Sunday History Photo / NSW

Submitted: Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 06:34
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1932 Australia’s first milk bar
More than 80 years ago, when Joachim Tavlaridis opened his Black and White Milk Bar in Martin Place, the Greek migrant started a craze for the humble milkshake that swept Australia and, say researchers, popularised the iconic drink in the US.
The Black and White milk bar, in Martin Place, Sydney was opened by Mick Adams in November 1932. He had travelled to America and observed the early-1930s drugstore ''soda parlours'' where stand-up and bar-stool trade in soda drinks was favoured over sit-down meals. Taking elements of that concept, he is thought to be the first person in the world to open a venue focusing exclusively on milkshakes, bought from a bar and consumed standing up without food to accompany.





Joachim Tavlaridis who later adopted the name Mick Adams - migrated from Greece at the age of 14. He started by working odd jobs in restaurants and butcher shops to save up enough money to build his own business. Food businesses, take-away shops, restaurants and delis were an easy and viable business option for many Greek migrants in Australia at that time. They represented so much to the community. They allowed newly arrived migrants a way to assimilate in their adopted country, they created job opportunities and a safe haven for many Greek migrants. With food, Greek migrants were given a new way to communicate with their adopted nation, which would leave language at the door. Through these businesses, Greek migrants would learn new words, skills and experiences that would develop not only their social status, but also provide a community hub for all. Little did 14 year-old Tavlaridis realise when he arrived in Australia, but he would grow up to help build an Australian icon.




He went on to open more milkbars in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne & Wollongong.As well as being Australia’s first milk bar, the Black and White may have been the first in the world. Historians Effy Alexakis and Leonard Janiszewski raise the possibility. In their work on the history of the Greek cafe and its role in the Americanisation of Australian eating, they claim that Mick Adams gave the idea and some recipes to a friend. He went to London and started the first milk bar in the UK.
He didn't use ice-cream, but used his electric mixers to blend milk with fresh and dried fruit, cream, butter, eggs, chocolate, honey, caramel, malt and yeast.
The milkshake was promoted as a health food. But he also made a riskier version laced with rum called the ''bootlegger punch''.
On the first day the Martin Place establishment opened, in 1932, Tavlaridis' milk bar attracted a phenomenal 5000 customers, who piled around his counter to drink the tasty concoctions.





''Within five years of the Black and White milk bar opening in Martin Place, some 4000 milk bars were operating in Australia,'' says Leonard Janiszewski, who, along with his wife and fellow Macquarie University researcher Effy Alexakis, has tracked the development of the milk bar. ''There was a steady rise in the popularity of milkshakes from the 1930s.'' It took until a little later before the milkshake – known simply as a shake – took off in the US, but the researchers say it was, at least indirectly, Australia that triggered the mass appeal of the iconic beverage in there.
''US servicemen who came to Australia in the 1940s started drinking milkshakes here,'' Janiszewski said. ''In the same way that they introduced instant coffee to Australians, they took the popularity of the milkshake back to the United States.''
By the late 1950s, milkshakes rivalled tea as the most popular beverage, Janiszewski says. In those days, the milkshake was seen as a safe social choice for men to have with women in public. ‘‘It touched the lives of all Australians – males, females and youth,'' he said. Families and the youth culture embraced the milkshake as an enjoyable, affordable treat – a symbol of modernity and the good life.''





By the 1970s, the milkshake contained ice-cream, sugar, artificial colours and flavours.
Ninety-year-old Greek migrant George Poulos, who has been running the Rio milk bar in Summer Hill since the mid-1950s, still works six days a week from 9am till closing hour at 10pm. His only day off is Sunday. He remembers selling hundreds of milkshakes during earlier days when the local picture theatre was thriving. He now runs his milk bar on his own. ''It keeps me young,'' he quips. ''I'm still making milkshakes.''


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Reply By: gbc - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 06:59

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 06:59
Why do thoughts of beaudiful Sheilas and 9 foot tall hells angels invade my thoughts at this time? Haha.
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 07:27

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 07:27
Why.... in your previous life your name was Normy and you hung out around Hunter St ....

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Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 12:59

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 12:59
LOL!! Good one, I'd forgotten all about the Newcastle song! That brings back some memories!
Thanks Doug, for the once-again, interesting Sunday story.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Member - tommo05 - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 17:49

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 17:49
Hahaha..

Norm! Norm! It's her boyfriend Norm!
Ohh is his name Norm too?

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Reply By: vk1dx - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 07:37

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 07:37
Am I allowed by the rules to mention the first Milk Bars that I frequented?
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 08:05

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 08:05
I think we would like to hear about these Milk Bars.

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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 09:09

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 09:09
I don't know it's full history but I recall my older brother and sisters talking about the Paragon Milk Bar in Goulburn. That would have been the 50's. I remember slipping out the back gate of St Pats and going there on a Saturday afternoon in the early 60's. For those that don't know, St Pats was a rather strict boarding college. It's still there. And yes like the Black and White in Sydney, they made great milk shakes.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 09:17

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 09:17
An interesting read:

Greek cafes transformed Australian food


Capital Milk Bar in Wagga.
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Follow Up By: Member - Taxi Driver - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 18:44

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 18:44
I remember the paragon Goulburn from my days at Inveralochy, another catholic boarding school. Such s great place for meals and snacks
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Follow Up By: Member - Taxi Driver - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 18:45

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 18:45
I remember the paragon Goulburn from my days at Inveralochy, another catholic boarding school. Such s great place for meals and snacks
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Reply By: vk1dx - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 07:38

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 07:38
Thanks Doug. Very good mate.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 14:06

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 14:06
Enjoyed that Doug, thanks.

Have some good, though dim memories of the old milk bars and their produce. Milkshakes for a "bob", and if you were flush enough, then the added delights of malt and a small scoop of vanilla ice-cream, for an extra 2 or 3 pence.

Was in Townsville last week, and had a couple of caramel malteds. Not bad.......not bad at all. Think they were about $5.50............

The local milk bar where I grew up was always popular, especially on a hot afternoon, after school. As well as milkshakes, "spiders" were very popular, as were a handful of sweets. Ha ha, remember one wag went into the milk bar and asked the "new Australian" lady for 2 bob's worth of mint leaves. At 8 mint leaves per penny, the poor lady was counting out mint leaves for about 10 minutes.

Bob

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Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 20:52

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 20:52
Bob - Milkshakes for a 'bob"? Geez, you must only be a young fella! [;-)
I can remember when standard icecreams were a zack, and you could get a small-serve cone for thruppence!

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 21:13

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 21:13
Ha ha, probably one of the first "baby boomers", Ron.

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