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The struggle entered upon by the four grocers of Malvern who hold wine and spirit licenses to secure the privilege of Celling liquor by the bottle was brought to an issue on October 7. Under the terms of their license thegrocers are debarred from dispensing liquor in a less quantity than two gallons, and in order to sell by the bottle it was necessary for them to obtain the consent of at least onethird of the total number of voters in the licensing district. This they succeeded in doing despite the vigorous opposition of those devoted to the principles of temperance. Two years ago the grocers' party opened the campaign, but they were then beaten. Since then threeof the four have been convicted and fine 1 for infringing the provisions of the Act by selling less than two gallons. For" a second offence of this description imprisonment is the penalty provided. There are 1,170 ratepayers on the roll for the licensing district of Malvern, and a vote of one-third of the whole must he cast to make the poll valid. It followed, therefore, that 392 votes must be polled, or the effort would fail. Tue policy of the temperance party in regard to tho poll was ono of abstention, their hope being that the number of votes required would not bo polled, and that the poll would therefore be invalid. Strenuous efforts were put forth by tho grocers' party to send votera to the poll, and equally strenuous efforts were made by the temperance party to keep them away. Pickets wore quar. tered about the polling place—the ishire hall --to dissuade intending votera from entering, and complaint is made against the men so engaged that a regular system of espionage, waa adopted, while in one instance at least a man was subjected to ah upbraiding for having exercised his right to vote. Throughout the day a prayer meeting was conducted in an, upstairs rooin of the shire hall, refreshments being partaken of on the premises. All the religious organisations, except the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches—which took no active part—arrayed themselves on the side of temperance. The poll closed at five o'clock, and three-quarters of an hour later the number of votes recorded was announced by the returning officer, Mr Alex. Robertson, in the presence of a large Eathering, including the secretary of the Victoriau Alliance, Mr John Vale, as 410, or eighteen more than what was required to constitute a poll and gain the day for the grocers.

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Bibliographic details

THE LIQUOR QUESTION IN VICTORIA., Issue 10458, 30 October 1897

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THE LIQUOR QUESTION IN VICTORIA. Issue 10458, 30 October 1897

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