submitted by Kathy Calokerinos on 25.04.2013
At the celebration of the Canberra Cafe, March 3oth, 2013.
The Canberra Cafe and Skylight Restaurant are visible in the background.
The children all had a wonderful time.
A special celebration will be held at the Canberra Cafe on Easter Sunday 31 March 2013 in the township of Manilla.
The program involves:
• a public celebration from 2pm to 5pm- (we envisage up to (2000) people to attend the afternoon session)
Very few Greek cafes remain in Australia and of those that do, they have in many ways been modernised over the years.
“Jack Smiles” (Yiannis (John) Kalokerinos) built the Canberra Cafe in Manilla 86 years ago.
Paul Calokerinos, along with his wife Helen, and family (John Mary and Kathy) have continued to operate the cafe since taking on ownership in 1950.
The cafe has undergone a “back to the future” refurbishment recently to display its original (or as near to as possible) attributes.
To celebrate the original owner “Jack Smiles” and recognise 86 years of trading as a Greek Cafe we are a having this re-dedication day on the 31st March 2013.
Many Greek associates and the public will be in attendance to participate in the celebrations.
Obviously there will be a typical Greek influence on the proceedings.
Those present will include local dignitaries Mayor Col Murray and Tamworth State MP Kevin Anderson and local artist Sandy Thorne, internationally recognised author of “Old Timers” and several other notable books (Bush yarns & biographies) will also be performing and presenting her “bush yarns”.
1927 – Jack Smiles build Canberra Cafe
1948 – Paul Calokerinos comes to Australia
1950 – Paul Calokerinos and John Travassaros buy the Canberra Cafe from Jack Smiles
1965 – Helen Calokerinos buys out John Travassaros share.
2013 - Why now? to celebrate the recent Cafe refurbishment and celebration of 86 years since its inception.
History of Greek Cafes in Australia
It is the Greek Festival of Sydney this month – note this SMH article on history of Greek Cafes
Recent Articles have been published in the -
- Manilla Express – article 26 March 2013
Manilla Express article Front Page & page 10.pdf
- Northern Daily Leader- article 18 February 2013
Canberra Cafe Event Program
AFTERNOON Session 1 – 2pm Sunday 31 March 2013
6:00am to 6pm road closure Manilla Street, between Court Street and Strafford Street
2:00 to 5:00pm Events
2:00 Official Ceremony commence (45 minutes)
• Welcome and Introduction – MC -Sandy Allan (5 min)
• Welcome dignitaries – Mayor Tamworth Regional Council (Col Murray), Kevin Anderson MP – Member for Tamworth
• 2:15 David Ridgewell – local personality - Setting scene “About the family and community– Paul Helen Kathy Mary John”
• 2:25 Sandy Thorn, internationally recognised author Interview Proprietor Q&A – to tease out history and background
• Paul Calokerinos – Owner Operator History 63 years of the cafe
• 2:35 Presentation – Mayor Tamworth Regional Council a few words
• Plaque unveiling - the plaque recognition of 3013 refurbishment and 86 years if cafe
• 2:45 Response – John Calokerinos Thank you on behalf of family (thank MC)
• MC concludes formality
3:00 to 5pm Entertainment (2 hours)
• Sandy Thorne – Australia’s favourite yarn spinner, Author, entertainer, public speaker (30 min). - Sandy Thorn is “Australia’s best-selling author of outback humour books, and of "OLD TIMERS”, which featured a fascinating mini-biography of Paul Calokerinos, that was, for many people, the highlight of the book. Sandy is also a stage performer of bush yarns and verse, who has had audiences laughing all over Australia, N.Z. and the U.S., for nearly thirty years, since she launched her first best-seller, “I’VE MET SOME BLOODY WAGS!”.
• 4pm - Easter Bunny - Scavenger Easter egg hunt for children
• Music – Live local talent 3.30-5pm
5:00 Public event concludes
6:00 pm Road opens – Manilla St
7:00pm - until late - formal sit down dinner for 160 people, to be held in both the Skylight Restaurant and the Canberra Cafe, next door.
All prepared and served by the Calokerinos family.
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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