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submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 27.09.2007

The little Aussie island near Greece - Australasian POST, January 20, 1972

Page 15

From the photo album of Alex Morelli
Santa Barbara, CA

Australasian Post. January 20, 1972. pp's: 14-16.

Post in the Aegean.

From Geoffrey Kenihon


For 100 years or more the people of Kythera have done their best to populate Australia. Eight miles across a sparkling blue channel from the Greek Peloponnese main­land, a rugged green island rises steeply from the Aegean Sea. It is Kythera, sometimes called the “ghost island” of Greece, because of its deserted forms and vil­lages, where open doors creak in the wind at the entrance, to empty, silent homes.

It seems an unlikely place to find characters so Australian in speech and manner that they seem to have stepped from the pages of They’re A Weird Mob. But they’re here in abundance.

The reason Is that just about every second man among Kythera’s present population of 3500 can look back on at least some part of his life spent in Australia, working hard and making enough money to return to the island of his birth.

There are other reasons why Kythera’s inhabitants jokingly claim to be the ‘seventh State” of Australia.
The islanders claim that the first Greek migrants to Australia in the 1860s came from Kythera, establishing a tradition which sub­sequent generations have followed.

The flow became a torrent in the years after World War II (there are now more than 20,000 Kytherian migrants and their children in New South Wales alone with a consequent shrink­ing of the island’s population.

Today Kythera, the ancient island of Greek mythology where Aphrodite. goddess of love, rose from the sea, is mostly a place of old men sitting in the sun outside their local tavernas, reminiscing about the razor gangs in The Rocks, or the depression years on the road to Gundagai.

There are tough, little, stubbly ­cheeked, bright-eyed men like Pete Capsanis who runs a taverna here in the coastal village of Aghia Pelagia. When I first went in to taste the local “krasi” rot-gut, and addressed him in my halting Greek, Pete interrupted with: “Cripes, mate, speak English, will you. I need the practice.”
There, framed proudly on the white-washed wall of the taverna Is a yellowing newspaper cutting from the Western Times (NSW). It Is the report of a tremendous fare­well dinner that the townsfolk of Oberon, NSW, gave their beloved, little Greek cafe proprietor when he left after half a life-time to return to Kythera.

Pete Capsanis still reads Sydney newspapers posted from a friend. He also gets the news late at night from Radio Australia with his shortwave wireless.

Every night the old men come in to down a few Ouzos and talk. Most of the time the conversation is not . about Greece, or even Kythera, but how things in Aus­tralia are going. A white-haired ancient, whom I know only as Old Harry, sits peering into a two-months-old racing page from the Melbourne Sun and explains to Jim, the big Fisherman, why he thinks “such and such” would win if the track were dry.

And although many of these old blokes have adequate incomes from investments in Australia, they still say that the Australian Government should pay the pension to them in Greece. They worked all their lives for it, didn’t they, they say?

There is a strange, invisible, pipe-line stretching from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide to the mountain villages of Pota­mos, Kastratianika, Avlemenos and Hora — a pipe-line that carries Rosella Tomato Sauce, Tom Piper Plum Pudding, Bex Powders, Kiwi Shoe Polish, Imperial Corned Beef and a hundred other Australian products you will find nowhere else In Europe.

It Is hard to find one house In Kythera’s 60 semi-deserted vil­lages that does not have at least one family connection with Aus­tralia. So much so, that the post master keeps a big book, and every air mail letter that arrives on Kytbera with an Australian stamp on it must be signed for like a registered letter. It Is just automatically assumed that a letter from Australia has money tucked inside.

And that is so right. On Sunday, market day in the main village of Potamos, the local branch of the National Bank of Greece takes almost as many Australian $5 and $10 notes across the counter as It does Greek drachma currency.

Right now, Kythera, which the Greek Government considers as one of the most remote and primi­tive of the nation’s 600 islands and a handy place for exiling com­munists and other political bad boys, is about to open its doors.

Onassis, the shipping and Olym­pic Airways magnate, is building an aerodrome below the beauti­ful Aghia Moni Byzantine monastery, gleaming white on its brooding mountain. And the Kytherians do not look at the landing field as a gateway to the bright lights of Athens or a short-cut to the 15-hour, once-a-week boat trip to Piraeus. “Now we’ll be able to fly direct from Kythera to Sydney,” they say.

