WE are looking at an era without random breathalysers or points systems – but LIQUOR did indeed seem to be a an issue and a potential or present problem
The Sydney Gazette and… Saturday 23 May 1818, page 4.
WANTED, by the Undersigned, a SHEPHERD, that understands the Management of Sheep, and Care shewn.-Also, a GARDENER; and a Man of good Character, either married or single, that can make himself useful upon a Farm,- and can take the Charge of a Horse and Cart occasionally without getting drunk and neglecting the Business he may be sent upon
The Sydney Gazette and… Saturday 19 August 1820, page 3
On Monday last William Drinkwater, a prisoner, was brought before the Superintendent of Police on a charge of violently assaulting a constable (Tutty) in the execution of his duty, wresting his staff from him. and breaking his left arm. The prisoner was drunk and riotous on the Saturday afternoon, and on the interference of the police, he acted in the manner related. He was sentenced to receive 100 lashes, and be worked in the gaol gang 6 months
In the early years of the Australian colonies alcohol consumption was heavy but is shown to be lower than in some other countries at that time. The decade of the 1830s saw the highest per capita consumption although the gold rush period of the 1850s was probably comparable. From 1860 to 1900 consumption fell strongly. Causes and consequences of rises and falls in consumption levels are presented for the convict era, the gold rush years and the post-gold rush period to the end of the century. The response to drunkenness includes the attempts of the anti-drink movement to achieve prohibition.
FROM THE SYDNEY GAZETTE AND NSW ADVERTISER 25 August 1821
The Gazette saw fit to report from the Hobart Town Gazette of the 28 July of a case before the Full Bench Of Magistrates. This was reported for the benefit and information of the Public.
A LICENCED PUBLICAN WAS CONVICTED OF KEEPING A DISORDERLY HOUSE. Free persons AND prisoners had been seen frequenting said premises. The Constables had frequently found them there – drunk and disorderly. OTHER GROSS INDECENCIES were practiced there as well. This caused great annoyance to the Public.
THE LICENCE WAS PUT DOWN and it was hoped this would serve as example and warning.
FRI 17 MAY 1822
MARY GOODALL a married woman, 51 years old lived with a man called STEPHEN HUNTER out near PROSPECT. That’s on the Western Edge of Sydney. One Thursday she fell from a cart “IN A STATE OF INTOXICATION”. The right wheel of the cart did not ‘ actually pass over her body’ but it did stop the progress of the cart until they picked her up. She was then taken to the sign of the SHIP on the Parramatta-road. The landlady attended her tenderly but Stephen Hunter said that nothing was amiss except her being drunk. Mary was then put to bed and lived 4 hours only. As the Gazette says : SUCH IS ONE OF THE MANY AWFUL ENDS CONSEQUENT UPON DRUNKENNESS AND ADULTERY.
Hobart Town Gazette Saturday 14 December 1822, page 2.
HERE in the case of ABNER PIERCE we receive an AMERICAN definition of DRUNKENNESS. Abner was on the DRUNKEN LIST. Now Abner appealed against this. His witnesses declared that they saw him MERRY and WELL TO LIVE and PRETTY WELL COCKED but they had not seen him so far gone that he could not stand up.
The Opposition had witnesses of their own. They had 5 witnesses to Abner’s 3. These 5 seemed well convinced of the drunkenness but the jury inclined to a SPECIAL VERDICT in this case because Mr Abner Pierce was not DRUNK MORE THAN HALF THE TIME.
Hobart Town Gazette and… Saturday 1 February 1823, page 2.
On Thursday an Inquest was held at the Ship Inn, before A. W. H. Humphrey, Esq. Coroner, on view of the body of John Hazlewood, who was found dead early that morning lying at his master’s door, a pork butcher in Elizabeth-street. It appeared in evidence that the deceased, who had been only a week or two in the Colony, having arrived per the Morley, had been the evening previously drinking at a public-house to such excess, that he was carried home speechless drunk, in which miserable state the unfortunate man remained till he breathed his last. Verdict–Died by excessive drinking of spirituous liquors.
HERE is a fine pyramid from April 1824.
Read the articles for full details.
Here are the stages:
The Sydney Gazette Thursday 18 November 1824, page 2
On Monday afternoon, between 2 and 3, a boat belonging to the Prince Regent, in the act of leaving the King’s wharf for the ship, was upset by a sudden gust of wind, and all hands (six in number) were compelled to exert themselves for their lives. Two of the men were very drunk : but immediate assistance being afforded, none were drowned.
The Sydney Gazette and… Thursday 29 December 1825, page 3
William Geary, prisoner of the crown, found at a late hour of the night drunk and disorderly; the prisoner had repeatedly been guilty of a similar offence, and the Bench, therefore, ordered him the corporal punishment of 25 lashes.
The Sydney Gazette Thursday 19 January 1826, page 3.
Thomas Wall, prisoner of the crown, charged by his master, a wheelwright in George-street, with repeated drunkenness, absence from his duty, and general neglect and disobedience. Sentenced to receive 50 lashes.
Benjamin Morgan, prisoner of the crown, being drunk and troublesome at the church door, during Divine Service yesterday. Sentenced to the tread-mill for 7 days.
The Sydney Gazette . Wednesday 1 February 1826, page 3.
Mary Barlow, prisoner of the crown, charged with being drunk in her service at an early hour in the morning, much addicted to habits of that nature, was ordered to be sent to the second class of prisoners at the Factory, where she will soon find the difference between the comfort of, a’ respectable service, and the labour assigned to prisoners whose misconduct has subjected them to exemplary punishment of that description.
Sarah Conway, prisoner of the crown, on a similar charge, but under more aggravated circumstances, ordered to the third class al the Factory.
TAKE A LOOK AT THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF AUSTRALIA SITE FOR MANY MORE. WHILE YOU ARE THERE – CONSIDER GIVINE THEM A HAND WITH THE EDITING OF THEIR BETA PROJECT WHICH BRINGS US FREE ACCESS TO NEWSPAPERS BETWEEN 1788 AND 1954.