Fani Nitsou was born in 1945 in a village near Florina, Greece where her parents Vasso and George Nitsou had also grown up and married. Fani's parents suffered greatly during the civil war in Greece (1946-1949). George was trapped in one of the partisan armies for three years, but the family finally reunited as refugees in Albania. They were transported separately to Poland with thousands of other Greek refugees where they would remain until 1959. George sustained injuries during the civil war, and died of typhus in 1951, Fani's mother, Vasso, never really recovered from her grief. Fani, her mother and brother remained in Poland until they returned to their village in Greece in 1959. Life was difficult and finally Fani received an opportunity to migrate to Australia to live with distant cousins in Noble Park.
She arrived in Melbourne aboard the RHMS Patris in March 1964, aged 18. During the voyage she met fellow Greek migrant Iraklis Mangos. Fani found the first three years of her new life in Melbourne difficult, she worked in a tool factory which she didn't enjoy and had little English. Fani recalls the highlight of these early years was Sundays when she and her cousin Agapi attend the Fitzroy Dance.
In 1967 Fani's mother and brother arrived in Melbourne and at this time she met Iraklis, whom she had first met during the ship voyage to Australia. He had changed his name to Eric, and she had changed her name to Faye. They fell in love and in 1968 they married at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Richmond. His parents came out for the wedding. The couple had three children and Eric's parents came out for good in 1970. Fani and Iraklis visited Greece in 1977 and have never regretted their move to Australia.