Tag Archives: milk bar 1950s

the “cash register”…

Cash boxThe “cash register” at my grandparents’ fruit shop and milk bar was this wooden cash box. For decades, pounds, shillings and pence made their way in and out of it and for the final few years, dollars and cents. All calculations were made in one’s head (and no doubt at lightning speed when the pressure was on with a crowd of customers waiting!)

The wood feels very battered from much use, the lid has come off its hinges and has some watermarks as though much opened with hands damp from retrieving wet bottles of soft drink or making ice-creams. I love how a band-aid has been stuck on the bottom corner where the wood began to split! It looks like an old timber box perhaps ready for the tip but for me it contains so much history as an integral part of the fruit shop and milk bar.

Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar


Filed under inspiration + history, kitchen stories

Inside the milk bar…

Annibale behind counter in the shopNonno Anni behind the counter of the milk bar – one of very few photographs taken inside. Great to see the milkshake machines to the right. It is difficult to decipher some of the brands of sweets, cigarettes and biscuits around the counter though I can see Mars chocolates {first made in 1932}, Violet Crumbles {since 1913} and a sign for Peters ice-cream {since 1907}.

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milk bar glass, circa 1950…

milk bar glassAn original glass {circa 1950} from Nanna Francesca and Nonno Anni’s milk bar. These were mostly used for my grandfather’s sought-after, homemade orange drink but customers would also request milkshakes in them too if they preferred glass to one of the metal canisters.

The milkshake flavours available at the time were chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, custard, lime and caramel, with chocolate always the most popular. The only flavours I had in the house to make this one were maple syrup and vanilla bean, which turned out quite delicious. And yes, that is an old-style, waxed paper straw!

Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar

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Joe’s milk bar, circa 1950s…

Annibale and Vitale in milk barOne of the very few photographs taken inside my family’s milk bar in the 1950s (and also one of my favourites). Nonno Anni is behind the counter and Bisnonno Vitale is leaning on it.

This is the era when my grandparents were working 7am-11pm, 363 days a year at their fruit shop and milk bar. My great-grandfather Vitale helped out at the busy times yet continued in his own job at the Brown and Broad sawmill beside the Brisbane River in Teneriffe.

Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar



Filed under books + writing