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Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 09.06.2004

Busy Bee Cafe, Gunnedah, NSW Australia: Crockery and Menu

Many local residents would remember the emblazoned crockery tea and coffee pots unique to each Greek cafe in Gunnedah.

This setting from the Busy Bee, complete with a 1938 menu is on display at Gunnedah Water Tower Museum. Note the old metal milkshake container and the ornate glass used for serving Peter's famous orange freeze.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 25.10.2004

A young Peter Venardos, who took over the Acropolis Cafe in partnership with Theo Souris in 1945.

A young Peter Venardos, who took over the Acropolis Cafe, Gunnedah, NSW, Australia, in partnership with Theo Souris in 1945.

For a more detailed history of Peter's buisness life see the article in this section entitled "Gunnedah, Emmanuel Kepreotes, Peter Venardos & Theo Souris - Acropolis Cafe, White Rose Cafe, and Thriftway".

For a 2004 photograph of the same man, see my entry under Photography Diaspora, subsection - Vintage Portraits/People.

As with many other photographs of Kytherians and Greeks in Gunnedah, the original photograph is held in repository at the:

Water Tower Museum,
Anzac Park
Gunnedah

PO Box 244
Gunnedah
NSW 2380

02 67402230
02 6742 1184
02 6742 3764
02 6742 1519

The Historical Societies of local town's, particularly well organised ones, like this one at Gunnedah, often hold very valuable Kytherian and Greek-Australian, source material.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 25.10.2004

Theo Souris, partner with Peter Venardos in the Acropolis Cafe, Gunnedah, NSW

THEO Souris took over the Acropolis Cafe, Gunnedah, NSW, with Peter Venardos in 1945. He was parted from his wife and family for 10 years due to the war and served his adopted country in the 113th Heavy aircraft Unit from 1942 until the end of the war.

Theo {o' Layos} - is father of NSW National Party politician George Souris. {See entry for George under People, subsection, High Achievers.

From,

Namoi Valley Independent.
Gunnedah Publishing Company Pty Ltd
287 Connadilly St.,
Gunnedah. 2380.
NSW. Australia.

02 6742 0455

gunpub@gunnedahpublishing.com.au

As with many other photographs of Kytherians and Greeks in Gunnedah, the original photograph is held in repository at the:

Water Tower Museum,
Anzac Park
Gunnedah

PO Box 244
Gunnedah
NSW 2380

02 67402230
02 6742 1184
02 6742 3764
02 6742 1519

A large photograph of Theo Souris, and his wife, taken in later life, hangs permanently on the wall at Water Tower Museum.

The Historical Societies of local town's, particularly well organised ones, like this one at Gunnedah, often hold very valuable Kytherian and Greek-Australian, source material.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 25.10.2004

Emanuel Kepreotes, Gunnedah as a young man

Emanuel Kepreotes bought the Acropolis Cafe, Gunnedah, from the Melitas Brothers in partnership with Peter Veneris in 1923.

Emanuel died on 24/1/1973, aged 73, and is buried in the (Old) Cemetery, Hunter Street, Gunnedah, plot, MC15.

[Note the "zorni and rundes" (belt and braces) and the "high-riding pants" - a style much favoured by pre-1980's Kytherians, including - [much to my embarrassment when I was growing up - my father - Con George Poulos, Gilgandra, NSW.]

From,

Namoi Valley Independent.
Gunnedah Publishing Company Pty Ltd
287 Connadilly St.,
Gunnedah. 2380.
NSW. Australia.

02 6742 0455

gunpub@gunnedahpublishing.com.au

As with many other photographs of Kytherians and Greeks in Gunnedah, the original photograph is held in repository at the:

Water Tower Museum,
Anzac Park
Gunnedah

PO Box 244
Gunnedah
NSW 2380

02 67402230
02 6742 1184
02 6742 3764
02 6742 1519

The Historical Societies of local town's, particularly well organised ones, like this one at Gunnedah, often hold very valuable Kytherian and Greek-Australian, source material.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 15.11.2012

Kepreotes Carpark - Gunnedah, NSW

All the major carparks in Gunnedah, NSW, are named after Kytherians, as a mark of respect for the impact they had on the growth and development of the town.

This sign heralds the Kepreotes Carpark, and both their' - and "Gunnedah's" Greek heritage.

The Kepreotes Car Park is located in Little Bloomfield Street.

For more a more extensive history of the impact of the Kepreotes family on Gunnedah, use the internal search engine of the site to search under Kepreotes, or Gunnedah.

