top of page

Stories, Ships & Agents used by Cypriots to migrate across the world


The migration story of Mattheos Mattheou from the village of Akanthou/Tatlisu.

My journey covers two legs. One in September 1959 when we came to Cyprus to stay on a permanent basis and the second leg was in August 1962 when my parents decided to return to England because life was too difficult in the village. My late father Soteris was a tailor in the village of Akanthou/Tatlisu. All I can remember for sure over the two journeys was that I was permanently seasick as were most of the passengers. Only a handful would attend breakfast and other meals for most of the time. There was a young Turkish Cypriot girl on the ship on the way back to England who naturally felt at ease with other Cypriots. She is in two of the photographs that I have attached labelled Messapia 1962. She is the one with her tongue hanging out. I am the only little boy. I am not sure if there were any other Turkish Cypriots on board, - can't tell the difference between us. On the way back to England I remember going through the Corinth canal and across to Bari in Italy. We then sailed north to Venice and caught a train to Genoa. I remember my father buying me a harmonica in Bari which I still have. The low notes made a nostalgic sound similar to the ship's foghorn reminding me of far away places. In Venice I remember the Rialto Bridge and the canals but thats about it apart from the very large figs my father bought us. I don't remember very much else except that in Genoa we caught a train to Calais and across to Dover. We were met at Victoria station by relatives and I was very excited at riding the double decker buses and seeing Trafalgar Square, and Piccadilly Circus again.  I'm afraid thats all that I can recall. You may use the photographs as you see fit.


I wish you every success in your very worthwhile project my friend.


Warmest Regards



The following photos have been shared courtesy of Dawn Williamson.

Dawn travelled to the UK from Cyprus on the Messapia in 1965. She has kindly offered to share her family photos on this website. As a nine year old her family photos give us a glimpse of this ship which carried so many people not only from Lurucina but the whole of Cyprus to their final destination and a new homeland. Perhaps others will share what ever recollections they may have of their own migration voyage. This will give us an opportunity to record a momentous period in our history that will never be repeated

Mete Teoman left for Australia from Cyprus in 1969. The following is his recollection of his journey

In February,1969 I left Cyprus International Airport bound for Southampton,England where I and my father boarded SS Australis for the adventure of our lifetime! As Suez was closed at that time we went the long way, via Gibraltar, Capetown, Fremantle, and landed in Sydney on a bright day in March,1969.I turned 18 on that voyage,and I was having such a good time,I did not realise it was my birthday till a few days later when Father remembered it! There was sadness too of course,for I had left my mother and sisters behind,not to mention my civil war torn country,family and friends...  We were Cypriots,on the same boat, sailing into an uncertain world and into an uncertain future. On SS Australis,we sat together, ate together, danced together, laughed together and cried together. And when we reached our destination,some of us even found shelter together. Within a couple of months of arrival Father and I were living in a garden flat owned by mainland Greeks who lived in the main house only separated from us by a garden gate! The lady of the house, Maria, took me under her wings, and in the absence of my mother taught me how to shop, cook, wash clothes and dishes! Some years later she wanted me to marry her daughter...but that is another story for another time,perhaps!


Mete Teoman