Project summary

During the height of the post-war immigration boom, Sydney’s metropolitan neighbourhoods played a key role in the reconstitution of migrant identities. Taking a cluster of these neighbourhoods as its case studies, this project will inscribe the memories of Greek-Australians into a history of post-war migration. It will do so through the construction of a corpus of oral histories, photographs, home-movies and memorabilia archived in the State Library of NSW that will reveal how Greek migrants remade themselves as shopkeepers, factory workers, customers, homemakers, parents, spouses, sportspeople and playmates. 

The project will also show how the enactment of these roles bore the trace of not just distinct regional backgrounds, for example, islanders, Cypriots, Macedonians, ‘wave’ (early post-war, mid-1950s-60s, late arrivals) and political background (liberals, communists, royalists), but also a broader mix of social influences.


  • to generate new knowledge about the everyday experience of post-war migration in Australia’s largest city

  • to understand the complex forms of adaptation and mixing that characterised Sydney’s post-war Greek neighbourhoods

  • to create an archive of oral histories and primary materials that sheds light on Australia’s remaking as a multicultural society

  • to develop an on-going collaborative partnership involving the tertiary sector, the State Library of NSW and the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW.

National benefit

The partnership involving UNSW, the State Library of NSW and the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW will ensure the creation of a long-term and publicly accessible collection of resources that will reveal how the cultural profile of Australia’s largest city was dramatically altered in the post-war years by immigration. The planned online exhibition, community events, scholarly symposia and related publications will facilitate new insights concerning the precise ways in which ethnic groups inhabit and become part of a locale. They will also establish protocols for facilitating the creation of mutually beneficial relationships involving significant public institutions such as the State Library of NSW, the tertiary sector and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.


Professor George Kouvaros, School of the Arts & Media, and Associate Professor Nick Doumanis, School of Humanities & Languages 

Funding body

Australian Research Council Linkage Grant Scheme  

Research area

Migrant Cultural Studies; Visual Culture