Dimitri (Takis) Gogos
founder of Neos Kosmos
Died at the age of 88, Monday May 20th 2019
Dimitri (Takis) Gogos was born on February 13, 1931 on the island of Chios. His parents were refugees from Asia Minor. He grew up in Chios (Varvasi), except for some time in Cyprus.
A graduate of the Kapodistrian High School of Chios, he worked in journalism parallel to his studies. Determined to become a journalist, he worked for the local newspaper Proia while he was still at high school.
At the age of nineteen he came to Australia under the sponsorship of relatives. ‘I wanted to get out of the narrow confines of the island. I was young and wanted to see the world’. His early days in Melbourne are almost a cliché of the average Greek worker. He washed dishes, then waited on tables and graduated to the assembly line at General Motors-Holden. Then came a spell at a textile factory and the Australian Post Office as a mail officer and sorter. ‘But all the time I had the idea to work in journalism’, he said. ‘I worked as editor in my spare time on a number of publications, including one published by the Olympic Youth Club, then the Australian Greek Review, a political-literary magazine and the Australian Greek. His chance came in 1956 when the Australian Government lifted wartime restrictions under which foreign-language newspapers and journals were tightly controlled.
Penniless himself, Takis Gogos persuaded a few backers to help him get a new newspaper out. Neos Kosmos, the first issue, appeared on the streets of Melbourne on 13 February 1957, the day of his birthday. A four-page weekly, with a first run of 2,500 copies. The newspaper not only gave Greeks an idea of what was happening, but it also examined in-depth issues such as unemployment of Greeks and others in Australia, the rights of migrants, discrimination. (extract from the history of Greeks in Australia by Josef Vondra, first published 1979)
Dimitri Gogos helped organise food kitchens for unemployed Greek immigrants, took initiatives to help people better their lives, he was at the helm of many struggles for national matters. He was active in ensuring the teaching of Modern Greek at the University of Melbourne and worked hard to ensure that Hellenism thrived in Australia.
Dimitri Gogos ventured into Sydney publishing O Kosmos newspaper with George Messaris as the editor as well as Chrisos Odigos.
‘He was a huge advocate of multiculturalism, a humanitarian, a fighter for the social justice of immigrants and the creator of Greek festivals that have ensured that the Greek culture will continue to thrive in Australia for years to come.’ (Olympia Valance, granddaughter)
In June 1972 there were 60 foreign language publications in 18 languages in Australia, with a total circulation nearly half a million. Ten were Greek. Most of the papers have editorial staffs of one to three people and in many cases editors act as both reporter and advertising manager. The editors who head the ethnic fourth estate do so for the love of it. Theirs is a calling of the heart. It is a generalisation, of course, but a safe one…
Dimitri Gogos, editor of the Greek community’s bi-weekly Neos Kosmos, has put in a 10-hour day when he leaves his cramped office above a Russell Street Restaurant on a Friday night. (from the book: Australian Multiculturalism: A Documentary History and Critique by Lois E. Foster)
Editor of the Neos Kosmos, Sotiris Hatzimanolis remembered: “The last time Takis was in Chios, by the beach, a song by Sotiriou Bellou came on. He an old man got up and danced the zeimbekiko with the waves clapping in rhythm. He then said: ‘This is life, an ouzo, good food and a great song by the sea.’”
No matter what, nobody can take away the dances you’ve already had, Mr G, so go ahead dance one more; to the end of the living world. We will never forget you (condolences from staff members, Eugenia Pavlopoulou, Senior journalist)
He was a stout defender and campaigner for social justice and migrant equality and held an unwavering commitment to his community. The story of Greek migration to Victoria is a long one, and Takis understood that by providing a record of significant events, challenges and success stories the community would maintain a connection to its history and to its culture. Neos Kosmos has gone on to establish an archiving project to preserve and make accessible all of its archives to the broader community through its website.Takis helped to establish Greek organisations like Pronia and Fronditha, using the newspaper’s early offices for fundraising. He worked tirelessly to ensure that Hellenism not only survived but thrived in Victoria. His newspaper has been such a fundamental part of so many Greek Victorians’ lives and continues to be for our younger generations as well. I express my deepest condolences to his family—to his children, George, Tania and Christopher, and their families—as well as to his colleagues at Neos Kosmos. May he rest in peace.