This audio story explores the impact on Darlinghurst of two distinct episodes of liquor licensing restrictions in NSW: six o’clock closing (1916-1955) and the Sydney lockout laws (2014-2021). Both were introduced by state governments responding to community concerns regarding the negative impacts of alcohol following incidents of alcohol fuelled violence. According to certain metrics, the regulations achieved their purposes. But in both episodes, a number of unintended consequences were produced. This audio story explores what was lost when the bright lights of the big city were switched off. How did the denizens of Darlinghurst respond when the government told them to go to bed? How did the laws affect young people and social minorities in particular? What new is emerging now that the laws have been repealed? It also recalls the government's clampdown on the service of alcohol between 1916 and 1955 that spawned the 6 o'clock swill and a roaring trade in sly grog in Darlinghurst.
This audio story is a production of the Australian Centre for Public History in partnership with the Paul Ramsay Foundation.
Producer: Catherine Freyne
Sound engineer: Judy Rapley
Archival: ABC Content Sales