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Message Board > ***Launch of republished Life in Australia (1916, 2009)***

***Launch of republished Life in Australia (1916, 2009)***

submitted by Kytherian World Heritage Fund on 01.11.2009


The Kytherian World Heritage Fund, announces another Kytherian World Heritage (mega) Event.

The launch of the recently published books, Life in Australia (1916) in GREEK, and Life in Australia (1916) in ENGLISH.

To download a superb 4-page brochure about the event, which also provides information as to how to purchase these books, go to:


If you download this brochure, between now and the launch date on 9 Decemember, 2009, could you please Forward, the brochure to ALL Hellenes and Philohellenes on your email list, who you know might be interested in attending the event.

The book will be launched at the

MacLaurin Hall
University of Sydney


Wednesday 9 December 2009

6.00pm for 6.30pm start

Invitation open to all

***RSVP*** Tuesday 1 December

Kathy Samios p: 9349 1849

or, email the

Kytherian Association

You can purchase the book by contacting

George Poulos, by email, or by telephone (02) 93888320.


Angelo Notaras, by email, or telephone, (02) 9810 0194.

To learn more about the background history of the publication of the original book, and to access other information about Life in Australia, link to

LIA Bibliography entry

Learn more about the MacLaurin Hall


submitted by
James Victor Prineas
on 01.12.2009

Dear Friends of Kythera,

what a year it's been for me and my family - in a few days we will leave Kythera for Australia after spending almost 6 months here, our longest family stay yet. After so many hikes, dinners, swims, dances, dives, boat rides, and after meeting so many engaging new and old friends, it's time to take stock and try to put the whole experience into perspective.

What struck me again and again were the parallels. Between Australia and Kythera then and now. Between the Greek migrants and the new Eastern European migrants on the island. Between the Diaspora Kytherians and their island cousins. Let me give you a few examples:
>1. The Migrant Experience
If you've ever been told the migration stories of your parents or grandparents - if not you can read of lots of them on - then a common thread is evident: the difficulties of being accepted by Anglo-Australians; the poorly-paid menial tasks on offer for those just off the boat; how hard work paid off for many - but by no means all - the Kytherians who busted a gut in Australia; the grudging acceptance of the "old migrants" of the "new migrants". Amazingly this "thread" is currently being played out on Kythera, with the presence of migrants from Albania, Bulgaria, Poland and even Russia. Except for the few bad eggs which were thrown out of Greece early on in the piece, these "new Kytherians" are mostly industrious, conscientious and honest. But just as most Greeks in Australia - at least up to the 1980s when I was at school - had to endure inane racism, the "new Kytherians", despite many of them even having been born here and speaking faultless Greek, are not only treated as second-class citizens and considered trespassers by many "Greek Kytherians", they aren't even given the chance to obtain citizenship, have to pay over €300 per year to renew their residency, and could be deported without notice on any trumped-up charge. Especially in economically difficult times like now, where the "new Kytherians" often have enough trouble making ends meet from their meagre incomes, they also have to listen to accusations that they are "stealing" the jobs of Greek-Kytherians. As if there were many Kytherians out there lining up for a 9-hour-day of manual labour for as little as €40 a pop. Many schools on Kythera have a majority of students of non-Greek backgrounds - many of them would certainly have closed without their presence. And, not surprisingly to those of us who saw the children of many migrant Kytherians excel at school, the "new Kytherian" children often top the class. So imagine how speechless I was when, after going from a concert on the wharf in Pelagia to the dance in the village, being warned by some English tourists that I should keep a hand on my wallet as "those Albanians train their children to go out in gangs and pick pockets".

>2. Brotherly Love
When I tell friends from other countries about the family feuds I hear about regularly on Kythera, they often reply that almost every culture and family has its share of siblings at each other's throats at some time or another. Well, I still tend to think that Kytherians and their Diaspora cousins exchange more abuse than average. One day, if I ever get around to it, I'll write a soap-opera about the strained relationship between us all. It will start off with a mother and father seeing all but one of their 8 children sail off to Australia (or the US or Egypt or Athens), retaining one child to take care of them in their old age. The other children return irregularly, if at all, to carry off brides or - if they have any sisters - to arrange marriages for them and deliver their dowries. Brothers are often obligued to wait with their own marriage if any of their sisters are still unwedded; sisters having to take any husband their brothers come up with so 1. they don't get stuck with the goats and 2. their brothers will finally get off their backs. Depending upon your viewpoint, the mothers of the families are either the great peace-makers, keeping things civil between siblings, or they are wily politicians playing each child off against the other to maximise the sympathy they long for. Either way, once Mama is out of the picture, the knives are quickly drawn: "I stayed on the island shovelling manure and collecting weeds for dinner while you got rich making milk-shakes!" "I sent back most of what I earned for you and mother and now you've put all the land in your name leaving not one centimetre for me and my family!" "For thirty years you didn't even send a letter to your mother or visit once, just sending a lira every now and then to cleanse your conscience!" etc.

