Selling an American Dream: Australia’s Greek Café

2016 – MAJOR BOOK LAUNCH – CANBERRA

Greek Cafés & Milk Bars of Australia

By Effy Alexakis and Leonard Janiszewski

Capture

Canberra Dining Rooms and Oyster Saloon. Queanbeyan NSW 1914. Photo courtesty N. George, from the ‘In Their Own Image: Greek-Australias’ National Project Archives, Macquarie University

 CANBERRA HELLENIC CLUB

Monday 16th May, 7.30pm


On Monday 16th May at 7.30pm, the Hellenic Club at Woden, ACT, will host the official Canberra launch of Greek Cafés and Milk Bars of Australia by documentary photographer Effy Alexakis and historian Leonard Janiszewski.

The launch will be accompanied by a lecture on the research for the book and an insight into the history of Australia’s Greek cafes and milk bars (some of Canberra’s Greek-run food-catering enterprises will feature). The authors will be available for book signings at the conclusion of the event.

This long-awaited and beautifully designed book presents Australia’s Greek cafés and milk bars as a global phenomenon in the modern era. Food-catering enterprises run by Greek migrant/settlers successfully married Hellenic and cross-cultural influences with local needs. Greek-run cafés and milk bars populated Australian country towns and cities, merging local fare with new American food-catering ideas.

Prior to the explosion of American fast-food franchises, Greek cafés contributed to a major change in Australian eating habits. While a traditional mixed grill remained a favourite, Greek cafés were known for their introduction of American sodas, ice-cream sundaes, milkshakes, hamburgers, milk chocolate and hard sugar candies, into communities right across Australia.

Alexakis’ stunning photographs capture the decor of the cafés, their customers and the owners who worked hard to make their businesses successful. In harmony with Janiszewski’s text and oral history interviews, the era of Australia’s Greek cafés and milk bars is vividly brought to life.

Research undertaken throughout Australia and internationally highlights these catering enterprises as vehicles introducing significant elements of American culture to Australia – not only affecting public eating habits, commercial food-catering ideas and technology, but also cinema, music and architecture. Throughout most of the twentieth century, Australia’s Greek cafés and milk bars were powerhouses generating unprecedented social and cultural change.

This definitive national publication brings together over 30 years of research culled from travels within four continents, selected from over 1,800 interviews and innumerable contemporary and historical photographs. Hundreds of Australia’s Greek cafés and milk bars are referenced within the book’s 256 pages.

Those wishing to attend the launch in The Hellenic Club’s Apollo Room are asked to contact Lisa Andonaros, Events Manager, to book their seats:  (02) 6162 6624; lisa@hellenicclub.com.au 

Those unable to attend but who wish to acquire a copy of the book, orders can be made on the following website: www.cafesandmilkbars.com.au

 Event Address  :    HELLENIC CLUB  :    Matilda Street WODEN ACT 2606

hellenic
MEDIA RELEASE – CANBERRA BOOK LAUNCH

Greek_Cafe_Book CoverGreek_cafe_book_back_cover.jpg================================

Archive

 

2016 Launch:  

Greek Cafés & Milk Bars of Australia

Finally, after 30 years of research – having completed travels over 4 continents to uncover the origins of Australia’s Greek cafes, undertaken over 1,800 interviews, copied thousands of historical photos and taken even more contemporary ones – Effy Alexakis’ and Leonard Janiszewski’s long-awaited book, GREEK CAFES & MILK BARS OF AUSTRALIA (Halstead Press 2016), will be officially launched in Sydney at NSW PARLIAMENT HOUSE @ 6.30pm on TUESDAY 15 MARCH. 

 
The book’s launch is part of THE GREEK FESTIVAL OF SYDNEY
 
Actor,  director, and media personality, LEX MARINOS (one of the original Greek cafes kids of the 1950s) will be officially launching the publication.
 
**As the first public lecture is already a sell-out, the authors are giving a second public lecture, “A HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA’S GREEK CAFES & MILK BARS”, at the famous PARAGON CAFE, KATOOMBA, @ 2.00pm on SUNDAY 29 May. The cost is $12.00 and includes afternoon tea.
Here are three key URL and email addresses:
The book launch – those wishing to attend can RSVP via the site
The lecture at the Paragon Cafe – those wishing to attend can RSVP via email Effy Alexakis at photowrite08@gmail.com
The book itself (further information and how to purchase if they cannot make either event)

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Archive

Join Leonard for a public lecture next Tuesday (23 July)

Shakin’ the World Over: The Greek Australian Milk Bar

 Leonard will be giving a talk at the Sydney Mechanic’s School of Arts on Tuesday 23 July 2013 @ 12.30-1.30pm.

