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History > General History > Shaping the new Australia

10574: History > General History

submitted by The Daily Examiner, Grafton on 29.05.2006

Shaping the new Australia

The Daily Examiner, Grafton. August 30, 2003, page 8.

by Juris Graney


The history of Greek cafes in the Clarence Valley is being documented by two historians as part of a project called ‘In Their Own Image: Greek Australians’.

The national project, which began in 1982, is being headed by Macquarie University lecturer Leonard Janiszewski and photographer Effy Alexakis. The names read like a who’s who of the Clarence Valley. People like Lambrinos Notaras and sons Ioannis, Antonios and Theodore Lambros Notaras, who owned the Marble Bar Cafe in 1937, John Moulos, of the Hygiene Cafe, also in 1937, Peter Bernard (formerly Venardos), of the Popular Cafe, and Louis Hatgis, of the Waratah Cafe in 1949.

Mr Janiszewski’s passionate look at the the Greek influence on Austrahan society is one that will keep on growing, according to the historian, “We could probably go into two books but you have to know when to stop," Mr Janiszewski said.
“The history of Austrahan culture has always been looked at from an orthodox historical perspective but we are a hybrid­ culture.

“We are affected by dif­ferent cultures and that ex­perience makes us the place that Australia is. “The Greek people and
their influence on Australia are not marginal, they are influential and what we are doing (the book) would have been laughed at 20 years ago.

Mr Janiszewski said he did not focus on Greek cafes simply because they were considered marginal or just because they were Greek. “The Greek Cafe helped Australia develop to where it is now,” he said.

“The Americanisation of Australia happened because the Greek cafes introduced things like the jukebox, Coca Cola and ice-cream. “The people who operat­ed the cafes and the people who frequented the cafes are integral to Australian culture.”

For two decades, Mr Janiszewski has worked with photographer Effy Alexakis, who had been challenging the visual stereotypes of Greeks in Australia.

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