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Short lives of a few Kytherian emigrants

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

Many Kytherian men emigrated to Australia for a better life for themselves and the families they left behind, but this was not always the case. This is a story of three young men, or boys, who travelled to the other side of the world for a better future, but that was never to be. These men had relatively short lives aged 17, 29 and 25 and consequently only had a short time in Australia. It is still important that we remember them.


Polichronis Panaretos

Polichronis was the youngest of the four children of Dimitrios Notos (Panaretos) and Kaliopi Argiri, both of Potamos. He was born on 10 August 1881 in Potamos and baptised 29 August in Agios Anargiros church in Potamos.


Not much is known about Polichronis’ short life. He arrived in Australia as a 14- or 15-year-old boy in 1895 on board the ship Australian with his brother Ioannis. In his short time in Australia he worked for Zacharia Comino in his Oyster Saloon at 136 Pitt Street, Sydney.


In Centennial Park, Sydney on Sunday 3 April 1898 at about 2:00 pm, Polichronis was found on the ground badly injured next to his bicycle. He was rushed to hospital where it was discovered he had severe head injuries including a serious fracture to the skull. Unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries and died at about 6:00 pm that day.


Even though the park had its usual Sunday afternoon attendance and Polichronis was riding his bicycle with a group, no witnesses could say what happened to him.


The coroner held an inquiry into Polichronis’ death on Tuesday 5 April 1898 and found that he was “coasting” down the main path on his bicycle too fast and he lost control and hit a tree. The coroner recorded his death as “Accidental”.


He was buried on 5 April 1898 at Waverly Cemetery. He was only 17.


Grave of Polichronis in Waverly Cemetery

Ioannis Kastrisos

Ioannis Kastrisos was the sixth of the seven children of Kostantinos Kastrisios, a farmer, and Potheti Protopsalti. He was born 4 pm on 3 January 1889 and baptised on 15 January 1889.


He arrived in Australia in about 1914 and was now known as John or Jack Castrision. All that is known about his first four years in Australia is that he was living in New South Wales.


Like many other Kytherians at the time, he worked very hard and saved enough money to buy his own business. In June 1916 a company called Jack Castrison & Co. bought Stratee Notaras’ Cafe on Sheridan Street Gundagai (read blog about Niagara Café Gundagai). It is unknown who else was involved in this shop with Jack. Shortly after buying the café he did a major renovation and became talk of the town.


In about October 1918 Jack bought a fish and oyster saloon in Bowral at an unknown location. There is no mention of him in any Bowral newspaper however Bowral is mentioned in his obituary.


Jack had an accident involving a horse in about May 1918 and needed medical treatment. As a result of the accident and the injuries he sustained he had an operation, unfortunately the operation was not successful. He passed away in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, on 5 July 1918. The official cause of death was kidney infection and uraemia. He was buried in Waverly Greek Cemetery, plot W-21-GE-SL-5090 which is unmarked. He was only 29 and he never married.


The long neglected grave of Ioannis Kastrisos in Waverly Cemetery

Panagiotis Protopsalits

Panagiotis Protopsaltis was born 1 August 1901 to Athanasios Protopsaltis and Margeta Kastrisou in Mitata. He had an older sister, Marigo, and a younger brother, Dimtirios.


He served two years fighting against the Turks in the Greco-Turkish war of 1919-1922. He was taken prisoner at Angora in Asia Minor and released in 1922, probably at the end of the war.


Ever since then he had suffered the effects of “confinement and illusage” while he was a prisoner.


He arrived in Australia in about 1923 or 1924 and was known as Peter Psaltis. Upon his arrival he spent three years in Bowral living with and working for his first cousin Arthur Psaltis in his café on Bong Bong Street. Coincidentally, Arthur opened this cafe in 1918. It is possible he was partners with Ioannis Kastrisos above, or he purchased the café upon Ioannis’ death, but no proof has yet been found to verify the connection.


At about 10:40 pm on 7 February 1927, Peter left the café where he worked. Twenty minutes later, just after the departure of the 11 pm Temora mail train, his decapitated body was found on the train tracks just under the overhead traffic bridge. Nobody saw him from when he left the café to when he arrived at the tracks.


On 18 February 1927 the coroner returned a verdict that Peter died of his own act and no reason was disclosed. The effects of the war must have been too much for him.


Bowral railway station with the pedestrian overpass in the distance – State Archives of New South Wales


Bibliography

Kytherian Council birth, death and marriage records

Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriage, Sydney NSW

1898 'Another Cycling Fatality.', Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), 4 April, p. 4, viewed 8 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109650507

1898 'Family Notices.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 5 April, p. 8, viewed 8 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14181339

1927 'Killed on Railway.', Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW : 1911 - 1954), 9 February, p. 2, viewed 8 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article143867141

1916 'Advertising.', The Gundagai Independent and Pastoral, Agricultural and Mining Advocate (NSW : 1898 - 1928), 3 July, p. 4, viewed 9 July, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article122188458

1916 'Advertising.', The Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser (NSW : 1868 - 1931), 23 June, p. 5, viewed 9 July, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article123535765

1917 'TOWN TOPICS.', The Gundagai Independent and Pastoral, Agricultural and Mining Advocate (NSW : 1898 - 1928), 16 August, p. 4, viewed 9 July, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article121749572

1918 'MR. J. CASTRISION.', The Southern Mail (Bowral, NSW : 1889 - 1954), 9 July, p. 2, viewed 9 July, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113383589


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