The history of Kytherians in Gunnedah has been well canvassed at kythera-family.net. Search under Gunnedah.

History of the Kytherian presence in Gunnedah, including a photograph of Jim Kepreotes and family

A photograph of Emmannuel Kepreotes in his prime

The gravesite of Emmannuel Kepreotes

From,

Namoi Valley Independent.
Gunnedah Publishing Company Pty Ltd
287 Connadilly St.,
Gunnedah. 2380.
NSW. Australia.

02 6742 0455

gunpub@gunnedahpublishing.com.au

There are a number of photo's of the Gunnedah Carpark signs on kythera-family.net. Other Car Park signs are located at:

Souris Carpark

Melitas Car Park

Comino Car Park

Zantiotis Carpark

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 15.11.2012

Gunnedah - Kytherian Carpark Land

All the major carparks in Gunnedah, NSW, are named after Kytherians, as a mark of respect for the impact they had on the growth and development of the town.

This sign heralds the Comino Carpark, and both their' - and "Gunnedah's" Greek heritage.

The Comino Car Park is located in Little Conadilly Street.

From,

Namoi Valley Independent.
Gunnedah Publishing Company Pty Ltd
287 Connadilly St.,
Gunnedah. 2380.
NSW. Australia.

02 6742 0455

gunpub@gunnedahpublishing.com.au

There are a number of photo's of the Gunnedah Carpark signs on kythera-family.net. Other Car Park signs are located at:

Souris Carpark

Melitas Car Park

Kepreotes Car Park

Zantiotis Carpark

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 08.06.2004

Peter ZANTIOTIS, left, with his father Lambros on the extreme right & visiting relatives.

PETER Zantiotis, left, with his father Lambros on the extreme right. The other two in the photograph are believed to be visiting relatives. The photograph was taken sometime in the 1940s when the Busy Bee Cafe, Gunnedah, NSW, also sold small grocery items and fruit.

Although the counter on the left has gone, the interior of the Busy Bee remains relatively unchanged, with the addition of modern fridges the only sacrifice to modern times. [2004]

From,

Namoi Valley Independent.
Gunnedah Publishing Company Pty Ltd
287 Connadilly St.,
Gunnedah. 2380.
NSW. Australia.

02 6742 0455

gunpub@gunnedahpublishing.com.au

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 23.01.2009

Gunnedah, Emanuel Kepreotes, Peter Venardos & Theo Souris - Acropolis Cafe, White Rose Cafe, and Thriftway

THEO Kepreotes with his wife Anna, and daughter Maria Notaras. Maria is married to John Notaras, Engineer and developer, whose family, also Kytherian, originally hails from Rockhampton in Queensland.


GREEK National Day was last week celebrated in both Greece and Australia and by Greek communities globally. Greek National Day commemorates the formal proclamation of the Greek War of Independence against Turkish rule on March 25, 1821.

Following the story of the Busy Bee Cafe in the Namoi Valley Independent recently, former Gunnedah resident and Greek immigrant, Theo Kepreotes, wrote his
memories down. Theo Kepreotes now lives in Maroubra.

GUNNEDAH is a progressive town with a proud Greek heritage, which is slowly being lost as younger generations become more Australianised and move away from the district.

Many local residents have fond memories of growing up in Gunnedah where the Greek cafes were part of the social scene and a meeting place for out-of-towners.

Theo Kepreotes was just 10 years old when he came to Australia in 1937 but Australia was not ready for migrants, he says, and he did not go to school.

Most of Gunnedah's Greek immigrants came form the Greek island of Kythera and when Theo left town to start his own business in 1949, there were 90 Kytherians living and working in Gunnedah.
"The White Rose and the Busy Bee Cafes were being operated by the Zantiotis family and the Monterey was operated by Nick Souris and Theo Zaharias," said Theo.
Theo recalled that the first two Greeks to come to Gunnedah were by the name of Comino and Panareto, who operated a cafe, known as Cominos, near the Acropolis Cafe site.
"They came in the early 1900s but I don't know what year," he said.

"The three Mellita Brothers arrived in Gunnedah around 1910 and in 1913 built three shops at 162, 164 and 168 Conadilly Street. They were double-storeyed with residences above each shop."

Theo says the shop at 168 Conadilly Street became the Acropolis Cafe which seated 140 people with a staircase to the upstairs section which could seat as many as 230.
"It was used for wedding receptions, birthday parties and other celebrations," Theo recalled.

