Kytherians may have dominated Australia’s café culture from the 1920s to the 1960s but a significant number of the Greek migrants who played a role in Brisbane’s early history—such as the Mavrokefalos and Mavromatis families—came from Ithaca. Jerry Palmos was born in Ithaca in 1905. He was only sixteen when he went to Sydney and was put to work fishing for prawns. Heading north to Brisbane, he worked in the office of a cake shop in the Carnegie Building opposite Barry & Roberts. Jerry bought his first shop in 1937 and his seventh in 1966, and died in 1975 having lived fifty-four years in his adopted homeland, thirty of which he devoted to commercial enterprise in Brisbane.
The first business was a fruit shop/milk bar in East Brisbane on the corner of Lytton Road and Heidelberg Street, which Jerry and his wife Elizabeth had from 1937-1941. A succession of businesses followed: the Day Dawn Café in Queen Street beside the York Hotel, the South Pacific Café on the corner of Stanley and Melbourne Streets, the High Hat Café in Fortitude Valley, the Colony Club in Edward Street opposite the Commonwealth Bank, the Palms Café at the entrance to the Regent Theatre in Queen Street, the Colony Club again—a new one established in the basement of the building after the first caught fire, so we won’t count that—and the Black and White Milk Bar in a building on the corner of Edward and Queen Streets.
The Palms was a narrow café with stylish modern cubicles along both walls and a carpeted floor. Overlooking the café was a mural on the back wall that featured an arched mirror clock flanked by palm trees.
What do you remember of these shops?