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Northern Daily Leader

Manilla celebrates iconic Greek cafe

Northern Daily Leader

March 31st 2013

Photograph: Sandy Thorne entertains the crowd with Paul Calokerinos.

THE main block of Manilla’s main street was closed to traffic yesterday as the town turned out to pay homage to the Canberra Cafe and the Calokerinos family.

Greek cafes are few and far between in the region now, but The Canberra Cafe and Paul Calokerinos and his family are continuing on the tradition and hospitality of these establishments that are an important part of Australia’s history.

The cafe celebrates 63 years this year and has enjoyed refurbishments.

Tamworth mayor Col Murray unveiled a plaque yesterday to mark the milestone.

Cr Murray said the occasion was a celebration of the culture of communities and said the plaque was to commemorate this important day in the history of Manilla. As part of the Easter Sunday festivities, members of the Calokerinos family travelled from near and far to Manilla, with speeches and memories shared with the town.

Manilla resident David Ridgewell described the cafe as a unique establishment and the occasion honoured the traditions of a very special kind.

“The cafe is only one of few remaining across our wild and rugged land,” he said.

Lightning Ridge poet and author, Sandy Thorne, interviewed Mr Calokerinos about his time in Manilla as he celebrated his special place within the town that he had embraced, and that had embraced him.

The town then joined with the family and dignitaries to enjoy nibblies and drinks in the street and to toast an icon of Manilla.

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