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Mandalis, Lazarus Constantine (1896–1968)

by John N. Yiannakis

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

Lazarus Constantine Mandalis (1896-1968), businessman and Greek community leader, was born on 15 January 1896 at Port Said, Egypt, one of seven children of Greek-born parents Constantine Michael Mandalis, engineer, and his wife Ekaterini, née Lazarou. His parents had moved to Egypt from Kastellorizon (Megisti), an Aegean island near Turkey, after Constantine had obtained work with the Suez Canal Co. Educated at church schools in Cairo and at Port Said, Lazarus proved an excellent student of foreign languages, including English, French, Italian, Spanish and Arabic.

At the age of 17 Mandalis emigrated to Western Australia in search of adventure and in the hope of making a better living. He settled in Perth where he was employed as a liquor salesman and waiter. During World War I he acted as a Greek interpreter in the Censor's Office. Mandalis also worked as an interpreter in court and as an accountant, but he was principally an importer of continental foodstuffs. Having helped to found (1918) the Hellenic Club Association to cater for the social and recreational needs of the increasing number of male Greeks in Perth, he became secretary in 1923 of the Hellenic Community of Western Australia, a newly formed pan-Hellenic organization. He was to hold that post for thirty-seven years.

At St George's Cathedral, Perth, on 26 April 1928 Mandalis married with Greek Orthodox rites Marea Auguste, a 21-year-old accountant; she was the daughter of Athanasios Auguste, one of the earliest Castellorizians to arrive in Western Australia. The marriage strengthened Mandalis's standing in the Greek community in Perth. A dynamic and persuasive orator, he convinced members of the Hellenic Community in 1935 to proceed with building the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St Constantine and St Helene in Perth. As secretary of the H.C.W.A., he nominated a number of Greeks for admission to Australia and assisted them after their arrival. On 22 September 1941 Mandalis lowered his age and enlisted in the Militia. Transferring to the Australian Imperial Force in November 1942, he was commissioned in the Security Section, Intelligence Corps, in January 1943. He acted as a translator and in 1946 sailed for Italy, guarding prisoners of war who were in the process of being repatriated. His A.I.F. appointment terminated in Australia on 14 March 1947.

Many of Western Australia's State and Federal politicians sought out Mandalis to present their views to Perth's Greek community. He regularly offered counsel to his compatriots. From the late 1930s, as a translator and interpreter, he had been associated with H. P. Downing, the honorary consul for Greece in Western Australia. Mandalis served (from 1951) as a justice of the peace. In 1960 he was appointed to the Royal Order of the Phoenix in recognition of his promotion of Australian-Greek relations. That year he and his wife retired to Sydney to live near their daughters. Survived by his wife, son and three daughters, he died on 6 August 1968 in his Potts Point home and was buried in Botany cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • J. N. Yiannakis, Megisti in the Antipodes (Perth, 1996)
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Aug 1968
  • West Australian, 9 Aug 1968
  • Hellenic Community of Western Australia, Minutes, vols 1 and 2 (Hellenic Community Centre of Western Australia, Northbridge, Perth)
  • decorations, A1838/265 item 1535/11/14 (National Archives of Australia)
  • PP14/1 item 16/1/298, PP302/1 item WA 1800, PP6/1 item 1947/H/573 (National Archives of Australia)
  • private information

Citation details

John N. Yiannakis, 'Mandalis, Lazarus Constantine (1896–1968)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.online.anu.edu.au/biography/mandalis-lazarus-constantine-11046/text19655, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 23 November 2017.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

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