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Greek-Australian Cafe Culture

Kalokerinos family photo on display at the official launch of the 'Selling an American Dream: Australia's Greek Cafe' exhibition

Each photograph was allowed viewers to enter into the life and times of numerous cafe and shop owners throughout the country.

Short but telling vignettes accompanied the photographs.

The display was very impressive.

In this case the vignette reads:

John,Viola and Vince Kalokerinos,
Curtin Milk Bar
Curtin Place, Canberra, ACT, 2002

Vince migrated to Australia in 1962 and worked in Greek cafes in northern New South Wales before acquiring the Curtin Milk Bar in 1971 He married Viola Toraki in 1975. John is the eldest of their three children.

Vince: 'Our generation got caught. We had to work for our ourselves, then send money to our parents [in Greece], and also support our children - so we really had to work for three generations ... John is a lawyer and the other two are at university ...When the two younger children finish we will go to Greece for a holiday. Then we'll sell the shop and retire... The old milk bars are disappearing... This is one of only two [old-style] milk bars left in Canberra.'

John: 'I still work in the cafe to give Mum and Dad a break...With Dad working all day, it gives him very limited opportunity to get out and see what his children are doing, and what the world is doing... Mum's sense of duty is to her family... her support network [to raise the family] was largely limited to her own efforts and the support of her husband.'

Vince passed away in 2003.

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