I remember complaining to "Vernie" one day in 1952 because the steps leading up to the press-box from the Grey Smith Stand bar at the Melbourne Cricket Ground were being clogged during hours of play by people who appeared to attend the match to drink beer and whisky rather than to watch cricket.
Gods or Flannelled Fools?, Keith Miller and R Whitington, 1954
Australia is obsessed with Rugby Union football and a fiendish development of the game evolved by themselves called Australian Rules. But the great Australian sport is drinking.
New York Theatre Critic Clive Barnes, 1974
Throughout the series, the Barmy Army dug up enough goodwill to cheer the game, win or lose. But for most Aussie blokes, it seemed that a loss to the Poms took on tragic proportions, tantamount to pouring a supertanker of VB into Sydney Harbour.
Learning Dignity in Defeat, Sunday Telegraph, 12 January 2003
After yesterday's win Australia can add soccer to a long list of conquests over England including cricket, tennis, netball, swimming, rugby league [don't forget Union!], women's hockey, the speedway world cup, and even darts. We even outrank them when it comes to croquet and Real Tennis.
Kewell magic sinks Poms, The Courier Mail, Feb 14 2002
I think you are maybe the most sporting country in the world
Olympic President, Juan Antoino Samaranch, Sunday Telegraph, 16 January 1999
At the time of writing, Australia (with a population of eighteen million, remember) are world cricket champions, world Rugby Champions, world tennis champions, work netball champions, world woman's hockey champions, and world men and women surfing champions. Further, on per capita basis, Australia was by far the most outstanding performer at the 1996 Olympic Games.
Phillip Knightley, Australia: A Biography of a Nation, 2000
Australia pretty generally beats most people at most things. Truly never has there been a more sporting nation.
Bill Bryson, Down Under, 2000
The idea of Australia holding an official inquiry into the country's performance at the Munich Olympics is deplorable and pathetic. It is not for a government to worry about how many medals are won - this is taking sport far too seriously
Prince Philip, The Duke of Eninburgh, 1976
Failure hurts Australians particularly hard because they take sport so seriously. To Australians, sport is not just something they play in their spare time, but it is the medium through which they have to prove themselves to the rest of the world. As DH Lawrence observed "Australians play sport as though their lives depended on it"
Jonathan King, Waltzing Materialism, 1976
Along with beer, Australians love a good public swimming pool.
Sydney Morning Herald, June 1, 2000
Sport is the ultimate super-religion, the one thing every Australian believes in passionately. Not to be keen on sport is, therefore, unclean, unmanly, even homosexual and definitely contrary to the ethics and super-religion of the nation
Keith Dunstan, Knockers
VB's the leading full strength beer in NSW, Queensland and Victoria... The beer consuming public that loves cricket knows who is fair dinkum.
Carlton & United Spokesman, David Park, Truth First Casualty in Beer War, Daily Telegraph, Feb 2002
No, the mystery of cricket is not that Australians play it well, but that they play it at all. It has always seemed to me a game much too restrained for the rough-and-tumble Australian temperament. Australians prefer games in which brawny men in scanty clothing bloody each other's noses. I am quite certain that if the rest of the world vanished overnight and the development of cricket was left in Australian hands, within a generation the players would be wearing shorts and using the bats to hit each other.
And the thing is, it would be a much better game for it.
Bill Bryson, Down Under, 2000
Those who saw Bradman may never see his like again. So many essentials for greatness as a cricketer are very rarely bestowed upon one individual. We remember, and will always remember, the last time Don batted at Sydney Cricket Ground. We took our eldest sons along. They were only toddlers at the time, and we doubt whether they knew what all the shouting and cheering and delight was about. But we lifted them above our heads so that in their later years they could sit around a fire or a pub bar and truthfully say to their cobbers, “We saw Don Bradman bat”.
