappou, Paul Vlandis – known as “Pavlis” - was extremely well known on Kythera. One of his tasks, in the lead up to ceremony of Myrtidiotissa, was to go to every house on the island on a donkey, and collect the oil that each household donated to the church. Pavlis had 12 children, one of whom was Peter’s father, Nick(olas). Nick was one of four (4) of Pavlis’s twelve (12) children who migrated to Australia.

Peter V’landys mother was Katerina Petrochilos, known as ‘Peters’ in Australia She was the daughter of Alex and Kirrani Petrochilos, from Fratsia, Kythera.

Despite leaving the island at age 3, a number of childhood memories have remained very vivid for Peter. He recalls as a small boy that he loved eating almonds. “I used to eat them by the bucket loads”. When it was time for him to leave the village, his grandfather Pavlis planted an almond tree with him. “You will be gone”, his grandfather said, “but this tree will still be here.”

He vividly remembers falling off a donkey, and “splitting my head open”. Also the many long walks, even as a small child that he undertook, up and down the road between Kalokerines and Myrtidiotissa. He also recalls vividly his best friend at the time - a young girl called Maria.

Peter’s father Nick migrated alone to Australia in 1963. He had joined a brother and sister in Wollongong, and another at Gosford - in Australia. In 1965 Peter’s mother Katerina along with his two older brothers Paul and Alex, left Kythera and migrated to Australia on the Patris.

Jim Vlandis from Gosford recalls picking up the family from the dock in Sydney, and waiting for Nick to arrive from Wollongong to be reunited with his family. The family settled in Wollongong.

Nick and Katerina lived the typical Kytherian-Greek migrant’s life in Australia. “We were very poor,” Peter V’landys says. “It was a struggle early on. My parents sometimes had to go without food to feed the three kids. Dad worked 18-hour days in the Wollongong steelworks. Because he didn't have the language, that was the best he could get. He was a 'doubler'. He worked every day from 6 am and he would normally finish at four, but then he would do a doubler. He'd finish at l am, and then start at six again. He retired when he was 60 and died when he was 64. Mum worked 12-hour shifts in a cafe so that I'd have a good chance in life. My work pales into insignificance compared to theirs. I've never seen a man and woman who worked as hard." Peter had jobs from age nine.

Peter V’landys has returned to Kythera on two occasions, the first time as a 28 year old. “When I went back, the first thing I went to look for was the almond tree. It was there were pappou had planted it”. It filled Peter with joy to see it. He was also reunited again with his childhood friend, Maria.

In 2009 he went back to Kythera a second time with his wife Philippa. On this occasion, under the bed in the patriko home, Peter found a small icon of a patron saint. He put it in his wallet, and has never removed it from his wallet since. “You know, I have lost my wallet twice, but on each occasion it has been returned to me with all its contents intact. I am sure that it was the patron saint that ensured that this happened.” The saint has been identified as Ayia Paraskevi. (See photograph). Again, on the 2009 visit, he met with his childhood friend, Maria. Tragically, Maria has since ‘passed away’.

Personal life

Growing up in Wollongong, Peter fell in love with racing when a friend introduced him to neighbours who used to regularly watch Harold Park harness racing on television. "There was a horse called Paleface Adios that really got my interest. At the age of 10, I used to buy the Trotting Guide and The Sportsman, and go to the TAB and find somebody older, an 18 year old, to put my bets on. “He would take a ‘sling’ (a %) every time I'd win”. I had an unbelievable strike rate. I was a very good form reader. I used to punt quite a bit for a young bloke.” “But I also realised early on that betting really had to be treated as entertainment - it's not something you do if you want to buy a house''?

Peter attended West Wollongong Primary and Keira Boys High School. It was a teacher at Keira who insisted on spelling his name “V-‘-l-a-n-d-y-s”. “He kept on spelling it that way...and it stuck”. At Keira Boys High his mathematics teacher advised him to study Accountancy. (‘There’s no money in Teaching”.) He gained entry to Wollongong University, graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree majoring in Accounting.

To pay his way through accountancy at Wollongong University, V'landys became the manager of the Unanderra Hotel at the tender age of 18. Originally employed as a glass collector and cellarman, owner, Duke Taylor employed him to manage the Hotel. “I thought, 'This a bit of a hard job for me at 18,” says V'landys. “And all the staff agreed. They went on strike.” But V'landys stayed, and Taylor, he says, taught him the motto, “If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, you baffle them with bullshit”. “And that's really been a good piece of advice,” he says. “It's helped me a lot.”

At 20, V'landys used money he had saved and borrowed to buy the Courthouse Tavern – “a good, wholesome, old-fashioned restaurant” across the road from the (legal) Courthouse in Wollongong, which thrived, despite having no new-age chefs et cetera”.

Peter worked part-time for a Wollongong accountancy firm throughout university. “So I was basically getting up at five o'clock in the morning and studying for uni,” he says, “starting at nine o'clock at the accounting practice, and then taking over at the restaurant at 5.30 until about 10pm. I learnt what hard work is.” He sold the restaurant after about two years, making “a reasonably good profit”.

“The education I received at university was invaluable and a major factor in my career path. I was very impressed with the relaxed atmosphere and the social life, but coming from an all-boys school I remember feeling quite intimidated sitting next to girls, because I didn’t know the etiquette.”

After he graduated at the end of 1984, Peter joined a multinational mining company in Sydney. Within 12 months he was promoted to company secretary, but the lure of the racing industry would prove to be irresistible.

On February 15th, 2003 he married his wife Philippa (nee, Hooke), an executive assistant at the CSIRO. They live in Hunters Hill with the cat and their three children, Katerina, Nicholas and Maddie. Peter and Philippa have followed the Greek-Kytherian tradition of naming their first two children after the paternal grandparents. In fairness Philippa chose Maddies name. Maddies middle name is Anna, named after Peter’s mother’s mother.

Speaking in June 2010, when Nicholas was 20 months old and Katerina six months old, Peter asserted, “That's the best thing that's happened to me, the two little ones. My little girl is completely hyperactive – I don't know where she gets that from – and the little boy's as docile as anything.”

He'd been awake with the kids since 4am but, he says, “I never used to sleep anyway, so it's nothing new. When you work in one of these roles, you lie in bed and your mind just keeps going at 100 miles an hour. You find it very hard to sleep. But when you do, it's a real joy.”

Racing Administration

After commencing his career in the mining and leisure sectors, V’landys became involved in racing administration in 1988 when he was appointed as Chief Executive of the NSW Harness Racing Club the leading harness racing club in Australia which operated successful racing operations at Harold Park and Menangle Paceway. At that time he was the youngest person in Australia to be appointed as Chief Executive of a major metropolitan race club and under his administration, the NSW Harness Racing Club established a record of innovation including conducting an on-track registered club which made Harold Park the first racetrack to have poker machines (200) on course. This and several other commercial enterprises provided the Club with the broadest revenue base of any racing club in Australia.

During his tenure at Harold Park, Peter helped organise a number of Kytherian Association of Australia functions at the race course.

During this period Peter V’landys also played an integral role on behalf of the NSW racing industry in negotiations in relation to the $1 billion privatization of the NSW TAB and the restructuring of the Racing Industry’s finances.

In 2004 he was appointed to the position of Chief executive and Board Member of Racing NSW. In this role Peter V’landys also sits as a Board Member of several other NSW and Australian racing and wagering industry Boards.

Peter V’landys’ career achievements

Equine Influenza


In mid-2007, the States’ (and the country’s) racing industry was brought to a standstill as a result of an outbreak of equine influenza (a highly contagious exotic disease). New South Wales was the most effected State with all racing cancelled and the movement of all horses prohibited indefinitely. These actions had disastrous ramifications for the 50,000 persons who rely on the industry for all or part of their livelihoods and on the economies of Australia and New South Wales.

As V’landys noted, other than wars and the Depression, the only time racing stopped in Australia was in 1814, when Governor Macquarie put a halt to the very popular thoroughbred meetings because people were unfit to work for many days afterwards due to excessive celebrations.

V’landys assumed responsibility for the overall coordination of the industry’s response to this crisis and developed and implemented contingency plans to counter the effects of the outbreak and ensure the protection of the industry’s stakeholders. This involved negotiating with the Federal and State Governments for the provision of funding to establish emergency welfare schemes. He personally negotiated with the Prime Minister, the Hon John Howard MP and was successful in obtaining Government assistance in an unprecedented $235 million Rescue Package.

"Peter V’landys alone devised the concept of subsidising race horses," Peter McGauran, then Federal Agriculture Minister recalls. “At $20 a day for trotters and pacers, and $60 for thoroughbreds, V'landys reasoned they could keep a multibillion-dollar industry afloat - and the trainers, jockeys and strappers in work - so they could race as soon as the disease was eradicated”.

