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Emmanouil Mavromatis, a story told mainly through pictures

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

Sometimes it is not just the documentation that tells a story, but more the images found. The old saying “a picture tells a thousand words” can be so true when it comes to family history.

This is Emmanouil Mavromatis and this is what is known about his story from just a few publicly accessible documents and images we have found so far.

He was born at 8 am on 1 January 1917, although he thought his birth date was 25 May 1917. He was baptised in Agios Minas church in Logothetianika. He was one of the seven children of Ioannis Mavromatis and Smaragdo Kalopedi.

He was 5’ 6” with a medium build, black hair, brown eyes a scar below his right ear and a scar above his right eye

As a child, he attended school in Potamos in the school years ending 1928, 1929 and 1930. He was a slightly above average student.

Signature of Emmanouil as a child from his school reports found in the Kytherian Archives

Image of Emmanouil Mavromatis

As was typical for the time, he left Kythera to start a new life in Australia as a 14-year-old boy. He arrived in Brisbane, Queensland, onboard Orsova on 2 October 1931 and was now known as Emanuel Mavromatis or Black.

Orsova Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

He registered as an alien on 18 October 1939 in Goomeri, Queensland.

He signed up to fight for his new country in WWII on 18 June 1945 and served in the 8 Australian Infantry Battalion, service number QX64319 (Q136303). He served in New Guinea and Bouganinville. Private Mavromatis was discharged on 3 April 1946.

After his discharge he returned to Goomeri where he was a shop proprietor for Black Bros Pty Ltd trading as Busy Bee Café.

Letterhead of Busy Bee Cafe NAA: BP25/1, MAVROMATIS E GREEK

Emanuel's signature later in life NAA: BP25/1, MAVROMATIS E GREEK

Emanuel died on 28 January 1988 in Brisbane, aged 81. He is buried in Mt Gravatt Cemetery, plot MONUMENTAL-3B-1562.

While the documents we find give us the history of a person, it is the photos that bring that person to life. With Emanuel, the photos have allowed us to see him age and we can get a feel for the type of man he might have been. We are sure there is more to this story to be found as our research progresses and we can’t wait to find it.


Kytherian Archives

National Archives of Australia

Mt Gravatt graves

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