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The First Greek to Settle in South Australia

Greek South Australia
Tramountanas arrived in Australia in 1842. Public Domain

Georgios (or George) Tramountanas is generally credited for being the first Greek to migrate to South Australia in 1842, according to the National Archives of Australia.

Born in Athens in 1822, Tramountanas was from a family of shipbuilders and seamen who lived on Lemnos island and had connections to Thessaloniki.

He arrived at Port Adelaide in 1842 with his brother Theodoros, who soon moved to Albany in Western Australia — and who was never to be heard from again.

Georgios worked for some time in Port Adelaide before starting at Edward John Peake’s Winery in 1846 in Clarendon town. There he helped cultivate their early vines and made brandy and wines.

According to documents held in the Adelaide office of the National Archives, Tramountanas also worked as a farmer near Elliston. He showed true pioneering spirit when he moved to the sparsely-populated Eyre Peninsula in the late 1850s.

Before his marriage to Englishwoman Lydia Vosper in 1858, he changed his name to George North, since his last name, Tramountanas, means “Northern wind” in Greek. The couple moved to Port Lincoln, where George found work as a shepherd.

There, George and Lydia had their first son, George Henry, in 1861 and a year later their second son, Hero Clare. Both sons married in the 1880s and gave them several grandchildren.

In 1878, George North applied to become a naturalized settler in the Province of South Australia. He became a naturalized British subject on April 8, 1878.

Early in 1884, the couple bought land which fronted the Old Coach Road, just southeast of Bramfield. After changing the property’s name to “North Park,” it became a rest stop for travelers as teams of horses were changed over for the mail coach.

Late in life, the couple retired and lived out their final years with their son Hero and his wife Rosina at their Newland Grange homestead in Colton, South Australia. George North died on Jan. 29, 1911, and his wife Lydia passed away on November 20, 1913, survived by their two sons and 22 grandchildren.

South Australia honors its first Greek immigrant

First Greek in South Australia
George Tramountanas AKA George North, and his wife Lydia. Public Domain

The Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia honors George North as their great pioneering grandfather. A memorial stone was placed at his gravesite in 1994 and local North descendants planted an olive grove on the walkway leading to his grave.

Daryl Edmonds, Denise McEvoy, Paul Willis, and Dianne Jaspers are four Australians who are descendants of Georgios Tramountanas. They don’t speak Greek and Hellenism means very little to them personally.

Yet they were drawn to their roots, to the exact place on their continent where the incredibly brave man who sailed halfway across the world and created their Australian family once lived.

Thanks to the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia (GOCSA), which revived the memory of Tramountanas and brought his story to a modern audience, the four Australians successfully discovered their Greek roots.

Since then, the four have spent hours on the Internet, reading archives and visiting libraries to find out as much as they can about the lives of the Norths. They have visited cemeteries, farms, and wineries, and taken trips to the places the Norths and their descendants had lived in search of clues that would lead to the man who started it all, the great patriarch of the family.

Once they had assembled a family tree and the documentation to go along with it, they started the “Tramountanas-North Association,” a group created to unite all the members of the wider North family in Australia and the rest of the world.


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