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submitted by The Age, Melbourne on 18.09.2014

A Greek Feast

Author: Victoria Kyriakopoulos

The Sunday Age

Date: 31/08/2014

Page: 10

Photograph: History man: John Tatoulis, director of the Hellenic Museum says there's a momentum in the Greek community that is very exciting Photo: Eddie Jim

FROM EXHIBITIONS OF PRICELESS ANTIQUITIES, TO SEAFOOD FEASTS AND THE VIBRANT CAFE SCENE OF OAKLEIGH, THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO DIP INTO THE CULTURAL LIFE OF EVER-EVOLVING GREEK MELBOURNE, WRITES VICTORIA KYRIAKOPOULOS.

Most Saturday afternoons, lawyer Bill Papastergiadis drives from his Toorak home to meet friends in the bustling Greek cafes in Oakleigh's Eaton Mall. "I think it's an exciting time to be Greek in this city, and to be proud to be a Greek-Australian," he says, sipping on his frappe.

Papastergiadis loves the mall's lively cafe culture, but as the new guard president of the Greek Community of Melbourne, his sights are firmly on the big end of town.

In the historic Greek precinct of Lonsdale Street, a $15 million, 15-storey beacon of Hellenism has risen on the site of the original three-level headquarters of Melbourne's oldest and biggest Greek community organisation.

Parthenon friezes around the first-level balcony and an iconic image of the discus thrower cleverly incorporated into the facade celebrate the community's proud heritage. But as home to a new Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, it will play a key role in forging its contemporary identity.

It's an ambitious investment in a precinct that has dwindled as Greek community life dispersed into the suburbs. But Papastergiadis says it is important to maintain a central, visible presence. The building is a symbol of a mature, diverse and successful migrant community that has become part of the city's cultural fabric. "During the Lonsdale Street Festival we get 100,000 people through here over two days. The prime minister last year said it was the biggest street festival in Australia, and half the attendees are not Greek," says Papastergiadis.

As well as overseeing the annual Lonsdale Street Festival and the Greek Film Festival, the Greek Centre's broad activities include weekly Greek history and culture seminars, the annual Greek writers' festival and a language centre for beginners' Greek and ancient Greek. A visual arts space will have a strong contemporary arts focus, and there are spaces for small events, meetings and conferences, as well as a rooftop bar.

"The centre will become a hub of activity for all that we do, with a calendar of interesting events all year round," says Penny Kyprianou, manager of the community's arts and culture program for the past three years.

Collaborations with other festivals include next month's concert by Greek-Cypriot singer Mihalis Hatzigiannis with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for the Melbourne International Festival.

"We are all looking to expand our audience, and these collaborations are a really fantastic way to do that," says Kyprianou.

While his brother has been able to get secure government funding and private donations for the Greek Centre, Nikos Papastergiadis , a professor at Melbourne University's school of culture and communication, has been shaping its cultural vision as co-chairman of the centre's advisory committee.

"We see the cultural centre as a place where Greek language and culture in its classical and folkloric sense can be preserved and showcased, but also where people of Greek background can have a platform to experiment with new ideas and put on events that not just address our background but help define what we are becoming," Papastergiadis says.

On the other side of the city, a team of Greek and local curators is carefully installing an exhibition of ancient treasures from Athens' Benaki Museum in the heritage-listed Old Mint, now home to the Hellenic Museum. Gods, Myths & Mortals: Greek Treasures Across The Millennia, secured for an unprecedented 10-year loan, spans 8000 years of Greek civilisation.

"For a collection of this magnitude and importance to travel outside Greece for 10 years is extraordinary, and we are incredibly privileged to have it here in Melbourne," says museum chief executive John Tatoulis.

"As well as the main collection, each year there will be a mini-blockbuster that is theme-specific, from Byzantine art or ancient Greek jewellery to weapons of the ancient Spartans."

Established by the wealthy Stamoulis family in 2008, the museum has ramped up its cultural program. In November, it is teaming up with Open House Melbourne for a race around the city discovering neoclassical buildings inspired by Greek architecture (first prize: a trip to Open House Athens).

There are also plans for a local modern retrial of Socrates, similar to an event held by the Athens-based Onassis Cultural Centre two years ago, with leading EU and international lawyers and judges and a jury from the public.

In summer, open-air screenings of classic and contemporary Greek films will be held again in the museum's lovely courtyard, one of Melbourne's best-kept secrets.

"There's a dynamic and a confidence and a momentum in the Greek community now that's very exciting," Tatoulis says.

That same confidence has spawned new-generation Greek eateries such as Jimmy Grants, where hipsters queue for souvlakia called Mr Papadopoulos (souvlaki is now Melbourne vernacular; in the rest of Australia it's a kebab or gyros).

As the poster-boy for Greek food, chef George Calombaris has helped raise the profile of Greek cuisine. During the Flavours of Greece festival, running over the next few weeks, some of Melbourne's established and new Greek restaurants will showcase the diversity of contemporary Greek cuisine. Melbourne maintains its place as the third-largest Greek-speaking city outside Greece. While some traditional inner-city migrant strongholds such as Brunswick, Northcote, Richmond and Prahran retain a strong Greek presence, these days Melbourne's Greek heart beats loudest in Oakleigh.

"Now we take as granted that Oakleigh has become the new Hellenic centre of Melbourne," says Kostas Nikolopoulos, deputy editor of Melbourne's Greek newspaper, Neos Kosmos. "Greeks are coming here from all over Melbourne. They come here, they shop, they enjoy their coffee."

Two kilometres from the monolith of Chadstone, 15 kilometres from the city, tucked off the main Warrigal and Dandenong arterial roads, Oakleigh was a railway township and its grid of narrow streets gives it a village atmosphere. A $2.7 million redevelopment of Eaton Mall in 2013 built on the area's Mediterranean flavour and emerging cafe scene, creating an al fresco dining precinct emulating the lively village squares of a European piazza (or in this case, plateia). Oakleigh has long been a shopping and meeting place for Greeks. Its delis, cake shops, butchers and christening stores attract a wide catchment living in the south-east and beyond.

In the past six years, an injection of new cafes, patisseries, restaurants and modern souvlaki outlets opening late in the evenings has made it a thriving social hub, attracting younger crowds and families from further afield, and not just Greeks.

Unlike their inner-city counterparts, the Greeks who settled in Oakleigh in the '50s and '60s did not necessarily outgrow their homes, and property prices made it relatively affordable for their children to stay in area or surrounding suburbs.

Home to Greek-run Oakleigh Grammar, the Oakleigh Cannons soccer club and after-hours Greek schools, Oakleigh attracts a steady shift of post-church, post-school drop-off visitors. The growing number of Greek banks, lawyers, doctors, accountants, financial planners, real estate agents and other small businesses also brought more people into the area.

"In the mornings, most of the oldies take their grandkids to school, buy the newspaper and come here, and the shops resemble what we call the Greek senate. They start arguing and discussing the issues, local and international," says Nikolopoulos, an Oakleigh local since 1978.

With no family in Melbourne, journalist Helen Kapalos regularly heads to Oakleigh from her inner-city apartment for a Greek fix.

"It feels like a plateia in a regional town," she says. "It taps into that part of my heritage that I equate with nurturing and love, the warm bowl of avgolemono, the friendly Greek faces and conviviality and that sense of togetherness."

Last year, Sydney-based television food presenter Maeve O'Meara started running Gourmet Safari foodie tours in Oakleigh, bringing local, interstate and country people to this unlikely tourist destination.

"It's unique in Australia, and there's something very special about that vibrant Greek heart of Oakleigh around Eaton Mall," O'Meara says.

Eaton Mall's evening shift began six years ago with the arrival of Vanilla Cakes and Lounge, a family-run 450-seater cafe, patisserie and restaurant that stayed open until 1am.

"After 6pm the mall was a ghost town," recalls Vanilla matriarch Helen Spanos. "We offered something that was missing, a family-oriented place for young people to come and hang out. You can come at any time and have a meal or a coffee and cake, and there's not many places in the suburbs you can do that."

Vanilla is now standing-room-only when the house band plays on Thursday nights.

It's all part of the evolution of Greek Melbourne.

Victoria Kyriakopoulos leads the Gourmet Safaris in Oakleigh.

MELBOURNE'S GREEK FLAVOURS

This year's Flavours of Greece dinner series includes Greek regional specialties, seafood feasts and home cooking by the Sweet Greek's Kathy Tsaples. Participating restaurants include Alpha Ouzeri (Fitzroy), the Greek Deli & Taverna (South Yarra), Philhellene (Moonee Ponds), Zimari (Windsor), Pireaus Blues (Fitzroy), Spitiko (South Melbourne), Argo Fish Shop (North Fitzroy), Kalimera (Oakleigh).

August 19-October 26; greekcentre.com.au

CHANNELLING THE ANCIENTS

Gods, Myths and Mortals: Greek Treasures Across the Millennia, an outstanding collection of antiquities from Greece's renowned Benaki Museum, opens September 12 at the Hellenic Museum, 80 William Street, Melbourne; hellenic.org.au. Every Thursday night, the Greek Centre's free Greek history and culture seminars series hosts experts exploring themes classic and obscure. greekcentre.com.au

CONTEMPORARY MUSIC

Greece's popular Mihalis Hatzigiannis joins forces with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to perform his trademark mix of anthemic pop and traditional Greek music in the Melbourne International Festival.

October 18, Sidney Myer Music Bowl. melbournefestival.com.au

ON SCREEN

Now in its 21st year, the Greek Film Festival screens the latest Greek cinema as well as films by Greek-Australian filmmakers. This year's program includes the premiere of A Family Affair, a documentary on the Xylouris musical dynasty, filmed in Greece and Melbourne. Shira's Journey, Carol Gordon's documentary and book project on the Greek Jews, will be accompanied by a photographic exhibition by Emmanuel Santos.

October 15- November 2. Palace Cinema Como.

greekfilmfestival.com.au

OAKLEIGH

Eaton Mall is like one big fat Greek square. Grab a coffee and prime seat at Vanilla (17-21 Eaton Mall). Try a traditional pork souvlaki at Kalimera Souvlaki Art (41 Chester Street, Oakleigh). Home-style Greek food and warm hospitality awaits at Mezedakia (15-17 Portman Street) or downstairs at Euro Bites (21 Portman Street). For an insider's guide to Oakleigh's Greek delights, join a Gourmet Safaris walking tour. gourmetsafaris.com.au.l

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by Kytherian Association Of Australia on 16.09.2014

Eptanesian Dinner Dance Saturday 27th September 2014

The EPTANISIAN FEDERATION
invites you to a DINNER / DANCE
To celebrate 150 years since Unification with Greece

CORFU PAXOS LEFKADA ITHIKA
KEFALLONIA ZAKYNTHOS KYTHERA


Great Britain handed back ownership of the
Seven Ionian Islands to Greece.

21st May 1864-2014


You are all invited to a DINNER / DANCE

on

SATURDAY 27th September 2014

at

VENUS RECEPTION CENTRE

Belgrave Room Ground floor
20 Belgrave Street KOGARAH 2217

$65 per person

BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL

Kathy Samios 0410491849

View/Download a colourful invitation in English here:
Ionian Leaflet.pdf

View/Download a colourful invitation in Greek here:
ADVERTISEMENT.pdf

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by George Poulos on 12.09.2014

Nick Politis congratulates half back Mitchell Pearce after the 2013 Grand Final win

Nicholas (Nick) George Politis

Nick Politis is one of five Australian-Kytherian’s to receive Australian honours in 2014. On the Queen’s birthday he was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia, for significant service to rugby league football as an administrator.

He could equally have been bestowed with the honour as one of Kytherian-Australia’s, Greek-Australia’s, and Australia’s most prominent and successful businessmen.

His AM citation also mentions: Philanthropic supporter to a range of charitable organisations, ongoing.

A Kytherian and Greek Immigrants story.

The Background


The Politis story begins during the early period of the 20th century in the two major centres of the Kytherian diaspora – Egypt and Constantinople. It then devolves on the village of Karavas, Kythera. Dimitrios Kosmas Patrikios, (1860-1930), born in Karavas, migrated to Egypt as a young boy. He became a great cotton merchant and property owner in Alexandria. He was a significant benefactor to the island, donating funds to create a ‘port’ for Kythera, and in 1934-1935, with money left in his will, his descendants built the ‘Patrikio skoli’ – the Agricultural School in central Karavas.

George Nicholas Politis was born in the area around Constantinople. His family’s early life was disrupted by events in the Pontian region of Greece in the period leading up to ‘the catastrophe’ of 1922. As a young boy, the family relocated to Athens. As a young adult he gained skills and qualifications in agricultural science. Soon after the Agricultural School was constructed, he was enticed to migrate to Kythera, and take up the position of ‘thiapontos’ – agricultural teacher. He maintained this position until 1940. The enterprise was fully funded by the Dimitrios Patrikios bequest. With the advent of WWII, the fund for the agricultural school ‘dried up’, and the school was appropriated by the military. Subsequently it has occasionally been rented out as a private residence. In most of the past seven decades, however, it has been used as a place to grow agricultural products, and as a civic centre. It continues to be used for these purposes today.

George Politis settled quickly into the Karavas community, and in 1940 he married Aryiro Evangalos Venardos – parachoukli “Mull-yaros”. Aryiro is the sister of Panayotis ‘Bulli’ Venardos, who along with Poppy, continue to run the ‘cafenion’ opposite the church of Ayios Haralambos in Karavas. Other brothers and sisters included Zafaria, Emmanuel (Bill), Minas (Mick) and Poppy, the high school teacher (‘i thaskalos). Only the latter remained in Greece with Panayotis. All the others migrated to Australia. As of 2014, the surviving siblings are Aryiro and Panayotis.

Nicholas (Nick) George Politis was born at the Patrikio skoli in Karavas, Kythera in 1942. After WWII George Politis and family relocated to Athens.

Zafaria Venardos was sponsored to Australia by Mick and Bill Venardos. She married George Petrohilos, originally from Fratsia, who had been in Australia for some time. In 1950 the Venardos brothers sponsored George Politis and family to Australia. The Politis family departed from the port city of Piraeus on the migrant ship – Kirinea. Another passenger on this ship recalls that “the trip was exhausting and took 30 days. During this time we attended English language classes. We were treated very well on the ship; we were entertained by musicians, and were shown movies about our new country.” The ship berthed in Melbourne. Bill Venardos drove down from Queensland to meet the family, and drove them back to Queensland. The Politis family first went to Ipswich, which lies 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the Brisbane CBD, and stayed for a year or more. In 1952 Mick Venardos went to Blackhall, to run the Central Cafe with his brother Bill. The Central Cafe had a long history from the 1920’s of Kytherian ownership through the Cominos and Logos families.

Blackall is a small town and rural locality in the Blackall-Tambo Region in central west Queensland, Australia. Named after Sir Samuel Blackall, the second Governor of Queensland, it lies approximately 960 kilometres (600 mi) by road from the state capital, Brisbane. The town is situated on the Barcoo River and Landsborough Highway (Matilda Highway). At the 2011 census Blackhall had a population of 1,588. It is the service centre for the Blackall-Tambo Region. The dominant industry in the area is grazing.

The Venardos family were heavily involved in Rugby League. Angelo Venardos played Rugby League for Toowoomba in the Bulimba Cup competition. He now lives at Forest Beach. Bill Venardos was President of the Blackhall Rugby League Club, and a senior Administrator in Queensland Rugby League. He was also a prominent local government administrator, as well as a former president of the Kytherian Association of Queensland. His achievements were sufficiently prominent to warrant an entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

In 1953 George Politis decided to move to Blackhall, and with a partner, Peter Aloysios purchased the Central Cafe from the Vernardos brothers. Maria, George and Aryiro’s second child was born in Blackhall at this time. Maria would eventually go to Greece to study as a young adult, marry Dr John Tsellonis, and decide to reside in Greece permanently. Nick attended year four primary school at Blackhall. One of his classmates describes him as a likeable and boisterous boy.

The Politis family stayed in Blackhall for another few years before selling their half share in the Central Cafe to Peter Aloysios’ brother Mick. The family then returned to Brisbane. From 1958 George Politis made a number of astute property purchases in Brisbane. He also developed properties, including a commercial block of shops opposite the Princess Alexandra Hospital on Ipswich Road, Wooloongabba. George moved the family from Ipswich to Saint Lucia, where the University of Queensland is located. George and Aryiro’s last ‘shop keeping’ venture seems to have been purchasing a cinema at West End in South Brisbane, which they ran for 2 or 3 years and then sold. They subsequently retired.

George died in 1986. Aryiro is 97 years of old and very much alive. She spends her time on Kythera and in Athens. Kytherians who know her gain immense pleasure from meeting her in Ayia Pelagia and engaging her in conversation, during the Kytherian summer.

Nick Politis was educated at Ipswich Grammar School, for the final four years of high school (1956-1960). Nick was one of four Army Cadets under Officers in his senior year and was identified as having ‘leadership qualities’. Ipswich Grammar is one of the oldest educational institutions in Queensland (151 years old in 2014). The School takes great pride in ‘advertising’ the achievements of its most prominent ‘old boys’ who include Sydney Harbour Bridge designer John Bradfield, former Chief of Army and military historian Lieutenant General John Coates, and retired High Court Judge Harry Gibbs, and of course, influential Sydney businessman Nick Politis. The School has also produced many of Australia’s elite sportsmen.

Whilst at school, Nick was a ‘cafe kid’; he worked in a fruit shop to supplement his income. For more information about cafe culture in Queensland, with particular reference to Ipswich, see Toni Rissons’ Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill. From Ipswich Grammar School Nick followed the pathway of so many other children of Kytherian and Greek immigrants of his generation, into tertiary education. He attended the University of Queensland where he graduated in Commerce and Economics. A career with the Ford motor company would follow.

Nick is a private, almost guarded person. Something of a ‘mystery man’ to the media, he rarely gives interviews or speaks publicly. ‘I sit back, watch. You learn more that way’, he says. He is also a very tough man. Speaking about the ‘tough times’ at the Roosters, 2009-2012, he philosophises: “It (was) the toughest two or three years. It was tough but that's sport. It's all about the experience. You get addicted because you can't bank the results. If money could buy the results, all the billionaires in the world would have the trophy. You've got to be ready to take the fall and you've got to stand (during adversity). The character of people comes out when you're going bad, not when you're going well. When things go bad, that's when you've got to stay strong.” Loyalty is another trait that Nick values. He has often supported employees, friends and associates long after continuing to provide that support is in his best interest. “The thing in life is that you've got to support people when they get in trouble if they are good people,” Politis says. “That's what (I try and) do”.

As his AM citation states Nick is a philanthropic supporter to a range of charitable organisations, ongoing. In Greek we would could him a ‘sporti’. Don’t bother to sit down, however, and try and chronicle the depth and breadth of his philanthropy and benefaction. Chances are that only those who are the beneficiaries will ever know that it was he who provided the funds. He is not the kind of person who feels the need to have his benefaction acknowledged.

As he has grown older, many have noticed that he has increasingly embraced, and engaged with, his Kytherian and Greek roots. Of Kythera he says - “I just love the place”. He has visited Kythera more often over the past decade, and recently developed three units and a shop on the southern end of the beach at Ayia Pelagia, Kythera. The size of the development is modest by his standards, but the quality of the development and integration into the streetscape is superior. The shame is that so few other developers on Kythera follow his lead.

More recently he and other like minded Pelagian’s have formed a group whose purpose is to enhance the beauty and cleanliness of the Ayia Pelagia area, particularly the area on the sea frontage. Ayia Pelagia is the cleanest and best maintained beach on Kythera.

Nick Politis interest in the sporting world and business are inextricably intertwined. Somehow he has managed to balance and integrate his interest in both worlds. We will return to Nick’s career with Ford and his emergence as one of Australia’s most influential automotive dealers shortly. Firstly let’s examine his involvement in sport, and his emergence as.........

