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Dionisios Panaretos - shot in his shop and lived to tell the tale

Dionisios Panaretos was born on 7 December 1876 in Potamos even though he believed he was born 28 September 1876. He was the fifth of the six children of Nikolaos Panaretos and his wife Stavroula Panaretou. He was described as a short man at 5’, with black hair and brown eyes and no special features.

Dionisios Panaretos from Life in Australia 1916

On 20 January 1912 Dionisios married 26-year-old Maria Gavrili, daughter of Konstantinos Gavrilis and Theodora Kombi from Logothetianika. They had one daughter, Evgenia in 1912. Months later, on 12 December 1912, Denny arrived in Sydney alone from Port Said on board the Roon. No evidence exists that he ever returned to Greece. He probably never saw his wife or daughter again.

Roon - the ship Dionisios emigrated to Australia on

On his arrival in Australia, Denny, as he was now known, went straight to Tamworth where he spent the rest of his life.

Sometime before 1915 he purchased Comino and Panaretto in Peel Street, Tamworth with Michael Catsoulis and James Trefelles.

Denny appeared in a local newspaper when it was reported that at 1am on the morning of 25 June 1913, Denny and John Trefily, assistant, were shot at close quarters while closing the back door of their shop, Comino’s, in East Moree. Denny was shot in the arm while seven pellets grazed John’s head and he required hospitalisation. The men had no idea who fired the shot. Nothing else was mentioned about this incident.

The partnership between Denny, Michael Catsoulis and James Trefelles was dissolved on 12 August 1915. Denny took over the business with Theodore Notos and Anthony Aroney, which remained Comino and Panaretto. This partnership was dissolved on 13 May 1916 and Denny and Anthony took over the business. [i]

At the very end of 1916, Denny went into bankruptcy. At 12 noon on 22 January 1917 the mortgagees auctioned off all plant and stock in the lease of two shops in Peel Street. There is also an ad in the Tamworth Advertiser on 14 June 1917 listing the assets of Comino and Panaretto that is up for tender. It included goodwill and the balance of leases for three shops, plant in the three shops estimated to be worth £350 and stock-in-trade at about £70.

From 1918 to 1920 he was employed as a shop assistant in Tamworth. In October 1920 when he applied for naturalisation, his address was listed as 169 Peel Street Tamworth. Between the years of 1925 and 1932 he was a fruiterer in Tamworth.

Peel Street Tamworth in the 1920s

About 12:30am on the morning of 21 June 1929, Denny was living in rooms attached to a refreshment room in Peel Street with two other aged men and heard a sound at his bedroom window. When he moved the blind, he found two men armed with guns. They threatened to kill him if he did not open the door, which he did not but rather called for help. The men tried to kick in the door, but Denny continued to yell, and the men ran away. Two men were arrested later that day.

On 4 Jul 1935 Denny passed away at 250 Peel Street Tamworth from bronchial asthma accelerated by valvular disease of the heart. He was buried the next day at the Church of England Cemetery in West Tamworth.

There was a coroner’s inquest into Dennys’ death on 11 July 1935. It is unknown why this inquest was ordered. It was found he died with nil cash or property. His death certificate states his wife’s name was unknown and that he had a daughter, age and name unknown. His fathers’ name is listed as Con. Nobody in Australia at the time knew him well enough to provide these details.

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