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Fresh out of the spray of the 1969 Sydney to Hobart race, two sailors wandered into the Shipwright's Arms hotel in Battery Point and casually ordered 200 beers.

Of course, the beverages couldn't be consumed by Tony Cable and John Dawson alone.

In the preceding days, an invitation had circulated Constitution Dock inviting yachties to the Hobart pub to share an ale or three.

External Link: Revellers at the Quiet Little Drink in 1988

That single order of brews kicked off a tradition that would become known simply, and ironically, as the Quiet Little Drink.

"The media portrayed it largely as yachtie shenanigans," said Andrew MacAskill, the current general manger of the Shipwright's Arms, or Shippies, as it's known.

"Later on, they had to rectify that with charity arrangements and things like that," Mr MacAskill said.

"But it pioneered celebrations all over the country as far as Sydney Hobarts were concerned."

For 30 years, the Quiet Little Drink (QLD) was where salts young and old would head post-race to raise three sheets to the wind.

Shipwrights Arms General Manager Andrew MacAskill pours a beer in the front bar

Hosting rights were shared amongst six Hobart establishments, and at its peak the annual gettogether was debaucherous.

A grand total of 1,467 beers were consumed in that first year.

In 1983 the number swelled to more than 20,000.

Tales of 3,000-drink mega shouts and raucous tap-dancing competitions were born out of the event.

"There's a photo somewhere of beer glasses lined up all the way down Trumpeter Street, almost to the water's edge," Mr MacAskill said.

Hosting pub a community hub

Mother and daughter Lee and Georgie Drummond were winding down the year with a late afternoon tipple in the front bar of Shippies.

Lee's late husband Roger owned the famed Hadley's Hotel, and died suddenly in 2010.

A QLD mainstay, his photo hangs in the front bar.

Roger had once attempted to buy Shippies, despite the fact it "made no sense on paper" according to his daughter Georgie.

Two regulars at the QLD, Lee and Georgie Drummond

"My dad looked at buying this place in the early 80s and the numbers have never added up." she said.

"But this pub is a community. We love this pub."

Her work means she's rarely in the country, but Georgie never misses a Quiet Little Drink.

"I've lived abroad for 25 years and went out of my way to come back here for QLD," she said.

Legendary event lives on

The wild days of the Quiet Little Drink may be long gone but the spirit of the event lives on in 2018.

Licensing and smoking laws ultimately torpedoed the original version.

Ultra-professional current day Sydney Hobart sailors have also changed the face of the event.

Crowds in the carpark at Shippies for Quiet Little Drink Hobart in 2013

"Back in the day, the yachts weren't finishing until later in December," Mr MacAskill said.

"We had Wild Oats' luncheon in here for midday on the 28th.

"We had a few others booked in for lunch too.

"That's basically their thanks for coming and then they head back."

But some things remain the same.

"We have a band playing, the Kravats, which will be in their 61st year as an active band, which is insane," Mr MacAskill said.

"They've been playing since the time of the Beatles."

Original Article

The post Sydney to Hobart's 'Quiet Little Drink' was never quiet, and rarely little appeared first on News Wire Now.

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