The consummate Rugby League chief executive

In almost 40 years, Nick Politis has been the central figure in some of the most momentous events, and the biggest ‘deals’, in the 105-year history of the code of Rugby League. His involvement in what would later become the National Rugby League (NRL) began in 1976, when a group of Kings Cross detectives nicknamed the ‘Darlo Desperates’, who included legendary South Sydney player, Jack Rayner, introduced Nick Politis to NSW Rugby League (NSW RL) supremo John Quayle and Eastern Suburbs Roosters CEO Ron Jones. Initially, NSW Rugby League boss Kevin Humphreys rejected Politis' proposal to sponsor the Eastern Suburbs Roosters with City Ford in 1975. In 1976, Nick broke new ground in marketing, when City Ford became the first company to sponsor a team in the NSW RL. For his first foray into rugby league, budding businessman Politis brokered a three-year $150,000 deal to have his City Ford car dealership emblazoned on the front of the Roosters jersey as major sponsor. By 1977, St George, Manly, Cronulla and every club in Sydney were brokering deals to tap into the new revenue stream. Retrospectively Politis’ idea can be assessed as a visionary and pioneering deal that altered the nature of sponsorship across many sports. I also constituted very good value for money.

In 1993 Nick moved from being sponsor to Chairman of the Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club (Sydney Roosters). He assumed the Chairmanship from Keith Steele. Long standing secretary-manager Ron Jones, stood down at the same time.

Many believe that the transformation of the Sydney Roosters coincided with Politis appointment. Hand-picking his own team of directors, which in recent years has included James Packer, Channel Nine boss David Gyngell, Mark Bouris of Wizard Home Loans and Yellow Brick Road, mining identity Peter ‘Talky’ Newton and Premier Retail chief executive Mark McInnes, Shine Australia CEO Mark Fennessy, the Roosters have sometimes not had to hold board elections for more than 10 years at a time, as there have not been disgruntled members to challenge them.

“There's no doubt that the current success of the club is the result of 15 years of hard work by Nick," said former ARL general manager John Quayle, a member of the Roosters' 1975 grand-final-winning team. “If you go back to the mid-1980s when the league was looking very closely at its struggling clubs, Easts were one of those ... so to turn things around the way they have is a tribute to Nick and his board. The changes he introduced brought stability and a professionalism ... which is now the benchmark of how a football club should be administered and coached.” Nick Politis is the Roosters. Around the club they call him ‘Uncle Nick’ or ‘The Godfather’.

“We needed to restore the Roosters DNA to the place,” Politis has asserted. “I don’t want to detract from anyone who worked here before, but we really wanted to get people back who had a feeling for this club. When we did that, I remember one of the staff rang me and thanked me for getting them back. That call meant a lot to me.” Roosters sources reveal that from time to time ‘he still dips into his vast fortune to a ‘significant degree’, when other high-profile figures on his board do not’. “Nick is the driving force of the Roosters,” says Channel Nine chief executive David Gyngell, a former director, and close Politis ally. “He has built a cult of loyalty in staff, players and friends who love the club. People often think he's all passion but he's not. He's very strategic and will always make his calls based on smart long-term decisions that are good for the club.”

The Roosters success has been obscured somewhat by the fact that the club has reached six grand finals in the past 13 years – and won only two of them. But, Politis rightly asserts “this is a record only matched by the Melbourne Storm. People forget that record. This is a great record.” Nick Politis is obsessed by the Roosters. He is a Roosters man through and through. If you're looking for proof, ask him to roll up his sleeve. Before the grand final in 2002, Nick, not a man enamoured of tattoo’s, had a Roosters logo tattooed on his arm. Before the grand final Nick said to the team: “You have to win.... don’t let me down... because you can’t take these tattoos off easily.” Subsequent to the 2002 Grand Final win – the first Roosters premiership since Nick first sponsored the team in 1976 - most of the Roosters players joined their Chairman in getting a premiership logo tattoos as well. “I'm very passionate about sport and the club. It becomes a part of your life.”

Nick gained immense satisfaction from the Roosters Grand final victory in 2013. For a precious moment on that Sunday night in October chairman Nick Politis savoured the chance to watch from afar. “As players, coaches, staff, board members and sponsors celebrated after full-time, the proud patriarch of Bondi sat alone a few rows from the fence and silently contemplated the jubilation. I just wanted to sit there for a while and take it all in by myself. I was sitting near the sidelines and everyone else had gone out on the field to celebrate. Everyone had jumped up, but I thought I'd sit back before I joined them. It was a very special moment.”

Analysing the performance later, Politis explained, “When we last won in 2002, we were in the mix and had been in the Grand Final just two years earlier. But the previous two years (2011, 2012) we finished 11th and 13th. No-one gave us a chance to win in the off-season. Not only did we win, but we broke a lot of records. We won the minor premiership, our for and against was the best-ever, and we held six teams scoreless.”

“How does that happen”, journalist Josh Massoud asked?
“It's about belief, and that's what ‘Robbo’ (coach, Trent Robinson) was able to instil in everyone this year. I noticed over the last few months of the season, no one doubted we were going to win. There was always going to be a next week. So even when we were down 18-8 in the second half, the players didn’t stop believing they would win. And if you believe in something strongly enough, it usually happens.” You can watch a very enthusiastic Nick Politis interviewed in the ‘sheds’, after the 2013 Grand Final win at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkcwHsX-X_Q

The Super League war. Politis maintains his loyalty.

Those not au fait with Rugby League and its history, may not understand what the Super League war was. The Super League war was the corporate dispute that was fought in and out of court during the mid-1990s between the Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation-backed Super League (Australia) and the Kerry Packer and Optus Vision-backed Australian Rugby League organisations, over broadcasting rights for, and ultimately control of the top-level professional rugby league football competition of Australasia. After much court action from the already-existing ARL to prevent it from happening, Super League ran one premiership season parallel to the ARL's in 1997 after signing enough clubs disenchanted with the traditional administration to do so. At the conclusion of that season a peace deal was reached and both Leagues united to form the National Rugby League of today.

During the Super League war, Politis spent long periods overseas attending to other business interests. At the time, his mobile phone would go off at all hours of the night with executives from News Limited, publisher of The Sunday Telegraph, attempting to lure the Roosters from the ARL side of the fence. Had Politis, Gould, Ken Arthurson and John Quayle not stuck solid, the ARL would have been doomed. Politis, ever true to his dictum of loyalty, couldn’t betray his friend, ARL supremo John Quayle, despite the money on offer. This loyalty also helped secure the future of many Sydney-based NRL clubs, most of which were destined for extinction under the Super League ‘model’.

“If he'd jumped it would have been the end of the ARL and a lot of our clubs here in Sydney,” says Rugby League commentator, administrator, and fellow 2014 AM recipient, Phil Gould. “You can't believe the amount of pressure they put on him, but he hung in there … I honestly doubt that today we would have the Roosters if it wasn't for Nick.” John Quayle, to this day one of Politis' best mates, agrees: “History has never marked how important that stand was; what it meant to so many Sydney clubs.”

The Roosters culture is more akin to a close knit family, rather than an institution. A typical ‘family’ gesture occurred when Roosters legend Artie Beetson fell on hard times. Legendary Roosters coach Jack Gibson arranged a testimonial dinner. With the $400,000 raised, they bought Beetson a house in Newtown. After a nearly 40-year association with the Roosters ‘family’, Nick was asked in 2010 if he was tempted to end his association with the club. He replied: “Not at this stage. But eventually it's going to happen. I haven't got too many good summers left, you know. Somebody sooner or later will take over from me. Hopefully whoever takes over can continue the good work.” Alternatively, it may prove to be the case that Politis will remain, a Rooster for life?

Beyond his involvement with the Roosters, Nick Politis has held a number of senior positions in rugby league at the NSW and Australian levels. In 1996 he was appointed as a Director of the New South Wales Rugby League Club, a position he maintained until the year 2000. In 1997 Politis was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Australian Rugby League. He was a member of the Board for the duration of the Super League war, and again, maintained a directorship until the year 2000. After ‘peace was declared’, Politis was appointed in 1998 as a Director, of the Partnership Executive Committee, of the National Rugby League. He maintained this directorship until 2011.Throughout his Rugby League administrative career Nick maintained positions that ensured that he was one of the most powerful and influential figures in Australian Rugby League.

Involvement in other sports. The Sports Hall of Fame, Soccer and the Sydney Olympics

In September 2000, through an initiative of the Millennium Heritage Council, under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Greek Australian Sports Hall of Fame was established. Its purpose was to record and research the sporting achievements attained by Australians of Greek heritage who have distinguished themselves at either a National or International level.

As a result, 166 sports people were inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame, in the presence of the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, and the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. John Howard, during the unforgettable Millennium Ball held on Saturday, 2nd September, 2000, at the Westin Hotel in Sydney.

The evening was a historic milestone that revealed how vast the contribution was, by citizens of Greek descent, to Australian and world sport, in a very wide range of disciplines. Sportspeople travelled from all over Australia to attend the memorable event and felt enormous pride and honour at their induction. Nick Politis was amongst the first group of inductees.

In February 2000 Politis was honoured with an appointment as the Attaché to the Greek Olympic Team at the Sydney Olympic Games. On June 4th, he carried the Olympic flame along Bay Street in Brighton Le Sands, with great pride.

Nick Politis also had a brief six year involvement with the soccer club, Sydney Olympic, which had been founded by Greek migrants as Pan Hellenic in the 1950s. In 1998 Sydney Olympic was a member of the now-defunct National Soccer League (NSL). The club was being rejuvenated and privatised, and big business was circling. For a moment, it looked as if legendary stockbroker Rene Rivkin would take control of the club, but at the 11th hour Nick Politis decided to throw his lot in with a consortium labelled the Friends of Sydney Olympic.

Nick Balagiannis coined the phrase ‘five filthy rich Greeks’ to describe the new owners. Nick Politis was not fond of the epithet – it runs counter to his humble and understated style – but the local press keenly ‘ran with it’. The new owners envisaged a bright future for the club.

A number of factors contributed to the demise of the NSL. Chief among them was the loss of lucrative television rights revenue after the withdrawal of Channel Seven’s C7 Sports in 2002. By 2004 the NSL had ceased to exist. Having poured millions of dollars into the club with very little likelihood of a ‘turnaround’, Nick Politis resigned his position at the club, along with the Friends of Sydney Olympic chairman, Peter Raskopulos. When Sydney FC was being formed to take its place in the A-League (2004-2005) Nick was quick to quash unfounded rumours that he would become an owner or co-owner of the club.

Nick is very sanguine about the amount of money he has expended on sport, and the ability of anyone to make money out of sport. “I haven't seen anyone make money out of sport in Australia. It's a country of 22 million and we've got four types of football. It doesn't stack up. Think of the world - what other country that size has so many clubs? We've got 16 NRL clubs, we've got 16 AFL clubs, and we’ve got soccer, five rugby union franchises - all for 22 million.”

Throughout his life, Nick Politis kicked a lot more economic goals by involving himself with the Ford motor company. In the final sections of this biographical sketch it is time for us to turn away from his involvement in sport, and endeavour to explain how Nick became one of the most influential automotive dealers in Australia; amassing a very substantial fortune in the process. The Ford story begins soon after he graduated from High School.

Ford. A very YES place to be involved in.
"yes...yes...yes...,City Ford says yes more often"


Career counselling in his final year of school at Ipswich Grammar steered Nick Politis towards a career in sales. Upon completing University, Nick joined the Ford Graduates Trainee Program. And after 12 months in Melbourne his new career was in sales and marketing. From regional manager in the early 1970s, he moved on to take over from Jack Stratigos as the Queensland State Manager for Ford. He was an employee of the Ford Motor Company from 1966 until 1974.

In 1974 Nick bought the Wright Ford car dealership business in Sydney and changed its name to City Ford. He made the purchase through a corporation called WFM Motors Pty Ltd, trading as City Ford. He maintained that entity until 2001, when he sold the business. He continued to trade beyond 2001 as WFM Motors Pty Ltd, still engaged in the motor trade, as the owner of numerous motor vehicle franchises, car dealerships and properties.

His marketing skills were extraordinary. Even two decades after Australians last saw and heard the Ford advertisements - "yes...yes...yes...,City Ford says yes more often" – the jingle is indelibly etched on the collective Australian psyche. The secret to selling cars, Nick believes, is the same as running a successful club. ''You have to be prepared to work hard, be very enthusiastic and not give up. You need perseverance. Enthusiasm”.

Additionally, his work ethic, knowledge of the automotive industry, his business acumen and instinct, are extraordinary. He seems to know intuitively when to buy into and when to sell out of various businesses.
WFM Motors Pty Ltd has enjoyed a sustained period of economic expansion. To track this business development for 1974 to 2001, and from 2001 to date, is well beyond the scope of this biographical sketch. Suffice to say, the development was based on astute and strategic purchases and sales, which engendered great success.

This culminated in early April 2014, when Nick finalised an agreement with listed South African company Barloworld one of Australia’s largest Volkswagen dealerships in a deal worth about $130 million. “Barloworld is a good South African company and is expanding into other areas,” Politis explains. “They are also very big in mining and Caterpillar machinery.” Barloworld Motor Australia represents Holden, HSV, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen with nine dealerships. As part of the deal, Politis bought seven dealerships in Melbourne and Sydney, including the Mercedes-Benz dealership in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton, and a dealership on the Mornington Peninsula. The transaction also included a Holden dealership in Melbourne’s Glen Waverley and four Volkswagen outlets — two each in Sydney and Melbourne.

The properties of the two Melbourne dealerships, worth at least $70m, were included in the sale. However, the total value of the transaction is far less than industry sources had conjectured — between $250m and $500m. They said early in April 2014, that Politis was unlikely to be able to secure all nine dealerships, suggesting two would probably be sold if he bought the entire business to avoid market concentration issues. This is an example of yet another astute and timely purchase of a business by Nick Politis. The purchase also returned a significant segment of the automotive industry from overseas to Australian control.

Nick Politis has been a Member of the Motor Traders' Association of NSW, since 1985.

Nick Politis even greater involvement in the automotive industry is through a very significant shareholding in a Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) listed company called A. P Eagers Limited (AP Eagers). The history of AP Eagers is an intriguing one.

AP Eagers. A Driving Force. 101 years of successful involvement in the Australian Automotive Industry.

“AP Eagers currently represents both the best-selling and luxury brands, has nearly 100 dealerships, including their formidable bus and truck operations. And though still a purely automotive business they have acquired a great deal of prime real estate. The transformation of the corporation over a century is a fascinating story, of how the entity has read the prospective market and catered accordingly”.

2013 heralded 100 years involvement in the automotive Industry in Australia, for A.P. Eagers Limited. A brief history of the company’s emergence and growth is provided below. (You can access and download a more substantial history, in the e-book, A Driving Force. A. P. Eagers Centenary. 1913-2013, at http://www.apeagers.com.au/100-years/centenary-history-book/

You can access, listen to, and view an interesting audiovisual history of AP Eagers at the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame web-site at: http://leaders.slq.qld.gov.au/inductees/a-p-eagers-limited/

Most of what ensures below derives from the e-book A Driving Force.

1913: E.G. Eagers & Son Pty Ltd established by Messrs Edward and Fred Eager.
1922: Eagers installs the first motor vehicle assembly plant in Queensland.
1930: General Motors-Holden franchises acquired.
1957: Eagers Holdings Limited listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
1992: Eagers merges with A.P. Group Ltd, a company of which Mr Alan Piper was the majority shareholder, operating Ford, Toyota, Honda and Land Rover franchises.
1993-98: Porsche, VW, KIA, Volvo, Mazda and MG Rover franchises acquired.
2000: Mr Nick Politis’ WFM Motors Pty Ltd acquires a substantial interest after the death of Alan Piper.
2001: Metro/Torque Ford and Toyota business acquired.
2002: A.P. Eagers posts a record pre-tax profit of $12.3M and acquires Jaguar franchise.
2003: Market capitalization passes $100M.
2004: City Automotive Group Pty Ltd acquired in July with Mitsubishi, Subaru and Peugeot franchises. Record Group pre-tax profit of $17.2M achieved.
2005: Record Group pre-tax profit of $19.1 million achieved, turnover surpasses $1 billion.
A.P. Eagers acquires first interstate franchise, Bridge Toyota, in Darwin. Shareholders enjoyed capital growth and increased income – ‘That’s what we’re there for’, declared Nick Politis recently, ‘to give value to shareholders’. AP Eagers is proud of its consistent earnings and dividends that are not dependent solely on vehicle sales, but rest as well on the Company’s parts and service operations.
2006: Brisbane Motor Auctions and Bayside Honda/Kia businesses acquired in first quarter.
Hidden Valley Ford and the Stuart Motor Group Darwin acquired August 2006.
Record group pre-tax profit of $36.8million achieved inclusive of a $15million profit on sale of surplus property.
2007: Record group pre-tax trading profit of $40 million achieved on turnover of $1.67 billion.
Surfers City Holden, Saab and Hummer acquired in August 2007.
Kloster Motor Group acquired in February 2007. Klosters is the largest automotive retailer in the Newcastle and Hunter Valley region of New South Wales with exclusive representation for BMW / Mini, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Suzuki and VW.
2008: Bill Buckle Auto Group acquired in March 2008. The Bill Buckle Auto Group is the premier motor dealership group in Sydney’s Northern Beaches region of Brookvale and Mosman and was AP Eagers first acquisition in the Sydney market. They operate four premium brands, Toyota, Volkswagen, Subaru and Audi.
2009: Record group net profit before tax of $52.5 million, record underlying profit before tax of $50.1 million and record annual dividend of 62 cents per share.
2010: Late 2010 witnessed further expansion of the group’s truck and bus operations with the acquisition of Western Star, MAN, Dennis Eagle and Foton truck franchises at Sydney Truck Centre in Narellan, NSW, and Hyundai truck franchises at both Dandenong, Victoria, and Regency Park, South Australia, together with the Higer bus franchises at both Regency Park, South Australia and Narellan, NSW.
Adtrans Group was acquired in late 2010. Adtrans, the premier automotive retailer in South Australia, was A P Eagers’ initial entry into the South Australian and Victorian markets with Adtrans operating 7 car brands and 8 truck and bus brands across South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
Caloundra City Autos group of dealerships acquired in April 2010. Caloundra City Autos operate five brands, Holden, Honda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Great Wall on two prime sites in Queensland’s growing Sunshine Coast region.
2011: Daimler Trucks Adelaide was acquired in September 2011. This business represents Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner and Fuso products, including trucks, buses and vans, and was relocated to our existing Regency Park site.
Eblen Motors, located at Glenelg and Angaston, South Australia, and representing Subaru, Suzuki and Isuzu Ute, was acquired in March 2011 to complement Adtrans’ existing motor vehicle operations.
2012: Carzoos was established to provide used car buyers with the Carzoos Happiness Guarantee and a 48 hour money back guarantee.
In July 2012 AP Eagers purchased a stake in listed Perth-based Automotive Holdings Group, or AHG. By year’s end, AP Eagers had increased its stake to 19%, just below the trigger for notifying the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) of a takeover.
Record earnings per share (EPS) of 34 cents.
2013: AP. Eagers celebrates its centenary on 7 January 2013.
Main North Nissan and Renault and Unley Nissan and Renault, Adelaide, were acquired in September 2013 to complement the group’s strongly performing SA cars division. AP Eagers reported 2013 annual revenue was up 1% to $2.67 billion, and statutory net profit was $64 million for a 15% gain. Earnings per share (EPS) rose to a record of 36.4 cents.
Precision Automotive Technology was established as a new business to source and distribute their own range of car care products under the brand names, Perfexion and 365+.
2014: On July 16, 2014, AP Eagers provided earnings guidance for the half-year ended June 30, 2014. The company expects to achieve a record profit result for the half-year ended June 30. Operating profit is forecast around $46 million, up 10% from $42.0 million for the corresponding period of 2013, and net profit is expected to be $33.5 million, up 7% from $31.4 million, due to non-recurring tax deductions in 2013.

