Still no plaque for world’s first modern milk bar in Sydney


November 4 marks the 91st year since Greek migrant-settler Mick Adams (Joachim Tavlaridis) opened the Black & White Milk Bar at 24 Martin Place, Sydney – acknowledged as the first modern milk bar, both nationally and globally. 

The milkshake was revolutionised by Adams’ modern milk bar and his milk bar concept spread rapidly throughout the nation (by 1937 there were 4,000 registered) and it was then swiftly exported to Great Britain, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, South Pacific Islands and Japan. 

Milk Bar
The interior of the Milk Bar. Photo: L. Keldoulis, from the “In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians” National Project Archives, Sydney.

Regrettably, the date also marks the sixth year of the City of Sydney’s inability to find a suitable solution for the installation of a historical plaque to recognise and celebrate such a significant achievement. Ever year whilst Adams operated his Black & White Milk Bar (1932 to late 1950s), he would hold celebrations/events to mark the anniversary. Now, it appears, the City of Sydney Council is resisting even clapping. 

Researchers Leonard Janiszewski and Effy Alexakis from Macquarie University first applied to the City of Sydney’s historical ‘green plaques’ program in 2017 to have the site officially recognised for its cultural and historical significance. 

Black and White Milk Bar
Mick Adams (Joachim Tavlarides), pictured here with children from the Dalwood Health Home. Photo: L. Keldoulis, from the “In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians” National Project Archives, Sydney.

The Council’s historical office reviewed the application and approved the recommendation for a plaque to be produced. However, the new owners of the site would not agree to the plaque being placed on their building.

For six years, the historians and descendants of Mick Adams have been calling on the Council to finally provide a solution for where to place the historical plaque. Over that time, Mick Adams’ daughter, Lilian Keldoulis, passed away and his other daughter, Helen Gerondis, is unwell.

Alternative sites such as several doors east of the site, a low wall away from the site or next to a water drain, have been proposed by the Council’s Public Art Collections and Cultural Heritage team – all of which undermine the significance of the site, purport historical inaccuracy and have been justifiably rejected by Janiszewski and Alexakis and Adams’ descendants. 

Black and White Milk Bar
Mick Adams (Joachim Tavlarides), standing at the rear holding a glass of milk, with children from the Dalwood Health Home. Photo: L. Keldoulis, from the “In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians” National Project Archives, Sydney.

One of Adams’ granddaughters, Janet France, has stated: “It [the plaque] is something that would attract more tourists. It would be celebrating multicultural heritage. For the family it would be a celebration and recognition of all the hard work my grandfather did and everything he gave to the country… The council [City of Sydney] got the knockback from the owners [of the site] and there was no plan B.”

Council has rejected calls for placing the plaque in the pavement outside the milk bar’s site or on a plinth. So the impasse continues.




By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.


Latest News

Mykonos shop owner reflects on Australia, Greece and crystals

Greek Australian, Apostolos Triantafyllou, 56, has been living in Mykonos for over 30 years now, and running his jewellery store 'Amethyst'.

Niki Louca shares her recipe for chicken pie with mushrooms

Niki Louca from My Greek Kitchen shares her favourite recipe for kotopita with manitaria (chicken pie with mushrooms) with The Greek Herald.

Dr Trakakis to give lecture in Melbourne on the late poet Tasos Leivaditis

Dr Nick Trakakis will give a seminar on Thursday, May 30 at the Greek Centre in Melbourne on the late poet Tasos Leivaditis.

Greek Australian artist VASSY receives Billions List award

Greek Australian-bred, singer, songwriter and dance music producer VASSY, has been honoured with the Billions List Award by APRA AMCOS.

Themis Chryssidis to reinvent his acclaimed Adelaide restaurant

Themis Chryssidis is transforming his acclaimed city restaurant, eleven, with a new menu and more affordable prices.

You May Also Like

Young Greek Australians enjoy Summer Camp in Greece

The Greek Community of Melbourne’s (GCM) 'Greek Summer Camp' initiative has come to an end for the second year in a row.

“Istorima” project attempts to create first Greek archive of oral history

Istorima is a newly established nonprofit organisation that is dedicated to creating a vast archive of Greek oral histories, as well as re-emerge it as a tool for modern Greek historiography.

Greece ‘strongly supports’ North Macedonia’s EU accession, President says

North Macedonia President Stevo Pendarovski said he was honoured to be the first president of the Republic of North Macedonia to visit Greece.