"It was brilliant in its concept," McGauran says. "But subsidising racehorses is a totally foreign concept with treasury and finance." So he introduced V'landys to then Prime Minister Howard - who, after 90 minutes, was a “champion” of the scheme. "Without V'landys enlisting the personal support of John Howard, the industry today would be a shell of what it once was."

McGauran testifies that Peter “builds an instant rapport and establishes a basis of trust quicker than almost anyone I've met. He's compellingly sincere and reliable, and he's relentless in his advocacy for racing, an industry structured in portals of self-interest. His rare gifts are that he got them unified into one voice, and that he understands racing in all its complexity. Too often others have no idea about achieving the possible."

V’landys oversaw the administration of the schemes to combat Equine Influenza, which were directed at participants, not only in the thoroughbred racing industry, but also in the standard bred racing and leisure horse industries.

On a State level Peter worked closely with the Minister for Primary Industries and his Department to contain the spread of the disease and our joint activities helped to mitigate the financial impact of the outbreak.

He also lobbied relevant NSW Ministers for the provision of further financial assistance which resulted in the provision of a $7.5 million grants scheme for the industry’s participants and race clubs and the establishment of a Special Mortgage Deferment Scheme for racing industry participants and a further one off grant to help promote the industry following the resumption of normal racing activities.

V’landys received many letters, and other messages of support, in the days following the announcement that he has received the Member of the Order of Australia award. Peter is not an openly emotional man, but he was genuinely moved by one writer’s sentiments. “I will never forget what you did for the racing industry participants during the equine influenza outbreak,’’ the letter read. “You kept food on the table for many families in racing, you gave us hope to keep going.’’

World Youth Day negotiations with State and Federal Governments

Following the Government’s announcement that the 200x World Youth Day would be held in Sydney and centred at Randwick Racecourse Peter V’landys coordinated the industry’s planning for the use of the Racecourse and the disruption which would be caused to the activities and livelihoods of racing industry participants during the World Youth Day activities. This included dealing with the NSW and Federal Governments and the Catholic Church and he was able to negotiate a $40 million compensation package for the racing industry.

Peter V’landys stood up to the authority of the Catholic Church, and what was referred to at the time, as “bullying tactics”, and won. "I ... think Mr Pell is a bully," V'landys said at the time. "He's refused any meeting with us because he realises he's not in a position of strength, because he's forcing his will on someone who doesn't want to comply. I've got nothing against the Catholic Church, or against a world-significant event, but it shouldn't be at the expense of the racing industry."

Race Field Legislation

Immediately upon his appointment with Racing NSW in 2004, Peter recognized the importance of the Thoroughbred Racing Industry maintaining ownership of the intellectual property rights in its racing product so as to ensure the protection of its wagering revenues.
Initially he explored the application of copyright laws to achieve this purpose. However, in 2008, as a result of his recommendations, the NSW Government enacted race field legislation which allowed the NSW racing industry to generate significant revenue from interstate and overseas wagering operators who were using the NSW product to conduct their wagering operations. Wherever corporate bookmakers based themselves, they had to pay a percentage to Racing NSW for publishing the field.”

In accord with the legislation V’landys developed a scheme for the collection of revenue from those operators. This program is returning up to $50 million per annum to the NSW thoroughbred racing industry and following the successful implementation of the scheme, the Governments and racing industries of other Australian States and Territories also introduced similar schemes.

Subsequent to the commencement of the scheme, the legislation and its implementation were challenged in the courts by two major wagering operators, Sportsbet and Betfair. V’landys coordinated and ran Racing NSW’s legal defense against those challenges and the matter came before a single judge of the Federal Court, the Full bench of the Federal Court, and subsequently before the High Court of Australia which found unanimously in favour of Racing NSW. The March 2012 outcome allowed the release of $150 million in accrued funds to the industry and ensured the on-going receipt of $50 million per annum.

V’landys’ efforts on this front have been recognized world-wide by international racing authorities.

Peter attests that “the biggest battle I've had in racing was with the wagering operators.” Again, he won the long fight but, “it was a strenuous battle, because it got quite personal”. The bookmakers accused him of dissembling, incompetence and misrepresentation. “They unleashed a tsunami of personal attacks which I had to cop. Sometimes I used to go to bed hating myself, after some of the stuff I'd read. It got to a situation when I got home and the cat kicked me, rather than me kicking the cat.”

In addition to its positive effect on the NSW thoroughbred racing industry the High Court result also provided certainty for the NSW Harness Racing and Greyhound Racing industries and all racing industries in the other States and territories, which were then able to proceed confidently with their funding models.

The Australian Jockey Club (AJC) and Sydney Turf Club (STC) merger

The Australian Jockey Club (AJC) was founded in January 1842.The AJC was considered the senior racing club in Australia and was responsible for founding the Australian Stud Book, which the combined club still oversees today. The club also, in conjunction with the Victoria Racing Club, formulated the Rules of Racing that is followed by all Australian race clubs.

The Sydney Turf Club (STC) was founded in 1943 and was the youngest of Australia's principal race clubs. It was formed following an Act passed by the New South Wales parliament called the Sydney Turf Club Act.

Both the AJC and the STC had co-existed as independent bodies since the early 1940s. A merger proposal was first mooted at the turn of the 21st century. However, the first real push for a merger came with the release of a report by Ernst and Young in June 2009 which recommended that a merger would save the New South Wales racing industry from collapse. The NSW Government pledged $174 million for Sydney racing if the merger went ahead, including a major revitalisation of Randwick racecourse. The move for a merger was controversial, with members of both clubs hesitant to lose their respective identities. While AJC members voted in favour of a merger, STC members voted against a merger. Nevertheless, the board of the STC decided to proceed with a merger.

Against resistance from traditionalists, Peter V'landys pushed the merger of the AJC and the STC, and a deal was clinched in October 2010, with a $174 million injection into merged bodies coffers.

Trackside

More recently Peter negotiated the sale to TAB Ltd of the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Industry’s future revenues from the computer generated racing game “trackside”. This sale realised $150 million for the industry and has allowed the development of new world class spectator facilities at the Randwick Racecourse.

These magnificent facilities’ include two new grandstands, a function centre, restaurants, corporate boxes and a 4500-seat horse parade ring. He has also driven significant prize money increases across the three tiers of racing. Little wonder that they call Peter V’landys, “the messiah”, and “the man who saved the industry”.

The small punters mate

Peter V'landys has masterminded deals that have pumped more than a $1 billion into the NSW thoroughbred industry - but it's the little wins for battlers that he holds most dear.
V’landys has said that one his of career highlights was convincing the TAB not to proceed with a decision to increase its minimum bet limit from 50c to $5.

"I felt sorry for all the little punters, many of them pensioners, who really enjoy a 50c each-way flutter,'' he said. "I went as hard as I've ever gone to help keep that minimum limit - it's probably my battler background coming out.''

One of Sydney’s 40 Most influential people. One of Australia’s 50 Top Sports People.

In the Sunday Telegraph of the 3rd March, 2013, Peter was ranked 40th amongst Sydney’s most influential people.
The Australian of the 5th May, 2013 ranked him 22nd amongst the Top 50 Sports People in Australia.

Looking to the Future

It is unheard of for a Chief Executive of Racing at the highest levels to maintain the position for even three years. February 2014 marked 10 years since Peter V’landys was appointed to the position of Chief executive and Board Member of Racing NSW.

Adam Taylor writing in the Daily Telegraph on the 28th February, 2014 argues that “even V'landys must reflect on what a difference a decade makes. Sydney racing is preparing for the inaugural The Championships series and the most anticipated autumn carnival in memory. The sport is well-placed to take full advantage of the gilt-edged opportunities delivered by the preceding decade”.

Peter V’landys is not a person to rest on past achievements. He is always guided by a vision for the future. "There's still a lot of work to be done, the racing industry has many challenges ahead." When asked to elaborate on what those challenges are, he specified the following:

Racing needs to find ways to stay relevant to the new generations.
Racing’s revenue base is and has been under threat so it must do everything in its power to at minimum maintain the base and ideally ensure it grows.
The need to embrace and maximise the advantages provided by technologies
Maintaining the integrity of racing at all cost.

Racings big issues for V’landys include:

The Championship Funding.
“We would never have commenced The Championships if we didn’t believe we could sustain the prize money.

Sydney Race Clubs Merger.
“Naturally with new facilities at Randwick some people’s perception is that the AJC has benefited most. I think the ATC is working very hard to ensure the success at Rosehill.”

Racing’s NSW’s Strategic Plan
It was completed 12 months ago but cannot be released as the major driver for all the initiatives is currently under consideration by a third party and releasing the plan may jeopardise success with the delicate state of play.

