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Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

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

8512: Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 18.11.2005

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

Gilgandra, NSW. The Kytherian presence in the town. PART TWO.
Copyright (0000) George Poulos

Continued from:

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

....After selling the Carlton Cafe, (1939), Jack Pentes moved to Sydney, with a view to remaining there permanently. He tried to find a business, but WWII had started, and Sydney was in a state of chaos. He was advised to return to Gilgandra, where he opened a fruit shop at 41 Miller Street, Gilgandra, in the main street, next to the then Imperial Hotel, later the Golden West Hotel. Before he returned to Gilgandra, he was astute enough to purchase a family house in Sydney.

In the late 1930's Jack's second cousin, Peter Sklavos, family nickname, also Pentes, arrived in Gilgandra. Peters father and Jacks grandfather were brothers. To avoid having two Pentes's in Gilgandra, Peter maintained his surname - Sklavos - as his surname. Many Gilgandrians still knew him however - as Peter Pentes.

Peter was helped by Jack to establish a fruit shop at 41 Miller Gilgandra. The premises was leased from Jack. Peter lived for some time in the adjoining hotel, the Imperial, then owned by the Curran's. During WWII Jack bought two shops at 65-69 Miller Street, Gilgandra from the Hitchen family, of Cooee March fame. He subdivided 65 and 67; 67 becoming the Bank of New South Wales.

During WWII, Peter Pentes opened a cafe. After the war, he renamed it the Victory Cafe; so-named to celebrate the Allies victory in WWII, at 65 Miller Street, Gilgandra. He maintained the Victory Cafe until the family left Gilgandra.

On 16 Oct 1948, Theothora Sophios, from Logothetiankia arrived in Gilgandra, and 2 weeks later, she and Peter Sklavos were married. Nick Sophios, from nearby Gulagambone was her nephew. Theothora worked for many years in the shop. Eventually she took up her trade as a seamstress, establishing a vibrant business of her own in the town. In between she managed to have 6 children; George, Toula, Maria, Gloria, Greg, and Claire. Theothora and the family, left Gilgandra in 1968. They went to live on the Gold Coast in Queensland. Peter stayed on to terminate his business affairs, and the following year, he too left Gilgandra. He retired on the Gold Coast. Peter Sklavos died on died on 6th May 1993. The youngest child, Claire, died far too young. All the rest of the family live on the Gold Coast of Queensland.

In the meantime Jack rented the corner store, 69 Miller Street, Gilgandra to the Naudin family. Mr Naudin went off to serve in the War. After the war cease operating from the JAck pentes owned corner store, and according to Local identity, Pat Heaney, re-opened a store on the other side of Miller Street, near the Bridge.

After Peter Pentes opened the Victory Cafe, Jack continued to run the Fruit Shop, at 41 Miller Street. He turned it into a mixed business.

To see a photograph of Jack's shop at this time in the context of other buildings in Miller Street:

George Psaltis's shop, and Jack Pente's shop, in Miller Street, Gilgandra, latter 1940's.

In 1950, Con George Poulos - nickname - Hlihhlis, who had been in partnership with brother Peter, in Warren, NSW, arrived in Gilgandra looking for a business. He was from the town of Karavas in the northern part of Kythera. Jack decided to sell him the Fruit shop business, at 41 Miller Street, Gilgandra, and to lease him the premises. The lease was for ten years.

Con married, Evangalia (Angie) Coroneos, nickname Belos, also from Karavas, Kythera, in 1951. She had been brought to Australia by her aunty, Crisanthe, and uncle Peter Katsoolis, of Gosford in NSW. They had 5 children, 4 of whom survived, George, Peter, Phillip and Eric. The lease for 41 Miller Street was not renewed in 1959, and so Con Poulos bought one of two freehold butcheries across the road, at 42 Miller Street, Gilgandra. He converted this to a fruit-shop, milk-bar, mixed business, which was very successful.

Meanwhile Angela Belos Coroneos's younger brother Nickola (Nick), who had been sponsored to Australia by his Uncle Nick Coroneos, (Blacktown), arrived to work in the two Poulos Fruit Shop's. He married a young woman he met, whilst she was working at the ABC Cafe Beryl Palmer, on 12th June 1960.

Beryl Palmer, "behind the counter", ABC cafe, late 1950's

Soon, Beryl too, came to work in the Fruit Shop. She was one of the stalwarts of the shop.