Gods or Flannelled Fools?, Keith Miller and R Whitington, 1954
Now listen mate," [to John Browne, Minister of Sport, who was proposing a 110 per cent tax deduction for contributions to a Sports Foundation] "you're not getting 110 per cent. You can forget it. This is a fucking Boulevard Hotel special, this is. The trouble is we are dealing with a sports junkie here [gesturing towards Prime Minister Bob Hawke]. I go out for a piss and they pull this one on me. Well that's the last time I leave you two alone. From now on, I'm sticking to you two like shit to a blanket.
Paul Keating, when treasurer of Australia (he would eventually become the Prime Minister)
Body-line bowling has assumed such proportions as to menace the best interests of the game, making protection of the body by the batsmen the main consideration. This is causing intensely bitter feeling between the players, as well as injury. In our opinion it is unsportsmanlike. Unless stopped at once it is likely to upset friendly relations between Britain and Australia.
Telegraph from the Australian Board of Control to the English M.C.C., Jan. 18, 1933.
There are two teams out there. One is trying to play cricket and one is not.
Australian Captain Bill Woodfull in the dressing room after being smashed repeatedly while batting, 1933
Not content with humiliating England at every other sport, the Aussies have discovered an amusing new way of making Poms look stupid.
The UK Guardian Newspaper after a flogging of the English soccer team by the Australians, 13 Feb 2003
THE Socceroos have taken up where Australia's cricket and tennis teams left off and put England to the sword with victory at Upton Park in London.
Roos Rule Britannia, Herald Sun, 13 Feb 2003
English television viewers woke on Thursday to see a cherub-faced expatriate Australian, beer in hand, declaring: "Is there any sport we can't win? You Poms are hopeless!"
Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 14, 2003 after a Soccer Flogging of the Poms
"We do bugger all, mate," was how another Australian soldier described his down time. "We've got Foxtel so we can watch the cricket and the footy. We give the Poms plenty of stick over their sporting success."
As dry as their their desert camp ... Aussies bring larrikin spirit, Sydney Morning Herald, March 10, 2003
Australian troops had dominated an informal sporting completion being held among the "coalition of the willing" forces, a rather chagrined British military spokesman revealed [from Qatar]..."I give you a guess as to who's topping the league at the moment - the Aussies. They are winning everything". The sporting matches - which involved touch football and basketball - have been put on hold now the troops having begun moving into Iraq.
Aussies playing for keeps even before war started, Courier Mail, March 22 2003
England have not beaten Australia at Lord's in the 17 Tests played between the old enemies at the home of cricket since 1934.
Gooch already finding excuses, Sydney Morning Herald, June 10 2005
"Australians are unsophisticated by nature and that may be the secret of their athletic prowess. Their minds are uncluttered and the men really do have only three things on their agenda: sport, beer and their dongers. Sometimes all at once. Stand behind the goal at an Aussie rules match and you'll see clumps of lager-swilling males all waiting eagerly for the moment when the umpire below the posts signals a score in that funny semaphore they use. A nanosecond before he brings his hands abruptly in front of himself about 18 inches apart, they all shout, 'how big's your dick?' The Perth experience also banished another myth: that Aussie women respond favourably to English chivalry. Live there for a couple of months and you realise that the cliche 'Australian women like being treated badly and Australian men always oblige' hits the nail squarely on the head. . ."
Simon Hughes, Channel 4 cricket commentator in the UK, from his book, A Lot of Hard Yakka.
It was a welcome sign of some sanity existing among Australians who have become all but deranged at the prospect of losing the World Cup to the hated Poms.
Farr-Jones is lone voice of sanity among home critics, 29 Jan 2004
Back in 1899, Reverend Matthew Mullineux, a famously tiny man, took his Australian hosts to task over their tactics after he led England to victory in the first rugby Test series between the two countries. They had obstructed players breaking from the scrum, pushed them in line-outs and even elbowed them in the face, he complained. "I am told that the Australian remedy for this is to bite the hand. But we haven't yet mastered the art of cannibalism."
