Australia! Australia! The Voyage of the SS Corsica from Cyprus to Australia in 1951-52

August 21, 2019

Associate Professor Andrekos Varnava, Flinders University, Adelaide, and Honorary Professor De Montfort University, Leicester will present a lecture entitled ‘Australia! Australia! The Voyage of the SS Corsica and its passengers from Cyprus to Australia in 1951-52’ at the Greek Centre, on 29 August 2019, as a part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne.

On 13 December 1951 the Corsica left Limassol with 761 Cypriot migrants for Australia, including my father, Varnavas Michael Varnava, and was the first ship to leave Cyprus with so many emigrants. Arriving at Fremantle (25 January) and Melbourne (4 February) in early 1952, the trip was described by a woman passenger as a ‘hell trip on a floating slum’, because of the horrendous conditions on board.

This is the story of many firsts: the first time so many Cypriots emigrated at the one time; the first time that records show such a horrendous voyage of a migrant ship; and the first time that a migrant ship was discussed in the Australian federal parliament.

This lecture aims to set the story of the Corsica and its passengers within three interlocking and broad historical contexts: the Cypriot emigrant story as part of the urban and rural movement, which requires an analysis of the backgrounds of who was emigrating to Australia and leaving Cyprus; the experience of those making the voyage, which requires a description of the conditions on the ship compared to conditions on other migrant ships; and finally the Australian migration story, specifically as regards immigration restrictions and national identity.

Associate Professor Andrekos Varnava is the author of three monographs: British Cyprus and the Long Great War, 1914-1925: Empire, Loyalties and Democratic Deficit (Routledge 2019); Serving the Empire in the Great War: The Cypriot Mule Corps, Imperial Loyalty and Silenced Memory (ManU Press 2017; ppk. 2019) and British Imperialism in Cyprus, 1878-1915: The Inconsequential Possession (ManU Press 2009; ppk. 2012). He has edited/co-edited eight volumes, the most recent being: Comic Empires: The Imperialism of Cartoons, Caricature and Satirical Art (ManU Press, forthcoming 2019); Australia, Migration and Empire: Immigrants in a Globalised World (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming, 2019); The Great War and the British Empire: Culture and Society (Routledge, 2017); Australia and the Great War: Identity, Memory, Mythology (MelbU Press, 2016); Imperial Expectations and Realities: El Dorados, Utopias and Dystopias (ManU Press, 2015). He has published many book chapters and articles, including in English Historical Review (2017), The Historical Journal (2014), Journal of Modern History (2018) and Historical Research (2014 & 2017), with others forthcoming in Social History of Medicine (2019) and Contemporary British History (2020).

When: Thursday 29 August 2019, 7.00pm
Where: Greek Centre (Mezz, 168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne


HIMARE - The continued detention in Albania of Fredi Beleri, an ethnic Greek elected Mayor of Himare, now has seen Greece blocking a European Union Defense anse Security Agreement with that country.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


By Defining Sex, Some States Are Denying Transgender People Legal Recognition

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Mack Allen, an 18-year-old high school senior from Kansas, braces for sideways glances, questioning looks and snide comments whenever he has to hand over his driver's license, which still identifies him as female.

HEMPSTEAD, NY – The Maids of Athena District 6 Lodge held their first ever mid-year conference on February 24 at St.

STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT - Is Michelle Troconis a murderous conspirator who wanted her boyfriend's estranged wife dead and helped him cover up her killing? Or was she an innocent bystander who unwittingly became ensnared in one of Connecticut's most enduring missing person and alleged homicide cases? A state jury heard two different tales of the 49-year-old Troconis as the prosecution and defense made their closing arguments Tuesday in Stamford.

LONDON — Kensington Palace says Britain's Prince William has pulled out of attending a memorial service for his godfather, the late King Constantine of Greece, because of a personal matter.

MONTREAL/NEW YORK – The Maids of Athena (MOA) District 6 (New York) and District 23 (Eastern Canada) Lodges held their first ever inter-district Zoom fundraising event on February 20.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.