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    South Australia - Social Matters

    Temperance and Allied Matters


    An Essay on the Barmaid

    (Taken from Geoffrey H. Manning's A Colonial Experience)

    The barmaid is often a much-misunderstood and misrepresented woman and the constant butt of many grandmotherly reformers as well as of many thoroughly sincere folk. The question has been asked - Does she encourage drinking? The hotel bar has been described as the busy man's recreation, the idle man's business, the melancholy man's sanctuary, the stranger's welcome, the scholar's kindness and the citizen's courtesy. If that is accepted then the influence of the drinking saloons is not the hand that serves the liquor.

    It is wonderful what a barmaid will do for one pound a day; she will work from early morning till midnight and later with just a few hours in the open air occasionally to keep the complexion going. The calling demands special qualifications for the successful barmaid must be of an excessively amiable temperament with a smile and a pleasant word for everybody. A certain amount of 'stage presence' is useful, although not indispensable, and there is ample scope for conversational talents. Above all the absence of tact will cause friction more than anything else.

    How to tell a liquor-stupefied man to harness his thirst is a delicate task which frequently brings into play the diplomatic resources of the bartender and she can scarcely be blamed for sometimes breaking the law about serving intoxicated persons. She will have a numerous clientele who will treat her with the respect due to her sex. You will rarely see her drink with anybody, for in her heart of hearts the average barmaid is the keenest advocate of temperance inside or outside the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

    Her convictions, however, are not allowed to come to the surface, for if they did her one pound a week and three meals a day and complexion walks would be gone. No, the poor barmaid is not a special contributing force to the drink traffic. Her abolition would probably not bung up one hogshead of beer. As for the surroundings of a drinking saloon not being healthy for young women there is little doubt that a bar is largely what the lady in attendance makes it. A man can tell at a glance what measure of respect he is going to mete out to the barmaids and they all have their own ways of commanding that respect when they wish.

    General Notes

    Also see Adelaide - Hotels.

    An article on barmaids is in the Express,
    18 January 1867, page 3d,
    "Abolishing Barmaids" is in the Register,
    27 June 1872, page 5b,
    27 July 1885, page 5f,
    "The Barmaid Question" is in The Irish Harp,
    19 July 1872, page 3a,
    28 and 30 July 1884, pages 3d and 7e,
    26, 28 and 30 July 1884, pages 7d, 6e and 6b,
    30 May 1890, page 7a,
    2 June 1890, page 7c.
    The latter report has a poem - one verse reads:

    Also see Advertiser,
    5 and 17 June 1890, pages 7d and 3e,
    19 May 1891, page 7h,
    "Drink and Barmaids" on
    18, 20, 21 and 22 July 1896, pages 4e, 6h, 7h and 6f; also see
    25 July 1896, page 7e,
    19 August 1896, page 6h,
    3 November 1896, page 3g.

    "Governesses and Barmaids" is in the Register,
    28 February 1876, page 6e.

    A poem, "The Barmaids' Song" is in the SA Figaro,
    20 October 1877, page 5b,
    a cartoon is in The Lantern,
    31 July 1880.

    "The Nymphs of the Bar" is in The Lantern,
    21 April 1877.

    "The Duties of a Barmaid" is in the Register,
    15 April 1879, page 5a.

    "Shopgirls Versus Barmaids" is in The Lantern,
    10 and 24 December 1881, pages 1 and 1; also see
    2 August 1884, pages 10 and 13 (poem & cartoon).

    "The Proposed Barmaid Show" is in the Register,
    17 December 1881, page 6f,
    "Employment of Barmaids" on
    28 May 1884, page 4f.

    "The Rev C.L. Marson and Barmaids" is in the Express,
    30 May 1890, page 3g,
    2 and 18 June 1890, pages 3e and 7g.

    "The Barmaid Question" is in the Register,
    19 May 1891, page 7h.

    A correspondent to the Advertiser on 18 January 1895, page 6a proffers the following opinion:

    "Abolition of Barmaids" is in the Register,
    15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23 and 25 July 1896, pages 7a, 3d, 4f, 6i, 7h, 6g and 7e,
    3 November 1896, page 3h,
    12 January 1903, page 4e.

    "Barmaids and Children" is in the Advertiser,
    30 September 1902, page 4c.

    "The WCTU and Barmaids" is in the Register,
    17 September 1904, page 11c:

    Also see Register,
    1 March 1905, page 9c,
    29 April 1905, page 6h,
    16 May 1907, page 1h,
    12, 20, 22, 26 and 31 March 1906, pages 8b, 6e, 6c, 8d and 11b,
    1 and 18 September 1906, pages 4h and 4e,
    5 March 1907, page 6b,
    25 and 26 July 1907, pages 7i and 6i,
    2 and 10 August 1907, pages 6g and 11g,
    14 October 1907, page 7h:

    Also see Register,
    11 March 1909, page 4i,
    5 January 1910, page 6f,
    1 August 1914, page 16c,
    12 December 1908, page 24a.

    "Abolition of Barmaids" is in the Register,
    12, 14, 20 and 22 March 1906, pages 8b, 8e, 6e and 6c,
    6, 10 and 13 August 1907, pages 8e, 11g and 9i,
    4 September 1907, page 4g.

    "Crusade Against Barmaids" is in the Register,
    4 July 1906, page 4g.

    "Abolishing Barmaids" is in the Advertiser,
    10 October 1907, page 6c,
    "Barmaids and Sunday Trading" on
    9 January 1908, page 11a; also see
    11 February 1918, page 4f.

    "Hours of Barmaids" is in the Register,
    5 March 1907, page 6a.

    "People at Work - The Barmaid" is in the Register,
    6 December 1907, page 7f.

    "Registration of Barmaids" is in the Register,
    1 February 1909, page 4e.

    "Barmaids and Certificates" is in the Register,
    11 March 1909, page 4i; also see
    5 January 1910, page 6f.

    "Unregistered Barmaids" is in the Express,
    2 November 1910, page 4c,
    4 January 1911, page 6f,
    "Barmaids at Variance" on
    11 June 1912, page 4a.

    "When Barmaids Fall Out" is in the Register,
    12 June 1912, page 9f.

    "The Barmaid - Effects of Registration" is in the Register,
    1 August 1914, page 16c.

    "The Last of the Barmaids" is in the Register,
    4 January 1923, page 6f.

    "Disappearing Barmaids" is in The Mail,
    4 September 1926, page 2e.

    "Only 20 Barmaids in SA" is in the Observer,
    3 August 1929, page 13b.

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