Astoria Café, Barcaldine

In December 1938, the Longreach Leader newspaper reported the Bellas Bros had donated the entire ‘opening day’ cash takings from the Astoria Café, Barcaldine to the Western Children's Jubilee Health Association.

Astoria Café, Barcaldine, 1989, Acc: D12-12-89, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. In copyright, Photographer Helen Cole. Neg 191501

Migrating from Sparta, Greece, members of the Bellas (Bellesis) family ran the café in Barcaldine for approximately five years because in 1943 it was reported in the Longreach Leader in October that Mr and Mrs Jack Bellas of the Astoria Cafe, had just departed for Brisbane where they will in future reside. Pte. Jim Bellas, who was spending leave in Barcaldine, accompanied them.

Peter Bellas remained to finalise the transferring of the Astoria Cafe from Bellas and Sons to Mr. A. W. Smith, intending to follow his family the following week. Jim Bellas would later run the Star Milk Bar in King George Square Brisbane. 

Eleven years later in 1954 two new citizens to Barcaldine renounced their former allegiance to Greece by becoming naturalised Australian citizens in the first Central Western Naturalisation Ceremony.

They were John Viahogenis, better known as John Vasos and Panayotls Spyridon Viantis, better known as Peter Vlandis - both cafe proprietors.

Exhibition – Meet me at the Paragon

State Library’s latest exhibition, Meet me at the Paragon explores how the creation of American-style cafes enabled Greek migrants of the early to mid-1900s to carve out a new life in a foreign land. The exhibition runs from 27 September 2019 until 15 March 2020.

Anne Scheu – Engagement Officer, State Library of Queensland

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