WHILE eastern states like NSW and Victoria endured 6pm closing of pubs last century, Western Australia’s later time of 9pm didn’t give drinkers too much advantage. With beer rationing or quotas introduced as a consequence of the war, Perth’s pubs often ran dry and many were closed before 8pm. The Perth Daily News reported on January 7 1946:
Early closing farce
Plea of ‘No Beer’
Although State licensing laws prescribe 9am to 9pm for hotel trading, six hotels in Perth‘s city block closed well before 9 o’clock on Saturday night.
Reason given in every case was ‘no beer.’ Because of complaints made by hotel patrons, a Daily News reporter and cameraman made a tour of the city block on Saturday night.
Hotels that had closed were visited and their managements were asked why. Here is the list of closed city hotels, the time of the visit and the replies:
- Melbourne Hotel (7.10pm): We have only just closed. We have no beer, no whisky and only a little wine.
- City Hotel (7.15pm): We’re closed because we have no beer. And we won’t have any more until Tues-day.
- Bedford Hotel (7.20pm): Beer’s run out and there’ll be none before Tuesday.
- Wentworth Hotel (7.27pm): We closed at 6 p.m. We’ve been keeping open as long as we can for the past week but now we have no beer and have had to close.
- Royal Hotel (7.35pm): We’ve closed early because of shortage of beer. Beer supply is so short these days that we can put it on only during two separate hours of a day. We try to have it available for the workers.
- Central Hotel (7.40pm): Just haven’t enough beer. We can make it available for only a few hours a day now.
Discussions with a number of hotelkeepers on Saturday night and today elicited the following comments:
- Beer quotas now are hopeless. I could pull my present quota for a month in two days. Here we are in the midst of summer and my beer quota now is what I get for July, the middle of winter. Everyone knows that people drink more in hot weather.
- When beer supplies run out and spirits are available, people not used to drinking spirits tackle them and sometimes drink a lot of them. The results are highly unpleasant and disagreeable for everyone. How can hotels be expected to keep open when they have nothing to sell?
- There is obviously not enough beer available for the public’s reasonable requirements. Bigger and better quotas will solve our big problems.
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