The time for laughing is over, Rugby Heaven, Saturday, November 22, 2003
Pom-bashing, of course, has always rivalled cricket as Australia's national sport.
Almighty Blighty - hard to accept, but true, Saturday, November 22, 2003
LEAVE no Pom unbashed
Say it loud, I'm dull and I'm proud, The Times in The Australian, November 19, 2003
The league legend Johnny Raper said last night that there was no difference between the behaviour of league and union supporters. While he encouraged responsible drinking, he said, the limit was unrealistic. "Two beers is like two glasses of water to an Australian bloke."
League fans cop beer cap, July 15 2003
"Having a go at the ref, yelling abuse. It's part of the Australian way." Mr Latham, a talented schoolboy batsman, couldn't recall "flipping the bird" at an umpire while playing for Sydney University. "It's pretty hard when you've got (batting) gloves on," he said. "It was a pretty crook LB (leg before) and I let him know that and got reported ... these things happen in the nature of competitive sport." Mr Latham recalled attending World Series Cricket matches in his final year of high school. "With some mates we loaded up a plastic garbage bin ... we would have had the first garbage bin full of beers into the SCG under lights. We didn't cause any trouble that night, but others did."
Mark Latham, Leader of the Opposition, News.com.au, 16 July 2004
IS there anyone out there who can give Australia a decent game of cricket? Just when we all thought the gap between Australia and the rest of the world was narrowing, it suddenly appears as wide as it has ever been.
We're the untouchables, News.com.au, November 30 2004
New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, whose hapless team was crushed by 213 runs in the second Test before it had digested lunch yesterday, believes the marauding success of Australia's world-beating cricketers is sending shockwaves around world cricket, and last night struggled to imagine a team capable of beating them. The notion that Australia, notwithstanding its ageing players, could keep getting better was "scary".
Australia scares the world: Fleming, The Age, December 1 2004
The BBC delayed a radio news broadcast in 1948, when Don Bradman addressed a dinner at the start of the tour by his team of Invincibles. Justice Sir Norman Birkett, who had presided over the Nuremberg war crime trials, wrote that the crowd's warm welcome to the Australians "gave utterance to their deep-seated satisfaction, after years of darkness and danger". Birkett said: "To see the Australian team emerging once more from the pavilion after the years of war was to be filled with thankfulness and pride and happiness, and not a little emotion." Bradman said his team would try to make life a little easier for the people of England, particularly the children who were having such a tough time.
World on hold - for a moment, SMH, 8 Jan 2005
Keith Miller, who was one of the Invincibles and died last year, fought in that war as a pilot. His abiding cricket memory was not so much of the game as of Graham Williams, a Sheffield Shield cricketer and pilot who was shot down and spent four years in a prisoner of war camp in Germany. Two weeks after the war ended, the tall, skinny Williams walked out to bat for a team of Australian servicemen at Lord's, in a match billed as a Victory Test. "Anyway, he walks out to bat at Lord's," Miller said a decade ago. "Packed it was, with everyone sitting on the grass in the sun - and the whole crowd rises and claps him all the way to the wicket. I can still see it. Still hear it. A kind of muffled applause it was. Not boisterous. Not like anything I'd heard ever before or since. It was the most touching thing I'd ever seen in my life. And Graham, this fella only a fortnight out of POW camp, trying to come to terms with it all. Wondering, am I really alive? Am I dreaming? Extraordinary. And, you know, he scored a 50 and took two wickets. Good ones, as well. I've thought about that day many times since and it still brings tears to my eyes."
World on hold - for a moment, SMH, 8 Jan 2005
"I don't know about any of that stuff, mate. I'll just rock up. She can organise it." Lleyton Hewitt responding to a journalist's question in January last year about his upcoming wedding to Kim Clijsters. Our kind of bloke but, sadly, that wedding never happened.
The best of 2004, Part III, SMH, 8 Jan 2005
Why do you Australians play the game so hard? How can you get any fun out of it?
