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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 22 December 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 22 DECEMBER 2018 21 MEMORIES A home for everyone The story of Asimina Pitsikas-Koloadin, a woman who despite all the difficulties that came her way, kept an open house and heart for all those in need ALEX ANYFANTIS Alexandra’s first Christmas in Australia with her husband Dimosthenis. Alexandra and Dimosthenis with their children. t was late March of 1922 in Darwin when Asimina Pitsikas, daughter of Kyriaki Harmanis and Diamantis Pitsikas was born into this world. Her last name was a precious heirloom passed down into her family from her grandmother (or Yiayia, if you prefer), Asimina Harmanis, who was one of the first Kastellorizians to come to Australia in search of a better life. Asimina Pitsikas was one of six children (her sisters were Mary, Sophia, Eleni and brothers John and Nicholas). They lost their father early on and life was difficult in Darwin. Their mother decided it would be better for them all to move to Sydney, where they would have a better chance to build a life for themselves. And it didn't take long for Asimina to get things going, as she went to school and studied dress design at the East Sydney Technical College, and subsequently completed a course at the Sydney Conservatorium of music. She began her professional career working as a head designer for Princeton Fashions of North Sydney, however that wasn't meant to last. 1944 was a year that was going to leave its mark on Asimina and her entire family. It was in that year that she both married the man of her life, Constantinos Kaloudis (Koloadin), with whom she would eventually go on to have five children (George, Kyriaki, Richard, Andreamaxi and Johnny); However it was also the same year that she would lose her mother, Kyriaki Harmanis. This event forced greater I responsibilities upon Asimina, as even from an early age she was used to taking care of all her siblings, despite not being the eldest, so they all turned to her for support after the loss of their mother. And yet, even though she was forced to put her career to the side in order to take care of her family (she already had one child, George, when her mother passed away), such a thing would only serve as a temporary setback for a dynamic woman like Asimina. As early as 1945, at the age of 23, she had her own clothing factory in Taylor Square, in Sydney’s Darlinghurst which initially created outfits for the soldiers of the Australian Army. Later on, Asimina would sign contracts with other companies Alexandra and Dimisthenis with their grandchildren. Asimina Pitsikas-Koloadin was a woman who faced adversity with a smile and would always offer a helping hand to those in need. to create frocks and swimsuits. The factory served a second purpose however, as many of the women working there were sent by the Assisted Passage program of the Australian Government, with Asimina serving as a form of mother figure for them. She provided them with food and shelter and she taught them tailoring as none of them had any real training or education. She welcomed them with open arms and treated them as if they were her own daughters, even going to the point of sewing their wedding dresses when some of them eventually got married. And many of them did, as many of the sailors that had come to Sydney to find better life conditions visited father Cleomenis of the local Saint Sophia Cathedral in search of asylum. He guided them to Asimina and her factory and she provided them with all the necessities in their new beginning, going as far as to welcome them inside her own home, until they found their own permanent residency. That's when the sailors started to interact with the women working at the factory, with Asimina doubling as a "match-maker" of sorts and seeing a lot of her girls walking down the isle. Asimina Pitsikas-Koloadin was a strong, determined and very passionate woman, who was always kind and warm toward everyone she met, never shying away from offering a helping hand to anyone. The size of her heart could only be compared to her sense of humour, while the parties she held in her huge house in Maroubra have gone down in history!
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