He who pays the piper, tunes the cars

The critical year for Nick Politis involvement in AP Eagers Ltd was 2000. On March 31st, Nick Politis, through his private company WFM Motors Pty Ltd, acquired a substantial interest of three million shares in AP Eagers Ltd - thus heading the list of shareholders - with a holding 34.69 per cent. In April 2014, this shareholding was worth $319.9 million.

The lead into this purchase occurred when Alan Piper, long-standing executive at Eagers, became ill. Continuity within Eagers was assured with Ken Macdonald remaining as Managing Director and Dennis Hull continuing as Company Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, and it was understood that all employees would continue to support them. The meeting was assured that from an operational point of view the Company was ‘as strong as ever’, and there was an indication from Nick Politis that he would accept a seat on the Board should one be offered. The Board had no doubt that with his extensive motor industry interests in Australia and abroad he would add significantly to the Company’s future. In other words AP Eagers were banking on his impeccable economic credentials, and his profile in the industry – the Greeks would call it charisma or ‘hurisma’ - to enhance the status and performance of the company.

Alan Piper, despite his serious illness, had planned for the structure of the business to remain in good hands and had asked Nick Politis to take an interest in the Company. Nick was appointed a Director on 5 May 2000, less than a month after Alan’s death. They went back a long way, having been ‘Ford dealers together’, as Nick explains; recalling Alan Piper’s years at Torque Ford and Coachcraft. Both had been part of the Ford graduate training programme, though Alan was younger. Both were sports fanatics: Alan had been Chairman of the Brisbane Lions Australian Rules Football Club while Nick was Chairman of the Sydney Roosters Rugby League Football Club. They gave birth to the current concept of corporate sponsorship for sporting clubs.

Gradually the story of the share transfer emerged, how at Pipers’ instigation Ben Macdonald rang Nick Politis on his mobile phone unexpectedly one Sunday. They knew of each other but had never met. Alan was not well and had told Ben he had only a couple of months to live. ‘He wants you to buy his stake’, said Ben, ‘he trusts you to do the right thing by his family’. Nick Politis who was about to board a flight overseas, without hesitation or fuss said: ‘Tell him I’ll buy his shares and I will come and see him as soon as I get back.’ The rest is history.

Denis Alan Aitken was appointed a Director on 30 March 2001, and would serve in that capacity until 31 March 2006. He was a Director of Auto Group Ltd, and a Director and Deputy Chairman of WFM Motors Pty Ltd. Nick Politis was described as a Motor Vehicle Dealer, Chairman of Ford’s Sydney RJV, and a Director and Executive Chairman of a substantial number of Proprietary Limited companies. WFM Motors Pty Ltd, Nick Politis’ private company, headed the list of shareholders, holding 34.69 per cent of AP Eagers in 2000. Nick Politis on 5 September 2000 had sought shareholder approval to increase his stake in AP Eagers through the acquisition of 2,300,000 shares from Damelian Automobile Ltd at $4.70 per share. This was approved by shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting on 8 November 2000. They had been assured by the Chairman that there was no indication from Nick Politis or Rick Damelian of a desire to take over the Company, and that ‘it was necessary to endorse a cornerstone investor with strong motor industry skills’. The meeting heard from Nick Politis that car manufacturers, unlike other industries, identified with personalities, not with companies. They had identified with Alan Piper and the inference was clear that now they would identify with him.

Further synergies between AP Eagers and WFM Motors were achieved in 2004. AP Eagers had acquired all the shares in City Automotive Group Pty Ltd on 1 July 2004, and the associated land and buildings, from WFM Motors, for $14.1 million. This brought them the City Mitsubishi, City Subaru and City Peugeot franchises, all conveniently situated at Newstead, adjoining the property recently bought by the Company from the Reliance Worldwide Manufacturing Group. This was achieved with shareholder approval of a special resolution, Board members Nick Politis and Denis Aitken being also directors of WFM Motors did not vote on the resolution. Shareholders were advised that this acquisition was a ‘key plank’ in the Directors’ strategy to grow the Company, and that an independent expert had found the move fair and reasonable to non-associated shareholders. That year a record Group pre-tax profit of $17.2 million was achieved by AP Eagers.

Perth based Automotive Holdings Group AHG is the largest automotive dealer listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). AP Eagers is the second largest automotive dealer on the ASX. AP Eagers has made many strategic purchases. One of its most strategic occurred with the purchase of a very substantial stake in Automotive Holdings Group during the course of 2012. In 2013, AP Eagers biggest gain in earnings came from its investments - predominantly its 19.57% stake in Automotive Holdings Group.

AHG has 152 and 87 dealerships around Australia, and in New Zealand, but it has the lion's share of the lucrative Perth market with 40 dealerships in the city, including several at the top end of the market. While AHG is based in Perth it has been expanding aggressively into the eastern states, Victoria in particular, where AP Eagers does not have a strong presence.

The AP Eagers purchase of AHG enhanced its national presence in the industry. AHG is a very high performing company. Group half-year total revenue grew 6.8% to $2.32 billion. Net profit was $38.3 million, up 1.1%. Its automotive segment revenue increased 8% to $1.92 billion and profit was up 20%. The company also operates logistics services for storage and transport.

Nick Politis position as an individual shareholder is clear. He owns almost a third of AP Eagers, which in turn owns almost 20% of Automotive Holdings Group – the two largest automotive dealers on the ASX. Nick seems to be sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat of the Australian automotive industry.

Personal Wealth

According to Business Review Weekly magazine, Nick Politis wealth as of 2010 was estimated at $182 million. However, by 2013, it was estimated at more than $200 million, with business turn-over of $4 billion annually. The following year in 2014, BRW released its annual Rich 200 list which listed Politis' wealth at $410 million. He was 171st on this list, and amongst the five wealthiest Greek-Australians in Australia. The other four are Con Makris a shopping centre magnate from South Australia. Kerry Harmanis, a nickel miner whose Jubilee Mines was acquired by resources giant Xstrata in 2007 for $3.1 billion. Harry Stamoulis and family originally owners of the Gold Medal Soft Drink company, and later property developers. Theo Karedis, originally a Neutral Bay delicatessen, who later built up the Theo’s Liquor emporium, which he sold to Coles Myer in 2002. Theo still maintains an interest in Hotels, and has invested heavily in property. And, George Koukis originally from Chalkis, near Athens who is the founder of banking software company Temenos. Temenos is a global leader in the development of banking software.

Many of Nick Politis’ achievements have been clearly laid out above. How do you sum up and commend his achievements? Aside from the economic success Nick has led a busy, interesting, exciting, significant, beneficent, fully engaged life. Who could ask for more than that?

Like the other five Australia Award recipients of 2014, he is a positive and significant role model for Kytherian-Australians, Greek-Australians, Greeks and Australians around the world.

Congratulations Nick on an honour richly deserved.

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by George Poulos on 12.09.2014

In 2002 the Roosters Rugby League Football club won the premiership.

Their first premiership since Karaviti and Kytherian, Nick Politis became associated with the club in 1976.

Nicholas (Nick) George Politis

Nick Politis is one of five Australian-Kytherian’s to receive Australian honours in 2014. On the Queen’s birthday he was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia, for significant service to rugby league football as an administrator.

He could equally have been bestowed with the honour as one of Kytherian-Australia’s, Greek-Australia’s, and Australia’s most prominent and successful businessmen.

His AM citation also mentions: Philanthropic supporter to a range of charitable organisations, ongoing.

A Kytherian and Greek Immigrants story.

The Background


The Politis story begins during the early period of the 20th century in the two major centres of the Kytherian diaspora – Egypt and Constantinople. It then devolves on the village of Karavas, Kythera. Dimitrios Kosmas Patrikios, (1860-1930), born in Karavas, migrated to Egypt as a young boy. He became a great cotton merchant and property owner in Alexandria. He was a significant benefactor to the island, donating funds to create a ‘port’ for Kythera, and in 1934-1935, with money left in his will, his descendants built the ‘Patrikio skoli’ – the Agricultural School in central Karavas.

George Nicholas Politis was born in the area around Constantinople. His family’s early life was disrupted by events in the Pontian region of Greece in the period leading up to ‘the catastrophe’ of 1922. As a young boy, the family relocated to Athens. As a young adult he gained skills and qualifications in agricultural science. Soon after the Agricultural School was constructed, he was enticed to migrate to Kythera, and take up the position of ‘thiapontos’ – agricultural teacher. He maintained this position until 1940. The enterprise was fully funded by the Dimitrios Patrikios bequest. With the advent of WWII, the fund for the agricultural school ‘dried up’, and the school was appropriated by the military. Subsequently it has occasionally been rented out as a private residence. In most of the past seven decades, however, it has been used as a place to grow agricultural products, and as a civic centre. It continues to be used for these purposes today.

George Politis settled quickly into the Karavas community, and in 1940 he married Aryiro Evangalos Venardos – parachoukli “Mull-yaros”. Aryiro is the sister of Panayotis ‘Bulli’ Venardos, who along with Poppy, continue to run the ‘cafenion’ opposite the church of Ayios Haralambos in Karavas. Other brothers and sisters included Zafaria, Emmanuel (Bill), Minas (Mick) and Poppy, the high school teacher (‘i thaskalos). Only the latter remained in Greece with Panayotis. All the others migrated to Australia. As of 2014, the surviving siblings are Aryiro and Panayotis.

Nicholas (Nick) George Politis was born at the Patrikio skoli in Karavas, Kythera in 1942. After WWII George Politis and family relocated to Athens.

Zafaria Venardos was sponsored to Australia by Mick and Bill Venardos. She married George Petrohilos, originally from Fratsia, who had been in Australia for some time. In 1950 the Venardos brothers sponsored George Politis and family to Australia. The Politis family departed from the port city of Piraeus on the migrant ship – Kirinea. Another passenger on this ship recalls that “the trip was exhausting and took 30 days. During this time we attended English language classes. We were treated very well on the ship; we were entertained by musicians, and were shown movies about our new country.” The ship berthed in Melbourne. Bill Venardos drove down from Queensland to meet the family, and drove them back to Queensland. The Politis family first went to Ipswich, which lies 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the Brisbane CBD, and stayed for a year or more. In 1952 Mick Venardos went to Blackhall, to run the Central Cafe with his brother Bill. The Central Cafe had a long history from the 1920’s of Kytherian ownership through the Cominos and Logos families.

Blackall is a small town and rural locality in the Blackall-Tambo Region in central west Queensland, Australia. Named after Sir Samuel Blackall, the second Governor of Queensland, it lies approximately 960 kilometres (600 mi) by road from the state capital, Brisbane. The town is situated on the Barcoo River and Landsborough Highway (Matilda Highway). At the 2011 census Blackhall had a population of 1,588. It is the service centre for the Blackall-Tambo Region. The dominant industry in the area is grazing.

The Venardos family were heavily involved in Rugby League. Angelo Venardos played Rugby League for Toowoomba in the Bulimba Cup competition. He now lives at Forest Beach. Bill Venardos was President of the Blackhall Rugby League Club, and a senior Administrator in Queensland Rugby League. He was also a prominent local government administrator, as well as a former president of the Kytherian Association of Queensland. His achievements were sufficiently prominent to warrant an entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

In 1953 George Politis decided to move to Blackhall, and with a partner, Peter Aloysios purchased the Central Cafe from the Vernardos brothers. Maria, George and Aryiro’s second child was born in Blackhall at this time. Maria would eventually go to Greece to study as a young adult, marry Dr John Tsellonis, and decide to reside in Greece permanently. Nick attended year four primary school at Blackhall. One of his classmates describes him as a likeable and boisterous boy.

The Politis family stayed in Blackhall for another few years before selling their half share in the Central Cafe to Peter Aloysios’ brother Mick. The family then returned to Brisbane. From 1958 George Politis made a number of astute property purchases in Brisbane. He also developed properties, including a commercial block of shops opposite the Princess Alexandra Hospital on Ipswich Road, Wooloongabba. George moved the family from Ipswich to Saint Lucia, where the University of Queensland is located. George and Aryiro’s last ‘shop keeping’ venture seems to have been purchasing a cinema at West End in South Brisbane, which they ran for 2 or 3 years and then sold. They subsequently retired.

George died in 1986. Aryiro is 97 years of old and very much alive. She spends her time on Kythera and in Athens. Kytherians who know her gain immense pleasure from meeting her in Ayia Pelagia and engaging her in conversation, during the Kytherian summer.

Nick Politis was educated at Ipswich Grammar School, for the final four years of high school (1956-1960). Nick was one of four Army Cadets under Officers in his senior year and was identified as having ‘leadership qualities’. Ipswich Grammar is one of the oldest educational institutions in Queensland (151 years old in 2014). The School takes great pride in ‘advertising’ the achievements of its most prominent ‘old boys’ who include Sydney Harbour Bridge designer John Bradfield, former Chief of Army and military historian Lieutenant General John Coates, and retired High Court Judge Harry Gibbs, and of course, influential Sydney businessman Nick Politis. The School has also produced many of Australia’s elite sportsmen.

Whilst at school, Nick was a ‘cafe kid’; he worked in a fruit shop to supplement his income. For more information about cafe culture in Queensland, with particular reference to Ipswich, see Toni Rissons’ Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill. From Ipswich Grammar School Nick followed the pathway of so many other children of Kytherian and Greek immigrants of his generation, into tertiary education. He attended the University of Queensland where he graduated in Commerce and Economics. A career with the Ford motor company would follow.

Nick is a private, almost guarded person. Something of a ‘mystery man’ to the media, he rarely gives interviews or speaks publicly. ‘I sit back, watch. You learn more that way’, he says. He is also a very tough man. Speaking about the ‘tough times’ at the Roosters, 2009-2012, he philosophises: “It (was) the toughest two or three years. It was tough but that's sport. It's all about the experience. You get addicted because you can't bank the results. If money could buy the results, all the billionaires in the world would have the trophy. You've got to be ready to take the fall and you've got to stand (during adversity). The character of people comes out when you're going bad, not when you're going well. When things go bad, that's when you've got to stay strong.” Loyalty is another trait that Nick values. He has often supported employees, friends and associates long after continuing to provide that support is in his best interest. “The thing in life is that you've got to support people when they get in trouble if they are good people,” Politis says. “That's what (I try and) do”.

As his AM citation states Nick is a philanthropic supporter to a range of charitable organisations, ongoing. In Greek we would could him a ‘sporti’. Don’t bother to sit down, however, and try and chronicle the depth and breadth of his philanthropy and benefaction. Chances are that only those who are the beneficiaries will ever know that it was he who provided the funds. He is not the kind of person who feels the need to have his benefaction acknowledged.

As he has grown older, many have noticed that he has increasingly embraced, and engaged with, his Kytherian and Greek roots. Of Kythera he says - “I just love the place”. He has visited Kythera more often over the past decade, and recently developed three units and a shop on the southern end of the beach at Ayia Pelagia, Kythera. The size of the development is modest by his standards, but the quality of the development and integration into the streetscape is superior. The shame is that so few other developers on Kythera follow his lead.

More recently he and other like minded Pelagian’s have formed a group whose purpose is to enhance the beauty and cleanliness of the Ayia Pelagia area, particularly the area on the sea frontage. Ayia Pelagia is the cleanest and best maintained beach on Kythera.

Nick Politis interest in the sporting world and business are inextricably intertwined. Somehow he has managed to balance and integrate his interest in both worlds. We will return to Nick’s career with Ford and his emergence as one of Australia’s most influential automotive dealers shortly. Firstly let’s examine his involvement in sport, and his emergence as.........

The consummate Rugby League chief executive

In almost 40 years, Nick Politis has been the central figure in some of the most momentous events, and the biggest ‘deals’, in the 105-year history of the code of Rugby League. His involvement in what would later become the National Rugby League (NRL) began in 1976, when a group of Kings Cross detectives nicknamed the ‘Darlo Desperates’, who included legendary South Sydney player, Jack Rayner, introduced Nick Politis to NSW Rugby League (NSW RL) supremo John Quayle and Eastern Suburbs Roosters CEO Ron Jones. Initially, NSW Rugby League boss Kevin Humphreys rejected Politis' proposal to sponsor the Eastern Suburbs Roosters with City Ford in 1975. In 1976, Nick broke new ground in marketing, when City Ford became the first company to sponsor a team in the NSW RL. For his first foray into rugby league, budding businessman Politis brokered a three-year $150,000 deal to have his City Ford car dealership emblazoned on the front of the Roosters jersey as major sponsor. By 1977, St George, Manly, Cronulla and every club in Sydney were brokering deals to tap into the new revenue stream. Retrospectively Politis’ idea can be assessed as a visionary and pioneering deal that altered the nature of sponsorship across many sports. I also constituted very good value for money.

In 1993 Nick moved from being sponsor to Chairman of the Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club (Sydney Roosters). He assumed the Chairmanship from Keith Steele. Long standing secretary-manager Ron Jones, stood down at the same time.

Many believe that the transformation of the Sydney Roosters coincided with Politis appointment. Hand-picking his own team of directors, which in recent years has included James Packer, Channel Nine boss David Gyngell, Mark Bouris of Wizard Home Loans and Yellow Brick Road, mining identity Peter ‘Talky’ Newton and Premier Retail chief executive Mark McInnes, Shine Australia CEO Mark Fennessy, the Roosters have sometimes not had to hold board elections for more than 10 years at a time, as there have not been disgruntled members to challenge them.

“There's no doubt that the current success of the club is the result of 15 years of hard work by Nick," said former ARL general manager John Quayle, a member of the Roosters' 1975 grand-final-winning team. “If you go back to the mid-1980s when the league was looking very closely at its struggling clubs, Easts were one of those ... so to turn things around the way they have is a tribute to Nick and his board. The changes he introduced brought stability and a professionalism ... which is now the benchmark of how a football club should be administered and coached.” Nick Politis is the Roosters. Around the club they call him ‘Uncle Nick’ or ‘The Godfather’.

“We needed to restore the Roosters DNA to the place,” Politis has asserted. “I don’t want to detract from anyone who worked here before, but we really wanted to get people back who had a feeling for this club. When we did that, I remember one of the staff rang me and thanked me for getting them back. That call meant a lot to me.” Roosters sources reveal that from time to time ‘he still dips into his vast fortune to a ‘significant degree’, when other high-profile figures on his board do not’. “Nick is the driving force of the Roosters,” says Channel Nine chief executive David Gyngell, a former director, and close Politis ally. “He has built a cult of loyalty in staff, players and friends who love the club. People often think he's all passion but he's not. He's very strategic and will always make his calls based on smart long-term decisions that are good for the club.”

The Roosters success has been obscured somewhat by the fact that the club has reached six grand finals in the past 13 years – and won only two of them. But, Politis rightly asserts “this is a record only matched by the Melbourne Storm. People forget that record. This is a great record.” Nick Politis is obsessed by the Roosters. He is a Roosters man through and through. If you're looking for proof, ask him to roll up his sleeve. Before the grand final in 2002, Nick, not a man enamoured of tattoo’s, had a Roosters logo tattooed on his arm. Before the grand final Nick said to the team: “You have to win.... don’t let me down... because you can’t take these tattoos off easily.” Subsequent to the 2002 Grand Final win – the first Roosters premiership since Nick first sponsored the team in 1976 - most of the Roosters players joined their Chairman in getting a premiership logo tattoos as well. “I'm very passionate about sport and the club. It becomes a part of your life.”

