The Darwin Stubby turns 50

05 Jun, 2008 10:48 AM
Douglas Barrie, Bemerside, has published his book, The Darwin Stubby Story which details the history behind the famous 2L bottle of beer.
Douglas Barrie, Bemerside, has published his book, The Darwin Stubby Story which details the history behind the famous 2L bottle of beer.

AMONG Australia’s “big” icons, the Big Banana, the Big Barra, the Big Pineapple, the Big Mudcrab and the like - the only one that is actually a commercial reality is Folster’s 2L Darwin Stubby, the biggest commercial bottle of beer in the world, which turned 50 in April this year.

According to Douglas Barrie, author of The Darwin Stubby Story, it was originally a marketing ploy to compete with Swan Larger in the NT.

The Western Australian brewer had established a brewery in Darwin and was selling tallies into what Carlton & United considered its market.

So to the delight of NT residents Fosters began selling its beer in a 2.25L bottle, at less than it cost for three bottles of Swan Larger.

Mr Barrie is the owner and publican of the Seymour Hotel, Bemerside, at the base of the Cardwell Range, 15km north of Ingham, a hotel that began trading 105 years ago.

After spending 17 years at Batchelor in the Northern Territory, where he became acquainted with the Darwin Stubby, in 1987 he moved his family to Queensland, purchased the Hotel and discovered his collection of empty Darwin Stubby bottles had arrived with them.

“Eighteen years later I realised I had four of the five Darwin Stubby permanent printed designs in my collection, so I set out to find the production date of each of them as at the time of buying them, my priority had been drinking the contents, not their place in history,” he said.

“In 2005 when I called the Foster's Group, I discovered there was very little information available, so I began researching the history of the Carlton & United Darwin Stubby.”

*Full story in this week’s North Queensland Register, out now.

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17/06/2008 10:41:47 PM

To find the Darwin Stubby book and other history books with the pub blurb on the web go to http:/
The Darwin Stubby Turns 50
29/06/2008 5:07:20 PM

My husband and I listened to Mr Douglas Barrier being interviewed on ABC's Conversation Hour with Richard Fidler, during the week. We not only enjoyed the interview immensely but both felt the same way about preserving history. As an adjunct to his interview regarding his book, Mr Barrie made mention of two towns way out west, Rum Jungle and Francis Creek, which sadly is now a ghost town. The mere mention of those legendary towns brought back a flood of memories for as a very young child, I clearly recall what seemed back then, a mass exodus of countless young men from our home islands leaving in order to seek employment. The reason was also in order to financially assist the family members who had to remain on the islands. As their education was completed and some even departed prior to the completion of Grade 10 which, back then was the highest level of education available to anyone residing and studying on Thursday Island (ie early 1960s up to and including the mid to late1980s was the highest level of education attainable). Rum Jungle and Francis Creek hold special significance in the hearts of many Torres Straight Islander families and, especially so, hold legendary status in the hearts of the young men who chose to commence their working lives in those two towns. In a couple of months time my husband and I will travel by car to Cairns. En route we will call into the Seymour Hotel and we will also spread the word. Many of those men and their families now reside in small towns between Brisbane and Cairns. The grapevine no doubt is already running hot since the release of The Book.
19/02/2009 5:44:09 PM

We have an empty original Victoria Bitter Draught Darwin Stubby (brewed & bottled at the Darwin plant by Carlton United breweries) that we got back in 1972. We are wondering what the value of this bottle is today.
11/04/2009 2:15:34 AM

I have a NT draught Darwin Stubby that was presented to me whilst racing solo speedway in Alice Springs in 1982. It is unopened and I'm wondering whether it's still OK to drink or is it worth anything in it's unopened state?
15/06/2009 3:21:27 PM

I have an unopened Darwin Stubby bought in 1987 still in box with 2 glasses, coasters and bar towel. Do you know how much this is worth?
24/02/2012 10:20:06 PM, on North Queensland Register

i have 2 unopened 100yrs centenary cup carnival (may2nd & 4th 1981) 2.25ltr bottles wondering if you know what these are worth today?
11/03/2012 10:26:51 AM, on North Queensland Register

I am interested in getting hold of about 20 empty Darwin stubby's, does anyone know of any suppliers in the Brisbane area. My aim is to use for home brew, pulling beer using a British manual beer pump - any info. much appreciated.
12/05/2012 4:54:54 PM, on North Queensland Register

i have 2 unopen darwin stubbie 1960 to 1970 and the other one 1980 cant you tell me how much there worth thank Peter....
25/06/2012 11:39:43 AM, on North Queensland Register

I have a Darwin stubby 100 years Alice Springs Centenary Cup Carnival May 2nd & 4th 1981 could you tell me if it is of any value or who to contact to find out.
29/01/2013 6:50:51 PM, on North Queensland Register

I realize why I am an obsessive collector of really old bottles,, including the Darwin stubby...Thanks to my brother Douglas Barrie...who is 2 years older....I guess it just had to be ! Thank-you Douglas.... I am so happy with my passionate "collectable" life ! Your sister Wendie
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