The Settlement of Greek-Cypriot Migrants and Refugees in South Australia: 1945-1980

Author: Maria Shialis

Shialis, Maria, 2015 The Settlement of Greek-Cypriot Migrants and Refugees in South Australia: 1945-1980, Flinders University, School of Humanities and Creative Arts

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The turbulent post-WWII period saw the onset of mass migration waves to Australia. This also saw the migration of Greek-Cypriots, whose migration patterns differed from any other migrant group.

The thesis investigates the settlement of Greek-Cypriot migrants and refugees in South Australia between 1945 till 1980. The research focusses on this topic because there is no previous systematic research conducted in South Australia regarding the Greek-Cypriot migration, and there is an impending threat of losing undocumented historical events. Furthermore, the Greek-Cypriot settlement in South Australia, and in general Australia, is uniquely significant in a historical context. Also, it encompasses a period of time which saw Cyprus transition from a British colony to an independent country and then encountered an illegal invasion, which resulted in a constant mass exodus of its people.

The method utilised in this thesis is

a) extended literature review,

b) oral history methodology,

c) original and archival material, and

d) oral history interviews with Greek-Cypriot migrants and refugees in South Australia.

Chapter 1 introduces the research topic, outlines the research methodology undertaken, and highlights the significance of the research. Following the Introduction, Chapter 2 establishes the background knowledge and literature review, highlighting previous studies and understandings of the Greek-Cypriot migration around the world, Australia and South Australia, to distinguish the gaps for further research to be conducted.

Then, the research examines numerous migration waves and settlement patterns of Greek-Cypriots through three distinctive periods:

a) the first being 1945-1959,

b) the second from 1960-1973, and

c) the third from 1974-1980.

Chapter 3 explores the first wave (1945-1959), investigating migrants who mainly departed Cyprus to find work, better future prospects and wanting to leave their troubled country (1955-1959: the fight of independence from British rule). Chapter 4 focusses on the second wave (1960-1973), where migrants arrived in Adelaide due to political unsettlement in the newly independent Cyprus. Whilst Chapter 5 investigates the third wave (1974-1980), which encompasses refugees and political migrants, who mainly migrated in search of refuge due to the invasion.

With the focus of these three significant migration waves, Chapter 6 explores the Greek-Cypriot settlement in South Australia, which raises cultural issues regarding identity, belonging, integration and repatriation. Then, Chapter 7 investigates established groups in the Greek-Cypriot community, to bring an understanding of the social structures and mechanisms that helped migrants and refugees settle into an Anglo dominated – multicultural society.

The findings highlighted similarities between the three migration waves. However, the results also illustrated that there were some distinct difference between earlier Greek-Cypriot settlers than those who arrived in the later period.

The significance of this research is due to its originality, the documentation of undocumented oral history accounts, the progression of knowledge and filling in gaps to Australian history. This research will be a useful resource for future studies in the field, not only in the way people will understand the Greek-Cypriot migration and settlement patterns, but also in the preservation of Cypriot and Australian cultural and historical events.

Keywords: Greek-Cypriot, South Australia, immigration, migration, settlement, migrants, refugees, Australia

Subject: Modern Greek thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2015
School: School of Humanities and Creative Arts
Supervisor: Professor Michael Tsianikas