Nick gained immense satisfaction from the Roosters Grand final victory in 2013. For a precious moment on that Sunday night in October chairman Nick Politis savoured the chance to watch from afar. “As players, coaches, staff, board members and sponsors celebrated after full-time, the proud patriarch of Bondi sat alone a few rows from the fence and silently contemplated the jubilation. I just wanted to sit there for a while and take it all in by myself. I was sitting near the sidelines and everyone else had gone out on the field to celebrate. Everyone had jumped up, but I thought I'd sit back before I joined them. It was a very special moment.”

Analysing the performance later, Politis explained, “When we last won in 2002, we were in the mix and had been in the Grand Final just two years earlier. But the previous two years (2011, 2012) we finished 11th and 13th. No-one gave us a chance to win in the off-season. Not only did we win, but we broke a lot of records. We won the minor premiership, our for and against was the best-ever, and we held six teams scoreless.”

“How does that happen”, journalist Josh Massoud asked?
“It's about belief, and that's what ‘Robbo’ (coach, Trent Robinson) was able to instil in everyone this year. I noticed over the last few months of the season, no one doubted we were going to win. There was always going to be a next week. So even when we were down 18-8 in the second half, the players didn’t stop believing they would win. And if you believe in something strongly enough, it usually happens.” You can watch a very enthusiastic Nick Politis interviewed in the ‘sheds’, after the 2013 Grand Final win at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkcwHsX-X_Q

The Super League war. Politis maintains his loyalty.

Those not au fait with Rugby League and its history, may not understand what the Super League war was. The Super League war was the corporate dispute that was fought in and out of court during the mid-1990s between the Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation-backed Super League (Australia) and the Kerry Packer and Optus Vision-backed Australian Rugby League organisations, over broadcasting rights for, and ultimately control of the top-level professional rugby league football competition of Australasia. After much court action from the already-existing ARL to prevent it from happening, Super League ran one premiership season parallel to the ARL's in 1997 after signing enough clubs disenchanted with the traditional administration to do so. At the conclusion of that season a peace deal was reached and both Leagues united to form the National Rugby League of today.

During the Super League war, Politis spent long periods overseas attending to other business interests. At the time, his mobile phone would go off at all hours of the night with executives from News Limited, publisher of The Sunday Telegraph, attempting to lure the Roosters from the ARL side of the fence. Had Politis, Gould, Ken Arthurson and John Quayle not stuck solid, the ARL would have been doomed. Politis, ever true to his dictum of loyalty, couldn’t betray his friend, ARL supremo John Quayle, despite the money on offer. This loyalty also helped secure the future of many Sydney-based NRL clubs, most of which were destined for extinction under the Super League ‘model’.

“If he'd jumped it would have been the end of the ARL and a lot of our clubs here in Sydney,” says Rugby League commentator, administrator, and fellow 2014 AM recipient, Phil Gould. “You can't believe the amount of pressure they put on him, but he hung in there … I honestly doubt that today we would have the Roosters if it wasn't for Nick.” John Quayle, to this day one of Politis' best mates, agrees: “History has never marked how important that stand was; what it meant to so many Sydney clubs.”

The Roosters culture is more akin to a close knit family, rather than an institution. A typical ‘family’ gesture occurred when Roosters legend Artie Beetson fell on hard times. Legendary Roosters coach Jack Gibson arranged a testimonial dinner. With the $400,000 raised, they bought Beetson a house in Newtown. After a nearly 40-year association with the Roosters ‘family’, Nick was asked in 2010 if he was tempted to end his association with the club. He replied: “Not at this stage. But eventually it's going to happen. I haven't got too many good summers left, you know. Somebody sooner or later will take over from me. Hopefully whoever takes over can continue the good work.” Alternatively, it may prove to be the case that Politis will remain, a Rooster for life?

Beyond his involvement with the Roosters, Nick Politis has held a number of senior positions in rugby league at the NSW and Australian levels. In 1996 he was appointed as a Director of the New South Wales Rugby League Club, a position he maintained until the year 2000. In 1997 Politis was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Australian Rugby League. He was a member of the Board for the duration of the Super League war, and again, maintained a directorship until the year 2000. After ‘peace was declared’, Politis was appointed in 1998 as a Director, of the Partnership Executive Committee, of the National Rugby League. He maintained this directorship until 2011.Throughout his Rugby League administrative career Nick maintained positions that ensured that he was one of the most powerful and influential figures in Australian Rugby League.

Involvement in other sports. The Sports Hall of Fame, Soccer and the Sydney Olympics

In September 2000, through an initiative of the Millennium Heritage Council, under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Greek Australian Sports Hall of Fame was established. Its purpose was to record and research the sporting achievements attained by Australians of Greek heritage who have distinguished themselves at either a National or International level.

As a result, 166 sports people were inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame, in the presence of the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, and the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. John Howard, during the unforgettable Millennium Ball held on Saturday, 2nd September, 2000, at the Westin Hotel in Sydney.

The evening was a historic milestone that revealed how vast the contribution was, by citizens of Greek descent, to Australian and world sport, in a very wide range of disciplines. Sportspeople travelled from all over Australia to attend the memorable event and felt enormous pride and honour at their induction. Nick Politis was amongst the first group of inductees.

In February 2000 Politis was honoured with an appointment as the Attaché to the Greek Olympic Team at the Sydney Olympic Games. On June 4th, 2000, he carried the Olympic flame along Bay Street in Brighton Le Sands, with great pride.

Nick Politis also had a brief six year involvement with the soccer club, Sydney Olympic, which had been founded by Greek migrants as Pan Hellenic in the 1950s. In 1998 Sydney Olympic was a member of the now-defunct National Soccer League (NSL). The club was being rejuvenated and privatised, and big business was circling. For a moment, it looked as if legendary stockbroker Rene Rivkin would take control of the club, but at the 11th hour Nick Politis decided to throw his lot in with a consortium labelled the Friends of Sydney Olympic.

Nick Balagiannis coined the phrase ‘five filthy rich Greeks’ to describe the new owners. Nick Politis was not fond of the epithet – it runs counter to his humble and understated style – but the local press keenly ‘ran with it’. The new owners envisaged a bright future for the club.

A number of factors contributed to the demise of the NSL. Chief among them was the loss of lucrative television rights revenue after the withdrawal of Channel Seven’s C7 Sports in 2002. By 2004 the NSL had ceased to exist. Having poured millions of dollars into the club with very little likelihood of a ‘turnaround’, Nick Politis resigned his position at the club, along with the Friends of Sydney Olympic chairman, Peter Raskopulos. When Sydney FC was being formed to take its place in the A-League (2004-2005) Nick was quick to quash unfounded rumours that he would become an owner or co-owner of the club.

Nick is very sanguine about the amount of money he has expended on sport, and the ability of anyone to make money out of sport. “I haven't seen anyone make money out of sport in Australia. It's a country of 22 million and we've got four types of football. It doesn't stack up. Think of the world - what other country that size has so many clubs? We've got 16 NRL clubs, we've got 16 AFL clubs, and we’ve got soccer, five rugby union franchises - all for 22 million.”

Throughout his life, Nick Politis kicked a lot more economic goals by involving himself with the Ford motor company. In the final sections of this biographical sketch it is time for us to turn away from his involvement in sport, and endeavour to explain how Nick became one of the most influential automotive dealers in Australia; amassing a very substantial fortune in the process. The Ford story begins soon after he graduated from High School.

Ford. A very YES place to be involved in.
"yes...yes...yes...,City Ford says yes more often"


Career counselling in his final year of school at Ipswich Grammar steered Nick Politis towards a career in sales. Upon completing University, Nick joined the Ford Graduates Trainee Program. And after 12 months in Melbourne his new career was in sales and marketing. From regional manager in the early 1970s, he moved on to take over from Jack Stratigos as the Queensland State Manager for Ford. He was an employee of the Ford Motor Company from 1966 until 1974.

In 1974 Nick bought the Wright Ford car dealership business in Sydney and changed its name to City Ford. He made the purchase through a corporation called WFM Motors Pty Ltd, trading as City Ford. He maintained that entity until 2001, when he sold the business. He continued to trade beyond 2001 as WFM Motors Pty Ltd, still engaged in the motor trade, as the owner of numerous motor vehicle franchises, car dealerships and properties.

His marketing skills were extraordinary. Even two decades after Australians last saw and heard the Ford advertisements - "yes...yes...yes...,City Ford says yes more often" – the jingle is indelibly etched on the collective Australian psyche. The secret to selling cars, Nick believes, is the same as running a successful club. ''You have to be prepared to work hard, be very enthusiastic and not give up. You need perseverance. Enthusiasm”.

Additionally, his work ethic, knowledge of the automotive industry, his business acumen and instinct, are extraordinary. He seems to know intuitively when to buy into and when to sell out of various businesses.
WFM Motors Pty Ltd has enjoyed a sustained period of economic expansion. To track this business development for 1974 to 2001, and from 2001 to date, is well beyond the scope of this biographical sketch. Suffice to say, the development was based on astute and strategic purchases and sales, which engendered great success.

This culminated in early April 2014, when Nick finalised an agreement with listed South African company Barloworld one of Australia’s largest Volkswagen dealerships in a deal worth about $130 million. “Barloworld is a good South African company and is expanding into other areas,” Politis explains. “They are also very big in mining and Caterpillar machinery.” Barloworld Motor Australia represents Holden, HSV, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen with nine dealerships. As part of the deal, Politis bought seven dealerships in Melbourne and Sydney, including the Mercedes-Benz dealership in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton, and a dealership on the Mornington Peninsula. The transaction also included a Holden dealership in Melbourne’s Glen Waverley and four Volkswagen outlets — two each in Sydney and Melbourne.

The properties of the two Melbourne dealerships, worth at least $70m, were included in the sale. However, the total value of the transaction is far less than industry sources had conjectured — between $250m and $500m. They said early in April 2014, that Politis was unlikely to be able to secure all nine dealerships, suggesting two would probably be sold if he bought the entire business to avoid market concentration issues. This is an example of yet another astute and timely purchase of a business by Nick Politis. The purchase also returned a significant segment of the automotive industry from overseas to Australian control.

Nick Politis has been a Member of the Motor Traders' Association of NSW, since 1985.

Nick Politis even greater involvement in the automotive industry is through a very significant shareholding in a Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) listed company called A. P Eagers Limited (AP Eagers). The history of AP Eagers is an intriguing one.

AP Eagers. A Driving Force. 101 years of successful involvement in the Australian Automotive Industry.

“AP Eagers currently represents both the best-selling and luxury brands, has nearly 100 dealerships, including their formidable bus and truck operations. And though still a purely automotive business they have acquired a great deal of prime real estate. The transformation of the corporation over a century is a fascinating story, of how the entity has read the prospective market and catered accordingly”.

2013 heralded 100 years involvement in the automotive Industry in Australia, for A.P. Eagers Limited. A brief history of the company’s emergence and growth is provided below. (You can access and download a more substantial history, in the e-book, A Driving Force. A. P. Eagers Centenary. 1913-2013, at http://www.apeagers.com.au/100-years/centenary-history-book/

You can access, listen to, and view an interesting audiovisual history of AP Eagers at the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame web-site at: http://leaders.slq.qld.gov.au/inductees/a-p-eagers-limited/

Most of what ensures below derives from the e-book A Driving Force.

1913: E.G. Eagers & Son Pty Ltd established by Messrs Edward and Fred Eager.
1922: Eagers installs the first motor vehicle assembly plant in Queensland.
1930: General Motors-Holden franchises acquired.
1957: Eagers Holdings Limited listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
1992: Eagers merges with A.P. Group Ltd, a company of which Mr Alan Piper was the majority shareholder, operating Ford, Toyota, Honda and Land Rover franchises.
1993-98: Porsche, VW, KIA, Volvo, Mazda and MG Rover franchises acquired.
2000: Mr Nick Politis’ WFM Motors Pty Ltd acquires a substantial interest after the death of Alan Piper.
2001: Metro/Torque Ford and Toyota business acquired.
2002: A.P. Eagers posts a record pre-tax profit of $12.3M and acquires Jaguar franchise.
2003: Market capitalization passes $100M.
2004: City Automotive Group Pty Ltd acquired in July with Mitsubishi, Subaru and Peugeot franchises. Record Group pre-tax profit of $17.2M achieved.
2005: Record Group pre-tax profit of $19.1 million achieved, turnover surpasses $1 billion.
A.P. Eagers acquires first interstate franchise, Bridge Toyota, in Darwin. Shareholders enjoyed capital growth and increased income – ‘That’s what we’re there for’, declared Nick Politis recently, ‘to give value to shareholders’. AP Eagers is proud of its consistent earnings and dividends that are not dependent solely on vehicle sales, but rest as well on the Company’s parts and service operations.
2006: Brisbane Motor Auctions and Bayside Honda/Kia businesses acquired in first quarter.
Hidden Valley Ford and the Stuart Motor Group Darwin acquired August 2006.
Record group pre-tax profit of $36.8million achieved inclusive of a $15million profit on sale of surplus property.
2007: Record group pre-tax trading profit of $40 million achieved on turnover of $1.67 billion.
Surfers City Holden, Saab and Hummer acquired in August 2007.
Kloster Motor Group acquired in February 2007. Klosters is the largest automotive retailer in the Newcastle and Hunter Valley region of New South Wales with exclusive representation for BMW / Mini, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Suzuki and VW.
2008: Bill Buckle Auto Group acquired in March 2008. The Bill Buckle Auto Group is the premier motor dealership group in Sydney’s Northern Beaches region of Brookvale and Mosman and was AP Eagers first acquisition in the Sydney market. They operate four premium brands, Toyota, Volkswagen, Subaru and Audi.
2009: Record group net profit before tax of $52.5 million, record underlying profit before tax of $50.1 million and record annual dividend of 62 cents per share.
2010: Late 2010 witnessed further expansion of the group’s truck and bus operations with the acquisition of Western Star, MAN, Dennis Eagle and Foton truck franchises at Sydney Truck Centre in Narellan, NSW, and Hyundai truck franchises at both Dandenong, Victoria, and Regency Park, South Australia, together with the Higer bus franchises at both Regency Park, South Australia and Narellan, NSW.
Adtrans Group was acquired in late 2010. Adtrans, the premier automotive retailer in South Australia, was A P Eagers’ initial entry into the South Australian and Victorian markets with Adtrans operating 7 car brands and 8 truck and bus brands across South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
Caloundra City Autos group of dealerships acquired in April 2010. Caloundra City Autos operate five brands, Holden, Honda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Great Wall on two prime sites in Queensland’s growing Sunshine Coast region.
2011: Daimler Trucks Adelaide was acquired in September 2011. This business represents Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner and Fuso products, including trucks, buses and vans, and was relocated to our existing Regency Park site.
Eblen Motors, located at Glenelg and Angaston, South Australia, and representing Subaru, Suzuki and Isuzu Ute, was acquired in March 2011 to complement Adtrans’ existing motor vehicle operations.
2012: Carzoos was established to provide used car buyers with the Carzoos Happiness Guarantee and a 48 hour money back guarantee.
In July 2012 AP Eagers purchased a stake in listed Perth-based Automotive Holdings Group, or AHG. By year’s end, AP Eagers had increased its stake to 19%, just below the trigger for notifying the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) of a takeover.
Record earnings per share (EPS) of 34 cents.
2013: AP. Eagers celebrates its centenary on 7 January 2013.
Main North Nissan and Renault and Unley Nissan and Renault, Adelaide, were acquired in September 2013 to complement the group’s strongly performing SA cars division. AP Eagers reported 2013 annual revenue was up 1% to $2.67 billion, and statutory net profit was $64 million for a 15% gain. Earnings per share (EPS) rose to a record of 36.4 cents.
Precision Automotive Technology was established as a new business to source and distribute their own range of car care products under the brand names, Perfexion and 365+.
2014: On July 16, 2014, AP Eagers provided earnings guidance for the half-year ended June 30, 2014. The company expects to achieve a record profit result for the half-year ended June 30. Operating profit is forecast around $46 million, up 10% from $42.0 million for the corresponding period of 2013, and net profit is expected to be $33.5 million, up 7% from $31.4 million, due to non-recurring tax deductions in 2013.

He who pays the piper, tunes the cars

The critical year for Nick Politis involvement in AP Eagers Ltd was 2000. On March 31st, Nick Politis, through his private company WFM Motors Pty Ltd, acquired a substantial interest of three million shares in AP Eagers Ltd - thus heading the list of shareholders - with a holding 34.69 per cent. In April 2014, this shareholding was worth $319.9 million.

The lead into this purchase occurred when Alan Piper, long-standing executive at Eagers, became ill. Continuity within Eagers was assured with Ken Macdonald remaining as Managing Director and Dennis Hull continuing as Company Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, and it was understood that all employees would continue to support them. The meeting was assured that from an operational point of view the Company was ‘as strong as ever’, and there was an indication from Nick Politis that he would accept a seat on the Board should one be offered. The Board had no doubt that with his extensive motor industry interests in Australia and abroad he would add significantly to the Company’s future. In other words AP Eagers were banking on his impeccable economic credentials, and his profile in the industry – the Greeks would call it charisma or ‘hurisma’ - to enhance the status and performance of the company.

Alan Piper, despite his serious illness, had planned for the structure of the business to remain in good hands and had asked Nick Politis to take an interest in the Company. Nick was appointed a Director on 5 May 2000, less than a month after Alan’s death. They went back a long way, having been ‘Ford dealers together’, as Nick explains; recalling Alan Piper’s years at Torque Ford and Coachcraft. Both had been part of the Ford graduate training programme, though Alan was younger. Both were sports fanatics: Alan had been Chairman of the Brisbane Lions Australian Rules Football Club while Nick was Chairman of the Sydney Roosters Rugby League Football Club. They gave birth to the current concept of corporate sponsorship for sporting clubs.

Gradually the story of the share transfer emerged, how at Pipers’ instigation Ben Macdonald rang Nick Politis on his mobile phone unexpectedly one Sunday. They knew of each other but had never met. Alan was not well and had told Ben he had only a couple of months to live. ‘He wants you to buy his stake’, said Ben, ‘he trusts you to do the right thing by his family’. Nick Politis who was about to board a flight overseas, without hesitation or fuss said: ‘Tell him I’ll buy his shares and I will come and see him as soon as I get back.’ The rest is history.

Denis Alan Aitken was appointed a Director on 30 March 2001, and would serve in that capacity until 31 March 2006. He was a Director of Auto Group Ltd, and a Director and Deputy Chairman of WFM Motors Pty Ltd. Nick Politis was described as a Motor Vehicle Dealer, Chairman of Ford’s Sydney RJV, and a Director and Executive Chairman of a substantial number of Proprietary Limited companies. WFM Motors Pty Ltd, Nick Politis’ private company, headed the list of shareholders, holding 34.69 per cent of AP Eagers in 2000. Nick Politis on 5 September 2000 had sought shareholder approval to increase his stake in AP Eagers through the acquisition of 2,300,000 shares from Damelian Automobile Ltd at $4.70 per share. This was approved by shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting on 8 November 2000. They had been assured by the Chairman that there was no indication from Nick Politis or Rick Damelian of a desire to take over the Company, and that ‘it was necessary to endorse a cornerstone investor with strong motor industry skills’. The meeting heard from Nick Politis that car manufacturers, unlike other industries, identified with personalities, not with companies. They had identified with Alan Piper and the inference was clear that now they would identify with him.

Further synergies between AP Eagers and WFM Motors were achieved in 2004. AP Eagers had acquired all the shares in City Automotive Group Pty Ltd on 1 July 2004, and the associated land and buildings, from WFM Motors, for $14.1 million. This brought them the City Mitsubishi, City Subaru and City Peugeot franchises, all conveniently situated at Newstead, adjoining the property recently bought by the Company from the Reliance Worldwide Manufacturing Group. This was achieved with shareholder approval of a special resolution, Board members Nick Politis and Denis Aitken being also directors of WFM Motors did not vote on the resolution. Shareholders were advised that this acquisition was a ‘key plank’ in the Directors’ strategy to grow the Company, and that an independent expert had found the move fair and reasonable to non-associated shareholders. That year a record Group pre-tax profit of $17.2 million was achieved by AP Eagers.

