The boards have finally gone up on a fading Sydney landmark , the Olympia Milk Bar on Paramatta Road, Stanmore. The owner, Nick Fotiou, who is in his 90s, has finally shut the doors on the building that operated as a milk bar without interruption since it opened in 1939.
Over the years the building had fallen into disrepair and the Sydney Morning Herald reported Inner West Council had ordered the milk bar’s closure in 2017. Mr Fotiou continued to return each day to the shop that had been his life since 1959, when he bought the building with his late brother, John.
New South Wales Health had finally acted to board the decaying building over concern for Mr Fotiou’s health and safety.
Over the years, Mr Fotiou had hoped that he would be allowed to reopen. He had told the newspaper that he wanted time to restore the shop which had seen its heyday in the early 1960s. He, however, resisted many outside offers to help repair the building.
In its early days, the milk bar made the most of its location close to a cinema, the Olympia De Luxe Theatre, later to become the Stanmore Twin and which has now been converted into an apartment building.
Once popular with movie goers, it succumbed to changing tastes as, first, the cinema fell to the popularity of television and the shop itself then faced increasing competition from other fast-food outlets that sprang up in the area over the years.
The building itself faded from its former glory but it remains a part of the history of Sydney and is listed on the NSW Heritage Register. It even boasts a popular Facebook fan page with 4,500 followers
While Mr Fotiou is said to have moved into a nursing home.
An Inner West council spokesperson said that any future development of the building would be “subject to an assessment of its heritage significance and that contributing elements should be retained where possible’.”