In more recent times, since Greece has become part of the European Union and money has flowed to the island in the form of - often creatively spent - EU-funds, many Kytherians now feel not only financially independent of remittances from overseas, but also economically superior to their overseas cousins. One Australian-Kytherian put it this way: "First they tell us how much they love us while charging us more for hotel rooms than the Dutch or German tourists, then they make snide remarks about the weakness of the Australian Dollar to the Euro, as if Greece had something to do with the latter's strength..." And a couple of months ago I received a mail from another Australian-Kytherian to the tune of "those lazy Kytherians should get out of their cafe-chairs, kick out the Albanians and do some work themselves!" To which some Kytherians might reply "an agricultural working life has it's busy and quiet times. When the Australians are visiting in Summer, it's our quiet time. Soon after they've left, we're out picking olives six days a week. And since when does working yourselves to death in a city equate to moral superiority?"

Well, that should give you something to munch on during the festive season celebrations with all your dear siblings and cousins just an olive-stone's throw away...

All the best,

James Prineas

PS. Have any of you heard the name "Daphne Petrohilos"? If not you're missing something. She is one of the most gifted painters of Kytherian decent who, when she's not off at an exhibition of her fantastically vibrant pictures, is at her home and studio in Prongi, Kythera, painting more pictures for the next exhibition. She now has, at long last, a website which displays dozens of her pictures - old and new work - as well as giving you an impression of the paradise she has created up in the isolated beauty of Prongi. . Her pictures are, in my opinion, not only brilliant, but also very affordable, so if you are still looking for the perfect Christmas present for someone dear...

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>You are invited to the launch of
>A major historic and cultural event
Greek-Australia of 1916 comes to life in this landmark publication

MacLaurin Hall, University of Sydney
Wednesday 9 December 2009
6.00pm for 6.30pm start. Complimentary refreshments provided.
Kathy Samios p: 9349 1849

After the book launch all are invited to visit the Nicholson Museum
to inspect the display and the model of the “Antikythera mechanism“
(circa 300BC) described as the World’s first computer.

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Wanting to work on a family tree for the Contoleons. I am a grand-daughter of John (Yianni) and Diamanta Contoleon. I know my papou was the 3rd eldest of 11. His parents where Angelo (Evangelos) & Maria Contoleon. They were all from Viarathika.
Diamanta Souris, contact:

>Information on the Evangelinidis family
submitted by Michelle Maynard, 01.12.2009
Does anyone have any information please?

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>My beloved Ntendi
A letter to her dear father by Maria of Lourandianika

I am writing to you as there are so many things I need to say and I believe you do hear me. How I remember what a loving father you were. I was your little girl. You gave me my first school case and inside you wrote my name. You called me "Merry" as the war was with us and you were afraid that we may be considered Italians if you called me Mary.

I ran away from school one day, running such a long distance to come home. I had been put on a small child's chair and I was hit with a ruler around my legs. You removed me immediately and sent me to a private girls’ school.

Do you remember Ntendi mou when I would take my shoes to be repaired and I once had my heart set on a pair of "golf shoes"? I said the shoes that had been repaired were too small. You never questioned me, but sent me with my mother to buy the shoes I had my heart set on. The briefcase I wanted miraculously appeared. Nothing was too good for your little girl. You secretly wanted a son and I was a tomboy.  We did everything together, the same as if I had been born a boy.

You taught me the value of work at a very young age. You did it with kindness and love.  At the age of just 6, you gave me a small straw broom, and my little "job" was to sweep the paths at our home. Your lessons are still with me to this very day. We would go to "Tsifliki" on some Sundays. There was a patch of dirt just off the highway and we would go there, my sister and I dressed in identical pale blue slacks with a white blouse. I wore my hair in curls with a ribbon in a bow. We would gather sticks to boil the water for our coffee and mum, my sister and I would climb down and collect wild flowers. How I would like to know if the rock pool is still there.

