Writing something befitting the life of my father, Dimitris Gogos, is no easy task. He had such an enormous impact on so many peoples’ lives that no single piece can truly explain his legacy. Nevertheless, what emanates from the endless stream of messages and calls I’ve received over the past couple of days is his humanity, the opportunity and the joy he gave people.
My father’s story is similar to the thousands of other Greek migrants who made Australia home during the decades of mass migration. He came to Australia to seek a secure future for himself and his family. He took on whatever work was available, from a brief stint at the General Motors factory, a longer period at the postal service and even a (very) short attempt at being a wrestler. His passion however, was always in journalism, seeking the truth and representing the voices of those who didn’t have one.
My father’s contribution to our community is well documented and there are articles here in Neos Kosmos that provide such important insights. He was a champion, not just for the Greek community, but for all migrants and the policies of multiculturalism. He ensured that his voice and that of Neos Kosmos was listened to and sought out by governments Australia-wide.
The influence my father fostered did not, however, come easily and as I was writing this tribute my sister, Tania, came across an interesting document whilst searching through boxes of photos. In a letter to my father from the Australian government in October 1970 he was notified that his application for Australian citizenship was ‘not one for approval’. He had already been living and contributing to Australian society for over a decade at that point. It was not until January 1973, with the newly elected Whitlam government, that my father’s citizenship was finally approved. These were different times of course, though there are inherit similarities to the struggles of our community which one can correlate to more recent migrant arrivals and their own challenges.
My father always believed in giving people a chance, something which he practised at Neos Kosmos and with his generosity to family, friends and colleagues. It is his generosity and his zest for life which will be sadly missed but also inspires myself and others to emulate.
My father had an endless, almost childlike, energy to be active. On our only father and son trip through Greece together in the early 1980’s we island hopped from one port to the next over a period of two weeks, never staying anywhere for more than a couple of days. At the time I thought this was normal, though later realised that I preferred to relax in one place for more than 48 hours. Similarly, here at home in Melbourne he needed to be out and about, always active and always social. But my father also revelled in his personal time, living across from the beach, walking, relaxing and having the odd 50 cent punt on the horses.
As our deadline looms and I must finish this brief tribute I will remember him always with joy and a smile. He leaves a legacy which is long and deep, and one which myself and my family will continue to honour.
Rest in peace Dad.