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Selling an American Dream: Australia's Greek Café

Selling an American Dream: Australia's Greek Café, a photographic exhibition of Australia's Greek cafés, explored the key role that Greek Australians played during the formative years of Australian culture.

Every time you drink a Coke, enjoy an ice cream or sweet chocolate treat, go to the cinema, or listen to the latest popular music hit, you can thank Australia's Greek settlers.

Black and white photo of the interior of the Astoria Café

Greek cafés in Australia were a Trojan horse for the Americanisation of this nation's eating and socio-cultural habits from the very start of the twentieth century. They initially introduced American commercial food catering ideas, technology and products and later influenced the development of cinema and popular music.

The Greek café helped transform Australian popular culture. This exhibition not only looked at how this was done, but also the personal stories of those involved.

Selling an American Dream: Australia's Greek Café was a touring exhibition from the In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians National Project, Australian History Museum, Macquarie University, Sydney.

Selling an American Dream was on show at the National Museum of Australia from 11 July to 16 November 2008 in the Nation Focus Gallery. The exhibition was part of the Vivid – National Photography Festival 2008.

Logos: Australian History Museum, photoKING Professional, Macquarie University Sydney, In Their Own Image: Greek Australians.

Banner image: Astoria Café interior, Hunter Street, Newcastle, NSW, late 1940s. Courtesy: N Raftos.