Vasilis Vasilas’ interview with the Houlis family who opened their fruit shop in Marrickville in 1969

The fruits of their labour.

Vasilis has interviewed the Houlis family who opened their fruit shop in Marrickville in 1969 and are closing in on their fiftieth anniversary…

They have an incredible story: Frangoulis lost communication with his siblings at the end of the Greek Turkish War (1922), as he was marched into the Asia Minor hinterland, while they were saved by being taken to Kalymnos. 

At the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey, Frangoulis, is sent to Kefalonia, where he manages to locate his siblings through the Red Cross. Getting to Samos was not difficult; however, Kalymnos was under Italian rule at the time. 

It was only when Frangoulis sails across to Kos, under Italian rule too, that he works on a tobacco farm and finally gets the paperwork to get Kalymnos, where he reunites with his siblings. What an odyssey!!!! Frangoulis undertook another odyssey- to Australia in 1961…

Brothers, Nominos, John and Theophilos, as well as their father Frangoulis, worked for years in the cane fields of Innisfail, Queensland, and would do seasonal work, grape picking in Mildura, and pick and shovel work in Sydney (during the off season of cane-cutting). 

As Vasilis points, ‘The Houlis story epitomises the migrant’s story, as this family worked its guts out for years to successfully establish their family and business in Sydney.’ 

In the photograph is Theophilos and Giannis Houlis…


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