Greek brothers George and John Cassimaty arrived in Sydney in 1908 from the picturesque island of Kythira.1 After making their way north via Dungog they settled in Taree and bought equal parts in a section of land that became known as the ‘Cassimaty subdivision’ which is today bordered by Marathon and Olympia Streets.2
The Cassimaty brothers were fruiterers and well-known business identities in Taree. John, also known as Jack, opened his first refreshments room in 1911 in Victoria Street known as the ‘Elite Refreshment Rooms’ and gave his entire first day’s earnings to the Manning River Hospital.3 This café later passed to Mena Benardos and then to the Zaunders Brothers who ran it for many years as the Elite Café.4 Jack moved to Wingham where he ran a refreshments room in Isabella Street before moving to Muswellbrook.5 In 1932 Jack returned to Taree to manage The Columbia Café and he also tried his hand at French polishing.6 He later set up a fish and chip shop near the Taree punt in Pulteney Street before moving to larger premises further up Pulteney Street to run the Taree Fish Café.7
Jack was known for his generosity and cheery personality. He also owned a Mexican parrot which lived to be over 40 years old.8
Author: Janine Roberts
1 NAA: 1924/4011, CASSIMATY, George, Naturalisation, 1923-1924.
2 Taree historic rates books 1921-1925, NSW LRS Vol-Fol: 2304-143 & 2626-191.
3 Northern Champion, 1 May 1920, 5.
5 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 28 Jun 1927, 3.
6 Manning River Times & Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 15 Oct 1932, 7.
7 Northern Champion, 27 Aug 1938, 5.
8 Manning River Times & Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 13 Feb 1943, 2.
9 Aquatic Festival Street parade photograph, MidCoast Library Taree.