Alcohol Fermentation in Australian Aboriginals

Maggie Brady

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review


    Australia, it has been said, was the worlds only dry continent, and its Indigenous peoples were one of the few societies in the world that had no traditional alcoholic beverages (Cleland, 1957, p. 159; Dingle, 1980, p. 228; Spencer, 1988). Australians commonly believe that prior to contact with outsiders in the eighteenth century, neither Aboriginal people nor Torres Strait Islanders (the two Indigenous peoples of the country) knew of the process of fermentation and thus how to make drinks containing alcohol. This is taken by some commentators to be the explanation for widespread alcohol abuse in later years. If people had no alcoholic drinks, it is argued, they lacked the traditions and rituals associated with alcohol consumption and had no need to develop the internal social controls that would contain any unwanted effects of intoxication. These interpretations are only partly true for there are documented accounts suggesting that Aboriginal people in some regions did, in fact, kno ...
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEncyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures
    EditorsHelaine Selin
    Place of PublicationNetherlands
    PublisherSpringer Netherlands
    ISBN (Print)9789400739345
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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