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National Museum of Australia

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Green coloured cardboard menu cover with paper menu insert


Green coloured cardboard menu cover with paper menu insert

Object information


Contains local tourist information as well as menu, never used. No date but states it is '83 years since the town was gazetted'. Gunnedah was gazetted in 1856 so this dates menu to about 1939.

Physical description

A green coloured cardboard menu cover with a paper menu insert. The menu cover is printed in black on one sheet of cardboard, folded in the centre. The front cover features an illustration in the top left corner including a bee and the text 'BUSY BEE CAFE / GUNNEDAH'. It also features the text 'MENU', and 'TELEPHONE. 221.' The inside cover has the headings 'SERVICE' and 'Other Information in Brief.' which details information relating to Gunnedah and the surrounding region. The paper insert is printed in black on both sides of one sheet of cream coloured paper, folded in the centre. The front page features a list of products including 'FRUIT', and 'CONFECTIONARY'. The body of the menu is printed on the internal pages which are titled 'LUNCHEON' and 'SODA FOUNTAIN'. The back page contains tourist information titled 'Know Gunnedah! / The Most Progressive Town of the North West.'

Statement of significance

This collection consists of the fixtures and fittings of the Busy Bee Café, Gunnedah, NSW. It also includes examples of operational equipment such as a juicer, a hot drink dispenser, crockery, glasses, milkshake containers, and tea pots, many of which are engraved or embossed with the café name and logo, as well as paper-based material such as signs, menus and ledgers containing staff records and details of orders from suppliers.

The Busy Bee Café began operating in the 1920s. From 1933, it was run by Lambros Zantiotis, a Greek immigrant from the island of Kythera, and his family until the café closed in 2004. Greek cafés marked the beginning of the Americanisation of Australian eating habits, introducing milk shakes, sundaes and sodas to their Australian customers, but were identified as 'Greek' because of the nationality of the owners. The popularity of the cafés was due to their good food, good service and extended opening hours. The Greek café was part of the Australian rural landscape for much of the twentieth century but only a few now remain in operation and opportunities to collect around this aspect of rural social life are rapidly diminishing.

Object information

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