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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 25 November 2017
18 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 25 NOVEMBER 2017 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Beyond the shop counters and windows Personal narratives transcending generations of Greek migration in the post Second World War A fter his recent launch of When Freedom Beckons: The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and the Jewish Hungarian Journey to Australia, Sydney historian and prolific writer, Vasilis Vasilas is at it again, with the release of his second book for 2017, Beyond the Shop Windows and Counters: Stories and Photographs of Sydney’s Current Greek Shops (Volume 1). Having begun the project on Sydney’s long-standing Greek shops in 2014, the workload from compiling his second volume of Estonian stories Across Lands and Oceans… to Freedom and book of Ukrainian stories In Search of Hope and Home forced Vasilis to put this project aside. So when the opportunity arose to recommence it this year, Vasilis grabbed it, ‘It was while I was waiting for my dear friend, Dr Michael Abrahams-Sprod to write the introduction for the Jewish-Hungarian book that I found time to recommence this project. It is an awful feeling leaving projects unfinished, so completing this Eleftherios Samios and George of Digasa Metal Fabrication, Peakhurst NSW. first volume of Greek shop stories is a wonderful feeling.’ Having dealt with so many different themes in his previous books, including Greek football in Sydney, World War II, and the Korean War and post-World War II European migration, Vasilis explains this new project is just an extension of all of his work, “as the title of the book suggests, these personal narratives of Greek shop owners goes beyond the shop windows and the counters to look at the lives of the shop owners themselves. In essence, these are migrant stories too; these Greek migrants came to Australia with their suitcase full of dreams, worked hard to open their own businesses and went on to successfully maintain them.” All the personal narratives in Beyond the Shop Windows and Counters transcend generations of Greek migration post-WWII, as the book begins with Panagiotis Karpouzis opening Olympic Deli in Bankstown in 1956 and goes through decades of new Greek businesses opening throughout Sydney. One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the diversity of Greek shops included: while Greek migrants and food shops - such as cafes, milk bars, fish-and-chips, takeaway, charcoal chicken or yeeros shops - are synonymous in Australian history, Vasilis went beyond these food shops to include tailors, cobblers, florists, barbers, and hairdressers and others to provide a broader portrayal of the Greek community’s contribution to the Australian marketplace and business. “When I went through the Sydney Morning Herald’s 2014 interactive online feature, The Old Shops of Sydney and saw the last of these specialty shops, whether they were delicatessens or cake shops, I quickly realised Greek migrants ran all these types of shops. They were everywhere in business! And this is what inspired me to begin this project.” As Vasilis went on to explain,” the Greek Australian community found its own identity in the post-WWII period, with the Australian George Anastopoulos and family of Supreme Souvlakia in Belmore.
18 November 2017
02 December 2017