The First ‘Free’ Greek Woman in Australia

tempe-houseThe Australian Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) organized a special event at Tempe House in New South Wales in order to commemorate two important anniversaries in Australian history.

The main speaker, Greek historian Panagiotis Diamandis, noted that 180 years have passed since the completion of Tempe House in 1835 and stated that the second historical event that needed to be commemorated was the arrival of the first free Greek woman in Australia.

Katherine Crummer (née Aikaterini Plessa) arrived in Australia in 1835 as the wife of a British army officer, Captain James Henry Crummer, who went on to hold various important positions in the colony of New South Wales. Katherine is the first confirmed “free” Greek to settle in Australia and the first confirmed Greek woman.

Tempe House belonged to Scotsman Alexander Spark, who visited Greece in 1818 and was so impressed by the Vale of Tempe that he ordered an architect to build him a mansion with Greek “colors” in a large area where he planted 50 different vine varieties and created an impressive garden called Olympus. Tempe House still remains intact and was used for the AHEPA event.

AHEPA is the largest Hellenic Association in the world with chapters in the United States, Canada, Greece, Cyprus, Australia and New Zealand. It was established in 1922 by visionary Greek-Americans to protect Hellenes from prejudice and discrimination. AHEPA was founded in Australia in Werris Creek NSW in May 1934.