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Melba Café / New York Sundae Shop, Brisbane

By JOL Admin | 20 February 2020

In 1918 the Girdis family began operating the Melba Café at 216 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley. The family had migrated from Alatsata, Asia Minor (Turkey) and had initially run the Central Coffee Palace in George Street, Brisbane.

Melba Café, Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley, 1942. From 31186, Greek Cafe Photographs, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

The café went through three name changes (Melba Café; New York Sundae Shop; Melba Café and Milk Bar) over its 66-year trading period. The Melba Café and Milk Bar business was finally sold in 1984.

Advertisement for the New York Sundae Shop published in Brisbane's Daily Standard, 1 January 1926, p.2

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.


Heidi Stevens – Librarian, State Library of Queensland


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