With Australia planning to accept 190,000 immigrants over the next two years, I thought that it would be good to hear the story of a newcomer who became more than just a ‘naturalised citizen’ on paper.
In 1962, Christodoulos Gryllis arrived in Australia as a teenage immigrant from the island of Patmos off mainland Greece. His name Χριστόδουλος means ‘servant of Christ.’ He’s very proud of the fact that his birthplace is linked to John, the apostle of Jesus who was exiled there during Roman times. He’s even had cuff links made featuring the eagle which is supposed to have guarded the evangelist.
He’s equally proud of his adopted home and has taken every opportunity to create symbols that tell its story. Chris dived headlong into the life of Orange in Central West NSW. Twenty years as a local councillor gave him opportunity to put some of his many ideas to work. In his 60 years in country Australia he’s proved it was possible to be proactive in assimilating without giving away his heritage.
So, it’s no real surprise when you enter his real estate office to be confronted by busts of Alexander the Great and Banjo Paterson!
Teachers are on the cutting edge with new generations. In the classroom they face the continual demands of rapidly shifting cultural norms. It concerns me to hear that an increasing number of them are leaving their profession and that stirs me to do what I can to resource and encourage them. They are key players in shaping the future of Australia.
Over the past 12 months I’ve been involved with Pacific Hills Schools and Dubbo Christian School working with teachers and students, crafting and telling energising faith stories. Listening to voices from the classroom-coalface sharpens my focus.
An interview I did with a very perceptive senior History teacher, Poppy Gee from Wycliffe Christian School, came back to mind. She introduced an arresting phrase that one of her students had used after hearing Wiradjuri elder Riverbank Frank Doolan tell his story. The girl said she felt ‘empowered by the hope that young people could bring positive change.’
“Greatness on the sporting field is wholly compatible with the highest standards of conduct and I can think of no finer example of these characteristics than Brian Booth.”
Sir Donald Bradman
When former Australian Test cricket captain Brian Booth died on May 2nd this year aged 89, some would say we lost our last gentleman cricketer. Larrikin commentator, Kerry O’Keefe declared his former team mate, “a truly great human, with strong claims to captain ‘Australia’s Best Blokes Eleven!’”
Brian Booth was one of my heroes. When I was ‘wanna-be’ boy cricketer, he was the friendly man who coached a bunch of us at a Sports Camp. I have a lasting memory of sitting in the stands at the SCG marvelling at his elegant and forceful batting as a blue capped New South Welshman in the Sheffield Shield.
Years later, I sat rivetted opposite him in the 2WEB studio in Bourke, as he told tales of being battered black and blue by legendary West Indian fast bowlers Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith on the way to a courageous century. For me as a sport-tragic, that was the stuff of legend! What really heartened me was his next statement – ‘But those are scrapbook memories now. The moment when I decided to follow Jesus Christ has energised my whole life.’
Join The Outback Historian, Paul Roe, on an unforgettable journey into Australia's Past as he follows the footprints of the Master Storyteller and uncovers unknown treasures of the nation.