Racing Politics
“Like any industry there are people who are driven by self-interest and those who have an unhealthy sense of entitlement. Unfortunately I have a low tolerance for these types”.

The Past Ten Years

“I think in the ten years I experienced every emotion known to humanity. As psychology professor Robert Plutchik says there are eight emotions: joy, sadness, fear, trust, disgust, surprise, anger and anticipation. I definitely experienced every one of these”.

Whilst we are on the subject of psychology, a number of psychological qualities have been consistently attributed to Peter V’landys by astute observers. Above all, he is a winner. Rick Feneley from the Sydney Morning Herald has quipped that “the state's straight-talking racing boss has winning form”. Robert Nason, then Tabcorp's boss of wagering, encountered one of the toughest negotiators he has ever seen. Nason, now with Telstra, always respected V’landys honesty. "A lot of people have underestimated Peter to their ultimate detriment."

V’landys is a hard-nosed negotiator; his modus operandi is to tackle the difficult issues head-on and find a solution with a "can-do" machismo which often irritates his opponents. Peter has time and again been called the “can do” man. Some even go further, calling him a “saviour”, and some go even further still, calling him a “messiah”.

V'landys makes no apologies for refusing to back down when he believes passionately about a cause. He is straight-talking to the point of bluntness. "I think you've got to do your best for any organisation. If that sometimes comes across as abrasive, so be it. I've never wanted to win a popularity contest." V’landys is tough. He is very combative. As one racing identity put it, “he would rather have a fight, than a feed”.

V’landys always thinks holistically about racing. His vision ranges beyond entrenched and factional interests; always seeking the greater good for the entire racing industry.

The Member of the Order of Australia honour is a deserved acknowledgment for the man who has been at the helm of the NSW racing industry for a decade, throughout the most turbulent period in its history. This also makes him very durable.

Peter V’landys achievements are profoundly significant. All Australians, all Greek-Australians and all Kytherians around the world can take great pride in them.

The author would like to thank Peter V’landys for agreeing to be interviewed, and for the candour of his responses. Also to Jim Vlandis, Gosford, for providing information about the Vlandis family in Kalokerines, Kythera.
The structure and content of information about the Racing Industry was sourced from the WIKI entry for Peter V’landys http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_V'landys
Links to numerous newspaper articles about Peter V’landys, and Racing NSW Annual reports were accessed from the WIKI article bibliography as well as Google searches.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian Newsflash on 21.05.2013

The International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva in full swing

Known as the Salon international des inventions de Genève, this year the Exhibition was held from the 10th April 2013 until the 14th April 2013.

http://www.inventions-geneva.ch/cgi-bin/fr-presse.php

This year, Angelo and John Notaras were awarded two gold medals at the Exhibition.

[[picture:"sc0001A.jpg" ID:21445]]

Photograph: Angelo Notaras demonstrating the capabilities of a previous award winning hand held implement.

Each Gold Medal won by Atom Industries was for:

1. Highly efficient portable powered wood drilling machine with automatic reverse gear combined with automatic de- accelerator rotating safety handle if wood auger suddenly jams in the wood. For use in rural fencing and construction.

2. Very efficient portable blower for use in the garden , with new fan design technology resulting in very high air thrust performance , lower noise levels and decreased fuel requirements.

Angelo & John and Atom Industries have secured a number of Gold Medals at this exhibition in previous years. Their achievements consistently display a skill and aptitude for 'design excellence'.

[[picture:"John Notaras in front of the medal wall at Atom Industries.jpg" ID:21444]]

Photograph: John Notaras, partner in the business, Atom Industries, surrounded by a bevy of Domestic and International Awards that the Company has won. Amongst these awards are numerous Gold Medals
won at the International Inventions & Technology Convention, Geneva, Switzerland. John, and brother Angelo, share a 40 year history as successful inventors. Atom Industries focuses on supplying high quality hand held garden and agricultural implements to a national and international market.

See: http://www.atomindustries.com.au

The International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva (Geneva Inventions) is a show that takes place annually in the canton of Geneva in Switzerland.

[[picture:"medal 8.jpg" ID:21446]]

Photograph: The obverse of the medal presented by the Salon international des inventions de Genève.

It was founded in 1972 by Jean-Luc Vincent. The event takes place every year at Palexpo, in the town of Grand-Saconnex. It attracts over 700 exhibitors from 45 countries are exhibiting 1,000 inventions and welcomes over 60,000 visitors each year.

[[picture:"medal 9.jpg" ID:21447]]

Photograph: The reverse of the medal presented by the Salon international des inventions de Genève.

Inventions presented cover a wide area, including energy, environmental protection, information technology, mechanical engineering, industrial processes, watches, electricity, electronics, construction, engineering civil, carpentry, plumbing, ventilation, heating materials security and alarm, DIY, household arts, business and technical equipment, agriculture, gardening, textiles, medicine and hygiene, optics, teaching transportation, health, food, cosmetics, entertainment, advertising, packaging, toys and games.

In 2009, the show won the patronage of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in addition to the patronage of Switzerland, canton and city of Geneva.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Beiruthellenic Bank on 18.06.2013

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5 Belgrave Street
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Sydney - Kingsford
486 Anzac Parade
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Corner East Terrace & South Terrace
Bankstown NSW 2200

Sydney – Burwood
Shop 7 & 8, 258 Burwood Rd
Burwood NSW 2134

Sydney – Chullora
Shop 28, Chullora Market Place
355 -357 Waterloo Rd
Chullora NSW 2190

Sydney – Granville
Shop 3, 12 Railway Pde
Granville NSW 2142

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Shop 1, 197 Merrylands Rd
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Shop 3, 28 Macquarie St
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Northcote Central Shopping Centre
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Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian World Heritage Fund on 05.01.2012

George C Poulos checks the results of the printed cover for Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill

The printing Toni Risson's book, Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill, in 2011 Kytherian World Heritage Fund, (KWHF), a number of challenges.

The KWHF chooses to print its books in China.

The art work for Toni's book was 'set' in sepia - to try and capture the 'old world' look and feel of the Greek & Kytherian - Australian cafe's of the 20th century. CMYK is a four clour print process, which allows little scope for colour variation. To create the sepia look, Toni's graphic designer utilised duo print - a two colour process, which allows a very broad scope for colour variation.

All of the books printed by our Chinese printer arrive as CMYK. The dual colour print set up of "Aphrodite" flumoxed them. We kept sending the file, and a very black, non-sepia look 'sample" book, kept arriving back in Australia. Between sending over new files, and waiting for samples to return, virtually all of 2011 passed by.

The equipment in both KWHF's Chinese and Australian printer is the same. Both use state of the art German Heidelberg printing equipment.

What the Chinese printers failed to do was realise that the two colours - a chocolate brown, and a sepia caramel could be adjusted at the control panel of this very sophisticated Heidelberg printer.

What needed to be done was a number of "press runs" - printing runs. This involves printing off large 16-page print sheet runs - at about 50 sheets at a time - and then adjusting the colours at the control panel. "A little more brown/black on this sheet run...a little less yellow on that one..". The process is one of trial and error. For Aphrodite's 2011 print run in Australia, this process was performed eight times. Eventually, KWHF's graphic designer Mark Drolc, of On the Mark Design, and George C Poulos, "signed off" on the process.

This is the process that needed to be followed in China, but never was.

Eventually, the author and the KWHF decided that despite the additional cost of printing in Australia, if we wanted copies of "Aphrodite" back in print before Christmas, then it had to be printed in Australia.

Thus we experienced, Aphrodite and the Australian printing thrill - the 2011 version.


***BACK IN PRINT***2012***BACK IN PRINT***2012***BACK IN PRINT***2012

APHRODITE AND THE MIXED GRILL

TO ORDER:


Phone: (07) 3281 1525 or

0439 664 291

Enquiries:

Contact Toni Risson by email here

Or, send, name, address and cheque/money order to

Toni Risson
130 Woodend Road
Woodend, 4305.

$49.50 (incl. GST)

Plus $11 (Postage and handling).

Or,

Contact the Kytherian World Heritage Fund.

Email George Poulos, here

Email Angelo Notaras, here

Composite Front-Back Cover as a .pdf

Aphrodite coverV1.pdf

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian World Heritage Fund on 05.01.2012

KWHF's Australian printer checking the print run sheets for Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill

The printing Toni Risson's book, Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill, in 2011 Kytherian World Heritage Fund, (KWHF), a number of challenges.

The KWHF chooses to print its books in China.

