Meet me at the Paragon

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Moussaka. Souvlaki. Paniyiri. Baklava. Today, Queenslanders love Greek food and culture. However, Meet me at the Paragon explores an untold past. In fact, the American-style cafés and milk bars your parents probably frequented as a child - the ones that served banana splits, fish ‘n’ chips, ice cream sundaes and homemade sweets - were likely owned by Greek migrants.

Meet me at the Paragon uncovers the stories of Greek migrants who established cafes and milk bars in the early 20th century, carving out a new life for their families in Queensland. These establishments, like Dalby’s famous Paragon Café, became the social hubs of their communities; the McDonald’s of their day.

Imagine the tastes, experience the atmosphere and retrace the history of Queensland’s Greek cafes by learning the past and present true stories of the families that ran them in this fascinating exhibition.

The exhibition experience

  • Step back in time as you slide into a replica café booth to browse the ‘menus’ of Greek cafés throughout Queensland and appreciate the architectural installation reminiscent of Kingaroy’s Busy Bee Café

  • Hear the ‘daily opera’ of coffee machines, the clatter of cutlery and the general café hubbub in a special soundscape

  • View photographic portraits of Greek café descendants and connect with their stories

  • See original items from cafés across Queensland including original café signs, anodised milkshake cups, monogrammed plates, menus and other memorabilia

  • Reflect on the stories of Greek migrants and how their cafés changed Australian dining and cuisine forever

A brief history of Greek cafes in Queensland

Greek migrants first opened shops in Queensland over 100 years ago. From the oyster saloons of Longreach to the milk bars of Bundaberg, Greek cafés traded in most towns and regions across Queensland throughout the 20th century. 

They were open all day every day, from early in the morning until late into the night. Meals were large, the food was cheap, and the menu was the same across the state, continually adapting to market changes and food trends.

Whether it was a big breakfast before work, lollies for the kids or a banana sundae as a special treat, everyone was welcome at the local Greek café.


30 September | Colour vintage photographs using Photoshop

9 & 23 October | Curator's tour

21 October | Colour vintage photographs using Photoshop

13 & 27 November | Curator's tour

27 November | Human Library

13 November | The Greek cafes of our past - walk with Brisbane Greeters

11 December | Curator's tour

11 December | Human Library

8 & 22 January | Curator's tour

22 January | The Greek cafes of our past - walk with Brisbane Greeters

12 & 26 February | Curator's tour

26 Feb | The Greek cafes of our past - walk with Brisbane Greeters

7 Mar | The Greek cafes of our past - walk with Brisbane Greeters

11 March | Curator's tour


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