Those special times down at the milk bar

There were a few places more central to your childhood than the local milk bar.  For many of us, remind us of simple, happy times when we could pop down to the local shop and didn’t have a care in the world.

Australia was full of milk bars from the 30s onwards. Do you remember when groceries couldn’t be sold after 6 pm? You’d just have to borrow from a neighbour or get some extra sugar on the sly. Milk bar kids loved spiders, ice creams and lollies – there were plenty of them to choose from and we could easily while the day away in the front window of our local.

People who ran the milk bar knew everyone’s names and everything going on in the neighbourhood. They were extra kind too and sometimes, if you were lucky, you would get an extra treat on your visit.

Sadly, milk bars didn’t last forever and were taken over by 24-hour supermarkets and service stations that offer round the clock service. But many baby boomers will always remember the milk bar!

The Black and White milk bar, in Martin Place, Sydney was opened by Mick Adams in November 1932, after a trip to the USA. Adams was one of many Greek immigrants who operated milk bars, cafes and fish and chip shops in Australia in the early 20th century. Adams later went on to open more milk bars in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne – there were 4,000 milk bars at the peak.

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Photo credit: Eamon Donnelly

So let’s take a walk down memory lane tonight as we reminisce about milk bars and those special childhood memories! What do you remember?