Life in Australia, 1916….how history unfolded in the ensuing generations.
Story number 1:
Damian N Andronicus (Diamianos Andronikos) ……the last man standing…..
Damian N Andronicus, in his home, September, 2010
Life in Australia , written in 1916, was the first book published in the Greek language in Australia. It was also an important first chronicle of Hellenic involvement in Australian history and culture, and an accurate snapshot of life in Greek-Australia in 1916.
Recently republished by the Kytherian World Heritage Fund (KWHF), this 368 page book provides about 150 pages of micro biographies, life histories and photographs of Greek immigrants. Many Greek Australian families have recognised great grandparents, grandparents and other relatives in these pages.
A number of factors motivated the Trustee of the KWHF, Angelo Notaras, and George C Poulos, to re-publish the book. One of these was a desire to inspire subsequent generations to “fill in the blanks”. What happened to those Greek-Australians featured in Life in Australia? What lives did their children, grand-children and great-grandchildren go on to live? If Greek-Australians could take the time to chronicle how “history unfolded” in subsequent generations, the Greek-Australian threads, would be more deeply interwoven into the tapestry of Australian and Greek diaspora history.
One of the most interesting stories that emerges from Life in Australia, is that of Damian Andronicus. If you turn to pages 165 & 166 of the book,
you find the life history of Nikolaos Dam. Andronikos. On page 166, is a photo of Nikolaos holding his infant son, Damian.
It so happens that Damian is the only person photographed and featured in the book Life in Australia, who is still alive. He is …the last man standing. He is now 95(?) years of age.
He lives in Kamelion Street, in the well appointed, leafy and attractive suburb of Palio Psihiko in Athens. Below is a photo of the view from his back balcony.
Recently, Angelo Notaras and George C Poulos, independently of each other, decided to make a “pilgrimage” to visit him. When I visited, the door was opened to me by his highly efficient Bulgarian Aged Carer, Liza. She took me into the lounge room to meet Damian. He is a tall man, who strikes you instantly as being both urbane and erudite. He is extremely “sharp” for his age. I found it very easy to converse with him, as he followed the thread of our conversation easily.
He told me that the family had left Australia when he was 14 years of age, and settled in Britain. He had joined the British military. He married initially in a civil ceremony, and later in the Greek Orthodox Church. He had spent most of his working life in Britain, but came back to live in Greece, later in life. His marriage was a very happy one. He cared for his wife when she became ill. She has predeceased him.
I usually take copious notes when I visit older people. However in this case, I did not know what to expect upon meeting Damian, and I felt like I was imposing upon him. I now regret not taking the time to write down a more comprehensive “oral history”. Hopefully the KWHF can arrange for this to be done before his demise. I am always reminded of Kevin Cork’s aphorism – “every time an old person dies…a whole library burns down”.
Speaking of libraries, Damian is a well read man, and has always maintained an extensive library. Recently he decided to pack up and send to the Mayor of Kythera, a large number the more valuable works from his library, to form part of the collection of the new Municipal Library on the island. He has maintained enough of his Library in Palio Psihiko, to keep him in reading material.
One of his abiding interests has been philately (the study of stamps). He wrote an article about The Seventh Island: A Short Philatelic History of Kythera for the Bulletin of the Hellenic Philatelic Society of Great Britain in 1986.
He was very excited that Angelo Notaras has come to visit him, and showed me the Life in Australia books, in Greek and English, that Angelo had delivered to him. He posed with the book open at the page with his photograph as a young infant.
I also took photographs of Damian looking across the city from his front balcony.
How many other stories about how history has unfolded for the families of those included in the publication of Life in Australia, 1916, are yet to be told? What an interesting collection they will make, when they are all written?
A limited number of the books Life in Australia in Greek, and Life in Australia in English, are still available.
They cost $50 each. If A Greek and English edition are purchased at the same time, the cost discounts to $80.
Additional postage and handling costs – $10, for up to 3 books.
Credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) accepted.
Available in Australia from:
George C. Poulos
Email, George C Poulos
Ph: 61 2 9388 8320
Email, Angelo Notaras
Ph: 61 2 9810 0194 ext.711 (24hrs)
Fax: 61 2 9810 6691
***To PURCHASE the 2009 replica of the book(s)***:
.jpg image of the Life in Australia book(s)Order Form
Larger version of 2 books graphic above, available here
More Information about Life in Australia:
Title page of Life in Australia
LIA Front red page.pdf
Pages 1-10, in English translation
Pages 1-10, in the original Greek
An easy way to track the various Greek families represented in the book.
Life in Australia on display at Cafe Society exhibition at Inverell, April, 2004
Full length panel about the book, at the Inverell exhibition
Kytherians admiring the panel at the Inverell exhibition
Download .pdf of the original artwork for the panel here:
M&G_PANEL_Life _in _Aus.pdf
A typical biographical entry. Nicholas P Aroney (i Liapos), and his son Peter Aroney
Art deco illustrations in the book
Beautiful illustrative flourish 1
Beautiful illustrative flourish 2
Beautiful illustrative flourish 3
Beautiful illustrative flourish 4
Beautiful illustrative flourish 5
Articles & Press about Life in Australia
Excellent, comprehensive, 2008 article about the books pending publication.
Page 30, O Kosmos, Sydney, Friday 6th November, 2009.
Neos Kosmos, 19th November, 2009. Author Vivienne Morris.
Antikythera mechanism article with reference to the KWHF, and the 9 Dec, 2009, LIA book launch.
Anti Kythera Mechanism article 2.11.2009.pdf
Sydney Morning Herald, Spectrum Liftout
Sydney Morning Herald, Feature Article
For an e-mention at the very prestigious Good Reading Magazine at,
Press Release 1 3.11.9.pdf
Links to other web pages
National Library of Australia
Speeches about Life in Australia
John Nicholas Comino