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Oral History

History > Oral History

"History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity."
Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC), Pro Publio Sestio

There are many categories in this section - they are now visible in the navigation on the left. By choosing any one of them you can view the entries, and by clicking on the add to... links at the top right of each category page, you can easily submit your own entry.

Please note! There are dozens of historic and fascinating photographs to be found in the Kythera Cultural Archive section of this site.

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History > Oral History

submitted by George Poulos on 28.08.2005

The infant telepathic disc-jockey. Perplexing Theothoros Kritharis.

When my father, Con George Poulos moved to the central western New South Wales town of Gilgandra, we lived in a house in the upper part of Myrtle Street. The house had a large lounge room, with gramaphone player against one wall. It was the type of gramaphone player which had an arm which picked up records, placed above the central mechanism, and played them sequentially. The records were "78's".

Kytherian visitors would often come to visit us in the house. One such visitor was Theothoros ...

History > Oral History

submitted by Con George (Tzortzo)Poulos on 28.08.2005

Con George Poulos, and George Peter Psaltis.

Lose Con's truck,....and almost lose their lives - in the Gilgandra flood, 1955.

In 1955, we owned a very large Federation style house on the Western end of Myrtle Street, (the furthest end from the main street - Miller Street), in Gilgandra NSW. It was in the highest part of Gilgandra.

In January 1955, a great deal of rain fell in Gilgandra. Throughout January and February, rain fell consistently. By 23rd February 1955, monsoon rains made it inevitable that ...

History > Oral History

submitted by Kristen Oates on 29.08.2005

An Aussie recalls the Kytherian history of Gilgandra, NSW.

I have vague recollections of Jack Pentes shop, and going in to buy lollies when I was a very young child. The Monterey Cafe also holds some memories but vague, and the premises is now owned by a good friend of my mothers. It is the ABC Cafe, and the Kelly family, that invoke the clearest recollections.

I played my first pinball machine in the ABC, and played my first game of pool in the room out the back. The milkshakes and Bodgy Bloods (Coke, icecream ...

History > Oral History

submitted by C.A Bingen on 16.05.2005

The women of Platia Ammos make a stand in 1966

In 1966, while working on Kythera in a development team under the instruction of George Koksma, we were sent to survey Platia Ammos in order to be able to work out plans for the placement of a water supply and the ensuing water works within the village. When we arrived in the morning however, a surprise awaited us. All the women of the village were gathered in waiting for us, and as soon as we appeared they charged us with long poles and gardening tools, crying: You’ll do no surveys here! We had ...

History > Oral History

submitted by Georgia Cassimatis on 12.05.2005

George Miller & Michael Jonson. Good Mates.

Two Of Us – George Miller and Michael Johnson

Interviews by: Georgia Cassimatis

Director, Dr George Miller, 59 and best friend, pharmacist Michael Jonson, have known each other since they were 12 years old. With Michael funding George’s first film, Mad Max, they talk about the closeness of their enduring friendship over the past 45 years.

George Miller and Michael Jonson. Photograph taken at George's twin brother's wedding ...

History > Oral History

submitted by Rowan Parkes on 07.05.2005

The deaf man's escape

When the Germans first came to the island of Kythera they realized that they would need working hands to build barriers, bases, and various other constructions wanted in times of war. They therefore began the procedure of rounding up local men to be made use of in construction projects. One of the places they decided to recruit from was an olive oil factory to the south of the island. The people working in the factory spied the Germans coming and scattered into hiding, leaving the factory dark and ...

History > Oral History

submitted by Spyro Calocerinos on 30.05.2008

Manolis Cassimatis The Ferry Skipper

Manolis Cassimatis or Vouros ,was born in Keramouto Kythera and was the eldest of all his brothers and sisters. At a very young age (around 12 or 14 years old) he left Kythera. Very little is known of his early days in Australia, as he stopped communicating with his family very soon after his arrival. In the 50s his youngest brother Tony was sponsored to come to Australia by the late Mr. Nick Lourantos from West Wyalong NSW. Tony tried to find his brother Manolis without ...

History > Oral History

submitted by Hugh Gilchrist on 12.02.2005

Jack Castrissios, Prime Minister Curtin, WWII & the Niagara Cafe, Gundagai.

Dinner in Gundagai

On Greece’s national day in 1942 Prime Minister John Curtin publicly declared Australia’s admiration of Greece’s stand against aggression, and Australia’s sym­pathy with the suffering Greek people. Several months later he had occasion to be grateful for local Greek hospitality.
On a wintry evening, travelling with several members of the Advisory War Council from Melbourne to Canberra, he reached Gundagai towards midnight, just as Jack ...

History > Oral History

submitted by Spyro Calocerinos on 16.03.2005

Anjolos Petroheilos. The Prankster in Hora

Anjolos-as he was known- was a barber in Hora and his son Nikos- my late brother in law-who was also a barber, together built in the early 50s the first supermarket in Kythera, known as Athinaiki Agora. The vatiety of goods sold was enormous.Shoes,exclusive material for suits, hats, cheese sold bulk,sardines sold bulk, herrings,clothes pegs.The lot. But in the corner,there were two barber's chairs,one for Anjolos(his real name was Evangelos) and one for Nikos.
Anjolos ...

