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Title Café Arabo Postcard, Letho Sigalas to Lili Vrahamis, Cairo
Author Sigalas, Letho
Date 29 Aug 1921
Document Type Postcard
Reference HT 2255
Library / Archive Museums Victoria
Collection Name Personal Stories Collections
Description Sepia toned postcard from Letho Sigalas to his fiancé Lili Vrahamis showing a group of men seated on a rug in a room. It was written while Letho was travelling from Greece to Cairo, as he returned to Melbourne.
Series Description The Sigalas family's immigration story is a rich narrative which relates to a number of themes in the immigration history of Melbourne. The Sigalas family story signifies migration as a continuous experience for some people: of shifting from country to country until finding the right spot to settle; of the strong ties to homelands which draws people back again and again; of chain migration; of finding brides in home countries in order to establish families in the new.
Biographical Note / History Letho was the son of James Sigalas, a Greek migrant who settled in Australia in 1901 and opened the Anglo-American café in 1906, and the Centenary café in the mid-1930s, both in Bourke Street, Melbourne. Lili (Eleni) Sigalas (nee Vrahamis) was born in 1904 on the Greek Island of Sikinos. She was the daughter of Callirrhoe Dressler and Stavros Vrahamis, both from the Greek Island of Sikinos, who also lived for some time in Istanbul. She was engaged to Letho (Eleutherios) Sigalas, her cousin, in 1920. Lili completed her secondary education in Athens, her father ensuring she was reasonably well educated, as he was unable to settle a dowry on her. In 1922 Lili migrated to Melbourne on the ship 'Largs Bay' with her father-in-law to be, James (Iakovos) Sigalas, and her elder married sister Alex. Letho and Lili were married just eight days before Lili's 19th birthday at the Greek Orthodox Church in Victoria Parade, Melbourne on 18 July 1923. The couple had two daughters, Danae in June 1924 and Magarita Babette in 1931. Letho worked in his father's café and the young couple moved in a very sociable set that included their own young Greek cousins; going to numerous dances, the races, and nightclubs. The family lived in a house on St Kilda Road until 1948, when they moved to Kew. In 1930 and 1939 the family toured Europe and travelled to Greece to see Lili's parents. In 1937 Lili enrolled in an arts course at Melbourne University (her English now excellent), and during the 1940s, she became a committee member of the International Club established by Ivy Brookes, which organised cultural events at the St Kilda Town Hall. She was also a member of the Greek Red Cross during the Second World War, participated in organising significant theatre productions and worked as a correspondence teacher of English at the Migrant Education Department. Letho passed away in 1964 and Lili rejoined her family in Greece until 1987, having returned to Melbourne for extended periods during this time. Lili passed away in the 1990s.
Theme(s) Permanent Settlement and Successive Generations
Country (from) Egypt
Country (to) Australia
Places Cairo, Egypt
Nationality Greek
People Sigalas, Lili; Sigalas, Letho
Keywords emigration, immigrant, family, travel
Additional Information Please note: Some of the metadata for this document has been taken from the Museum Victoria catalogue.
Catalogue Link Museums Victoria Catalogue
Language English
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Lili Sigalas in the Bush, Victoria, Australia
Copyright Museums Victoria