Tag Archives: Milk Bar Australia

From 6th June, 1946…

Annibale, Francesca and Remo outside shopToday it is 70 years since my Italian grandparents, Nonno Anni and Nanna Francesca signed the lease on premises to start up their fruit shop and milk bar in Australia.

And so began many years when they opened the shop from 7am until 11pm, only the two of them working there (with a baby in tow) and closing just two days a year at Christmas and Easter.

Thinking of them with much gratitude for all their hard work and sacrifice to make it such a success.






Filed under books + writing, inspiration + history

Milk bar glassware, circa 1950s…

milk bar glasswareOriginal, circa 1950s glassware from Nonno Anni and Nanna Francesca’s milk bar… milkshake glasses, the glass for the homemade orange drink and the bowl used for ice cream sundaes and fruit salads.

Built to last, once they were used everyday, often banged down on the milk bar counter and washed ready for the next customers. Funny how time changes objects – these days I keep them in the ‘good’ glass cabinet in the lounge room – smiling.


Filed under kitchen stories

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}.

Leave a comment

Filed under inspiration + history

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

Milk Bar in the Regent Theatre, Brisbane circa 1936…

Regent Theatre milk bar{image courtesy State Library, Qld}


Filed under art + photographs