ABC RN The Drawing Room: How Greeks Americanised Australia


How Greeks Americanised Australia‘, The Drawing Room, 22 March 2016

A tribute (audio, no transcript) to Paragon Cafes throughout the wide brown land. Effy Alexakis and Leonard Janiszewski talk to Patricia Karvelas about their extensive work on Greek milkbars and cafes. Their book is Greek Cafes and Milkbars of Australia, also mentioned by Ian Warden in Fairfax, by Janiszewski talking again on the ABC, and in a piece in Neos Kosmos about the launch at, of course, the Paragon Cafe in Katoomba. (Neos Kosmos earlier.) This take emphasises a derivative aspect of Australian culture but shows how it was filtered through Greek immigrants.

But there is an alternative view, which argues that milk bars are a local Australian innovation. (Must have been an exciting time to be an Australian when the first Blue Heaven milkshake was shaken.) For more, see, ‘Milkbar moderne‘, a book chapter by Nanette Carter, and Michael Bogle’s Sydney’s Milk Bar Modernism. There is also a recipe book from Jane Lawson, Milkbar Memories, ‘revisiting retro foods from the 1970s associated with treats bought from the milkbar, the bakery, the fish and chip shop, the lolly shop and the corner store’.

Breaking news: this from the West Australian for 1903, referring to ‘milk-shakes’

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