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Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas > Gilgandra. NSW. The Kytherian presence in the town. PART ONE.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 22.08.2005

Gilgandra. NSW. The Kytherian presence in the town. PART ONE.

Gilgandra. NSW. The Kytherian presence in the town. PART ONE.
Copyright (0000)

A History of Kytherian businesses in Gilgandra


The Seven Ages of Man

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

William Shakespeare As You Like It.

One line of the Kytherian "presence" in Gilgandra, ran through the ABC Cafe. This was located at 48 Miller Street, Gilgandra. [A photograph of how this shop looked in 2004, had been submitted to kythera-family. It is now a Five Stars Supermarket.]

Stavros ("Stan") Con Baveas, left Potamos, Kythera as a 20 year old in 1908. He spent a few years as a cook for the Cordatos' in Dubbo, prior to establishing the ABC Cafe in Gilgandra in 1910.

The ABC was a very large cafe, by Australian standards. Other than purpose built cafes that cater for functions, it was probably the largest cafe that I have ever seen in Australia. It was based on three shop frontages, and extended back to virtually the back boundary. The rear contained a large kitchen, storage area, and accomodation spaces.

Stavros Baveas ran the ABC for the next 17 years, with assistance from his brothers and his nephew Con Coroneos. In the 1916 census, he is listed as a restaurateur, and his brother, Sotiros Baveas, aged 31, is listed as a cook, in Gligandra. The ABC then passed to a H. Baveas, who ran it for two years. Stavros may have moved to neighbouring Gulargambone 1928 to join brother George. Research by Peter McCarthy of Inverell, indicates that Stavros is likely to have returned to Greece shortly after selling the shop at Gilgandra, and then returned to Australia in the early 1930's. "I have not been able to track his movements after his return."

In fact Stavros moved to Kythera, and remained there permanently. He married and had a number of children. Two of his daughters, Erophili and Anastasia are depicted in a Potamos school photograph from 1947, aged about 11-12.

Yiannis Melitas with class in Potamos

Both are still alive, and I have asked Rowen Parkes to interview them; with particular focus on any knowledge their father may have imparted to them about his time in Gilgandra, NSW. These interviews will be conducted shortly.

Erophili's daughter, Anastasia married Harry Cassimatis, and they live in Australia. It would be interesting to enqire of Stavros's grandaughter, Anastasia, whether she too has any knowledge of the "Gilgandra days"?

Emmanuel Theo Peter Georgopoulos, pronounced "Yeoryopoulos" - Manuel Georgopoulos, known as Manuel Poulos, arrived in Australia in 1921. He spent 18 months in West Maitland, 3 years in Kempsey, 1 year in Casino, with brother Peter, before returning to West Maitland, in early 1927. He then moved to Kempsey for about 12-18 months, were he worked for the Motte Bros, and then returned for a short time to Casino. In 1929, he aquired the ABC cafe, at Gilgandra.

When Manuel took over the cafe he began trading as Peters & Co - The ABC Cafe. As we know from other entries to kythera-family, numerous Kytherian businesses in NSW grouped under the banner Peter & Co, or Peters & Co. Many shops throughout NSW still bear the name on their frontages. See Peter McCarthy's entries in History, subsection, Documents for early history.

According to an "information piece" in the Gilgandra Heritage Centre, Manuel re-launched the cafe in 1929. Reference is made to "Official Opening, ABC Cafe,
by Shire President,
Saturday November 30, 1929, at 1 pm.
(For Official Dinner)
Proceeds for the day donated to the District Hospital.
Book your seats today".

[It is clear from the existence of several Stan Baveas ABC Cafe silver platters, still in existence, that the name ABC Cafe came into being well before Nov 30, 1929. That is why I use the word re-launch to describe Manuel Poulos's Official Opening.]

The Georgopoulos family derived from the town of Potamos, in Kythera. By a strange coincidence their "parachoukli" was Hlihlis, the same nickname as the Tzortzopouli from Karavas, one member of whom, Con, would later come to establish a business in Gilgandra. That such a unique nickname should be shared by two different families is very unusual on Kythera. The family also had property in Galini where their mother lived. The family consisted of Manuel, Peter, Stamatia, Metaxia (Peroy), Vretoula (Lorandos), Chressanthe (Chryssanthe), later Kelly. Chryssanthe was always known as "Chris".

In 1934 Manuel wrote to Chris, in Potamos, Kythera, asking her to join him in Gilgandra, Australia, to come and help run the ABC Cafe. She acceded to his request.

In 1939, during a holiday trip to Bombala, Chris met, fell in love with, and soon married Paul Kelly (Yiannakellis). "Ï remember a favourite story my husband used to tell my children," said Mrs Kelly. "I was walking down a street in Bombala and Paul was packing bananas in a shop window when he saw me walk past, he instantly fell in love with me. When I returned to Gilgandra after my holiday Paul came to visit me, and we were married six weeks later in Sydney."

Paul was from the Greek island of Mytilene, also known as Lesbos, which lies in the eastern Aegean Sea, near Turkey. The wedding of Paul and Chris was one of Australia's "celebrity" weddings of the 1930's, and was covered intensively and extensively by Movietone News. CD copies of the original Movietone coverage have survived.

In the meantime, Manuel Poulos's brother Peter, after selling up in Casino in 1936 spent a number of years with him at Gilgandra, before returning to Kythera.

Peter Georgopoulos, with Paul Kelly, and others "behind the counter" in the ABC Cafe

Peter Poulos had stated that in one year during the Depression, the family had netted £3000 from the ABC. This indicates how large and lucrative a business it was.

