THE STORYTELLERS

PETER SIOMOS

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Peter Siomos

Peter Siomos

 

PETER SIOMOS: … it’s a Greek background from the central part of Greece - a pretty famous area called Meteora where the monasteries sit up on these granite rocks. I, of course, was born here.

I think every migrant’s dream - one that my parents had many years ago - was to come out here, work very hard and then go back.
We did have an aborted attempt going back. My parents, in 1971 / 72 … sort of over that period decided, you know, they were going to go back... they went back and things weren’t what they thought they were meant to be and, so, we all shipped back again - my sister and I … she was only little so she doesn’t remember anything. But I had to go through the trauma of going to a new Primary School over there and, finally, coming back and going back into North Strathfield Public School (I think it’s called Strathfield North now) and then picking up where I’d left off after eight months and forever … since then, we’ve been here.

By the time I finished high school at Homebush Boys … you know best of mates and … it didn’t matter who you were or where you were from - and we still continue that on today.

I’m now the president of the Meteora Thessalias Benevolent Society, who is a charity group that was set up by our parents from that area in Greece. It started off very much as a group to assist migrants and, therefore, a lot of the functions were assisting migrants that were here. There was a psychological aspect to it because they felt part of the community.

When I took over almost 30 years ago - myself and number of people my age - we knew there were no more migrants from Greece and it was time to turn our attention to the Australian community. We still hold, you know, what you’d call functions that, you know, have predominantly Greek people attending, but we do now have a lot of people that support us from a lot of ethnic groups. We’ve raised thousands of dollars for community. Some of the big ones have been over $40,000 – one, $20,000, going to the audiology department of the Children’s Hospital. We were one of the first people to actually donate to the Cochlea Ear Foundation, and it wasn’t big money but at the same time it was a start. We recently raised ... I’m also the president of the Thessalian Association, so a very historic sort of association when you talk about Thessalians … you know, they … it was there that modern - well, shall I say - medicine began in that part of Greece and we raised $10,000 for the Diabetes Research Group.

Greek School North Strathfield

Greek School North Strathfield - Peter: fifth kid from the left, standing

BACKGROUND

In response to community consultation, a number of local residents were interviewed and recorded. The sessions took place in December 2012 and February 2013 at Concord Library.

A short excerpt from each resident appears on this website. Together, they form a cross-section of insights into the wonderful community that is of and around the North Strathfield area.

The full interviews will be archived and available for borrowing at the City of Canada Bay Council Library Services.


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