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Oral History

History > Oral History

"History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity."
Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC), Pro Publio Sestio

There are many categories in this section - they are now visible in the navigation on the left. By choosing any one of them you can view the entries, and by clicking on the add to... links at the top right of each category page, you can easily submit your own entry.

Please note! There are dozens of historic and fascinating photographs to be found in the Kythera Cultural Archive section of this site.


Showing 1 - 20 from 98 entries
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22753:History > Oral History

submitted by Joshua Kepreotis on 31.01.2015

Maria Vardas

My name is Maria Vardas. I was Maria (Μαριγη) Poteres, but my surname changed to Vardas when I married John. I was born in Kato Hora, Milopotamo on the island of Kythera on 5th April 1928, in the family home. The midwife would come to the house and help out in the process, which was how everyone was born back then. Everyone called me Μαριγη or Μαριω and as the youngest of a big family, I remember often copping punishment (ετρωγα σκαμπιλια) from all my brothers and ...

22752:History > Oral History

submitted by Joshua Kepreotis on 31.01.2015

John Vardas

My full name is John George Vardas and I was born on the 18th of June 1918. However, for many years I was under the impression that my actual birthday was in fact on the 18th of March because of a mix up with my birth certificate upon arriving in Australia. When I came to Australia, I didn’t know the language and I didn’t understand a lot of things. Naturally, when they asked me at the office of migration I just simply responded with that date because I was unsure at the time. And to this day ...

22749:History > Oral History

submitted by Joshua Kepreotis on 31.01.2015

Les Kepreotis

Leslie Kepreotis was born on the 25th of March 1912 in the village of Kypriotianika, Kythera and passed away in Prince of Wales Hospital, after suffering from two heart attacks in his home in Maroubra, on the 8th of November 1977. He was 65 years old.


He was born in the family home on Kythera with a midwife and was the second youngest of a large family of seven; Nick, George, Peter, Les, Stamatoula, Gene, Bessie. He is survived by his wife Doreen Kepreotis and sons Victor, Peter, ...

22748:History > Oral History

submitted by Joshua Kepreotis on 31.01.2015

Doreen Kepreotis

My name is Doreen Kepreotis and I was born in Werris Creek to Greek-born parents on the 5th of august 1924. I am 4th in line of eight children. My mother had eight children in eight years, which was something quite normal back in those days. I was born in the family home in the room above the shop. There was no hospital in Werris Creek, or anything nearby, so everything was conducted around our place.

My parents were Peter and Efstratia Kepreotes and they landed in Australia in 1921 ...

22747:History > Oral History

submitted by Joshua Kepreotis on 31.01.2015

George Haros

My name is Georgios Haros tou Nikolao, Vlastos is my family’s Parapitheto/parastoukili. The term Vlastos refers to the spring time when the flowers blossom they are called Vlastadia. We have no idea how that relates to us. We have the parapitheto because Haros means death in Greek and so I guess we needed to have a new nickname. I was born 13 June 1934 in Livadi, Kythera.

Viola and I live in a house in Livadi now when we go back to visit; a new house. It’s our holiday house and ...

22746:History > Oral History

submitted by Joshua Kepreotis on 31.01.2015

Constantine Peter Gavrilis

I was born in Logothetianika in 1929 and came out to Australia in 1947. I was born in the family home with a midwife, which was the normal way for Kytherian children to be born in those days and there were a lot of causalities as a result. Medicine has improved significantly since that time.

My life in Kythera is made up of specific memories. I can remember the smell of the animals, a smell that has stayed with me most of my life. Every time I come across that same smell my mind immediately ...

22745:History > Oral History

submitted by Joshua Kepreotis on 31.01.2015

Lily Crithary

My name is Argiro (Lily) Drakou and it became Argiro Crithary when I married my late husband John. I shouldn’t tell you my age (she joked with a cheeky grin that was characteristic of her light-hearted nature). I was born in 1926 in Karava, Kythera; in the family home with the help of a midwife because in those days there was no doctor. My mother was quite capable in looking after sick people, as well as wrapping bandages and so she would often assist the midwife.

I can’t remember ...

22744:History > Oral History

submitted by Joshua Kepreotis on 31.01.2015

Emanuel Casimatis

My name is Emanuel Casimatis and I was born in Pitsinianika, Kythera on the 21st of April 1918. My mother gave birth to me in the family home where the midwife, a Mrs Semitekolos, assisted in the birth. I have certain memories from my childhood such as walking to and from school barefoot in a large group of fellow students from the area. Back in those days we only had one pair of shoes which we saved for wearing to Church on Sundays; which we attended every week without question. The Church was named ...

22743:History > Oral History

submitted by Joshua Kepreotis on 31.01.2015

Andrew Casimatis

My name is Andrew Gerald Casimatis and I was born in the month of October, 1920 in Pitsinianika, Kythera, inside the same family house that we still have today. I have a twin sister and her name is Sophia, however I am still unsure as to the exact date of our birthday. You see in those days there were no facilities for documenting the exact dates of birth and the distance between the village at Pitsinianika and the office in Karvounades was quite far; which made it difficult to access. Communication ...

19607:History > Oral History

submitted by Kiriaki Orfanos on 20.12.2011

Mary Sofios' Story

Mary Sofios' Story
by Kiriaki Orfanos

Mary Simos-Sofios, nee Patrikiou was born on the 14/12/37, in Kythera. Her only sister, Dimitra, was born in 1946. Mary married Leo Simos in 1956 and they immigrated to Australia in 1957 living first in Wollongong and then in Sydney. They had two children, Andrew and Irene. Leo died in 1966 and Mary married Nick Sofios in 1971. They have one daughter, Christine.

