Archive for September, 2008

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The (sort of) 1922 Australian Ban on Absinthe.

It is true to say that absinthe has never been nationally banned in Australia under federal law. That is not to say however that absinthe has never been banned in Australia in any capacity.

A recent review of government gazette notices published in 1922 in the Northern Territory has revealed that a specific prohibition to the possession of absinthe was in fact enacted. Curiously however, the prohibition was legislated under South Australian law in context to its application in the Northern Territory only.

While this might appear confusing, it is important to understand that up until 1911, the Northern Territory was part of the jurisdiction of South Australia, when it then came under Commonwealth control.  However, all South Australian laws remained in continued effect until specifically amended by the Commonwealth, such as in the following gazette notice presented to us.

Northern Territory Times and Gazette, Saturday 21 January, 1922 (page 5).


No: l6 of 1921.  AN ORDINANCE.

To amend “The Food and Drugs Act, 1908 of the State of South Australia in its application to the Northern Territory, and for other purposes.”

BE it ordained by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, with the advice of the Federal (Executive Council, in pursuance of the powers conferred by the Northern Territory Acceptance Act 1910-1919 and the Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1910 as follows :

Short Title.

1.         This Ordinance may be cited as the Food and Drugs Ordinance, 1921.

Dilution of Spirits Amendment of Act 968 of 1908, sec. 22, S.A. (No. 1252, s. 3)

2.         Section twenty-two of the Food and Drugs Act 1908 of the State of South Australia, in its application to the Northern Territory, is amended by omitting paragraph (5) of the proviso thereto and inserting in it’s stead the following paragraph:

(5) “Where spirit’s are not adulterated otherwise than by being diluted’ with water, and such dilution being estimated by Sykes’ hydrometer has not reduced the spirits more than thirty-five degrees under proof for brandy, whisky, rum, schnapps, unsweetened gin, or other unsweetened spirits, or forty five degrees under proof for sweetened gin or other sweetened spirits.”

Dealing in Absinthe Prohibited.

3 (1.) Any person who sells, or in any manner disposes of, delivers, or supplies, to any other person, or deals or trafficks in, or has in his possession, order, or disposition, any of the liquor known as absinthe shall be liable to a penalty for the first offence of not more than Twenty pounds, and for a second or any subsequent offence, of not more than Fifty pounds.

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Posted by Jonathan on Sep 28th 2008 | Filed in History,Huh?,News,Regulations | Comments (0)

Why We Love Australian Bartender

Australian Bartender

Those with eagle eyes, or subscriptions to Australian Bartender magazine, will have noticed that the August issue was filled with absinthe-related delights, including a glowing review of our own wee site. Isn’t that nice? They say:

“A blog dedicated to promoting “Australian absinthe culture, history, product reviews, art, literature, music and lifestyle”, is the brainchild of self-confessed libertines and absintheurs Jonathan Carfax and Robert Maxwell. Australia-based, both were deeply involved in the early absinthe revival in this country and continue to promote a sustainable culture of absinthe consumption. They face an ongoing battle to dispel the myths surrounding one of history’s most controversial spirit categories while promoting a new, emergent absinthe culture in the 21st Century. Their site is a major vehicle with which they fight their cause and is an invaluable resource for those wishing to understand this much-maligned spirit.”

Australian Bartender magazine is a must-read for any serious bartender wanting to stay up to date with all things drinks related. Since its inception in 1999, Australian Bartender has established itself as the leading trade publication for bartenders and has an unrivalled reputation within the trade as the bartenders’ bible.

Posted by Robert on Sep 14th 2008 | Filed in News,People | Comments (0)

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