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Oral History

History > Oral History > Jack Castrissios, Prime Minister Curtin, WWII & the Niagara Cafe, Gundagai.

History > Oral History

submitted by Hugh Gilchrist on 12.02.2005

Jack Castrissios, Prime Minister Curtin, WWII & the Niagara Cafe, Gundagai.

Dinner in Gundagai

On Greece’s national day in 1942 Prime Minister John Curtin publicly declared Australia’s admiration of Greece’s stand against aggression, and Australia’s sym­pathy with the suffering Greek people. Several months later he had occasion to be grateful for local Greek hospitality.
On a wintry evening, travelling with several members of the Advisory War Council from Melbourne to Canberra, he reached Gundagai towards midnight, just as Jack Castrissios, proprietor of the Niagara Cafe, was closing his door. A tired, cold and hungry Prime Minister knocked and asked if he could possibly have something to eat. In the car Ben Chifley, Artie Fadden and Senator O’Sullivan waited hopefully. Castrissios warmed the travellers in his kitchen and cooked them steak and eggs.

Asked how he was coping with war-time food-rationing, Castrissios replied that his monthly tea allowance was hardly enough to keep his cafe going. Mr Curtin nodded to Senator O’Sullivan, Minister in Charge of Rationing. Soon afterwards the cafe’s tea ration was more than doubled; and thereafter, en route through Gundagai, Mr Curtin would sometimes stop at the Niagara for a cup of tea.

page, 58,

Vol. 3. Australians and Greeks. The Later Years.

Author: Hugh Gilchrist
When Published:2004
Publisher: Halstead Pres
Available: Halstead Press
Description: ISBN 1920831193
Retail Price : $69.95

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