There is talk of raising money for a modern, tourist hotel on the promontory opposite where my wife Kerry and I live at Aghia Pelagia with its breathtaking view of the Peloponnese across the channel.

And apart from its natural beauty, the island has much to offer tourism. There are more than
1000 churches mostly Byzantine — on Kythera, and ruins that tell a story of past greatness.

The Venetians conquered Kythera in the 12th century and the ruins of a huge fortress still guard the entrance to Kapsali, a tiny, picture postcard harbor at the south end of the island.

Then, In 1811, Great Britain wrested Kythera and seven other Ionian Islands from Venice and a
new 50-year era of prosperity came to the island.

“The British were the only mob to ever do a damn thing for this place,” an old man will tell you in the village of Friligianika. And he talks with pride of the roads, the bridges, the schools and court houses that the English left behind them when they gave their island colonies back to the new, independent Greek Govern­ment In 1864 after the Greeks had thrown off the centuries-old Turkish yoke.

The Kytherians were of course British subjects in those days; today, scores of Kytherian - born people who worked in Australia for most of their lives before returning to their island home, hold Aus­tralian citizenship and passports.

They always say they are going back to Australia — soon. But Kythera has the Mediterranean philosophy of “manana” — or, in Greek, “avrio” —- so that their Australian holioay, like tomorrow, never comes. Life drifts lazily by, the sun shines from a cloudless, blue sky for more than 300 days of each year and living is slow and easy.

It was at the time when Britain ceded Kythera back to Greece that the first Kytherian migrated to Australia. Now, more than 100 years later, no one can really tell with certainty who that first Greek migrant was — there are many claims by several Kytherian families — but every­one is emphatic that Kythera provided the first Greek migrant to Australia.

Whoever he was, he did so well that it wasn’t long before brothers, cousins and friends were also setting out for the new land of opportunity and the first pocket-handkerchief farms were left deserted and fallow.
Years later, as the first of the new, rich and successful Ky­therians came back to their villages, they brought with them more than wealth, a new language and acquired Australian tastes and mannerisms.

They brought trees —strange, new trees unlike any that grew around the lands of the Mediterranean Sea.
The new trees have grown tall, and as you approach the largest village, Potamos, you could be excused for thinking that you are about to come upon a small Australian township. The road is lined with stately blue gums and by the winding, mountain road that leads from Aghia Pelagia up the steep escarpment, the wattle blooms in the spring.

It is In Potamos that you will find handsome, 59-year-old Zachariah (“call me Roy”) Menagas, who played a part In the Australian film classic, “Forty Thousand Horsemen,” mixed a mean cocktail in many of Sydney’s pre-war hotel lounges, cut ladies’ hair and played his saxophone in Brisbane dance bands, before he retired back to the family villa on Kythera a decade ago.

Roy is taking a trip back to Aus­tralia next year — he thinks.

Kerry and I, and Nick the doctor, Jim the Big Fisherman, and Stratis, the shop-keeper who dances like Zorba The Greek, held a great party at Roy’s pad the other night. Costa, the English-speaking cop was there with his missus, and so was Sophlos, the master photog­rapher who has won prizes In photographic exhibitions all around the world.

Roy whipped up some Brandy Alexanders for the girls while the rest of us sat around and drank from cans of Fosters which reached this island outpost by means known only to the mystery men who operate the International “pipe­line.”

We danced go-go and Zorba, and Roy cut as mean a rug with Kerry as he’s done since he was a “muso” In Sydney 25 years ago. We sang Greek folk songs, and Waltzing Matilda, and dawn was breaking over the peak of Aghia Moni before we wended our way through the silent, cobble-stoned streets before driving down the mountain. It was like coming back from any all­nighter in the bush. “You know, Kes,” I mumbled, as the head­lights picked up the first white­washed cottages in our little village. "We never left home.”

History > Documents

submitted by Terry Chlentzos on 27.08.2007

Certificate of USA Naturalization for Diamantis Chlentzos, 1917

Certificate of naturalized citizenship for my grandfather, Diamantis Haralambos Chlentzos, born in 1874 in Christoforianika, and came to the USA in 1898.