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Selling an American Dream: Australia’s Greek Café

Curated by Effy Alexakis and Leonard Janiszewski

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20 March to 1 May 2013

Macquarie University Art Gallery
Building E11A, North Ryde NSW 2109
[Click here to access a Campus Map]
t: +61 (0)2 9850 7437
www.artgallery.mq.edu.au
Mon to Fri 10am–5pm
Open on select Saturdays

Greek-run cafés populated Australian country towns and cities, merging local fare with new American food-catering ideas.

Prior to the explosion of American fast-food franchises, Greek cafés contributed to a major change in Australian eating habits. While a traditional mixed grill remained a favourite, Greek cafés were known for their introduction of sundaes, milk shakes, hamburgers and ‘American style’ milk chocolates and candies into communities right across Australia.

Alexakis’ stunning photographs capture the decor of the cafés, their customers and the owners who worked hard to make their businesses successful.  Janiszewski’s research undertaken throughout Australia and internationally highlights these cafés as a ‘Trojan Horse’ for the Americanisation of Australian popular culture – not only affecting eating habits but also cinema, music and architecture – throughout most of the twentieth century.

Since initially opening at the National Museum of Australia in 2008, this touring exhibition has continued to attract both critical and popular acclaim

Effy Alexakis
Peter (Beneto) & Jack (Ioannis) Veneris, Blue Bird Café
Lockhart, NSW, 2002
In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians National Project Archives

Effy Alexakis
Astoria Café
Hunter Street, Newcastle, NSW, late 1940s
Courtesy N. Raftos
In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians National Project Archives

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SHAKIN’ THE WORLD OVER:

THE AUSTRALIAN MILK BAR

 

PUBLIC LECTURE
15 May 2012 

According to Macquarie University researchers Effy Alexakis and Leonard Janiszewski, milkshakes were originally a health food – ingredients included fruit, cream, butter, eggs, chocolate, honey, caramel, malt, yeast, and rum. No ice cream or artificial flavours. Milkshakes were popularised through milk bars, and contrary to popular belief, milk bars were not an American invention. They were initially created in Sydney in 1932 by a Greek known as Mick Adams. His idea for the milk bar developed through influences from both Greece and the United States. During the first week of opening, Adams’ milk bar (the Black & White) attracted over 27,000 customers – traffic had to be halted in a then non-pedestrian Martin Place. Adams’ refreshment revolution quickly became an Australian and international food-catering icon.

Janiszewski, who will be presenting the lecture, will explain how. Numerous rare photographs will be interwoven throughout the presentation.

The public lecture has been organised the University of the 3rd Age (U3A) and is part of the 2012 Australian History Series.

 

When: Tuesday 15 May 2012

Open: 10:00am

Close: 12:00noon

Where: Hornsby Central Library

Address: 28-44 George St (Entrance in Hunter Lane) Hornsby NSW 2077

Phone: (02) 9847 6813

Cost: Free

Website: http://www.austhistmuseum.mq.edu.au/greek/

Emails: effy.alexakis@mq.edu.au
leonard.janiszewski@mq.edu.au

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Did you know that the first Greek woman to arrive in Sydney stepped ashore at Sydney Cove in 1835?

Her name was Aikaterini Georgia Plessos, though in Sydney she was better known as Mrs Katherine Crummer. Her descendants still live in Sydney and Canberra.

Aikaterini is featured in a unique exhibition that opens at the Macquarie University Art Gallery on 1 August as part of the University’s Diversity Week. Titled, In Her Own Image: Greek-Australian Women, the display of historical and contemporary black and white photographs was curated by photographer Effy Alexakis and historian Leonard Janiszewski. The portraits and interviews of well-known contemporary Greek-Australian women are interleafed between those of early arrivals who followed Aikaterini’s arrival. Comedian Mary Coustas, actor Zoe Carides, and film-maker Ana Kokkinos are amongst the famous faces featured in the show. The exhibition closes on 12 August.

Katherine Crummer
Katherine Crummer

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Exhibition Dates:
1 August – 12 August 2011 Mon – Fri, 10am – 15pm; Sat 6 Aug, 11am – 4pm

 Official Opening:
Wednesday 3 August at 4 – 6pm. A public floor talk by Effy Alexakis and Leonard Janiszewski on the exhibition will take place to officially open the exhibition.
Refreshments will be provided. RSVP: 2 9850 7437

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IN HER OWN IMAGE: GREEK-AUSTRALIAN WOMEN
A historical and contemporary insight

Curators: Effy Alexakis and Leonard Janiszewski

Macquarie University Art Gallery is proud to present
In Her Own Image: Greek-Australian Women
curated by Effy Alexakis and Leonard Janiszewski
as part of the University’s Diversity Week celebrations.

