Constable’s beer was kept cool in the pub’s horse watering trough

Burton Hotel Manoora c1925

A horse trough to water horses in front of the Burton Hotel, Manoora, South Australia, when Mary Florence Hinton was the publican C1925. A man and a woman (possibly Mary Hinton and husband Isadore William Hinton) are standing at the entrance. A horse trough similar to this was used by a Victorian publican to regularly “gift” the local constable. Picture: State Library of South Australia.

Keeping the constable’s beer cool

THE transfer recently of a senior constable, to a northern Victorian town calls to mind an amusing incident that occurred years ago when the senior, before his promotion, was a constable on street duty in the same town.

It was the custom for a certain hotelkeeper to leave a bottle, sometimes two, out for him when he was on night duty. A horse-trough in front of the hotel made not only a fine place of concealment, but also a good substitute for an ice chest in summer.

Two of the local soaks, however, by some mysterious means, perhaps by instinct, located the hiding place one dark night and souvenired the beer.

Hardly had they slaked their thirst under a nearby tree when the constable arrived. He looked round to see whether anyone was about, and, failing to see the culprits, rolled up his sleeve and slipped his arm into the water.

His efforts to find the bottles in the trough being unavailing, he then searched, still without success, around its stand. Finally he concluded they were gone, and, looking wrathfully round, blurted out: “Some —-‘s stolen my —- beer.”

It is not known whether a new hiding place was provided, but the soaks subsequently wetted their arms in the trough without reward.

– Smith’s Weekly (Sydney, NSW), Saturday 30 March 1929


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Categories: South Australia Hotels, Victoria hotels

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