It's Great Mate ... The Aussie Beer Shed
The Lady of Liberty says -
'Aussie Beers are the Best'.
Well-ll-ll, who am I to argue? I certainly wouldn't pick a fight with someone her size.
Some larrikin must have been as game as Ned Kelly to give this upstanding Lady an armful of tinnies to hold - AND wrap a stubby holder around her arm.
This is just one of the creations from the imagination of Neil Thomas and his amazing collection (37 years in the gathering) of all things beer - cans (17,000 of them!), bottles, capping equipment, kegs, jokes, advertising material - the list goes on forever. He houses all of this and much, much more at
at Echuca, in Victoria, Australia.
Pardon? Translation of my 'Strine' needed?
A larrikin is a rowdy and disorderly street person
A tinny is Australian slang for a can of beer.
'as game as Ned Kelly' means extremely brave; indomitable, as our questionable hero, Ned Kelly demonstrated many times, against formidable odds.
A stubby is Australian slang for a small bottle of beer,
and A stubby holder can be a wrap around velcro cooler used for stubbies, or cans.
And a Red Pointer - marks the spot
It started way back when - Adam wore a gum leaf
"In the 1870s, Victorians drank more beer than the other colonies and the brewing industry really took off at that time," curator of the Melbourne City Gallery (2004), Dr Charles Pickett said. 84 litres per person per annum! More than today's consumption.
As Neil's collection includes beer cans and bottles from all over the world, I guess we can't hold the Victorians totally responsible for his admirable conservation work. On the other hand, when you see the huge numbers of Victorian brands on show, a shadow of a question begins to form. The other admirable part of this story is that it is being written by a South Australian. Hmm-mm-m!
The Melbourne Co-operative Brewery, based at Abbotsford, was acquired in 1925 and it was here that the mighty Carlton United Brewery eventually consolidated its Victorian beer production facilities. In the photo, we see a delivery of kegs of 'Abbotsford' ale from the Abbotsford brewery
Carlton United Breweries - a few years down the track
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
HEAR YE! HEAR YE! - ... and also Oyez! Oyez!
The Great Aussie Beer Shed ... and the Great Aussie Shed
They are both pretty much National Icons, whichever way you look at them - but most especially from Down Under.
(We won't discuss down under what!)
Did W.C. Fields assist with the collection?
He said -
"Everybody has to believe in something
.....I believe I'll have another drink."
Speaking of Ned Kelly
well-ll-ll, we mentioned him in the Introduction
Ned Kelly always dressed in a tin suit when he was confronted by a horde of armed troopers who were after his blood. Many the bullet bounced off his trusty suit, whilst others merely dented it. They say few penetrated his interpretation of a 'Knight in shining armour'.
I don't think the Knights of old would really have wanted Ned on their jousting team - but maybe as part of their army? Maybe.
But meanwhile, back at the dog - this is Ned Kelly's, surely?
... and would his name be 'Rusty'?
Lest We Forget - ... Adam's Ale
Tch, tch, tch ... you don't know Adam's Ale?
It's H20; and it's made from evaporation, transpiration condensation and precipitation - in layman's terms, it's WATER!
And here in Australia it is a most precious commodity in this driest country in the world. One who held the greatest respect for Water - its collection, conservation and transportation, was a wheelwright - John Furphy - who made his first water cart in the 1880's.
At the Great Aussie Beer Shed, Neil has a collection of Furphy water carts, tanks and barrel ends with the distinctive brand and messages
At the base of the barrel end you will always find the words -
Good, Better, Best
Never Let it Rest,
Till Your Good is Better
And Your Better - Best..
And the Other Message - on EVERY Furphy Water Tank,
was the funny looking squiggles across the middle.
They are actually Shorthand - and they say -
'Water is a Gift from God,
but Beer is a concoction of the Devil
DON'T DRINK BEER!'
Hmm-mm-m - look again at Neil in the video above, as he pats his stomach and says his favourite beer is his next beer! Obviously, he did NOT heed Mr. Furphy's message! (Or maybe he chose not to learn shorthand?)
The Furphy water cart became prominent when it was used to carry water to the troops in military camps during the First World War. These carts were most often parked near the latrine area, where soldiers were free to gossip about the latest news from home - or the War - both fairly unreliable, and added to this were the gossip passed on from camp to camp by the cart drivers. The name Furphy quickly came into common usage as a slang term for rumours, or 'white lies' - and lives on in the vocabulary of many 'true blue' Aussies..
The Aussie Pub that began
... as a figment of a cartoonist's imagination.
Here's an excerpt from the website about the famous Ettamogah pub -
The original creator of the Ettamogah Pub was Ken Maynard who started drawing the Ettamogah Pub in 1959. It was made famous through his regular cartoons in The Australasian Post.
The Aussie World Ettamogah Pub was built in 1989 and the word "ettamogah" is Aboriginal for "place of good drink!" Now one of Queensland's leading tourist attractions it stands at an impressive 18m in height. It's a must to visit due to its quirky shape and caricature appearance. It was opened on 24th November 1989 with most of the furniture inside the pub built from trees cleared from the actual site.
There's a 1930 Chevy truck on top of the bright red roof of the Ettamogah Pub. In the cartoon the theory is the truck was washed up there in the floods of 1946 and none of the regulars could be bothered to get it down. There are also pictures of the cartoons hanging around the walls of the Pub along with other eclectic displays of everything Australian.
The Ettamoggah Pub - ... is also celebrated at 'The Shed'Click thumbnail to view full-size
"A woman drove me to drink and I didn't even have the decency to thank her."
Is that his truck on top of the Ettamogah Pub, do you think?
We Doffs our Caps to - ,,, the beer bottle cappers,
both great and small.
