The 50 000 residents of the iconic Australian Outback town of Alice Springs got through enough pure alcohol in the first four months of this year to fill an Olympic swimming pool, officials said Thursday.
Northern Territory Chief Minister Clare Martin said most of the heavy drinking was done by the 2 000 or so Aborigines who live in the squalid camps that are set up on Aboriginal-owned land.
Alice Springs is the mid-point in the 3 000km train or road journey from Adelaide to Darwin.
"When you actually convert the amount of pure alcohol drunk, it would fill an Olympic swimming pool, or it is the equivalent of six million cans of full strength beer," Martin said. "That's what Alice Springs drank in the first quarter of this year."
Recent restrictions on the sale of alcohol have led to a drop in alcohol-related admissions to hospital.
Last month the chief surgeon at the Alice Springs Hospital, Jacob Ollapallil, said the town had more stabbings per capita than anywhere else in the world. Most stab victims were Aboriginal women and almost a third of them were drunk when they were brought in.
Alcohol abuse and dependence