State library of Queensland presents a free exhibition, Meet Me at the Paragon, now open until 15 March 2020. 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, icecream 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 McDonalds 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 allows you to 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, and reflect on the stories of Greek migrants and how their cafés changed Australian dining and cuisine forever.