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Oral History

History > Oral History > Vassiliki Chryssanthopoulou. Visit to Sydney, 28th-29th August, 2004. James Coroneos's Report.

History > Oral History

submitted by George Poulos on 09.12.2004

Vassiliki Chryssanthopoulou. Visit to Sydney, 28th-29th August, 2004. James Coroneos's Report.

Visit to Sydney by Hellenic Folklore Research Fellow

On the weekend of Saturday 28, Sunday 29 August 2004, the eminent anthropologist Dr Vassiliki Chryssanthopoulou, Visiting Fellow from the Hellenic Folklore Research Centre, Academy of Athens, Greece, visited Sydney. Dr Vassiliki had come to Australia to conduct research on Greek migration here. She had already spent time in Perth interviewing Greeks from the island of Castellorizo. In addition, she had also interviewed Greeks from the island of Karparthos, both in Perth and in Canberra. She has already published material on these two groups. Her purpose also in Canberra was to interview Greeks from the island of Kythera - this was done through her host in Canberra, namely Chris Lourandos (President of the Kytherian Brotherhood of Canberra & Districts and committee member of the Karavitiko Symposium.)
Chris introduced Dr Vassiliki to Victor Kepreotis, President of the Kytherian Association of Australia and they spent a day together. Chris also introduced Dr Vassiliki to James Coroneos and Emanuel Cassimatis, also committee members of the Karavitiko Symposium, and asked them to arrange meetings between Dr Vassiliki and Kytherians of note. Our brief was to select Kytherians who have achieved something worthwhile in their lives. We had some very difficult decisions to make, as there are a great many outstanding Kytherians, but time was limited to one weekend. People who were interviewed by Dr Vassiliki included the following:

The Current Committee of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Kytherian Association of Australia, who spoke as a group of their achievements and individually with regard to their parents and families. Ladies attending were Catherine Economos (President) as well as Kathy Samios, Matina Samios (with daughter Erini and baby grand-daughter), Paula Giaouris, Koula Mallos, Helen Kanaris, Kyranne Thomas (with daughter), Argyro Notaras, Helen Comino.

We had hoped to have the very first committee of the Ladies Auxiliary present. Zaphira Caravousanos (first president and a founder) had not yet returned from a trip to Canada - this was a great disappointment as she and her husband Charles were leading figures in the early days. Unfortunately, other members of the first committee contacted were ill and unable to attend. It is a matter of history, that the early committees of the Kytherian Brotherhood of Australia consisted only of men, who then resisted the formation of the Ladies Auxiliary.

Angelo Notaras who has been instrumental in the publication of the books 'The Greeks in Australia' by eminent researcher and hellenophile Dr Hugh Gilchrist - Volumes 1, 2 have already been published, and Volume 3 is on the way; as well as being deeply involved in the establishment of the Kytherian website which has had a shattering effect on Kytherians around the world.

Peter Aroney who is the longest serving President of the Kytherian Brotherhood of Australia; a person of tremendous ability; equally fluent in Greek and English; also President of the Hellenic Club for many years. He guided the Brotherhood through the most turbulent period of our history.

Con Malanos who has been President /Director of St Basil's Homes for the Aged and the Lourandos Villages over many years. He has been honoured by the Greek Orthodox Church of Australia by the highest civil award - the Gold Cross of St Andrew - for his services to the church and the community.

Jack and Toula Tzannes who played a major part in saving Kythera House, (in Regent St, Chippendale) from being sold at the time, over the heads of the Brotherhood, by the Westpac Bank. Jack held a great many positions on Kytherian Brotherhood Committees over many years.

Professor Manuel Aroney - one of our best known Kytherians and finest academics - who has been involved with a great number of worthy causes over many years. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honours in Australia, Greece and other countries - it would take many pages to list all these.

Emanuel and Matina Comino - Emanuel has reached the highest rank - Supreme President for 2 years - of the charity Order of A.H.E.P.A. (Australian Hellenic Educational Progressive Association), as well as forming many years ago the International Institute for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles to their homeland, Greece. He has recently achieved international acclaim by presenting the case for the restitution of the marbles before the world's highest court at the Hague.

Emanuel Cassimatis is a former Vice-President of the Kytherian Brotherhood of Australia and most recently a committee member of the Kytherian Association. He is a son of the founder and first president of the Kytherian Brotherhood of Australia - Cosmas Cassimatis. Kytherians, at that time, were scattered in cafe's etc in almost every small village or large town throughout N.S.W. Cosmas was able to rally them together to found the Kytherian Brotherhood of Australia, and organise functions to get Kytherians together. He also acted as a 'father-figure' to younger Greeks from Kythera, giving them information on business opportunities in the state as well as helping them obtain credit from food, drink, chocolate etc suppliers. Cosmas was also a prominent figure in all Hellenic activities of the time (the Grecian Ball, the Greek Charity Queen etc) as well in the foundation and building of the first Greek Orthodox Churches in Sydney.

James Coroneos - a former President of the Kytherian Brotherhood of Australia, was also interviewed with respect to his publishing and writing activities - it is fair to say that his Basic Skills & Maths books have been used by many of our children; as well as his involvement as President of the Karavitiko Symposium - this has been held annually for over 40 years and brings together persons with links to the village of Karavas - no other town in Kythera has such reunions.

Whilst she was in Sydney, Dr Vassiliki requested that she be able to see some of the sights. Emanuel & Robyn Cassimatis, Jim & Toula Coroneos spent a very pleasant evening with Dr Vassiliki at Circular Quay, where she saw the Harbour, the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the ferries as well as dining at the Italian Village Restaurant.

Dr Vassiliki intends to publish the material she gathered about Kytherians in book form, and will probably launch this book in Australia, possibly at the Hellenic Club in Canberra.

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