submitted by Peter Makarthis on 10.06.2011
Gengos Trefilly Wedding 1916
Inverell Times, Tuesday 13 June 1916
The local Greek community (Inverell) had a gala day on Wednesday (7 June) of last week when a large number of friends and relatives from various centres assembled at the Otho Street premises of S.Peters & Co. to witness the marriage ceremony between Mr A. Gengos and Miss E. Trefilly.
The function was a particularly pleasing one, the young couple being very popular amongst their own people. The bride who is the daughter of Mr. Nicholaos Trefilly of Inverell, only recently returned from Greece. She was attired in a beautiful white silk dress, richly embroidered, and also wore the usual wreath and veil.
The Rev. Marinakis, of the Greek Orthodox Church , Sydney, was specially commissioned to tie the nuptial knot.
The bridesmaid was Miss Trefilly, a sister of bride, while Mr. M. Levunes was best man.
After the interesting ceremony, which took place at 10 o’clock a sumptuous repast was partaken of in the upstairs portion of the establishment, where the bride and bridegroom received the hearty congratulations and good wishes of their numerous friends. The banquet was served in high, class style and at the conclusion a number of toasts, suitable to the occasion, duly honoured.
Mr. and Mrs. Gengos were the recipients of many useful and costly presents as the appended list will show.
The brides gift to the bridegroom was a cluster diamond ring, set with rubies, while the bridegroom gave his bride a pair of costly diamond ear rings, a gold broach set with three diamonds, and a diamond ring.
The other presents included:- M. Levuna, opal pendant and diamond ring; Mrs V. Gengos, cluister diamond ring; V. Gengos, pearl tie pin and diamond ring set with rubies; L. Gengos, wristlet watch; Andronico Bros., large case of cutlery; N. Aroney, singer sewing machine; Peter Aroney, silver manicure set; S. Stratigos, jam dish; K. Bavea, Nellie Stewart bangle; John Psaltis, rose bowl; Theo Megaloconomos, brush and comb; Mr. and Mrs. T. Crithary, silver teapot; Mr. and Mrs. J. Trefilly, silver tea and coffee service; Mr. W. Kautz, ornamental clock; S. Peters & Co., combination fruit and flower stand; Con. Sakellaroulos, cruet; Geo. Tsicalas, silver coffee pot; Peter Crithary, hot water jug and clock; Mr. Mrs Lewis, set of carvers; Sam Coroneo, egg cruet; E. L. Hart, jardinière; Pana. Aroney, cake dish; Geo. Panaretto, marble clock; S. Hoffnung & Co., salad dish and spoons; Mr. and Mrs. Comino, case of fruit knives and forks; A. Zandos, salad dish and spoons; Mr. and Mrs. Souris jam dish, M. Pitsilades, silver cigarette case and holder; J. Samuels, brush and comb; Mr.and Mrs. Lewis (Inverell), silver serviette rings; Andronicos and Poteris, pair of blankets and quilt.
The newly married couple’s future home will be in Moree.
The Greek wedding held at Inverell during 1916 is a significant landmark of Greek immigration to Australia and the integration of Greeks into the broader Australian community whilst maintaining their cultural identity. This marks the first record of Greek Orthodox celebrations at Inverell and held at a time of uncertainty for Greeks in Australia.
The King of Greece and the Greek government during 1916 were engaged in a conflicting situation with respect to the relationship of the King of Greece with the German Kaiser. This situation jeopardized the neutrality of Greece and consequently the status of Greeks in Australia. The Australian government, through Military Intelligence and State police conducted a ‘secret census’ of Greeks, Greek business and organizations in readiness to intern immigrant Greeks in much the same manner as were German nationals during WW1. Civil unrest occurred at major centres in Australia with Greek business premises being severely damaged. Immigration and naturalization of Greeks was suspended by the Australian government during this period.
The wedding ceremony conducted by the Reverend Dimitrios Marinakis, Holy Synod Priest of the Greek Orthodox Community of Sydney indicates the strength of Greek immigrants in maintaining their cultural identity in a new homeland. During this period the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia was represented by two clergy, one in Sydney and another in Melbourne, to serve the pastoral needs of Greeks spread across Australia. This wedding ceremony held at great distance from Sydney indicates the responsibility of the Greek Orthodox Church to maintain its pastoral care with Greeks in country Australia. Oral history suggests baptisms were conducted by the Rev. Marinakis during his visit to Inverell.
An analysis of the guests at the wedding is fascinating. Guests attended from most of the neighbouring centres surrounding Inverell and were joined by representatives of the business community of Inverell. Kyriakos Baveas, from Narrabri; Theo Megaloconomos of WeeWaa, Leonidas Gengos and Michael Pitsilades of Moree; John Psaltis of Boggabri; George Andronikos and George Potiris of Walcha; Mr. and Mrs Peter Sourry Walcha; Peter Krithary, Mr. and Mrs. Theo Crithary of Glen Innes, Mr. and Mrs. George Comino of Warialda, George Panaretto of Cowra, Sam Coroneo of Scone and Con Sekallaroplous of Tingha were among the many Greek relatives and friends of the married couple attending the celebration. Ald. William Kautz with Mr. and Mrs. Lewis were part of the Inverell community present at the function. Loyalty by the Greek businesses to the wholesale suppliers, Andronico Bros, and Hoffnung & Co. is included in the list of presents for the newlyweds.
The report of the wedding in the Inverell Times indicates the trust and respect of the Inverell community to the local Greek community.
Peter ‘Skoulandris’ McCarthy
10 June 2011
© S. Peter & Co 10 June 2011
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