English Umpire Chester talking to player Davidson during the 1953 test with England
As quoted in Gods or Flannelled Fools?, Keith Miller and R Whitington, 1954
Of all the qualities which have combined to make this Australian side so successful, the X-factor has been our mateship. It is knowing that when the chips are down and there is a fight to be had, everyone is going just as hard as you are. We will do everything we can to ensure we don't let each other down. This is a special bond that does not just happen and I believe it does not exist in any other side to the same extent.
Memories ensure merciless approach, Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting December 24, 2004, news.com.au
"The reason you only hear about Australians sledging is we don't say what happens out on the field," he added. "We just have a beer afterwards."
Shane Warne, Warne says his conscience is clear, News.com.au, 30 April 2005
NSW backrower Nathan Hindmarsh says alcohol will still play an important role at their team camp starting on Wednesday despite Blues coach Ricky Stuart banning the bonding session after last year's controversy.Hindmarsh said players would not be afraid to consume alcohol in camp. "Definitely mate. You get to know your teammate sometimes on a personal basis, you relax around each other, you find out who enjoys what and that type of stuff," he said. "You don't have to be intoxicated but just having a beer in the hand tends to relax a few players. "I enjoy having a beer and a bit of a yarn, you get to know what people are like.
Hindmarsh says alcohol a part of Origin, SMH, May 17 2005
[John] Singleton was enthusiastic about the marriage between the Knights and the brewery. "I've got a feeling it's going to be a real good partnership. I love rugby league, I love beer," he said. "It's often discussed as a vulgar attitude to life but I think if you take beer and rugby league out of life there's nothing left."
Knights raise a glass to Singo, local brewery and $4m deal, SMH, 5 Jan 2006
"We both play contact sports," she said. "My favourite sport, American football, is played with helmets and pads and Australian Rules, of course, is not; that may [suggest] the difference between our countries.''
Ruckus at [Condoleezza] Rice speech, SMH, March 16 2006
LAST week, Bulldogs boss Malcolm Noad revealed plans to introduce zero-tolerance breath tests at every training session. But Mason expressed concerns about the move and plans to confront coach Steve Folkes as part of the Bulldogs' leadership group. "I don't mind midweek testing, that's fine, but after the game we should be allowed to have a beer. It's in the culture of league," he said.
Don't treat me like a drug user: Mason, Sunday Telegraph 28 May 2006
AS AUSTRALIA'S biggest motor race gets into gear this weekend, police have warned Bathurst racegoers will again be restricted to one carton of beer a person a day. But that has not stopped some keen fans. There are rumours some punters buried cartons of beer on the top of the hill last week, before police roadblocks were put in place. Police have found no evidence of this, but people have been seen wandering camp grounds with shovels, and there are pockets of disturbed soil. The beer intake restriction, as one spin doctor politely put it, is a significant turnaround for an event once sponsored by a brewery; in years gone by it was almost compulsory for every spectator to at least drink their fair share. However Paul Dillon, from Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia, says a carton a day is not a restriction at all. "This so-called restriction is almost laughable," he said.
Underground beer set to fuel the fans, Sydney Morning Herald, 11 October 2008
Way back in 1935-36, Australian captain Victor Richardson thought his side was drinking too much and told them after a day's play that a booze ban would be put into effect immediately. As he spoke after a long, hot day, a waiter emerged in the dressingroom and put down a bin full of ice water with enticingly cold bottles of beer bobbing around in it just begging to be opened. The booze ban lasted about 15 minutes until Richardson, tortured by the sight of the forbidden fruit, declared: "I've had a rethink and decided we should discuss the booze ban over a beer."
David Boon's booze record serves as sober reminder, CourierMail.com.au, 21 June 2009
Take a break from drinking like the author of this article did - Read why and how in his book Between Drinks: Escape the Routine, Take Control and Join the Clear Thinkers