Raise a Glass to Don
Don Dunstan was one of Australia’s most charismatic, courageous, and visionary politicians; a dedicated reformer with a deep commitment to social justice.
On Wednesday, 27 September we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Don Dunstan first becoming Premier of South Australia.
To recognise that Don was a long serving member for Norwood, we hosted the celebrations at the Norwood Hotel.
Guests were addressed by Greg Crafter, long time MP for Norwood and Don Dunstan's successor in the seat.
September 2017 also coincided with the abolition of “the six o’clock swill” so at 6.00pm we all raised a glass to toast Don and his achievements.
About “the six o’clock swill”
Six o'clock closing operated in this state from 1915, but it was in the process of breaking down under the weight of public ridicule and pressure. It had been abolished in New South Wales in the mid-50s and in Victoria in the mid-60s. The other states had never had it.
Don's 1967 Licensing Act was a total revamp of the licensing laws based on the recommendations of the Royal Commission. Not only was early closing abolished, but the system was given a new flexibility which enabled the conditions of trading of clubs, restaurants and bottle shops to meet the reasonable needs of everybody.
Along with the lifting of the 6 o’clock close came another important piece of liberalising legislation: women were now legally allowed to drink in the front bar of pubs. Yes, until 1967 it was illegal for a women to be present in the front bar.
The result is the enlightened and flexible system which we now have. Don Dunstan had a vision of a community lifestyle in which people could enjoy liquor as a social amenity and adjunct to good living without unnecessary and heavy handed regulation. He was able to institute a licensing system during his public life which enabled this lifestyle to occur, and in doing so laid the foundations for later improvements. In this, as in so many other ways, our South Australian community owes a great debt to Don Dunstan.
Credit: Len King, Dunstan Foundation Bulletin 1999 and Adelaide City Mag