This photographic exhibition highlights the images and statements of past and present, both known and not so well known, Greek-Australian women – their successes, their failures, their hopes and their dreams. Their personal experiences reveal an Australia of challenges, a Greece of memory, and a faith in the unfolding of a potentially unlimited future.

Some of their stories will surprise, all of them will not disappoint. From the personal insights of actors Mary Coustas and Zoe Carides and film-maker Ana Kokkinos, to the yet to be fully recognised triumphs of Stavroula Likiard, an Australian national springboard diving champion of the 1930s, and Mary Dakas, Australia’s only Greek female pearl lugger operator, the poignancy of their struggles, losses and successes exposes the powerful human desire which we all cradle, but at times fail to fully seize the potential of – the desire ‘for a better life’.

The stories of Greek-Australian women have often been neglected in the grand social narratives of Australia’s historical and contemporary development, yet their experiences offer significant and often diverse insights into major elements of this nation’s collective attitude towards women over almost the last two hundred years – particularly given that their marginalisation in regard to gender has generally been further firmly compounded by their ethnic origin.

Exhibition Structure:
The exhibition contains 50 images: this includes both principal framed and mounted photographs and supplementary images. Each has an associated caption outlining the details of the photo’s subject, extracted primarily from oral history interviews conducted by historian Leonard Janiszewski. Most of the principal images are contemporary portraits taken by documentary photographer Effy Alexakis. Contemporary photographs and oral history interviews were undertaken between 1985 and 2004. Supplementary images are primarily historical and range in date principally from the late nineteenth century to the 1960s. A multimedia component has also been developed for the show.

Geographically, all Australian states are represented as are select areas in Greece (a number of Greek-Australian communities exist in Greece). A diversity of occupations and age groups are presented.

Exhibition Venue
Macquarie University Art Gallery, Building E11A, North Ryde, NSW. Tel: 02 9850 7437 Both road and rail transport to the University campus is available. The University Gallery is a short walk from Macquarie University Rail Station. A campus map is available at http://www.ofm.mq.edu.au/PDF/map_colour.pdf

About the Curators
Documentary photographer Effy Alexakis and historian Leonard Janiszewski, have been researching the Greek-Australian historical and contemporary presence in both Australia and Greece since 1982. Their project and archives, In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians, encompasses visual, oral and literary material and is based at Macquarie University, Sydney, in association with the Department of Modern History and the Australian History Museum. Their archives is one of the most significant collections in the country on Greek-Australians. Various national and international touring exhibitions, books, articles and a film documentary have been produced. Of their exhibitions, the most pronounced has been ‘In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians’, which was created in partnership with the State Library of NSW and toured throughout Australia as well as Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece; in Athens it was part of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Cultural Festival, ‘Reaching the World’ and in Thessaloniki it was invited as the Australian component of the City’s ‘Cultural Capital of Europe 1997’ program.

Alexakis’ photographs are held in both public and private collections in Australia – most significantly in the Australian National Gallery, Canberra, and the NSW State Library, Sydney. She currently holds the position of Honorary Associate at Macquarie University and operates a photographic business, Photowrite. In 2001 Janiszewski was awarded the New South Wales History Fellowship to research a history of the ‘Greek cafe’ in New South Wales – a major exhibition on the Greek café is currently touring the country. He is a Research Fellow with the Department of Modern History, Macquarie University and a curator at the institution’s Art Gallery.

Further Details
The curators are available for interview
Tel: +61 (0)2 9850 6886; Mob: 04488 76626; 04111 93625.
Email: Effy.Alexakis@mq.edu.auLeonardJaniszewski@mq.edu.au
Web-site: http://www.austhistmuseum.mq.edu.au/greek/

Image Details:
Katherine Crummer (nee Aikaterini Georgia Plessos)
This photo, probably taken in Sydney, late nineteenth century
Katherine is the earliest known Greek woman to settle permanently in Australia
and the first ‘free’ Greek settler.
Photo courtesy R. and P. Crummer, from the ‘In Their Own Image: Greek-
Australians’ National Project Archives
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One Response to Selling an American Dream: Australia’s Greek Café

  1. Is this exhibition coming to Melbourne at any soon? If so I would love to see it and relive my own memories of living the “cafe life” in the Central Goldfields in the 50’s,60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

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