Perth based Automotive Holdings Group AHG is the largest automotive dealer listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). AP Eagers is the second largest automotive dealer on the ASX. AP Eagers has made many strategic purchases. One of its most strategic occurred with the purchase of a very substantial stake in Automotive Holdings Group during the course of 2012. In 2013, AP Eagers biggest gain in earnings came from its investments - predominantly its 19.57% stake in Automotive Holdings Group.

AHG has 152 and 87 dealerships around Australia, and in New Zealand, but it has the lion's share of the lucrative Perth market with 40 dealerships in the city, including several at the top end of the market. While AHG is based in Perth it has been expanding aggressively into the eastern states, Victoria in particular, where AP Eagers does not have a strong presence.

The AP Eagers purchase of AHG enhanced its national presence in the industry. AHG is a very high performing company. Group half-year total revenue grew 6.8% to $2.32 billion. Net profit was $38.3 million, up 1.1%. Its automotive segment revenue increased 8% to $1.92 billion and profit was up 20%. The company also operates logistics services for storage and transport.

Nick Politis position as an individual shareholder is clear. He owns almost a third of AP Eagers, which in turn owns almost 20% of Automotive Holdings Group – the two largest automotive dealers on the ASX. Nick seems to be sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat of the Australian automotive industry.

Personal Wealth

According to Business Review Weekly magazine, Nick Politis wealth as of 2010 was estimated at $182 million. However, by 2013, it was estimated at more than $200 million, with business turn-over of $4 billion annually. The following year in 2014, BRW released its annual Rich 200 list which listed Politis' wealth at $410 million. He was 171st on this list, and amongst the five wealthiest Greek-Australians in Australia. The other four are Con Makris a shopping centre magnate from South Australia. Kerry Harmanis, a nickel miner whose Jubilee Mines was acquired by resources giant Xstrata in 2007 for $3.1 billion. Harry Stamoulis and family originally owners of the Gold Medal Soft Drink company, and later property developers. Theo Karedis, originally a Neutral Bay delicatessen, who later built up the Theo’s Liquor emporium, which he sold to Coles Myer in 2002. Theo still maintains an interest in Hotels, and has invested heavily in property. And, George Koukis originally from Chalkis, near Athens who is the founder of banking software company Temenos. Temenos is a global leader in the development of banking software.

Many of Nick Politis’ achievements have been clearly laid out above. How do you sum up and commend his achievements? Aside from the economic success Nick has led a busy, interesting, exciting, significant, beneficent, fully engaged life. Who could ask for more than that?

Like the other five Australia Award recipients of 2014, he is a positive and significant role model for Kytherian-Australians, Greek-Australians, Greeks and Australians around the world.

Congratulations Nick on an honour richly deserved.

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by The Australian Newspaper on 08.09.2014

Spirits of 42nd Street

MICHAEL SWEET

THE AUSTRALIAN MAGAZINE, THE AUSTRALIAN, SEPTEMBER 06, 2014, pp 24-28.

......In a quiet olive grove on a Greek island, and aboriginal smoking ceremony marks the unsung heroism of Anzac soldiers......

Photograph: Smoking ceremony: Reg Saunders’ daughter Dorothy in the olive grove. Picture: Michael Sweet

Smoke from burning eucalyptus wafts through the ancient olive grove in the foothills of Crete’s White Mountains.

On this bright spring morning, as the smoke filters through the gnarled branches, people with a profound connection to this place gather. Glenda Humes, eldest ­surviving daughter of Aboriginal soldier Captain Reg Saunders, is here with her sisters Judith and Dorothy and their families, performing an ­Aboriginal smoking ceremony to cleanse this place, to give strength to those visiting and to call out to the spirits of those who fell here in battle.

The olive grove lies beside Tsikalarion Road on the outskirts of Chania, a city on Crete’s north coast. It’s a nondescript road, two kilometres long and flanked by a few houses and an industrial unit. At one point it goes under the island’s east-west highway. As truck drivers, local speedsters and tourists thunder down the highway, few notice the road below. Why should they? For what purpose would you stop at this featureless underpass? Many World War II battle sites have one thing in common: they are invisible to the unaided eye. Shrouded by 70 years of development, nothing about Tsikalarion Road – or “42nd Street”, as it was named by Allied troops serving in Crete, after a popular Hollywood musical – hints at its history. But now, this seemingly unremarkable place has visitors.

Humes, an elder of the Gunditjmara people of western Victoria, first came to 42nd Street in 2010, on her way to thank the Cretan family who had protected her father while he was on the run following the fall of the island to the ­Germans in June 1941. On that visit, a chance find in a field beside the road began her odyssey. Something gleaming in the red earth caught the eye of her brother-in-law Rod Standen: a spent rifle cartridge, later identified by Australian War Memorial experts as coming from a .303 Lee-Enfield rifle – standard issue for the Anzacs. Given the location of the find, the AWM said there was ­little reason to doubt it had been fired on May 27, 1941 by an Anzac soldier – the only time they engaged German forces at 42nd Street ­during the Battle of Crete.

“It was a sign,” says Humes. “I knew we needed to find a way to mark this site, because the battle and what it represents shouldn’t be forgotten or left as a footnote in a history book. Because Dad was here as a very young soldier, and had such a profound experience here, I suppose I felt a connection to this place.”

The German conquest of Greece in April 1941 sparked a desperate evacuation of Allied troops from the mainland; outgunned and exhausted, a portion of them were given the job of defending Crete. The battle for the island began on May 20, 1941, with a mass landing by German paratroopers – the largest airborne invasion the world had known. British, Anzac and Greek forces fought tooth and nail but the doomed campaign exposed the failure of Britain and its Commonwealth partners to match the resourcefulness of Axis military power.

Despite heroic resistance, within days of the enemy paratroops landing the majority of Allied forces were either in retreat or surrounded, with no hope of reinforcement. On the morning of May 27, hundreds of Australian and New ­Zealand troops were dug in along 42nd Street. They comprised the exhausted remnants of two Australian battalions (the 2/7th and 2/8th, raised in Victoria) and four New Zealand battalions, one of which was the 28th Maori Battalion. Many of these troops had been fighting continuously for seven days.

Just before daylight, the Allied commanders conferred; knowing German forces were close, they agreed that if the enemy approached the Anzacs would engage them, despite their ­condition. The Germans did approach – in the form of the 1st Battalion, 141st Gebirgsjäger Regiment, a division of mountain troops freshly arrived from the Greek mainland. As Australian infantry scouts marked their progress, the order was given along 42nd Street to fix bayonets, and just before 11am one of the first Germans appeared in the gunsight of a young digger from western Victoria, Reg Saunders of the 2/7th Battalion. Saunders took aim at his quarry standing some 30m away and fired. It was the first time he had ever knowingly killed another human being. “When I got there I was terribly sorry about it,” he later recalled in an interview. “I looked at him and he was a blond, blue-eyed bloke… his eyes were still open, blood was still running out of him, out of his mouth. It was an awful experience… I rolled him over to have a look at him and I thought, ‘Jesus, you’re about the same age as me.’ I wished I could say, ‘Come on old fellow, get up and let’s get on with the bloody game,’ you know… thinking football.”

Shortly after, the action built to a brutal ­climax. As the enemy, largely hidden among the olive trees, poured machinegun and mortar fire into the Anzac lines, down the road the Maoris’ blood was up. Private Hemi Hemara Aupouri, on his own initiative, rose from his defensive position; clutching a Bren gun ­magazine in one hand, he began to perform the Tutu Ngarahu – the Maori war dance that signals physical preparation for confrontation with weapons. Immediately, scores of soldiers around him began screaming the Ka Mate haka and together, eyes rolling and glazed, tongues extended in grotesque gesticulation, the Maori warriors advanced, proclaiming both the triumph of life over death and their preparation for death itself.

The haka rang out across 42nd Street, ­stiffening the spirits of the hundreds of Anzacs along the road. They charged the enemy as one. Years later Saunders described the action as “the most thrilling few minutes of my life… obsessed with this mad race to slaughter…” To Saunders, this hand-to-hand fighting confirmed not difference but universal similarity with his Aryan adversary. “When we got there they were real men, excited like us, and some of them terribly frightened.”

In the face of this violence, many petrified Germans threw away their packs and ran. Some were shot from the hip, and those who were overrun were bayoneted to death. It was a shocking action carried out by troops at their physical and psychological limits. The charge at 42nd Street is thought to have resulted in the deaths of between 200 and 300 German ­soldiers. Anzac casualties were far lower, with estimates suggesting 14 Australians and 19 New Zealanders were killed.

While the strategic significance of the battle has been argued over by historians (resistance by the Greek Army and Cretan irregulars at Alikianos, 10km east of 42nd Street, was ­crucial in holding the German advance during the ­Battle of Crete), what is undeniable is that the action gave the retreating Allied forces some breathing space from the German onslaught, albeit for a few precious hours. Subsequently it provided protection for the withdrawal to the south coast village of Chora Sfakion where more than 12,000 men would be evacuated by the Royal Navy before the surrender of the remaining Allied forces on June 1.

The experiences of Saunders and his Maori brothers-in-arms converged again when the 2/7th Battalion and the 28th Maori Battalion became the fighting rearguard for the thousands of troops heading to the evacuation point. Arriving last, inevitably many were left behind to face capture or, like Saunders, to become part of the extraordinary story of those who, with the help of the Cretan people, remained on the island for up to two years after the surrender. Hemi Hemara Aupouri was evacuated and would go on to fight in Syria, Libya and Egypt before dying of wounds in August 1942, aged 30, ­following the first Battle of El Alamein.

Saunders took to the mountains and, ­protected largely by villagers, spent almost a year on the run before being evacuated from Crete in May 1942. After rejoining his unit in ­Palestine, he returned with the rest of the 6th Division to assist with the defence of Australia. By mid-1943 he was fighting in New Guinea, the theatre of war that had claimed his brother, Harry. Reg Saunders graduated as an officer in November 1944 – the first Aboriginal man to be made a commissioned officer in the Australian Army. He was 24 years old.

Loved by the diggers he served with, Saunders found in the military an environment where his qualities were recognised unconditionally. But back in civilian life, he suffered the indifference of postwar Australian society. After challenging the evil of the Nazis, the brutality of the Japanese and later the communists in Korea, Saunders had one last opponent to fight – Australia’s own racial prejudice.

It would be hard to find a more abject example of a society’s failure than the way Saunders was treated after his World War II service. Menial jobs with meagre responsibilities and opportunities followed his demobilisation: a conductor on a Melbourne tram, foundry work and work as a tally clerk on the Port Melbourne wharves. It was a similar story for hundreds of indigenous returned servicemen. Not that ­institutional prejudice was anything new to the Saunders clan. After World War I Reg’s father, Chris, a veteran of the ­Western Front, was ­disqualified from receiving a soldier settlement plot on the basis of his Aboriginality. With appalling irony, tracts of Gunditjmara land at Lake Condah mission, where Reg grew up, were available only to white veterans.

As the nation’s political system began finally to take account of the welfare of all Australians, irrespective of race, after the 1967 referendum, Saunders took up a position in the newly created Office of Aboriginal Affairs in 1969 as one of its first Liaison Officers. His work was recognised in 1971 when he was awarded an MBE, and he continued to serve with Aboriginal Affairs (which became a fully-fledged Department in 1972) until retirement. Saunders died on March 2, 1990, and his ashes were scattered in a forest clearing at the Lake Condah mission on the ­traditional land of the Gunditjmara people.

His daughter Glenda Humes’ campaign to create a memorial for 42nd Street has borne fruit. After forming a trust in 2011 to manage funding, Australia’s Greek and Cretan communities gave generously to create a fine bronze plaque. With its airfreight to Greece sponsored by Etihad Airways and Aegean Airlines, the one-metre-square tablet, weighing 80kg and sculpted by Melbourne military plaque maker Dr Ross Bastiaan, depicts the geography of the site and interprets the story in English and Greek. There is one line of Maori that stands out proudly on the burnished bronze: Ka mate, Ka mate, Ka ora, Ka ora – “I may live, I may live, I may die, I may die”. Presented to the mayor of Chania, the plaque will be the centrepiece of a memorial to be built on the road; it is due to be inaugurated in May 2016, the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Crete.

May 2014: Reg Saunders’ great grandchildren William, seven, Summer, nine, Taine, 12, and Breanna, 13, and granddaughter Merinda, 32, have helped clear a patch of ground for the ­ceremony in the 42nd Street olive grove. Proudly wearing medals bestowed on their great-grandfather by the Greek government for his role in the 1941 Greek campaign (Australia has never recognised the campaign as deserving of a medal), they watch silently, fascinated, as the descendants of the 28th Maori Battalion ­soldiers arrive in the smoke-filled grove.

Group leader, historian Monty Soutar, says that while the haka performed at 42nd Street has become legend, Hemi Hemara Aupouri, the man who initiated it, has had little recognition beyond New Zealand. “Maori have an oral tradition where they have maintained accounts such as 42nd Street. It’s widely known on our side of the ditch that the stimulus for the charge was Aupouri, who, by starting the haka, inspired the men to get up off the road and, despite the bullets, take on the Germans.”

Leading the Maoris as they file into the grove are three young men, each with a Taiaha, the traditional wooden weapon of their culture. Once assembled they form a circle, heads bowed. The choreography of the private event is precise: a Cretan “welcome to country” by local resident and archaeologist Anaya Sarpaki, who helped research the 42nd Street story, is followed by a short Christian service, before Soutar reminds those gathered of the events that unfolded on the site 73 years before.

One elderly lady stands in the shade of an ancient olive, surrounded by her daughter, granddaughter, nephews and nieces. She is Ruby Mill, 81, daughter of Hemi Hemara Aupouri. Ruby was a young girl when her father went off to war; she has no recollection of him. She’s never been out of New Zealand before, but she had to be here to see this place.

Ruby’s daughter Libby, who first heard of her grandfather’s wartime exploits at school, says the visit has opened a book that had been closed. “He was a very humble man. He didn’t have a lot to say, so when I heard about 42nd Street I was blown away… It’s made things fall into place, put a cover on one part of my journey towards my grandfather. When I get back home, I want to find out more,” she says.

Led by Libby’s 16-year-old daughter Rhia, a haka is performed in memory of Aupouri and the men who were beside him that morning in 1941. What follows is a transcendent performance that binds the present with the past. As the haka comes to its powerful climax, Glenda Humes and Ruby Mill take each other’s hands in a simple act of connection and love. The eucalyptus smoke mingles with the dust thrown up by the haka and in the soft light, two families, two clans, two peoples, whose histories are entwined at this sacred site, embrace.

“Once I heard the Maoris and Ruby and her family were going to be here, I knew something special would happen,” says Humes, as she makes her way from the olive grove. “It’s hard to verbalise what just happened,” she adds, her eyes moist with emotion. “To mark this place, this story, with them, is such an honour. Though our fathers didn't know each other and weren't aware of each other, they had a shared experience. ­Seventy-three years later we've come together, with our children and their children, and it’s something very precious that our families will never forget. That’s how we teach our children – we take them there and show them and say, ‘This is your history’.”

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by Gaye Andronicos Reeve on 19.08.2014

XFactor finalist - through to the third round

Congratulations Rochelle!
Rochelle Pitt-Watson from Cairns in far north Queensland is a nurse by profession, a mother of four children and a singer-songwriter.
Last night Rochelle was voted through to the third round of the Australia wide competition, XFactor shown on channel 7.
Rochelle is the granddaughter of 95 year old Rene Andronicos of Brisbane (author of the recent publication, Maudie..Put the Record on), and great-granddaughter of Theo G. Andronicos (born 1881) Potamos, on the island of Kythera.

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by Gaye Andronicos Reeve on 13.08.2014

xfactor finalist

Rochelle Pitt, a mature age contestant, has successfully reached the finals of this year's Australia wide xfactor competition on channel 7.
We are very proud of her achievement and wish her every success. Rochelle is the grand-daughter of Rene Andronicos from Brisbane, (author of Maudie Put the Record On) and great-grandaughter of Theo G. Andronicos of Potomos.

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by AHEPA NSW on 28.07.2014

AHEPA turns 80!

Are you related to one of the following gentlemen? Then we want to hear from you! At a meeting at Werris Creek NSW in May 1934, they assembled, becoming the founding fathers of the ORDER OF THE AUSTRALIAN HELLENIC EDUCATIONAL PROGRESSIVE ASSOCIATION.

According to the first official minutes of the Order, written during the second meeting in Armidale, NSW, on 15 August 1934, the first committee consisted of: President - Nikolaos Andronikos; Vice-Presidents - Lambros Megalokonomos and Philippos Phyrros; General Secretary – Christophoros Souris; Special Secretary - Demetrios Zantiotis; Treasurer - Demetrios Souris; Committee Members - Emanuel Kypriotis - Demetrios Katsoulis - Panayiotis Kypriotis - Ioannis Moulos - Haralambos Phardoulis - Emanuel Aronis - Sarrantis Souris - Nikolaos Phyrros (Fyrros) - Evangelos Christianos - Antonios Barbouttis.

The following were also in attendance, forming part of the original membership: Christos Souris - Demetrios Zantiotis - Spyridon Katsoulis - Haralambos - Sotiris Christianos – Georgios Mainas - Panayiotis Aronis - Emanuel Petroheilos - Vasileios Kalokairinos - Ioannis Phyrros - Kosmas Marsellos - Elias Bizanes - Haralambos Phlaskas - Georgios Phardoulis – Demetrios Hantiotis – Anastasios Houloudis – Philippos Phyrros – Demetrios Souris – Panayiotis Souris – Georgios Kominos.

On Saturday 15 November 2014, the Order of AHEPA (NSW and NZ) will be celebrating its 80th year. At the AHEPA CHARITY BALL, the successors of those visionary individuals are calling upon their descendants to attend, in order to be presented with special commemorative awards honouring the founding fathers of the Order.

These gentlemen had a vision, recorded in the Minutes: «Σκοπός του Συνδέσμου είναι η εθνική, κοινωνική κι εμπορική ωφέλεια των μελών αυτού, η υποστήριξης παντός εθνικού και κοινωφελές σκοπόν και η προσπάθεια όπως εξυψώνει το εθνικό γόητρον και την εθνικήν υπόληψιν της ομογένειας εν Αυστραλία.» (The purpose of the Association is the national, social and commercial benefit of the members, the support of every national and philanthropic purpose and effort which raises the national image and the national υπόληψιν of Hellenism in Australia.)

The Order is also looking to secure copies of photographs, correspondence, notice papers, or any other memorabilia related to AHEPA’s early years.

Please contact the Grand President, Mr John Kallimanis on 0415 223 489, or the Grand Secretary, Dr Panayiotis Diamadis at AHEPA NSW

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by Hellenic War Memorials on 02.06.2014

Map of the action on 27 May 1941 from the official Australian military history.

Including the battle of 42nd Street, near current day Tsikalarion, Crete, Greece.

View / download the brochure, here:

42nd Street brochure.pdf

In WWII the name '42nd Street' was given to what was then a country
lane south-east of Chania, by a British unit who set up camp there in 1940 - the 42nd Field Company Royal Engineers. The popular 1936 Hollywood musical '42nd Street' that was familiar to the troops confirmed its nickname as preparations were made to defend Crete in 1941.

After the German airborne invasion of the island on 20 May 1941
and the loss of Maleme airfield two days later, despite outstanding gallantry and initial success at Maleme and Galatas (and at Rethymno and Heraklion in the east), the Allied forces in western Crete - mostly Australian and New Zealand (Anzac) soldiers - were involved in a desperate fighting retreat.

