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Open Lecture: In Her Own Image: Greek-Australian Women. A Historical and Contemporary Insight, 1820s
Open Lecture: In Her Own Image: Greek-Australian Women. A Historical and Contemporary Insight, 1820s
14.10.2014 19.00 h
The Ithacan Philanthropic Society - Melbourne


NOTE: This week's lecture will take place this Tuesday, 14th of Oct.
Please note that there will be no lecture this Thursday

Location: Ithacan Philanthropic Society, L.2, 329 Elizabeth Street.
Date: TUESDAY 14 October 2014, 7:00pm
Presenter: Leonard Janiszewski
Entry: Free


A history of the Greek-Australian female presence, in both Australia and Greece, is still to be solidly researched and written. Essentially, both the Australian media and sociologists have provided perceptions of Greek-Australian women generally denuded of detailed and insightive historical context. Furthermore, the submerging of early Greek-Australian female voices by their numerically dominant male counterparts has compounded this situation. Stereotypes have consequently evolved and persisted.

Yet, the stories of Greek-Australian women over almost 200 years reveal and revel in individual and collective successes, failures, hopes and dreams, of an Australia of challenges, a Greece of memory and a faith in the unfolding of a potentially unlimited future. This presentatrion attempts to instigate a commencement along the road of detailed inquiry into a historical understanding of Greek-Australian women.

Failure to seriously address the stereotypes through which Greek-Australian women have been projected — together with their ethnic gender's deeply marginalised historical status — can only undermine the important role that Greek-Australian history can potentially play in evidencing the diversity and hybridism of Australia's past.

Image Caption and Credits

Katherine Crummer (nee Aikaterini Georgia Plessos) probably taken in Sydney, late nineteenth century.

Katherine is the earliest known Greek woman to settle permanently in Australia and the first 'free' Greek settler. In 1835 she accompanied her husband, Captain James Henry Crummer, with his infantry unit's new posting to NSW.

Born in north-western Greece, she had met and married James on Kalamos, which was part of the British occupied Ionian Islands; she was 18 and he, 30. Katherine's husband succeeded in holding various significant positions in NSW, including Chief Magistrate in Newcastle, Police Magistrate at Maitland and later Police Magistrate at Port Macquarie. As such, her lifestyle was in stark contrast to that experienced by other very early Greek arrivals. Katherine and James had eleven children. She died in 1907 aged 98, surviving her husband by forty years. Katherine is buried at Waverley Cemetery, Sydney.

Photo courtesy R. and P. Crummer, from the 'In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians' National Project Archives.


Historian Leonard Janiszewski and documentary photographer Effy Alexakis have been researching the historical and contemporary Greek-Australian presence, both within Australia and overseas, since 1982. Their ongoing project and archive – In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians – is recognised as one of the largest collections of Greek-Australian material in the country.

The archive encompasses a wealth of visual images, recorded interviews, paper-based textual documents and memorabilia. It is currently housed at Macquarie University, Sydney, in partnership with the Australian History Museum and Discipline of Modern History. Over 180 academic and popular journal articles, book chapters, conference papers and catalogues have been produced, as well as two major books and three film documentaries. Both national and international touring exhibitions have been created. Of their exhibitions, the most pronounced have been 'In

Their Own Image: Greek-Australians' and 'Selling and American Dream: Australia's Greek Café'. The former toured throughout Australia and travelled to both Athens and Thessalonki. The latter opened at the National Museum of Australia in 2008, and is still touring nationally.

Janiszewski and Alexakis have received numerous grants. The most significant have been from the Australia Council, Visions of Australia, Film Australia, the Greek government, and various Australian state funding bodies. Alexakis' photographs are held in both public and private collections in Australia — most significantly in the Australian National Gallery, Canberra, and the New South Wales State Library, Sydney. Janiszewski has held both a NSW Ethnic Affairs Commission Fellowship and a NSW History Fellowship. Both Janiszewski and Alexakis have served on various history and/or arts advisory boards.


We would like to thank for Betty Messazos and AHEPA-Daughters of Penelope for sponsoring tonight's lecture. Such initiatives assist us in providing these lectures free to the public. If you would like to participate as a sponsor from as little as $100 please send us an email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


The Ithacan Philanthropic Society   -   Website
Level 2, 329 Elizabeth Street
Country: au

In October 1916, the Ithacan migrants of Melbourne established the ITHACAN PHILANTHROPIC SOCIETY "The Ulysses", with an inaugural membership of some 153 members. This was in response to pleas for aid from their loved ones in Ithaca who were suffering deprivation during the First World War.

Over the years, however, the Society has been much more than just a philanthropic institution. It has been a constant in the lives of the early Ithacan migrants replacing the homeland which they had left.

The Society takes an active role in the cultural, social, educational and quality of life interests of the Ithacan Community. The Society, as part of its philanthropic role, also makes many monetary contributions to worthy causes, including those outside the immediate Ithacan community. The Society celebrated its 90th Anniversary in 2006.

Alphington Grammar Koinotika Nea - the Greek Community newsletter Requirements for Greek Citizenship