Do you remember Ntendi mou, when I visited you at your cafe, when you would stop your work to sit with me in a booth, listening patiently to what I had to say, as you would eat your favourite meal. Always tomato soup, then a steak, salad and chips which had been peeled downstairs and made into chips for the diners. You would take my hand, when it was time for me to leave, putting your hand up, stopping the traffic, crossing me safely across Oxford Street.  

When I was 13, you did everything in your power to make the 3 months when I lay in my bed, suffering from my first bout of rheumatic fever, a little easier to bear. Always going to the corner news stand where comics and books were sold. You bought me every comic that was on sale. How I looked forward to Fridays!

We were not to know that this same illness would once again confine me to my bed for 8 months. I was 2 weeks short of my 17th birthday when it struck again. You did everything in your power for me to receive the best possible medical treatment. You spared no expense when the doctors told me to look at the wall before me and visualise the word "patience" in large red letters, as I would not leave my bed, for at least another 6 months. These were the most difficult words I could have heard. You did everything in your power to see me through this difficult time. Both you and my mother saw me through these difficult and painful eight long months.

You sent me to friends so that I could recuperate in a small country town. How did you manage so much without ever telling me? I developed a love of these country towns. Every school holiday in May, you would put my sister and myself on a train for the 7 hour train trip to Molong, to stay with your sister, my aunt, as well as my uncle and cousins. How I loved the fresh country air and the smell of toast cooking in the large kitchen. I could never understand how different it tasted. You in return would open our home to cousins, who needed to attend school in the city, as they lived in country towns. Nothing was too much for you and my mother.

You bought me my first rifle when I was still so young. I would spend hours practising, shooting a tin can on the fence in our back yard, always mindful that the neighbours did not use this part of their property. I became a good shot and you were so proud of me.

We would work in the garden together and it was magnificent. Do you remember the paling fence? It spanned the length of the entire double block and was filled with colourful delicate flowers such as sweep peas. Strangers passing could see enormous dahlias down the side of the house. No one had ever seen such huge dahlias. The gladiolas were also beautiful and we received many compliments on your beautiful garden. We inter-mingled flowers with vegetables. The many visitors to our home never left without their arms filled with flowers from your garden, nor would they leave without a bag full of the large peaches from the trees you had tended so lovingly.

How I remember when my mother took me and had my hair cut short. It broke your heart. It was well below my waist but my mother felt it was better to wear it short as she had to untangle it when she washed it, while standing on the lawn, fighting the knots. I would leave home so well groomed, and when the tram arrived, I would often take my braids out, and allow my beautiful long hair to flow freely down my back. I would tell a small lie, saying it had come out at school, but in actual fact, I loved it flowing down my back, so long I could sit on it, especially when I sat at the baby grand piano, practising my exercises. Once again, when I told you I did not wish to continue with piano lessons, you allowed me to stop, but you did say that one day, I would regret my choice. How right you were. I became interested in a violin. Once again, it appeared. This was a short lived fad. How were you always correct Ntendi mou?

Do you remember taking me to the Royal Easter Show where you bought me a cupie doll? Then, we would go to the huge shed selling sample bags for one shilling (10 cents) and 2 shillings (20 cents). You bought me every sample bag there was. At least 30 to 40. How we struggled to carry them, the cupie doll on the cane walking stick and the huge rubber red balloon, which had to be kept outside of the taxi window as we returned home. Then it had to be passed over the back fence. How exciting to find the hidden treasures in these sample bags when we returned home.

You gave me away at my tiny wedding Ntendi mou. Not an elaborate wedding, just family and 2 or 3 friends. I will never forget the look on your face as you held out your hand for me to alight from the wedding car. You were so proud when the Minister said how beautiful I looked.

You were always there for me my beloved daddy. When the doctor warned me of the dangers when I became pregnant for the fifth time, I came straight to you and you asked me what I felt in my heart was the right thing to do? My decision was to carry this child and you supported me once again. God meant it to be. 
Your grandchildren loved you so much Ntendi Mou. Papou, who would put his hand into his pocket and give them each $5.00. The cataracts in your eyes had robbed you of the ability to see your youngest grandchild. How my heart broke as I watched as you gently ran your hands over her little face, with tears spilling down your cheeks. She was just 6 months old, such a beautiful baby, entering the world so early, now having grown into a beautiful young woman.
Your grandchildren, all adults now, still speak with such affection as they recall the days when they knew they would visit Papou, looking forward to the gift they knew you would give them as you put your hand in your pocket. This memory lives on with so much love Ntendi mou. These memories keep you always in our hearts  and those of your grandchildren. You will never be forgotten, but remembered with such love.
Your beautiful garden was a blur of color, as you could no longer distinguish the flowers you had planted and nurtured so lovingly,  aided to walk amongst them. Many in the Kytherian community, still, to this very day, associate beautiful gardens with you Ntendi mou.

