Peter Prineas’ new book ‘Wild Colonial Greeks’ takes deep look into early Greek Australian history

·

In his recently published book, ‘Wild Colonial Greeks’, Sydney writer and historian Peter Prineas attempts to explore the true origins of Greek history in Australia.

The book takes readers on a journey through colonial Australian history as the author looks to uncover the first Greek arrival to Australia.

One candidate, who is referenced multiple times throughout the book, is a Greek from Corfu named George Manuel, who was living in Australia in 1823. This was six years before the arrival of the seven pirate-convicts currently considered to be Australia’s first Greeks.

The book also shows how Greeks were viewed by the mainstream press and chronicles at the time, bringing to life the goldfields doctor Spiridion Candiottis, who clashed resoundingly with newspapermen in Victoria and Queensland.

See below for a small extract from the book, Wild Colonial Greeks:

It seems to have been generally accepted that apart from the seven pirates, the only other person of Greek origin to come to Australia as a convict, was a man named Joseph Simmons or Simmonds. He is recorded in convict archives as a seaman aged 40, a single man, an illiterate, and in religion a Protestant, who gave his ‘native place’ as Greece. Gilchrist, however, describes him as an Ionian Islander and, ‘in fact a Greek Jew who landed in Sydney from the convict ship Isabella IV in March 1832’, after having been ‘convicted at the Dorsett Assizes and sentenced to transportation for life for stealing a handkerchief’.

It is surprising that another convict with the decidedly Greek name of Timoleon Vlasto has been overlooked by historians. It is even more surprising when one considers the infamy that Vlasto acquired in 1849 for stealing ancient Greek coins worth a small fortune from the British Museum in London. His trial was widely reported in the British press and ended with a sentence of transportation for a term of seven years to Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania), where he arrived near the end of May 1851. Timoleon Vlasto’s crime and his Greek identity – albeit that of a diaspora Greek – was also reported in Australian newspapers.

Advertisement

Share:

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH TGH

By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Advertisement

Latest News

Greek court drops migrant shipwreck case against nine Egyptians

A Greek court has dismissed charges against nine Egyptian men suspected of creating one of the Mediterranean's deadliest shipwrecks. The deadly boat tragedy saw over 600...

Eight Australians hospitalised after deadly Singapore Airlines flight

Eight Australians are in hospital after severe turbulence on a Singapore Airlines flight left one person dead and more than 70 injured.

Kytherians in Australia celebrate legacy and philanthropy at annual Debutante Ball

The Kytherian Association of Australia hosted their Annual Debutante Ball on Saturday, May 18, at the Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney.

Sydney’s Pontian community gather to remember lives lost during Greek Genocide

On Sunday, 19 May 2024, Pontoxeniteas NSW held a poignant commemoration of the Greek Genocide. Read more here.

Panarcadian Mother’s Day focuses on health, Hippocrates and heritage

On Sunday, May 19th, the Panarcadian Association of Melbourne and Victoria, "O Kolokotronis," held their successful annual Mother's Day event

You May Also Like

Program released for visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Australia

A program of events has been released for the historic visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Australia in October this year.

Combining fashion and history: Meet the designer behind the Greek brand ‘MagnaDi’

The founder of Greek fashion brand 'MagnaDi' on her brand and the collection of silk scarves inspired by the Greek Revolution.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis plans to legalise same-sex marriage in Greece

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis plans to legalise same-sex marriage, a huge step forward for LGBTQ rights.