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Is there a more iconic feature of Australian pub culture than a meat tray raffle?
That’s a rhetorical question. Of course there isn’t. ⁠


A better question to ask is: where did this beloved social custom come from?

Thought to have begun in Britain during WWII, the meat tray was originally a way to beef up rations (pun intended), raffled off to boost morale and a lucky family’s food stores meanwhile. ⁠

Today, Australia has taken the concept and run with it.

The meat tray is as quintessentially Aussie as a hand waving away flies under the brim of an Akubra.

And it might be a long way from its wartime origins, but the meat tray raffle is still a wholesome way to bring the community together.

With donations from small businesses used to raise funds for grassroots initiatives, it’s an all-hands-on-deck operation that folk go mad for.

So ingrained is the meat raffle in our culture, that participating pubs and clubs – such as our friends at the Marrickville and Erko Bowlos – have abstracted the concept into new, unexpected forms.

It’s not uncommon these days to see seafood or fruit & veg trays, keeping the event abreast with modern diets and lifestyles.

Despite these developments, the name and format endures…

How will the humble meat raffle evolve in the future?

One thing’s for sure: the tray is here to stay.

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