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Kytherian Biographies Project

Perivolaris, Anna (1888–1963)

In the time she lived in Sydney, Anna Perivolaris taught many Kytherian children - Ed

by John N. Yiannakis

Anna Perivolaris (c.1888-1963), schoolteacher, was born about 1888 on the island of Samos, Greece, daughter of Constantine Christodoulis, artist, and his wife Anthea, née Chrysakis. Anna arrived with her family at Port Said, Egypt, probably in 1903. There she married John Boreas in 1912; they were to have three children. In the same city in 1917, as a widow, she married Nicolas Guiseppe Perivolaris, a Greek sailor.

In December 1921 Nicolas emigrated to Australia. He was followed by Anna and the children who reached Sydney in the Jervis Bay in March 1923. They lived in Little Bloomfield Street, Surry Hills, and Anna taught Greek. The growing number of children attending the Greek community's after-hours school in Perth prompted her friend Peter Michelides, president of the Hellenic Community of Western Australia, to ask her to move there as a schoolteacher. With her husband and youngest daughter, she had settled in Perth by 1933. Nicolas worked as a machinist for Michelides Ltd and Anna became principal schoolteacher of the after-hours classes. On 9 May 1938 they were naturalized.

For many years the Perivolarises lived in the residential heartland of Perth's Greek community, which centred on Aberdeen and Lake streets, Northbridge. Located in the nearby Greek Hall in Parker Street, the Greek School was open for three hours each evening from Monday to Friday. Mrs Perivolaris instructed children of all ages, and insisted that they wear uniforms. She taught Greek grammar, reading, writing, history and religion; for advanced students, she included classical Greek in the curriculum. In addition, she introduced Hellenic dancing in traditional costume and held regular concerts.

A leader in the Hellenic Women's Association, Perivolaris belonged to a group which met fortnightly to co-ordinate cultural activities, such as those to celebrate Easter Week, and to raise money for the Church and for philanthropic causes. During World War II she organized performances to aid the Greece Fund in support of the exiled Greek government. On 21 November 1943 the Hellenic Community held a concert in her honour as a way of expressing gratitude for her work in teaching 'love for our mother tongue to our children'. After Nicholas retired, Anna continued to work, receiving £5 per week from 1946 for teaching at the school.

Anna Perivolaris was a gentle, neatly groomed and quietly spoken woman. Professional in her approach and concerned for her students, she was respected and well liked by the local Greeks. She became an integral part of that community, helping to maintain and enhance Hellenism in Western Australia for two generations. Survived by her husband, son and two daughters, she died on 27 January 1963 in Royal Perth Hospital and was buried in Karrakatta cemetery with Greek Orthodox rites.

Select Bibliography

Hellenic Community of Western Australia Inc, 50th Anniversary Commemorative Book (Perth, 1987)
West Australian, 28, 29 Jan 1963
naturalisation files A435, item 46/4/6398, A446/71, item 55/47485 (National Archives of Australia)
AA SP1122/1, item N1957/13385 , PP302/1, item WA 12210 (National Archives of Australia)
Souvenir Programme, concert in honour of Mrs A. Perivolaris, 21 Nov 1943 (privately held)
K. Wood, interview with Margaret Kouts (transcript, 1988, State Library of Western Australia)
private information.

Citation details

Yiannakis, John N., 'Perivolaris, Anna (1888–1963)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/perivolaris-anna-11369/text20311

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

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