Gippsland business stalwart remembered


Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Manthos

1934 – 2016

Emmanuel Manthos has been remembered as a loving husband, doting father, proud grandfather and entrepreneur.

Born in 1934 in Langada, Greece, Manny was one of 10 children.

The aftermath of World War II meant there were few job opportunities and at 17 years of age he decided to take up the opportunity to travel to Australia as a contract worker for farms.

With little money and a small bag, Manny boarded the Italian ship Fersia, bound for Melbourne.

From there, he was transferred to Bonegilla, New South Wales where he was placed into quarantine for three months.

Manny travelled to Mildura where he picked grapes and once the season was over, moved to the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood, becoming a supporter of its Aussie rules team.

He subsequently worked at a General Motors factory, cut sugar cane in Queensland and drove trucks between the Melbourne docks and Geelong.

Manny’s life in Gippsland began with a move to Bairnsdale, where he and a friend transported pulp wood.

It was there he would meet wife Caterina, whose family was from Italy.

Language was no barrier to the pair, who were married a few months later.

From there, Manny’s business nous came to the fore and he purchased a greengrocer shop from Caterina’s brother, which he built into a lucrative business.

He would travel to Melbourne once a week to buy fresh produce, returning to Bairnsdale and begin the lengthy process of unloading the truck by hand, with an assembly line of workers.

Manny then began purchasing small businesses and selling them for a profit, eventually bringing him to Morwell.

He founded Manny’s Market in 1982, the business that is now an iconic fixture of the Morwell and Traralgon central business districts.

In an article for Stories from the Gippsland Immigration Wall of Recognition, Manny said his philosophy was to “make your own luck and fortune in life, to seize the opportunity when it arises, not wait for it to fall in your lap”.

Manny passed away last month aged 82 while holidaying in Greece with Caterina, where they spent many a European summer.

The pair has four daughters Sandra, Georgina, Rosa and Toula and son-in-laws Michael, John, Mario and George, who he welcomed into the family business, and 14 beloved grandchildren.

Manny was farewelled last week by family, friends and the local business community.

His grandchildren spoke of how their grandfather showed them what “hard work and fierce determination can do”.