Abstract detail

Title Shakin' the World Over: The Greek-Australian Milk Bar

Early in November 1932, Joachim Tavlaridis, known as Mick Adams, opened Australia’s first modern ‘American-style’ milk bar – the Black & White Milk Bar at 24 Martin Place, Sydney. Indeed, Adams’ milk bar was the world’s first. Within five years of the opening of Adams’ enterprise, some 4,000 milk bars were operating in Australia, the vast majority were Greek-run. By the mid-1930s Greeks had taken the concept to New Zealand. At the same time, Great Britain had also quickly imported the successful food-catering idea from the Antipodes, and attempts were made to introduce it to the United States; although influenced by food-catering establishments in America, ‘milk bars’ did not exist there. Milk bars even appear to have reached Fiji not long after their initial success in Australia. Adams’ refreshment revolution became both an Australian and international food-catering icon. This paper will provide an insight into the milk bar’s international ‘cross-cultural’ origins, its development within Australia, and its subsequent distribution overseas. The presentation will also highlight the milk bar’s role as a vehicle for Americanisation.

Primary author
Leonard Janiszewski