Topics wrote yesterday about the Parthenon Milk Bar in Hunter Street.
The milk bar featured in Bob Hudson’s famous 1975 record, The Newcastle Song.
There’s a story behind this. The milk bar was fictitious at the time of the song.
Herald history writer Mike Scanlon wrote in 2003 that disappointed tourists soon discovered the cafe didn’t exist on Hunter Street.
Before long, an entrepreneur sensed an opportunity. The Parthenon Milk Bar opened for business in Hunter Street, near the Cambridge Hotel.
We couldn’t find any photos of the Parthenon, but we did find one of The Astoria. It was a Greek milk bar managed by Jerry Kolivas during the 1940s and 1950s.
The Astoria was featured in a 2007 photographic exhibition, titled Selling an American Dream: Australia's Greek Cafe.
The exhibition curators were historian Leonard Janiszewski and photographer Effy Alexakis. The pair released a book in May this year, titled Greek Cafes and Milk Bars of Australia.
They tell how Greek cafes contributed to a major change in Australian eating habits.
“Greek cafes were known for their introduction of American sodas, ice-cream sundaes, milkshakes, hamburgers, milk chocolate and hard-sugar candies,” the book promo said.
“Throughout most of the 20th century, Australia’s Greek cafes and milk bars were powerhouses generating unprecedented social and cultural change.”
Topics told a story this week about the Changi prisoner-of-war camp in Singapore in World War II.
Toronto’s Noeline Wilson contacted us to share her story about her dad having been in the Changi camp.
“We never knew whether he was dead or alive,” Noeline said.
Noeline is 84 on Monday. She was seven when her dad joined the army in 1939, at the start of World War II.
Thankfully her dad survived. He sailed for home on her 13th birthday in 1945.
Her family lived in Newcastle during the war. She recalled the shelling of Newcastle by a Japanese submarine in June 1942.
“Our house shook. We were scared out of our wits,” she said.
We published a photo this week of prisoners inside the Changi camp. Noeline wondered how photos were taken in the camp, suggesting the Japanese would never have allowed this.
There’s a couple of books about this subject, titled Changi Photographer: George Aspinall's Record of Captivity and The Changi Camera: Inside Changi and the Thai-Burma Railway.
Tim Bowden, author of The Changi Camera, wrote on his blog that George Aspinall, then 18, managed to smuggle a Kodak camera into the camp. He used it to “capture rare images of captivity”.
The Japanese eventually found the camera and forced him to destroy it, but he concealed the negatives in a tobacco tin. After the war, the photos were used as evidence of Japanese atrocities and war crimes.
Stand Aside Kale
Topics was interested to read in the Herald yesterday about the “potent power” of apples.
The University of Newcastle’s Vincent Candrawinata had discovered a way to extract antioxidants naturally using apples and water. Dr Candrawinata described apples as “the original super food”.
Here we were thinking it was all about those trendy foods like quinoa, kale, chia, blueberries and salmon.
But the humble apple, it seems, has always had the goods.