In Australia many still remember, in each suburb and every country town, was the Greek café or milk bar – open all hours, seven days a week.
(min cost $8)
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Presented by social historian Leonard Janiszewski and documentary photographer Effy Alexakis, “Greek Cafés & Milk Bars of Australia: a public lecture” will be held in Cowra on Friday, March 17.
This lecture chronicles how these family-based food-catering enterprises set the agenda and broadly affected and influenced Australian popular culture.
Greek cafés and milk bars in Australia were a ‘Trojan Horse’ for the Americanisation of the eating, social and cultural habits of Australians from the very start of the twentieth century.
They introduced American commercial food-catering ideas, technology and products and influenced the development of cinema, popular music and even architecture along American lines.
The Greek café and milk bar ‘transformed’ Australian popular culture.
What the presentation clearly demonstrates, is not only the transformative nature of Greek migration and settlement upon our nation, but that – to a significant extent – through the Greek diaspora, Australia’s popular cultural allegiances were being drawn to the United States rather than Britain.
Australia had become part of the diaspora’s global circulation of ideas and experiences.
The lecture not only investigates in detail the overall development of Greek cafés and milk bars across Australia (including Orange, Cowra and the surrounding region), but also the personal stories of those involved – proprietors, waiting staff and customers – and in particular women.
There will be a focus on Cowra’s rich history of cafes, including:
1910’s – Harry Aroney had a café (oyster saloon) in Kendall Street as did George and Jack Panaretto. Around this time Athanasios Argyros Aronis was also operating an oyster saloon/café.
Mid-1930’s – Garden of Roses Café was being operated by Spyro Dimitrious Chatziphotiou (Hatzifotiou) from the island of Tenedos (now called Bozcaada in Turkey) in the Aegean Sea. He was trading as Gleeson and Co.
1940’s – Golden Key Café was being run by Jack and George Chrissy (Creecy). The Golden Key is considered to have commenced operating in the early 1900s (as an oyster saloon, possibly one of those which had been operated by Aroney, the Panaretto’s or Aronis).
1949 – Golden Gate Café opened by Kosta Parris. It had previously been know as the Chelsea Café and the Oceanic Café.
1970 – Parris’s Milk Bar is opened by Kosta Parris.
The lecture will be run on Friday, March 17 from 2pm till 3.30pm at Cowra Library. For bookings, call 6340 2180.
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