Obituaries

Michael Manusu

June 23, 1826 - January 8, 1902

Burial Date January 9, 1902

Michael Manousou (Manusu)

A true pioneer of this country and a forerunner of the many hundreds of thousands of Greek-Australians.

In the Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, its People and their origins (page 389)

Of the 1000 Greeks in Australia at the beginning of the twentieth century, a few individuals made their mark – Michael Manusu from Mytiline became a wealthy grazier near Mudgee;

Michael was born on the 23rd June 1826.

Manousou fell out of favour with the local Ottoman authorities. His mother, fearing the worst for her son’s fate, paid for his passage to the United States. It was in the United States that he changed his name to Manusu. His articulate grasp of several languages, including English, enabled him to easily settle in Californian goldfields for three years. However, the combination of “some trouble with hostile Indian” and booming opportunities of finding gold in the British colonies (of Australia), he undertook another journey of migration which saw him settle in southern New South Wales. Working as a second mate on the General Veazie, he landed in Sydney in 1853, and immediately set off to try his luck on the goldfields in southern New South Wales, Braidwood and Araluen. Only a year later [3rd of April, 1854] he married a young 17 year old daughter of Worcestershire farmer, Sarah Anne Baldwin, in the Anglican Church in Braidwood and they stayed on at Majors Creek, continuing his efforts at gold prospecting, before moving with their first daughter, Sarah Ann, to the small town, Bodalla, in the Moruya District. [source: http://syndesmos.net]

In June 1862, Manusu became the third Greek naturalised in NSW (after the two ex-convicts Ghikas Voulgaris and Andonios Manolis) and the sixth in Australia. In 1865 he was listed as the licensee of the ‘Grecian Inn’ at Eurobodalla, arguably the first Greek in Australia to run such an establishment.

Michael and Sarah had twelve children in all [Sarah Ann (Boyd), Amelia (McGregor), Christopher, Angelina (Dutton), Thomas Pericles, Archilles, Themistocles Alexander, Alfred Arisitides, Frank Homer Richard, Mary Louisa (Humphries), Ellen Maude (MacLerie).]

When the Boer War broke out in South Africa in 1899, three of Manusu’s sons, Alfred Aristides, Frank Homer, and Achilles Strate, volunteered and served with Australian cavalry units in the Transvaal and Orange River colonies. Frank served as a Lieutenant and was decorated for valour. He later served as a police officer in the town of Bellingen. Alfred Aristides served as a Lance Corporal with the New South Wales Lancers, the elite force of the armed forces at the time. A number of grandsons of Manusu’s served in the Great War, where one was killed in action.

Michael passed away in January, 1902.

Death announcement as published in the Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative (NSW : 1890 – 1954) | Thu 9 Jan 1902 | Page 12 | MICHAEL MANUSU.
The Mundooran side lost one of its best-known men on Wednesday afternoon, when Mr. Michael Manusu, of Biamblo Park, passed away in Mudgeo, after bearing with great fortitude a long and painful illness. Deceased, who was 76 years of age, was a native of tho Grecian Island of Mytilene, and for 27 years had been a resident of Mundooran, where ho had earned for himself the highest respect. It will be remembered that some weeks ago the deceased’s eldest son, Christopher** B. Manusu, met with a tragic death by a fall from his horse, and the old gentleman’s health was so precarious that acting under tho advice of Dr. Nickoll, his family kept from him the news of his son’s sad end. Michael Manusu is survived by his widow, and by four daughters, Mrs. Boyd, wife of Senior-sergeant Boyd, of Windsor, Mrs. J. McGregor, and Mrs. E. Humphries, of Coonamble, And Mrs. Dutton, of  Forbes. Mr. Pericles Manusu, of Mundooran, is the eldest surviving son, Mr. Alf. Manusu, another son, is at the war, Mr. Frank Manusu is in the mounted police, and Mr. J. Manusu is the other surviving son. The family has our deep sympathy.

** Sarah passed away in 1914 as per death announcement published in the Sydney Morning Herald | Fri 11 Sept 1914 | page 6 | Family notices

MANUSU.—September 1, at Mundooran, Sarah, relict of the late Michael Manusu, of Biambil Park, aged 79. At rest.
January 9, 1902 | Burial of Michael (Mikhail) James (Stratos) Manusu Mudgee, NSW, Australia, Age 75 (as per Geni.com)
Burial: Mudgee General Cemetery, Mudgee, Mid-Western Regional Council, New South Wales, Australia, Plot: Ang, I

 

sources: Kythera-family.net, syndesmos.net

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Extract from A THEMATIC HISTORY OF GREEK SETTLEMENT IN NEW SOUTH WALE (by SCRAIG TURNBULL AND CHRIS VALIOTIS), PRODUCED BY THE CENTRE FOR COMMUNITY HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES,FOR THE NEW SOUTH WALES HERITAGE OFFICE, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF Professor Ian Tyrrell, 2001

Possibly the most successful early Greek settler in rural New South Wales was the reputedly well-educated Michael Manousou, who arrived in Sydney in 1853 from Lesvos after a brief sojourn in the United States. Like many of the men arriving in the 1850s, Manousou beat a hasty path to the southern goldfields where he found little gold, eventually marrying Sarah Baldwin, the 17-year-old daughter of a Worcestershire farmer. In the late 1850s the newly married couple moved to Bodalla where Manousou worked variously as a shepherd and a farm labourer, and eventually became a tenant farmer on a large estate at Eurobodalla, where he became a prominent public figure. By 1862 Manousou acquired 130 hectares of farmland at Eurobodalla and three years later was involved in the establishment of the ‘Grecian’ Hotel in the township. Prior to the district being inundated with floods in 1874, Manousou became an important member of the Eurobodalla* community, acquiring a local inn, participating in local civic affairs and litigation, and serving as chairman of the local school board. After the floods Manousou drove his stock together with his family 320 kilometres north-west to a new ‘selection’ near Mendooran, where he oversaw the 10building of a large and comfortable homestead, ‘Biambil’, surrounded by a sumptuous garden. Manousou’s hopes for a ‘dynasty’ were largely unfulfilled when he died in 1907: most of the family were scattered throughout central New South Wales at great distance from the ‘Biambil patrimony’, and nor did any of them become identified with the later Greek community.

 

  • Eurobodalla was a small settlement that developed along the Tuross River west of Bodalla, in the area around Tyrone Bridge (to Nerrigundah), from the 1860s. The name is derived from an Aboriginal word for the area and supposedly means ‘land between waters’ or ‘another boat harbour’. It is interesting to note Eurobodalla ‘nicked’ the post office from Bodalla in 1869/1870, much to the disgust of Bodalla residents who soon had the post office at Bodalla reinstated. For some years the two post offices co-existed. There were three inns around Eurobodalla about this time – Manusu’s Grecian Inn on the south side of the Tuross, and two on the north side on the road between Nerrigundah and Moruya.

** Private MANUSU, LEO, Service Number 2640, Died 24/07/1916, 4th Bn., Australian Infantry, A.I.F. Son of Christopher Baldwin Manusu and Annie Manusu, of Gulgong, New South Wales. Born at Mundooran.