25. Peter Spero Michelides (1878-1966), tobacco trader, linguist and
Greek community leader
Peter Michelides arrived in Western Australia in 1901 from Port Said, Egypt. With his brother, Michael, they pioneered the tobacco industry in Western Australia and owned a vast property near Manjimup. His employees were mainly Macedonians, recent immigrants to Western Australia.
The Michelides Brothers owned property in Perth and built a tobacco factory on the corner of Lake and Roe Streets. They were well known for Luxor tobacco, President cigarettes and Rizla cigarette papers. Peter Michelides was a prominent Greek leader with both wealth and prestige. His daughter Jasmine died in 1932 at the age of 19 years and a very fine monument was placed on her grave AA 39A.
Peter Michelides served as an official Immigration Department translator responsible for imposing the dictation test on new arrivals. He was a skilled linguist and it was said that “to replace Michelides would require interpreters with six languages”. At various times he served as honorary consul for Spain, France, Greece and Imperial Russia. He was an influential president of the
Hellenic Community from 1925-1939 during which time the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St Constantine and Helene was built.
On 11 December 1940, Peter Michelides, representing the Hellenic community, presented a cheque for £1,368.3.0 for the Lord Mayor’s (Thomas Meagher) War Relief Fund for Greece.