On the night of 26 May, Anzac units deployed south of Chania had
pulled back to defensive positions along 42nd Street. Hundreds of soldiers - the remnants of seven battalions - two Australian (the 2/8 and 2/7) and five New Zealand (21, 28 Maori, and elements of the NZ 19, 22 and 23 battalions) - were dug in on the eastern side of the road, facing west.

Before daylight on 27 May, a meeting took place between the Allied commanders present. They agreed that if the enemy appeared, their troops would engage them. That morning, the Germans in the form of the 1st Battalion of the 141st Gebirgsjäger Regiment - an elite division of Austrian mountain troops that had landed at Maleme just days before - began advancing towards 42nd Street.

As Anzac scouts marked their progress, the order was given by the
Allied commanders to fix bayonets. At 11a.m. the enemy appeared in the defenders' sights. As the forces engaged, records have been unable to confirm whether it was the Australians or New Zealanders who charged first, but one action forever symbolises the events that unfolded as the Anzacs engaged the enemy.

As the fighting began, on his own initiative, a Maori soldier - Private
Hemara Aupouri, rose from his position. With one hand clutching a bren gun magazine - as a Maori warrior of old would have done with a stone patu (club) - he began to perform a Haka , the ancient call-to- arms of the Indigenous people of New Zealand.

Joined by his fellow Kiwis, the haka rang out through the olive groves,
and the New Zealanders and Australians charged as one. Between the 2/7 Battalion and the Maoris, was the NZ 21 Battalion; its historian takes up the story: "The forward companies of 21 Battalion had scarcely lined the sunken road when they heard yells that could only come from Maori throats. It was a blood-stirring Haka.

"The Australians produced a scream even more spine chilling than the
Maori effort and the sight of the Maori battalion charging with vocal accompaniment sent the whole line surging forward.

"The appearance of a line of yelling Maoris sent [the enemy] to ground
and they opened heavy defensive fire... A few stray Greek soldiers added their Hellenic yells to the blood-curdling din.

"Australian infantrymen of the 2/7 Battalion leapt from their positions and with a raucous yell charged."

One of those infantrymen was Private Reg Saunders: "When we go there they were real men, excited like us and some of them terribly frightened. They were highly-trained Germans but they got such a shock." The New Zealand official history goes on to describe the effect of the charge: "The forward elements of the enemy did not wait. They threw away their packs and ran. They were shot from the hip and those who hid in the scrub were bayoneted."

The Anzac thrust continued for almost 1500 metres, pausing briefly
at a 'wadi' (dry river bed) some 600-800 metres west of 42nd Street. Estimates suggest that over 200 German troops were killed in the action, with around 35 Australian and New Zealand soldiers killed or mortally wounded. When the charge came to an end, the Anzacs tramped back through the olive groves, carrying their wounded and dead past the bodies of the fallen enemy, to their original positions. "The [German] ground troops gave no more trouble that day," concluded the NZ history.

In the hours that followed, Chania fell to the Germans. Meanwhile
parties of enemy troops began circling the 42nd Street positions to the south. That night under cover of darkness, the last Anzacs at 42nd Street began to retreat east.

The charge had done much to enable Allied forces in the west to break
contact with the German advance and begin the withdrawal to the south coast. For the next four days and nights, many of those who had fought at 42nd Street took part in a series of rearguard actions with British commandos to protect other units heading to the evacuation point at Sfakia.

Private Hemi Hemara Aupouri of C Company 28 (Maori) Battalion led the Haka at 42nd Street. Aupouri survived the action, but was wounded at the second battle of El Alamein in Egypt and died of his wounds on 3 September 1942.

Today, 42nd Street is known as Tsikalarion. It branches south from
Leoforos Soudas - the E75 road - which connects Chania to the town of Souda. The positions of the Anzacs stretched from the intersection of Tsikalarion and Leoforos Soudas in the north, to approximately where
today the VOAK highway crosses Tsikalarion to the south.

Most of the olive groves on the western side of the road are long gone, but a few small fields of ancient trees that were present during the battle survive.

As you walk along Tsikalarion and through what remains of those olive
groves, pause to reflect on the events that took place there on 27 May 1941 - take a moment to honour the memory of the Anzacs at 42nd Street, and to all who fought and fell there.

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by Hellenic War Memorials on 02.06.2014

Brochure of the 42nd Street battle in Crete, during WWII

42nd Street brochure.pdf

In WWII the name '42nd Street' was given to what was then a country
lane south-east of Chania, Crete, by a British unit who set up camp there in 1940 - the 42nd Field Company Royal Engineers. The popular 1936 Hollywood musical '42nd Street' that was familiar to the troops confirmed its nickname as preparations were made to defend Crete in 1941.

After the German airborne invasion of the island on 20 May 1941
and the loss of Maleme airfield two days later, despite outstanding gallantry and initial success at Maleme and Galatas (and at Rethymno and Heraklion in the east), the Allied forces in western Crete - mostly Australian and New Zealand (Anzac) soldiers - were involved in a desperate fighting retreat.

On the night of 26 May, Anzac units deployed south of Chania had
pulled back to defensive positions along 42nd Street. Hundreds of soldiers - the remnants of seven battalions - two Australian (the 2/8 and 2/7) and five New Zealand (21, 28 Maori, and elements of the NZ 19, 22 and 23 battalions) - were dug in on the eastern side of the road, facing west.

Before daylight on 27 May, a meeting took place between the Allied commanders present. They agreed that if the enemy appeared, their troops would engage them. That morning, the Germans in the form of the 1st Battalion of the 141st Gebirgsjäger Regiment - an elite division of Austrian mountain troops that had landed at Maleme just days before - began advancing towards 42nd Street.

"Australian infantrymen of the 2/7 Battalion leapt from their positions and with a raucous yell charged."

One of those infantrymen was Private Reg Saunders: "When we go there they were real men, excited like us and some of them terribly frightened. They were highly-trained Germans but they got such a shock." The New Zealand official history goes on to describe the effect of the charge: "The forward elements of the enemy did not wait. They threw away their packs and ran. They were shot from the hip and those who hid in the scrub were bayoneted."

The Anzac thrust continued for almost 1500 metres, pausing briefly
at a 'wadi' (dry river bed) some 600-800 metres west of 42nd Street. Estimates suggest that over 200 German troops were killed in the action, with around 35 Australian and New Zealand soldiers killed or mortally wounded. When the charge came to an end, the Anzacs tramped back through the olive groves, carrying their wounded and dead past the bodies of the fallen enemy, to their original positions. "The [German] ground troops gave no more trouble that day," concluded the NZ history.

In the hours that followed, Chania fell to the Germans. Meanwhile
parties of enemy troops began circling the 42nd Street positions to the south. That night under cover of darkness, the last Anzacs at 42nd Street began to retreat east.

The charge had done much to enable Allied forces in the west to break
contact with the German advance and begin the withdrawal to the south coast. For the next four days and nights, many of those who had fought at 42nd Street took part in a series of rearguard actions with British commandos to protect other units heading to the evacuation point at Sfakia.

Private Hemi Hemara Aupouri of C Company 28
(Maori) Battalion who led the Haka at 42nd Street. Aupouri survived the action, but was wounded at the second battle of El Alamein in Egypt and died of his wounds on 3 September 1942.

Today, 42nd Street is known as Tsikalarion. It branches south from
Leoforos Soudas - the E75 road - which connects Chania to the town of Souda. The positions of the Anzacs stretched from the intersection of

Map of the action on 27 May 1941 from the official Australian military history.

As Anzac scouts marked their progress, the order was given by the
Allied commanders to fix bayonets. At 11a.m. the enemy appeared in the defenders' sights. As the forces engaged, records have been unable to confirm whether it was the Australians or New Zealanders who charged first, but one action forever symbolises the events that unfolded as the Anzacs engaged the enemy.

As the fighting began, on his own initiative, a Maori soldier - Private
Hemara Aupouri, rose from his position. With one hand clutching a bren gun magazine - as a Maori warrior of old would have done with a stone patu (club) - he began to perform a Haka , the ancient call-to- arms of the Indigenous people of New Zealand.

Joined by his fellow Kiwis, the haka rang out through the olive groves,
and the New Zealanders and Australians charged as one. Between the 2/7 Battalion and the Maoris, was the NZ 21 Battalion; its historian takes up the story: "The forward companies of 21 Battalion had scarcely lined the sunken road when they heard yells that could only come from Maori throats. It was a blood-stirring Haka.

"The Australians produced a scream even more spine chilling than the
Maori effort and the sight of the Maori battalion charging with vocal accompaniment sent the whole line surging forward.

"The appearance of a line of yelling Maoris sent [the enemy] to ground
and they opened heavy defensive fire... A few stray Greek soldiers added their Hellenic yells to the blood-curdling din.

Tsikalarion and Leoforos Soudas in the north, to approximately where
today the VOAK highway crosses Tsikalarion to the south.
Most of the olive groves on the western side of the road are long gone, but a few small fields of ancient trees that were present during the battle survive.

As you walk along Tsikalarion and through what remains of those olive
groves, pause to reflect on the events that took place there on 27 May 1941 - take a moment to honour the memory of the Anzacs at 42nd Street, and to all who fought and fell there.

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by Neos Kosmos, Melbourne on 01.06.2014

42nd Street memorial realised

WWII Anzac plaque to be presented to Chania Municipality on the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Crete

Sisters in arms: memorial organisers Glenda Humes (R) with Judith Standen (C) and Dorothy Burton in Crete. Photo: Mike Sweet.

Neos Kosmos

21 May 2014

Michael Sweet


A memorial marking a historic battle involving Australian and New Zealand forces in Crete in May 1941 will be unveiled next week at the official Battle of Crete commemorations by Australia's Ambassador to Greece.

Ambassador Jenny Bloomfield and Ms Glenda Humes - the eldest daughter of Aboriginal Battle of Crete veteran Reg Saunders - will present the specially-commissioned plaque to the Municipality of Chania on 21 May in the village of Tsikalaria, close to the 1941 battle site.

The 80kg '42nd Street' plaque - made of solid bronze and measuring one metre square - depicts a vital action by Australian and New Zealand forces in the last days of the Battle of Crete.

The action at 42nd Street on 27 May 1941 was one of the last major actions during the battle for Crete which pushed the Germans into retreat - buying precious time for Allied troops to be evacuated. The site has never previously been marked.

42nd Street was the name given by Allied soldiers to the country lane running south east of Chania towards Tsikalaria. Today it is known as Tsikalarion.

Download a brilliant brochure explaining circumstances of the battle of 42nd Street battle, and its context of the battles in Greece and Crete during WWII, here:

42nd Street brochure.pdf

The presentation - as part of the official 73rd Battle of Crete anniversary commemorations - brings full circle three years of research, planning and fundraising.

The plaque has been largely paid for by donations from the Greek community in Australia. Etihad Airways and Aegean Airlines sponsored the air freight of the plaque from Melbourne to Chania.

The plaque's organisers are The Friends of 42nd Street Trust - a not-for-profit organisation established three years ago by the daughters of Captain Reg Saunders MBE (1920-1990). Glenda Humes is the president of the Trust. Other members of the organisation's committee include sisters Dorothy and Judith, and Pancretan Association of Melbourne vice-president John Rerakis.

After Crete, Reg Saunders, who was a member of the Australian 2/7 Battalion, became the first Aboriginal Australian to be made an officer in the Australian army.

Ms Humes, who will be in Crete for the plaque's presentation, told Neos Kosmos that the event was the culmination of efforts and much generosity from the Greek Australian community, and the project's many supporters in Australia, New Zealand and Greece.

"We're very excited to be able to bring this plaque as a gift to the people of Crete, to mark a location which is a vital part of Australia, Greece and New Zealand's entwined history," she said.

"The Cretan people looked after my father after the Battle of Crete - along with hundreds of other Australian and New Zealand soldiers - and we are forever grateful to the Cretan people who sacrificed so much during WWII."

Meanwhile Ambassador Jenny Bloomfield told Neos Kosmos that she was delighted to be able to attend the plaque's presentation at this year's Battle of Crete commemorations.

"I congratulate The Friends of 42nd Street Trust for this initiative, which has been strongly supported by the Australian Embassy in Athens. Of all the events in the shared history between Australia and Greece, the Battle of Crete is the most significant," said the ambassador.

"Australians have never forgotten the resilience, the self-sacrifice, but also the mateship and compassion of the people of Crete. The events of those dark days forged a strong bond between our two nations and are part of the personal stories of many Australians - such as the Saunders/Humes family, and many others.

"As we mark the 73rd anniversary of the Battle, we would like to pay tribute to all those who gave their lives, and to express our heartfelt thanks to the people of Crete. Australians will never forget you."

The 42nd Street event is one of the last major events Ambassador Bloomfield will attend in Greece, with her three year posting coming to an end in six weeks.

The plaque - which Neos Kosmos understands will be officially received by the Mayor of Chania Mr Manolis Skoulakis - comprises English, Greek and Maori texts and sculpted illustrations to tell the story of the 42nd Street battle and its consequences. The bronze has been produced by Melbourne plaque-maker Dr Ross Bastiaan AM.

Joining Glenda Humes and Ambassador Bloomfield for the presentation will be many Anzac veterans' families, including descendants of the Maori troops who took part in the battle. The NZ 28 (Maori) Battalion - with the Australian 2/7 Battalion - were the first units to repulse the German advance to the west of 42nd Street on the morning of 27 May 41.

Their actions - a brutal bayonet charge against newly arrived German reinforcements - were spurred on by one Maori soldier performing a haka, the ancient war dance of the Maori people, as the fighting began.

The charge resulted in the death of some 200 enemy soldiers, with the Anzacs losing around 35 men killed. A number of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who took part in the charge became the fighting rearguard of the Allied troops in western Crete - protecting those heading to the evacuation point at Sfakia.

Organisations in Australia which donated to the 42nd Street project include The Pancretan Association of Melbourne, The Cretan Association of Sydney and New South Wales, The Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand, and The Australian Hellenic Council. The Andriotakis family of Sydney were also major donors.

The Municipality of Chania is finalising arrangements with the organisers over the location of the memorial site to be inaugurated later this year.


Speech given by Glenda Humes, President of the Friends of 42nd Street Trust, at the presentation event of the 42nd Street plaque, Tsikalaria, Crete, 21 May 2014

Ngatanwah, my family are part of the Gunditjmara peoples of western Victoria in Australia,… it’s very good to be here with you today - and with my sisters Judith and Dorothy, and our children....

Firstly, let me thank the Municipality of Chania, for hosting this event today. Mayor Mr Manolis Skoulakis, and your staff, a very big thank you.

I would like to thank Ambassador Jenny Bloomfield and the Australian Embassy in Athens for your tremendous assistance. I also thank New Zealand’s Honorary Consul Mr Costa Cotsilinis for being with us.

Before I go on, I acknowledge the presence the Maori elders here today and their families.

Ladies and gentlemen we bring you all greetings and best wishes from the people of Australia, and from my Gunditjmara people.

We visited Crete first in 2010 and it was an opportunity to see first hand a site where my father had served, saw combat, and was sheltered and cared for by the Cretan people, especially the people of Lambini south of Rethymno, and one family in particular - the family of Vasiliki Zakarakis.

In 2010 we had the opportunity to visit Lambini and meet her children to thank them.

On that trip, we came here. When we visited the 42nd Street battle site we could feel dad’s presence and the spirits of all those who had fallen there.

My brother-in-law Rod who is here today found a shell casing in the olive groves - which was later examined by military experts in Australia.

They said that from its location, it had almost certainly had been fired by a Lee Enfield rifle carried by an Australian or New Zealand soldier on 27 May 1941.

It was a sign. We decided then that we would commit to marking the 42nd Street battle site for future generations, and that a memorial -dedicated to all those who fought and fell here - should be erected.

We wanted to bring recognition to the Anzac soldiers who were here, and to mark their sacrifice and memory for future generations.

The journey of the 42nd Street plaque continues. We look forward to establishing - with the Municipality - an appropriate site for the completed memorial that befits this beautiful plaque.

This is our gift to the brave people of Crete from the people of Australia and New Zealand.

The plaque that we are about to present has been funded by private donations largely from the Greek and Cretan communities in Australia, and on behalf of The Friends of 42nd Street Trust, I wish to express our deep gratitude to the following organisations:

Pancretan Association of Melbourne
Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria
Cretan Association of Sydney and NSW
the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand
the Australian Hellenic Council

And special thanks to major donors -the Andriotakis family of Sydney.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of Etihad Airways and Aegean Airlines for sponsoring the journey of the 42nd Street plaque from Australia to Crete.

We have been assisted by so many people on this journey - in Australia, Greece and New Zealand - and we thank you all.

Ladies and gentlemen - I take great pleasure on behalf of Australia and New Zealand in presenting the 42nd Street Memorial Plaque to the Municipality of Chania and the people of Crete…

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by Herald Sun, Melbourne on 01.06.2014

Melbourne tourism ties with Greece to strengthen

ahead of Battle of Crete anniversary and Gallipoli centenary

John Masanauskas
City Editor
Herald Sun Newspaper

May 14, 2014

Photograph: Troops of the Australian 2/7 Infantry Battalion (Sergeant Reg Saunders, centre left) who fought in Crete in 1941. Photo: Australian War Memorial Source: Supplied


GREECE is set to become a key destination for Anzac tourism as Australians prepare to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landing next year.

Next week, a special plaque made in Melbourne will be unveiled in Greece to mark the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Crete which included Anzac forces.

Greek authorities are also planning to highlight other areas where Australians fought in World War II, and Greece’s role in providing a base for the doomed Gallipoli campaign.

Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni, who met Greek community leaders in Melbourne this week, said her nation was keen to attract Anzac visitors and would be supporting next year’s commemoration.

“Greece will be participating in a very strong way,” she said.

Local organiser and state Labor MP John Pandazopoulos said Greece would benefit from the tourism and Australians would see another side of the Anzac legend.

Mr Pandazopoulos, who is also head of the World Hellenic Inter-Parliamentary Association, said the Gallipoli operations base was 80km away on the island of Lemnos.

“This is where the ships were, where the supplies were, it’s where the hospitals were and where the troops were rested and trained, and where they recovered from injuries and sickness,” he said.

“There are all these huge Australian connections and there are 1400 Australian soldiers buried at eight Commonwealth war cemeteries spread throughout Greece.”

Next week’s delegation to Crete will include Glenda Humes, daughter of Captain Reg Saunders, who fought at the battle and was the first Aboriginal to be made an officer in the Australian Army.

“We're delighted to bring this plaque as a gift to the people of Crete, to mark a location which is forever part of Australia and Greece’s entwined history,” she said.

The so-called 42nd Street plaque weighing 80 kg was funded mainly by Greek Australians and depicts a vital action by Anzac forces in the last days of the battle.

On Wednesday, Ms Kefalogianni signed a deal in Canberra allowing Greek and Australian youth to work for up to a year while holidaying in each other’s countries.

The visa will have a cap of 500 places a year for each nation.

Ms Kefalogianni said that while Greece was still struggling economically, tourist numbers had reached record levels in recent years.

“Greeks are more hospitable than ever, despite their own problems,” she said.

Email john Masanauskas

Download a brilliant brochure explaining circumstances of the battle of 42nd Street battle, and its context of the battles in Greece and Crete during WWII, here:

42nd Street brochure.pdf

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by George Poulos on 11.05.2014

Children dancing, and celebrating their heritage

at the Kytherian Association November Family Dance, Westside Reception Lounge, Marrickville on 23 November 2013. kythera-family.net was wished a very happy tenth birthday on the night.

kythera-family.net turns ten. Χρόνια Πολλά. Να τα εκατοστήσεις

"I found Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on Kythera-Family.net and mailed her regarding her Hlentzos connection, and since the first email a couple of days ago, I have had many many emails from her with a huge amount of information regarding my relatives. If this website was not available to us, all this information would never have been shared."
Heather de Marco, April 2013

James Prineas:

It is now ten years since we first launched kythera-family.net (kfn). If you don't already know how it came to be, here's a short recap of the story:
The seed was actually sown back in 1996 when I put on a photographic exhibition called "A Village on Kythera" in the Bondi Pavilion. There I met so many lovely Kytherians (and others – like a group of Sicilian grand¬mothers who cried when they saw my pictures because it reminded them of home...). Many of the Kytherians told me of their collections of vintage pictures from Kythera. I would have loved to help them collate and scan and publish their pictures but it wasn't until about 2001 that I found an affordable and practical solution: to use the internet.

