‘I allus has wan at eleven’ (‘I always have one at 11’)

One can just about taste the beer, such is the enduring nature of this image taken at McVeigh's Hotel near Warburton, Victoria in the late 1890s.

A very Australian scene you might think, but ironically the man at the bar was an Englishman, Sam Knott, who had arrived in Australia about 10 years earlier to try his luck in the goldfields.

So, how did he end up becoming the face of an advertising campaign for Victorian beer? The story goes that while Sam was working at McVeigh's, an artist visitor was so taken by his bushie whiskers and bowyangs that he asked him if he could take a snap.

Not long after, life-size pictures of Sam promoting Carlton Ale appeared on advertising hoardings throughout Victoria.

And the famous quote, ‘I allus has wan at eleven'?

Well, that was Sam's reply when the photographer remarked that he seemed to be enjoying his beer. It's just a pity old Sam didn't live long enough to enjoy some royalties.

  • read caption below
    Sam Knott became the face of Carlton Ale in the late 1890s
  • read caption below
    Page five of the copyright application to register the photograph of Sam for the Carlton Ale advertisement
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017