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Tuesday, 26 January 2016




Costas and Panayiota (“Everyone here calls me Penny”) have been living in
public housing for 19 years. They are both 75 years of age.

Costas and Penny were both born in Cyprus. Cyprus is an international
country. Many people from Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Syria and Israel have
settled there.
Cyprus is a very scenic island. Millions of tourists visit Cyprus every year.
Costas urges you to visit his beautiful country one day.
Costas grew up in the city of Pafos. He comes from a family of seven
children. Costas’ father served in the army and later worked in local
government in an administrative position. His mother was busy at home
raising the children. Costas left school at 12 to become a painter, plumber,
carpenter; in short a “Jack of all Trades.”

Costas comes from a Greek Orthodox family. In his family there is a long
tradition of at least one child of each generation growing up and becoming a

Costas and Penny married in 1951.

Penny grew up in a village near Pafos. She also comes from a big family.
She has seven brothers and sisters; all of them are still alive. The family
lived in a home without gas or electricity. Light was provided by kerosene
lamps and the food was cooked on wood fires.

Their marriage was arranged by relatives on both sides. Costas jokes that it
was Penny who chased him and gave him their first kiss.

Together they have ten children.

After they married, Costas worked in the kitchens on a British army base on
the Suez Canal. This meant that he was separated from Penny but he sent
 money back to her regularly. When other work became available, he was
able to return to his family in Cyprus. In 1967 the family moved to Limasol
where Costas worked as a house painter and carpenter on a British airforce
base. It was a very large base, almost a small town, with many houses to
accommodate the airforce personnel and their families. The base had its
own school and hospital.

Imagine how hard Penny worked raising a brood of ten.
Costas remembers how difficult it was to make ends meet financially.
All those children to feed, clothe, and put through school. Costas is very
proud that he provided for them all.

In those days” he says, “children respected their parents and obeyed them.
 Today they don’t do as they are told and they even swear at their mother
 and father.”

All ten children grew up and married. 
Costas and Penny now have 35 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren!
They are living in Australia, Cyprus and San Francisco.

The couple came to Australia in 1987. For a year they lived with one of
their daughters. Then they moved into their public housing flat on the
Princes Hill Estate.

Their flat is very comfortable; full of plants, religious icons and

Costas keeps himself busy making furniture or fixing things around the flat.
It’s only a small flat and Penny is very long-suffering when Costas is busy
working on one of his projects on the kitchen table. With his hacksaw,
hammer and nails he creates a lot of wood-shavings and dust.
Penny just rolls her eyes and laughs.She is a strong motherly woman with a
warm hug and a dry sense of humour.

Costas and Penny believe in good nutrition. They go to the Victoria Market
every fortnight and come home with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat
 and fish. They don't eat take-away food. Costas says that if you try one of
his hamburgers you’ll never eat McDonalds again. They both love cooking
 and often cook together. Penny bakes all her own bread. Costas enjoys
making cakes. They are his speciality. Over the years, whenever there has
been a birthday celebration, Costas has made the birthday cakes for their
children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It’s a family tradition
which began in Cyprus and has continued in Australia. That’s a LOT of birthday cakes!

They both believe strongly in the tradition of marriage. Theirs has been a
long and happy marriage, though, of course, even happily married people
fight sometimes.

They both like Australia very much.
Living in their Public Housing flat has been good, but they have missed
having a garden to potter about in, and Costas a shed for his woodwork.

Over the years we’ve tried to be good neighbours. We are friendly. We
mind our own business. We don’t make trouble for others.”

They have both enjoyed good health throughout their lives. Costas has
always been a robust man but these days he feels himself slowing down. He
can no longer manage the stairs like he used to. Penny has health
problems and they feel that it is time for them to leave Australia and to
spend the rest of their days living with family back in Cyprus.

They will be missed by their friends and neighbours on the estate.


  1. Hi, Fiona - Thanks so much for taking the time to compile this blog. It's funny, insightful and informative. I also have a blog, too as well as a facebook group OCCUPY HUD. I'd love it if you'd visit and join. Thanks again, and keep up the good work !

  2. Love your blog Lydia. Thank-you for your support. We are seeing more and more homeless people in Australia.In view of this, it is disgraceful that the arguments against PH stock transfers are not part of public knowledge and debate. Censorship by omission. All the best.