According to Harry Hodge, the northern part of Tambaroora, past Chinatown and up to the Ullamalla turn-off was known as “Greektown” because families from Greece and the Ionian Islands developed a little community here. This small group of shanties housed around 20 Greek families and it has been claimed in a number of documents that it was probably the first gathering of Greek settlers in Australia.
There were also difficulties in identifying early Greek settlers, as most of them were illiterate, even in Greek. They tended to anglicize their names, as officials and others could not understand the unfamiliar Greek names. This usually resulted in a shorter version of the name which sounded more English, or an entirely new English name instead.
A number of the Greek miners married local girls, many of them English or Irish and still in their teens.
Most of these families moved on when the gold started to peter out. Names such as Manolato, Macryannis, Doicos and Totolos were well-known then, but now all the houses are gone and only a few gnarled fruit trees, long past bearing, remain.
The following is a list of Greek names associated with the district, showing the alternative spellings that have appeared on various records:
|Name||Also known as||Origins|
|Argyros, Dimitrios||Argyros, Petros|
|Demas, John||Nanis, John, Demos, John||possibly Crete|
|Demond, George||Dimond, Theofilos||Crete|
|Docos, George||Doicos, George; Dorcas, George;||Crete|
|Lalechos, Constantine||Lalichos, Constantine||Hydra|
|Lambert, Nicholas||Lambert, Thearkhos|
|Macryannis, Basilius||Macrogianis, Basilius||Kefalonia|
|Manolato, John||Manolatos, Ioannis|
|Moustaka, Themetre||Moustakas, Dimitrios||Hydra|
|NICHOLAS, JOHN||Nicklos, John|
|Nicholas, Rego||Nikolaos Rego (or Herro?)|
|Rossitis, Ioannis||Rossitis, John|
|Totolos, Christie||Totolas, Christy||Kefalonia|
|Williams, Jeremiah||Vasilakis, Gerasimos||possibly Kefalonia|
Further research on the Greek miners:
Leonard Janiszewski and Effy Alexakis, “In Her Own Image: Greek-Australian Women Beyond the Stereotypes“, Culture & Memory. Special Issue of Modem Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand), 2006: p152-173
Hugh Gilchrist “Australians and Greeks: The Early Years – Vol. 1. An index of 835 names of early Greek immigrants to Australia from this book has been posted on the Hellenic Genealogy Geek blog. This includes a number of names associated with Tambaroora.
Hugh Gilchrist – The Greek Connection in the Nineteenth Century on the the Kythera-Family.net website
Craig Turnbull & Chris Valiotis, New South Wales. Heritage Office and University of New South Wales. Centre for Community History ‘Beyond the rolling wave’ : a thematic history of Greek settlement in New South Wales. NSW Heritage Office, [Parramatta, N.S.W.], 2001.
Alexakis, Effy and Janiszewski, Leonard: In their own image: Greek Australians. Hale & Iremonger, Sydney, 1998.
Anastasios Tamis: “The Greeks in Australia” Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, Australia ; New York, 2005.
The Greek Hellenic Genealogy Geek Facebook page may also be able to assist in linking up with these families.