submitted by Peter Makarthis on 28.07.2006
‘A LONELY GRAVE.’
“Australia’s wide places, where the white man’s footfall was once heard less frequently than that of the native of the soil, has many a mound that marks the last resting place of some venturesome spirit who had invaded what is still the waterless west. Most of them have nothing but the heaped- up earth to indicate that one who blazed the track made his final stay there. But out on the Barcoo, six hundred miles from Brisbane, where the poet ‘Banjo’A.B.Patterson, declared: “churches are few and men of religion are scanty,” there is a magnificent monument to the memory of Richard Magoffin, who perished in 1885 whilst searching for water. There are eight lines on the stone, which reads thus:-
‘A noble life, but written not
In any book of fame;
Among the list of noted ones
None ever heard his name.
For only his own household knew
The victories he had won;
And none but they could testify
How well his work was done.’
from the Land of the Budgeriga by E.McDonnel(Hugh Stone)1936
These lines from the ‘Land of the Budgeriga’ would not be out of place on the graves of the pioneering Greeks who died alone and far from their place of birth.
The graves of some venturesome Greeks are located in the local cemetery, the mounds have settled with time and the weathered gravestones are often surrounded by weeds.
The deaths of these Greeks usually occurred during their working life and they are often buried singularly as their wives have since moved to be with their families either on Kythera or in other towns and cities in Australia. In some instances the family did not move to Australia and these burials are sole Greeks without any family in Australia.
This latter group are often buried in unmarked graves and the only record of their final resting place is located in council records and local historical societies. Obituaries may be located in archival newspapers or Greek language papers. The largest group of early Greek burials in New South Wales is at Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park formerly known as Botany Cemetery.
Peter Emmanuel Phacheas(Fatseas) of Fatsadika is buried in West Maitland cemetery. This grave was unmarked however a comprehensive survey was made of the cemetery and the site located. An obituary appeared in the Greek Herald of September 1934.
The tragic drowning of 17 year old Michel Coutsonikolis of Ano Castania, at Inverell during WW2 is recorded in the local newspaper as is the resultant coronial investigation. Michel was buried at Inverell cemetery and the site was unmarked. Michel had been working at the Australia Café at the time of his drowning at a local swimming hole in the Macintyre River. He was dislocated from his family by the occupation of Greece during WW2 and the news of his death must have been devastating for his family when Greece was liberated.
Archie Krithary (Anastassi Krytharis) of Kriti is buried in Inverell cemetery in an unmarked grave. Archie, a bachelor lived in Inverell for many years.
John Nicholas Andronicus is buried in Moree Cemetery. John had left his wife Frosene (nee Tzentzos) to care of the family and property at Avlemnos in 1914 Kythera and was operating the Monterey Café at East Moree when he died 1936.
Vassilios Gengos of Potamos is also buried nearby at Moree Cemetery and the death of his son Flight Lt Bill Gengos is noted on his headstone. Bill was reported “Missing In Action” at Torbruk 1942, his remains were never recovered. Kalliope Gengos, the distraught wife of Vassilios and mother of Bill moved to Sydney and is buried at Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park.
Lone graves at Bingara Cemetery include Philip Feros of Mitata d 1940, Jim Melonas of Aroniadika d1943 and Jim Loulias from the island of Samos d1962.
Antonius Demetrius Papoutsis of Patras Greece died 12 January 1955 Texas Qld is buried in the Texas Cemetery.
Nicholas Peter Comino of Dourianika died at Warialda 1968 and is buried in Armidale cemetery. His wife Georgia died in Brisbane 2004 and is buried at Dourianika Kythera
From ‘Kythera to Cafes’
ΑΠΟ ΤΣΙΡΙΓΟ ΣΤΙΣ ΤΑΒΕΡΝΕΣ
by Peter McCarthy
Copy right 2006
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