There's the Big and the Small
... and the Tales Tall
The photo on the right is of my hubby's trusty bottle capper - and he still has 10 fingers! Funnily enough, I didn't see any of Kanute's home made beers at the Great Aussie Beer Shed. Now there's a challenge for you, Neil - how about a home brew collection! Could provide some interesting 'morning-after' experiences!
PS: The zig-zag string around the handle is NOT to hold together some amazing spring-like action - NO - it's a cocky's repair job of a split wooden handle. It usually goes with the saying 'She'll be Right, Mate!". (A 'cocky' is an Aussie farmer, in case you hadn't guessed.)
I didn't record the vintage of the manual bottle capper at the Great Aussie Beer Shed, but we can imagine it is OLD. Each bottle would have to be put in place by hand, and a foot pumping action simultaneously with a hand operation, would see the precious amber fluid captured and preserved for the patrons pleasure - whenever.
Have I told you my Tall Tale that just happens to be True about a highly mechanised bottle capping operation that was stopped in its tracks - but not by a whisker.
Once upon a time, my Uncle was working at the West End Brewery in South Australia on the bottle capping production line. It was a fairly regular kind of shift, until his attention was momentarily distracted, and his finger got in between the bottle capper with its metal lid - and the bottle. It got the chop, and was bottled - ohh-hh-h!
They stopped production as quickly as possible - and they searched and searched - to no avail. The finger was in a bottle somewhere, but who knew where? It is to be hoped that whomever found it was totally inebriated at the time, and either didn't notice (?) or put it in the 'too hard basket', along with the pink elephants.
But this terrible tale didn't end there! Some years later, my cousins (the Uncle's two sons) were messing around near the chopping block out in their backyard, and one decided he wanted his finger chopped off "so it looks the same as Dad's". And so the other one hefted up the axe and in dutiful brotherly love, performed the surgery for him. Unexpectedly, it hurt. A lot!
Neil, at the Beer Shed, liked that yarn a lot.
But whether it's Beer served at the Local - or at a Home Bar - ... you're going to need that trusty Bartender
The words below the pic go like this -
A publican must be a democrat, an autocrat, an acrobat and a doormat.
He must be able to entertain prime ministers, pickpockets, pirates, philanthropists and the police and be on both sides of the fence. He must be a footballer, golfer, bowler, tennis player, dart champion, pigeon fancier.
As he has to settle arguments and fights, he must be a qualified boxer, wrestler, weight lifter, sprinter and peacemaker.
He must always look immaculate when drinking with bankers, swankers, commercial travellers and company representatives even though he has just stopped a beer-throwing contest in the public bar.
To be successful, he must keep the bars full, the house full, the tanks and storeroom full and not get full himself.
He must have barmen who are clean, honest, quick workers and thinkers, non-drinkers, mathematicians, technicians and at all times on the boss's side, the customers' side and stay on the inside of the bar.
It is said that he home wrecks, takes weekly wage cheques; in other words saturates, confiscates, deteriorates and propagates.
To sum up - he must be outside, offside, glorified, sanctified, crucified, stupefied, crosseyed - and if not the strong silent type, there's suicide.
Like all of us he needs ... Courage.
Even Beer Cans from Denmark - ... where they mostly drink beer as a 'Chaser' to stronger 'stuff'Click thumbnail to view full-size
And here are the Seriously Spirited Snaps they chase - ... including some rather special onesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Click Here For Images & Blood Alcohol Pictures -
"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on."
Once Upon a Time - Coke meant only Coca-Cola - The Great Aussie Beer Shed remembers that ... do you?
And amongst the multitude of Coca Cola promo items was the Yo-yo, the star of the show that shone most brightly.in the late 1950s.
(But how many know that it is believed the first yo yo originated in China around 1,000 BC?). Hmm-mm-m - NOT a Coca Cola one, for sure.
The first one mentioned in historical records was in Greece a mere 500 years later. Then in the 1700's, they were used as hunting weapons to stun or kill prey in the Philippines, as well as toys - and their popularity as a toy spread to India and France.
Speaking of Yo yos - ... owzthis?
I wish I could claim these as my brothers, but our hair is a different colour!
And also, that's not Strine they are talking.
"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
At the Risk of Starting Another War - ... of words, or taste buds, or National Pride?
Warning: It is strongly advised that you take this question seriously.
Whether this is seriously sober - or seriously inebriated - is left to the discretion of the individual Dueller.
Is Aussie Beer the Best, as the Lady upstairs says?
Speaking of War
... Owzthis for a bit of history?
Here is the sign that tells of a German Field Gun that had been captured in France in 1918, during WWI.
It was taken by the ANZACS (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) and brought home by soldiers to their hometown of Echuca, where it took pride of place as part of a WWI memorial in the township.
At some time thereafter, the 'powers that be' decided (in their usual infinite wisdom) to modernise this memorial area, and the German Field Gun disappeared - to be found more than 40 years later in the local Dump! Unbelievable, but true.
Now here is a grey area in my grey matter - I believe someone salvaged it and offered it to Neil to add to his collection. (I'm sure he will set me right about this and the dates concerned, if I ask him. Will do that at a later 'update' of this lens).
And Here's the VIW - ... Very Important Weapon
The story and the resultant condition of this gun makes you think hard about 'the babies we have tossed out with the bathwater', in the race for modernisation.
And brings to mind the famous lines always recited in memory of those who gave their lives in War -
'Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning,
We Will Remember Them'
And everyone always replies - 'Lest We Forget'
(Original lines were taken from Laurence Binyon's poem "For the Fallen")
Some Interesting Antiquities - ... are also part of the Very Aussie collectionClick thumbnail to view full-size
There's SO much more to see - ... you just had to be there!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Wouldn't you raise a glass (or a can) to that?