Life Stories- Plomarites and Australia

Part 2: Doukas (Panagiotis) Trandallis (1935-     )

I made the decision to settle in Sydney; after so many years in the country, I wanted something different; a different way of life where I could see many people and go out to different places. Not before long, I started working in a factory in Alexandria, which worked on train carriages. As my range of English had expanded over the years, I was often asked to interpret for the Greek workers there. Living in Sydney was like paradise; everything was so convenient and easy. There was a Greek cinema and grocery shops that sold Greek delicacies. And there was even a Greek radio program- with Poppy Paschalidou on 2KY. In 1962, I married Georgia Voutos (from Zakynthos); we lived in Enmore but moved to Earlwood, where we lived for ten years. At the time, there were very few Greeks living there. Over the years, I worked wherever I could- factories, shops and hotels- until I bought my own taxi. As a taxi-driver, I met all kinds of people- and I mean, all kinds. I always enjoyed picking a Greek passenger- there was always our mutual migrant experience that bound us together.

It was in 1973 when I returned to Greece for a holiday. I realized that Greece was not same the place I had left behind and I was not the same person neither.
Above: Out with my cousins and fellow Plomarites at the Patris Nightclub, Redfern. From left, we are: Ioannis Trandallis, Stelios Berdoukas, Ioannis Trandallis, Efstratios Trandallis, my wife, Georgia, Marika Trandallis, Irene Trandallis, myself and Doukas Trandallis.

I went to my first Mytilenian Brotherhood function in the mid- sixties. I was happy enough to attend social events- whether they were dances or picnics. It was in 1975, however, that I became actively involved in the Brotherhood- when I was elected on the Committee- with President, Efstratios Onoufriades. I served on several Committees- under Dimitrios Gongolides, Andonios Kontellis and Dimitrios Psirras.
Being part of the Brotherhood in the 1970’s was wonderful; everyone was enthusiastic and keen to do things. We would load up the cars and off we went for a picnic at Bundeena or Cronulla. Annual Dances were enormous, as we ran the Miss Mytilene Contest- as a fundraiser. Dances were also packed then too! We all wanted a piece of our homeland here- a place to get together and celebrate who we were.
AboveCongratulating Miss Mytilene, 1980.
I believe we have to very happy that we found ourselves in a lucky country like Australia. The experiences and circumstances in our early years here may have been difficult, but Greeks have made an enormous contribution to this country’s progress- and Australians acknowledge it now.

I would like to thank Doukas (Louie) for all his time and effort to complete this feature.

Vasilis Vasilas