Presented by William Jones MP
In the 1850s, the Victorian Government made it illegal to sell alcohol on the goldfields. This was done to reduce lawlessness and drunken disobedience.
This petition, presented by residents of the County of Evelyn (in the Yarra Valley), supported a bill before Parliament that would legalise the sale of colonial- manufactured beer in restaurants and other establishments.
Petitioners reminded Parliament of the laborious nature of their work, which caused “great waste of body and much thirst”. They claimed that throughout the goldfields the water was “most unwholesome”, and public drinking houses were “many miles distant from the populous localities”. They were confident that legalising the sale of ‘colonial beer’ would have a beneficial effect, reducing the consumption of spirits and the popularity of unlawful liquor (‘sly grog’).