Greek, Australian, Greek-Australian or something else? Alternative identities and communities in John Charalambous' Furies (2004)

Catalina Ribas-Segura


Includes image: 'large nude', 1925.


Greek migration to Australia began in the early years of the colonization of the country but it was not until the end of World War II when significant numbers of Greek citizens migrated to this country. Their presence, together with migrants and refugees of many other countries, changed its society from a mainly homogenous one to another one in which almost half of its population was born overseas or has at least one parent born overseas. The construction of collective and individual identities has been studied by theorists such as Manuel Castells, with his identity theory, and Vin D'Cruz and William Steele, with their psychocultural continuum theory. Given the fact that identities are complex constructs which are often explored in literature, this paper presents John Charalambous' novel Furies (2004) and uses those two theories to understand the complexities embedded in collective and individual identities.

In the twenty-first century, Australia is considered to be a country of migrants because 46% of its population is either first- or second-generation migrant (ABS 2013). This is a consequence of the immigration policies the country held after World War II, which lessened the White Australia Policy and opened the country to immigrants from many nationalities which had been dismissed before. Greeks became one of the main groups to migrate to the country, but it was not the first time Greek migrants arrived in Australia, as some had already settled there in the nineteenth century.

The following pages explain the influence that Greek migrants have had in the formation of Australian society, introduce John Charalambous, an author of Cypriot Greek and Anglo-Australian heritage, and explore the constructs of collective and individual identity in his novel Furies (2004). 

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