The art work for Toni's book was 'set' in sepia - to try and capture the 'old world' look and feel of the Greek & Kytherian - Australian cafe's of the 20th century. CMYK is a four clour print process, which allows little scope for colour variation. To create the sepia look, Toni's graphic designer utilised duo print - a two colour process, which allows a very broad scope for colour variation.

All of the books printed by our Chinese printer arrive as CMYK. The dual colour print set up of "Aphrodite" flumoxed them. We kept sending the file, and a very black, non-sepia look 'sample" book, kept arriving back in Australia. Between sending over new files, and waiting for samples to return, virtually all of 2011 passed by.

The equipment in both KWHF's Chinese and Australian printer is the same. Both use state of the art German Heidelberg printing equipment.

What the Chinese printers failed to do was realise that the two colours - a chocolate brown, and a sepia caramel could be adjusted at the control panel of this very sophisticated Heidelberg printer.

What needed to be done was a number of "press runs" - printing runs. This involves printing off large 16-page print sheet runs - at about 50 sheets at a time - and then adjusting the colours at the control panel. "A little more brown/black on this sheet run...a little less yellow on that one..". The process is one of trial and error. For Aphrodite's 2011 print run in Australia, this process was performed eight times. Eventually, KWHF's graphic designer Mark Drolc, of On the Mark Design, and George C Poulos, "signed off" on the process.

This is the process that needed to be followed in China, but never was.

Eventually, the author and the KWHF decided that despite the additional cost of printing in Australia, if we wanted copies of "Aphrodite" back in print before Christmas, then it had to be printed in Australia.

Thus we experienced, Aphrodite and the Australian printing thrill - the 2011 version.


***BACK IN PRINT***2012***BACK IN PRINT***2012***BACK IN PRINT***2012

APHRODITE AND THE MIXED GRILL

TO ORDER:


Phone: (07) 3281 1525 or

0439 664 291

Enquiries:

Contact Toni Risson by email here

Or, send, name, address and cheque/money order to

Toni Risson
130 Woodend Road
Woodend, 4305.

$49.50 (incl. GST)

Plus $11 (Postage and handling).

Or,

Contact the Kytherian World Heritage Fund.

Email George Poulos, here

Email Angelo Notaras, here

Composite Front-Back Cover as a .pdf

Aphrodite coverV1.pdf

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian World Heritage Fund on 05.01.2012

The Heidelberg computer module

by which the colours can be adjusted in preparation for a print run, As you will read below this is very important when the design artwork has been set up as a 'duo print'.

The printing Toni Risson's book, Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill, in 2011 Kytherian World Heritage Fund, (KWHF), a number of challenges.

The KWHF chooses to print its books in China.

The art work for Toni's book was 'set' in sepia - to try and capture the 'old world' look and feel of the Greek & Kytherian - Australian cafe's of the 20th century. CMYK is a four clour print process, which allows little scope for colour variation. To create the sepia look, Toni's graphic designer utilised duo print - a two colour process, which allows a very broad scope for colour variation.

All of the books printed by our Chinese printer arrive as CMYK. The dual colour print set up of "Aphrodite" flumoxed them. We kept sending the file, and a very black, non-sepia look 'sample" book, kept arriving back in Australia. Between sending over new files, and waiting for samples to return, virtually all of 2011 passed by.

The equipment in both KWHF's Chinese and Australian printer is the same. Both use state of the art German Heidelberg printing equipment.

What the Chinese printers failed to do was realise that the two colours - a chocolate brown, and a sepia caramel could be adjusted at the control panel of this very sophisticated Heidelberg printer.

What needed to be done was a number of "press runs" - printing runs. This involves printing off large 16-page print sheet runs - at about 50 sheets at a time - and then adjusting the colours at the control panel. "A little more brown/black on this sheet run...a little less yellow on that one..". The process is one of trial and error. For Aphrodite's 2011 print run in Australia, this process was performed eight times. Eventually, KWHF's graphic designer Mark Drolc, of On the Mark Design, and George C Poulos, "signed off" on the process.

This is the process that needed to be followed in China, but never was.

Eventually, the author and the KWHF decided that despite the additional cost of printing in Australia, if we wanted copies of "Aphrodite" back in print before Christmas, then it had to be printed in Australia.

Thus we experienced, Aphrodite and the Australian printing thrill - the 2011 version.


***BACK IN PRINT***2012***BACK IN PRINT***2012***BACK IN PRINT***2012

APHRODITE AND THE MIXED GRILL

TO ORDER:


Phone: (07) 3281 1525 or

0439 664 291

Enquiries:

Contact Toni Risson by email here

Or, send, name, address and cheque/money order to

Toni Risson
130 Woodend Road
Woodend, 4305.

$49.50 (incl. GST)

Plus $11 (Postage and handling).

Or,

Contact the Kytherian World Heritage Fund.

Email George Poulos, here

Email Angelo Notaras, here

Composite Front-Back Cover as a .pdf

Aphrodite coverV1.pdf

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian World Heritage Fund on 05.01.2012

Computer module area, next to the large printer, during the printing of Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill

The printing Toni Risson's book, Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill, in 2011 Kytherian World Heritage Fund, (KWHF), a number of challenges.

The KWHF chooses to print its books in China.

The art work for Toni's book was 'set' in sepia - to try and capture the 'old world' look and feel of the Greek & Kytherian - Australian cafe's of the 20th century. CMYK is a four clour print process, which allows little scope for colour variation. To create the sepia look, Toni's graphic designer utilised duo print - a two colour process, which allows a very broad scope for colour variation.

All of the books printed by our Chinese printer arrive as CMYK. The dual colour print set up of "Aphrodite" flumoxed them. We kept sending the file, and a very black, non-sepia look 'sample" book, kept arriving back in Australia. Between sending over new files, and waiting for samples to return, virtually all of 2011 passed by.

The equipment in both KWHF's Chinese and Australian printer is the same. Both use state of the art German Heidelberg printing equipment.

What the Chinese printers failed to do was realise that the two colours - a chocolate brown, and a sepia caramel could be adjusted at the control panel of this very sophisticated Heidelberg printer.

What needed to be done was a number of "press runs" - printing runs. This involves printing off large 16-page print sheet runs - at about 50 sheets at a time - and then adjusting the colours at the control panel. "A little more brown/black on this sheet run...a little less yellow on that one..". The process is one of trial and error. For Aphrodite's 2011 print run in Australia, this process was performed eight times. Eventually, KWHF's graphic designer Mark Drolc, of On the Mark Design, and George C Poulos, "signed off" on the process.

This is the process that needed to be followed in China, but never was.

Eventually, the author and the KWHF decided that despite the additional cost of printing in Australia, if we wanted copies of "Aphrodite" back in print before Christmas, then it had to be printed in Australia.

Thus we experienced, Aphrodite and the Australian printing thrill - the 2011 version.


***BACK IN PRINT***2012***BACK IN PRINT***2012***BACK IN PRINT***2012

APHRODITE AND THE MIXED GRILL

TO ORDER:


Phone: (07) 3281 1525 or

0439 664 291

Enquiries:

Contact Toni Risson by email here

Or, send, name, address and cheque/money order to

Toni Risson
130 Woodend Road
Woodend, 4305.

$49.50 (incl. GST)

Plus $11 (Postage and handling).

Or,

Contact the Kytherian World Heritage Fund.

Email George Poulos, here

Email Angelo Notaras, here

Composite Front-Back Cover as a .pdf

Aphrodite coverV1.pdf

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian World Heritage Fund on 05.01.2012

Print tray of the Heidelberg printer

The printing Toni Risson's book, Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill, in 2011 Kytherian World Heritage Fund, (KWHF), a number of challenges.

The KWHF chooses to print its books in China.

The art work for Toni's book was 'set' in sepia - to try and capture the 'old world' look and feel of the Greek & Kytherian - Australian cafe's of the 20th century. CMYK is a four clour print process, which allows little scope for colour variation. To create the sepia look, Toni's graphic designer utilised duo print - a two colour process, which allows a very broad scope for colour variation.

All of the books printed by our Chinese printer arrive as CMYK. The dual colour print set up of "Aphrodite" flumoxed them. We kept sending the file, and a very black, non-sepia look 'sample" book, kept arriving back in Australia. Between sending over new files, and waiting for samples to return, virtually all of 2011 passed by.

The equipment in both KWHF's Chinese and Australian printer is the same. Both use state of the art German Heidelberg printing equipment.

What the Chinese printers failed to do was realise that the two colours - a chocolate brown, and a sepia caramel could be adjusted at the control panel of this very sophisticated Heidelberg printer.

