submitted by The Daily Examiner, Grafton on 29.05.2006
South of the River: The stylish Marble Bar Cafe was just one of seven Greek Cafes in Grafton and one which enjoyed longevity.
The Daily Examiner, Grafton. August 30, 2003, page 8.
by Juris Graney
The history of Greek cafes in the Clarence Valley is being documented by two historians as part of a project called ‘In Their Own Image: Greek Australians’.
The national project, which began in 1982, is being headed by Macquarie University lecturer Leonard Janiszewski and photographer Effy Alexakis. The names read like a who’s who of the Clarence Valley. People like Lambrinos Notaras and sons Ioannis, Antonios and Theodore Lambros Notaras, who owned the Marble Bar Cafe in 1937, John Moulos, of the Hygiene Cafe, also in 1937, Peter Bernard (formerly Venardos), of the Popular Cafe, and Louis Hatgis, of the Waratah Cafe in 1949.
Mr Janiszewski’s passionate look at the the Greek influence on Austrahan society is one that will keep on growing, according to the historian, “We could probably go into two books but you have to know when to stop," Mr Janiszewski said.
“The history of Austrahan culture has always been looked at from an orthodox historical perspective but we are a hybrid culture.
“We are affected by different cultures and that experience makes us the place that Australia is. “The Greek people and
their influence on Australia are not marginal, they are influential and what we are doing (the book) would have been laughed at 20 years ago.
Mr Janiszewski said he did not focus on Greek cafes simply because they were considered marginal or just because they were Greek. “The Greek Cafe helped Australia develop to where it is now,” he said.
“The Americanisation of Australia happened because the Greek cafes introduced things like the jukebox, Coca Cola and ice-cream. “The people who operated the cafes and the people who frequented the cafes are integral to Australian culture.”
For two decades, Mr Janiszewski has worked with photographer Effy Alexakis, who had been challenging the visual stereotypes of Greeks in Australia.
submitted by Hugh Gilchrist on 29.05.2006
The first Notaras to reach Sydney was Lambrinos, who landed with some 40 other Kythirans in 1902, having left his wife with six young children at Frylingianika to work the family farm. For seven years he worked for an Austrian restaurant-keeper in George Street near Circular Quay, cleaning fish at the markets and sending money to his family. In 1905 he brought out his eldest son, Ioannis, and in 1908 his second son, Antonios. In Kythira a repatriate had told Antonios that in Australia the children rode horses to school, but at Fort Street School, which Antonios attended for a year, he saw not a single horse. There, having no English, he learned little and endured cultural prejudice, including the taunt of “Dago”. His father, who had almost no English and could not read or write, could give him little help.
In 1909 Lambrinos Notaras decided that only by acquiring his own shop and employing his sons in it could he support his family. He found an old fruit shop in Grafton, and with his sons’ help turned it into a thriving business, the Marble Bar Cafe.
Illiteracy and poor English handicapped him, but each morning, still learning the language, Antonios would translate newspaper items for him with the aid of a dictionary. Two years later he opened another cafe in Grafton and put 16-year-old Antonios in charge of it. They prospered and in 1913 Lambrinos, after a 13-year absence, returned to his wife and other children in Frylingianika, leaving John, now 22, and Antonios, now 20, to manage the shops. The outbreak of war in 1914 prevented his return to Australia but the two young men battled on, and later, joined by their brother Theodore, they became major property owners in Grafton.
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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