History > Oral History

submitted by Nikos Sotirxos on 15.01.2005

The pentagon of Aphrodite

History or legend tells of there once being a beautiful building, shaped like a pentagon, somewhere above the gully just before Kapsali. In this building was the statue of Aphrodite, and from under her big toe water sprang and flowed down into the gully, and from there into a common garden where large wash basins had been built and where the women of the village would go to do their washing, soaping and rinsing in separate basins.
With time, earthquakes, avalanches and rain it has all been ...

History > Oral History

submitted by Spiros Cavallini on 26.09.2007

A chapter of Cavallini family history, their coming to Kythera & the link to L. Hearn

Captain Angelo Cavallini* captained a vessel running from Venice (his home town) to Constantinople and Smyrna. On one of his journeys he fell sick and the ship made dock at Kythera for him to disembark and take some weeks on the island to recover. Returning to Venice, he found himself so captivated by the island that he decided to return and make it his home. He married an Italian from the island by the name of Rosa and bought the well known Cavallini house in Avlemonas that was built in 1827, and ...

History > Oral History

submitted by Nikos Sotirxos on 30.03.2005

The naming of rocky places.

Της γριάς το πήδημα- the old lady’s jump: given it’s name after an old woman jumped from the rocks, in what was assumed to be suicide.
Κακόπλακα- “bad” plaque: the place where, in olden times, people collected a specific mineral that, when ground to dust, was used as cement on the houses.
Μελιδόνι: it is assumed that, as the first synthetic of the word is “meli” meaning honey, the name was derived from either the finding of honey or from ...

History > Oral History

submitted by Nikos Sotirxos on 15.01.2005

A piece of history from St. John monastery in Kapsali

St. John the theologian, before his last revelation in Patmos, spent a while with the monks of the monastery that later received his name in Kapsali, Kythera, and it is said that as a visitor enters the cave there is a small hole dug into the rock where he crushed his tobacco!
The monastery had land, the land that is now the camping site, most of the forest above Kapsali, as well as a tree-free plot where the monks grew the corn to make the bread that along with olive oil made up the better ...

History > Oral History

submitted by Spyro Calocerinos on 20.03.2005

The Ingenious cigarette lighter

In the morning of September 4th 1944, the Germans left "Kapsali" Kythera.

For some days before their departure, the Greek Liberation Front were firing at them with very little ammunition, from Kastro and Agios Giannis.

Some Kytherians had invented an ingenious system of creating cigarette lighters out of empty bullet shells.
My late brother-in-law, Nikos Petroheilos, was making these cigarette lighters and was selling them in his shop.
Seeing that the Germans ...

History > Oral History

submitted by George Poulos on 01.01.2005

The Charles Cassim Story.


November 2002

As written by Katie Cassim - April 2002

Charles Cassim - was the eighth child, and third son of a Minister in the Greek Orthodox Church. His Grandfather and his matemal Grandfather were also in the Church on the island of Kythera. His Father was also an Iconographer, a graduate of an Art School in Crete. In Kythera, the family owned property on which grew vines, grapes and pears. ...

History > Oral History

submitted by George Poulos on 31.12.2004

Death of Aphrodite. (Bouras family matriarch, not the Goddess). Insights into the Greek rural psycho-sociology.

Gillian Bouras was born in Melbourne in 1945. She worked as a teacher in Australia before moving to Greece with her husband and children in 1980.

Her first book about this experience, A Foreign Wife, was published in 1986, and this was followed by A Fair Exchange in 1991. Aphrodite and the Others, published in 1994, won a New South Wales State Literary Award in the same year, and ...

History > Oral History

submitted by George Poulos on 20.08.2005

George Con (Tzortzo)Poulos, and the dual mother system.

My father's brother Panayoti (Peter) had been living in Australia from 1928. He was 12 years of age when he arrived in Australia. Eventually he settled in the far western New South Wales town of Warren, and married Aryiro (Sylvia) Aloizios.

When my father migrated to Australia in 1949, he was relatively old (33 years of age). He eventually chose to establish himself in Gilgandra, NSW, a town about ...

History > Oral History

submitted by George Poulos on 22.01.2006

Theodoros Castrissios.


The first Naturalisation ceremony to be held in the Municipal Offices at Echuca took place in 1954, when Theodoros Castrissios, of the Astoria cafe, became an Australian citizen. Prior to this, Naturalisation Ceremonies were carried out by Police Magistrates in chambers and later in open court.

Theodoros, who was 19 years old, was born in Greece and at the time of his ...

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 ...

History > Oral History

submitted by Kiriaki Orfanos on 14.01.2005

Maria Simos-Levounis. My Story.

Maria Simos-Levoune was born in Kythera on the 10/10/1934; she came to Australia in 1948. In 1958 she married Con Simos, and they had three children, Irene, Katina and Andrew. This excerpt is from the memoir she is writing for her grandchildren about growing up in Kythera.

My mother Katina Levoune nee Nicolasou was born in Aroniadiaka, Kythera on the 15th of August, 1901. She came to Australia in 1923 with her newly-married sister, Stamatoula Aroney, who went to live in Port Macquarie. ...