Soft drink dispensers, coffee machines and music devices are now part of everyday life but in the 1940s in Taree these items were novelties. Brothers George and John Cassimaty were Greek immigrants and fruiterers who set up a refreshments room in Victoria Street, Taree in 1911.1 Together they bought land which became known as the Cassimaty Subdivision and is today bordered by Marathon and Olympia Streets.2 George also ran a fruit exchange in Manning Street for 23 years which was similar to a café and delicatessen selling light meals and imported items such as French olive oil and coffee.3
In 1943 George moved his business from Manning Street to set up the Victory Café in the Beehive Building on the corner of Victoria and Pulteney Streets. It was in this café that George changed the face of the Taree café scene by installing a New Century Fountain Machine which dispensed various soft drinks.4 In 1948, he extended his business to include an amusement arcade with a modern ‘Music Maker’ similar to a jukebox, slot machines and a flying duck shooting game.5 In 1952, he installed a coffee machine called ‘La Carimali’.6 It was these innovative ideas that made the Victory Café a popular spot with the youth who repeatedly played Frankie Laine’s ‘Jezebel’ and enjoyed the soft drinks, milkshakes and banana splits.7
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of New South Wales, 9 Aug 1939, 3.
2 Taree historic rates books 1921-1925 and NSW Land Registry Services.
3 Northern Champion, 11 Feb 1931, 3.
4 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of New South Wales, 30 Jan 1943, 2.
5 Northern Champion, 28 May 1948, 2.
6 Northern Champion, 27 Jun 1952, 3.
7 Wendy McKeough, Taree in my lifetime (Chatham, NSW: Taree Family History Incorporated, 2013), 33.
8 The Beehive Store, MidCoast Library Taree.
9 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of New South Wales, 31 Oct 1952, 8.