Diamantis became a naturalized citizen on 1st October, 1917 in San Francisco. His wife, Yanoula, and children Basileios, Harry, Peter, Angelo, Steven (listed as Sutter on the certificate), and Philip are also listed.

History > Documents

submitted by Terry Chlentzos on 27.08.2007

Newspaper article on death of Philip Chlentzos, 1944

My uncle Philip Chlentzos, was the son of Diamantis Haralambos Chlentzos and Yanoula Koulentianou. He was born in 1916 in Oakland, California, and died in combat on July 27, 1944 in France. Philip was awarded the Purple Heart medal for injuries sustained in the French Invasion on D-day. Several of his v-mail letters to his brother are posted:
WW2 Vmail letter to Pete Clentzos from his brother Philip, Feb. 28 1944
WW2 Vmail correspondence, March 5 1944

History > Documents

submitted by Terry Chlentzos on 27.08.2007

Memorial card for Diamantis Chlentzos

This card was distributed at the funeral service for my grandfather Diamantis Haralambos Chlentzos. Diamantis was the son of Haralambos Panagiotis Chlentzos and Efrosyni Venardos, born in Christoforianika. He came to the USA in 1898.

History > Documents

submitted by Terry Chlentzos on 27.08.2007

Honorable discharge for Diamantis Chlentzos, 1961

The United States Navy honorably discharged my grandfather, Diamantis Haralambos Chlentzos on January 4, 1961. Diamantis was born in Christoforianika on Oct. 12, 1874 to Haralambos Chlentzos and Efrosyni Venardos.

For an account of how Haralambos obtained his discharge at the ripe old age of 87 read
United States Congressman requests honorable discharge

History > Documents

submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 02.07.2007

1844 Census listing Venardos ( Katsavias ) from Potamos

These are the 1844 census records listing the children and grandchildren of Nicolas Drakos Venardos from Potamos. It shows their "parachuklie" as Katsavias"

Nicolas Venardos was my great great great grandfather.

*****************

Anastasios Venarados of Nicolas; 28; Farmer; absent

Maria his wife; 25; present

Nicolakis their son; 12; Sailor; absent

Panayiotis thei son; 6; present

Polychronis their son; 1


Manolis Venardos of Nicolas; Katsavias; 27; Sailor; absent (my great great grandfather)

Maria his wife; 23; present

Nicolas their son; 2; present

Efrosyni their daughter; 1; present (my great grandmother)


Dimitrios Venardos of Nicolas; Katsavias; 36; Farmer; absent

Potheti his wife; 30; present

Nicolakis their son; 8; present

Efrosyni thier daughter; 6; present

Maria their daughter; 2; present

Stamatico their daughter; 2 present

Jannis their son; 1; present

************************

Many thanks to Telemachos Combis for obtaining this information for us.

History > Documents

submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 23.06.2007

Modeart Beauty Parlor ad in 1940 USA Greek Newspaper

Evangeline Alfieris, daughter of Yiannis and Maria Chlentzos Alfieris, owned and operated a beauty parlor in San Francisco in the early 1940's.
This ad was placed in the "PROMETHEUS", Hellenic National Journal, Oct. 3, 1940

The ad reads:

GREEK WOMEN

"Before you get ready for any social gathering, visit first the beauty salon of Miss Evangelia I. Alfieri. Try a modern ... styling (Finger wave) and beautifying of the face (facial) and you will showcase the beauty of your inheritance from your illustrious origins. Of course, you will become more beautiful women."


Yiannis Alfieris (1883 - 1966 ) and Maria Chlentzos (1883 - 1968) immigrated to the USA in 1906 via Alexandria, Egypt.

History > Documents

submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 10.06.2007

2006 Christmas Card

This card was created from photos taken on our summer 2006 trip to Kythera to send out to all of our friends and family.

Top left to right:
Kastro at Milopotamos,
The Church of the Virgin Mary of llariotissa in Potamos,
Odos Koulentianos in Christoforianika
(the street my Yiayia Maria Chlentzos lived on)

Middle Row:
Avlemonas,
Icon on the ceiling of Agia Elesa,
Porch of cousin Spiridoula Georgopoulos's home in Potamos the morning we arrived.