Beryl's command of Greek language and culture gradually surpassed those of the second generation Kytherians. She repeatedly topped Greek School - which was conducted weekly in Gilgandra by the Greek Priest from Dubbo, Father George Kokkinos. Father George remained a friend to all the second-generation Gilgandra Kytherians all his life. Nick Coroneos died at the tender age of 44 on the 26th May, 1979. George, Peter, Phillip and Eric all live in Sydney. (2005). Beryl (now, Cassimatis) also lives in Sydney. Beryl re-married Paul Cassimatis, another Kytherian from Karavas, who had owned a business in nearby Gulargumbone for many years.

After selling the fruit business at 41 Miller Street to Con George Poulos, Jack, opened a mixed business at 69 Miller Street, Gilgandra - the former Naudine business - on the corner of the main street opposite the Royal Hotel, which he maintained for two decades. [A photograph of how this shop looked in 2004, had been submitted to kythera-family. It is now a middle-market Gift and Homewares Store.]

Jack Pentes spent 45 years in various business ventures in Gilgandra. He eventually left Gilgandra in 1975. Jack died in Sydney, on the 15th March 1985, aged 84.

Of course there were various years from 1910 - throughout the 20th century, when Kytherians had a need for employees in their businesses. Many Kytherians came to Gilgandra, to act as employees.

The Cassimatis (- Cassims) - seem to be the most numerous early Baveas employees, during their tenure at the ABC Cafe. Cosma Nick Cassimaty, always known as "Cyril", came from Potamos in 1910, aged 15, and subsequently worked in kitchens in Gilgandra, Dubbo, Coonamble and Narrandera prior to settling in Barraba, possibly with Harry John Cassim in the early period, but definitely with Kerry N. Cassim later. Kyriacos N Cassimatis, who married Nellie Phacheas in 1929, worked in Gilgandra and Barraba until acquiring a shop in Bundarra, in 1933. Theo John Cassimaty spent 6 months in Gilgandra around 1926, before later settling in Lake Cargelligo.

Harry James Flaskas, spent a year in Gilgandra, before settling in Denman in 1921, He married Stamatia Kasimati, in 1922, in Sydney. I have been unable to determine whether Harry James Flaskas was a sibling of, or otherwise related to, Stavroula Flaskas, Jack Pentes's wife.

In the early 1920's George Nick Coroneos spent 2 years in Gilgandra before moving to nearby Coonamble, where his two brothers owned 2 refreshment rooms.

Petro Stavros Zorzopoolo, spent 2.5 years in Inverell, then 2 years in Gilgandra, before arriving in Cobar to take over management of uncle Peter K. Zorzopooolo’s café, trading as Peter & Co.

Peter Tsicalas makes reference to, the fact that Jack Pentes traded as Pentes & Gleeson initially, at least through to 1931. Peter couldn't determine who Gleeson was, but coincidentally Stan Gleeson (Stefanos/Efstathios/Efstratios Emmanuel Glytsos) spent about 9 months at 'nearby' Binnaway after landing in 1924. He moved on to settle permanently at Kyogle - and married Katina Coroneo in 1932. Andrew Mina Glitsos also landed in 1924 and spent 9 months in Gilgandra, amongst other places, before settling at Manilla.

An S. Corones was in Gilgandra about 1929, during Manual Poulos's ownership of the ABC Cafe.

I recall Petros Faganas Coroneos, from Karavas, later of Crows Nest Milk Bar fame, telling me that when he first emigrated to Australia, during the Depression, he came to work in Gilgandra, at the ABC for a short time.

Anthony Emmanuel Antonios Travassaros spent a few months in 1931 working at the Peters & Co ABC Café in Miller St, Gilgandra.

No doubt numerous other Kytherians worked in the ABC cafe from 1928-1940.

Peter Tsicalas also makes the case that Eileen Smith should be considered part of the Gilgandra Greek community. She was the widow of Greg George Panaretos/Panarets, and remarried Francis Smith in 1937 in Gilgandra, apparently settling there. [Gregory Panarets m. Eileen Robinson 1918 Sydney. Gregory Panaretos d. 1936 Newtown, son of George and Cleopatra. George Panarets b. 12 Dec 1920 Sydney, enlisted Bulldog, Papua New Guinea, NOK Eileen Smith].

