Biloela’s Pioneer Greek Immigrants

Biloela’s Pioneer Greek Immigrants


This is the story of younger immigrants from the small villages of Southern Rhodes (Rhodes Island, Greece) who arrived to function in the sugar-cane and cotton fields of Biloela, Queensland, Australia. These early immigrants were being confused by homesickness for their indigenous villages, the families they left driving and their church. On the other hand, they took the prospect to greater their life by working in the severe, rural ecosystem of Queensland’s cotton and sugar-cane fields of Biloela.

By 1934, the Callide Valley experienced 40,000 acres of cotton planted and a butter factory opened in 1936.

In March 1934, The Courier-Mail described: “Amongst the cotton growers of the Biloela district are a previous general of the Ural Cossacks who fought in the Wonderful War (WWI) and a Russian Orthodox priest.”

A Greek Orthodox Archbishop, Timotheos Evangelinidis (1880 – 1949) the Metropolis of Australia and New Zealand from 1931 to 1947, frequented Biloela from time-to-time to baptize children, give communion to the Orthodox trustworthy and to preach the Divine Liturgy.

By the early write-up-Planet War II several years, Biloela’s population was about 1000 people, generating it the most significant town in the Banana Shire.

Immediately after having obtained significant discounts a lot of of these early immigrants begun town companies this kind of as cafes and eating places.

Phillip Diakou

Phillip Hagi-Diakou was born in the seaside village of Gennadi, Rhodes Island, Greece. In 1936, at the age of fourteen, he reported goodbye to his mom, his sister and village and travelled with his father on the Italian ship, Romolo certain for Queensland, Australia to find their fortune.

Phillip worked along with his father in the cotton and sugar-cane fields of Biloela and had to cope with the warm and humid situations as well as dingoes and snakes.

He was determined to realize success even so by way of challenging get the job done and he set about learning the English language by researching a Greek-English dictionary.

He was nineteen when Globe War II began so he enlisted in the Australian Military and was sent to Darwin in which he served as a cook dinner. It was to be the starting of a lifetime-very long vocation in the kitchen.

When the war finished, he moved to Adelaide, South Australia and bought the Gouger Cafe – the Cafe that modified his life.

Gouger Cafe-Adelaide

The near-knit, hard-doing the job and focused Diakou spouse and children produced their Gouger Cafe an icon of Adelaide’s seafood restaurants headed by Phillip and his wife Anastasia in the kitchen area and their 3 youngsters, Maria, Steve and Invoice. The Gouger Cafe was a pioneer in seafood dining in Adelaide and Gouger Road was to come to be the hub, boasting the cream of South Australia’s seafood dining establishments.

The Stiliano Spouse and children

Stylianos (Steve) Stiliano (nickname Matsi) mentioned goodbye to his mom and his minimal hilltop village of Mesanagros, Rhodes Island, Greece in the mid-1930s and traveled with his father and brother’s Yianni and Marko to perform in the sugar cane and cotton fields of Rockhampton and Monto in Queensland, Australia.

In 1944 Steve met and married his spouse Erini in Biloela who had also migrated with her family from Lahania, Rhodes Island, Greece.

They experienced 5 youngsters – the twins, George and Anna, Philip and Gary who have been born in Biloela and Stella who was born in Adelaide in 1957.

Combined Farming – Cotton and Livestock

The Stiliano loved ones experienced a combined-farming organization on the outskirts of Biloela which built-in the cultivation of crops (cotton was the key cash crop) as effectively as the boosting of livestock (largely dairy) for meat and milk.

Cotton seeds have been planted in spring and the crop had to be harvested just before the temperature could problems or completely ruin its good quality and lower generate.

Their cows had to give start to a calf right before they could deliver milk.

Some of their calves were reared for veal and about three quarters of the heifers turned replacements for their grownup milk-manufacturing cows.

The long doing work several hours guide to tiredness and exhaustion. And the family ended up exposed to a lot of everyday living-threatening security and environmental hazards which included snakes, heat exposure, falls, injuries and pesticides.

Cafe in Monto

The Stiliano household tilled, labored and endured in the cotton fields to get paid adequate revenue to create a cafe in Monto about 96.2km from Biloela presenting brief service, extended opening several hours, and delicious meals 7 times a 7 days.

Their cafe supplied the classic English-model steak and eggs, a mixed grill, chops and sausages, fish and chips as effectively as the American hamburger, ice cream, sundaes, milkshakes and sodas could be procured as sit-down foods or choose-absent.

Each individual Tuesday was to develop into a well known social past-time at their cafe by farmers from the surrounding regions who took time off from their everyday chores on their farms to take pleasure in a delicious cafe-model meal with family or close friends.

Nick Frossinakis

Nick Frossinakis alongside with his father Manoli and brothers Philip and Tom from the small, southern Rhodes village of Lahania, Rhodes Island, Greece, still left the uncertainty and financial instability of Write-up-War Greece in 1949 in the hope of attaining a extra stable lifetime in Australia.

