1967 Six o’clock closing ends in SA

Don Dunstan, Premier of South Australia, in 1968

South Australia was the last state to end six o’clock closing. The new late-closing laws were introduced under the premiership of Don Dunstan. The Premier evidently celebrated the end of early closing by raising a glass at 6.01pm on the 28th September in the front bar of the Challa Hotel.

The previous premier, Sir Thomas Playford, had resisted calls to reform the licensing laws and maintained six o’clock closing, which had been in force since 1916. However, by the 1960s,  those laws were not being enforced, with restaurants and clubs flouting the rules and football clubs even selling liquor on Sunday mornings.

Dunstan established a Royal Commission to investigate the licensing laws and, following its report, introduced a new Licensing Act which was eventually passed by both houses of the South Australian Parliament. Among its provisions was that women would be permitted to drink in the front or public bar of hotels.

Don Dunstan was noted for his wide-ranging social reforms. He also had a strong interest in tourism was passionate about food and wine.  He was critical of the standard of Adelaide’s restaurants and embraced multi-cultural food styles. Dunstan was one of few politicians to publish a cookbook and in later life, he opened a restaurant called “Don’s Table”.

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