While Australia was troubled, at various points in its history, by the humourless illogic of temperance movements, it never went quite as far into that particular insanity as the Volstead Act carried the United States. Nevertheless, a few localities did decide that their inhabitants could not be trusted to determine their own levels of alcohol consumption, and pass ordinances to the effect that people would no longer be permitted to drink some particular liquids within their bounds.

One such area was the community located in the angle between the north-easterly course of the Patterson River and the north-westerly curve of Port Phillip Bay, just on and north of the mouth of the river. In 1855, at a time when about twenty people lived there, the local councillors – all one of them – had great concerns about the rumours of rowdiness and misadventure that were attributed to the evils of drink upon the gold-crazed would-be miners that made up most of Melbourne’s population. Such behaviour would not be tolerated about the Patterson, and it was made illegal to sell or import alcohol in the area. (It was still legal to transport it through the area, and the excise charged on such items was a tidy little earner for the council.)

Naturally, what happened was that sly grog and moonshine became the area’s new distinguishing features. Illegal stills and bottle shops spread throughout the area, and the local police – to a man fond of a pint or two of an evening – were lax in enforcing the laws against them. Within a year, the profits to be made in the area had attracted organised crime to the area, although at that time, organised meant roughly that there were no fewer than four thugs providing muscle to ambitious petty theives.

Still, the noble experiment of prohibition failed comprehesively, and even when the law was repealed in the 1890s (more in the hope that legal booze sales would help the combat the depression of that decade than out of any admission of the law’s abject failure), the area remained a hotbed of illegal alcohol production. The location of a General Motors plant not far from the area – which provided a handy source of stolen parts for stills and such, not to mention an easy means of transport for their output – proved to be the last thing necessary for the sly grog trade to reach its apotheosis, and the distinctive, oily hard spirits the area became known for – the infamous “Car Rum” that is believed to have exacerbated Squizzy Taylor’s violent tendencies to the point of sociopathy – gave the region the name it still bears today.

Suburbs near Carrum:

Port Phillip Bay Bonbeach Patterson Lakes Bangholme Bangholme Lyndhurst Lyndhurst
Port Phillip Bay Carrum Patterson Lakes Carrum Downs Carrum Downs Carrum Downs Sandhurst
Port Phillip Bay Seaford Seaford Carrum Downs Carrum Downs Sandhurst Sandhurst
Port Phillip Bay Seaford Seaford Carrum Downs Carrum Downs Carrum Downs Skye
Port Phillip Bay Seaford Seaford Frankston North Carrum Downs Carrum Downs Skye
Port Phillip Bay Seaford Seaford Frankston North Frankston North Langwarrin Langwarrin
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