"In 1923, my uncle Emanuel Kepreotes and his business partner, Peter Veneris, bought the Acropolis from the Mellita Brothers and I believe it was in the late 1920s when they bought the whole building. They ran the business until 1945."

Theo remembers names like Kennedy, Orlands, Gardner, Worboys, Rogers and Cavanagh as familiar families who utilised the Acropolis Cafe.
"These farmers used to come to Gunnedah from Kelvin, Wean, Emerald Hill, Curlewis and Mullaley in sulkies - not like today when everyone has a car and it takes no time to come to town," he said.

According to Theo, the Greeks would work 18 hours a day, seven days a week, supplying fruit, groceries and smallgoods and they would also cash cheques for farmers out of banking hours.
"In my uncle's cafe we used to turn over 1000 pounds a week," said Theo.
"We sold rump steak, two eggs and chips, with mashed pumpkin or salad for sixpence and milkshakes for two pennies."

For the first two years, Theo was only allowed to pick up empty plates from the tables and wash glasses.
"After that I was allowed to wait on tables and I remember being very excited when two families gave me a tip of two pennies because I was so young," Theo recalled.
"My uncle, who was single, brought me up to be straight, with no gambling or drinking. My word had to be my bond and I had to respect my elders."

Emanuel Kepreotes had a big shed in the yard behind the Acropolis where he kept fodder to sell to farmers and it was here that many of the local footballers would work out with improvised punching bags.
"My uncle and his partner sold the business in 1945 to Peter Venardos and his brother-in-law, Theo Souris, who is the father of George Souris, the Member for Upper Hunter," said Theo.

Theo Souris came to Australia in 1937 leaving his wife, Kanela, and two children in Greece. Just when he was preparing to make arrangements for them to join him in Australia, the war intervened and Greece was over-run.

Theo enlisted in the 113th Heavy Aircraft Mobile Workshop Unit in 1942 and served until the end of the war.
The long-awaited re-union with his wife and family finally took place in 1947 after he and his brother Con had joined Peter Venardos in the Acropolis Cafe.
Peter Venardos and Theo Souris worked the Acropolis in partnership until 1957 when Peter Vernardos converted the White Rose Cafe he had acquired from the Zantos Brothers in 1954, to Gunnedah's first supermarket - Thriftway.

Theo Souris was joined in 1954 by his elder son Peter, better known as Charlie.
Charlie says he was also put to work washing up during his early days at the Acropolis and over the years many fellow countrymen and other immigrants were given a start at the Acropolis while they learned to speak English.

Charlie remembers living in a flat upstairs in the GSBC building when he first came to Gunnedah and then later in a house opposite the tennis courts before his parents bought the old ambulance station house behind the former doctors' surgery in Marquis street.

According to Theo Kepreotes, his uncle had three other brothers in Australia, including Theo's father, Jim, who bought a farm with one of the brothers across the river, just before Gunnible.
The property had been operated by RJ Aitken. It was worked by 40 Chinese immigrants and was considered the largest tobacco-growing plantation in Australia.
Jim Kepreotes purchased the property in 1933 and worked it until 1966 when it was sold to the late Jim Studdy.
Like his brother Emmanuel and his fellow countrymen, Jim Kepreotes was passionate in his love for Gunnedah and its people.

"My uncle and his partner split their investments in 1963 and Veneris took the building with the Acropolis Cafe," said Theo.
Emmanuel Kepreotes died in 1973 and his brother Jim died in 1991.
Theo Kepreotes inherited the remaining buildings and although he left Gunnedah in 1949 to start his own business, he still retains a great love of the town.
The Acropolis, meanwhile, continued to flourish, with Theo Souris gaining a reputation as a kind and gentle man who was also very involved in the community.
Theo Souris was a member of the Rotary Club of Gunnedah and a keen supporter of local sporting activities, including soccer where he and Peter Vernardos put the Acropolis Cup into play many years ago.
He died suddenly in 1980 at the age of 64 and Charlie Souris ran the Acropolis Cafe until December 1992 when it was taken over by the Chip Inn's Nick Aliferis.
The Acropolis Cafe closed its doors forever in the mid-1990s ending a proud chapter in Gunnedah's Greek heritage.

From the

Namoi Valley Independent, [Gunnedah , NSW]
Tuesday, March 30, 2004, pages 11 & 12.

Produced by permission of the author Ms. Marie Hobson, and the editor Ron (Rocky) McLean. I thank them both deeply.
[G.C.P].

