Selling an American Dream: Australia's Greek Cafe

National Exhibition Register

  • Peter and Jack Veneris, Blue Bird Cafe, Lockhart, NSW
    Effy Alexakis Peter and Jack Veneris, Blue Bird Cafe, Lockhart, NSW, 2002
    Metallic photographic print
    40.6 x 50.8 cm
    Image Credit
    Courtesy Effy Alexakis, from the "In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians" National Project Archives, Macquarie University

About the exhibition

For most of the 20th century, Greek-run cafés populated Australian cities and country towns, merging local fare with new American food-catering sensations – sodas, milkshakes, sunades, milk chocolates and ham burgers. Stunning historical and contemporary photographs capture the décor of the cafés, their customers and their owners.

Research undertaken throughout Australia and internationally highlights these cafés as a 'Trojan Horse' for the Americanisation of Australian popular culture, not only affecting eating habits, but also cinema, music and architecture – the Greek café was a powerhouse driving change within Australian popular culture.

The exhibition continues to attract record audiences at venues, broad media attention, and critical and popular acclaim: 'One of the pleasures of this exhibition is how it manages to convey both the specificities of cafés and their locations, and the wider context they all share… a good exhibition ideally encourages the visitor to reflect both on what is documented and what is not, and "Selling an American Dream: Australia's Greek Café" certainly did this.' Zora Simic, reviewer, 'History Australia'.

Artists and Curator

Effy Alexakis and Leonard Janiszewski

Effy Alexakis – photographer

Available Dates and
Exhibition Details

Available dates
01/04/2016 - 01/01/2020
Exhibition size
Between 75-100 sq or running metres
Originating state
Organised by
Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW
$4,000 (inc. freight) - Contact to discuss
Web Site
Accompanying materials available
Catalogue/Book, Education Kit, Exhibition Tour Manual, Installation Support Available, Interpretative/Didactic Panels, Invitations or Invitation Template, Labels, Media Kit, Public Program Opportunities
Primary contact
Leonard Janiszewski
"In Their Own Image: National Project & Archives", Macquarie University, Sydney
T: 02 9850 6886; M: 0448 876 626
Secondary contact
Effy Alexakis
T: 02 9850 6886; M: 0411 193 625
A nationally touring exhibition from the "In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians" Project, Macquarie University, Sydney