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Greek Australian History

The Pre-World War II Greek Community of Australia: Class Divisions and Trends


*CHRISTOS N. Fifis teaches Greek Studies in the School of Historical and
European Studies, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. His current
research project is entitled: A History of the Greek Orthodox Community
of Melbourne and Victoria 1897-2003

The aim of this paper is to discuss the structure and social stratification of the pre-War II Greek community in Australia, to trace the development of the Greek Orthodox Communities (GOCs) and other major Greek organizations and institutions and their role in the development of the community up to 1940.

A GOC or the community' denotes the organized "Koinotita" in differentiation to the general Greek community or "Paroikia."

The Early Figures

The first Greek presence in Australia is recorded on 28 August 1829 with the arrival in the port of Sydney of seven young Greek convicts from the shipping community of Hydra who had been sentenced to death for piracy by a British court in Malta in 1828.

In 1829 the sentences of three of them had been commuted to life sentences and those of the four others to 14 years of forced labor and all transported to the English convict colony of New South Wales. The seven were fighters of the Greek revolutionary naval forces. Their ship had been captured in 1827 by the British Navy for interfering with a British commercial ship outside Crete, checking and taking away some materials from its cargo.

Read or download the remainder of this paper as a .pdf at:

The pre-WWII Greek community in Australia_ Christos N Fifis.pdf

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