Peter came to Gilgandra, and then bought wife Una and children, Helen & Theo from Greece to live with him.

Stella Aird, (nee) Kelly: "Mum & Dad bought his share of the business and he moved to Grenfell with Theo to run another Café, before retiring to live with Helen in Sydney. He went back to Greece".

Upon returning to Kythera, Peter quickly re-integrated into Kytherian life; insisting for example, on riding his donkey everywhere in his village. Peter died and was buried in Kythera in the mid-nineteen- nineties.

Tragically Manuel suicided in 1940.

Manuel Poulos's Headstone

Manuel Poulos's Gravesite

Mrs Kelly: "In 1939, my husband and I bought the papershop....We owned the paper shop for twelve months, then sold it, and went into partnership with my other brother Peter, in the ABC Cafe."

Like fellow-entrepreneurs, compulsive socializers, sports fanatics and bookmakers, Peter Poulos in Warren, and "Jack" Vanges in Nyngan, Paul was an enthusiastic, likeable, impulsive, "larger-than-life" character. He had one of the most endearing smiles. He always seemed happy. Ebullient is the best single word to sum up his character. I felt that a lot of Gilgandra's "energy"" centred on Paul, and Chris, and the family, and the ABC Cafe.

Paul Kelly died suddenly and unexpectedly on the 3rd of May 1971. He was 61 years of age. A significant part of the town of Gilgandra died with him.

Paul Kelly's Gilgandra Weekly Obituary

Paul Kelly's Headstone

Paul Kelly's Gravesite

Paul and Chris had 3 children, Stella, George, and Theo.

For a photograph of Kelly family 1954

For a photograph of the Kelly family in the mid-1990's

Stella lives in Dubbo, George in England, and Theo in Sydney (2005).

The essential psychological style by which Paul and Chris ran the ABC cafe has been well captured in Robyn Walton's article on the ABC cafe in Coo-ee Calls.

Robyn Walton on Paul and Chris Kelly and the ABC Cafe's influence on the town of Gilgandra

John Sklavos, adopted his Kytherian parachoukli (nickname) - "Pentes" - as his Australian surname. Supposedly it was easier for the Australians to pronounce. John Pentes - always known as "Jack" - had either a familial or business connection with each of the other 3 families that arrived subsequently in Gilgandra.

Jack was born in the town of Mitata, Kythera. He had arrived in Gilgandra in 1929, and purchased the Carlton Cafe - previously known as the Gilgandra Tea Rooms, from an English lady. This was located at 33 Miller Street, Gilgandra.

Jack owned the Carlton originally with a Gleesos (probably, originally Glytsos). The partnership was dissolved in 1931. The telephone number of the shop was 96.

Paper bag from the Carlton Cafe, c. 1930

Jack married Stavroula Flaskas, from the town of Kythera, Kythera. Jack and Stavroula worked the Cafe for 10 years. Catherine Pentes recalls that "...the crockery from the Carlton was a heavily glazed white, adorned with a crest - green with white background, with the name Carlton Cafe, Gilgandra written in pink". They had 5 children, Catherine, Helen, Marina, George and Elizabeth. Marina was born with a disability. Helen died far too young in 1995. The rest of the children now (2005) live in Sydney.

In 1939 - Jack sold the Carlton to George Peter Psaltis, who was from Potamos, Kythera. George's father, Panayoti, had moved from Mitata to Potamos as a teenager. Panyoti's second wife was Eleni Paspalas, who was the sister of Fiorendia Kapsanis; who was Archie Kapsanis' mum - hence the familial relationship with the Kapsanis family from nearby Warren.
The original family parachoukli, or nickname, of George's uncle, was "Tsakaroyannis"- "Bootmaker John". When Peter moved from Mitata to Potamos there was no longer any great need to differentiate one of the many Protopsalti of Mitata from the others - so he was known simply as "O Protopsaltis".

George came to Australia in 1928, as a young man, along with his second cousin George Protopsaltis, from Mitata - and a number of other 12 and 13 year olds, the story of which pilgrimage has been well chronicled at kythera-family.

The Protopsaltis pilgrimage, 1928

[A large 50th anniversay reunion to celebrate the original pilgrimage of this "famous" group, was held in Sydney in 1978. Does anyone have a video, or photo's of this event?]

When George Peter Psaltis landed in Australia, he went to stay with his relatives in Warren. It was from there that George learned of a business for sale in Gilgandra. [This pattern would recur 12 years later for Con Poulos. Move to Warren with close relatives - learn of business in Gilgandra - purchase business, and move to Gilgandra from Warren.] George renamed the cafe the Monterey, perhaps because his cousin's cafe in Warren was called the Monterey.

From 1939 until 1955 - the time of the great flood in Gilgandra, the Monterey provided full meal service. Subsequent to re-opening after the flood, it converted to a Milk Bar.

In January 1949, George married Alexandra Theothorou Feros, Balis - from Mitata, and in the 1950's they had three children, Helen, Peter and Arnie.

Photograph of Alexandra's father, Theodore, taken in 1929

George and Alexandra left Gilgandra in 1973, and moved to Earlwood in Sydney. The children had already left to attend Universities in Sydney, Newcastle, and Canberra. George died on 15th Nov 1984, aged 70. Alexandra on 27th June, 1994. Helen and Arnie live in Sydney. Peter in Newcastle. (2005).

Continued at:

Gilgandra, NSW. The Kytherian presence in the town. PART TWO.

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