submitted by Kytherian Newsletter Sydney on 28.02.2005
Submitted by Professor Harry Poulos
Elene Poulos was born on 30th December 1904 in the village of Vouno Kythera, the third of seven children of Haralambos and Stamatina Zantiotis. She helped her parents raise the younger children and the whole family worked hard to make a living in those difficult times. She married George Tzortzopoulos in 1924, and the following year, their first son Theodore was born. A few years later, George left Kythera for Australia where he worked hard to earn enough money to enable his family to join him. Elene and Theo arrived in Sydney in February 1939 and joined George in Katoomba, where he worked as a chef in local guest houses and cafes. The following year, their second son, Harry, was born.
Elene knew no English when she arrived in Australia, but with the help of kindly neighbours, and with her natural persistence, she soon learned enough English to converse and do the shopping. The war years were difficult ones for the family, especially as Theo joined the air force in 1943, but Elene continued to fulfil her role as homemaker and mother, and developed great skills in cooking and crochet work. Her extended family and friends enjoyed the products of these skills over the next 50 years or so.
Over the following decades, George and Elene’s sons married and had their own families. Theo married Annette Conomos on 1960 and they had two daughters, Elenie and Maria. Harry married Maria Langley in 1964, and they produced one daughter, Elena, and three sons, George, James and Peter. Elene revelled in her role as a grandmother and continued to focus her attention on the welfare of her immediate and extended family.
Elene was a self-sufficient person who lived alone after the death of her husband George in 1985. However, the years gradually took their toll, and in 2001, she suffered a fall and has since then been living in Bodington Nursing Home in Wentworth Falls. On December 30th 2004, about 50 of her family and friends gathered at Bodington to celebrate her 100th birthday. Typically, she was lucid about the past and recalled with gratitude the help that she received from her Australian neighbours when she first arrived. She stated her pride in being an Australian and was particularly proud of the congratulatory messages that she received from the Queen, the Governor General, the Prime Minister and her local Member of Parliament.
Despite her advancing years, her 2 children, 6 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren continue to be the focus of her existence, and she was very pleased to receive a photograph of all of her descendents for her birthday.
Elene has been on inspiration to those who have known her, and has exemplified the ideals of determination, responsibility and love for family that is so characteristic of Kytherian women.
[See also 100th birthday photograph, next entry].
From The Kytherian, Newsletter of the Kytherian Association of Australia, February, 2005, page 5.
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