submitted by Matina Kasimatis on 30.07.2004
Antonios Grigoriou Kasimatis (Anthony Grigoriou Casimaty) 1897-1977
Fish merchant, farmer and property owner was born on March 15th 1897 on the island of Kythera, Greece, the second son of Georgios Grigoriou Kasimatis.
He was educated to primary school level only, leaving Kythera for Australia at the age of 14.
Arriving in Australia in 1911 he worked at cafes in Brisbane for a year and then in Sydney for a further two years. In 1915 he sailed to Hobart to join his brother Gregory as joint partner in the recently established café at 35 Elizabeth street. This property was to remain their headquarters for the duration of the partnership.
The city restaurant was originally known as the Britannia café. An oyster bar and fish shop section were included in 1917. the fish shop known as “Casimaty Bros.” was a thriving business through the years, and was especially busy on Fridays and during Easter week. Household fridges and freezers were unknown then.
The Casimaty Brothers ran the business, popular with generations of Hobartians until 1965 when Gregory retired due to ill health. Anthony continued to manage it until 1967 when he also retired which ended the Casimaty’s direct involvement. The fish shop was then leased out for a further fourteen years.
The partnership was only extended for a period from 1922 to 1940 to include their younger brother Basil. He subsequently established his own fruit shop in Hobart, and developed a farm in Kempton.
During their 50 year partnership, the brothers undertook numerous joint ventures including fish importing and exporting, wholesaling and retailing, and the purchase operation and operation of trawlers, restaurants, farms and city properties. In fact on the birth of one of Gregory’s children, one of the shop assistants filled in the notice of birth and recorded the father as Casimaty Bros.
Anthony returned to Greece in 1931 and in 1933 married Adamantia (Manty) Haros born 26 February 1916, the second daughter of Gabriel and Elenie Haros of Kythera. Gregory’s wife Kathleen and Anthony’s wife were in fact sisters.
The restaurant was leased out during the early 1950’s and was subsequently closed. The crayfish business exported in excess of 300 tonnes of crayfish per annum to Sydney and America at it’s peak around 1950 but declined later.
Anthony was a long standing member of the Hobart chamber of commerce, and often acted as spokesman for the retail fish industry, especially on the subject of scallop and crayfish prices. He was particularly known as identify at 35 Elizabeth Street, having worked there almost continually from 1915 to 1967.
Anthony was a small man of boundless energy, rather shy but with a great sense of humour, always well mannered and meticulously dressed. In fact he often wore a three piece suit and tie when hunting. He had a dark complexion, square moustache and distinguished greying hair. He was a very kind man and a generous donor to any appeal.
He had a passion for hunting and when not working would spend most of his time hunting kangaroo, hare, deer, boar, geese and ducks, mainly in Tasmania and the surrounding areas. His other hobbies were photography and mandolin playing.
The brothers were some of the first Greek migrants to settle in Tasmania, and did much to foster good relations between Australians and Greeks. They gained wide respect in both communities and were generous and caring in their assistance to new Greek settlers. Anthony and Gregory sponsored Kytherians to Tasmania in the late 1950’s.
A life member of the Goulburn Street School Mothers club, Manty has been a volunteer medical interpreter for the Greek community for over forty years.
Anthony died of natural causes at his home in Sandy bay on March 14th 1977 and is buried alongside his father and two brothers at Cornelian Bay. He is survived by his wife, four children and eight grandchildren.
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