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Alcohol Fermentation in Australian Aboriginals

Australia, it has been said, was the world’s only “dry” continent, and its Indigenous peoples were one of the few societies in the world that had no traditional alcoholic beverages (Cleland, 1957, p. 159; Dingle, 1980, p. 228; Spencer, 1988). Australians commonly believe that prior to contact with outsiders in the eighteenth century, neither Aboriginal people nor Torres Strait Islanders (the two Indigenous peoples of the country) knew of the process of fermentation and thus how to make drinks containing alcohol. This is taken by some commentators to be the explanation for widespread alcohol abuse in later years. If people had no alcoholic drinks, it is argued, they lacked the traditions and rituals associated with alcohol consumption and had no need to develop the internal social controls that would contain any unwanted effects of intoxication.

These interpretations are only partly true for there are documented accounts suggesting that Aboriginal people in some regions did, in fact,...

Keywords

  • Indigenous People
  • Aboriginal People
  • Torres Strait Islander
  • Coconut Palm
  • Palm Wine

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Brady, M. (2014). Alcohol Fermentation in Australian Aboriginals. In: Selin, H. (eds) Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-3934-5_10197-1

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