Australia - Sly Grog
This page is dedicated
to the past and present
workers in the Australian
Liquour and Hospitality Trades
The term 'sly grog' in the Victorian Gold Rush came about the 1850's.
Victorian gold fields were declared 'dry' by Government issue.
Murder, brawling and all manner of human degradation
had been attributed to the sale of alcoholic beverages.
A raw Rum concoction was the drink of the day.
As a consequence of this Law the sly grog shops flourished everywhere.
A sly grog 'shop' could be anything from a single tent shanty pitched out the back
or simply an 'under the counter service' in a respectable establishment.
Sly Groggers ranged from the 'Missus' making ends meet to ruthless cut-throats aiming to reap fortunes from the less fortunate. However it was not uncommon for Sly Grog establishments to evolve into respectable businesses such as Hotels and Country Resorts. In most cultures the making of wine, beer, whiskey or other liquors is a time honoured family tradition. It is the unauthorised sale or trade that makes the alcohol drinks 'sly'.
Today's Groggers are made up from a similar bunch of characters with the added element of modern technology. Web Sites, email and mobile phones all make for the swift sale of most any items.
And of course today's groggers have mobility...
We have other more modern terms like "off the back of a truck", "hot" or "nicked" which relate more to the sale or purchase of stolen property, but is sometimes associated with grog.
Nowadays 'Sly Grog' most often refers to the unlicensed sale or purchase of Liquor. Under-age sales and other socially unforgiven practices still abound but need to be accredited with other terms of reference!
Up until the early 1960's Australian Pubs had a 6 pm closing time.
Sly Grog in those days also referred to the availability of an 'after hours service'
of alcohol in a Licensed Establishment.
Queensland Community Arts Network Australian cultural websites
Search courtesy of the Culture and Recreation Portal
"Warning Under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 it is an offence
You Must Be 18 + To Access This Site And Services
Providing Liquor To Minors Is An illegal Offence
Content Rated M (Mature)
In the Past
Drinking in Australian Hotels
Most early Australian Pubs had at least two
areas for the serving
and consuming alcohol beverages, men only
and mixed drinking/eating.
The 'Saloon Bar' and 'Public Bar'
(where Ladies were not welcome if not forbidden!)
A Bar was made up with a rough wooden
counter, a few stools or chairs, maybe a foot
railing, spittoons and most often tiling shoulder
height on the walls.
This was a rough and rowdy place where
most Ladies possibly wouldn't enjoy themselves
in any case!
Meals served here were famous for their
simplicity and called 'Counter Meals'. These were
great meals of ample portions at a small cost.
The 'Lounge Bar' was an area available to mixed
couples. Here you would also have fancy meals
served, dances and live entertainment. There
was more attention to decoration
and comfortable seating here. In the larger
Hotels a proper Dance Floor might be installed,
especially in Resort Hotels where people came to relax and enjoy themselves. There were often
grand fireplaces too.
Some Pubs provided a 'Ladies Bar' or 'Waiting
Room'- where Gentlemen were not
welcome. Gentlemen were not usually allowed
entry unless accompanied by a Lady. These
rooms were most often open in the
afternoons. They were quiet rooms of simple
decor where a Lady could comfortably sit and
enjoy a peaceful drink. If a Gentleman present
became obnoxious and offensive he could be
shown the door and possibly barred for a period
of time. In these days the use of public profanity
was illegal and an offense where a person could
be 'Charged' by a Law Officer.
'Bottle Shops' were often just a hallway side
window in the Hotel itself through to the Saloon
Bar from which you could purchase alcohol by
the bottle. Some Pubs had a small entrance at
the side of the Saloon Bar which held a counter
and a couple of shelves of liquor at best.
There would be no attendant so you would
have to gain the Bartender's attention by ringing a bell or calling out. The till would most often be in the Saloon Bar as well, making your purchase a clumsy and time consuming effort.
If you have a great Story to tell don't be shy,
send it in!
Aussie Pub's Motto ~ 'Warm Smiles and Cold
Beer - Cheers!
Artists Retreat @ famous Gold Fields of Hill End, N.S.W.
Cooke's Cottage Bed & Breakfast
Click on Image for link o website for contact!
We've got some 'sly grog' stories of our own, but none we'd publish ere.