Community Starters Podcast: George Emanuel, Australia’s First Greek

Looking at the highly urbanized Hills district of western Sydney today, it’s hard to imagine that it was once just a few scattered villages. But this is where an adventurous Greek farmer lived until he was 101.
George Emanuel (also known as George Manuel), who arrived in Australia in 1811, appears to be the first documented Greek to settle permanently in the country. He was a sailor on a boat that hunted seals off the coast of Australia. He then acquired land in what is now Castle Hill.
His story is now being told in a new SBS podcast series. wants to record the first immigrants from the community.

Australia’s 2021 Census found that 27% of the population was born abroad and nearly half (48%) of parents were born abroad.

George Emanuel’s house was still standing in the 1970s. sauce: attached

Mr. Emmanuel’s story was first discovered by Costas Marcos, a Greek-Australian based in Victoria.

“According to land documents that I have, he grew fruit and sold it in the Sydney market,” he said.
Vlasidas Cararis, head of the Department of Contemporary Greek Studies at the University of Sydney, said Emanuel “was one of the few non-British property owners to find in the colony at the time”. He characterized him as a “lucky seeker”.
Records show that George remained unmarried until 1876, when he was 99 years old.

“He knew he was nearing the end of his life,” Marcos said. “He knew he needed a caregiver, and whether that caregiver was taking advantage of him or not, that wasn’t his primary concern.

A newspaper article with the headline

Notice of death at Cumberland Argus, New South Wales, dated October 26, 1938. credit: Neocosmos

George’s descendants are unknown, but today Australia is home to about 100,000 Greek-born people, with 425,000 residents claiming to have Greek ancestry.

Greek is the 7th most spoken language in the country, with approximately 230,000 speakers.

Many of the first settlers from their own country arrived in Australia when the concept of the nation-state was still in its infancy. The modern independent Greek state did not emerge until his 1822, more than ten years after Mr. Emmanuel came to Australia.

Similar ambiguity applies to the first Korean immigrant, who was a Japanese colony long after his death, and the first Afghan immigrant, who arrived when Afghanistan and Myanmar were grouped under the same inclusive terms. was seen.
Mr. Emmanuel died in 1878 and is buried in an unmarked grave in the former Wesleyan Chapel in Cherrybrook.
On the life of George Emanuel and other ‘first’ immigrants to Australia, .
If you know of Greeks who settled in Australia earlier, or of the first immigrants from other communities, please write to us. Community Starters Podcast: George Emanuel, Australia’s First Greek

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