Art & Design

   

Milk Bar photography exhibition

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There is an exhibition about to hit town whose subject matter is dear to our hearts here at Milk Bar Mag. Esteemed Australian illustrator, graphic designer and artist Eamon Donnelly has put his pencil aside and picked up his camera to bring us ‘Shop here for value and friendly service’ an exhibition all about the Milk Bars that we remember as kids.

Over the last three decades, the interiors of the suburban milk bars have seen discernible changes. The Greek migrant custodians of the original milk bars have sold up and made way for Asian migrants to run these iconic suburban shops, living out their own Australian dream. Internet stations have been set up, ‘lattes’ are now served and ciggies are hidden behind cupboard doors or make shift tarps.

Although Milk Bars of today serve a similar purpose to the old style ones – a mad dash for morning milk or a newspaper – more often than not you will find that the original signage remains. For this Eamon is thankful as it evokes all the memories of his own childhood and is the basis for his photographic study.

“When I was a kid in the early 80’s, we lived around the corner from a quintessential Australian Milk Bar called Dave’s. They had a lolly counter that seemed to go on forever, pies, sausage rolls and ice creams for hot and dry 80s afternoons. My first taste of independence came when for the first time I was allowed to ride my BMX – complete with Spokey Dokeys – up the back lane to Dave’s’. It was both frightening and exhilarating,” Eamon tells us.

Eamon’s photography has led him from inner Melbourne to the outskirts of Geelong where he grew up. He plans to travel to Sydney, where the first Australian Milk Bar was opened in 1932 by a Greek immigrant known as ‘Mick Adams’. Eamon’s gathered images will culminate in a book.

I couldn’t help but ask what was his favourite snack from those heady days of BMX burnouts and lolly filled paper bags.

“I couldn’t go past a Bubble ‘O’ Bill with the stale gum ball that lasted a minute before the flavour turned to rubber, a mint Choc Wedge or Eskimo Pie, Burger Rings, a banana Big M and a piping hot sausage roll with tomato sauce”.

Eamon Donnelly’s ‘Shop here for value and friendly service’ runs from Feb 21 – Mar 10.
Carbon Black Gallery, 188 High St Prahran
Wed – Sun, 12pm – 5pm


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