End of an era: Olympia milk bar boarded up as owner moves out after 60 years

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The Olympia milk bar has remained shut for the past four years, after falling into disrepair in 2017, yet the Greek locals of Stanmore kept hope that the iconic milk bar would return.

These dreams were shattered earlier this week after Nick Fotiou, owner of the Olympia milk bar, reportedly moved out of the building after concerns for his living conditions.

The landmark building had been boarded up by NSW Health, who had deep concerns for Fotiou’s welfare as the building continued to decline, with a ceiling collapse and extensive mould from a missing window.

Olympia Milk Bar in 2017. Photo: JESSICA HROMAS/Sydney Morning Herald

Four years ago, the Inner West Council ordered the Olympia to be closed until repairs were carried out after an inspection, which followed a police report that the awning was in danger of collapsing, revealed it was in a state of disrepair.

Mr Fotiou resisted many offers of help to fix the building but stayed there hoping the council would allow him to reopen.

“I’ve had troubles and troubles and troubles,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald previously.

Mr Fotiou, who is believed to be 91, served meals and drinks at the Olympia for more than 50 years.

Now boarded up: a decorative feature on the floor of the old Olympia Milk Bar in Stanmore.

“Slowly, slowly, slowly,” he said in broken English about how he wanted to bring the Olympia back to life. “But not to rush me. How long it will take, no idea.”

A council spokeswoman said that any future development proposal for the site would be subject to an assessment of its heritage significance and that contributing elements “should be retained where possible”.

Mr Fotiou is now said to be settling in well to a nursing home.

The building has been listed on the NSW Heritage Register and had its history recognised under the Marrickville Local Environmental Plan. People on social media have now called for the iconic Olympia Milk Bar sign to be placed into the Powerhouse Museum as a ‘piece of Australian history’.

Tribute photos have also been shared on an ‘Olympia Milk Bar Fan Club’ Facebook page, which has over 4500 members, with people sending their wishes to Nick Fotiou.

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