Nikolaos Fatseas, the Wanderer
Updated: Dec 15, 2022
Nikolaos was born at 8 pm on 15 October 1895 (even though he thought his birth date was 13 October) in Fatsiadika and baptised a week later on 22 October 1895 in Fratsia’s Agios Kosmas church. He was the eldest of five children of Ioannis Fatseas, a farmer, and Chrisanthi Kasimati.
Nothing is known about his life in Kythera, but like most Kytherians there was not much potential to better himself on the island, so he emigrated to Australia.
Not much documentation has been found for him in Australia, but what has been found has been very thorough and informative.
The only document found so far was from the National Archives of Australia and it is his Alien Registration papers. When an immigrant lived in Australia they had to register as an “alien”. This involved reporting to the local police station and filling out the necessary paperwork. From a family history research perspective, this has some wonderful information for us to learn more about the person.
The alien registration form contains basic information that all aliens had to supply; name, nationality, date of birth, occupation, date entered Australia and present address. All of this is fantastic information for a family history researcher, what is even better is the fact that a signature, photo and often fingerprints are also included. These are all invaluable information for a family member.
Because of this alien registration, we know Nikolas was fairly tall for a Kytherian at 5’ 8” with a medium build, dark brown hair, dark brown eyes and vaccination scars on both his forearms. He arrived in Sydney onboard the ship Rimilo on 23 March 1936 and was now known as Nicholas Phacheas. It also states he was a married man, but no wife has been found at this stage.
Once the form had been filled out a police report would be filled out by the local police station. The police report is often not in the surviving file, but in this case we are lucky enough to have it. From this we know that Nicholas spent two months in Temora working for N. Kasimatis in a fish shop and five months in Sydney working for his brother-in-law at 109 George Street. At the end of 1939 he moved to Wowan, Queensland, where he worked as a cotton grower for N. Carabatsolas.
The actual registration forms were filled out on 21 October 1939. Nicholas now had a document that he needed to carry with him at all times. Every time he changed location he was expected to report to the local police station to have this document amended. Basically, it was always known where an alien was living at any point in time. He actually went to so many places his alien registration book got full so he had to apply again on 5 February 1948.
Imagine what this must have been like. So many Kytherians would move from country town to country town looking for work or looking for businesses to purchase. Each time they changed location they had to report in. As seen in the example below, this could be every few months to only a few days.
Because of this, we know exactly where Nicholas was living and how long he spent at each place. Here is a time line of Nicholas’ locations and occupations from when he filled out the alien registration forms until 1951. All locations are in Queensland.
7 August to 11 August – Strathearron Boarding House, Dennison Street, Rockhampton – farmer
11 August to 1 September – Niagara Café, Gladstone – farmer
2 September to 8 October – c/- Lewis Bros, Bundaberg – farmer
8 October to 20 October – 50 Grey Street, South Brisbane - farmer
27 October to 9 January 1942 – c/o D. Freeleagus, Curry Street, Nambour – cook
9 January to 28 January – Hellenic Club, Charlotte Street, Brisbane – farmer
28 January to 7 February - c/o W. CONDOLEON, Eidsvold – farmer
20 February to 26 March – c.o N. Carabatsos, Wowan – farmer
20 March to 7 July – Niagara Café, Gladstone – farmer
10 July to 28 November – Wowan – cotton grower
28 November to 16 December – 37 North Street, Rockhampton – cotton grower
16 December to 16 April 1943 – 194 Kent Street – cotton grower
16 April to 3 August – Don River, Wowan – cotton grower
6 August to 28 September - 194 Kent Street, Rockhampton – cotton grower
29 September to 25 April 1944 – Poplar Café, Wowan – cook
25 April to 21 June – 194 Kent Street, Rockhampton – labourer
27 June to 17 July – 29 Gregory Street, Mackay – farmer
27 July to 25 January 1945 – 47 Hope Street, South Brisbane – kitchen hand
25 January to 17 March – Nicholas Street, Ipswich – kitchen hand
17 March to 23 January 1946 – 50 Grey Street, South Brisbane – kitchen hand
23 January to 2 April – 227 Given Terrace, Paddington
5 April to 19 July – 50 Grey Street (Greek Club?) – kitchen hand
26 July to 22 August – 115 Alma Street, Rockhampton
22 August to 21 April 1947 – 20 Grey Street, South Brisbane – Kitchen hand but was unemployed for two weeks in this time
11 September to 13 October – Maggill Road, Taronga – shop assistant
13 October to 22 March – 50 Grey Street, South Brisbane – shop assistant
He reapplied as an alien on 19 January 1948 as he had run out of space on his old papers. His wife and two children were living in Greece at the time.
22 March to 10 April – Campbell Street, Oakley – café temp for Peter Conomos
10 April to 26 July – 50 Grey Street, South Brisbane
26 July to 13 January 1949 – 194 Kent Street, Rockhampton
13 January to 7 September - 50 Grey Street, South Brisbane
7 September – Campbell Street, Oakley – café temp for Peter Conomos
10 June to 4 October - 50 Grey Street, South Brisbane
4 October to 17 November – c/o P. Conomos, Campbell Street, Mackay
17 November to 4 December – Stanthorpe
4 December to 5 February 1952 – 50 Grey Street, South Brisbane
5 February – c/o Kyprios, Oakey
As you can see from the timeline, not every day has been accounted for. It is very possible he was travelling, or he literally had nowhere to stay for those days. It is also possible he failed to check in to the local police station and his whereabouts was not recorded.
It is also interesting to see how he went to the same locations in many different locations and also how many fellow Kytherian names appear as his employer. This shows just how much the Kytherian community stuck together and helped each other out.
Nothing more has been found for Nicholas. No death has been found in Australia. It is possible he returned to Kythera to live out the rest of his life.
Reading the above may not seem very interesting, but if you are a descendant of this man this information is priceless. You can get a real feel for an immigrant having to report his every movement with authorities, but you also know exactly where your family member was living and you can visit the locations today, really bringing it to life.
National Archives of Australia The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, www.familysearch.org, 1894–1895 Kythera Council Birth Records