My Place: Poppy Papadoupoulos

Yarraville’s Penelope “Poppy” Papadoupoulos with some of her garden produce. Photo by Joe Mastroianni

Yarraville’s Penelope “Poppy” Papadoupoulos is a proud gardener and renowned cook who has lived in the inner west for more than five decades. She speaks with Benjamin Millar


What’s your connection with Yarraville?


I moved to Yarraville with my husband in 1963 after growing up in Sunshine. I’m been living in Seddon, Footscray and Yarraville for 55 years. There has been a big Greek community in the area all this time.

I love very much this area, that’s why I’ve stayed here. I love the area, I love Australia. I have a very good time, I have my children here – I have a son and a daughter and a grandson and granddaughter.


What do you like best about living in Yarraville?


It’s a very friendly area. It doesn’t matter if it’s people with other languages or from another country, I’m friends with everyone. The Vietnamese are very good people. The young Australian people, we all share our food that we grow. I love the people on my street and in the neighbourhood. I’m very, very happy here.


Poppy making honey loukoumades for the Greek Church at the Yarraville Festival. Photo supplied

What can you tell us about your garden and cooking?


I’ve nearly finished the garden now. I planted tomatoes, capsicum, zucchini, leeks, parsley, mint, celery, onions, corn, everything. No secrets – in autumn I prepare the soil with sheep manure, but nothing else. I like to make traditional food – spanakopita, dolmades and loukoumades.


Where else do you like to spend your time?


I like to go to Olive Oil & Butter, Alfa Bakehouse and Barkley Johnson. The Greek church, my family and my garden are the most important things.

I have walked every morning in Cruikshank Park for more than 15 years. I used to walk on my own, but then I met some other Greek ladies who lived in my street and another who lived around the corner. Now there
are six of us. I make coffee and breakfast for them.


What changes have you noticed at the park?


There are more people new, more trees – it’s a beautiful park. Plenty of people and good people. A lot of young people and babies.