In another blow to Australia’s Hellenic heartbeat, Lonsdale Street’s iconic Medallion Café has announced it will be shutting its doors.
Since 1970 Medallion has stood tall at the centre of everything Greek in Melbourne’s CBD, and for a lot of Greeks it was ‘the’ meeting place for most of those years.
On the back of the announcement, many first and second generation Greek Australians took to social media to voice their angst and to recount their endless memories.
Although Melbourne’s Greek heartbeat has been gradually shifting from Lonsdale Street to Oakleigh, Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria (GOCMV) president Bill Papastergiadis believes Hellenism is still vibrant on the traditional Lonsdale Street strip – helped by the recent opening of the new Cultural Centre.
“It’s still the centre of Melbourne. It is the CBD for our city and our state and our presence there is very vibrant from a teaching perspective in terms of the schools that are being used in that precinct, to the glendi which is by far the biggest ethnic festival in Australia, to the nightly events that are being held in the Cultural Centre which are being attended by over 200 people.”
Despite Medallion’s iconic stature, Papastergiadis says the Cultural Centre will reinvigorate the area’s unique Hellenism.
“It’s sad. It’s a sad moment to see the shop closed. We would have hoped there would have been more of an effort by all parties to ensure its continuation in one form or another, but at the same time when one door closes another one opens.
“The Greek Community itself will be announcing a major tenant for its ground floor and for its rooftop bar and we’re confident that the precinct itself will survive and continue to thrive, and that of the 70 per cent of the building that we have now leased, almost all of the tenants are Greeks. So what may be a small isolated event with Medallion is not being replicated elsewhere. We’re confident that there will be a strong and steady procession and growth within the precinct.”
source: Neos Kosmos