[[picture:"ms1.jpg" ID:19628]]

This is the story ...

18706:History > Oral History

submitted by Gaye Hegeman on 07.03.2011

George Minas Kritharis (Crethar) nickname: Katharos

The picturesque village of Karavas, at the northern end of the Island of Kythera, was home to the Crethar family until 1933 when they migrated to Australia. George, who was a boy of seven when they left, still has memories of their home in the village, his grandparents, their church and the school he attended. However his formative growing years were spent in the bush at Stanthorpe, a town south west of Brisbane, Queensland, where the family finally settled.

George loves to yarn, ...

17282:History > Oral History

submitted by Gaye Hegeman on 02.03.2010

Stamatoula (Stella) Cassimatis - formerly Manolessos

In life, each one of us has to make choices and decisions - some come easily while others take time to resolve. A recurring theme throughout Stella’s story relates to some of the choices and decisions she had to make and the consequences that followed. Her story details events from her childhood in the village of Logothetianka, a description of her family home, childhood duties and responsibilities, her schooling and social life and eventually the all important event of her marriage and migration ...

16805:History > Oral History

submitted by Gaye Hegeman on 24.10.2009

Matina (Stamatina) Aroney - formerly Glitsos

A visit with Matina at her home in April 2009 encompassed all that is traditional about Greek hospitality, beginning with greetings and pleasantries followed by offers of coffee and Greek shortbread. At the conclusion of the visit there was a tour of her garden, which nowadays consists of a collection of carefully tended exotic plants in pots tailor-made to Matina’s decreased mobility. Beneath her front steps in a sunny position facing north grows a magnificent basil bush as tall as a man, brimming ...

16694:History > Oral History

submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 20.06.2009

The Promise of Tomorrow - Stories of first generation Greek Americans

[[picture:"peteclenzons.jpg" ID:16693]]

Pete Clentzos on right with white headband, lighting the olympic torch, Los Angelos 2004

Watch the YouTube Video: The Promise of Tomorrow

"The Promise of Tomorrow" documents and highlights many stories of the first generation Greek Americans in their struggle and triumph to contribute to the American fabric, yet maintain their culture. GHS preserves the rich ...

16487:History > Oral History

submitted by Gaye Hegeman on 27.02.2009

Katina Locos (formerly Andronicus)

Katina’s Story

Nobody understands better than Katina about the gift of life. To have beaten the odds and reached a ripe old age is quite an accomplishment. In keeping with a time-honoured tradition Katina was born in the family home with the help of midwives. Her birth was difficult, she thinks, because of her mother’s age. When she finally emerged the midwives thought the lifeless baby must be stillborn and placed her on the floor on a pile of rags. As they hurriedly attended ...

16476:History > Oral History

submitted by Gaye Hegeman on 21.02.2009

Betty (Panayiotitsa) Comino - formerly Kalokerinos

Eager to talk about her childhood and youth, Betty’s memories tumble out with recollections of her teenager years when she nursed her bed ridden grandmother and the drudgery of collecting water from the well twice a day. “It was a hard life,” she repeated and “we were very poor.” Although her memory is fading Betty hasn’t lost her sense of humour, and is the first to admit in her friendly, down to earth manner, “I don’t even remember what I had for breakfast today, but can remember ...

15718:History > Oral History

submitted by Maria Whyte on 05.12.2008

A story from Maria of Louradianika

My grandfather was the Reverand Emmanuel Lourantos and my grandmother Maria Lourantos who had passed some years before. I took my eldest son David, who was so like my much adored Uncle Nick with me. Uncle Nick was in my life from the day I was born. My grandparents were buried adjacent to the Church, it is difficult to explain, but the resting places made of cement, were attached to the side wall of the church. Further along, were the burial places of my greatgrandparents also, as my greatgrandfather ...

15685:History > Oral History

submitted by Gaye Hegeman on 05.02.2009

Nicholas Careedy (Nicholas Peter Karydis)

Longevity runs in his family - Nick's great-grandfather Manoli Karydis from the village of Mylopotamos lived until he was 107. At the grand age of 96 Nick Careedy enjoys robust health, tends his garden, loves to travel and regularly plays lawn bowls. He and his wife Nina live in the suburb of Wavell Heights on the north side of Brisbane. They have recently returned from a ten day cruise and tour of Hong Kong and China, and are excited about their next trip to Greece in August 2008.

15592:History > Oral History

submitted by Gaye Hegeman on 12.07.2008

Chrisanthe Comino (formerly Aroney)

Without the love and care of her immediate family and a network of aunts, uncles, great-aunts and great-uncles and their children, the transition that Chris had to make when she migrated to Australia at the age of fourteen would have been very hard indeed to accomplish. Towards the end of her last year at primary school her aunt and uncle, Frosso (Efrosine) and Paul Satouris who lived in the New South Wales country town of Cowra, invited Chris to live with them. They were able to offer her a home, ...

15282:History > Oral History

submitted by Gaye Hegeman on 26.03.2008

George Nicholas Comino

The Australian part of George Comino’s story began in 1954. He vividly remembers the day, 1st April 1954 when he stepped off the ship the Fairsea at Circular Quay Sydney. He was met by his brother Peter who was his sponsor. Peter had driven all the way from the Southeast Queensland town of Laidley in his brand new Holden sedan car. For the first four months after his arrival George worked with his brothers in their Café, the Central Café at Laidley. When the drapery shop next door to the ...