Friday, May 22, 2015


Going back to 1950 I found this letter about an entirely different, and most controversial, subject.  It was published in The West Australian on Saturday, 11 November, 1950 (65 years ago).


Sir - At an emergency meeting of our organisation which was held to consider the forthcoming Prohibition Poll which has been thrust upon the community, much concern was expressed at the waste of time and money involved in holding a poll which is not wanted by the majority of the people, and which will not indicate in any way, the desire for the long overdue revision of the Licensing Act.

This organisation views with alarm the ever-growing use of alcohol by our young people, the numerous cases of drunken driving, and the insidious threat to our national welfare caused by the increasing part played by alcohol in all walks of life.  The majority opinion of our members is that the answer to this menace is not prohibition, but education coupled with a comprehensive review of the Licensing Act, with a view to incorporating much needed requirements.

The danger of the forthcoming poll is that a complete rejection of the prohibition issue may be mistaken for a vote of confidence in the liquor position as it stands today.  With this in mind, we are therefore urging our members to vote for prohibition on December 10, as a protest against the inadequacy of this poll.  It is most unlikely, in view of the three-fifth majority required, that prohibition will go through, but the larger the affirmative vote, the stronger the case for reform.  Whatever the outcome we hope that the Government will undertake an immediate investigation and review of our Licensing Act.

Yours etc,
DOROTHEA R. BULFORD (State President)
GERTRUDE W. RUSTON (State Secretary)
Women's Service Guilds of W.A.

I was only 18 at this time and being a non-drinker of alcohol and *too young to vote anyway this passed me by.  Mum may have spoken of it a the time but I have no recollection at all about such a Poll being held in W.A.

*both the drinking and voting age was 21 back in 1950.


  1. We still need education on alcohol issues. It has a powerful role in our community and a lot of it is not good.

  2. Hari OM
    .....Hmmmmm,,,,, like prohibition worked so well where it was applied before. No, I fear there can be no effective legislation regarding misuse of mind-altering substances, whatever they by. Since ever man discovered the ability to alter his chemistry, the desire was set and man driven by desire is rather relentless.

    Education is definitely required, just as with smoking and any other such vice. The trouble is, where one recedes, another takes its place. ..... As long as there remain sane and fearless voices such as you mother's, there will be balance! YAM xx

  3. Prohibition starts at home, along with education. Every teenager should take a field trip to walk through the "drink/drunk tank" to see the glamour of drinking.

  4. Like the others said, education is the key, but it needs to begin at home, before being continued at school. The trouble with that is many homes are already in the grip of alcoholism, so the children there are learning the wrong message.
    Full prohibition rarely works, it just leads to illegal activity and "beer runs" similar to the gun running of other eras.

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