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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 04 November 2017
18 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 4 NOVEMBER 2017 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Adams, standing at the rear holding a glass of milk, with children from the Dalwood Health Home. PHOTO COURTESY L. KELDOULIS, FROM THE ‘IN THEIR OWN IMAGE: GREEK-AUSTRALIANS’ NATIONAL PROJECT ARCHIVES, MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY, SYDNEY Marking 85 years since Australia’s first modern day Greek-owned milk bar Saturday marks the anniversary of the Black & White, a milk bar owned by Greek-born Mick Adams that what would go on to become a nation-wide and global phenomenon, and significant part of the country’s popular culture ANASTASIA TSIRTSAKIS an 18-month stint from Australia with his wife and young daughter and ventured to the United States, he had no idea of the impact that he would come to have on Australia's popular culture. Exposure to the Greek galaktopoleio (milk shop) and the American soda parlours and drugstores fitted with Hamilton Beach Shake Makers, formulated a transnational concept that led to the conceptualisation of the modern 'American-style' milk bar. On 4 November 1932, Adams opened the Black & White 4d milk bar at Sydney's Martin Place W hen Mick Adams (nee Joachim Tavlarides) returned to Greece for – the name inspired by the Black and White Whiskey advertising he was exposed to in the US. Specialising in cold refreshment beverages, the establishment churned out only milkshakes and sodas, and this very simple concept had a huge impact on locals. Within the first year of opening, they welcomed an average of 27,000 customers per week. Given Australia's isolation, being exposed to a new concept executed with technology from the US was seen as exotic, and made locals feel like they were becoming a part of the modern world. And that concept would go on to become a phenomenon both nationwide and abroad. Adams came from humble beginnings; born in the little Thracian village of Peristasi (now Sarkoy in Turkey), at the age of 14 an earthquake destroyed his hometown, leading his brother who was living in Australia to send him money to make his way from Athens to Sydney. However finding the funds to make the trip from Thrace to the capital would take a little more brainpower. "My father was only very little, he's only 5 foot 2, and he became friendly with a Turkish lady who had a great big skirt, so he asked if he could hide under her skirt to be taken to Athens. So that's how he got there," Adams' eldest daughter Helen Geroindis told Neos Kosmos. "When he arrived in Sydney he worked in various shops, mainly Greek ones, and he told me he was working almost 20 out of 24 hours a day and they slept in the kitchen, and I think he was sleeping on a table at some stage. He really had a hard time," she recalls. A hard worker, with an entrepreneurial spirit, after the ongoing success of the Black & White, Adams went on to open chains of the milk bar around the country, operated by extended family, including another in Sydney, two in Adelaide, one in Wollongong, Brisbane and Melbourne. While Helen has fond memories of the milk bar and its success, visiting after school "sitting in the front cubicle and just watching the people walking up and down", she says her one regret has continued to be his physical absence from family life. "Growing up I don't remember very much of my father at all during the week. Weekends we saw him. Even in school holidays we had to spend it with my mother." But it's the one holiday they spent as a whole family that she holds dear. "The only one my father came to, I remember that one was the best one we ever had because we went to a hotel and he was there for all the meals, mum didn't have to cook, and we were a family." The historical significance of Adams' milk bars has been documented by historian and the co-author of Greek Cafes & Milk Bars of Australia, Leonard Janiszewski who says that the 85th anniversary and recognition of the Black & White is a challenge to Australian culture and its development.
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