What needed to be done was a number of "press runs" - printing runs. This involves printing off large 16-page print sheet runs - at about 50 sheets at a time - and then adjusting the colours at the control panel. "A little more brown/black on this sheet run...a little less yellow on that one..". The process is one of trial and error. For Aphrodite's 2011 print run in Australia, this process was performed eight times. Eventually, KWHF's graphic designer Mark Drolc, of On the Mark Design, and George C Poulos, "signed off" on the process.

This is the process that needed to be followed in China, but never was.

Eventually, the author and the KWHF decided that despite the additional cost of printing in Australia, if we wanted copies of "Aphrodite" back in print before Christmas, then it had to be printed in Australia.

Thus we experienced, Aphrodite and the Australian printing thrill - the 2011 version.


***BACK IN PRINT***2012***BACK IN PRINT***2012***BACK IN PRINT***2012

APHRODITE AND THE MIXED GRILL

TO ORDER:


Phone: (07) 3281 1525 or

0439 664 291

Enquiries:

Contact Toni Risson by email here

Or, send, name, address and cheque/money order to

Toni Risson
130 Woodend Road
Woodend, 4305.

$49.50 (incl. GST)

Plus $11 (Postage and handling).

Or,

Contact the Kytherian World Heritage Fund.

Email George Poulos, here

Email Angelo Notaras, here

Composite Front-Back Cover as a .pdf

Aphrodite coverV1.pdf

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian World Heritage Fund on 05.01.2012

The end where the print sheets emerge on the Heidelberg printer

The printing Toni Risson's book, Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill, in 2011 Kytherian World Heritage Fund, (KWHF), a number of challenges.

The KWHF chooses to print its books in China.

The art work for Toni's book was 'set' in sepia - to try and capture the 'old world' look and feel of the Greek & Kytherian - Australian cafe's of the 20th century. CMYK is a four clour print process, which allows little scope for colour variation. To create the sepia look, Toni's graphic designer utilised duo print - a two colour process, which allows a very broad scope for colour variation.

All of the books printed by our Chinese printer arrive as CMYK. The dual colour print set up of "Aphrodite" flumoxed them. We kept sending the file, and a very black, non-sepia look 'sample" book, kept arriving back in Australia. Between sending over new files, and waiting for samples to return, virtually all of 2011 passed by.

The equipment in both KWHF's Chinese and Australian printer is the same. Both use state of the art German Heidelberg printing equipment.

What the Chinese printers failed to do was realise that the two colours - a chocolate brown, and a sepia caramel could be adjusted at the control panel of this very sophisticated Heidelberg printer.

What needed to be done was a number of "press runs" - printing runs. This involves printing off large 16-page print sheet runs - at about 50 sheets at a time - and then adjusting the colours at the control panel. "A little more brown/black on this sheet run...a little less yellow on that one..". The process is one of trial and error. For Aphrodite's 2011 print run in Australia, this process was performed eight times. Eventually, KWHF's graphic designer Mark Drolc, of On the Mark Design, and George C Poulos, "signed off" on the process.

This is the process that needed to be followed in China, but never was.

Eventually, the author and the KWHF decided that despite the additional cost of printing in Australia, if we wanted copies of "Aphrodite" back in print before Christmas, then it had to be printed in Australia.

Thus we experienced, Aphrodite and the Australian printing thrill - the 2011 version.


***BACK IN PRINT***2012***BACK IN PRINT***2012***BACK IN PRINT***2012

APHRODITE AND THE MIXED GRILL

TO ORDER:


Phone: (07) 3281 1525 or

0439 664 291

Enquiries:

Contact Toni Risson by email here

Or, send, name, address and cheque/money order to

Toni Risson
130 Woodend Road
Woodend, 4305.

$49.50 (incl. GST)

Plus $11 (Postage and handling).

Or,

Contact the Kytherian World Heritage Fund.

Email George Poulos, here

Email Angelo Notaras, here

Composite Front-Back Cover as a .pdf

Aphrodite coverV1.pdf

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian World Heritage Fund on 05.01.2012

The massive Heidelberg printer, at the KWHF's Australian printers

The printing Toni Risson's book, Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill, in 2011 Kytherian World Heritage Fund, (KWHF), a number of challenges.

The KWHF chooses to print its books in China.

The art work for Toni's book was 'set' in sepia - to try and capture the 'old world' look and feel of the Greek & Kytherian - Australian cafe's of the 20th century. CMYK is a four clour print process, which allows little scope for colour variation. To create the sepia look, Toni's graphic designer utilised duo print - a two colour process, which allows a very broad scope for colour variation.

All of the books printed by our Chinese printer arrive as CMYK. The dual colour print set up of "Aphrodite" flumoxed them. We kept sending the file, and a very black, non-sepia look 'sample" book, kept arriving back in Australia. Between sending over new files, and waiting for samples to return, virtually all of 2011 passed by.

The equipment in both KWHF's Chinese and Australian printer is the same. Both use state of the art German Heidelberg printing equipment.

What the Chinese printers failed to do was realise that the two colours - a chocolate brown, and a sepia caramel could be adjusted at the control panel of this very sophisticated Heidelberg printer.

What needed to be done was a number of "press runs" - printing runs. This involves printing off large 16-page print sheet runs - at about 50 sheets at a time - and then adjusting the colours at the control panel. "A little more brown/black on this sheet run...a little less yellow on that one..". The process is one of trial and error. For Aphrodite's 2011 print run in Australia, this process was performed eight times. Eventually, KWHF's graphic designer Mark Drolc, of On the Mark Design, and George C Poulos, "signed off" on the process.

This is the process that needed to be followed in China, but never was.

Eventually, the author and the KWHF decided that despite the additional cost of printing in Australia, if we wanted copies of "Aphrodite" back in print before Christmas, then it had to be printed in Australia.

Thus we experienced, Aphrodite and the Australian printing thrill - the 2011 version.


***BACK IN PRINT***2012***BACK IN PRINT***2012***BACK IN PRINT***2012

APHRODITE AND THE MIXED GRILL

TO ORDER:


Phone: (07) 3281 1525 or

0439 664 291

Enquiries:

Contact Toni Risson by email here

Or, send, name, address and cheque/money order to

Toni Risson
130 Woodend Road
Woodend, 4305.

$49.50 (incl. GST)

Plus $11 (Postage and handling).

Or,

Contact the Kytherian World Heritage Fund.

Email George Poulos, here

Email Angelo Notaras, here

Composite Front-Back Cover as a .pdf

Aphrodite coverV1.pdf

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 20.12.2011

James Castrission and Justin Jones. Its bitterly cold in Antarctica

James Castrission.

James Castrission on the bow of Lot 41 in the middle of the Tasman Sea

James Castrission was born, 14 March 1982. That makes him only 29 years of age in 2011. But in those 29 years he has crammed a “hell of a lot of living”.

His heritage is Kytherian. His paternal grandfather was Jim Castrission, originally from Kastrissianika, and his paternal grandmother was Theothora Coroneos (Belo Kostandinos) from Potamos. Jim Castrission established the famous Niagara Café at Gundagai, in New South Wales. Jim would later sponsor his brothers Vic and Jack to Australia from Kythera. The Niagara was famous for having piped music that could be dialled to every cubicle, and for the Southern Cross constellation, which lit up on a blue domed ceiling, that arched over the interior of the café. The Southern Cross stars were painted stars, set into the ceiling. You can read more about the Castrission family's Niagara Café

James Castrission fathers’ name is John. Mother Vivienne’s Hellenic heritage derives from Akrata, Greece.

In his book Crossing the Ditch, James states “that almost from the day I was born I always seemed to have too much energy. My parents had a rough time chasing me around and trying to protect me from myself. They did a pretty good job, though, until I decided it was time for my first BASE jump.
Climbing my first peak – the kitchen bench-top – during a rare moment when my parents had turned their backs, I threw myself off, yelling, “Look at me – I’m Superman!” before thudding into the tiled kitchen floor and bursting into tears, with a broken leg.

From a young age, father John encouraged his children to enjoy camping, allowing them to light their own fires, and to pitch their own tent. By age five James had developed impeccable navigation skills. He was intrinsically adventurous by nature.

He attended Roseville Public school, until 5th class, when he proceeded to the prestigious Knox Grammar school situated in the northern Sydney suburb of Wahroonga, NSW. http://www.knox.nsw.edu.au/

His adventures continued during his school years. He and two friends trekked to the source of the stream in the New South Wales Southern Highlands that fed into the Murray River. They then proceeded to float down the stream, through rapids, on their backpacks, where James’ father and other support crew, including Greg Thanos and John Miller, were waiting at the streams end.

His first major adventure involved kayaking the entire length of the Murray River, from the source of the Murray to the end. The first time this had been done.