Namoi Valley Independent.
Gunnedah Publishing Company Pty Ltd
287 Connadilly St.,
Gunnedah. 2380.
NSW. Australia.

02 6742 0455

gunpub@gunnedahpublishing.com.au


MARIE HOBSON'S MOTIVATION TO WRITE NUMEROUS ARTICLES ON GUNNEDAH'S KYTHERIAN-GREEKS:

I have always found the Greeks fascinating. I grew up In Gunnedah where
we had constant contact with Greek cafe owners at the Busy Bee, Acropolis,
Monterey, Tourist and White Rose Cafes and the Chip Inn. There was also a little cafe near the Civic Theatre which I believe was run by Greeks. I think it was called the Oasis but that is a story I will be following up later.

I have always loved the beautiful, friendly nature of the Greeks.

As teenagers we were allowed to call them by their first name, and they were
always happy to see you. My parents were wonderful Christians and we followed their example in treating everyone the same, so there was never a thought of discrimination. I know many families suffered from it when they came to Australia.

I have always loved Greek history and mythology and the country holds an
irrestible lure for me. I hope to visit it in the next few years.

You are doing a great job with the website.

Marie Hobson. (16/06/2004.)


As with many other photographs of Kytherians and Greeks in Gunnedah, the original photograph is held in repository at the:

Water Tower Museum,
Anzac Park
Gunnedah

PO Box 244
Gunnedah
NSW 2380

02 67402230
02 6742 1184
02 6742 3764
02 6742 1519

The Historical Societies of local town's, particularly well organised ones, like this one at Gunnedah, often hold very valuable Kytherian and Greek-Australian, source material.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 18.10.2007

Loula Zantiotis, Gunnedah, NSW. The Busy Bee Cafe.

LOULA Zantiotis, at age 71, still runs the Busy Bee Cafe, (mid 2004), although on a much smaller scale than its heyday. Life-long customers have become old friends and visitors are made welcome with traditional Greek hospitality.

GUNNEDAH'S Busy Bee Cafe is one of few traditional Greek cafes that remained unchanged in an age when technology galloped away with old memories held dear by a generation of baby boomers.

Since the death of her husband Peter in 1996, 71-one-year-old Loula Zantiotis has continued to run the Busy Bee -
although on a much smaller scale - and she is not sure for how much longer she can keep her beloved cafe open.

[For Loula and Peter's Kytherian background see entries under People, subsection Nicknames. See another article on Loula by the Newcastle Herald in this section.

Loula has a positive and vibrant style which I find particularly endearing.

I thank her for providing me with this and other information, and for permission to re-print, and to photograph extensively.]

"This is the only life I know and it is very hard to let it go," she said.
"This is also my home and I enjoy talking with customers and friends who drop in," said Loula.

Growing up in Gunnedah in the post-war era was a time when the Greek cafe thrived and the taste of thick milkshakes, orange freezes and toasted sandwiches was a way of life.

Although early history is sketchy, it is believed the Busy Bee Cafe was built in 1914 as part of the Doolan buildings, with the tea-rooms accessible via an archway through the shop next door, leading to the Grand Central Hotel.

According to a 1926 newspaper advertisement, early proprietors of the Busy Bee, Jim and Andrew Zantiotis, also known as Zantos, sold "choice confectionery, choicest fruits in season, pastry, small goods, soft drinks and hot pies, with meals at all hours and late suppers."

Lambros Zantiotis bought the Busy Bee in the early 1930s and was joined by his son Peter on March 15, 1936, from the Greek island of Kythera in the Ionian Sea. He had come out to Australia on his own as a 12-year-old, with his mother Anastasia and sisters joining the family after the war.
As Gunnedah emerged from the Great Depression, Lambros Zantiotis hired cafe interior designer, Stephen Varvaressos, to install its glamourous art-deco fittings which remain virtually unchanged.

While other Greek cafes in Gunnedah were modernised and altered to cater for a changing generation, the Busy Bee Cafe stayed the same with Peter Zantiotis resisting the urge to install a deep fryer and stove for takeaways at the front of the shop.

Lambros Zantiotis died suddenly in 1953 on a trip to Port Macquarie - his first holiday for many years.

Devastated by the loss of his father, workmate and friend, Peter Zantiotis returned to Greece for the first time since his arrival in Australia.
Meanwhile, his future bride, Theodora (Loula), had migrated to Australia to join her brother and sister at Katoomba, in November, 1954.

