Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Apollo Athletic - another predecessor of what we have now

This is a partially colourised version of the photo I used to have on this article.
The previous version was hosted on a third party hosting site, which stopped
working. This one has been sourced from the La Trobe Greek archives.
Before Melbourne's urban sprawl was filled to the brim with little Greek fiefdom clubs, before even the days of Hellenic, Olympic, Yarra Park Aias, Alexander and Florina, there was Apollo Athletic, which is as far as anyone knows, the earliest Greek Australian club of them all.

The club was born sometime around 1934, and didn't last much longer than 1935, playing in the 3rd division at the time, and reaching the 2nd round of the Dockerty Cup, where they lost 3-0 to Shepparton East. Curiously, another club calling itself Apollo participated in competition during 1952, but disappears thereafter... and it's late in 1952 that Hellenic is formed... is there any connection? Who knows. There was also one final team using that name, but this was more of an amateur outfit playing somewhere out of Fitzroy/Collingwood calling itself Apollo 11, during the early 1970s.

Apollo Athletic had a mix of Greeks and non-Greeks in the team, perhaps the most notable of which was Floros Dimitriadis. Dimitriadis later became involved with Yarra Park, and through this association was one of the two founding Vice-Presidents of South Melbourne Hellas (the other being South Melbourne United's Des Hamilton). It was also at Dimitriadis' hotel The Duke of Kent that the amalgamation between newly formed Hellas and South Melbourne United took place. Whether it's the same pub as the current Duke of Kent on La Trobe street I don't know, and any information on that is more than welcome. *see comments section for update.

The following information is from a La Trobe Uni pdf I found on the net somewhere.

Athletes and members of the Apollo Athletic Club in the early ‘30’s. In 1934, shortly after its establishment Apollo appears as the first Greek Soccer Club in Australia. In 1935, despite its progress to the 3rd category in the Victorian State Championship, it dissolved mainly due to lack of interest on the part of the Administration. In the front row from left is seen Mr Floros Dimitriadis, the founding member of Melbourne Hellas.

1 comment:

  1. Finally got around to going to the Public Record Office in Shiel Street, North Melbourne, to check on the Duke of Kent Hotel/Floros Dimitriadis connection.

    And yes, the Duke of Kent on La Trobe Street, the one whose windows Victory fans broke with a computer keyboard, is the same Duke of Kent owned by Floros Dimitriadis and his wife Penelope - where South Melbourne Hellas was born.

    Floros and Penelope seem to have owned the pub from about 1957-58 to 1961. From the limited documentation available, the Duke doesn't seem to have been one of Melbourne premier or more popular pubs at the time.

    A building inspector found several breaches at the hotel, though these were somewhat alleviated by the fact that the Duke had few people using the accomodation spaces, and the fact that the building was part way through a renovation - one excuse given is that the contractor hired to perform the renovations had become ill.

    The Dimitriadis couple - in document also known as buy the surname Demetrie - also took the state government to court during this era, claiming that the licencing fees they had been charged were excessive or duplicated by other taxes, and thus they were owed money. The result of the case is unknown to me.

    Whatever the result, the pressure of dealing with these issues seems to have taken its toll, with the couple selling the pub to someone I think (off the top of my head) called Constance May. The pub's fortunes didn't necessarily improve - at one point the Demetrie's successor was unable to be contacted by the authorities, and the pub changed hands several times over the next 15 years.


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We've had a lot of fun over the years with my freewheeling comments policy, but all good things must come to an end. Therefore I will no longer be approving comments that contain personal abuse of any sort.

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