Grenfell embraces Greek cafe legacy

Last November,  Macquarie University academics Leonard Janiszewski and Effy Alexakis drove through Grenfell to give a lecture in Adelaide on their critically acclaimed book, 'Greek Cafes & Milk Bars of Australia'.

Macquarie University academics Leonard Janiszewski and Effy Alexakis. Photo contributed.

Macquarie University academics Leonard Janiszewski and Effy Alexakis. Photo contributed.

They were intrigued by the posters for the 'Meet and Greek' weekend - and the photos up in the shop windows of Greek families who had previously owned the businesses.

The book cover.

The book cover.

At that stage, social historian Leonard and documentary photographer Effy, had little data on the Grenfell Greek community. 

That has now all changed.

Leonard and Effy will give a public lecture on 'Greek Cafes & Milk Bars of Australia' on Saturday 18 November at 11am at the Visitor Information Centre, with reference to the history of the Grenfell Greek community.

Entrance will be free.

Grenfell has been able to bring Leonard and Effy to be part of 'Meet and Greek 2017' thanks to the generous biddings at the auction held at last year's 'Meet and Greek'. 

Due to the overwhelming popularity of their book, Leonard and Effy have been commissioned to write a second. 

They have travelled through Australia, Greece, Egypt and the USA, tracking down cafes and milk bars to write the definitive history of the worldwide milk bar phenomenon that began in Depression Sydney. 

They have been compiling an exhaustive data base for over thirty years from their travels - and are keen to speak directly to Greek families while in Grenfell to add their experiences to their records.

Leonard and Effy's presentation will show how Greek-run cafes and milk bars populated Australian country towns and cities, merging local fare with new American food-catering ideas. 

Throughout most of the twentieth century, Australia's Greek cafes and milk bars were powerhouses generating unprecedented social and cultural change.

In Australia we still remember, in each suburb and every country town, was the Greek café or milk bar - open all hours, 7 days a week.

All are invited to attend the lecture. 

On Saturday evening, a Greek inspired dinner dance will be held at the Grenfell Bowling Club to celebrate the contribution of the Greek community - and our own Greek families.

For more information on this exciting new publication, 'Greek Cafes & Milk Bars of Australia',  visit