Across Australian Seas A Kalymnian Woman's Story

A Darwin born Kalymnian woman tells the story of her mother's journey across seas from Greece to Australia. She also tells about her own journey from Australia to the birth place of her ancestors to bring back her own child in a visual way. Story telling with poetry accompaniment, she walks in the footsteps of her mother and her mother before her, but more importantly creating steps towards a better future as her own child follows her along the walk on iconic Lee Point beach, carrying a clay pot much like the one held by the statue of the Kalymnian woman water bearer. She tells about a shepherd's life in Telendos and Astimenia growing and storing produce, and water in the clay pots, comparing environmental woes of two worlds apart yet so close Darwin and Kalymnos.

  • Maria Evangelistria Grujicic
  • Maria Evangelistria Grujicic
  • Maria Evangelistria Grujicic
  • Anastasia Grujicic
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Feature, Other
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 51 seconds
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Distribution Information
  • Maria Grujicic
Director Biography - Maria Evangelistria Grujicic

Greek Australian Maria Grujicic was born and bred in Darwin. A nature lover and an artist at heart she romanced her way around the world creating dance experiences and writing poetry as she lived and worked as an early childhood teacher abroad. Maria Grujicic self-published several poetry books inspired by life, love and travel, especially impressions of Europe. Most of her poems were written in Greece, Paris and Germany. She developed an interest in film making whilst exploring the bushblock neighbouring her house in Ludmilla. She published The Hidden Beauty of Darwin book, illustrating the unique native flora and fauna. She aspires to one day create a children's musical based on one of her picture books. Maria Grujicic now lives in Darwin, Australia and is a proud and devoted mother to a beautiful girl.

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Director Statement

Eighteen days on Patris ferry from Greece to Australia in 1965. My mother tells her intimate story of her journey to and from Australia and of the first time she left her home in Kalymnos. As I interpret her words through my poetry my own life eventuates and I begin to question the environmental quest of the world today. A clay pot left on the bush block next to our house in Ludmilla found and scrubbed clean by my mother is the feature of my own interpretative reenaction of her life story. A story which
takes us to the rocky mountains, land of the shepherds Telendos and Astimenia in Greece. Where shepherds make cheese and grow olives and figs, and keep them in these clay pots, and store oil in the much bigger ones for up to two years For if in the mountains natural disasters destroyed the crop the people turned to produce they stored to keep them going. They’d take a couple of dried figs and be on their way to herd the sheep. There were no such things as shops. ‘Koumbania’ was the work family did so they had stored to have enough food. And of course these clay pots like the one the Kalymnian woman water bearer holds, carries the precious water. There was a stream of fresh water on the island of Telendos, Greece where my mother grew up and water was collected. The bronze statue of the claypot woman water bearer in the mall Darwin commemorates the founding of a ‘sister' city. She also stands in prominent locations in Kalymnos, reminding us of the hard work of the Greek Kalymnian mother in support of her family. Though the streams of water are now gone and the island buys bottled water and Kalymnians collect water in plastic bottles from community taps. So I now ask, what does this
statue represent in modern times when we continuously deny mother nature’s hard work? Destroying green corridors, the worries and concerns about the effects on ground water raised by plans to frack and grow cotton in the NT, polluting our creeks, littering our beaches, single use plastic. How is any of this helping? I now ask again to look at the statue and what it represents because answers can be found in history but not if politics change the symbolic meaning to suit their monetary gains. As I hear my mother’s story, I link this to my own journey and my own existence, and that of my child. For if it weren’t for my ancestors before me, where and what would I be? Where would she be? I observe changes in the world and I wonder about consultation. Consultation for the plight of our future generations and what we are in turn leaving behind for them. Because as I see how far we’ve come, I also observe how far behind we are. I walk on the sands of Lee Point Coastal Reserve Beach. I nestle within the rocks and I sense the wind, the smells of clean air and free spaces, surrounded by shorebirds. Dugongs among sea grass beds and dolphins in the distance complete a picturesque paradise. I walk with my child towards Old Man Rock as the sun sets in hope that in 10 years time when I am 60 years old our journey will be just as beautiful as it is now.