Rockhampton barber Jimmy Kondilis is still wielding his scissors at age 83.

Story + Photos Kerry Sharp

“You could say I was born in a barber shop,” says Jimmy Kondilis, a jovial 83 year old, who’s been snipping, shaving and entertaining customers in Rockhampton, Qld, for 58 years. Four or five generations of district families have patronised Jim’s Barber Shop. “My father, like my grandfather before him, was the local barber in our little village of Kastania on Samos, and he taught me the trade from a very young age. I never went to school but I’ve made a good living as a barber and got a good education from the people in this town.”  

Jimmy was enticed to Australia’s beef capital by an 18-year-old fellow Samos islander Georgia, whose family migrated from war-torn Europe in the early 1950s seeking a better life. Her match-making brother met Jim in the army and told his sister he’d found her “a good boy and a good husband”. The young couple married in Rockhampton and had three girls and a boy, who’ve since given them six grandchildren and one great-grandson.  

This story excerpt is from Issue #122

Outback Magazine: December/January 2019