Complete alcohol ban: violence out, schools up

The head of WA’s [Western Australia’s] Aboriginal Health Council is calling for alcohol to be made illegal in indigenous communities across the State as the Government considers implementing liquor bans in at least three more townships.

hand doing thumbs up signHenry Councillor said the early success of a complete alcohol ban imposed on the remote east Kimberley outpost of Oombulgurri should be held up as a model of what could be achieved in other communities [comment: indigenous or not].

Since the Government forced Oombulgurri to go dry a month ago, police have not been called out once to attend a violent incident.

Officers previously attended up to four incidents a night on the “drinking” nights of Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

School attendance has also increased because children are no longer kept up late by the drunken, rowdy behaviour of adults.

11 Dec. 2008, ‘Ban booze in Aboriginal towns’, The West Australian newspaper,

Salvation Army says: drunkenness very rare during complete alcohol ban (1922)

Commander Evangeline Booth portrait
Commander Evangeline Booth

Evangeline Booth, Commander of the Salvation Army in the United States, in a statement issued yesterday declared that since the enactment of the Volstead [Prohibition] act drunkenness among the poor has almost entirely disappeared. The announcement, she said, was based on facts reported by secretaries of the Salvation Army in all parts of the country to whom she sent a questionnaire regarding their observations…

‘Our social secretaries replied that cases of drunkenness are now the exception among men who frequent our hostelries, shelters and industrial homes.’

‘More than two million beds were supplied by the Salvation Army last year, and it is on these two million cases that our secretaries base their answers.’

‘…Everywhere the workers of the Salvation Army have found a marked increase in thrift and prosperity and a decrease in drunkenness.’

‘In refutation of the charge that drunkenness has increased since prohibition, Commander Booth cites the fact that the Salvation Army’s “Boozer’s Day,” when drunken men and women were collected from the streets, fed, clothed and prayed with, has been abandoned and the day given over to entertaining the newsboys and poor youngsters of the city.’

Evangeline Booth, Commander of the Salvation Army in the United States, 26 Mar. 1922, The New York Times, ‘SAYS PROHIBITION HAS REFORMED SOTS; Commander Booth of Salvation Army Reports Drunkenness Among Poor Decreasing. MANY HAVE BANK DEPOSITS Marked Increase in Thrift and Prosperity Indicated by Answers to Questionnaire’.

Prohibition: thrift and financial security increases

[Prohibition: Kansas City, Kansas] At the end of one year [from 1905] the president of one of the largest banks in that city, a man who protested against the enforcement of the prohibitory law on the ground that it would hurt business, found that his bank deposits had increased $1,700,000, and seventy-two per cent of the deposits were from men who had never saved a cent before, and forty-two per cent came from men who never had a dollar in the bank, but because the saloons were driven out they had a chance to save, and the people who objected on the grounds that it would injure business found an increase of 209 per cent in building operations…

Billy Sunday, 1914, Billy Sunday: the man and his message, p. 95-96, (80-120) ‘The Famous Booze Sermon’.

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