Bottom Row:
Potamos Market-Sempriviva flowers,
the house in Potamos that my Papou Yiannis Alfieris grew up in.
View of Kapsali from the Kastro.

History > Documents

submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 14.05.2007

Charalambos Chlentzos & Efrosini Venardos Wedding Certificate

Registration date: 17th Nov. 1869
Event date: 9th Nov. 1869

The preist of Agios Vasilios, Fr. Gerasimos Galakatos, in Christoforianika declares that he performed the wedding services of:
Charalambos Chlentzos, son of Panagiotis, age 18 (his 1st marriage) and
Efrosini, daughter of Emmanuel Venardos, age 26, (her 1st marriage)
both resisdents of Christoforianika

The witnesses were:

Panagiotis Chlentzos, son of the late Nicolaos, age 60
George Chlentzos, son of the late Nicolaos, age 59

The witnesses were listed as illiterate farmers, thus the priest signed their names for them.

Special Thanks to Telemachos Combis for locating this document for us.

History > Documents

submitted by George Poulos on 29.04.2007

The new, larger than life banner of www.kythera-family.net

This banner can be seen in quite a number of photographs that are now being submitted to kythera-family.

It will be displayed in the future at all events at which www.kythera-family.net is represented.

Download/save a copy of the Banner as a .pdf format here:

Banner Kythera-family net proof.pdf

It features two persons who have become the most-sighted Kytherians in world history, by virtue of being chosen by James Prineas to be the key Logo-type figures designating www.kythera-family.net

On 18th March, 2007, when I asked James to provide me with a brief biographical background for the pair, James answered:

They are, Yanni and Katina Feros of Mitata. Katina is still alive, Yanni died in about 2001. Yanni and Katina had a garden
(perivoli) down at Paliopoli. The went down there almost every morning and picked fresh vegetables, then drove to
Hora to sell them at the platia. Always smiling, they were cheeky and lively. They weren’t even married - Katina was
at that time a widower. They just happened to share the same surname.

Yanni had terrible rheumatism and not long after this picture was taken he had his legs amputated, such was the pain. He still worked - (Iragged himself around his garden with pads on his elbows. In the last year of his life they lived down in their little spitaki at Paliohora. Lovely people. Yanni used to drink I or 2 litres of his own wine each night, mostly at Stamatakou’s restaurant. He probably had to drink to reduce the pain so he could sleep.

Ordinary Kytherians...but Oh..so typical!

The base of the kythera-family banner carries our Mission Statement:

About Kythera-Family.net
With the help of interested Kytherians worldwide, Kythera-Family.net aims to preserve and reflect the rich heritage of a wonderful island. Members of the community are invited to submit their family collection of Kytherian stories, photographs, recipes, maps, oral histories, biographies, historical documents, songs and poems, home remedies etc. to the site. Uploading directly to the site is easy, but if you wish you can also send your collections to us by email or post and we will submit them for you. Thus we can help make available valuable and interesting material for current and future generations, and inspire young Kytherians to learn more about their fascinating heritage.

History > Documents

submitted by John Carras on 28.04.2007

George C Poulos & Dr Nick Comino discuss Mr Chris Andalis' poem...

...written in dedication of her Excellency, Ms Quentin Bryce, AC, and her presence at the Kytherian panayiri.

www.kythera-family.net & Katsehamos and the Great Idea

Welcome! Welcome one and all from all over Australia and Overseas. We welcome you in our city of Brisbane for this special event. We are here to consolidate our strength and to unfold another visionary wish. Here in the well known “Cyprus House".

Your Excellency, Ms Quentin Bryce, Governor of our state of Queensland, with your husband Michael. Today you have honoured us with your presence. We are proud that you share our perspecuves and are proud of your ethical support. We thank you and welcome you officially as Kytherian friends. We hope that one day the opportunity arises that your Excellency and your family, along with all of today’s official party, and others, visit our beautiful island, to see what all the fuss is about!

Our little island has a rich and incomparable history, just like the rest of Greece.. It bore many talented persons, people who have left the world a far better place.

People like the unforgettable Alex Freeleagus, who I believe was best man (koumbaros) at your wedding. How he would have loved to be present here today.

