The Demon Drink

It's closing time at the local pub, and the main street of Borroloola, 730 km southeast of Darwin, has erupted in a series of drunken brawls. Spilling from the beer garden, heavily intoxicated Aborigines hurl cans, stones and abuse ("F___ you, c___, I'll kill you") at each other. At the hostel across the road, guests watching the communal television barely flinch. "We are so used to it now," says owner Trish Elmy, who sometimes puts up a barrier of water sprinklers to deter the mob from fighting near—or collapsing in—her property. "We know nothing gets done, so what can we do?"...

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