Cricket season is upon us and I was recently listening to a discussion on the radio about changing attitudes (and regulation) of alcohol at sporting events.  It has been an offence(since the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Football Stadium Amendment By-law 1997)  to take alcohol into the SCG or the SFS (before it was demolished). We all now accept that there are now restrictions on how much beer can be purchased on site.

However, I didn’t realise that in the 1970’s the amount of alcohol you could take into the SCG was one carton per person per day. What could possibly go wrong? If you’re interested in the good old days of “beer snakes”, “beer wenches” (girls employed to buy beer for the boys) & even beach balls, then have a look at this interesting article in the UK Daily Mail. Apparently an eye watering 460,000 cans of beer were consumed at the SCG during the 4th Ashes test in 1974/75.

The SCG alcohol ban was made at around the same time as amendments to the Liquor Act in 1997 which made “harm minimisation” the object of that Act. Formal regulations for responsible service of alcohol didn’t start until 2008.

Despite all that, I was surprised to learn that responsible service of alcohol has a century plus pedigree in NSW. Section 46 of the 1912 Liquor Act provided: “If any licensee permits drunkenness or any indecent, violent, quarrelsome, or riotous conduct to take place on his licensed premises, he shall be liable for the first offence to a penalty not exceeding five pounds and for the second or any subsequent offence to a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds“. It was a defence if he has taken “all reasonable steps to prevent drunkenness on the premises.

I wish all readers a merry xmas and happy new year. Drink responsibly!

Creative commons acknowledgment for the photograph

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