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The FOOD BUSINESS was an exhibition about Wollongong’s own ‘foody’ pioneers.The exhibition showcased the individuals that brought new flavours and colours to the palates of the people in the emerging city that we know and love today.

Many people believe that Wollongong became a multicultural city after WWII but in fact there were many people from diverse cultural backgrounds who lived in and influenced the culture of Wollongong long before the second world war.

Many of these businesses became institutions in themselves and the foundations they laid helped to generate other commercial ventures in food production and culinary culture in the region.

They deserve to be celebrated and congratulated for their vision and hard work in bringing a kaleidoscope of flavours to our homes.

The exhibition focused on eight merchants from seven different migrant backgrounds who owned businesses in Wollongong prior to World War 2:

  • Phineas Beatus (Poland) 1854-1893, General Store, Unanderra and Wollongong

  • Conrad Heininger (Germany) 1862-1888, Farmer and Butcher, Dapto

  • Joe Puglisi (Italy) 1920-1936, Fish Monger, Wollongong

  • Charlie Ameera Box (India) 1920-1946, General Store, Albion Park

  • Mario Borgo (Italy) 1920-1955, Wine and Spirit Merchant, Wollongong

  • Joe Wah Gow (China) 1920-1955, Grocer and Draper Merchant, Wollongong

  • Tambakis Brothers (Greece) 1933-1969, Silver Bell Cafe, Wollongong

  • Evelthon Nicola Imisides (Cyprus) 1936-1950s, Fish Shop & Oyster Supplier, Wollongong and Warrawong



Project: Related links


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If Illawarra’s cultural heritage matters to you, you may want to stay in touch with MHP and become a member.


For further information:

Migration Heritage Project
PO Box 1589
South Coast Mail Centre
Wollongong NSW 2521