CAN KATOOMBA’S PARAGON CAFE BE PRESERVED?

Paragon Cafe, Katoomba

We want those doors to stay OPEN.

In 1916 The Paragon Café  was established  at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales  by Greek immigrant Theo Simos and his family.  It became an enormous success, and far more than a café.  The art-deco interior still features  a  banquet room, and a ballroom with a sprung dance floor.  Young men courted their sweethearts with the  Paragon’s boxes of hand made confectionary and society  brides ordered a wedding cake from the café  for their big day.

 

As the name suggests, there was nothing to rival the Paragon, although it was once almost destroyed by a runaway motor vehicle.

1924 – UNDER ASSAULT BY A BLACKHEATHEN BOLTER

Katoomba Daily Thursday 4 December 1924

Consternation was caused among the 40 persons quietly enjoying their coffee and cakes at the Paragon Café, Katoomba Street, about 10.30 on Tuesday night, when a motor car, belonging to Mr Milton G.M Beadman of Blackheath, ran amok and unannounced crashed into the northern window of the premises, creating great havoc.

It appears that the car had been left outside the Classic Fish store, and for some reason at present unknown began running backwards.

As it careered down the hill, which at this point is somewhat steep, it speedily gathered speed until without  warning it turned, mounted the footpath, and smashed into the handsome frontage of the Paragon, ruining three of the splendid plate glass windows and cracking beyond repair one panel of the adjoining windows.

In addition, much damage was done to the cake and sweet stands, but following the precedent established by Katoomba inhabitants no pilfering is to be recorded.

No pilfering?  Given the reputation of the cakes and chocolates at the Paragon,  the restraint of the public was  admirable

Paragon Cafe chocolate counter

The chocolates that  still  draw people from all over NSW and beyond.

To the credit of the Simos family everything was back on track in time for the Christmas trade. The Katoomba Daily  ran a feature on local shops on December 20.

THE PARAGON

Full preparations have been made by this firm for the Xmas trade in the cake and confectionary departments. Their cakes have already achieved universal distinction…..In the chocolate department they hold a wide range of handsomely boxed goods that when emptied of their contents make splendid and lasting handkerchief or oddment boxes. One of the nicest we noticed is priced at 50/-. It has two trays filled with the choicest chocolates and when emptied would prove a worthy ornament to any dressing-table or side-cabinet.

THE PARAGON RESTORED TO GLORY!

Paragon Cafe banquet room, Katooma

2018 –  A FAR GREATER THREAT

High rent and the need for urgent repairs to the building has meant that the current Lessee of the Paragon will not be renewing her lease. For more information, CLICK HERE.  Sadly, the Paragon is due to close in May.  We can only hope that this much loved  cultural treasure  is able to rise like a mythical Greek phoenix and continue to delight us.

 

Paragon Cafe Katoomba

Here’s a challenge my fellow Blue Mountains residents (or anyone interested).  Express your dismay regarding the closure at a local and  state government level.   Pop along and offer your support. If nothing else, it will give you a chance to visit the dear old Paragon for what may be the last time. It’s Easter soon, another excuse to buy CHOCOLATE.

UPDATE – PLEASE READ THE COMMENT LEFT BELOW BY LINSI BRAITH FOR DETAILS OF HOW  BEST YOU CAN HELP.

Here in Blackheath  public outcry protected Wentworth Street from the blight of angle parking last year, so it’s worth speaking up.

FEEL FREE TO LEAVE A COMMENT IN THE BOX BELOW.

2 Comments
  1. THE PARAGON IS IN CRISIS – Please help to protect the Paragon by signing petitions and please take a look at the work that Friends of The Paragon have achieved to date. There is also a meeting next Wednesday night at The Carrington – in the Library, commencing at 6pm.

    The Paragon is an iconic restaurant in Katoomba NSW. It is one of the last remaining, finest, and most intact examples of the great, inter-war, regional restaurants.

    The current lessee has announced intentions to leave the property in May 2018 and to remove or sell off much of the contents. Including a great many items from the earliest times of The Paragon, the contents are an important part of cultural heritage, documenting much of the history of the restaurant and confectionery business founded in 1916 by a young immigrant from Kythera. Collectively, the contents show the important part The Paragon played in the community, and the development of Australian cuisine and cafe culture.

    The collection must not be allowed to be dispersed

    Friends of The Paragon Inc., believe that the collection should be preserved and retained, intact, within the community and be accessible to the community and the many visitors to the region.

    In a further alarming development, the lessee has sought to register the original trade marks of The Paragon Katoomba as the intellectual property of a private Trust based in Sydney. If this attempt is successful, it could see “The Paragon Katoomba” brand confectionery neither made at The Paragon nor in Katoomba!

    The petition on CHANGE: https://www.change.org/p/cr-mark-greenhill-oam-mayor-blue-mountains-city-council-protect-the-paragon
    Firends of The Paragon: https://www.facebook.com/friendsoftheparagonkatoomba/

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