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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 1 November 2014
FEATURE 18 SATURDAY 1 NOVEMBER 2014 The Likiard swimming sisters (Geelong, c.1937). L-R: Chrysanthe June, Aphrodite Calypso and Stavroula Catherine. PHOTO COURTESY A. L AMBERT. Bride ships In 1956, a program commenced to redress the imbalance between the numbers of Greek males and females. Single Greek women were trained in Athens for domestic work in Australia, as well as being taught English. They were contracted for two years to the Australian government, which would find them suitable employment. Interestingly, the Australian government's scheme also provided a means for single Greek women to extricate themselves from the burden of the traditional dowry system. Between 1957 and 1963, more Greek females than males arrived in Australia - most though as privately sponsored migrants, rather than 'assisted'. With migrant ships carrying large numbers of single Greek women to Australia, many as prospective brides for Greek men, the vessels became known as 'bride ships'. Occupations entered by post-World War II Greek female arrivals included: factory work; machinists; food catering; cleaners; teachers in Greek afternoon schools; and for those with a good formal education and a firm grasp of English, employment as translators and public servants. The era also evidenced the first nun to be ordained in the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia: Sister Kaliniki (Coralia Stavropoulos, nee Christides), who took her vows in 1971. Judith Durham - whose maternal great-grandfather, Antoni Dimitri Pannucca, was Cretan - acquired huge international success in the 1960s as the female vocalist with the popular Australian music group, The Seekers. While still in her teens, singer Laurel Lee (Lorraine May Lianos) became a regular on Johnny O'Keefe's late 1950s television show, Six O'Clock Rock. Elly Lukas, who had arrived in Australia in 1947, became an international model of considerable renown just seven years later when she modelled the Christian Dior gown of the year in Paris. Disembarking in Australia in 1951, Vasso Kalamaras (nee Papayiannakis) persisted with her desire to be a writer and went on to win an array of literary grants and prizes - in 1990 she won the Western Australia Premier's Award for Fiction for her book The Same Light. Similar to male post-war migration, Greek women were originating from all areas of their homeland, and assisted in numerically swamping, over time, the prominent traditional chains of migration from Kythera, Ithaca and Kastellorizo. Moreover, unlike earlier Greek female arrivals, many post-war Greek women were conscious that they were not simply migrating to Australia, but to a country with well-established Greek communities. This assisted to lessen the social and cultural dislocation experienced through the process of migration and settlement, particularly for those who settled in centres that possessed a significant Greek Australian presence. Greek women could have their hair done at Greek hairdressers, buy goods at Greek-run shops, attend Greek Orthodox church services, and catch up on news through Greek language newspapers or through Greek women's groups, and even acquire both food and entertainment items from Greek import shops. By 1981 the ratio of Greek males to females had almost become even: 106 Greek men to every 100 Greek women. The female offspring of post-World War II Greek settlers have generally benefited, along with the boys, from their parents' migration. According to a 1995 report by the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University, Melbourne, the children of post-war Greek migrants were high achievers in education and work, and gained better qualifications than their peers whose parents were born in Australia, Britain, Ireland or Western Europe. *This article is an edited excerpt from the In Their Own Image: Greek Australians National Project Archives, by Leonard Janiszewski and Effie Alexakis. All the photos are part of the project. Professor Mary Kalantzis, academic (Sydney, 1997). PHOTO: EFFY ALEXAKIS. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17 With education being given a high priority for Greek Australians in the second half of the twentieth century, Australian professional fields feature names such as Ana Kokkinos (above), Mary Coustas, Helen Kapalos and many others. PHOTO: EFFY ALEXAKIS.
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