On another occasion while he was in the cadets and undertaking a Duke of Edinburgh Award, he undertook a 250 kilometre walk with other colleagues through the Snowy Mountains. The group was caught in a huge snowstorm, and many of them where winched to safety. James and a few colleagues were allowed to continue their trek in the dangerous conditions. We just knew that they could and would survive, said the coordinator.

After completing his Higher School Certificate, he went onto Sydney University, where at age 25, he gained a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Finance and Accounting. He gained employment as a consultant and analyst for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu before deciding that mountaineering, rock climbing, bushwalking and kayaking should be the focus of his life. He decided to pursue dreams beyond the corporate world.

He has climbed some of the most challenging peaks in Australia and New Zealand and walked some of the most breathtaking tracks. He shot to world prominence however, when he and close friend Justin Jones completed the first Trans-Tasman kayak expedition from Australia to New Zealand. For photographs and a great deal more information about that epic journey, see: http://www.crossingtheditch.com.au/

Dual paddlers in kayak

On November 13 2007 James, Justin and their kayak Lot 41 departed Forster, Australia, and 62 days later they arrived in New Plymouth, New Zealand. They had kayaked 3318km, braved 10 meter swells, faced howling winds of over 50 knots, endured severe food and sleep deprivation, wasting muscles and adverse winds and currents to become the first kayak expedition across the Tasman Sea as well as become the longest trans oceanic kayaking expedition undertaken by two expeditioners.

Crossing the ditch Tasman Map

Wasted legs walking up onto the beach in New Zealand

A documentary was produced about Crossing the Ditch (Ditch would be translated as lagathi in Greek, and is colloquial language used to refer the expanse of water, the Tasman Sea, which lies between Australia and New Zealand). The documentary won it's category for best film on adventure and exploration at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada - the "el primo" outdoor film festival in the world! Cass expressed “a big thanks to the crew from Quail Television for helping this all happen, especially Greg Quail and Doug Howard who saw the merit in our expedition and made it possible for us to share our little trip with the rest of the world”!

On Sunday 20th November 2011, Crossing the Ditch won the Grand Prize at the prestigious Kendal Mountain Film Festival, which is staged in England.

The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal

Kendal's Brewery Arts Centre, is the main venue for the Kendal Mountain Festival More than 7,500 people are estimated to have attended the festival over the November weekend to watch films ranging from high-level mountaineering epics, to behind-the-scenes looks at the production of nature documentaries in high environments, as well as listen to a host of speakers. Now in its 12th year, the festival featured 61 films totaling 150 hours, covering a wide range of outdoor and adventure subjects including climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, kayaking, culture and exploration. Cas (James Castrission’s “nick name is Cas), and Jonesy’s efforts to be awarded the Grand Prize against such illustrious competition is extraordinary.

The DVD Crossing the Ditch can be purchased on the website: http://www.crossingtheditch.com.au/

Cas, spoke for both young men when he commented that “through committing ourselves to achieving one of "Australia’s last great first" adventures, we wish to inspire others not to be afraid of pursuing their own adventures and dreams”.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Education Department contracted them to lecture to school students, on the need to aspire to achieve their dreams and fulfill their potential. The Greek Orthodox Archbishop, held a ceremony blessing them, and thanking them for what they had done for New Zealand.

In 2008, after the Tasman Sea crossing, James Castrission was a fitting Guest of Honour at the Kytherian Ball, the youngest guest of honour in the history of the event.

When he is not training for, or engaged in adventures, he has a full time career as a motivational speaker, lecturing to schools, organisations, and corporations at the highest level.

Cas is currently engaged in his most difficult adventure yet. You can read all about it at Cas ands Jonesy’s website: http://casandjonesy.com.au/

In 100 years of polar exploration no-one has EVER walked from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again without assistance. Many have tried, none have succeeded.

Facts about Crossing the Ice:

•This will be the first EVER unsupported return journey to the South Pole.
•The summer of 2011/12 will mark the 100 year anniversary of Scott and Amundsen.
•Cas and Jonesy will be the youngest team to ever reach the South Pole.
•Previous attempts: Jon Muir, Peter Hillary and Eric Phillips attempted the return journey in 1998. They reached the South Pole after 84 days on the ice and didn’t complete the return. Kiwi adventurers: Kevin Biggar and Jamie Fitzgerald also attempted the return journey in 2007, their attempt was also unsuccessful.
•Distance: 2200km return (1100km from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole)
•Less people have man hauled to the South Pole (58 people) than have stood on the summit of Mt Everest (4600).

At this moment (Saturday 26th November is day 25), James Castrission and Justin Jones are attempting to achieve the impossible. For the next three months and over 2200km they will drag 160kg sleds with everything they need to survive in the harshest environment on Earth.

[See the website (Nov-Dec 2011) for their current location.]

Antarctic route & Comparative Map

Antarctica - a lonely expanse

21st century hero

Cas and Jonesy are using this expedition to raise much needed funds and awareness for ‘You Can‘; an Australian national fundraising campaign to build specialised youth cancer centres across Australia. This expedition is called Crossing the Ice – and everyone on the planet can be a part of adventure by following their progress on the website, and by interacting with the pair of adventurers. You can read up on the expedition here on the site, or leave a message of support on Facebook.

This is James Castrission’s most challenging and dangerous adventure yet.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 20.12.2011

Australia to New Zealand by kayak

Wasted legs walking up onto the beach in New Zealand

On November 13 2007 James Castrission , Justin Jones, and Lot 41 departed Forster, Australia. 62 days later they arrived in New Plymouth New Zealand.

They had kayaked 3318km, braved 10 metre swells, faced howling winds of over 50 knots, endured severe food and sleep deprivation, wasting muscles and adverse winds and currents to become the first kayak expedition across the tasman sea as well as become the longest trans oceanic kayaking expedition undertaken by two expeditioners. Find out how they did this incredible feat!!

Crossing the ditch Tasman Map

Interview with Cas and Jonesy

1. Why did you call the project Crossing the Ditch?

The Tasman Sea has for many years been referred to as “The Ditch” by Australians and New Zealanders. The exact etymology for this term is uncertain, however when traveling between Australia and New Zealand, it’s commonly referred to as “crossing the ditch”.

2. Tell us about your kayak Lot 41? Also, what’s with the name?

Jonesy –We reckon she’s really really beautiful … bordering on sexy. We firmly believe that paddling the Tasman was an exercise in risk mitigation rather than risk taking and I guess that’s reflected in the craft that we built. We isolated the risks we’d face on the Tasman and built Lot 41 according to that. Sure, she could have been more lightly built, but when it came to having 10metre waves out there crashing on us – I’m glad we decided not to skimp.

The kayak Lot 41 was designed for the trans-Tasman crossing by Rob Feloy, who had designed the kayak for Peter Bray´s trans-Atlantic Crossing approximately six years earlier. The Lot 41 design includes two cockpits, a cabin at the stern of the craft, a large water tank and storage for over 60 days of food for the two kayakers. An array of solar panels was incorporated into the design in order to charge the batteries used to power communication systems, bilge pumps and a water desalination unit. The fibreglass kayak was built in Australia in 2005 and fitted with support systems including emergency beacons, satellite phone, global tracking system, and GPS.

3. What you did was an incredible feat. Did your bodies hate you for it? At any point did you think the physical torture was too heavy a price to pay?

Jonesy – After a week out there, the bodies really started to degrade at quite a fast rate. We developed sores, muscle stripped off us, the joints ached, we were constantly wet and getting bashed around and in the bad storms getting ripped through 10 metre waves we really thought that we’d entered hell but we signed up for this and weren’t going to be detered.

4. With Cas’ seasickness, did it ever occur to you that crossing the ditch might not be the project for you?

Cas – When you work on something so hard and for so long, you really aren’t going to let anything stand in your way. So I went out there and had to find a solution and after 17 attempts at different remedies- Bingo! I settled for some pretty hardcore drugs that they give Chemo patients (valued at 40 bucks a tablet, self hypnosis and accupuncture. That combination made life at sea bearable.

5. One person got very close – Andrew McAuley. Cas, in your book Crossing the Ditch, you’ve talked about nursing a guilty conscience about his failed attempt. Since completing your crossing, have your feelings changed or resolved?

Cas – Andrew was an incredible adventurer who has done so much in the outdoors. We have so much respect for him as a kayaker and expeditioner. It was a real shame that a rivalry popped up between both expeditions. When he disappeared it messed with my mind like you would believe.

Spending 62 days out on the Tasman helped me deal with his dissapearance enormously. I felt Jonesy and I were able to get a tiny glimpse into the suffering Andrew would haver gone through in his voyager- and interestingly, that time out there, semmed to help me make peace with him. I’ve now come to grips with the enormous difference in the trips that we were planning, the different ways and different risk profiles we each had. Jonesy and I can’t hold any responsiblity for the ways that others will act. Beacuase of the profound impact Andrew had on me, I dedicated the book to the memory of Andrew as a sign of the respect and admiration that I have for his amazing attempt.

