Evdokia Mavrakis now reigns as Melbourne’s oldest Lerian, after she celebrated her 100th birthday last weekend. Family festivities for the birthday girl started with morning tea at St Basil’s elderly home in Fawkner, and were followed by celebrations at the Lerian club in Yarraville.

Evdokia’s birthday also marks 55 years in Australia for her family. In 1960 she arrived on Victorian shores with daughters Eleni and Maria on the Patris. She then joined husband Mattheo and her three sons, John, Foti and Dimitris, in Footscray, where she then spent most of her life.

Evdokia is a grandmother to 13 grandchildren and has 19 great-grandchildren.

As a newly-arrived migrant, she first worked in a toy factory. After years of hard work she retreated to her true spirit as the family’s homemaker. According to Grace Simitzis, one of her grandchildren, Evdokia’s spirit is one which encapsulates the true essence of a Greek mother and grandmother.

“As with a lot of Greek yiayiathes, the house was always spotless. She was extremely proud of the upkeep of her house.”

‘Adoration’ is the word that springs to mind when Grace remembers her grandmother in her younger years. “She would always adore all the grandchildren and great grandchildren.”

Evdokia also had a passion for gardening, with some of Grace’s fondest memories revolving around her yiayia’s love of roses.
Sadly, Evdokia now suffers from dementia. Grace told Neos Kosmos that as Evdokia marked her 100th birthday, the family could be nowhere else but by her side.

“Although she is not communicating, and we don’t know if she recognises us when she sees us, we wanted to all be together there for her.”