They migrated to Biloela wherever they labored and endured in the cotton fields to generate ample dollars to invest in their have small farm.

Nick’s sister Eleni (Helen) stayed at the rear of in Lahania, Rhodes Island for about 3 several years, then traveled to Australia with one more feminine immigrant from Lahania to reunite with her loved ones in Australia.

Horse-drawn ploughs ended up employed for the cultivation of soil on the farms in people times to prepare for sowing seed or planting to loosen or turn the soil.

They lived in residences produced of iron sheets atop tough filth flooring and sweltered by means of tropical prolonged, incredibly hot summers.

Their homes experienced no electric power so, kerosene lamps with a wick for burning was applied for lighting.

Preserving thoroughly clean and employing the rest room was not as easy in these early days as it is these days.

The bathroom and bathroom was a stark distinction to the suites with which we’re acquainted these days.

Be it freezing chilly or swelteringly scorching, quite a few immigrants experienced to make do with a moveable metallic tub to bathe them selves and where ever they could find privacy outdoor was their toilet.

And, flax canvas water-bags had been a necessity in all those times mainly because the availability of clean up, great consuming water in distant rural locations was essential for survival. All the farmers experienced to count on a lot of sunshine, warm problems and 4-to-5 months of frost-free of charge temperatures to create the fluffy white cotton.

Dairy Cows

Later on, the family members acquired about 120 dairy cows which they milked just about every morning then despatched it to the factory so that dairy products and solutions these kinds of as consuming milk, product, butter, yoghurt and cheese have been produced for human intake.

Christos and Zaharoula Arnas

Christos Arnas was from the village of Katavia and Zaharoula Diakomihalis came from the village of Lahania, Rhodes Island.

For the duration of the late 1930s both of those, made the decision to depart the island of their delivery in lookup of a extra tranquil daily life in Australia, carrying with them the virtues of rural life – of farms and villages that perform the aged-fashioned way.

Christos immigrated to Biloela, Queensland, Australia in 1936.

Zaharoula was introduced to Australia by her father, Phillip Diakomihalis in 1937.

They achieved and ended up married in Biloela in 1937 and alongside one another, they acquired a farm in the Callide rural spot on the outskirts of Biloela wherever they grew cotton and lifted livestock.

Their little ones Irene was born in 1938, Phillip, was born in 1943 and Mary in 1944.

Every early morning, before heading to university, Irene, the eldest daughter would feed 32 calves and then, immediately after school would feed the pigs.

When the Arnas relatives went to do their purchasing in the town of Biloela they traveled in an 1800s design and style, horse and buggy (an old-fashioned reminder of a easier, extra sluggish-paced era).

Blended-Farming – Cotton and Livestock

The Arnas family combined-farming organization integrated the cultivation of crops (cotton was the principal dollars crop) as well as the boosting of livestock.

It reconnected them to the conventional, self-sufficient rural, way of life they had been accustomed to again in their homeland of Southern Rhodes.

Milk, meat, cotton, cereal, vegetables and fruit have been all made on their farm.

They labored underneath the heat of the sunshine and in the rain to watch in excess of their crops and livestock seven times a week, silently and uncomplaining.

In the cotton fields the spouse and children toiled and endured to pull the white, fluffy lint from the boll even though hoping to not reduce their arms on the sharp finishes and they experienced to stoop to decide the cotton since the typical cotton plant is less than a few ft large.

The cows wanted grass, hay and grain to feed them and enough pasture to graze, although newborn calves demanded nursing each and every three to four several hours or an ordinary of 7 to 10 moments day-to-day and take in 1 to 2 pints of milk for the duration of every single nursing.

Their pastured pigs presented other troubles mainly because lousy diet will sluggish a pig’s development and affect on the quality of the meat as perfectly as and the pig’s welfare.

The Arnas relatives fed their pigs a different diet plan these as corn, barley, soybean meal, bread, greens, fruit and pig pellets to continue to be healthy.

Banana peels also produced excellent feed for pigs simply because of their significant electricity information.

Every single pig wanted to consume an regular of 6 to 8 lbs . of feed for each day and ended up totally free to roam on the Arnas farm, in the sun and clean air.

Just one-Area Schoolhouse

The Callide Most important Faculty was a just one-space schoolhouse constructed on stilts with a solitary trainer who taught the educational basics to numerous grade amounts of major (elementary-age) boys and women from the surrounding rural regions of Bilolela.

Nick and his brother’s Tom and Philip were being the first Greek immigrants to go to the Callide Major School. Nick would seat his brother Tom on the crossbar of his bicycle to ride the 3km on a gravel highway to the school each individual day. Irene Diakos would also trip her bicycle to faculty.

Anna and George Stiliano ended up young farm little ones who have been getting their first search at a schoolroom with rows of desks and a huge teacher’s desk at the entrance.

That stroll from their household to this peculiar new entire world was so diverse from their old acquainted farm property, pastures and fields.