MR ANGELO KONSTANTINOS GOOMA
FOUNDER OF THE HELLENIC LYCEUM SYDNEY
He was born in Athens one of six children. Marika, Efrosini, Irene, Vasilikoula, Tassos and himself. He served in WWI and also in the Asia Minor conflict. He migrated to Australia in 1924. Upon his arrival he became involved in Tobacco growing in Victoria and then as grazier in the Dandenong Hills. He was also an accountant and had practised in Brisbane in the business owned by Theo Comino. He was married to Maria Gooma in Australia but there were no children in the marriage.
In 1924 there was a growing fear about the number of migrants from Southern Europe. A Labour Party member of N.S.W moved to restrict the number of migrants. The motion was defeated but newspapers published articles demanding a stop to southern European Migrants. The N.S.W premier Sir George Fuller and the Victorian Premier Mr Allan stressed the need to keep Australia predominantly British. Angelo Gooma was among a delegation that protested in 1925 to the Home and Territories Minister senator Pearce. They pointed out that Australia Greeks were law abiding and pro-British. Mr Gooma was used as an example demonstrating that Greeks were vital in contributing to the economy of Australia
In 1937 he took on the role as secretary to the Council General. He was deputy in the absence of the then Consul General Mrs Ioannis Kokotakis. In November of 1938 the then Greek Consul General of Sydney Dr Ioannis Kokotakis was recalled to Athens due to a dissatisfaction of his service. Mr Angelo Gooma was chosen to act as Consul General for the next four months. Dr Aimilios Vrysakis arrived in March 1939 taking over as Consul General and relieving Mr Gooma.
He is associated with being involved in the establishment of the Greek- Australian Chamber of Commerce. He tried to establish a shipping service between Greece and Australia and tried to organise the direct purchase of wool from Australia to Greece. He owned a wholesale goods store with Greek products which he imported. This was located in Sydney.
His love of sport is portrayed in his organisation of an athletic championship while he was in the Army. Then again while he was an accountant in Brisbane he was involved in a rowing competition. He also was known to be involved with the donation of a Silver Cup for an Annual Swimming competition between RAAF units. It was to be the Greek Community Cup. This event started in 1952 and was ongoing until 1970.
Angelo Gooma was also an avid writer and always wrote under the Pseudonym Agronaftis. He had a passion for all things Greek and all his dealings were revolved around his love for his country of birth.
The Hellenic Lyceum was yet another accomplishment of Mr Gooma. His mother was a member of the Hellenic Lyceum in Athens so he was familiar with the association and foresaw the need of such an institution in Australia. In 1951 he was involved in setting up the first meeting at the Greek Consul Office in Martin Place. . Fourteen women were invited to attend to establish the Hellenic Lyceum in Sydney. Among the first names was Mrs Gooma his wife who played a vital role in the first years of the Hellenic Lyceum in Sydney. For all his accomplishment Mr Gooma was awarded then MBE on the Queens Honour List
The above was taken from the following two books-
- Australians and Greek Vol II The Middle years by Hugh Gilchrist
- Australians and Greek Vol III The Later Years by Hugh Gilchrist.