Photo: Mark Lobo, Fitzroy, Melbourne, 2014.

Photo: Mark Lobo, Fitzroy, Melbourne, 2014.

b. 1981

Eamon Donnelly is an internationally acclaimed and award winning illustrator, designer, artist, photographer and Australian cultural archivist and historian. Donnelly has illustrated for some of the world’s most recognisable publications and brands including Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Billboard, Mens Health, Bloomberg Business Week, Complex, ESPN, GQ, Runners World, Golden Plains Festival, Rip Curl, Red Bull, Mountain Dew, Maxim, Advertising Age, VH1 and Playboy. In 2010 his illustrated work for VH1 & Y&R New York earned Gold and a Silver Clio Award in New York, Silver at the Cannes Lions, In Book at D&AD and a finalist in the London International Awards.

As an illustrator he is represented by The Jacky Winter Group in Melbourne Australia. He has exhibited his work in Australia, UK and the USA with three solo show’s in Melbourne and Sydney. Donnelly has also worked in Art Departments for Film and Television, notably Channel 9′s Fat Tony & Co, 2014, and the upcoming feature film The Mule starring Hugo Weaving and Angus Sampson. He has written pieces on Australian culture for auction house Leonard Joel’s monthly newspaper and Melbourne culture website Three Thousand and he has spoken at the International Design Conference AGIdeas and various other design and illustration events in Australia.

Donnelly is also the founder and director of The Island Continent, an online archive for the Australian Image. Through The Island Continent he self published a small softcover photographic book in 2012 on the Australian Milk Bar titled Milkbar: A Photographic Archive Vol 1. (available to purchase here) which has been acquired by the State Library of Victoria and the Melbourne Museum Library for their collections and sold over 400 copies since it’s release.

The Milk Bar project has been written about in The Age, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph newspapers and he has spoken on ABC774, 3AW, Triple RRR and Sydney’s 2SER radio and Inside Art TV on Melbourne’s Channel 31. His Milk Bar photography and project was recently featured on Channel 9′s The Today Show which received 2,600 likes on their Facebook page with 700 comments from viewers sharing their Milk bar memories and photographs. Due to the overwhelming success of the first book and the project as a whole, he is currently writing and photographing Australia’s first and foremost coffee table book on the Australian Milk Bar titled ‘MilkBars’. In 2014 he was chosen to exhibit his Milk Bar photography across 520 flag banners in the City of Sydney for the annual Art & About Festival where he also spoke at a panel discussing Milk Bars at Sydney’s Customs House Library.


Solo exhibitions
Art & About, Sydney, Banner Gallery Artist, 2014
Shop here for value & friendly service. Carbon Black Gallery, Prahran, Melbourne, 2013
Health food of a nation! Lamington Drive Gallery, Melbourne, 2010

Group exhibitions
Australia Trophy Lives, The Hungry Workshop, Northcote, Melbourne
Pop Rocks, Urban Uprising Gallery, Surrey Hills, Sydney
40 Thieves : 3rd Offence, Melbourne
Milkbars, Laundromats & Urban Beauty, Melbourne Fringe
Wax Off, Greenwood Gallery, Lorne
Contains 12 Pcs, Gorker Gallery, Melbourne
Lamington Drive Group Show, Melbourne
The Jacky Winter Group Show, Carlton Gallery, Melbourne
Poketo Australian Series Launch, Robio, Melbourne
No Comply, No Vacancy, Melbourne
Heaps Decent, Kings Cross, Sydney
Extra Cheeese 1 & 2, Sydney
The Forty Thieves, Gorker Gallery, Melbourne
Semi-permanent Kids Today, MTV Gallery, Sydney
Annandale Hotel, Sydney
Because We Can, Somedays Gallery, Sydney
12 X 12, Ambush Gallery, Sydney
The Wall, Surry Hills, Sydney

The Wurstminster Dog Show, Portland, Oregon
Supertrash Film Festival, Portland, Oregon
Life, East Gallery, London
It’s Nice That, Plymouth, Devon


Advertising Age, Alpha Media Group, American Airlines, American Way, Bauhaus, Billboard, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Blender, Buzz Products, Champion, CBS Interactive Inc, Chow com, Complex, D Magazine, Don’t Panic, Edible San Francisco, Elwood, ESPN, Golden Plains Festival 1 – 5, GQ, Harris Publishing, Hungry Jacks, Is Not Magazine, Jetpilot, Just Group, King Magazine, Lifelounge, Madame Brussells, Maxim, Men’s Health, Monument, Mountain Dew, NewsWeek, Nike 6.0, Orange Coast Magazine, Owl, Movement, Piping Hot, Playboy, Playboy Enterprises Inc, Poketo, Radar, Redbull, Redbull Music Academy, Friends Of Redbull, Ripcurl, Rodale Inc, Rolling Stone USA, Rolling Stone Australia , Runners World, The String Republic, Suburban, Tango, Communications, Triple J Mag, VH1, Y & R New York, Y & R Australia, H2O Just Add Water Jonathan M Shiff Productions, Channel 9, Hopscotch Films, Mr Smith Projects, Peters Ice Cream, Public Transport Victoria.


