Researchers Stavridis and Katsifaras Completing
Book on History of Greek-Australian Soccer Teams

Two researchers of the National Centre for Hellenic Studies & Research, Stavros Stavridis and Alekos Katsifaras, are currently involved in writing a book on the history of Greek-Australian soccer teams. This interesting and challenging project will attempt to investigate the history of more than 150 clubs in Australia. Under the auspices of the National Centre for Hellenic Studies and Research, study for this forthcoming book began two years ago. It is expected to be published in 2006.

Some clubs have provided the writers with a lot of information whilst others have offered very little detail. "One of the challenges of this project," according to Stavros Stavridis, "is piecing together all the fragmentary materials that have survived into the writing the history of all these soccer clubs."

Before 1950 Greek-Australians had established their sporting clubs and some of them included soccer for e.g. Apollon Athletic Association (1934), Olympic Adelaide (1936) Atlas (1939) and Athena (Perth) in the 1930’s.

After World War 2 with the arrival new immigrants from Europe- Greece, Italy, Malta, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Holland-gave soccer a major boost in Australia which until 1962 was dominated by Anglo-Australians. These immigrant communities established their own soccer clubs for e.g. South Melbourne Hellas and Alexander Soccer Club in Melbourne, Pan Hellenic (now known as Sydney Olympic) and Marrickville Olympic in Sydney, Olympia in Hobart and Hellas in Adelaide were founded by the Greeks. Some of these teams played in the National Soccer competition from 1977 to its temporary demise in 2004. We see Greeks establishing soccer teams with the names of Hellenic and Olympic (1967) in Darwin (NT) and Olympiakos in Canberra (ACT).

The other European migrant communities established their own soccer clubs. The Dutch Community of Melbourne established the Wilhelmina Soccer Club that was one the most powerful teams of the 1960’s. It also recruited some very good players from Holland.

Members of the Hungarian Olympic Soccer team who played in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic games established the Melbourne Hungaria soccer club. The Hungarian community of Sydney founded the successful St George Budapest team.

The Italians were among the first migrant communities to establish soccer clubs in Australia including the Juventus clubs of Adelaide and Melbourne and APIA Leichardt in Sydney.

George Cross was a Maltese based club along with the Yugoslav sponsored teams of JUST and Yugal.

The golden years of Australian soccer were from 1960-1980 where crowds were high, big-name players were recruited from Greece and Europe and many overseas teams visited Australia. In 1962 and 1963 the matches between South Melbourne Hellas vs. George Cross in Melbourne and Apia vs. South Coast United in Sydney attracted up to 20,000 and 30,000 fans respectively. Some of the overseas clubs that visited Australia in the 1960’s were the English teams - Everton, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City. The Greek National Team visited Australia in 1969.

Soccer was an attractive sport for the newly arrived settler in Australia. Greeks attended soccer games during the golden years as a way of meeting their compatriots and also giving them the opportunity to speak and maintain their Greek language and identity in their newly adopted homeland. Soccer provided entertainment for the newly arrived settler.

From 1960 onwards most Greek-Australian soccer teams have participated in all levels of official competition throughout Australia achieving championship and cup successes.

Greek-Australian soccer club committees requested assistance from the major clubs of Greece to send them players. Some who came and stayed permanently in Australia were - Mandarakis, Patrinos, Pyrgolios, Margaritis, Kominos, Mavropoulos, Hatzieletheriou, Vagianos, Kambouropoulos, Salapassidis and Ambos.

The Greek-Australian soccer teams also recruited players from Britain. Some of the notable players were the Bannon Brothers, George Gillan, Ian Gibson, Ernie Ackerley, Peter Bourne and Ian Marshall and Jim Armstrong.

(Posted originally October 2005; reformatted March 2007)

For more information, contact Stavros Stavridis and Alekos Katsifaras for any details regarding this project on 03-94793169, or contact the National Centre for Hellenic Studies & Research at La Trobe University in Australia (

HCS has published a number of other fine articles by Stavros Stavridis. For more information about the author or to see a full list of his works on HCS, see the subsections "Stavridis Articles," or "Smyrna and Asia Minor" at the URL or click on the "Smyrna and Asia Minor" button on the Home Page of HCS at

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