Kytherian Emigrants in Australia and Tasmania: Personal Narratives and Representations in a Globalized World (20th-21st c.)


  • George N. Leontsinis National and Kapodistrian University of Athens


Includes image: 'head of athena', 1924.


In this article I discuss a number of historical circumstances and situations relating to the views, ideas, attitudes, character, personality, and activities of Kytherian immigrants who lived, worked and continue to live and be active in Oceania (Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand) during the 20th century until today. The experience of migration and the social and cultural achievements of Kytherian migrants and their families are examined on a case-by-case basis through a personal diary and a family album. Through these we can assess the content of the personal narratives, visual imagery and other documentary material of the people who created them. For these case studies I believe that both narrative texts and photographic images help to represent the climate and living conditions of the Greek migrants in Oceania. More specifically, I analyse the historical - political and social - importance of the content of the narrative recorded in his diary (a quasi autobiography) by Nikolaos Panagiotou Leontsinis who was born in the village of Keramoto on Kythera in 1906 and lived in Kythera and Athens until 1924. I also use the contents of the album belonging to the family of Georgios Grigoriou Kassimatis (Grigorakou) who was born in the Kytherian village of Tzounianika in 1866 and whose children migrated to Tasmania from 1905. The migratory experience and the social and cultural achievements of these two first generation emigrants will be examined by a careful reading of their own personal memorabilia that demonstrate the value of this form of narration. The article is divided into four sections: (i) General Introduction, (ii) Autobiographical Narratives by Nikolaos Leontsinis, (iii) The Album of the family of Georgios Grigoriou Kassimatis- Grigorakos (1891-1996), and (iv) Narration, Praxis, Creation, Social Contribution, and Solidarity.