We are gathered here to promote the book “Katsehamos and the Great Idea”, by well known Sydney lawyer Peter Prineas. We are also gathered here to officially launch in Queensland, the “kythera-family” website.

Once again, we are honoured to have Your Excellency, and Mr Bryce present for this function.

Chris Andalis, Philokytherian

The panayiri, the greatest of Kytherian-Brisbane events, was held on Sunday the 15th April, 2007, from 11:30 - 5:00pm.

The venue was the Cyprus Club, also known as the
West End Club,
2 Vulture Street,
West End 4101
(07) 3844 7965
Fax(07) 3844 7757

westendc@bigpond.net.au

The event was held for 3 reasons:
1. to mark the official Queensland launch of www.kythera-family.net
2. to mark the official Queensland launch of Katsehamos and the Great Idea
3. to forge a new and inviolable union between the Kytherian Association of Queensland Inc, and the Kytherian Association of Australia, (ostensibly the Kytherian Association of NSW).

The occasion became known as the Brisbane panayiri and mega-event.

Ultimately, demand for seats was so high, that the event had to be moved from Kapsali Restaurant to the Cyprus Club.

Attendance was c. 500

History > Documents

submitted by John Carras on 25.04.2007

Name tag labels filled out and worn by all guests at the Brisbane panayiri, April 15th, 2007.

Categories included

Name:

Mothers name: (Wife, mother)

Village: (Of origin)

Parachoukli: (Nickname)

The labels were printed on Avery size 8 labels.

The Avery Code is:

Inkjet: J8165

Laser: L7165

If you want to print some Name & Parachoukli labels off for your next function you can download the template here:

LABELS NAME TAGS Website.rtf

[You will have to re-configure the size of the "banner" in each frame - in order to make the labels print correctly.]

Of course, you can always change the web-site banner to the Kytherian Association of California, or whatever other Kytherian or Hellenic organisation that you happen to belong to.


Guests displayed their name tags proudly, at the greatest of Kytherian-Brisbane events which was held on Sunday the 15th April, 2007, from 11:30 - 5:00pm.

The venue was the Cyprus Club, also known as the
West End Club,
2 Vulture Street,
West End 4101
(07) 3844 7965
Fax(07) 3844 7757

westendc@bigpond.net.au

The event was held for 3 reasons:
1. to mark the official Queensland launch of www.kythera-family.net
2. to mark the official Queensland launch of Katsehamos and the Great Idea
3. to forge a new and inviolable union between the Kytherian Association of Queensland Inc, and the Kytherian Association of Australia, (ostensibly the Kytherian Association of NSW).

The occasion became known as the Brisbane panayiri and mega-event.

Ultimately, demand for seats was so high, that the event had to be moved from Kapsali Restaurant to the Cyprus Club.

Attendance was c. 500

History > Documents

submitted by KCA Admin on 01.04.2007

Military Occupation Postage Stamp

A postage stamp issued on Kythera by the Axis military authorities. It is a pre-war 80 lepta Greek stamp with a representation of the Venus de Milo, overprinted with the words “CERIGO – Occupazione Militare Italiana” (“KYTHERA – Italian Military Occupation”). Philatelists will note that this particular stamp is an error; the fasces (axe and bundled sticks) design, symbol of the Italian fascist party, which should have been overprinted on the stamp has been printed above it by mistake.
(Kythera Photographic Archive, Occupation Documentation)

History > Documents

submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 30.03.2007

Marriage Certificate of Vrettos Alfieris & Marigo Theodorakakis (Cordato)

Vrettos Alfieris (1890-1974) & Marigo Theodorakakis (1895-1961) married in Dubbo, Australia on August 4, 1922.

The kombaro was Evangelos (Bylos) Chlentzos

See also:

Wedding of Vrettos Alfieris and Marigo Theodorakakis

A special thanks to Katina Comino (nee Alfieris) for ordering this document from the Australian Archives.

Kythera Connections

History > Documents

submitted by Jean Michaelides on 06.01.2007

Nicholas Laurantus's two statuettes...

..., about fifty centimetres in height, that he prized greatly.

Coming upon them as he did after World War I in a country shop, he had paid £2 for the pair, believing them to be antiques and of great value.

