Memoirs of an individual may also function as a time capsule for a whole generation, capturing collective experiences and preserving impressions of times past. Successive and successful waves of migration have contributed to the rich tapestry of Australian society today and in A Migrant’s Hopeful Dawn Sotirios ‘Sam’ Manolopoulos presents his captivating account which will resonate with many Greeks who undertook a similar journey to this young man of energy, industry and eternal optimism who migrated to Australia in 1955.
Sam was born and raised in a small village in Greece, experiencing first-hand as a young boy the horrors of war, occupation and its devastating aftermath on the social and economic fabric of his beloved homeland. Forced by poverty and post-war economic and social upheaval, Sam left everything and everyone he knew behind in Greece and at nineteen years old embraced Australia as ‘a land of mystery, improbability and marvel’.
Like so many other Greek migrants, Sam put down roots in Melbourne in his early days in Australia. His boundless energy and dreams of a better life for his family propelled Sam into business ventures which criss-crossed the continent. Pushing himself at a dizzying pace, Sam investigated new opportunities enthusiastically and quite literally helped to build post-war Australia through hard work in the mining, transport and construction industries. Reversals of fortune also occurred, when tough times or a too trusting nature saw the collapse of a hoped-for venture, but Sam’s enduring love of family and religious faith sustained him in times of prosperity and also in times of loss.
Dynamic, eloquent, passionate and poetic, the author of A Migrant’s Hopeful Dawn possesses justifiable great pride in his family, his adopted country, and his successful endeavours. This memoir is a crowning achievement in a life lived to the full and adds a valuable perspective to the study of social and economic history of Australia throughout the second half of the twentieth century.
Reviewed by Christine McGuigan November 2014
Available from Sid Harta Publishers http://sidharta.com/au/