Back then, "community sites" were almost unheard of and the founder of Facebook was probably just out of nappies. So I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that my idea to create an online heritage repository, to which members of the Kytherian community could upload their family material to the site for the rest of the world to share and enjoy, fell on deaf ears in the beginning.

Then a man, who, up until that time, had never used the internet himself, saved the day: Angelo Notaras. Ann Coward suggested I get in touch with him and it didn't take long for Angelo to recognise the potential benefits to the Kytherian community and he put his conside-rable reputation behind the project. He and his equally generous brothers, John and the late Mitch Notaras, put their money where their vision was and helped convince others to financially support the endeavour.

Next came the ebullient George C. Poulos to the party and, when he wasn't fervently preaching to the less internet-savvy members of the Kytherian Association of Australia (KAA) that the internet wasn't just a fad, he was motivating community members to entrust copies of their heritage material to him to upload to the young site. He and Angelo managed to persuade the KAA Board to embrace the concept, and the latter have been loyal supporters ever since, as evidenced by this article.

The initial problem was that the people with the most knowledge and material on Kythera were of a generation who were still fazed by mobile telephones, never mind by "websites", "uploading" and "urls". Ten years on, even if that generation doesn't use the internet or emails regularly themselves, they generally know what it is about and allow their children and grandchildren to upload their family stories and picture to our site.

Over the past ten years the 3,000 registered users have submitted over 19 000 entries to KFN: life stories, maps, recipes, and other documents to the site, which are viewed by around 20 000 visitors each month!

The extensive Message Board on the site gives evidence of the hundreds of connections made by the site between Kytherians separated by thousands of kilometres, or far less. Two of our most avid contributors live only a few kilometres from each other in California, but discovered their family link through our site.

The possible significance of one group photo from Kythera from 1920 with a dozen people in it is exponential: a fifty-year-old in that picture might have had five children and twenty grandchildren and forty great-grandchildren. That makes sixty-five descendents per person in the picture and a total of 780 for all the subjects. Now, how many of those 780 will have ever seen that picture? Not many if it is stored under someone's bed. But online all of them have access if they care to look.

And the nice thing about a website as opposed to a publication is that there is virtually no limit to the amount which can be presented on it. So it's not too late to post your grandmother's Greek passport or your great-great-grandfather's birth certificate. It's the best way to make sure that your own great-grandchildren will be able to find it one day.

The ten-year anniversary of kythera-family was celebrated with a well-attended party held at the Mill Resort, Mitata, Kythera, in July 2013.

In Australia it was celebrated at the Kytherian Association November Family Dance, Westside Reception Lounge, Marrickville on 23 November 2013.

George Poulos:

I agree with James that the key driver of kfn has been Angelo Notaras OAM. I also agree that the success of the web-site can be attributed to a number of superior features inherent in the site: The web-site is generative. One photograph or one story can elicit a great deal of additional inter-related information.

The web-site is connective. Individuals, families, and organisations have been connected, and re-connected. At every level, the spirit of kytheraismos has been greatly enhanced.

The web-site is revelatory. New information is being uncovered all the time, which most of the world’s Kytherians had previously been unaware of.

The number of Kytherians and Philokytherians who, like Heather der Marco, quoted earlier, who have derived immense pleasure from kythera-family.net? Unknowable! What we do know is that an economic and architectonic infrastructure has been put in place to ensure that www.kythera-family.net will be maintained indefinitely. Hence it will always remain a key force in the preservation, maintenance, and enhancement of Kytherian history, culture, artefacts, ethos and heritage.

By its very existence kythera-family.net has helped energise its principals and supporters to create new and exciting projects – many of which most Kytherians around the world would not guess have derived from kfn. These include the publishing accomplishments of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund – as of mid 2014 thirty-one books with a Kytherian theme available for sale in Australia and in Greece.

kfn has also forged powerful links with the Society of Kytherian Studies in Athens, who have also published 25 books with a Kytherian theme in the Greek language, and the Departments of History and Philosophy at Athens University through Professor’s George and Athanassia Leontsinis. Strong links with KIPA and the Kytheriasmos Institute have also been created. The website has already inspired a Masters Thesis in Germany by Angeliki Pentsi, and Alexander Riedmuller will soon publish his Ph.D thesis on the the kfn website in Bamberg, Germany.

kfn aids people in research, sometimes on a daily basis. For example, on the 7th of April 2014, I received an email from a person thanking kfn and me for providing information on the site which helped him with a paper he delivered the previous week to the 10th Panionian Conference. The topic being "Kythira-Smyrna: The steamboat connection between two places during the 19th century and their unknown perspective." Rosa Cassimatis's name found its way into all.

After research I have concluded that Rosa is NOT buried, as most believe, in the Angelo Cavallini tomb in the Saint Spyridon of Kapsali cemetery but was, most likely, buried in Corfu where she died. If she had been buried in Kythera she should have been mentioned on the gravestone, as her (second) husband died much later than her. No such thing. The Corfu Mental Hospital Archives do not report any final resting place, but as she died in 1882 even if she had been buried in the city of Corfu cemetery her grave is probably lost. Again I'd like to thank all contributors to the site who helped me with my research”. This is a tangential Kytherian interest. But the communication indicates into how many different areas kfn managed to penetrate.

kfn inspiration also led to the preservation and archiving of the Fatseas collection of plate glass negative photographs. This in turn led to the publication of the books, A Kytherian Century and Panayotis Fatseas: Kytherian Faces, 1920-1938, and an Exhibition in the prestigious Benaki Museum, Athens.

Other Special Projects included the importation into Kythera of medical and aged care equipment to benefit residents and patients at the Aged Care facility and Hospital at Potamos. The importation into Kythera of Library shelving from the USA, and later the organisation and funding to completion of both the interior and exterior of the Kytherian Municipal Library, the first Lending Library established on Kythera in 3,000 years. Principals of kfn also aided in creating the first Greek Australian Museum of migration in Australia – the Roxy Museum, located within the Roxy Museum ‘complex’ in Bingara.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) asserted that "creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found." By that criterion www.kythera-family.net is a very creative entity indeed. Να τα εκατοστήσεις.

You are the authors! Kythera-Family.net - the online cultural archive for Kythera - aims to preserve and reflect the rich heritage of a wonderful island. Members of the community are actively invited to submit their family collection of Kytherian stories, photographs, recipes, oral histories, and home remedies etc. to the site. Uploading directly to the site is easy and free. 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.

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by George Poulos on 11.05.2014

Guests gathered at the Mill Resort at Mitata in July 2013

to clebrate the 10th Birthday Party of kythera-family.net.

kythera-family.net turns ten. Χρόνια Πολλά. Να τα εκατοστήσεις

"I found Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on Kythera-Family.net and mailed her regarding her Hlentzos connection, and since the first email a couple of days ago, I have had many many emails from her with a huge amount of information regarding my relatives. If this website was not available to us, all this information would never have been shared."
Heather de Marco, April 2013

James Prineas:

It is now ten years since we first launched kythera-family.net (kfn). If you don't already know how it came to be, here's a short recap of the story:
The seed was actually sown back in 1996 when I put on a photographic exhibition called "A Village on Kythera" in the Bondi Pavilion. There I met so many lovely Kytherians (and others – like a group of Sicilian grand¬mothers who cried when they saw my pictures because it reminded them of home...). Many of the Kytherians told me of their collections of vintage pictures from Kythera. I would have loved to help them collate and scan and publish their pictures but it wasn't until about 2001 that I found an affordable and practical solution: to use the internet.

Back then, "community sites" were almost unheard of and the founder of Facebook was probably just out of nappies. So I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that my idea to create an online heritage repository, to which members of the Kytherian community could upload their family material to the site for the rest of the world to share and enjoy, fell on deaf ears in the beginning.

Then a man, who, up until that time, had never used the internet himself, saved the day: Angelo Notaras. Ann Coward suggested I get in touch with him and it didn't take long for Angelo to recognise the potential benefits to the Kytherian community and he put his conside-rable reputation behind the project. He and his equally generous brothers, John and the late Mitch Notaras, put their money where their vision was and helped convince others to financially support the endeavour.

Next came the ebullient George C. Poulos to the party and, when he wasn't fervently preaching to the less internet-savvy members of the Kytherian Association of Australia (KAA) that the internet wasn't just a fad, he was motivating community members to entrust copies of their heritage material to him to upload to the young site. He and Angelo managed to persuade the KAA Board to embrace the concept, and the latter have been loyal supporters ever since, as evidenced by this article.

The initial problem was that the people with the most knowledge and material on Kythera were of a generation who were still fazed by mobile telephones, never mind by "websites", "uploading" and "urls". Ten years on, even if that generation doesn't use the internet or emails regularly themselves, they generally know what it is about and allow their children and grandchildren to upload their family stories and picture to our site.

Over the past ten years the 3,000 registered users have submitted over 19 000 entries to KFN: life stories, maps, recipes, and other documents to the site, which are viewed by around 20 000 visitors each month!

The extensive Message Board on the site gives evidence of the hundreds of connections made by the site between Kytherians separated by thousands of kilometres, or far less. Two of our most avid contributors live only a few kilometres from each other in California, but discovered their family link through our site.

The possible significance of one group photo from Kythera from 1920 with a dozen people in it is exponential: a fifty-year-old in that picture might have had five children and twenty grandchildren and forty great-grandchildren. That makes sixty-five descendents per person in the picture and a total of 780 for all the subjects. Now, how many of those 780 will have ever seen that picture? Not many if it is stored under someone's bed. But online all of them have access if they care to look.

And the nice thing about a website as opposed to a publication is that there is virtually no limit to the amount which can be presented on it. So it's not too late to post your grandmother's Greek passport or your great-great-grandfather's birth certificate. It's the best way to make sure that your own great-grandchildren will be able to find it one day.

The ten-year anniversary of kythera-family was celebrated with a well-attended party held at the Mill Resort, Mitata, Kythera, in July 2013.

In Australia it was celebrated at the Kytherian Association November Family Dance, Westside Reception Lounge, Marrickville on 23 November 2013.

George Poulos:

I agree with James that the key driver of kfn has been Angelo Notaras OAM. I also agree that the success of the web-site can be attributed to a number of superior features inherent in the site: The web-site is generative. One photograph or one story can elicit a great deal of additional inter-related information.

The web-site is connective. Individuals, families, and organisations have been connected, and re-connected. At every level, the spirit of kytheraismos has been greatly enhanced.

The web-site is revelatory. New information is being uncovered all the time, which most of the world’s Kytherians had previously been unaware of.

The number of Kytherians and Philokytherians who, like Heather der Marco, quoted earlier, who have derived immense pleasure from kythera-family.net? Unknowable! What we do know is that an economic and architectonic infrastructure has been put in place to ensure that www.kythera-family.net will be maintained indefinitely. Hence it will always remain a key force in the preservation, maintenance, and enhancement of Kytherian history, culture, artefacts, ethos and heritage.

By its very existence kythera-family.net has helped energise its principals and supporters to create new and exciting projects – many of which most Kytherians around the world would not guess have derived from kfn. These include the publishing accomplishments of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund – as of mid 2014 thirty-one books with a Kytherian theme available for sale in Australia and in Greece.

kfn has also forged powerful links with the Society of Kytherian Studies in Athens, who have also published 25 books with a Kytherian theme in the Greek language, and the Departments of History and Philosophy at Athens University through Professor’s George and Athanassia Leontsinis. Strong links with KIPA and the Kytheriasmos Institute have also been created. The website has already inspired a Masters Thesis in Germany by Angeliki Pentsi, and Alexander Riedmuller will soon publish his Ph.D thesis on the the kfn website in Bamberg, Germany.

kfn aids people in research, sometimes on a daily basis. For example, on the 7th of April 2014, I received an email from a person thanking kfn and me for providing information on the site which helped him with a paper he delivered the previous week to the 10th Panionian Conference. The topic being "Kythira-Smyrna: The steamboat connection between two places during the 19th century and their unknown perspective." Rosa Cassimatis's name found its way into all.

After research I have concluded that Rosa is NOT buried, as most believe, in the Angelo Cavallini tomb in the Saint Spyridon of Kapsali cemetery but was, most likely, buried in Corfu where she died. If she had been buried in Kythera she should have been mentioned on the gravestone, as her (second) husband died much later than her. No such thing. The Corfu Mental Hospital Archives do not report any final resting place, but as she died in 1882 even if she had been buried in the city of Corfu cemetery her grave is probably lost. Again I'd like to thank all contributors to the site who helped me with my research”. This is a tangential Kytherian interest. But the communication indicates into how many different areas kfn managed to penetrate.

kfn inspiration also led to the preservation and archiving of the Fatseas collection of plate glass negative photographs. This in turn led to the publication of the books, A Kytherian Century and Panayotis Fatseas: Kytherian Faces, 1920-1938, and an Exhibition in the prestigious Benaki Museum, Athens.

Other Special Projects included the importation into Kythera of medical and aged care equipment to benefit residents and patients at the Aged Care facility and Hospital at Potamos. The importation into Kythera of Library shelving from the USA, and later the organisation and funding to completion of both the interior and exterior of the Kytherian Municipal Library, the first Lending Library established on Kythera in 3,000 years. Principals of kfn also aided in creating the first Greek Australian Museum of migration in Australia – the Roxy Museum, located within the Roxy Museum ‘complex’ in Bingara.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) asserted that "creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found." By that criterion www.kythera-family.net is a very creative entity indeed. Να τα εκατοστήσεις.

You are the authors! Kythera-Family.net - the online cultural archive for Kythera - aims to preserve and reflect the rich heritage of a wonderful island. Members of the community are actively invited to submit their family collection of Kytherian stories, photographs, recipes, oral histories, and home remedies etc. to the site. Uploading directly to the site is easy and free. 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.

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by George Poulos on 11.05.2014

George Poulos cutting the 10th birthday cake for kythera-family.net

alongside, Kytherian Association of Australia, Vice President, Kathy Samios. At the Associations November Family Dance, Westside Reception Lounge, Marrickville on 23 November 2013.

"I found Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on Kythera-Family.net and mailed her regarding her Hlentzos connection, and since the first email a couple of days ago, I have had many many emails from her with a huge amount of information regarding my relatives. If this website was not available to us, all this information would never have been shared."
Heather de Marco, April 2013

James Prineas:

It is now ten years since we first launched kythera-family.net (kfn). If you don't already know how it came to be, here's a short recap of the story:
The seed was actually sown back in 1996 when I put on a photographic exhibition called "A Village on Kythera" in the Bondi Pavilion. There I met so many lovely Kytherians (and others – like a group of Sicilian grand¬mothers who cried when they saw my pictures because it reminded them of home...). Many of the Kytherians told me of their collections of vintage pictures from Kythera. I would have loved to help them collate and scan and publish their pictures but it wasn't until about 2001 that I found an affordable and practical solution: to use the internet.

Back then, "community sites" were almost unheard of and the founder of Facebook was probably just out of nappies. So I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that my idea to create an online heritage repository, to which members of the Kytherian community could upload their family material to the site for the rest of the world to share and enjoy, fell on deaf ears in the beginning.

Then a man, who, up until that time, had never used the internet himself, saved the day: Angelo Notaras. Ann Coward suggested I get in touch with him and it didn't take long for Angelo to recognise the potential benefits to the Kytherian community and he put his conside-rable reputation behind the project. He and his equally generous brothers, John and the late Mitch Notaras, put their money where their vision was and helped convince others to financially support the endeavour.

Next came the ebullient George C. Poulos to the party and, when he wasn't fervently preaching to the less internet-savvy members of the Kytherian Association of Australia (KAA) that the internet wasn't just a fad, he was motivating community members to entrust copies of their heritage material to him to upload to the young site. He and Angelo managed to persuade the KAA Board to embrace the concept, and the latter have been loyal supporters ever since, as evidenced by this article.

The initial problem was that the people with the most knowledge and material on Kythera were of a generation who were still fazed by mobile telephones, never mind by "websites", "uploading" and "urls". Ten years on, even if that generation doesn't use the internet or emails regularly themselves, they generally know what it is about and allow their children and grandchildren to upload their family stories and picture to our site.

Over the past ten years the 3,000 registered users have submitted over 19 000 entries to KFN: life stories, maps, recipes, and other documents to the site, which are viewed by around 20 000 visitors each month!

The extensive Message Board on the site gives evidence of the hundreds of connections made by the site between Kytherians separated by thousands of kilometres, or far less. Two of our most avid contributors live only a few kilometres from each other in California, but discovered their family link through our site.

The possible significance of one group photo from Kythera from 1920 with a dozen people in it is exponential: a fifty-year-old in that picture might have had five children and twenty grandchildren and forty great-grandchildren. That makes sixty-five descendents per person in the picture and a total of 780 for all the subjects. Now, how many of those 780 will have ever seen that picture? Not many if it is stored under someone's bed. But online all of them have access if they care to look.

And the nice thing about a website as opposed to a publication is that there is virtually no limit to the amount which can be presented on it. So it's not too late to post your grandmother's Greek passport or your great-great-grandfather's birth certificate. It's the best way to make sure that your own great-grandchildren will be able to find it one day.

The ten-year anniversary of kythera-family was celebrated with a well-attended party held at the Mill Resort, Mitata, Kythera, in July 2013.

In Australia it was celebrated at the Kytherian Association November Family Dance, Westside Reception Lounge, Marrickville on 23 November 2013.

[[picture:"Familydance-0790ts.tif" ID:22315]]

George Poulos:

I agree with James that the key driver of kfn has been Angelo Notaras OAM. I also agree that the success of the web-site can be attributed to a number of superior features inherent in the site: The web-site is generative. One photograph or one story can elicit a great deal of additional inter-related information.

The web-site is connective. Individuals, families, and organisations have been connected, and re-connected. At every level, the spirit of kytheraismos has been greatly enhanced.

The web-site is revelatory. New information is being uncovered all the time, which most of the world’s Kytherians had previously been unaware of.

The number of Kytherians and Philokytherians who, like Heather der Marco, quoted earlier, who have derived immense pleasure from kythera-family.net? Unknowable! What we do know is that an economic and architectonic infrastructure has been put in place to ensure that www.kythera-family.net will be maintained indefinitely. Hence it will always remain a key force in the preservation, maintenance, and enhancement of Kytherian history, culture, artefacts, ethos and heritage.

By its very existence kythera-family.net has helped energise its principals and supporters to create new and exciting projects – many of which most Kytherians around the world would not guess have derived from kfn. These include the publishing accomplishments of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund – as of mid 2014 thirty-one books with a Kytherian theme available for sale in Australia and in Greece.

kfn has also forged powerful links with the Society of Kytherian Studies in Athens, who have also published 25 books with a Kytherian theme in the Greek language, and the Departments of History and Philosophy at Athens University through Professor’s George and Athanassia Leontsinis. Strong links with KIPA and the Kytheriasmos Institute have also been created. The website has already inspired a Masters Thesis in Germany by Angeliki Pentsi, and Alexander Riedmuller will soon publish his Ph.D thesis on the the kfn website in Bamberg, Germany.

kfn aids people in research, sometimes on a daily basis. For example, on the 7th of April 2014, I received an email from a person thanking kfn and me for providing information on the site which helped him with a paper he delivered the previous week to the 10th Panionian Conference. The topic being "Kythira-Smyrna: The steamboat connection between two places during the 19th century and their unknown perspective." Rosa Cassimatis's name found its way into all.

