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Australia’s First Absinthe?

Australia’s first Absinthe?

And while we have much respect to Michael and Alla Ward & the fine people at Tamborine Mountain Distillery – it isn’t the one manufactured by them.

Although curiously it is an absinthe produced in Queensland. In 1878 to be exact.

In an article in The Brisbane Courier, Thursday 22 August 1878, a competition report of the Queensland Intercolonial Exhibition is provided. It was a busy day, with between eight and nine thousand attendees, with over 400 pounds taken at the gate. Many new an interesting wonders are being exhibited – the inner workings of torpedos, the unbeatable strength of the diamond drill that could power through the hardest stone, explosive demonstrations of ordinance mines the local park, cattle, sheep, fine arts, Hibernian bands, and that new fang-dangled invention called electricity, which to the crowds astonishment could power lighting!

Perhaps most importantly for antipodean absintheurs…


Spirits of wine and colonial rum were shown by the Milton Distillery Co. and there was a sample of rum from Hewitt & Co of Mackay; the only other exhibits in this class were absinthe from Bertheau of Bundaberg and white spirit from Quinlan, Gray and Co.

Who was Bertheau?

Here we need to refer to the 1878 Edition of Pugh’s Queensland Alamanac, Law Calender, Directory, Coast Guide and Gazetteer.

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Posted by Jonathan on Oct 19th 2008 | Filed in Culture,History,Huh?,News,People | Comments (0)