The Castellorizian Newsletter, No 8, july/august 1983.
PR OF I LE M 1 C H A E L MANGOS
BORN CASTELLORIZO 1896
arrived in Australia at the age of 12. He came to Australia with his uncle P.
Pitsikas who was In business in Kalgoolie W.A. His uncle had a cafe and Michael
worked for him for seven years.
After seven years
Michael decided to open his own shop close to the Kalgoolie Town Hall. This
shop, a fruit sweet shop, was forced to close after three months because of the
outbreak of war.
Soldiers from the first AIF, who had come from just outside
Perth (Black Boy Hill) incited local citizens to riot and In so doing they
broke alI the windows and door of the non-Australlan shops. The Kalgoolie
Council through the Western Australia Government, promised to pay for the
losses, but no money was ever given to the victims.
Michael decided to go to
Perth, so in 1915 he arrived and went to work for the Manolas family at
Athenaeum Cafe for 30/- a week.
However, after three months, Michael decided
that there was more opportunity in Darwin.
On arrival he went to work for the
Vesty Bros. There were many CastellorIzlans In Darwin at the time, including
Elias Boyatsls. They were employed at Vesty's and at the Catherine River, where
railway lines were being constructed.
Most Castellorizians had come via Gaza to where they had been evacuated
from Castellorizo. When contracts to Vesty had finished, Michael left for
Queensland where he worked for one year as a cane and wood cutter. The work as
a ganger was hard and the pay was 6 shillings for cutting and loading one ton
of cane. Most farms were owned by Italians and the gangs consisted of most
nationalities (Cyprlots Maltese).
The cane fields were Infested with snakes and also
many cutters lost thumbs and
fingers during the cutting. In 1919 Michael carne to Melbourne and
worked as a waiter in a cafe owned by the Metaxis Bros. In 1922 he returned to
Castellorizo where his mother, father, sister and one brother were still
living. After a short stay he. In 1922, sailed In a boat captained by Boyatsis
to Port Said, accompanied by his family.
Port Said he met and married Anastasia Amonis, best man was his brother John
(1922). They left Port Said for Melbourne, a trip which took 40 days by Cargo
Ship. The Amonis family was a well known Castellorlzlan Family, members were
Rena (Paltoglou) Mina(Kanis) Elengo (Lazarakis) and Costos.
On arrival In Melbourne he and John joined his two other brothers
Arthur and Elefterios, in a cafe in Clarendon Street South Melbourne. In 1924 he
took over the Oriental cafe in Chapel Street Windsor, at a rental of 3 pounds a
week. The shop was to be occupied by him for 47 years.
Michael Mangos had three brothers and one sister Thesplna (Miriklis).
Tragically Thesplna was killed in a car accident in Victoria. Michael has six
children -Mary (Symons) Cherry (Mastro Banayoti) Con and Chrissy (Zervos)
Peter, Jack and seventeen grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
His wife died In
1978. He has many memories including being appointed a Justice of the Peace in
1958. He sat regularly on the bench at Prahran for ten years. Michael was made
a member of the American Grand-dad club on 3rd July 1974. His memories Include
one of Port Said, where he stayed In the same building with Mr. Greg Gregory,
the father of the late Harry Gregory. Mrs. A. Mangos, who was a seamstress,
made Mrs. H. Gregory's troussea for her wedding!
remembers the first Castellorizian Committee. PRESIDENT; Mr. Michael Economides
(Conos); SECRETARY: Mr. John Hatzlyiankis;
Mr. Steve Coufos.
He has been president of the Castellorlzlan Brotherhood, a member of
Committee of Victoria and a member of The Orpheus Club.
He looks back on his early days with mixed feelings. Greeks in those
days were called "Dagoes". Today as he walks down Chapel Street or at
his favourite Bowling Club (Melbourne Bowling Club) where he has been a member
for many years, they call him "Mate".
Reflections on a pioneering past
MICHAEL Mangos was 12
when he arrived in Australia from Kas-tellorizo, one of the Greek Islands.
That was back in 1908
when there were only about 1000 Greeks in Australia.
Today, 75 years and
about 145,000 Greek migrants later, Michael looks back with mixed sentiments on
He has run a milk bar
in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, worked for Vestey Brothers' Meatworks in
Darwin and cut wood and cane in Queensland.
Michael came to
Melbourne in 1919 and five years later took over the Oriental Cafe at
54"Chapei Street. Today it is a pizza parlor.
He retired 12 years
ago when he was 75.
Now he lives quietly'
in Windsor, proud of his 37 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
One of the Justice of
the Peace's most-prized possessions is a letter from Malcolm Fraser
wishing him a speedy recovery from an arthritic hip operation last October The
letter is framed and sitting on his mantelpiece.
Michael talks freely
about some of his experiences as a pioneer European migrant to Australia:
come here from Greece today they can go to the many Greek people here for help
"I regard myself
as a Greek by birth but an Australian-because I've lived here for such a long
time," he said.
"Most of my
friends are Australian. I am a member of the Melbourne Bowling Club in Windsor
and I go there sometimes for a drink with the boys.
"I went back
home to Greece three years ago. I felt more Australian than Greek there.
"I always wanted
my children to speak Greek. You never forget your old language. Your
mother put it in you. If you don't teach your child your language, you get
lost, don't you?
"Two of my sons
married Australian girls. Naturally, you want your children to marry their own
kind, but you can't slop them if they want to marry someone else."
Michael has seen some changes in Prahran since 1924, but he still
believes there is a lot about Chapel Street that has stayed the same.
"But when I came
here, I had nobody to help me out and 1 had to do it on my own.
looked at Greeks badly years ago. They called us foreigners and dagos and they
always shouted out 'go back to your own country'.
"I remember a
bunch of Australians getting very drunk one Christmas in Kalgoorlie during the
First World War. They smashed up my milkbar and all the other shops owned by
"When I was in Chapel Street, they'd sometimes come
in and cause trouble.
there were some wild
"1 think people
have changed a lot here. They're more civil to Greeks these days.
"They call you
'mate' now instead of 'dago'.
"I think it's
because Australians have gone off to fight overseas in two big wars. They
saw there is a world out there and that Australia isn't the only country under
surprisingly, Michae! admits to mixed feelings about his own identity after
75 years in Australia.
"I think the
hardest time I had in Chapel Street was during the depression,
"People used !u
come into the cafe and beg for food. 1 used to give them a feed.
"I got through
those years because I had to. I had a family to support.
"Sure Prahran is
a cosmopolitan place now. Greeks come here to establish them selves.
I think they pick the area because there are a lot of other Greeks here
Street has always been a busy place because there are so many people here.
"The shops always
did well here although they don't say that these days because the rents are so
high. When I first came here. I only paid three
pounds rent a week.
These days if you pay $100 a week, you're getting it cheap."
Michael smiled when
he was asked if he would live away from Prahran in, for example, a place like
"I'd live there
— if I had to. I don't really want to live anywhere else. My home is