By Kyriaki Orfanos
A lively and successful Symposium took place in Brisbane over the weekend when the 8th Kytheraismos provided an excuse for Kytherians and lovers of Kythera to get together. It offered a diverse series of events ranging from booked-out Genealogy and Diples workshops, an exhibition featuring talented artists, jewellery-makers, and photographers, a vintage photo-montage showing the lives of early Greek- Queenslanders, and several social events, to a standing-room-only Speakers program which was both informative and entertaining.
George Vardas and Kallie Zervos gave well-researched papers about the influence of the British in the Ionian. George focused on their legacy, including the roads and bridges and the introduction of the Lancastrian education system, while Kallie spoke about what could be learned about life in the village of Potamos through the genealogy records of that period. Of course, no discussion about the British would be complete without an allusion the Parthenon Marbles, both George and Emmanuel Comino had much to say about them.
Dr. Maria Zarimis spoke of the poetics of Kythera through the work of Nicholas Souris, a man who had spent most of his life in Australia and documented it, and the nostos of living away from his homeland, through the medium of Madinades. Denis Conomos spoke about pioneering Kytherian immigrants to Queensland and their influence on their adopted homeland, as well as on the fortunes of future immigrants. Peter Vamvakaris presented a tribute to Father Gregory and his wife, Presbytera Roula, and their 6-decade contribution to Brisbane society. Kytherians who have brought more of their homeland with them than a pithari and a kourelou, include Sally Cominos Dakin, who described the adventure of establishing a successful olive grove in Queensland, using traditional techniques, and Tony Comino who spoke about Comino Wines.
Three speakers discussed Kytherian history and archaeology, Emmanuel Cassimatis, Dr. Amelia Brown, and Spiridoula Magoula, while George Poulos spoke of Lefcadio Hearn, whose mother was Rosa Kassimatis of Chora.
Paul Mathers who is a 3rd generation Greek Australian, spoke of the concept of Philotimo, through the history of his family, while John Carras recounted his experience of set- ting up the first morgue in Kythera.
Emanuel Kasimatis and John Kallinicos discussed investment opportunities on Kythera, and the role of the Kytherian diaspora in the future economic development of the island. Kiriaki Orfanos talked about how Kythera inspires, giving an account of running a successful writers’ retreat there.
The President of the Kytherian Association of Australia, Emmanuel Alfieris spoke of the future of Greek Australian associations and the role Kytherians can play, while the former president of the Association, Dr. Victor Kepreotis gave a talk titled Kythera, Back to the Future.
The keynote address, titled The Ecumenical Dimension of the term KYTHERA, as a Myth, as a Name, as a Place, as a Community Outside Kythera, and as Subject for Research, Over the Centuries. was given by the founder and International President of Kytheraismos, Professor Elias Marsellos.
‘The bursting-at-the-seams success of this Symposium is testament to the dedication and hard work of the Brisbane Kytheraismos Committee.’