The Mora family also owned and operated three of Melbourne's most famous cafés. The Mirka Café was opened in December 1954 at 183 Exhibition St and was the venue for the first major solo exhibition by Joy Hester. It was followed by the Café Balzac at 62 Wellington Pde, East Melbourne and then by the Tolarno in Fitzroy St, St Kilda, which opened in 1966. All three were focal points for Melbourne's bohemian subculture.
Georges and Mirka became close friends and colleagues of many leading names of Australian arts and letters. Very few of this crowd had any money then, Philippe recalls, "and my parents literally fed artists at our home and in our restaurants." As a result, their three sons had what Philippe describes as a culturally privileged childhood.
The Mora family's social circle included many Australian artists who subsequently became world-famous -- Ian Sime, Charles Blackman and Barbara Blackman, Fred Williams, John Perceval and Mary Perceval, Albert Tucker, Barrett Reid, Laurence Hope, Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan and Joy Hester. The Mora family were especially close friends with renowned art patrons John and Sunday Reed, and spent many weekends at their famous home and artists' colony, Heide (now the Heide Museum of Modern Art) in the outer Melbourne suburb of Heidelberg, and at the Reed's beach house in Aspendale.
Philippe is now a film director of international repute; his younger brother William is a leading Melbourne gallery owner and art dealer (one of only three second-generation art dealers in Australia) and the youngest Mora brother, Tiriel Mora, is a prominent stage and screen actor, with credits including the ABC's classic TV current affairs satire Frontline (TV show)
Philippe Mora Facts