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Culture > Bibliography > A Shop Full of Dreams

Culture > Bibliography

submitted by Peter Tsicalas on 16.08.2004

A Shop Full of Dreams

A Shop Full of Dreams: Ethnic Small Business in Australia
by Jock Collins, Katherine Gibson, Caroline Alcorso, Stephen Castles, David Tait.
Published 1995 by Pluto Press Australia.
ISBN 1 86403 007 0.

The authors received a grant from the Australian Research Council and the Office of Multicultural Affairs to study the impact of economic restructuring on Immigrant workers in Australia. They surveyed and interviewed over 200 Italian, Greek, Lebanese and Vietnamese immigrants and their descendants in Sydney. They attempt to capture the hopes and aspirations that many first generation immigrants had when they took the risky step to open a business of their own, often a shop-front selling goods and services to the ethnic or general public, but it’s a pretty academic read.

It gives an overview of Greek café history and the early Kytherian involvement in the game, but mainly gives these sorts of facts:
Today one in three milk bars, cafes and take-away food shops in Australia are owned and operated by Greek-born Australians, a remarkable fact given that the Greek-born comprise only 2.5% of the Australian population…
By 1947 there were between 2000 and 3000 Kytherians in NSW, including second and third generations. Less than one-third lived in Sydney…
Greeks have one of the densest residential concentrations of any migrant group in Sydney…
In 1981 Greeks still had the highest percentage of self-employed people, males and females, in Australia, including the Australian born…
In 1991 Greeks still made up the highest percentage of overseas born in Marrickville, despite a drop of 24% on 1986…

And …Burnley* notes that by 1974, Newtown had become a major Greek ethnic shopping node, with at least 135 Greek shops, clubs or institutions. Marrickville Road was another focus of Greek retail and service businesses. Owners of shops such as the Classic Milk Bar at 266 Marrickville Road, bought by Jack Cordatos in 1949, played an important part in migrant settlement in Sydney. Cordatos acted as ‘a community leader, helping newcomers to fill out forms and even to purchase houses’. From his shop he coordinated fundraising for the purchase of a property in Livingston Road to establish a Greek Orthodox church (in the process recruiting 200 new accounts for a Marrickville bank in return for a large loan for the church construction).….
* ‘Greek Settlement in Sydney 1947-71’ by Ian Burnley, published in ‘Australian Geographer’, Vol13, Nov1976.

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