Australia: The 10 O'Clock Swill

Midway through World War I, the Australian government decided that it would be patriotic to shut all pubs at 6 p.m. With offices closing at 5, that did not leave much time for serious drinking, but Australians learned to make the most of it. Like alcoholic camels, they stowed away great amounts of beer in short amounts of time, capping it all with what is known as "the 6 o'clock swill"—ordering up to half a dozen beers a minute before the "beeroff" bell, gulping them down in the 15 minutes before the barmaids had to collect all glasses. Professional teetotalers...