Tuesday, 21 March 2017


"Greeks Who Have Made Good Here"

Having paternal Greek heritage, I couldn't help but take notice of the headline..   "Greeks Who Have Made Good Here". Then to read the subheading '..vital to remember there are 20s. in £' was so similar to what I was taught as a child, that I had to read on. In our house, we were often told to look after the pennies and the pounds would look after themselves'.. same theory, but we were closer to the pennies than the shillings.

My own grandfather, Theodore Catsoulis,  left the Greek island of Kythera/Kythira in 1904, to secure a better life for himself and his young bride, Chrisanthe, nee Coroneo. Chrisanthe remained with her family while Theo set out to make enough money to send for her. This certainly wasn't unusual, many of his fellow Kytherians did the same, as did others from various Greek islands and the mainland.

Theo first worked for others, in a cafe in Glen Innes, took up farming after acquiring land via a ballot in Whiporie,  then in partnership, in cafes in Grafton and Bellingen, then sole owner in Bellingen, with some years on his farm in Aberdeen. Eventually, the now quite large family of eleven, settled in Urunga on a farm, which spread to a few farms. Two of the sons had a cafe in Dorrigo for some years. #
Store in Bellingen owned by Kytherian cousins, Theo & Michael Catsoulis c. 1916

This article lists just a few who became successful, including very close family friends, the Gleeson brothers of Urunga and Coff's Harbour. They owned the Ocean View Hotel, in 1927, rebuilding the first after it was burnt down. The hotel remains in the family over very many years.

National Library of Australia       http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article229483898  

 (you can click on the images to enlarge.)

The Ocean View Hotel became the centre of the community in many ways, it was the place to stay when travelling between Sydney and Brisbane... being half way. It was also often filled with visitors and holiday makers as it provided great accommodation and meals. Many a wedding reception was held there, as well as various community meetings. It was the place for sporting clubs and other organisations to meet and the Gleesons were known for their generosity in supporting the community. 

The Catsoulis and Gleeson families certainly had some laughs....


                                        Dorrigo Hotel owned by Mick Feros c.1924

In the original article, you will see that John Kouvelis owned the Lennons Hotel in Brisbane, among others...Many other immigrants worked hard to become the 'lucky ones'... as the old saying goes, the harder you work, the luckier you become'...

Old Lennons Hotel from the 1889 Post Office directory

There are many stories of the success achieved by Greek immigrants, not all started off as this group did... Greeks feature well in the National Archives, and therefore in TROVE..


A quick search of TROVE using just      Greek immigrants   brings up 31,633 entries... 

We know them as cafe owners, owners of fish and chip shops, fruit shops, all manner of retail, but they have so much more to offer...
Just browse through Kythera-family.net  or through the Australian Dictionary of Biography

Greeks feature well in the Arts... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Australian_actors_of_Greek_descent

 They fought for Australia... The Greeks who fought for Australia | Neos Kosmos

Names that used to be thought of as tongue twisters, are commonplace these days...we've embraced the people, the culture (who loves panayiri?), the food... have you tried all these?

# you can read more about my family here  and here

 Australia has been known as a land of milk and honey, as a country who rode on the sheep's back and so many other things, including as a land of opportunity. It is all those things and so much more. It is a land of freedom... a country where hard work brings success, a country that encourages good ideas.. and a country that values mateship and honesty. We welcome those who take pride in our country.. and our values, no matter where you came from. 


  1. A great post as tribute to your family and their successes Chris

  2. Thank you, Kerryn... not so much about my family, but about the determination and positive attitude these people had. They sure had their problems and challenges as well, but they set their goals and didn't give up.
    Thank you for commenting.

  3. They did indeed work hard, and changed Australia in all sorts of positive ways.

    1. As so many immigrants did, Pauleen. They were grateful for the opportunities they found. Thank you for yoyr comment.


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