This is an very interesting post, Nigel. What you are talking about are the rituals of Aussie male bonding. The pubs of Stan Parker’s day were all male, except for the ladies’ lounge, so therefore much more blokey than drinking in many pubs today.
I remember that chapter about him hanging around the pub at Bangalay, while Amy struggled with the loneliness that went with being a housewife, in those days. I suppose I sympathised with her more, not surprisingly, but I can see the inside of that pub where Stan is trying to socialise, clearly while reading. He does say a lot about Australian culture, which has been hard drinking since the days before the Rum Rebellion.
In my experiences, pubs are not the place for profound thoughts, despite the old in vino veritas. You would be better to discuss philosophy in a cafe, or a library, it’s much less mindless, whether lubricated or not.