Made of some bronze alloy and finely detailed in their workmanship, they depicted the effects of flood and fire which Nicholas perceived to be the farmer's worst threats. One statuette was of a woman on a rooftop with a child in her arms, the flood waters lapping at her bare feet; the other was of a man holding a child, a blanket over both heads as they descend a ladder from a burning roof. Nicgolas was eager to take them from the shelf and explain their significance to visitors, happy to see them admired by his friends.

Page 87-89, Jean Michaelides. Portrait of Uncle Nick. A Biography of Sir Nicholas Laurantus MBE. Sydney University Press, Sydney. 1987.

History > Documents

submitted by Kytherian Newsletter Sydney on 14.12.2006

Letter of congratulations from John Howard to Con George (Tzortzo)Poulos.

PRIME MINISTER

CANBERRA

Mr Con George Poulos

c/- 42 Eastern Avenue
DOVER HEIGHTS NSW 2030

Dear Mr Poulos

It is with much pleasure that I send you this message of congratulations on the occasion of your 90th birthday.

Over fifty years ago you chose Australia to be your home and a generous people extended to you their gift of welcome.

In the half century that has transpired, you have joined with so many other proud Australians to help make this country what it is today. You made a home for your family and provided for them a secure future as they, in turn, have forged a prosperous life for their children.

Your efforts over the years have shown that our wealth as a nation is due in no small part to the toil of those who have chosen to make Australia their home.

On your 90th birthday please accept my best wishes, not only on this important milestone but for the wonderful contribution you have made to our country.

Janette joins me in wishing you many happy returns.

Yours sincerely

John Howard


To view/download a .pdf version of the letter:

90th Birthday - Con George Poulos.pdf


The Prime Minister of Australia sent the abovementioned letter of congratulations to Con George Poulos for his 90th birthday. This is every immigrant's "dream" letter of validation. Pappou Con, whose parachoukli is Hlihlis, was born on October 18th, 1916, to George and Olympia Tzortzopoulos, in Karavas, Kythera. The Poulos clan celebrated the birthdays of Con, Dean & Sebastian (Tzortzo)Poulos on Sunday, 29th October, at the Alexander the Great Club in Marrickville, making it a Big Fat Kytherian Birthday Party!

Na ta Ekatostisete!

The Kytherian, (Newsletter of the Kytherian Association of Australia), December 2006, page 9

History > Documents

submitted by Steven Mallos on 19.11.2006

Distillery Aloizianika Kythera

This is an image of the only remaining Distillery on Kythera, which is located in Aloizianika.

Every autumn since 1897 the Politis family have produced the well-known Kytherian drink "Tsipoura"(Raki) from grape pulp using traditional methods.

From this drink, you can also make the liqueur "Fatourada" by adding cinnamon and cloves and sealing the mixture for a few weeks. Serve with ice for the perfect drink after an evening meal!

Photos taken by Steven (Stephanos) Mallos (October 2006)

History > Documents

submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 06.02.2007

Vasilis Chlentzos Passport 1838

This is the passport of Vasilis Chlentzos (1808 - ? ) from Christoforianika. He was 28 years old when this passport was issued. He made several trips to Chania, Crete with this passport.
Vasilis was the brother of Panayiotis Chlentzos (1799 - ? ), my great-great-grandfather.

See also:

Panagiotis Chlentzos wedding records of 1826 and 1841

Genealogy of the Family Name Chlentzos

Genealogy of the Family Name Christoforos from the Island of Kythera

Kythera Connections

Many thanks to Telemachos Combis for discovering this document.

History > Documents

submitted by Karavitiko Symposium, Sydney on 04.11.2006

Karavas. The history of its origin.

By Emmanuel Kalligeros. Editor of Kytheraika newspaper, and author of a number of books including the seminal, Kytherian Surnames.

History > Documents

submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 06.02.2007

George Peter Vamvakaris Naturalization Application

George (1907-1942) was the son of Panayiotis and Maria Alfieris Vamvakaris (1887-1960). He was killed during World War II while serving in the Australin Army.

See also:

Postcard written by George Peter Vamvakaris

George’s WW II Certificate of Service

Kythera Connections