6. Obviously many months were spent getting boat and yourselves ready for the journey – what would you do differently (if anything) if you had your time again?

Jonesy – Probably pick a better person to paddle with, Cas has the long hair but the curves just aren’t in the right spot!

Cas – Calm down J! In all seriousness, we’d make some minor changes to the hull structure and make the kayak slightly more aerodynamic but not too much more…perhaps paddle from NZ to Australia but we werern’t to know that we’d get a abnormal weather pattern across the ditch.

7. What was the single-most difficult aspect of the expedition? The sores, mental strength, physical labour, planning, surviving each day, or something else?

Jonesy – Of the actual trip, I would really have to say the sleep deprivation…you get so tired that your bones would ache and you’d feel like shit for hours on end. Sure we suffered with sores, the physical toil etc but the tiredness really just added to everything else.

8. Each day you used a Desalinator to convert salt water to freshwater. Did you consider calling the expedition off after your de-sal unit carked it?

Cas – Not a chance, for every bit of critical kit or system we tried to have 2 or 3 levels of redundancy as back up. So when the de-sal broke, we pulled out our manual pump and were resigned to having to pump that by hand for 3 hours a day. It sucked.

9. Were there any moments when you contemplated the possibility of failure – or even the chance that you might not survive the journey?

Cas – Yep the para anchor tangle was one for sure, but there were a couple of other occasions. Stuck in that 2 week whirlpool in the centre of the Tasman, trying to untangle the rudder on another occasion in 10metre waves…all very confronting and you can’t stop negative thoughts popping up. The only thing you can do is trust in the preparations that you have made prior to heading off and our actions and proceedures out there.

10. Cas’s book paints a penetratingly personal picture of the quest. By contrast, the DVD seems a bit ‘lighter’ – was this intentional? Is documenting your excursion in various ways and sharing it with others as important as the mission itself?

Jonesy – A book is the better vessel to really explore the deeper and darker aspect of any expedition. You have alot more time to delve into a number of diifferent themes and do them justice, somthing hard to complete in a 70 minute doco. The doco was deliberately much lighter because this expedition was a success- Cas and I have always been great mates and whenever we’re in the outdoors we’re normally having fun and i guess that was reflected in what we filmed.

11. Jonesy, did you ever use that enormous two-pronged fork your mum bought you for stabbing sharks?

Jonesy – Unfortunately (or fortunately) not! Even on the nights we had sharks grinding up against our hill we never really thought of it as an option. We really took it along solely to placate my mum and it had the unplanned effect of making us smile everytime we pulled it out.

12. Did you have a daily routine and did you ever break it?

Cas – Yep we had a routine that involved getting up at 6am for a sked and then paddled for 12-15hours before retiring into the cabin for a sked, dinner and attempted rest. We varied the schedule when we had to ask dictated by heavy weather.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 20.12.2011

Australia to New Zealand by kayak

Paddling hard

On November 13 2007 James Castrission , Justin Jones, and Lot 41 departed Forster, Australia. 62 days later they arrived in New Plymouth New Zealand.

They had kayaked 3318km, braved 10 metre swells, faced howling winds of over 50 knots, endured severe food and sleep deprivation, wasting muscles and adverse winds and currents to become the first kayak expedition across the tasman sea as well as become the longest trans oceanic kayaking expedition undertaken by two expeditioners. Find out how they did this incredible feat!!

Crossing the ditch Tasman Map

Interview with Cas and Jonesy

1. Why did you call the project Crossing the Ditch?

The Tasman Sea has for many years been referred to as “The Ditch” by Australians and New Zealanders. The exact etymology for this term is uncertain, however when traveling between Australia and New Zealand, it’s commonly referred to as “crossing the ditch”.

2. Tell us about your kayak Lot 41? Also, what’s with the name?

Jonesy –We reckon she’s really really beautiful … bordering on sexy. We firmly believe that paddling the Tasman was an exercise in risk mitigation rather than risk taking and I guess that’s reflected in the craft that we built. We isolated the risks we’d face on the Tasman and built Lot 41 according to that. Sure, she could have been more lightly built, but when it came to having 10metre waves out there crashing on us – I’m glad we decided not to skimp.

The kayak Lot 41 was designed for the trans-Tasman crossing by Rob Feloy, who had designed the kayak for Peter Bray´s trans-Atlantic Crossing approximately six years earlier. The Lot 41 design includes two cockpits, a cabin at the stern of the craft, a large water tank and storage for over 60 days of food for the two kayakers. An array of solar panels was incorporated into the design in order to charge the batteries used to power communication systems, bilge pumps and a water desalination unit. The fibreglass kayak was built in Australia in 2005 and fitted with support systems including emergency beacons, satellite phone, global tracking system, and GPS.

3. What you did was an incredible feat. Did your bodies hate you for it? At any point did you think the physical torture was too heavy a price to pay?

Jonesy – After a week out there, the bodies really started to degrade at quite a fast rate. We developed sores, muscle stripped off us, the joints ached, we were constantly wet and getting bashed around and in the bad storms getting ripped through 10 metre waves we really thought that we’d entered hell but we signed up for this and weren’t going to be detered.

4. With Cas’ seasickness, did it ever occur to you that crossing the ditch might not be the project for you?

Cas – When you work on something so hard and for so long, you really aren’t going to let anything stand in your way. So I went out there and had to find a solution and after 17 attempts at different remedies- Bingo! I settled for some pretty hardcore drugs that they give Chemo patients (valued at 40 bucks a tablet, self hypnosis and accupuncture. That combination made life at sea bearable.

5. One person got very close – Andrew McAuley. Cas, in your book Crossing the Ditch, you’ve talked about nursing a guilty conscience about his failed attempt. Since completing your crossing, have your feelings changed or resolved?

Cas – Andrew was an incredible adventurer who has done so much in the outdoors. We have so much respect for him as a kayaker and expeditioner. It was a real shame that a rivalry popped up between both expeditions. When he disappeared it messed with my mind like you would believe.

Spending 62 days out on the Tasman helped me deal with his dissapearance enormously. I felt Jonesy and I were able to get a tiny glimpse into the suffering Andrew would haver gone through in his voyager- and interestingly, that time out there, semmed to help me make peace with him. I’ve now come to grips with the enormous difference in the trips that we were planning, the different ways and different risk profiles we each had. Jonesy and I can’t hold any responsiblity for the ways that others will act. Beacuase of the profound impact Andrew had on me, I dedicated the book to the memory of Andrew as a sign of the respect and admiration that I have for his amazing attempt.

6. Obviously many months were spent getting boat and yourselves ready for the journey – what would you do differently (if anything) if you had your time again?

Jonesy – Probably pick a better person to paddle with, Cas has the long hair but the curves just aren’t in the right spot!

Cas – Calm down J! In all seriousness, we’d make some minor changes to the hull structure and make the kayak slightly more aerodynamic but not too much more…perhaps paddle from NZ to Australia but we werern’t to know that we’d get a abnormal weather pattern across the ditch.

7. What was the single-most difficult aspect of the expedition? The sores, mental strength, physical labour, planning, surviving each day, or something else?

Jonesy – Of the actual trip, I would really have to say the sleep deprivation…you get so tired that your bones would ache and you’d feel like shit for hours on end. Sure we suffered with sores, the physical toil etc but the tiredness really just added to everything else.

8. Each day you used a Desalinator to convert salt water to freshwater. Did you consider calling the expedition off after your de-sal unit carked it?

Cas – Not a chance, for every bit of critical kit or system we tried to have 2 or 3 levels of redundancy as back up. So when the de-sal broke, we pulled out our manual pump and were resigned to having to pump that by hand for 3 hours a day. It sucked.

9. Were there any moments when you contemplated the possibility of failure – or even the chance that you might not survive the journey?

Cas – Yep the para anchor tangle was one for sure, but there were a couple of other occasions. Stuck in that 2 week whirlpool in the centre of the Tasman, trying to untangle the rudder on another occasion in 10metre waves…all very confronting and you can’t stop negative thoughts popping up. The only thing you can do is trust in the preparations that you have made prior to heading off and our actions and proceedures out there.

10. Cas’s book paints a penetratingly personal picture of the quest. By contrast, the DVD seems a bit ‘lighter’ – was this intentional? Is documenting your excursion in various ways and sharing it with others as important as the mission itself?

Jonesy – A book is the better vessel to really explore the deeper and darker aspect of any expedition. You have alot more time to delve into a number of diifferent themes and do them justice, somthing hard to complete in a 70 minute doco. The doco was deliberately much lighter because this expedition was a success- Cas and I have always been great mates and whenever we’re in the outdoors we’re normally having fun and i guess that was reflected in what we filmed.