After research I have concluded that Rosa is NOT buried, as most believe, in the Angelo Cavallini tomb in the Saint Spyridon of Kapsali cemetery but was, most likely, buried in Corfu where she died. If she had been buried in Kythera she should have been mentioned on the gravestone, as her (second) husband died much later than her. No such thing. The Corfu Mental Hospital Archives do not report any final resting place, but as she died in 1882 even if she had been buried in the city of Corfu cemetery her grave is probably lost. Again I'd like to thank all contributors to the site who helped me with my research”. This is a tangential Kytherian interest. But the communication indicates into how many different areas kfn managed to penetrate.

kfn inspiration also led to the preservation and archiving of the Fatseas collection of plate glass negative photographs. This in turn led to the publication of the books, A Kytherian Century and Panayotis Fatseas: Kytherian Faces, 1920-1938, and an Exhibition in the prestigious Benaki Museum, Athens.

Other Special Projects included the importation into Kythera of medical and aged care equipment to benefit residents and patients at the Aged Care facility and Hospital at Potamos. The importation into Kythera of Library shelving from the USA, and later the organisation and funding to completion of both the interior and exterior of the Kytherian Municipal Library, the first Lending Library established on Kythera in 3,000 years. Principals of kfn also aided in creating the first Greek Australian Museum of migration in Australia – the Roxy Museum, located within the Roxy Museum ‘complex’ in Bingara.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) asserted that "creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found." By that criterion www.kythera-family.net is a very creative entity indeed. Να τα εκατοστήσεις.

You are the authors! Kythera-Family.net - the online cultural archive for Kythera - aims to preserve and reflect the rich heritage of a wonderful island. Members of the community are actively invited to submit their family collection of Kytherian stories, photographs, recipes, oral histories, and home remedies etc. to the site. Uploading directly to the site is easy and free. 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.

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by George Poulos on 12.05.2014

10th birthday cake, at at the Kytherian Association November Family Dance,

Westside Reception Lounge, Marrickville on 23 November 2013.

kythera-family.net turns ten. Χρόνια Πολλά. Να τα εκατοστήσεις

"I found Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on Kythera-Family.net and mailed her regarding her Hlentzos connection, and since the first email a couple of days ago, I have had many many emails from her with a huge amount of information regarding my relatives. If this website was not available to us, all this information would never have been shared."
Heather de Marco, April 2013

James Prineas:

It is now ten years since we first launched kythera-family.net (kfn). If you don't already know how it came to be, here's a short recap of the story:
The seed was actually sown back in 1996 when I put on a photographic exhibition called "A Village on Kythera" in the Bondi Pavilion. There I met so many lovely Kytherians (and others – like a group of Sicilian grand¬mothers who cried when they saw my pictures because it reminded them of home...). Many of the Kytherians told me of their collections of vintage pictures from Kythera. I would have loved to help them collate and scan and publish their pictures but it wasn't until about 2001 that I found an affordable and practical solution: to use the internet.

Back then, "community sites" were almost unheard of and the founder of Facebook was probably just out of nappies. So I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that my idea to create an online heritage repository, to which members of the Kytherian community could upload their family material to the site for the rest of the world to share and enjoy, fell on deaf ears in the beginning.

Then a man, who, up until that time, had never used the internet himself, saved the day: Angelo Notaras. Ann Coward suggested I get in touch with him and it didn't take long for Angelo to recognise the potential benefits to the Kytherian community and he put his conside-rable reputation behind the project. He and his equally generous brothers, John and the late Mitch Notaras, put their money where their vision was and helped convince others to financially support the endeavour.

Next came the ebullient George C. Poulos to the party and, when he wasn't fervently preaching to the less internet-savvy members of the Kytherian Association of Australia (KAA) that the internet wasn't just a fad, he was motivating community members to entrust copies of their heritage material to him to upload to the young site. He and Angelo managed to persuade the KAA Board to embrace the concept, and the latter have been loyal supporters ever since, as evidenced by this article.

The initial problem was that the people with the most knowledge and material on Kythera were of a generation who were still fazed by mobile telephones, never mind by "websites", "uploading" and "urls". Ten years on, even if that generation doesn't use the internet or emails regularly themselves, they generally know what it is about and allow their children and grandchildren to upload their family stories and picture to our site.

Over the past ten years the 3,000 registered users have submitted over 19 000 entries to KFN: life stories, maps, recipes, and other documents to the site, which are viewed by around 20 000 visitors each month!

The extensive Message Board on the site gives evidence of the hundreds of connections made by the site between Kytherians separated by thousands of kilometres, or far less. Two of our most avid contributors live only a few kilometres from each other in California, but discovered their family link through our site.

The possible significance of one group photo from Kythera from 1920 with a dozen people in it is exponential: a fifty-year-old in that picture might have had five children and twenty grandchildren and forty great-grandchildren. That makes sixty-five descendents per person in the picture and a total of 780 for all the subjects. Now, how many of those 780 will have ever seen that picture? Not many if it is stored under someone's bed. But online all of them have access if they care to look.

And the nice thing about a website as opposed to a publication is that there is virtually no limit to the amount which can be presented on it. So it's not too late to post your grandmother's Greek passport or your great-great-grandfather's birth certificate. It's the best way to make sure that your own great-grandchildren will be able to find it one day.

The ten-year anniversary of kythera-family was celebrated with a well-attended party held at the Mill Resort, Mitata, Kythera, in July 2013.

In Australia it was celebrated at the Kytherian Association November Family Dance, Westside Reception Lounge, Marrickville on 23 November 2013.

[[picture:"Familydance-0790ts.tif" ID:22315]]

George Poulos:

I agree with James that the key driver of kfn has been Angelo Notaras OAM. I also agree that the success of the web-site can be attributed to a number of superior features inherent in the site: The web-site is generative. One photograph or one story can elicit a great deal of additional inter-related information.

The web-site is connective. Individuals, families, and organisations have been connected, and re-connected. At every level, the spirit of kytheraismos has been greatly enhanced.

The web-site is revelatory. New information is being uncovered all the time, which most of the world’s Kytherians had previously been unaware of.

The number of Kytherians and Philokytherians who, like Heather der Marco, quoted earlier, who have derived immense pleasure from kythera-family.net? Unknowable! What we do know is that an economic and architectonic infrastructure has been put in place to ensure that www.kythera-family.net will be maintained indefinitely. Hence it will always remain a key force in the preservation, maintenance, and enhancement of Kytherian history, culture, artefacts, ethos and heritage.

By its very existence kythera-family.net has helped energise its principals and supporters to create new and exciting projects – many of which most Kytherians around the world would not guess have derived from kfn. These include the publishing accomplishments of the Kytherian World Heritage Fund – as of mid 2014 thirty-one books with a Kytherian theme available for sale in Australia and in Greece.

kfn has also forged powerful links with the Society of Kytherian Studies in Athens, who have also published 25 books with a Kytherian theme in the Greek language, and the Departments of History and Philosophy at Athens University through Professor’s George and Athanassia Leontsinis. Strong links with KIPA and the Kytheriasmos Institute have also been created. The website has already inspired a Masters Thesis in Germany by Angeliki Pentsi, and Alexander Riedmuller will soon publish his Ph.D thesis on the the kfn website in Bamberg, Germany.

kfn aids people in research, sometimes on a daily basis. For example, on the 7th of April 2014, I received an email from a person thanking kfn and me for providing information on the site which helped him with a paper he delivered the previous week to the 10th Panionian Conference. The topic being "Kythira-Smyrna: The steamboat connection between two places during the 19th century and their unknown perspective." Rosa Cassimatis's name found its way into all.

After research I have concluded that Rosa is NOT buried, as most believe, in the Angelo Cavallini tomb in the Saint Spyridon of Kapsali cemetery but was, most likely, buried in Corfu where she died. If she had been buried in Kythera she should have been mentioned on the gravestone, as her (second) husband died much later than her. No such thing. The Corfu Mental Hospital Archives do not report any final resting place, but as she died in 1882 even if she had been buried in the city of Corfu cemetery her grave is probably lost. Again I'd like to thank all contributors to the site who helped me with my research”. This is a tangential Kytherian interest. But the communication indicates into how many different areas kfn managed to penetrate.

kfn inspiration also led to the preservation and archiving of the Fatseas collection of plate glass negative photographs. This in turn led to the publication of the books, A Kytherian Century and Panayotis Fatseas: Kytherian Faces, 1920-1938, and an Exhibition in the prestigious Benaki Museum, Athens.

Other Special Projects included the importation into Kythera of medical and aged care equipment to benefit residents and patients at the Aged Care facility and Hospital at Potamos. The importation into Kythera of Library shelving from the USA, and later the organisation and funding to completion of both the interior and exterior of the Kytherian Municipal Library, the first Lending Library established on Kythera in 3,000 years. Principals of kfn also aided in creating the first Greek Australian Museum of migration in Australia – the Roxy Museum, located within the Roxy Museum ‘complex’ in Bingara.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) asserted that "creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found." By that criterion www.kythera-family.net is a very creative entity indeed. Να τα εκατοστήσεις.

You are the authors! Kythera-Family.net - the online cultural archive for Kythera - aims to preserve and reflect the rich heritage of a wonderful island. Members of the community are actively invited to submit their family collection of Kytherian stories, photographs, recipes, oral histories, and home remedies etc. to the site. Uploading directly to the site is easy and free. 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.

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by Lafcadio Hearn Files on 30.04.2014

Lafcadio Hearn - “Hearn and Family”, the latest exhibition

In this year, the 110th anniversary of Hearn’s death, an international symposium and commemorative event will be held in July in Lefkada, Greece, the place of his birth. This event will attempt an interpretation of Hearn’s “Open Mind” and explore ways to connect Hearn’s legacy with the future. Since 2009, Hearn has been reevaluated from a range of perspectives, and attempts are being made to apply these newfound ideas and values in a practical way. This is changing people’s awareness of Hearn, not only in Japan, but also across the world. It is hoped that this exhibition “Hearn and Family” will bring a fresh perspective to Lafcadio Hearn.

Background

Born in Greece and raised in Ireland, Lafcadio Hearn travelled halfway around the world before arriving in Japan, where he settled and started a family. He died, as a Japanese national, at the age of fifty-four. Using stories passed down through the generations, this exhibition offers glimpses into Hearn’s life and the lives of his beloved wife and children.

Lafcadio Hearn passed away quietly on 26 September, 1904. He was fifty-four. He died at his home in Nishi-Okubo, Tokyo, where he was being cared for by his family.

....and said quietly, “Mamma-san, the sickness of the other day has come back again.” I went with him. For while he walked around the room with his hands on his breast. I advised him to lie quietly on the bed, and he died so. Very soon after that he was no longer of this world. He died without any pain, having little smile around his mouth. It could not be helped, if it was the order of Heaven. I wish that I could have taken care of him, and given all my strength in nursing him. This was too easy a death for me. (Reminiscences of Lafcadio Hearn by Setsuko Koizumi)

Lafcadio Hearn’s parents divorced when he was a child. He was raised by a great-aunt in Ireland, who later suffered financial difficulties. He immigrated to the USA, where his life was lonely and often solitary. Beset by misfortunes in his youth, Hearn longed for his Greek mother, Rosa, and yearned for a warm, loving family. After arriving in Japan in 1890, he found employment as an English teacher at a school in Matsue. Here, he met Setsu, whom he married, and for the first time in his life, he had a family of his own.

Except for a short period of time while living in Cincinnati, Hearn had been alone. However, upon marrying Setsu, he became the head of a large family, which included Setsu’s real mother, and her adoptive parents. Before long, his first son Kazuo was born, followed by two more sons and a daughter.

Hearn, the family man.

Kazuo Koizumi says in the introduction to Father and I by Kazuo Koizumi).: “My father died when I was ten. To me, as a young boy, he was a father, a family man. I didn’t know the man who gave solemn lectures or wrote difficult works.” To his children, Hearn was at times a strict educator and disciplinarian. However, he was also a kind and loving father, and was often humorous, and displayed a childlike heart.

This exhibition commemorates the 110th anniversary of Hearn’s death, and aims, through memoirs written by his wife and children, to uncover another little-known side to this man. At the time of Hearn’s death, his eldest son, Kazuo, was ten, his other sons Iwao and Kiyoshi were six and four, and his daughter Suzuko was just one year old. From the family memoirs and the many photographs provided by the Koizumi family, this exhibition offers glimpses into their family life, and shows the fondness the children felt towards their father. Setsu and Hearn called each other Papa san and Mama san, as a mark of respect and affection, and they communicated in a unique form of Japanese which they called “Hearn’s language”.

This exhibition has been structured with reference to the following works written by members of Hearn’s family: Reminiscences of Lafcadio Hearn by Setsuko Koizumi (1918, Houghton Mifflin Co.), Father and I by Kazuo Koizumi (1935 Houghton Mifflin Co.), Father Koizumi Yakumo by Kazuo Koizumi (1950, Koyama Shoten), RE-ECHO by Kazuo Koizumi, Edited by Nancy J. Fellers (1957 Caxton Printers. Ltd.) These works offer insight into Hearn’s writing habits, and a daily life overflowing with human warmth. Based on the concept of “family”, this exhibition aims to show Hearn in a new light. It will also consider the lives of Hearn’s children after his death.

Hearn’s son Kazuo says, “Born into this world, he first learned Greek, was brought up to speak English, was taught French, Latin, and Spanish; this Hearn on his deathbed uttered, ‘ah, byoki no tame’ (Ah, on account of sickness) regretfully, resignedly, left his final utterance in Japanese—died as a Japanese. Thus did Hearn pass away. (Father and I)

Hearn, a British national, became a naturalized Japanese citizen for his wife and children, and died as Koizumi Yakumo, a Japanese national. Through this exhibition, it is hoped that visitors will be able to see the man behind the writer.

In this year, the 110th anniversary of Hearn’s death, an international symposium and commemorative event will be held in July in Lefkada, Greece, the place of his birth. This event will attempt an interpretation of Hearn’s “Open Mind” and explore ways to connect Hearn’s legacy with the future. Since 2009, Hearn has been reevaluated from a range of perspectives, and attempts are being made to apply these newfound ideas and values in a practical way. This is changing people’s awareness of Hearn, not only in Japan, but also across the world. It is hoped that this exhibition “Hearn and Family” will bring a fresh perspective to Lafcadio Hearn.

Organizers: NPO Matsue Tourism / Matsue City Municipaly
Coordination: The Koizumi Family / The Inagaki Family
Superviser: Koizumi Bon
Coordinator: Koizumi Shoko
Designer: Ishikawa Kiyoharu

The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn: His Spirit from the West to the East (International Symposium in Greece to Commemorate the 110th Anniversary of Lafcadio Hearn’s Death)

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by Kytherian Newsletter Sydney on 14.04.2014

Children in India aided by Clary Castrission's 40K Foundation

Peter Clary Castrission

A rare breed of individual: altruistic in a world where self-interested
ambitions are often prized and admired. His determination to succeed
and his compassion for his fellow man are indeed exceptional traits
.”

View / download a copy of this entry as a .pdf:

Clary Castrssion.pdf


In the Australia Day Honours List it was announced that Peter Clary Castrission had been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to international relations through providing educational opportunities to people in India.

Clary Castrission (as he is known) is no ordinary medal recipient. At the age of 30 years he has packed in a lifetime of charitable endeavour and demonstrated an incredible spirit of humanity that the rest of us could only dream about.

Clary is the son of John and Vivienne Castrission of Gordon. His paternal grandfather, Jim Castrission, originally from Kastrissianika in Kythera, established the iconic Niagara Café at Gundagai.

His younger brother James Castrission has become a well-known adventurer, crossing the ditch to New Zealand in a two man kayak and walking unassisted to the South Pole.

The essence of adventure is seemingly embedded in the Castrission DNA.
Clary attended Knox Grammar and then obtained degrees in Arts and Law (with Honours) at the University of Technology of Sydney. But as a 22-year old law student at UTS, Clary was trying to work out how to get involved in international issues when one of his lecturers, Professor Sam Blay, gave him a telling piece of advice that would forever change Clary’s
world outlook: “If you really want to get involved in international poverty-reduction, don’t do it from a high-rise in New York or Geneva; go to the developing world and get your hands dirty.”

So it was that in 2005 Clary set off with a fellow student, Karyn Avery, to go to India. What they saw outside of the main cities was very disturbing as they were confronted by the extreme level of poverty and despair, particularly around the city of Bangalore where the local granite mines and quarries employed workers on as little as $2 a day to break rock. These exploited workers often extended beyond several generations within the same family and the primitive slum conditions in which they lived and worked meant that they could not afford even a basic education for their children.

Clary Castrission knew that a proper education could change the life of these children and provide them with a more positive future. He thought it would cost $40,000 and so he set up a non-governmental organisation (or NGO) called 40K Foundation Australia with the goal of raising enough funds to purchase land and build a new orphanage and school for the children of the quarry workers.

The 40K actually refers to Clary’s initial investment in the project of $40,000 which amounted to his life savings at the time. Although that was in hindsight a naïve estimate for establishing a school, Clary was more determined than ever. As he later wrote: “I think the best thing about starting out as naive as we were, is that if we knew how much work we were getting into, we would have been scared off. I think naiveté is one of our greatest gifts. You’ll actually have the courage to take on something big.”

Five years later the Banyan School opened on the outskirts of Bangalore. The school now has 300 pupils. But Clary has not stopped there. It is not a one school wonder. As the CEO of the Foundation, Clary is overseeing an organisation that is providing more than a 1,000 children a quality education throughout India with the establishment of after-school education centres called ‘pods’ for kids living in poverty in rural Indian villages who need that extra support in English, maths and reading through game-based learning through computer tablets.

The 40K Foundation, now with many sponsors and backers and volunteers, is looking to help empower India’s children to rise above the poverty trap. Clary is also interested in pursuing strategies to eradicate child labour in Indian quarries.

For his work Clary Castrission was one of the final three young Australians nominated for "Young Australian of the Year" in 2011. He has also received numerous awards including the Commonwealth Day Award for Citizenship in 2009 and the Australia-India Friendship Award in 2012.

And now his extraordinary commitment to striving for the rights of India’s
underprivileged citizens to receive a basic education has been recognised at a national level with his richly deserved OAM.

As one journalist has recently written, Clary Castrission is a “rare breed of individual: altruistic in a world where self-interested ambitions are often prized and admired”. His determination to succeed and his compassion for his fellow man are indeed exceptional traits.

The Kytherian Association heartily congratulates Clary for making a real difference in this world.

Sources:


Empowering individuals in India UTS

SMH. Whats happened to our sense of fair go

Clary Castrission Graduation speech

Clary Castrission
Foundation


Published under the title - Ordinary Kytherians - Extraordinary achievements, pages 22 & 23, The Kytherian, Newsletter of the Kytherian Association of Australia, March, 2014

Author: George Vardas

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by Hellenic Lyceum on 22.03.2014

Hellenic Lyceum. Sydney Exhibition

Hellenic Threads

Discovering the diversity of 18th & 19th Century Hellenic Dress


The largest show of Hellenic traditional dress and jewellery, outside of Greece, to be seen in Sydney.

From the collection of the Hellenic Lyceum Sydney, superb examples of authentic costumes and jewellery across various regions of Greece are featured, all reflecting a different part of the story of Greece.

8th March - 5th April 2014
Daily 10am - 3pm

238 Castlereagh Street, Sydney
(on top of the Alpha Restaurant)


Visit the Exhibition

ADMISSION FREE

Photos > Diaspora Social Life

submitted by Barbara Zantiotis on 13.03.2014

Stephen & Steve

Stephen Zantiotis and his first cousin, Steve Zantos on February 8, 2014. Stephen's father, Peter and Steve's father, George were brothers.