Graphic Artist The Mule. Hopscotch Films. 2014
Dir, Tony Mahony. Prod, Michelle Bennett, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell. Production Design, Paddy Reardon.

Graphic Artist Fat Tony & Co. Channel 9. 2014
Production Designer, Paddy Reardon. Art Director Juliet John.


IN BOOK – BEST OF THE YEAR Illustration / Illustration for Press & Poster Advertising
‘The Wonderful World of VH1′ Y & R New York, New York.

GOLD ‘The Wonderful World of VH1’ Print Campaign. Y & R New York, New York.
SILVER ‘The Wonderful World of VH1’ Print Campaign, Individual. Y & R New York, New York.

SILVER ‘The Wonderful World of VH1’ Illustration. Y & R New York, New York.
SILVER ‘The Wonderful World of VH1’ Print Campaign. Y & R New York, New York.

FINALIST ‘The Wonderful World of VH1’ Print Campaign. Y & R New York, New York.

NOMINATED ’Golden Plains Music Festival the 4th’ Original Illustration & Type.

SHORT LISTED ‘Final Destination 3D’ Complex Magazine, Original Illustration.


Print Symposium, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2015. 
Field Trip, ACMI, Melbourne, Australia, April 12th 2013. 
AGIdeas International Design Conference, Hamer Hall, Melbourne, Australia, 2010.
Billy Blue College of Design. Guest Lecture on Colour Theory and Symbols and Distribution, 2012.
Monash Department of Design, Faculty of Art & Design & Architecture. Guest 3rd year interview panelist, 2012.


2SER 107.3 Sydney, 11th October 2014. Australian Milk Bar Panel
The Sunday Telegraph, 21st September 2014. Milk Bars bring back the joys of the past in photographic exhibition in Sydney
The Weekend Australian, 20th September, 2014. Melbourne illustrator preserves the suburban Milk Bar 2SER 107.3 Sydney, 20th September 2014. Art & About The Milk Bar
Geelong Advertiser, 13th September 2014. Streets of our past
3AW, Nightline with Bruce Mansfield and Philip Brady. Talking Milk Bars
Inside Art TV, Channel 31, 11th March 2013. Eamon Donnelly’s Milk Bar Memorial
ABC 774 Melbourne. Evenings with Lindy Burns. Guest interview on Milk Bars
Broadsheet, Shop here for value and friendly service. Exhibition review, Tara Kenny
Triple RRR, Guest on radio show The Urbanists, discussing the Australia Milk Bar and it’s history & cultural significance
The Age, October 27th 2012. Long Goodbye to a Suburban Icon by Chris Johnston
Threethousand, 2012. Milkbar: A Photographic Archive Vol. Book review by Oscar Schwartz
The Age. Living in the 70’s
The Design Files. The Island Continent
Design Federation. Eamo Donnelly Interview
The Week. Arts, Where To Buy…Health Food Of A Nation!’
Threethousand. Interview ‘Health Food Of A Nation!’
The Age. Around The Galleries ‘Health Food Of A Nation’ A Great Mate Interview With Eamo, ‘Health Food Of A Nation!’
Design Reporter. Michael Desmond Feature, Eamo’s Ocker Funk
The Age. Interview, Taking A Crack At Aussie Blokes
Desktop Magazine. Interview, Welcome To Oz!
Academy For Men. Interview with Eamo
Computer Arts Magazine. Illustration, Today And Tomorrow
Poketo. Interview Eamo Is Aussie All The Way!!
Acclaim Magazine. Interview Eamo, Gum Leaves & Prawns
Thunder Chunky. Interview Eamo, The Wizard Of Oz
Wearetheimagemakers, Interview 5 X 5 With Eamo
Jmag. How To Be An Illustrator
Threethousand. Eamo Needs To Find Marty Monster (Found!)
Attitude Magazine. I Know, You Know, Eamo, Happy Lil’ Vegemite
V-raw. Don’t Just Dream
King Magazine, Contributing Illustrator
The Age. A2, A Matter Of Perspectives
The Age. A2, Reviews – The Forty Thieves


2010 Studio Arts Victorian Exam, Academy for Men, Acclaim Magazine, AGIdeas 20th Anniversary Book, Attitude Magazine, Australian Infront, Australian Edge, Broadsheet, Computer Arts, Design Federation, Design Is Kinky, Design Reporter, Desktop Magazine, Drawn, EMPTY Magazine, Expression College SanFran, Graphic Design Style Guide, Jmag, Juxtapoz online, King Magazine, Lost At E Minor, Monument, MX, Nice Produce, Orange Coast Magazine, Poketo, SemiPermanent, The Age, The Bigger Book of Fashion Illustration, The Brag, The Vine, The Week, Threethousand, Thunder Chunky, Trouble Magazine, Trunk Junk Quarterly, V-Raw, WeAreTheImageMakers, Workbook Illustration Annual, WGSN.

