California Dreaming: The ‘Greek Cafe’ and Its Role in the Americanisation of Australian Eating and Social Habits


  • Leonard Janiszewski Macquarie University
  • Effy Alexakis Macquarie University


A spectre is haunting Australia’s history and heritage, and that spectre is: the Englishlanguage.2The grand narratives and symbols of Australia’s past have been overwhelmedby research and interpretation through an English language base. This has essentiallycreated a myopic, monocultural vision which has effectively alienated, marginalised, andeven left broadly unacknowledged, the significance which cultural diversity and hybridityhas had in developing the Australia of today. Professional Australian historians andheritage specialists with linguistic skills in a language, or languages, other than English,and who are prepared to engage in research utilising such skills, are currently rare. Theunderlying theme of this article, is consequently, a call to firmly encourage and facilitatethe development of such historians and heritage specialists. Untying the binds of theEnglish language strait-jacket will undoubtedly lead to new visions of our past and her -itage. The country ‘Greek cafe’ – broadly regarded as a quintessentially Australian pheno -menon and particularly synonymous with rural life in the eastern states of New SouthWales, Victoria and Queensland – being a pertinent example.