Born in 1932 on the Greek island of Kythera, between Pelponis and Crete, Loula had been staying with a relative in Sydney when she met the young Peter Zantiotis at an Easter dance in Paddington Town Hall.
After a whirlwind romance, the couple married in Sydney in 1955 and Peter Zantiotis brought his young bride to Gunnedah, where life revolved around the Busy Bee and later their three children Anastasia (Tessie), Lambrous James (Jim) and Emmanuel Nicholas (Manny).

Unable to speak English, Loula found life in Australia very different to anything she had experienced in her homeland.
"It wasn't just the language, it was the whole way of life," said Loula.
"We formed friendships with other Greek families and we would get together every Sunday night in one of the cafes."
Although life outside the Busy Bee was virtually non-existent, the Greek families made regular trips to Tamworth to attend the Greek Orthodox Church.

The Busy Bee Cafe, in its heyday, employed six people, including a cook, kitchen hands and waiters and opened seven days a week from 7am to 11.30pm.
With easy access to the Grand Central Hotel, the Busy Bee was a stopping-off place for country people, with Mum and the kids dropping in for a refreshing drink while Dad quenched his thirst with the amber liquid next door.

A 1938 menu boasts a tempting range of hot dishes and grills, with "personal attention given."
Curiously, customers could dine on rump steak eggs and chips for the same cost as scrambled eggs and toast, which attracted a charge of one shilling and nine pence - less than 20 cents in today's money.
When Peter Zantiotis died on March 6, 1996, Loula had to take over the management of the Busy Bee and with the support of family and friends she has continued to provide that same friendly service.

"I made quite a few mistakes but people have always been there to help, including my bank and accountant," she said.
The uniqueness of the Busy Bee Cafe has also attracted interest from Sydney's Power House Museum, which recently captured the cafe's interior on film.

Historian Lenny Janiszewski (see entries, this section or use the search engine under "Janiszewski") has also taken great interest in the Busy Bee Cafe, which will enter the pages of Greek-Australian history when he completes his research on Greek cafes.

Janiszewski was recently awarded a $20,000 NSW History Fellowship to continue his 20-year odyssey to chronicle Greek-Australian history through Greek eyes.
According to the Macquarie University historian, oyster saloons, established at the end of the 19th century, were the foundation on which Greek cafes were built with migrants from the island of Kythera eventually spreading to every corner of the state.

"The investment in cafes was driven, at least in part, because Greeks were not permitted on factory floors in large numbers until after World War 2," he said.
ning to and documenting the stories of Greek-Australians for the past 20 years, including Loula Zantiotis, and the fellowship will allow him to record and explore the personal accounts of scores of cafe proprietors and workers.

Leonard Janiszewski and Effy Alexakis have combined their talents to produce an exhibition at the State Library in Sydney, featuring black and white photographs which depict many facets of Greek Australians under the title In Their Own Image: Greek Australians.
The photographs are collected in a stunning book which has been published to complement the photographic exhibition.

In Their Own Image captures the stories, the successes, the conflicts and the previously unrecognised diversity of Australia's Greek migration and settlement.
>From the arrival in Australia of seven Greek convicts in 1829 to the present day, says Janiszewski, Greek-Australians have played a vital part in the development and unique culture of their adopted country.
Today the Busy Bee Cafe stands as a solid testament to the hard-working Greeks who left their homeland in search of a better life and established tens of hundreds of cafes across Australia.

The flood of fast-food outlets like McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken is threatening the very existence of Greek cafes and with the exodus of young Australian-born Greeks to the coastal fringes, a tradition held dear by many Australians in country towns is being lost.
Loula and Peter Zantiotis worked long and hard in the Busy Bee Cafe to give their children an alternative to cafe life and the young ones have chosen paths far removed from their childhood.

Tessie (Dowes) works in an employment office in Sydney while Manny also lives in Sydney and works as a computer technician.
Jim Zantiotis is a school counsellor in Wagga Wagga and the father of Loula's three grandsons, Zacharay, Alex and Nicholas.

On Australia Day 1997, Loula Zantiotis accepted a citation from Mayor Noel O'Brien, which paid tribute to the hard-working Greek-Australian, Peter Zantiotis, who "contributed greatly to Gunnedah's social and cultural history, as a warm and generous representative of his ancestry and a proud Australian." [See full text in a separate entry, this section.]

