The Five Stages of Intoxication, 1860S
By | December 7, 2016
This sequence of photographs illustrating the ability of alcohol to transform a fine upstanding citizen into a staggering wreck was produced by Australian photographer Charles Percy Pickering at his studio in Sydney.
This photo series may have been commissioned by a local temperance organization, perhaps as visual aids for literature on the evils of drinking.
Though Australia never enacted full prohibition like the United States, organizations such as the Independent Order of Rechabites campaigned against alcohol beginning in the mid-1800s.
Decades after these photos were taken, the Australian temperance movement seemingly scored a victory when mandatory early closures were enacted for pubs and hotel bars as an austerity measure during World War I.
This backfired, however. The early closing times created the “six o’clock swill,” as people dashed from work to bars and drank as heavily and quickly as possible, ending up like the model in these photos before the sun was down.