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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 29 August 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 29 AUGUST 2015 15 and industry Peter and Michael Michelides outside the French consulate in Perth c. 1938. Peter Michelides was WA’s Honorary Consul of France from 1914 until 1940. humble ter eated a erprise entury later ome one of the o producers GITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATU AL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 29 AUGUST 2015 15 and industry Peter and Michael Michelides outside the French consulate in Perth c. 1938. Peter Michelides was WA’s Honorary Consul of France from 1914 until 1940. humble ter eated a erprise entury later ome one of the o producers allel allel development of the business, while establishing the astructural foundations for WA s A's Greek community, that marks the Michelides' story as unique. After arriving in Perth, Peter Michelides devoted himself to initiating far-reaching projects that cemented the community's cultural and religious traditions; from establishing the organisations that would underpin community development, to building the facilities a fully-functioning culture needed to survive and prosper. In the early years, perhaps one action illustrates not only Peter's position as a spokesman for the community, but the level at which his interventions for its welfare were made. In 1916, violent attacks on Greek-owned businesses (portrayed by a racist local press as supporting Germany in WWI) in Perth, and particularly Kalgoorlie, were stopped only after Peter sent a cable to Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos and Australia s governo guson, appealing fo alia's governor general, gus for police p how Peter and Michael took on the all-powerful monopolies h M th m and its impact in Aus in Australia. Ultim Ultimately Michael Michelides 1891-1953. ‘Τιμή’, ‘Οικονομία’ and ‘Εργασία’: The original words written on the piece of cardboard by Spero Michelides 1835-1921 and given to his son Peter. unable to compete th the Michelides Ltd ceased trading unable Michel ading in 1960, with the British and globalised trade and it into the history of globa unique insight into t fascinating and uniq the 1950s is a fasci early-1900s and the 1 between the earl tobacco industry betw tha the tob that controlled the Australian protection. The story of FEATURE The earliest-known photograph of the Michelides family in Australia, taken in 1905. Left to right standing: Con Gourdis (Peter’s first assistant and cousin) and Peter Michelides. Seated: Mary and Michael Michelides. PHOTO COURTESY ANNE GOURDIS. American corporations (Rothmans and British Tobacco) who controlled 90 per cent of the Australian market - a situation that evolved directly from the Menzies government's removal of protective tariffs. Michael Michelides, beloved husband of Ellen, died early, in 1953, at the age of 61. Peter's life, shared with his devoted wife Pearl for half a century, ended in 1966 at the age of 88. The legacy left in their children is the compelling content of the second part of this formidable family history. The poignant portraits of their offspring, three boys and four girls, all born between 1910 and 1924, tell as profound a story as their parents'. It's the photographs that say as much, if not more than the words: Peter's eldest, Spero (Sam), at work in the factory, younger sons Manny and Michael in uniform before heading to England to join the RAN and RAAF in 1944, daughter Daphne's certificate, having been crowned Perth's 'Miss Greece', for raising funds for servicemen in 1943, Michael's only child, Spero, (known as Spike) at the wheel of a Jaguar racing car breaking WA's speed record; and the beautiful portrait of Jasmine who died so tragically young at the age of 19. These intimate heirlooms have rarely been seen outside the family. It's unlikely that any commerciallypublished book has ever before detailed with such devotion and insight the triumphs and adversities of one family of first generation Greek Australians. To share such personal stories is to take a road less travelled, but then, that's always been the Michelides way. The Tobacco Pioneers: Michelides - A Family History is published by Vivid Publishing, Fremantle. ISBN 9781925209686 (paperback), and is available at www.vividpublishing. com.au/michelides RRP: $50.
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