ATTA Doctoral Series: Volume 6
Unpicking the laws of consumption in early 20th century Australia.
It is generally considered that sumptuary law is an archaic form of governmental intervention that targeted the personal lives of people living in the early modern period in Europe, and has no modern significance. This book examines the post Federation period, between 1901 and 1927, to reveal that the sumptuary impulse was not only alive and well in the emergent modern Australia, but was transmuted by a new patrician elite into a form of social and legal regulation. Sumptuary Regulation in Australia 1901–1927 contends that this regulation was enacted primarily to control the clothing and entertainment choices of working Australians. The impulse was sustained through taxation and fiscal legal mechanisms, wage cases, and through the agency of wartime regulations. All of these measures recall the sumptuary laws of early modern Europe.