Maria Kazaglis made this quilt for herself, in the 1930's, while living in the flat above their fruit shop in the inner Sydney suburb of Marrickville. This is a very long way from her 'topos' - Castellorizo, or its ancient name Megisiti, the tiny Greek island which holds such a significant place in Greek Australian history, because of the number of early Greek migrants who came from there. Today, more than 30,000 Australians attribute their origins to this 'dot' in the Aegean.
Maria's was a traditional family; her father, a priest, died tragically when only in his 50s, leaving the family in very difficult circumstances. Maria was one of several daughters who each had to be provided with a 'dowry' (prika), and she grew up learning to be very resourceful and with a wide range of domestic skills including, of course, the art of making a good paploma!
In 1924, Maria came to Australia - her husband Vassili and two of their children, having come earlier. The family settled in Port Pirie SA where, at that time, there were quite a number of men from Castellorizo working in the lead smelters. In the early 1930s, the family moved to Sydney where they became part of the existing Greek community. Maria continued as she had begun - a devout person who took seriously her Greek Orthodox faith.
In her latter years, Maria lived with son George and daughter-in-law Christina, whose quilt she had made back in the 1950s. Both quilts have seen many years of service with the succeeding generations of Kazaglis!"
[Written by Lula Saunders, adapted from interview 20 March 2000, for the National Quilt Register]