Northern Territory Government

Roll of Honour

MICHAELS, George

Wharfies

Ships docked at Darwin Wharf.


George Michaels was a wharf labourer born in Cyprus. His wife, Mrs Orthodoxia Savas Michaels of St Ambrosia, Kyrenia and his three children lived in Cyprus.

Michaels owned a small farm in the parish of Dundee, near Wowan in Queensland. The farm consisted of 16 acres and had a small tin hut on the property, along with a horse, a cotton planter and a diesel engine. The total value of the property came to 80 pounds and was being cared for by Mr James Pyziakos at Michaels’ request.

On the morning of the raid Michaels left his camp early to go to work, accompanied by Darwin Council employee George Christos Krocos; they had camps adjoining one another. After the attack Krocos was informed by several people that Michaels had been killed, but he never saw his body or knew what happened to it. The camps belonging to the two men were destroyed by bombs, but Krocos was able to salvage two bank books belonging to Michaels.

In a letter dated 24 February 1944 to the Superintendant of Police in Darwin, Michaels’ wife Orthodoxia claimed that she had just received news of her husband’s death from a fellow Cypriot living in Wellington, New Zealand. The correspondent had told Mrs Michaels that her husband had been machine-gunned on the wharf, that he had been hit by three bullets, and that Krocos had been the first person to reach his body. Mrs Michaels wrote to the Superintendant pleading with him to produce an official verdict on the fate of her husband.

The police followed up the leads provided by Mrs Michaels. The Supreme Court of the Northern Territory officially recognised the death of George Michaels on 29 July 1946.

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