The Milk Bars Project started one day about 15 years or so ago in around 2001 when I was getting all nostalgic for my 1980s childhood growing up in East Geelong, Victoria. We lived in a small Victorian weatherboard cottage on a main road, McKillop Street, surrounded by old neighbours with blue rinses, concrete stalks, tyre swans, incredible veggie patches and back lanes. It was a golden childhood. In 1990 we moved to the other side of town and built a house on a block of land and this new development area was without Milk Bars, old neighbours and history. I was born in 1981 so this time in East Geelong was my 1980s childhood. When I was looking back at this time in my early 20s I took a trip to back to my childhood suburb of East Geelong. I wanted to walk down that footpath, peek through the picket fence and walk down the back lane.

One of the strongest memories I have of my childhood there were visits to the corner Milk Bar. Owned by Dave and Peggy, we simply called it ‘Dave’s’. Riding down the lane to the corner to buy 1 and 2 cent mixed lollies, a milkshake, a sausage roll or an ice cream was heaven. Mum even worked for the new owners in the late 1980s when Dave and Peggy sold up and opened a Take Away in North Geelong called the Nose Bag (named after the feed-bags horses wear) Sadly, on this trip down memory lane I discovered ‘Dave’s’ my old childhood Corner Milk Bar had long closed sometime in the late 1990s and only a rusted old tin sign for The Sun newspaper remained on the awning. For prosperity and childhood nostalgia, armed with a low-pixel digital camera I took a photograph of the building, which sparked my interest in the other Milk Bars that we walked to from home, were they still there? To my disappointment they were also closed, many with no traces of the shop to be seen except for a personal memory. This made me realise that something had happened within our suburban landscape. The Australian Milk Bar was quietly fading away without anyone noticing, an Australian icon was disappearing like an ice cream melting in the hot summers sun. I had still visited Milk Bars over the years but hadn’t really noticed a change until that day. I had always imagined Dave’s would still be there.

As an artist, designer and illustrator my work is heavily influenced by the Australia I grew up in. The 1980s with remnants of 1970s culture, an industrial town with a clash of surf culture, bright summer colours and a suburban childhood. I am always looking for an Australian visual language so old advertising on the side of a closed Milk Bar is part of that narrative. The Milk Bar represented an Australian culture that was disappearing. The Milk Bar was the physical manifestation of the cultural themes I had been exploring in my work, the Australian vernacular of the 1980s and prior. So I began a small photo archive of Milk Bars, Mixed Businesses and Corner Stores on Polaroid film a few years later, trying to preserve something that I loved and 'collecting' the last of the Milk Bars. Since then this personal project has turned into a large archive, of the signage, the fading paint on the awnings, the decaying facades of the buildings and in recent years the cultures and families that dwell within them. The result is a compelling visual diary of suburban Australia, of family business, the migrant story, of a landscape that is changing with so much rich history. 

To me the Milk Bar is ‘Australia’ condensed to a corner business. It was family, community, friendly service and the migrant success story. This was the place you discussed the latest news from the street corner to the other side of the world, you bought the weekly food supplies and received life advice from the owners who knew your name. You watched the owner’s children grow up and in turn they watched yours grow with them. The Milk Bars Project to capture these fading stores began with that fateful trip to my closed childhood Milk Bar 15 years ago. The project has grown over the past 15 years to an archive of around 300+ shops with thousands of images of signage, faded awning, stickers, decals and interiors some of which I have released as signed and numbered limited edition fine art prints available on this site in the shop. And after being interviewed in a press article about the project, the greatest thing happened. The daughter of my childhood Milk Bar Dave’s got in touch after I mentioned my memories of their store and her parents Dave and Peggy Hawking, the store, I found out, was actually called Hawking’s Corner Store! This was a very special and incredible connection to make from a small personal photo project, I feel it has come full circle. It had taken me back to the 1980s and my childhood. In East Geelong on those Saturdays riding up to the Milk Bar. The project has an incredible personal depth, everyone has a memory of their own childhood Milk Bar and it engages an audience that spans multiple generations. It is a story of migration, food, small business, childhood, community, suburban life, summer, mixed lolly memories and a celebration of the hard working Australian families that ran their Milk Bars.