One of the more colourful Kytherian employees in the post WWII era, was George Lorandos, son of Vretoula; sister of Chris Kelly, of the ABC. George would later marry Elessa Fatseas. Because he was born in Alexandria in Egypt, he was nicknamed Farouk. He worked in the ABC from 1952, until 1962. Farouk's accomodation was in the live-in quarters at the rear of the ABC cafe.

George Lorandos and Paul Kelly behind the counter of the ABC cafe, late 1950's

He subsequently went on to work at his brother-in-laws; the Fatseas's Monterey Cafe in Gunnedah for 5 years, before settling in Hornsby, in Sydney.

Theo Fatseas, Gunnedah

In Coo-ee Calls October, 2003 there is a photograph of a Mr Theo Cominos, an employee, standing next to the newly installed tables and chairs, after the 1955 flood in Gilgandra.

George Peter Psaltis of the Monterey Cafe told me in discussions during my youth, that in the Cafes hey-day, 1939-1955, he employed a number of cooks. It is highly likely that many of them were of Kytherian origin. Can you advise us of their names?

If you conceive of Gilgandra's Kytherian business community as a stage, and the 6 longest standing Kytherian players and their spouses as the main actors and actresses, in an Australian-Kytherian drama, the Kytherians who came and went (mostly) fairly rapidly, can be conceived of as the supplementary cast. I am not certain that we will ever be able to determine the names of all of the supplementary actors and actresses. Did you grandfather, great-uncle or auntie, father, or other relative spend any time in Gilgandra during the 20th century? Are you old enough to remember one of your family or acquaintenaces who did so?

Robyn Waltons article in Coo-ee Calls October, 2003, contains a photograph from 1955, of Theo's cool drink shop, which was located opposite the Gilgandra Weekly Office, in the northern part of Miller Street. Does anyone have any knowledge about "Theo" and his shop?

As the children of the "main cast" reached school-leaving and working age - all the original 5 Kytherian families, of long standing - with the exception of Chris Kelly, and daughter, Stella, and family, decided to leave Gilgandra.

After Paul Kellys death in 1961, the ABC continued to be operated by widow, Chris Kelly. Chris Kelly, with the assistance of daughter Stella, and son-in-law David. In 1979, Chris and Stella decided to cease operations as a cafe, and to convert the ABC Cafe to a Supermaket, called the Cut Price Supermarket.
In the "changeover" period, whilst the supermarket was being "fitted out", Chris ran a small sandwich shop and takeaway. Once completed, the family maintained the supermarket for many years. They sold the supermarket, and Stella, David and family moved to Dubbo. The Cut Price Supermarket is still operated as the Five Star Supermarket in 2005.

In the 1970's, and through to the 1980's, a Kytherian presence was also maintained by the fact that the Gilgandra Fruit Shop was sold to Harry Logus (Logothetis, Logothetianika) and Voula, known as "Stella" (nee, Coroneos), Belos, from Karavas, Kythera, youngest sister of Angie Poulos. Stella had been sponsored to Australia by Con and Angie Poulos in 1958.

Harry and Stella, took on the roles of the last two major Kytherian actors and actresses on the Gilgandra community main stage. They moved from nearby Dubbo to run the business. They had four children, Maria, John, Phillip and Georgia, all of whom were schooled in Gilgandra. The Logus's left Gilgandra, and moved to nearby Dubbo in October, 1985. Harry, Voula, Maria, John and Phillip live in Canberra. Georgia in Melbourne.

Chris Kelly stayed on in Gilgandra, until November 1999, when she too moved to Dubbo. The Kytherian presence in Gilgandra in the 20th century ended irrevocably, when in 2000, Chris Kelly sold the Kelly family house, in lower Miller Street. To the best of my knowledge no other Kytherians maintain property holdings in Gilgandra.

42 Miller Street is still operating as the Gilgandra Fruit Mart in 2005, 45 years after it was opened by Con George Poulos. This fact pleased 88 year old Con Poulos, immeasurably, when he visited the shop in 2004. It is the only one of the "Kytherian" shops to retain its identity.

By the end of the 20th century however, there was not a single Kytherian Greek living or working in Gilgandra. All the descendants of the goddess Aphrodite, had strutted their stuff on the stage for the last time, had taken their final bows, and had heard the final round of applause, from an appreciative audience. The stage emptied. The curtain slowly came down. The audience went home. Gilgandra's Kytherian play, and Kythera's Gilgandra play - the same play - was over.

"That ends this strange eventful history,
(in)...................... mere oblivion;
....................... sans everything"

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