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Aladdin's Cave of lollies is no more, as Orange's Coronet Milk Bar closes

October 23, 2023

Kelly at the Coronet Milk Bar. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

By Peter Holmes

And just like that, the Coronet Milk Bar at the entrance to the Orange Arcade on Summer Street was gone.

The shop that had brought toothy smiles to countless thousands of kids over the years – as they carefully selected their bags of mixed lollies – closed on Sunday without fanfare.

A sign of the times. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

When the news made social media the response was swift and nostalgic. People simply don’t want to see it go. The memories are too precious.

Essentially, the Coronet Milk Bar was an Aladdin’s Cave of sugar, gelatin, food colourings, some more sugar, lots of shiny wrappers and a bit of dairy. It doesn’t get much better than that if you’re a kid.

Rows and rows of lollies of all shapes and colours, stored in plastic tubs and giant jars. Hard ones, soft ones, chocolatey ones, chewy ones. Straight ones, circular ones. Lollies that took you back to your own childhood. Lollies that could take your teeth out if you weren’t careful.

The Coronet Milk Bar on Monday. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

Packets of foreign chewing gum, and US confectionery like Junior Mints and Milk Duds. And those vast plastic tubs of imported cheese-flavoured snacks.

Then there were the ice-creams up the back; the thick shakes; the milk shakes.

And, of late, an expansion into hot food with fancy hot dogs and the like.

A small chalkboard at the Coronet Milk Bar carried a handwritten message on Sunday: “Closing down. Last day Sunday 10-4.”

The Coronet Milk Bar on Monday. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

The Coronet used to be on the other side of Summer Street and was attached to the Coronet Theatre.

Formerly the Theatre Orange, which opened in 1926, it became the Coronet in the mid-1950s. It later took other names before closing in 1988.

Movie patrons at the 1,110-seat theatre would load up on supplies before or after the main feature.

The Coronet Theatre. Photo: Tim/flickr.

The company managing the Orange Arcade would not comment on why the shop had closed, citing privacy. The Orange News Examiner has sought comment from the shop’s operator Kelly Tanks.

It is not known if the Coronet will rise again, or whether we have just witnessed the passing of an era.

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