From the

Namoi Valley Independent, [Gunnedah , NSW]
Tuesday, January 6th, 2004, pages 4 & 5.

Produced by permission of the author Ms. Marie Hobson, and the editor Ron (Rocky) McLean. I thank them both deeply.
[G.C.P].

Namoi Valley Independent.
Gunnedah Publishing Company Pty Ltd
287 Connadilly St.,
Gunnedah. 2380.
NSW. Australia.

02 6742 0455

Email, Gunnedah Publishing


MARIE HOBSON'S MOTIVATION TO WRITE NUMEROUS ARTICLES ON GUNNEDAH'S KYTHERIAN-GREEKS:

I have always found the Greeks fascinating. I grew up In Gunnedah where we had constant contact with Greek cafe owners at the Busy Bee, Acropolis, Monterey, Tourist and White Rose Cafes and the Chip Inn. There was also a little cafe near the Civic Theatre which I believe was run by Greeks. I think it was called the Oasis but that is a story I will be following up later.

I have always loved the beautiful, friendly nature of the Greeks.

As teenagers we were allowed to call them by their first name, and they were
always happy to see you. My parents were wonderful Christians and we followed their example in treating everyone the same, so there was never a thought of discrimination. I know many families suffered from it when they came to Australia.

I have always loved Greek history and mythology and the country holds an
irrestible lure for me. I hope to visit it in the next few years.

You are doing a great job with the website.

Marie Hobson. (16/06/2004.).

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 06.06.2004

Paragon Cafe Katoomba - Photo gallery of the Simos family - untouched

Paragon Cafe Katoomba - Photo gallery of the Simos family - untouched

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 06.06.2004

Corones Hotel Charleville, refurbished bathrooms (1992) as per original

Corones Hotel Charleville, refurbished bathrooms (1992) as per original

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 06.06.2004

Paragon Cafe Katoomba 1930's Cash Register in situ

Paragon Cafe Katoomba 1930's Cash Register in situ

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 06.06.2004

Paragon Cafe, Katoomba, Front Window with Cafe artefacts, 2004

Paragon Cafe, Katoomba, 2004

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 06.06.2004

Paragon Cafe Katoomba - 1925, remodelled

Paragon Cafe Katoomba - 1925, remodelled

For brief early history, see entry in this section - "Paragon Cafe, Katoomba - Zachariah Simos".

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 06.06.2004

Paragon Cafe, Katoomba - Zachariah Simos

Original Paragon Cafe, 1921.

Early history

Zachariah Simos came to Australia from Greece as a young, orphaned boy. It is said that he got employment selling fish in Kings Cross, and in 1916 he came to Katoomba and leased the property on which the Paragon now stands.

An existing Devonshire tea room was taken over and transformed into a Viennese cafe, modelled on a similar establishment which the late Mr. Simos saw while holidaying in Austria.

The original cafe was refitted in 1925 in the then popular Art Deco style and was later extended by the addition of the Banquet Hall in 1934 and the Blue Room in 1936.

While the tea room, still in its original state, is classical in its simplicity, the Banquet Hall decor shows strong pre-Columbian influences. The Blue Room by contrast, is in the International style and has overtones suggestive of the interiors of those marvellous ocean liners of the day, such as "Queen Mary" and "Normandie".

Of the many soda fountains, milk bars, tea rooms and cafes built in Australia between the two wars, few were as sumptuously finished, and none could compare with the 'Paragon'. It is doubtful that any still exist, finished in a similar style, for it has remained unaltered with even its displays and the packaging of its confectionery reflecting the era in which it was created.

The fame of the 'Paragon' for its quality as a restaurant, for its interiors and for the excellence of its cakes, hand dipped chocolates, candies and fudges, is well earned and make it a most valued part of our national estate.

©Copyright 2003-2003
The Paragon Restaurant

65 Katoomba Street,
Katoomba. NSW. 2780

Tel: 61 2 4782 2928
Fax: 61 2 4782 4744

Email: theparagon@the-paragon.com.au

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by James Gavriles on 04.06.2004

My Father and his cook at the Atlas Cafe, Detroit, Michigan

My father on the left Nicholas Gavriles, with one of his cooks, Mike ,in front of the Atlas Cafe, in the 1920's Highland Park, Michigan

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 04.06.2004

Corones Hotel - 1992 Refurbishment of Front Steps

Corones Hotel - 1992 Refurbishment of Front Steps

For longer history of the Hotel, see " Corones Hotel - Charleville's Leading Hotel" entry, this section.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 04.06.2004

Corones Hotel - Charleville's Leading Hotel

In 1907 Harry Corones and his young cousin Jimmy left the Greek island of Kythera to seek fame and fortune in Australia. By 1909 they had worked their way north to Charleville in Western Queensland.

