Who remembers the days of real milk bars and real milkshakes – milkshakes made with malt and filled to the brim with real milk and dispensed in the traditional metal tumbler?
As a young lad growing up in Far North Queensland, FNQ to the initiated, I can remember my father taking me on a Saturday morning ritual to check the mail at the post office followed by a milkshake at our favourite milk bar.
I suspect Dad was never interested in what the mail brought, in fact I don’t ever recall him opening it, but boy did we savour those milkshakes.
So it was to my great surprise that I discovered Bell’s Milk Bar in our iconic Outback town of Broken Hill. Now I have written often about the rich history of “The Hill” and on sojourns to and from the Outback we always take the time to stop over, if only to stand on the western edge of this great town as the sun cast its last rays on a red ochre coloured landscape.
But somehow I had overlooked this gem that is caught in a 1950s time warp.
Needless to say I wasted no time in ordering a chocolate malted milk which I savoured with great pleasure as Janet and I wandered around looking at the memorabilia that has been collected over the years…
Plastic tables, plenty of chrome, even the old heavy black phones!
Without a doubt it is now on our must-do things when passing through “The Hill” in fact we’ve made a mental note to ensure it is the first thing we do as “The Landy” heads into town…
Crikey, I’d drive the 1,200-kilometres from Sydney any day to fill-up at Bell’s; to reminisce of days long-gone, of those moments with the “Old Man” in downtown Townsville drinking our liquid gold through a paper straw, the silence punctuated only be the slurping sounds of a quickly disappearing shake.
So take my tip and be sure to include Bell’s on the itinerary next time you are passing that way, you won’t be disappointed!
Photo Baz – The Landy