I remember the call when I lived so far away and was told to come to Sydney quickly. I immediately arranged for my son to be transferred to the P.O.W Hospital at Randwick. You held my hand when I saw you, but being so close to death, I could not tell you about your grandson. He had been run over by a car twice and severely injured. My beloved Ntendi, you passed away the following week. I never had the chance to say good-bye, even though I was so close by.

How proud you would have been if you could see the crowds that filled Agia Triatha, spilling into the street, with police blocking it off. How loved you were.

I still pick up the phone Ntendi mou, to call you, to talk to you. How I miss you. I know you are around me as there are days when the smell of a cigarette is so strong in my bedroom, where I spend my life now. I know that you are with me as I sense this familiar smell. It is a sign from you Ntendi Mou as no one smokes in our home. I believe you are always here, never far away and watching over me, always so close.

I would go to the cemetery when I visited Sydney, arriving before the gates were opened with a taxi waiting. I would place flowers on your grave, say a prayer for you, sitting on the grass before your headstone and I would talk to you, telling you about my life and about your grandchildren. To this very day, I have never doubted that you heard me.
You were such a respected and loved member of the Kytherian community. I have never heard one harsh word spoken about you. Even after 28 years, you are held in the highest esteem. You lived your life as a proud Kytherian, and your legacy lives on. You will always be remembered for your Kytherian and family values.

Will this pain every stop Ntendi mou? I am grateful that you no longer suffer. However,  I am selfish. I want my beloved Ntendi, no matter how old I get. Your grandchildren are all adults now and some have children of their own. Why do I still have tears flow down my face when I think of you? Will they ever stop? I keep your photo next to me and I speak to you every day. I do not put my head down to my pillow to sleep without speaking to you, and ask that you never leave me, as I say my prayers. You were taken by God, as it was time to release you from your pain. I said this to you in your final days when you were alive and I believe it still. I speak to you when I wake in the morning and whenever I need advice, I still turn to your photo and ask. I cannot understand how or why, but I "feel" your advice and follow it. Somehow, it always seems to be the correct road to take.

You gave me the best of everything all my life. Your greatest gift was to instil in me the values of living a good honest life, caring for my husband and family, working hard to achieve our goals. Such were your standards Ntendi mou. 
I believe that we will meet again. Once, when I was pronounced "up with the Angels" I saw such beauty, floating over green manicured sloping hills and the beautiful mass of flowers I saw before me. Was this what Heaven is like Ntendi Mou? I was free of pain for a short time. My hair was back to the way you loved it, below my waist. You always said I could sing. I had never done this as I was always too shy but when I was floating towards the flowers, I was singing, and so happy. You had always encouraged me to sing. I never felt I had the ability but as I reverted to a child of 12 years old, I found I had a beautiful singing voice. I never sang in this life though.

Can you hear me when I say how much I love you and how I miss you? How I wish  the clock could be turned back and the days when you made my strawberry sodas, always raspberry with a double scoop of ice cream return? I realise this will not happen but am I permitted to dream?

I received the call that God had reached out and released you from your pain, finally finding release, finally leaving your pain-wracked body. How peaceful you looked Ntendi mou. Just sleeping, free of the pain at last. I was so grateful for this, but I still miss you so much. Will this emotional pain ever end? Maybe when we are reunited. I pray to God and the Mertithiotisa this will happen. How do I overcome the pain of not saying good-bye? Will the tears ever end Ntendi mou?

As the Holiest day approaches, the birth of our Jesus Christ, I have chosen this opportunity to dedicate my final article for 2009 to my Ntendi. A man highly respected by the Kytherian Community, and all whose life he touched, both here in Australia and our beloved Kythera. I, "Maria of Louradianika" look forward to continue writing of my memories in the coming year of 2010. I wish all Hronia Polla, Kala Hristouyena, iyia ke evtihizmos o neon etos.

Maria (Marcellos) Whyte
4 Trinity Crescent
Sippy Downs 4556

submitted by
James Victor Prineas
on 25.01.2010

Word is getting around about the launch... look what I found when doodling on the net.
Yanni Matsonakis

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