The Madness of Australia’s ‘six o’clock swill’.

Ivanhoe Hotel, 120 Upper Heidelberg Rd Ivanhoe, Public Bar.

Image Credit: Flickr/Liam Ryan
by Naomi Russo
Australians were forced to finish their drinks by 6pm for almost 40 years – and what a drinking culture it created!
ON 28 SEPTEMBER 1967, the clock struck one minute past 6pm and premier Don Dunstan raised a glass, as South Australians joined the rest of the nation in being able to legally continue drinking.
It was the first time they had been able to do so after six o’clock since 1916, as legislation extending the closing times of licensed establishments for the first time in almost 40 years came into effect.
Early closing times had been introduced in 1916 as a war-time austerity measure, as well as in response to a growing temperance movement. Before the change most hotels and pubs had closed around 11pm.
Unfortunately for lawmakers, less time didn’t necessarily equate to less drinks. Workers who finished at 5pm rushed off to pubs, ordering as many drinks as they could before the bars closed an hour later.
The resulting pushing, slopping and general raucousness led some to describe the drinking hour as a ‘pig swill’ and so the phrase ‘six o’clock swill’ was coined.
Journalist John Larkin described the six o’clock swill in visceral detail, writing “ankle deep at 5.30pm in a morass of cigarettes… a howling thirsty mass crawling over each other to demand fifteen beers each to drink in the last, desperate guzzling minutes.”
Early closing times, combined with a state-mandated decrease in licensed establishments and the growth of disposable incomes allowed extreme drinking to flourish in Australian states during this time.
The phenomenon was not only reported in newspapers, but made its way into high culture when Australian artist John Brack painted ‘The Bar’ in 1954. The painting, which shows a crowd of men gulping down drinks, later sold for 3.17 million Australian dollars.

The Bar (1954) by John Brack
The ‘swill’ had become part of Australian culture, reported back in England by those who visited, and celebrated by some in the states as exemplifying Australian masculinity.
Despite this cultural resonance, as the years went on, the tide began to turn against the closing hours. Illegal drinking had continued throughout the time and many began to bemoan the fact they couldn’t enjoy a few quiet drinks.
Newspapers that had previously rallied behind temperance began to align the early closing times with an assault upon the freedom of men.
via Now and then: Australia’s ‘six o’clock swill’ – Australian Geographic

Royal Wizard John Dee, (1527-1608).

John_Dee_AshmoleanJohn Dee is regarded as one of the period’s leading scholars, who cast horoscopes for Queen Mary and her Spanish husband, Philip, and suggested the most auspicious date for the coronation of Elizabeth I.
But he was also said to use crystal balls to communicate with angels and collaborated with a conman who assured him the angels had suggested a spot of wife-swapping.
A group of international scholars gathered in Cambridge has tried to restore his reputation, four centuries on.
Jenny Rampling, organised the two-day conference at Dee’s old college, St John’s, where he became an undergraduate aged 15 – to celebrate him as the forgotten hero of English intellectual life.
It was at college where he suffered the first of many accusations of sorcery after a spectacularly successful stage effect for a production of Aristophanes’s Pax, according to The Guardian.
“There was never a single blockbuster discovery with Dee as with Galileo or Newton, because his interests spread so wide,” she told the paper.
“So if you’re looking for a founding father of modern science, he’s probably not the man.
“But if you’re looking for one of the most original thinkers of his day, in touch with all the major intellectuals of Europe, consulted by princes, right at the cutting edge of mathematical theory, author of the preface of the first English edition of Euclid, owner of the greatest private library in England and one of the best in Europe, that’s Dee.”
She added: “But even by the 17th century that part of his reputation was overshadowed by the stories of sorcery and conjuring.”
He is credited with coining the phrase “the British empire” and advising on some of the great Tudor voyages of exploration, including the search for the North-west Passage through the Arctic and is said to have inspired Shakespeare’s Prospero in The Tempest, and Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist.
He also proposed the reform of the Julian calendar to bring it into line with the astronomical year two centuries before it was implemented in England while he also presented Mary with a detailed plan for the first national library.
via Scholars try to rescue reputation of royal wizard John Dee – Telegraph.

‘Hallowild’ Mummy haunts Tomb in Stirling.

Stirling, Scotland
Scott Meiklejohn gets into character as a mummy during a photo call ahead of “Hallowild”, Blair Drummond Safari Park’s annual Halloween event.
This year’s theme in the haunted walkway is an Egyptian tomb with special 3D effects alongside actors playing the roles of Pharaohs and Mummies.
Image Credit: Photograph by Andrew Milligan/PA
Source: Wildfires and wildflowers: Thursday’s best photos | News | The Guardian

Poison Cabinet hidden in Hollowed Out Book.

Labeled as a “poison cabinet” when placed for auction in 2008, images of this hollowed out book have been causing a stir online ever since.
Was it a computer-generated image? Or a modern fake? According to German auction house Hermann Historica—and the private collector who purchased it for €5,200 (about $7,000)—that’s not the case.
While calling it an assassin’s cabinet may be a bit exaggerated, the dramatically titled curio is a hollowed out book from the 16th century. In the pages’ place are eleven drawers of varying sizes with meticulous labels, each spelling out which plant each drawer contained.
Of course, many of these plants, while poisonous, were also part of herbal remedies—making it equally possible we are looking at an ornate medicine cabinet.
Travelling kits were not uncommon at the time, as apothecaries would have needed to tote their items around with them. So just what was in the potentially deadly cabinet.
Though empty at the time of auction, the silver-knobbed drawers would have contained everything from opium poppy and valerian to Castor Oil plant and Bella Donna. All of these have multiple uses—both in medicine and as a poison.
For instance, Bella Donna was famously used as a poison to kill several emperor’s wives during the Roman Empire, but was also used to ward off motion sickness and as a muscle relaxer. Opium poppy, which most know as the base for numerous narcotics, was also used in medicine to treat asthma and upset stomachs.
So, if anything, this curiosity certainly shows us that one person’s poison is another’s medicine.
Known as a “poison cabinet” this 16th-century book was turned into a secret hideaway for poisonous and medicinal plants.
Source: 16th-Century Poison Cabinet Created from Hollowed Out Book

The Scilly & Netherlands Fake war lasted 335 years.

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This war was fought between the Netherlands and the Isle of Scilly, which is located off the southwest coast of Great Britain.
The war started in 1651, but like many wars of that era it was not taken seriously and soon forgotten about.
Three centuries passed before the two countries finally agreed to a peace treaty in 1986, making their war the longest in human history.
War duration: (1651-1986) Three hundred and thirty-five years. Casualties: None.

map-of-cornwall-and-isles-o

Scilly is probably Britain’s best-kept secret.
A sub-tropical paradise just 28 miles southwest of Lands End – this has to be the ‘perfect holiday’ destination.
Sub-tropical Climate, White Sand Beaches, Peace and Tranquility.
If you are looking for beautiful white beaches, exotic sub-tropical plants and a quality of life that is difficult to find in this busy World, then the Isles of Scilly are your destination of choice.
There are five inhabited islands in the archipelago, set amongst hundreds of smaller islands and rocky islets, which provide homes to numerous species of seabirds and marine animals.
via Listverse and Cornwall Online