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Konstantinos G. Raftopoulos(Balatzikos)

General Secretary of the Greek Community of Melbourne)

This biography is part of a collection from "Life in Australia" :

It would be considered an unforgivable omission, if no mention were to be made of the activity, both commercial and patriotic, of the distinguished Greek, Mr. Konstantinos Raftopoulos or Balatzikos, who hails from Stavros, on Ithaca. His most splendid and luxurious establishment stands on Swanston St., in Melbourne, the most central and most aristocratic of streets in the city. His shop is clear proof of his commercial ability and acumen. Mr. Raftopoulos is a well-known personality among the Greeks of Australia, living, as he permanently does, in an exemplary spirit of live and sympathy with his brothers.

Arriving in Melbourne in 1894, he has since then bound his name tightly to every matter of nation or common benefit that the Greek Community of Melbourne was able to bring to his attention. Mr. Raftopoulos has indeed shown great interest regarding the Community.

Every noble idea finds in him a will partner. Moreover, during the recent wars in which Greece was involved, his actions on behalf of his country, both in terms of money and of other sacrifices, were beyond description. In recognition of his worth and his gifts, the Greek community of Melbourne have, except for a brief period, repeatedly elected him its General Secretary for the last 15 years.

This biography is part of a collection from "Life in Australia" published in 1916 by John Comino. It is an important book as it was one of the first Greek books published in Australia for the Greeks back in the homeland. If they needed any more convincing of the golden opportunities awaiting them in Australia, it probably helped create interest amongst young Kytherians and other Greeks. Each of the men portrayed in the book paid for the honour, which, considering their reputation for thriftiness, must have made the decision a hard one for many a Kytherian.

The Kythera-Family.net team, with the support of the Nicolaus Aroney Trust and other generous sponsors, has undertaken to transcribe the entire book for the website and to translate it into English for the non-greek-speaking diaspora community. We hope to also produce a printed version of the translation of Life in Australia sometime in 2005.

For valuable information about the historical background of the publication of Life in Australia, please read the entry by Hugh Gilchrist I ZOI EN AFSTRALLIA in the History, General History section.

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