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Our Committee is raising funds to create a lasting legacy telling the story of Lemnos' link to Gallipoli and Australia's Anzac story. Our projects include the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park, the publication of a major new historical and pictorial publication and more. To make a donation you can also deposit directly by direct debit into the Committee's bank account: Account Name: Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Inc; Bank: Delphi Bank; Account No: 204299-020 BSB No: 941300; Include your surname in the reference section. For further information on our legacy projects or to make a donation please contact either Lee Tarlamis 0411553009 or Jim Claven 0409402388M

Monday, 20 March 2017

Peter Vakirudis - The story of a would-be Digger of Lemnian descent

Attestation form of Peter Vakuridis, May 1918. NAA
There are two recruits to the AIF in WW1 connected to the Greek Island of Lemnos. one is Basil Demetri Passa from the village of Kontopouli on Lemnos. Dimitri joined the AIF and served in France. For more information on Basil, please click here.
The other is Peter Vakirudis and his mother was living on Lemnos when he attempted to enlist at Albury in NSW. This is his story.
A Hellene Attempts to Enlist
Peter Vakirudis tried to enlist at the Albury recruitment centre into the Australian Imperial Force on 28 May 1918, aged 18 years and ten months. He was enlisted as Private 91681 into the AIF Depot.
He listed his profession as a labourer – a very common profession for AIF recruits. He gave his address as Balfour Street, Culcairn in the south-east Riverina region of NSW. This was 50 kilometres north of the recruitment centre in Albury. Most likely Albury was the closest recruitment centre for him.
He said that he was born in Alexandria in Egypt on 15th August 1899. He was 5ft 6 inches tall and weighed 130 lbs. He listed his religion as Greek Orthodox. He recorded his next of kin as his mother - Mrs Aristor Vakirudis. Her address was given as merely “Lemnos Island” (see the excerpt from his service record reproduced below). No village is mentioned in the Australian army documents.
Despite having passed his medical examination in June 1918, his enlistment appears to have been cancelled as it was impossible to gain his parents written consent – a requirement for someone under the age of 21 (see the excerpt from his service record reproduced below).
After the War
After the war Peter seems to established himself in Sydney and getting married - and possibly having children.
The Australian Electoral Roll shows that Peter was living in Sydney at least from 1933 until 1958, and most likely beyond that date. He was registered on the electoral roll (for the federal electorates of East Sydney, West Sydney, Hume and finally West Sydney again). This doesn’t necessarily mean that Peter moved residence, it may just mean the boundaries of the electorates changed.
In 1936 Sydney Council records show that Peter Vakirudis was paying rates for 220 Goulburn Street, Sydney (in the Macquarie Ward of the City). It was a brick house of 2 floors and 4 rooms, with an iron roof. It was owned by the estate of the late Sydney Herbert Cary. The rated gross annual value of the property was 39 pounds.
He is recorded as being married to Hazel Winifred Tilney from 1937. By 1967 Peter had died and been buried in Sydney. There is evidence that there were still some members of the Vakirudis family living in Sydney in 1980.
The Mystery of the Vakirudis’
It would be great to find out more about this apparently successful young Greek migrant from the large Greek community in Alexandria, Egypt.
  • When did he come to Australia and why?
  • Did he come with relatives and are any of his descendants still alive in Australia?
  • When did his family move to Alexandria from Lemnos and what did they do there?
  • And what of his mother and his descendents on Lemnos?
  • Where did his mother Aristor live and are there any relatives still alive?
These are just some of the questions that it would great to find out the answers too. Any help anyone can provide in tracking down more of the story of the Vakirudis' would be most welcome.
The information cited here is moistly sourced from Peter Vakirudis’ service file held by the National Archives of Australia.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

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