Party fit for a petrol king

first_imgSelf-made millionaire and founder of Milemaker Petroleum, Nick Andrianakos couldn’t have asked for a better birthday surprise last Sunday. More than 700 people crammed into Melbourne’s Crown Palladium to wish the philanthropist and Greek community heavyweight a happy 70th birthday. The event was in fact a surprise party organised by his sons Paul and Theo, who made sure their father celebrated in style. The surprise might have been ruined for Mr Andrianakos a couple days before by some loose lipped friends, but it ended up to his advantage. “I would never have accepted if my sons said ‘let’s go to the casino’,” he tells Neos Kosmos with a laugh. Not many people can say they’ve had Greek songstress Glykeria sing them a personal happy birthday. Booked for the night after her Australian tour, the singer wowed guests and took a lot of the spotlight, something the humble Mr Andrianakos was quite happy to oblige with. The ‘Wogboy’ himself, Nick Gianopoulos, also entertained the crowd, while the towering birthday cake with a large 70 reminded people what the party was all about. “For a 70-year-old father, it was too much, but I felt like I was 20-years-old again,” he says. Mr Andrianakos made his millions from a humble start. His drive could be tracked to his village in Tripoli. With quite successful siblings, one a doctor and the other in finance, Mr Andrianakos always felt like he should accomplish something more with his life despite his lack of schooling. Returning to his village after the war and finding it mostly empty, he packed his bags and moved to the ‘lucky country’ to chase the dream. Like many migrants in the ’50s and ’60s, he took his first steps with General Motors. Unbeknownst to him, he turned up to the car manufacturer in a suit, not expecting the hard labour job many Greeks were getting. “It wasn’t like I expected, it was a hard job,” he says. He had three jobs in quick succession, one at Holden, then one as a crane driver and the other in a shoe factory in Melbourne, but none quite fit the bill for Mr Andrianakos. He actually packed his bags after a couple of years in Australia and returned to Greece, this time in tow with a wife and four kids. He eventually returned in the late ’70s and that’s where he started building his legacy. “What I learnt, if you don’t like the job, drop it and run away,” he says on his previous job prospects in Melbourne. “You find something you like.” He gained his first petrol station, one he still owns today in the migrant Mecca of Sydney Road, Coburg. He built his empire one petrol station after another, and now has more than 47 under his belt through Milemaker Petroleum, a Caltex supplier. His sons Theo and Paul now head the company alongside their dad, and are expanding his legacy and the company even more. Seven new petrol stations are set to open soon. For all his success, Mr Andrianakos finds more solace in giving. He is known for his philanthropic nature in the Greek community and has taken it upon himself to make sure good charities and organisations don’t fall under economic stress. He recently gave $300,000 to Alphington Grammar for a multi-purpose hall and donated $50,000 to the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria’s Cultural Centre project. “You have to treat your neighbour as you’d like to be treated,” he says. “There is no harm in giving a dollar to charities that uphold our Greek values, like community education and religion. “We can’t lose them.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img