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History > Photography > COMINOS CAFÉ: THE CAIRNS’ LEGEND

History > Photography

submitted by Peter Bouras on 15.08.2005


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Coffee Sales Cominos Café

For several decades, Cominos Café acted as the social hub of Cairns and nearby towns. Established in 1906 as a small catering business, it grew to become one of ‘Australia’s most modern cafés’, which at one stage employed over 100 people.
For most of the time the café was situated in Abbott St, on the site of today’s ‘Orchid Plaza’ shopping centre. It occupied two floors with a mezzanine area and provided its customers with high quality food and drinks as well as with a range of services appreciated especially by country clients on visits to Cairns: showers, toilets and rest rooms.
Cominos was a ‘departmental’ café: it had a cake counter, sandwich counter, milk bar, sweets counter as well as a bakery. George Cominos paid the utmost attention to all details creating a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere: cages of birds placed all over the café entertained the customers!
The place was well-known far beyond Cairns for the high standards of food and services as well as for the progressive ideas of its owner. For instance, in 1935 George Cominos installed in the bakery the first electric industrial oven in this part of Australia.
The café served as a venue for many big social functions such as wedding receptions, as well as a rest place for visitors to Cairns. During the Second World War it became a favourite meeting place for Allied service staff based in Far North Queensland.
In 1952, due to declining health, George Cominos decided to close the Café. However even today the legend of ‘Cominos Café’ lives on in the fond memories of many Cairns residents.

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