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Fancy dress Napoleon-style jacket made by tailor Costas Melidis

Date: 2000
Overall: 800 x 450 mm
Medium: Crepe paper, cotton, plastic
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Costas Melidis
Object Name: Jacket
Object No: 00032453
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    This Napoleon-style jacket is a replica of the costume that Costas Melidis made on board the passenger ship ELLINIS during his voyage to Australia in 1964. Made from crepe paper, cotton and plastic, the blue-grey jacket features red sleeve cuffs and red shoulder epaulettes with yellow fringing. Costas made the original costume for a fellow passenger to wear in a fancy dress competition.
    SignificanceThis replica costume jacket is a tangible reminder of the mass migration of skilled Europeans to Australia during the 'second wave' of post-World War II migration in the 1950s and 1960s. It is an example of the way people became involved in entertainment on passenger ships like the Chandris liner ELLINIS.
    HistoryCostas Melidis migrated to Australia from the Greek Island of Limnos in 1964 on the Chandris liner ELLINIS. Sponsored by his brother in Australia, Costas used all his savings and sold his sewing machines to pay 12,000 drachmas for the ticket to Australia. Costas believed there was little future for himself and his family in Greece. He saw Australia as an opportunity for a new and prosperous life, where he would start his own tailoring business.

    ELLINIS was built as LURLINE for the American Matson Line. It was bought by the Chandris Group in September 1963 in response to the boom in the Australian migrant trade. After a brief refit it departed on its first voyage to Australia in December 1963.

    During the voyage to Australia on ELLINIS, Costas won first prize in the fancy dress competition, with a captain's costume he made out of crepe paper. He had seen the competition advertised in the ship's newspaper. Costas was allowed to use the sewing machine on board the ship to sew the costume. He also made a Napoleon-style costume for a fellow passenger to wear in the competition in order to cheer him up. Costas received a Chandris Line key ring as a prize for first place.

    Once in Australia, Costas quickly found tailoring work through his Greek contacts. His first job was at a factory in Taylor Square, Sydney, where he worked for three months before becoming self-employed. Eight months after arriving in Australia, Costas had saved enough money to send for his wife Maria and their two young daughters who were still in Greece. The Melidis family were among 160,200 Greeks who came to Australia between 1947 and 1971.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Fancy dress Napoleon-style jacket made by tailor Costas Melidis

    Assigned title: Fancy dress costume of Napoleon's jacket.

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