Marriage to Effie, one of six daughters of the Greek Priest of Sydney followed, and by 1924 together they set about creating a legend - the Hotel Corones.

Completed in 1929, Corones became the hub of a glittering social scene, where guests dressed in Paris gowns, danced to the strains of imported orchestras and savoured an international cuisine prepared by the finest chefs.

Harry became "Poppa", the genial host to dignitaries as diverse as Amy Johnson, the Duke and Duchess of Glouchester, Gracie Fields, Johnnie O'Keefe, Gough Whitlam, Princess Alexandra and Bryan Brown. Effie, gentle and refined, was mother to Peter, George, Alick, Nita and Nina and "Nanna" to everyone else.

The legend lives on. Guests today are still enjoying the elegance and comfort, quality and service that was Poppa's dream.

"The climate of Charleville demands special attention to sleeping accomodation, and this fact was taken into consideration when the bedrooms were being built. Every room, double and single, opens with double doors on to a spacious balcony, and the larger rooms have windows as well.

The rooms are furnished throughout in maple or sycamore, with spacious wardrobes, large mirrors, and writing tables. Soft, deep-piled carpets tone harmoniously with the furnishings, and from each double room one enters a luxurious private bath-room, mosiac floored, the walls tiled in shades agreeing with the colouring of the furniture and furnishings of the bedroom attached, where one may enjoy the delights of either a hot or cold bath. Naturally, hot bore water is laid on in all those rooms, where scrupulous cleanliness is the keynote."
... Extract from the original Souvenir Booklet circa 1929.

When I came with my husband and eight children to Charleville and the Hotel Corones in 1985, only the shadows of its former beauty remained. At that time tourists wanting to see the Outback were practically non-existent, but I felt instinctively that one day in the future, people would come to Charelville just to see Poppa's Hotel Corones.

We settled in, tidied up the essentials, added motel rooms and then in 1990 Charleville made news around Australia with a flood which devastated the town and surrounding district. But the flood put Charleville on the map and skilled trades people poured into the town, painters, carpenters, plumbers and importantly - furniture restorers! We decided to strip back a few doors (where to begin when the buiding occupies a whole block?) That was 1992 and as any owner of an old home will understand, restoration leads one on and on!

Now it's 1996 and we read our bible, the visitors book nightly and comments such as "Historic Treasure" and "Lovely Hotel - so glad we found it", continue to spur us on.

I believe that Poppa's dream was to create for his guests a unique experience of Western Queensland, and so we are in our own way following Poppa.

- Fran Harding, October, 1996

http://www.dropbears.com/c/corones_hotel/hotel_history.htm

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by George Poulos on 04.06.2004

Greek presence in Waverley Municipality (Bondi Junction, Bondi Beach areas) Sydney, Australia

Multi-cultural Mural at Bondi Beach Public School.

Stories From Across the Divide: Waverley’s Migration Heritage

Frm, given during the 2002 Heritage Festival at Waverley Library

by, Elida Meadows, in 2002.

[The Greek segment...]

Greek migration to Australia dates back to 1829 but the vast majority of Greeks came after World war II between 1945 and 1982. The first significant stream of Greek migration began in the 1850s, attracted to the discovery of gold in New South Wales and Victoria.

From the 1870s onwards, the establishment of chain-migration patterns resulted in the settlement of relatively large groups from the islands of Kythera, Ithaca and Kastellorizo. Most immigrants from Kythera went to New South Wales, settling in Sydney and some of the smaller towns. In 1940 there were more than 200 Kytherans in New South Wales, which, at the time, represented a quarter of all Greeks in Australia.

As early as the late 1910s there was a slight Greek presence in Waverley. B. T. Dowd, the author of Waverley's Centenary History in 1959, claims that Greek gypsies were camped at Bondi around 1901. However, most Greeks arrived during the post-war migration period. Of these, a significant proportion went into the food business. The catering trades were attractive because of a ‘traditional peasant desire’ for independence and security, though of equal importance was the possibility of employing kinsmen and compatriots. Such trades were also relatively free from government regulation and trade union interference, an important feature for Greek-Australians who were systematically excluded from unionised labour.

