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Stratee Notara and Stavroula Kastrision

Efstratios Notaras was the eldest of five children born in Frilingianika to Manolis Notaras, a farmer, and Kali Aroni. He was born on 10 November 1879, although he thought his birth date was either 27 January 1878 or 11 September 1879. He was baptised on 9 November 1879 in Iperagias Theotokou church in Frilingianika.

He was 5’2” with black hair, brown eyes, and a scar on the left side of his face. By 1929 he could read and write English well.

He arrived in Sydney from Greece on 10 November 1901 on the Orontes and was now known as Stratee Notara. When he arrived, he spent three months working at A Comino’s Oyster Saloon on Oxford Street, Sydney, and 10 months in Moree before moving to Gundagai in about 1902.

R.M.S. Orontes - the ship that took Efstratios to Australia for his new life as Strata

The first reference to Stratee in the Australian newspapers was in January 1905 when he buys Comino Brothers, fish, oyster, and fruit business in Gundagai from Peter Zaglaniky. He applied for a colonial wine license in June the same year. This cafe is still trading and has been restored and is becoming a tourist attraction. (See previous blog)

Before 1907, Stratee changed the name of his business to Stratee Notara’s Refreshment Rooms. They were located on Sheridan Street Gundagai.

On 16 September 1907 Stratee applied for Australian naturalisation. Interestingly, Stratee and Vasilios Tambakis wrote a joint letter asking for naturalisation applications to be sent to them. He was a storekeeper living in Gundagai. Stratee must have had a very dark complexion because one of the police reports on his naturalisation papers claimed he was a “coloured man”. This application was obviously rejected, as there was a second application in 1929. This was granted on 12 February 1930.

Signature of Strata Notara form his naturalisation application papers. NAA: A1, 1907/10297:

1908 was not a good year for Stratee. In April, he was charged with “selling fruit on a Sunday”. A man was seen in the shop eating fruit. Stratee claimed the fruit was decayed and given to the man to feed his birds. The case was dismissed.

A few months later, at about 11:15 pm on 23 May 1908, a man was charged with “conducting an indecent act with a bottle” in Stratee’s shop. The act was not described, but it involved a sauce bottle. The man was found guilty and fined £2 plus 8/- costs. The judge found the act was “filthy”.

Stratee pleaded guilty to fishing in the Murrumbidgee River on 8 November 1908 when it was closed to fishing. He said he often fished out of season, but this was the first time he had been caught. He was fined 10/- plus 6/- costs.

11 May 1909 started like every other day for Stratee. He feeds his mare in the morning then goes to his shop all day. When he closed the shop, he found the poor horse with a severe cut in its abdomen and in intense pain. He quickly called the police, but they could not find who did this. The horse was put down the same night.

A few weeks later the sanitary inspector found the carcass of Stratee’s horse dumped near a watercourse. Stratee was ordered to have it removed.

It is obvious that Stratee was a keen fisherman and shooter. On 22 September 1910 he caught a 36lb cod in the Murrumbidgee. It was the biggest fish caught in the river for the season. He must have been very proud of it.

It also seems Stratee did not learn from being caught fishing out of season because in December 1910 he is caught having shot a wild duck out of season. He plucked the bird but left the feet on. Two policeman confronted Stratee on the Gundegai Bridge. He claimed the bird was a young cockatoo, not a duck. The policeman saw the feet and did not believe him. Stratee pleaded guilty and it was decided the bird was vary rare and “web-footed cockatoos must be protected”. He was fined £5 and 6/- costs.

In September Stratee had a watch and chain valued at 7/- stolen. A 16-year-old boy was caught. The boy pleaded guilty and said it was wrong and he was sorry he took the watch. He also said his mother did not bring him up right. He was fined £1.

About 3:30am on 14 July 1913 a fire started in Stratee’s shop. It quickly spread to the furniture and chemist shops next door, but the flames were extinguished quickly. The three shops were totally destroyed. All people living in the buildings escaped injury. Stratee did not own the building.

In March 1914, Stratee was on the same train as Peter Cassimatis (see previous blog) when it crashed near Exeter Railway Station. He was in a different carriage to Peter and was unhurt, but a newspaper also interviewed him. He said he was asleep and was woken by being thrown violently to the floor and hearing what sounded like big gun fire. He did what he could to help the injured and dying. The young woman who he put his rug under had both legs smashed and died just as the doctor arrived. He also saw a woman half out a window who asked if she could be killed to put her out of her misery. It was a scene he was not likely to forget.

Also, like most Kytherian shop owners at the time, he was fined 5/ and 6/ costs for breaches of the Early Closing Act in March 1914. This is the last time he is mentioned in the newspaper in Gundagai.

In June 1916 Jack Castrission buys the shop off Stratee in Gundagai.

Some time after June 1916 Stratee moved to Albury, NSW. On 24 October 1916 he registered a firm called Stratee Notara in Olive Street Albury, which was an oyster saloon and restaurant and on 14 November 1916 is the first advertisement for this shop in the newspaper.

About 1918 he spent 12 months in Holbrook, NSW before moving to Culcairn in about 1919.

Stratee married Stavroula Kastrision from Balmain on 26 October 1923 at the Holy Trinity Church Surry Hills. She was born about 1899 to Nikolaos Kastrisios and Eleni Xidadou and was living in Balmain at the time.

In 1929 he was a self-employed market gardener in Culcairn

Between 1934-1937 the Notara family address is Hopetoun Street, Culcairn and Stratee was a hawker.

Before 1943 his family were living at Henty Street in Culcairn, and his occupation was listed as just “café”. He was still there until at least 1949 but by 1954 he was living back at Hopetoun Street and he had no occupation, probably retired. They stayed there until at least 1963 before their final move to 363 Prune Street, Lavington, Albury.

Stratee died in the Albury Base Hospital on 25 September 1968 from arteriosclerosis (hardening of the walls of the arteries caused by old age). He was 89. He was buried the next day in the General Cemetery, Albury.

Stavroula died in Albury on 16 September 1970.

Stratee was very generous, giving many donations to local hospitals and to the local communities in every town he lived in throughout his whole life in Australia.


Church of Latter Day Saints, family

National Library of Australia , Trove

New South Wales Births, Deaths and Marriages

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