Neos Kosmos article - The first Greek migrants who settled in Australia are the real heroes of the diaspora

Published in NEOS KOSMOS - 30 November 2018 - authored by Theodora Maios

This article was sent to me by JoAnn Pavlostathis


Young but courageous, helpless but determined to succeed, the first Greek migrants who arrived in Australia in the early 1900s, seeking a better future for themselves and their families, are without a doubt the real heroes of the diaspora.

While most Greek migration to Australia is associated with the period immediately following World War II, in the early 1900s chain-migration patterns began resulting in large numbers of arrivals, mainly from the islands of Kythera, Ithaca and Kastellorizo.

Predominantly male, the Greeks arrived in Australia and worked hard in fruit farms, factories and mines in order to make a better life for themselves.

According to testimonies, upon arrival in the land of opportunity, the young adventurers were greeted with suspicion and fear by the residents of a country that was already trying to overcome its own anti-migration hysteria, nevertheless, they worked hard and by the end of the 19th century the Greek communities of Sydney and Melbourne were well established.

Once settled, the first Hellenes began to shape their own little communities, build their own enterprises and establish partnerships that led them to be pioneers in many industries around the country.

After World War II, the Australian need for labour rises steeply. From 1947 up until the early 1980s, the country sees approximately 250,000 Greeks entering Australia, as a solution to problems of unskilled labour shortage and population growth.

Greek migrants arrive once again in Australia and spend months on end in migration camps waiting to be given the opportunity to work and prove their worth.