Memorial Service in Memory of the First Greek Settler in South Australia

A memorial service in memory of the first Greek settler who set foot in South Australia was organized on Sunday, March 11, by the Greek Orthodox Community of Adelaide.

George North or Tramountanas is being regarded by the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia as their Pioneering Grandfather.

The service was attended by the living descendants of Tramountanas. In 2000, the Greek Orthodox Community had planted an olive orchard with his name in the land of his 5th generation granddaughter. In 2006 the descendants of the Tramountanas family contacted the Greek Community looking into their Greek origin. In July 2008, the Tramountanas-North Association Inc. was established by the descendants of Tramountanas.

George Tramountanas was born in Athens, Greece in 1822. He was from a family of shipbuilders/seamen who lived on the Isle of Limnos, but also had family connections to Thessaloniki. It is believed that he had been to Australia on a previous occasion, before coming back with his brother Theodoros, arriving in Pt. Adelaide in 1842. George decided to stay here, but Theodoros journeyed on to Albany in Western Australia, never to be heard of again. The name Tramountanas means north wind from the mountains and before his marriage, George Tramountanas changed his name to George North.

On September 26, 1858, George North married Lydia Vosper, who had arrived from Devon, England, aboard the Caucasian in 1855. Soon after they moved to Port Lincoln where George found work building and repairing stone fences. In 1861 they are recorded living at Green Patch, just north of Port Lincoln, where their two sons George Henry (born in 1861) and Hero Clare (born in 1862) were born at their homestead. They moved again in 1869, purchasing an 80-acre (320,000 m2) block on Wine Shanty Road Little Swamp where George grazed sheep. In the mid-1870s George and Lydia purchased Lot: 24 in the new township of Bramfield, where they lived with their two young sons while George tended to his sheep on his nearby properties.

On April 8, 1878, George North applied to be Naturalised as a British Subject as recorded on his Memorial held in the National Archives of Australia. Early in 1884 George and Lydia purchased a property which fronts onto the Old Coach Road, just south-east of Bramfield; they named this property “North Park”. The Old Coach Road stretched from Port Lincoln to Streaky Bay, South Australia and passed through places like Green Patch, Mt. Hope, Sheringa and Bramfield.

George and Lydia hosted a wedding reception at their North Park property on November 4, 1884, for their first son George Henry and his new wife Eliza Valkema. The Colton Hotel was opened in the same year by their neighbours, the Kenny family. In 1885 George and Lydia’s second son Hero married Rosina Ann Boylan, and they moved into George and Lydia’s old house at Lot: 24 Bramfield.

George North was included in a photo in The Chronicle commemorating the occasion of West Coast Pastoralists at Elliston in 1888, to meet with the South Australian Government, to air their grievances about the paltry amounts of money being offered for improvements on their leasehold properties. The 21 year leases issued in 1867 were due to expire and the Pastoral Board undertook a review of the rents. The leases were cancelled and resumed by the Crown, subdivided and offered at public auction. Bidding was intense and the Surveyor General noted that valuations were exceeded by up to eight times.

According to “A Greek Pioneer in Australia” by the late Ellen Purcell – George, Lydia, Hero and Rosina bought 3,000 acres (12 km2) of the Mt. Wedge sheep station to add to their Bald Hills property “The Block”, now totaling 8,000 acres (32 km2). George and Lydia retired and lived their final years with their son Hero and his wife Rosina at their Newland Grange homestead at Colton, South Australia. George North died on January 29, 1911 and his wife Lydia on November 20, 1913; they are both buried in the Old Colton Catholic Cemetery. They were survived by their two sons and 22 grandchildren.