Historical information

This photograph is held in the Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute Audio Visual Collection. Please contact BMI for all print and usage inquiries. Ballarat artist and educator Geoff Wallis took a series of photographs of Ballarat Milk Bars in the 1970s. This is one of his favourites. He notes: “My ‘local’ is not the pub that stands on a corner only 100 metres from my home but the milk bar that is across the road from the pub in Peel Street North. It is an extraordinary example of the milk bar fulfilling its time-honoured role of being every suburb or town’s Aladdin’s Cave. It is well worth a visit. I photographed this milk bar in 1979 when it was a much more conventional shop and then continued on taking photographs of all the milk bars I could locate around Ballarat. The photographs were to be the starting point for an artistic project but this didn’t eventuate. Though my motivation was primarily artistic I was also interested in milk bars as familiar and essential parts of daily life. Their accoutrements of Peters Ice Cream cones, newspaper headlines, and colourful signage made them distinctive features of the townscape. Milk bars had been part of my life from when I first was sent to ‘the shop’ as a little boy clutching a ration card. My parents bought a milk bar in Camberwell when I was nine and though I only lived there for a year, it is still vivid in my mind. Lollies, comics, ice cream, milkshakes -- all the treasures essential for a happy childhood -- awaited any child who pushed through the door. Though milk bars were once scattered throughout the city, competition from many sources is making them an endangered species.”