First Taste—How Indigenous Australians Learned About Grog



Maggie Brady’s set of 6 booklets is a great resource to help us change what we commonly think to know about Aboriginal alcohol consumption.

The booklets differ from other literature in that they do not cover causes or consequences of alcohol consumption, rather Brady explores how Aboriginal people learned to drink using historic events and records.

She wants to help us move on from despair (on the Aboriginal side) and blaming (on the non-Aboriginal side).

Brady tries to bust common myths such as:

  • Aboriginal people had no alcohol prior to invasion.
  • Alcohol use started with Captain Cook.
  • Outsiders used alcohol to exploit Aboriginal people.
  • Aboriginal people only passively received alcohol.
  • Aboriginal people’s drinking is determined by their genetics.

The material is well-designed for easy consumption and an ideal resource for teachers to prepare classes.

The first booklet introduces the topics and has an index, but it could do with more keywords related to alcohol.

You can order copies at the Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education. A complete set costs $22.

Book 1: Aims and ideas
Introduces aims and ideas and the language of grog

Book 2: First taste of alcohol
Presents Aboriginal alcohols and non-alcoholic drinks before invasion, alcohol from outsiders and the first hand-out of alcohol to Aboriginal people at Botany Bay.

Book 3: Strong spirits from Southeast Asia
Looks at the Makassans and their alcoholic drinks, how they drank and taught Aboriginal people to do the same.

Book 4: The story of the bottle
Explores the origin of grog and how Aboriginal people used bottles in new ways in everyday life and art.

Book 5: Learning to drink from the English
Shows English ideas about alcohol, its availability in Sydney, English drinking habits and how alcohol impacted on the lives of Bennelong and Bungaree.

Book 6: Struggles over drinking rights
Examines prohibition, separation and protest, how alcohol destroyed Namatjira and the lifting of restrictions.

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An appropriate citation for this document is:, Books - First Taste—How Indigenous Australians Learned About Grog, retrieved 10 December 2018