It was the 30-year old Greek cook of the Astra Hotel – Jimmy Koussis – who rescued a woman and her daughter from drowning in 1948.

Coffee-houses were established in the early years of Greek-Australian settlement to provide a social setting where people gathered to discuss political, religious, community, and sporting issues, to promote ethnic ties, and sometimes to gamble. Many coffee-houses provided services such as the sale of Greek newspapers and magazines, advertising community events, and they also functioned as labour exchanges.

Over time, there have been many Greek-owned milk bars and cafes in the Waverley area, some of them quite famous such as Bates at Bondi, but there was also Theo's at Charing Cross, Paul's at Bondi Junction and many more. Bates’ Milkbar closed last year after 50 years of operation on the corner of Curlewis Street and Campbell Parade. The owners, Nick and George left their Greek homeland in 1948 as 18 and 16 year olds. They became the proud owners of what was to become arguably Bondi’s most famous milkbar in 1951. George told a local paper that people had come from near and far to say goodbye. They’ve come from Narooma on the far south coast, Wollongong and even Broadbeach he said.

Just as fruit shops are associated with Italians, fish shops are associated with Greeks. The ‘pioneer’ of the Greek fish shop in Australia was Athanaios Kominos, who began trading in rented premises at 36 Oxford Street with his friend Theodore some time in 1878 (not long after his arrival in 1873).

In the early years of the twentieth century Greek fish shops were located in downtown Sydney along George, King and Pitt Streets, and also to the east and south-east of Hyde Park down William and Oxford Streets. Fish shops and other catering concerns were typically staffed by Greek cooks, kitchen hands, waiters, oyster openers and general assistants who lived close to their employment.

As previously mentioned, Greek fish-shops owned by people with names like Saradopolous and Karipas - began to appear along Oxford Street and Bondi Road in the Waverley area from the early decades of the twentieth century. Since then, as with all ethnic groups, Greeks have moved on and into all walks of life.

In the words of one well-known Greek journalist who once lived at Bondi - George Donikian – talking about our local area, there is a multicultural mix that is not only working, but is succeeding.

Multiculturalism is not just a word here. It is a way of life. And of course there are countless stories and many more cultures than we have been able to represent today who have made an impact on the history of Waverley......

Full text, at,

http://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/library/about/waverley's_migration_heritage.htm

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Peter Tsicalas on 09.06.2004

Cameo Cafe, Tenterfield ~1939

This photo sits on the counter of the Cameo café, now a shrine to Elvis, and the current owner says the people featured are ‘mostly’ Critharys. But the suited bloke behind the counter looks suspiciously like George Nick Combes, dating the photo at ~1937 or earlier. George established or acquired the Cameo sometime after rebuilding his Paragon café, further south on Rouse Street, in 1925.

Harry John Crithary initially landed in the early 1920s and went to work for his cousins, Nick and Harry James Crethar, in Lismore before acquiring his own café at Deepwater and/or Emmaville in the late 1920s. He returned to Karavas 1934/35 and came back to Tenterfield to work for George Combes (bestman at the wedding of Nick James Crethar and Florrie Vic Panaretto 1932) at the Cameo in 1937, buying the business about a year later. Allegedly he was joined by his brother Jim from America just before the war.
Harry died in Athens in 1963, aged 60, whilst on a trip back to Greece, and the Cameo went to his sons who held it until the late 1970s when it passed out of Greek hands.
Harry’s son Jack arrived in 1938 and his son Peter in late 1939. Peter however, moved on to Stanthorpe to work for Minas Crethar in the Empire Cafe for a short while before settling permanently in Woodenbong with his father’s brother Peter in late 1940.
Harry’s wife Anthea (nee Faros?) and his daughter Kalomira joined him in Tenterfield in 1954 followed by his son Jim in the late 1950s after completion of his national service. Allegedly Anthea was unimpressed, only staying for a short period before returning to the Elvis-free zone of Karavas, but over the years did a number of trips back and forth.

This photo also features in Maria Hill’s thesis at http://www.cybernaut.com.au/greeksinoz/
And is shown in this section about 5 pages back.

For a 2001 view of the Cameo see the photo at
http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-an23608370
As at 2004 the place has remained virtually unchanged from the 1939 photo - except for the removal of the centre row of tables and a few other mods.[And the placing of a statue of pre 15 stone Elvis at the front door.]

For a good overview of Tenterfield, Greeks and Cafes read the book ‘Immigrants in the Bush’, details of which are under the bibliography section.