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Newsletter Archive > May 2006

15338: Newsletter Archive

submitted by James Victor Prineas on 30.03.2008

May 2006

Thanks, Queensland

Many thanks to those 500 who attended the Brisbane “Launch” of Kythera-Family.net. Your support means a lot to us. After the launch there was a surge of activity on the site with more than 200 new registrations and scores of new entries.

A series of new and improved features will be coming online on the site in the coming months. The “Advanced Search” tool has already been activated, the chat area, a video category and a “Favourites” page will follow. Small steps for the programmers, huge leaps for the world-wide Kytherian community.
James Prineas, james@kythera-family.net


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Untold Treasures
By Crissouli

I wonder what they, the people of my grandparent’s and great grandparent’s generations, would think of the way we live today...

Would they be overwhelmed by what we consider necessities? As I helped in my daughter’s new home, preparing things for packing prior to a move overseas, I couldn’t help but ponder. I have the suitcase that my grandfather brought with him from Greece, carrying all he needed... not very large... and I was thinking of this, as we were working out how much 6 cubic metres would be. This is just the basic shipping allowance that had been determined to cover mainly the children’s toys, a few small items of their child size furniture, books, dvds, etc. It didn’t include the three large suitcases, plus assorted backpacks, cabin bags, etc. that would be taken on the flight as personal luggage, with possibly an extra suitcase to be added and paid for under excess baggage. Nor did it include the bulk of the family possessions that were going in to storage for the next two years.

The downsized apartment that they are moving to would have seem so luxurious to my ancestors... my grandfather built his family’s home in a small country town, with some aid from his eldest son, then aged 13. It consisted of a kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom, added to over the years to include a veranda, lounge room and an office, tiny as it was, with beds on the verandas. It was considered quite adequate to house a family of 11, yet the whole place would have more than happily fitted into the downstairs floor of my daughter’s home.

It was built of timber slabs, the gaps in between the timber were caulked with old newspapers, torn and pasted with a mixture of flour and water. It didn’t have a fan forced oven, just a wood stove which was always alight, always with a kettle boiling on the side and, it seemed, a stock-pot, or large pot of soup. The cakes and scones that came from that oven were incredibly mouth-watering... no thermostat or temperature controls, just years of experience that led to production of the perfect biscuits or the tantalising roasts.

No foyer chandeliers, just hurricane lamps, or candles, lit the home, prior to electricity. Yet what a wonderful atmosphere they provided. I always loved nights at my grandparent’s home, I always felt cosy and safe.

A copper served the laundry needs of this large family, as well as providing hot water and coming in very handy at Christmas for boiling the puddings. Try doing that in a water-saving fully automatic washing machine! Would they have happily swapped their meat safe, cooled by wet hessian bags draped from the top and over the sides for a stainless steel refrigerator/freezer combination that delivers ice in cubes or crushed, as well as perfectly chilled water, without having to open the door? I’m sure my grandmother would have been taken aback by the buzzer that warns that the temperature is rising as the door has been opened too long!

My own home is also much larger, though by no means a large home. We feel crowded with three adults, admittedly we have two households and all that entails, stored in one. Yet we have room for computers, several sound systems, televisions and all the paraphernalia considered normal today.

I grew up in what was basically a two room house, with a laundry/shower and a small extra room that was used for a bedroom, though it barely held a 3/4 bed. There was always room for family and friends to stay though. We had some great times when my aunt and uncle and three sons came to stay... it seemed there were bodies everywhere, but what fun we had, and what a great excuse to giggle a lot.

As each generation prospers more than the last, it is not the trimmings or the gadgets or the size of the home that matters, rather the treasures within are what they have always been: the love and respect that is taught and fostered within a family. That, my friends, is the true treasure of a home.

Crissouli ©2007, crissouli@kythera-family.net
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BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT:

Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill: Greek Cafés in Twentieth-Century Australia
By Toni Risson


The Greek café is a great Australian icon and a uniquely Australian phenomenon.
It is also a shared chapter in the histories of Greece and Australia, because cafés and milk bars enabled generations of Greek immigrants to settle in Australia, and these shops became a vital part of the social fabric of their adopted homeland.

In recording the story of Greek shops like the exquisite Paragon Café in Katoomba Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill: Greek Cafés in Twentieth-Century Australia unearths hitherto under represented aspects of Australia’s cultural history: the food they served, the large number of cafés that operated in some towns, how marriages were arranged in them and children as young as five worked in them, how Australian customers treated the local ‘dago’, light-hearted café pranks and problems with drunks, brawls between American and Australian soldiers during WWII, the devastating impact of mass emigration on islands like Kythera, and why the Greek café has now all but melted into history.

Toni Risson is a UQP children’s book author, Ipswich historian, and University of Queensland Medallist. This book is the culmination of four years of research.
Beautifully produced in a matt cello-glazed soft cover, its 240 A4 pages are jam-packed with sepia photographs of early cafés and their proprietors.

To order, send a cheque or money order for $49.50 AUD (including GST/no insurance) plus postage and handling to:

Toni Risson
130 Woodend Road
Ipswich
Queensland
Australia, 4305.

Postage to Brisbane $9
Postage within Australia $11
Air mail to Europe $40 AUD (Multiple postage is cheaper)
Email enquiries or specific requirements to t.risson@uq.edu.au or phone 0439664291 or 0419760861


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Recent Guest Book and Message Board entries:


06.04.2007

Searching for Tsigounis Relatives

 
submitted by Anne Levonis

I am trying to trace my late mother in laws family "tsigounis" of Smyrna and Kythera i would appreciate any help. Anne Levonis: annelevonis@hotmail.com

24.04.2007
Angelika Pentsi - Berlin/Germany

I am a Greek from Germany doing research on kythera-family.net. Last week I attended the Queensland launch of the site in Brisbane and spent some days in Sydney, where I interviewed users of the site. I returned to Germany absolutely enthusiastic! The people I met in Australia, especially the Kytherian Australians, gave me a very warm welcome and helped me in every conceivable manner! Thanks to the assistance of a number of people I collected valuable material for my research and, moreover, had a fantastic time in Australia. I can say, I got a first-hand experience of what Kytherian community means. I would like to thank the Perkins family and the Poulos family for accommodating me in Brisbane and Sydney. Angelo Notaras, Peter Prineas, Stephen Trifyllis, Kiriaki Orfanos, Emmanuel Prineas, Peter Vamvakaris, George Vardas, Spiros Kalokairinos – thank you all for sharing your thoughts on Kytherian-Australian identity with me and for showing me around Brisbane or Sydney! Special thanks go to George Poulos – a truly superb organiser – for introducing me to this great community and for every other assistance he provided me with during my stay.

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