Australia is a nation built on beer. When Port Jackson, the site around which the city of Sydney sprang up, was settled in the late 1700s, the people there were hungry not just for food, but for a steady supply of ale and other types of liquor.
In 1796, the colonial trading firm Campbell and Clark commissioned the ship Sydney Cove to sail from Calcutta in India to Port Jackson, with a cargo of provisions including ales, wines and spirits as well as essential supplies such as grain and timber. The ship never reached its destination.
Foundering off Tasmania’s treacherous north coast near the aptly named Preservation Island, the Sydney Cove ground to a halt on a sandbank and sank slowly while the crew salvaged what they could. Artefacts from excavations of the survivors’ camp indicate that this included some of the beer.