In 2012 I launched a website called The Island Continent, an online archive for my personal collection of Australian ephemera, media and photography and pop culture. The site gave me a platform to share my Milk Bar archive away from my day to day work as an illustrator and designer. The Milk Bars posts have become the most visited pages and along with my original small self-published book titled Milkbar: A Photographic Archive Vol 1. people really resonated with this nostalgia from their childhood. The book was acquired by The State Library of Victoria and the Melbourne Museum Library for their collections and sold out of 500 copies since its release. Since then I have spoken about Milk Bars on ABC Radio in Melbourne, 3AW with Bruce Mansfield and Philip Brady, 2SER in Sydney, interviewed about the project for The Age, Daily Telegraph, The Australian and The Weekly Review, Channel 31. This was incredible and unexpected but now . After the success of the first book I had planned to self publish 2 further volumes of my photography, but following the overwhelming public response I abandoned these humble plans for something bigger. I wanted to compile these incredible micro histories, connections I had made and tell the story of the Milk Bar. So I put out a call in January 2013 for contributions to the project. Stories, photos, memories of past and present Milk Bar owners and customers. Since then I have been in contact with a dozen families who have generously shared their memories and old family photographs. Their incredible stories only reinforced my perception that the Milk Bar was more than just a place to buy your milk and bread but held significant cultural importance about the Australian way of life and where it was going.

In 2014 I began to look outside of my home state Victoria and travelled to NSW up the Hume Highway, stopping off at all of the small regional towns on the trip to Sydney where I explored the suburbs, shooting more Milk Bars and speaking to more owners. The photographs were featured that year on 500 banners across Sydney for City of Sydney's Art & About Festival and the stories and connections continued. Channel 9’s The Today Show featured the photography and the project, inviting viewers to share their old photographs and memories of Milk Bar. Their post on Facebook that day received 2,600 likes and 700 comments from viewers sharing their Milk bar memories and photographs, which they also featured on the show that morning. And as part of the festival I spoke at a panel discussing Milk Bars at Sydney’s Customs House Library alongside Australia's first and foremost Greek Cafe and Milk Bar historian Leonard Janiszewski, who along with his research colleague, documentary photographer Effy Alexakis, has been researching the birth of the Milk Bar and Greek Cafe's since 1981. In 2015 I spoke at The National Gallery of Australia in Canberra about the project and my archive and art at the 8th Print Symposium conference. 

Coming in soon!

Eamon Donnelly's MILK BARS!

Milkshakes, Memories & Mixed Lollies
The Big Bonza Book of Milk Bars!

400+ page hard cover coffee table photographic book. 

Curated, photographed, designed and written by Eamon Donnelly with contributions from past and present owners, family photographs, memories and the history of the Milk Bar.

This 15 year project has taken me all across Australia, from Little River to outback Broken Hill, St Kilda to Summer Hill, NT to NSW, Sydney down to the Gong down to Vic and Geelong. The current archive features over 6,000+ photographs and still growing, of the shopfronts, the interiors, the memories, the families and sun kissed signs of a faded summers past.

Sign up to the mailing list or follow @milkbars_ for updates on the book, launch, publication dates.
This book is not associated with a publisher - all enquiries welcome!

Did you grow up in a Milk Bar, own a Milk Bar or still run one today? As part of the book Milk Bars I want to tell your stories and share your photo's. The book will feature family recollections, photo’s from the family albums, interesting experiences, customer memories. 

I am seeking photo’s for the book from the family albums out there from past or present owners of Milk Bars across Australia. If your grandparents or parents or you yourself owned or own a Milk Bar and would like to contribute some of your family album snaps for the book please get in touch, or pass this on to anyone you know who has a Milk Bar connection. A lot of the time I mention the project to people and they respond with “Oh yes, my Uncle ran a Milk Bar!” This book relies on the same principle of the Milk Bar, the community spirit, a friend of a friend grew up in a Milk Bar, they might have some photo’s? 

The project is essentially focussed on Melbourne as it’s my home town and the majority of images are from here, which logistically makes sense, there’s no government grant to travel around Australia to photographs Milk Bars, but what I would love is some contributions from other states. I have travelled through New South Wales and Sydney. Other States can be featured too, Queensland families who ran ‘Corner Stores’ or South Australian & Perth’s ‘Deli’s’, after all the very first Milk Bar was opened in Martin Place, Sydney by Greek Migrant Mick Adams in 1932.

If you have a great Milk Bar history to share and would like this to be in the book please get in touch as I would love to hear from you! 


Purchase Signed and Numbered Limited Edition Fine Art Prints from
Eamon Donnelly's Milk Bar Project 2001 - 2016. 


Eamon Donnelly -  Australiana - Photography  (1 of 16).jpg

Eamon Donnelly
+61 403 689 789

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