They’ve got some bloody good drinkers down under

Australians have a reputation for loving their beer. I had no idea of the depth of their passion until I recently acquired a few CDs that features Australian drinking songs. These are not songs like Waltzing Matilda that are easy to sing and thus popular at parties and in pubs. They are songs that directly and fulsomely praise beer and the act of drinking to the point of venerating both and the Monty Python troupe added to the narrative of the Aussie passion for beer (and their supposed preference for the name Bruce) in these sketches here and here.

This CD collection contains of course the classic song The Pub With No Beer that tells the tragic story of a remote town whose only pub has run out of beer. Here’s Slim Dusty, the person who first recorded the song in 1957, in a live performance.

The title of this post comes from another paean to beer and drinking by Ted Egan. He refers to drinkers in the Northern Territory but the song in my collection replaces the phrase “in the Northern Territory” in the chorus with the more encompassing “down under, yes sirree”.


  1. Silentbob says

    The title of this post comes from another paean to beer and drinking by Ted Egan. He refers to drinkers in the Northern Territory…

    There is (of course) a dark flip side to Egan’s jolly song. The Northern Territory has had to introduce special laws restricting the availability of alcohol because of the devastating impact of alcohol on Aboriginal communities.

  2. Silentbob says

    @ 2 John Morales

    Silentbob, there is no “had to”, but rather “chose to”.

    Thanks for that John. Rest assured your pedantry critical adjustments are as welcome as always.

  3. hyphenman says


    In 1978, while serving on board the USS Bainbridge, I made my first visit to Australia. We pulled into Darwin and I was tasked with duty on our first day in port. I drew Shore Patrol and went ashore in the first boat.

    I walked off the pier and onto the main street and I thought I was on the set of High Noon. The street was deserted at 10 o’clock in the morning.

    As I walked down the sidewalk I heard sounds coming from a building on my left; a saloon. I stuck my head in and saw men (no women in sight) standing three deep at the bar. When they saw me, in my dress whites, they pulled me in and I was surrounded by friendly faces. (Darwin, where General MacArthur made his stand in 1942, still remembered and treated American military service personnel very well.

    That what, by all appearances looked to be a significant number of Darwinians, were three-sheets to the wind at mid-morning on a weekday was, to say the least, telling.


  4. Holms says

    Yep, that’s Darwin true to reputation. However, it should be noted that your 1978 visit came during the rebuilding of the city, as it was almost entirely smashed flat in ’74 by Cyclone Tracy. The mojority of the population had been resettled elsewhere, and those that returned faced widespread unemployment. So, hard to hold the drinking against them really.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *