You can cheque out any time you like

Brothel-460Cashed-up miner gets drunk. Spends too much money on booze and hookers. Regrets it the next day. End of story.

Bet you’ve never heard that one before. Except this didn’t happen during the most recent mining boom, but in 1903.

Augustine Eyre was the miner in question, and one evening he hailed a cab from outside the Palace Hotel where he was staying and asked to be taken to ‘Monte Carlo’. To understand this strange request, a little background on Perth drinking culture.

There were no legal late-night drinking joints. And no licensed nightclubs. So a man wanting a drink after closing time needed to visit a ‘house’. These were (in theory) private residences, in practice speakeasies-cum-brothels.

The two most infamous (and longstanding) in 1903 were Monte Carlo in Murray Street and Shakespeare Villa in Dyer Street, West Perth. These houses were mostly tolerated by the police, although subject to the occasional raid.

Anyway, Augustine asked to be taken to Monte Carlo. For reasons which are unclear, but which may involve a backhander from the owner to the cabbie, he was dropped at Shakespeare Villa instead.

The miner knocked back a few drinks and then caught the train back into town, where the Palace Hotel bar was still open, so he had a few more. Out he walked, hailed another cab, and requested again to be taken to Monte Carlo.

The driver dropped him at Shakespeare Villa.

Perhaps realising this was as good a place as any, Augustine started hard, hard drinking and carousing. For several days. Yes, days. They knew how to have a good time in 1903.

At the end of his stay, presumably with a very sore head, Augustine wrote out a cheque to his very hospitable hostess, Annie Wilson, for £150. This was to cover the cost of accommodation, food, drinks, and—ahem—the company of a number of young ladies.

It was not until a few days later that Augustine realised that, while completed pissed, he’d handed several cheques over to Annie, totalling nearly £400.

Completely regretting this, he went to the police to demand they get him a refund.

The consequence was that Annie was charged with running a house of ill repute, and fined a measly £10. The judge said that Augustine was a fool and, as far as we know, he never saw his money again.

Guy, Shannon, Jessica and Power Pinn


When Guy Sebastian, Shannon Noll and Jessica Mauboy team up with others to record a modern-day patriotic song, you know it’s going to be awful. And boy does it suck. Big time.

We challenge you to get halfway before scrambling for the stop button.

So Dodgy Perth thought it was time to take a look back at Perth’s best known patriotic composer of WWI, who went by the fabulous name of Elizabeth Power Pinn.

Mrs Power Pinn—who lived in Florence Street, West Perth—was utterly convinced of her own talent.

On her delicate shoulders fell the responsibility of churning out poems and songs which would cheer the troops, remind people at home of their duty, and generally assist the war effort.

It is an inviolable rule, though, that there are only two types of poet utterly convinced of their own talent: geniuses and the talentless.

Mrs Power Pinn fell into the second category.

Her biggest hit song was Australia’s Call to Arms, of which the opening verse went:

We’re the worthy sons of Britain,
The Nation of the world!
We’re going to hold the banner,
No matter where it’s hurled.
Of ev’ry page of his’try,
We’re going to paint the red;
And conquer foes as in the past,
When Drake and Nelson led.

Seriously? WTF?

On Friday nights, His Majesty’s Theatre would put on a variety show hosted by The Dandies. One of its stars was Linda Bradford, who was variously reviewed as a ‘gem’ and ‘she sings to the soul’.

Well, in January 1915, Linda made the mistake of singing one of Mrs Power Pinn’s latest jingoistic offerings: Flag of Liberty.

She did the best she could. But nothing could cover up the fact that the thing was god-awful.

The Sunday Times reviewer noted that while the words were bad, the tune was worse.

His sensible advice to The Dandies was to keep a gun handy for the next patriotic songwriter who offered “untuneful hogwash”. And to use it.

He kept a whole armory to stop jingoist writers himself, as well as mining the door to the office.

If only Guy, Shannon and Jessica had been given such advice, we would have been spared their instantly forgettable piece of blandness.

But to cheer up the Dodgy Perth readership convinced that songs can’t support your nation and be good, we offer the only decent jingoistic melody (slightly NSFW) ever written:

Bacchanalian revels in flats


Perhaps it’s surprising that the first flats built in Perth were extremely controversial. As far as the press could see, nothing good was going to come of this new way of living in the 1920s.

Prepare to be shocked by the discovery that unmarried males were renting apartments:

The latest thing in Perth is flats for young single men.

The flats are used not for residential purposes but for the wild parties of these young high-livers and in more than one instance the practice has become a scandal among the neighbours.

But it would be a worse scandal if some highly respectable Perth parents knew the sort of place their sons were keeping and also the type of resorts some of their daughters were frequenting.

Most of these young fellows are sons of well-to-do families and the result is that they have more to spend than the average working boy. Hence they are not content to take their enjoyment at public dances and shows as ordinary people do. And as the parties they hold are not of the kind that would be sanctioned in their own homes they have to look elsewhere.

On three or four nights a week the bright young bloods invite their girl friends down to these places. If the parties were quite alright nothing need be said. But young men don’t go to these measures for parties that are quite alright.

The truth is that they are wild affairs in the real sense and if a girl isn’t used to drinking before she goes there she finds it very hard to avoid it once inside. To put it briefly some of these well-educated sons of wealthy families are priceless young scoundrels and they don’t scruple to get decent girls along to these flats under the belief that they are coming along to an ordinary private party.

Of course there is nothing in the law to prevent people keeping such establishments if they please. At the same time it is not a practice that is any credit to the flash youths who have started it in Perth. As it is most of them have more money than morals.

So in their own interests we advise them to leave the flat habit to the older roués and enjoy themselves normally as the average healthy-minded young man does.

Private flats for young men are sure to cause trouble in the end.