11. Jonesy, did you ever use that enormous two-pronged fork your mum bought you for stabbing sharks?

Jonesy – Unfortunately (or fortunately) not! Even on the nights we had sharks grinding up against our hill we never really thought of it as an option. We really took it along solely to placate my mum and it had the unplanned effect of making us smile everytime we pulled it out.

12. Did you have a daily routine and did you ever break it?

Cas – Yep we had a routine that involved getting up at 6am for a sked and then paddled for 12-15hours before retiring into the cabin for a sked, dinner and attempted rest. We varied the schedule when we had to ask dictated by heavy weather.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 20.12.2011

Crossing the ice

21st century hero

The Mission:


Justin Jones and I have undertaken a world first - an unsupported polar expedition: Crossing the Ice. Traversing from the Antarctic rim to the South Pole and back, we will journey 2200kms on skis, sled-hauling all provisions essential for three months survival in one of the harshest environments on the planet.

When:
Expedition: Nov 2011 – Jan 2012

How:
On foot and completely unsupported. We’ll be man-hauling a pulk (with 160kg of provisions each).

Antarctic route & Comparative Map

Why:
Through realising a childhood dream and committing ourselves to a groundbreaking expedition, we wish to inspire others to overcome fear and pursue their own adventures and dreams....

James Castrission

James Castrission was born, 14 March 1982. That makes him only 29 years of age in 2011. But in those 29 years he has crammed a “hell of a lot of living”.

His heritage is Kytherian. His paternal grandfather was Jim Castrission, originally from Kastrissianika, and his paternal grandmother was Theothora Coroneos (Belo Kostandinos) from Potamos. Jim Castrission established the famous Niagara Café at Gundagai, in New South Wales. Jim would later sponsor his brothers Vic and Jack to Australia from Kythera. The Niagara was famous for having piped music that could be dialled to every cubicle, and for the Southern Cross constellation, which lit up on a blue domed ceiling, that arched over the interior of the café. The Southern Cross stars were painted stars, set into the ceiling. You can read more about the Castrission family's Niagara Café

James Castrission fathers’ name is John. Mother Vivienne’s Hellenic heritage derives from Akrata, Greece.

In his book Crossing the Ditch, James states “that almost from the day I was born I always seemed to have too much energy. My parents had a rough time chasing me around and trying to protect me from myself. They did a pretty good job, though, until I decided it was time for my first BASE jump.
Climbing my first peak – the kitchen bench-top – during a rare moment when my parents had turned their backs, I threw myself off, yelling, “Look at me – I’m Superman!” before thudding into the tiled kitchen floor and bursting into tears, with a broken leg.

From a young age, father John encouraged his children to enjoy camping, allowing them to light their own fires, and to pitch their own tent. By age five James had developed impeccable navigation skills. He was intrinsically adventurous by nature.

He attended Roseville Public school, until 5th class, when he proceeded to the prestigious Knox Grammar school situated in the northern Sydney suburb of Wahroonga, NSW. http://www.knox.nsw.edu.au/

His adventures continued during his school years. He and two friends trekked to the source of the stream in the New South Wales Southern Highlands that fed into the Murray River. They then proceeded to float down the stream, through rapids, on their backpacks, where James’ father and other support crew, including Greg Thanos and John Miller, were waiting at the streams end.

His first major adventure involved kayaking the entire length of the Murray River, from the source of the Murray to the end. The first time this had been done.

On another occasion while he was in the cadets and undertaking a Duke of Edinburgh Award, he undertook a 250 kilometre walk with other colleagues through the Snowy Mountains. The group was caught in a huge snowstorm, and many of them where winched to safety. James and a few colleagues were allowed to continue their trek in the dangerous conditions. We just knew that they could and would survive, said the coordinator.

After completing his Higher School Certificate, he went onto Sydney University, where at age 25, he gained a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Finance and Accounting. He gained employment as a consultant and analyst for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu before deciding that mountaineering, rock climbing, bushwalking and kayaking should be the focus of his life. He decided to pursue dreams beyond the corporate world.

He has climbed some of the most challenging peaks in Australia and New Zealand and walked some of the most breathtaking tracks. He shot to world prominence however, when he and close friend Justin Jones completed the first Trans-Tasman kayak expedition from Australia to New Zealand. For photographs and a great deal more information about that epic journey, see: http://www.crossingtheditch.com.au/

On November 13 2007 James, Justin and their kayak Lot 41 departed Forster, Australia, and 62 days later they arrived in New Plymouth, New Zealand. They had kayaked 3318km, braved 10 meter swells, faced howling winds of over 50 knots, endured severe food and sleep deprivation, wasting muscles and adverse winds and currents to become the first kayak expedition across the Tasman Sea as well as become the longest trans oceanic kayaking expedition undertaken by two expeditioners.

Crossing the ditch Tasman Map

A documentary was produced about Crossing the Ditch (Ditch would be translated as lagathi in Greek, and is colloquial language used to refer the expanse of water, the Tasman Sea, which lies between Australia and New Zealand). The documentary won it's category for best film on adventure and exploration at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada - the "el primo" outdoor film festival in the world! Cass expressed “a big thanks to the crew from Quail Television for helping this all happen, especially Greg Quail and Doug Howard who saw the merit in our expedition and made it possible for us to share our little trip with the rest of the world”!

On Sunday 20th November 2011, Crossing the Ditch won the Grand Prize at the prestigious Kendal Mountain Film Festival, which is staged in England.

The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal

Kendal's Brewery Arts Centre, is the main venue for the Kendal Mountain Festival . More than 7,500 people are estimated to have attended the festival over the November weekend to watch films ranging from high-level mountaineering epics, to behind-the-scenes looks at the production of nature documentaries in high environments, as well as listen to a host of speakers. Now in its 12th year, the festival featured 61 films totaling 150 hours, covering a wide range of outdoor and adventure subjects including climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, kayaking, culture and exploration. Cas (James Castrission’s “nick name is Cas), and Jonesy’s efforts to be awarded the Grand Prize against such illustrious competition is extraordinary.

The DVD Crossing the Ditch can be purchased on the website: http://www.crossingtheditch.com.au/

Cas, spoke for both young men when he commented that “through committing ourselves to achieving one of "Australia’s last great first" adventures, we wish to inspire others not to be afraid of pursuing their own adventures and dreams”.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Education Department contracted them to lecture to school students, on the need to aspire to achieve their dreams and fulfill their potential. The Greek Orthodox Archbishop, held a ceremony blessing them, and thanking them for what they had done for New Zealand.

In 2008, after the Tasman Sea crossing, James Castrission was a fitting Guest of Honour at the Kytherian Ball, the youngest guest of honour in the history of the event.

When he is not training for, or engaged in adventures, he has a full time career as a motivational speaker, lecturing to schools, organisations, and corporations at the highest level.

Cas is currently engaged in his most difficult adventure yet. You can read all about it at Cas ands Jonesy’s website: http://casandjonesy.com.au/

In 100 years of polar exploration no-one has EVER walked from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again without assistance. Many have tried, none have succeeded.

Facts about Crossing the Ice:

•This will be the first EVER unsupported return journey to the South Pole.
•The summer of 2011/12 will mark the 100 year anniversary of Scott and Amundsen.
•Cas and Jonesy will be the youngest team to ever reach the South Pole.
•Previous attempts: Jon Muir, Peter Hillary and Eric Phillips attempted the return journey in 1998. They reached the South Pole after 84 days on the ice and didn’t complete the return. Kiwi adventurers: Kevin Biggar and Jamie Fitzgerald also attempted the return journey in 2007, their attempt was also unsuccessful.
•Distance: 2200km return (1100km from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole)
•Less people have man hauled to the South Pole (58 people) than have stood on the summit of Mt Everest (4600).

At this moment (Saturday 26th November is day 25), James Castrission and Justin Jones are attempting to achieve the impossible. For the next three months and over 2200km they will drag 160kg sleds with everything they need to survive in the harshest environment on Earth.

[See the website (Nov-Dec 2011) for their current location.]

Antarctica - a lonely expanse

James Castrission and Justin Jones. It’s bitterly cold in Antarctica

Cas and Jonesy are using this expedition to raise much needed funds and awareness for ‘You Can‘; an Australian national fundraising campaign to build specialised youth cancer centres across Australia. This expedition is called Crossing the Ice – and everyone on the planet can be a part of adventure by following their progress on the website, and by interacting with the pair of adventurers. You can read up on the expedition here on the site, or leave a message of support on Facebook.

This is James Castrission’s most challenging and dangerous adventure yet.