SABRE (Sodium iodide with Active Background REjection) South is a NaI(Tl) based dark matter direct detection experiment located at the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory (SUPL) [J. Phys. Conf. Ser. 2156, 012064 (2021), arXiv:2205.13849]. It is designed to detect an annual modulation of WIMP recoils as an independent replication of the long-standing DAMA/LIBRA modulation signal. SABRE South will have a low energy threshold of 1 keV in the NaI(Tl) crystal detector and a low experimental background. This requires precise characterisation of the photomultipliers used to understand both their sensitivity at low thresholds and their contribution to the background. We report on the photomultiplier characterisation test bench developed for the crystal detector photomultipliers including studies of the single photon response, transit time, and dark noise. A specific focus is on estimating the contribution to the experimental background of coincident photomultiplier noise due to its predominance at low energy and inability to be modelled using traditional MC simulation.