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Welcome to part 3 in the Australiana 101 series, the stress-free, there-will-be-no-test-afterwards education program. The objectives of the series are two-fold: to provide a platform for Australians to explain themselves (because it’s about time we did) and to foster clear communication while nurturing positive global relationships. (We’re also hoping you’ll forgive us for sending Rupert Murdoch your way but we had to get rid of him, we really did... sorry.) It is also intended to assist non-Australians to avoid possible pitfalls which may occur, for example, with use of the term “root” as elucidated in part 1 and “pissed” as noted in part 2.

If you inexplicably failed to peruse part 1 and/or part 2, you can catch up here:

Australiana 101: Translations for non-Australians (part 1)  
Australiana 101: Translations for non-Aussies (part 2)

This week we begin with items of Clothing (requested by blue muon), drift nonchalantly into Wildlife, check in on Sport, drop in on Miscellaneous, quickly dip into common phrases and conclude with Swearing (which we’re quite good at as you will see in the accompanying video).

But first, here’s one which was missed by shanikka’s DAH in last week’s “pissed” group of words plus another that came to mind during the week:

Taking the piss: taking the mickey; a favourite Australian pastime.

Piss-up: social gathering which features the imbibing of alcoholic beverages


Jumper: knitted sweater (for Quilldriver)

Holy jumper or Sunday jumper: well-worn jumper with holes, usually located around the elbows

Bathing costume: swimming suit

Bathers: swimming suit

Swimmers: swimming suit

Cossie: swimming suit

Budgie smugglers: brief swimming suit for men, also known by the brand name “Speedos”  

(Pictured) Aussie Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, in budgie smugglers (we've asked him never to do this again - it's embarrassing.)

Drizabone: (dry-as-a-bone) half- to full-length oilskin overcoat, originally worn by stockmen but now in more general use; the name is derived from the most popular brand.

Akubra: wide-brimmed hat to shade the face from the sun or head from the rain; this word is also derived from the brand name made famous by golfer, Greg Norman.

(Pictured right) Three people modeling drizabones; the bloke is also wearing an Akubra

Boot: (1) footwear (2) trunk of a car (for Quilldriver)

Stubbies: shorts, usually dull in color (grey, brown) with elasticized waistband and loose fitting legs. Yobbos wear stubbies.


Budgie (pictured right): abbreviation of Budgerigar, a small, colourful Australian bird known in America as the common pet parakeet, shell parakeet or love bird. Aussies will tell you, however, that “It’s a bloody budgie, mate – get it right!”

Cocky: (1) cockatoo (2) farmer (3) arrogant

Brumbies: wild horses

Lyre birds: these birds are named for their lyre-shaped tails. They are among the most talented mimics in the animal kingdom as you will see and hear from this excerpt of the documentary "The Life of Birds" by David Attenborough:

Roo: kangaroo

Wobblies: wallabies, smaller version of the kangaroo and very cute.

Red Back – (1) Red Back spider made famous in the Australian song: “There was a red back on the toilet seat when I went there last night” (2) brand of beer

Mozzies: mosquitoes (for Dood Abides)

Flies: we seem to have more of them than any other country and, like mozzies, they thrive in Summer and disappear (thankfully) in Winter.

The Aussie salute: a wave of the hand back and forth in front of the face to ward off flies

Sport: This week’s featured sport is Aussie Rules Football and I turn this section over to Ozajh who provided this inimitable description:

The major football code here is (quite logically) called Australian Rules.  One of the infractions in this code is 'Holding the Ball' (when legally tackled), which is inevitably abbreviated to 'Ball' by supporters attempting to persuade the match officials that such an infraction has occurred.
So it is common to see one player on top of an opponent on the ground, and thousands of voices bellowing 'Ball' with no salacious intent at all . . .


Stubby (pictured inside stubby holders): short stocky beer bottle (for PeterFallow)

Stubby holder (pictured outside stubbies): cup-shaped and made of foam-like material, these are literally holders for beer stubbies or cans. The stubby holder keeps the drink cool and is easier to hold than glass which has become slippery with condensation. Children use stubby holders for soft drinks

Soft drinks: sodas

Esky: cooler container for drinks and food; ice cubes or ice packs are used to keep drinks and food cool. Eskies are indispensable at barbeques, the beach and sporting events. Large eskies hold more stubbies than small ones. This may seem an obvious observation but it is a very important one for blokes. Forget guns – real men carry big eskies! (for Dood Abides)

Fairy floss: cotton candy (for Quilldriver who is getting an inordinate amount of attention this week...)

Biscuit: cookie

Tim Tams: possibly the yummiest biscuit in the world, it is approximately 2 inches long by 1 inch wide and comprises a chocolate-covered chocolate biscuit sandwich with soft chocolate in the center. It’s a chocoholic’s delight!

Tim Tam straw: this is made by biting off diametrically opposite corners of a Tim Tam. You then dip one of these corners in your coffee or hot chocolate, place your mouth over the other corner and suck up the liquid through the biscuit. It beats dunking!

The next three in this group were also on Quilldriver’s list:

Gaol: jail – pronounced exactly the same way (accents notwithstanding)

Carpark: parking lot

Kerb: raised edge separating a footpath from gutter and roadway

Footpath: sidewalk

Common phrases

'Ave a good one: (1) in general: have a good day; (2) specifically: enjoy what it is you are about to do.

SMIDSY:  Sorry Mate, I Didn't See You. In the words of OptimizerDad: “Usually said after driver of a parked car opens his door suddenly and fully, into the path of a speeding cyclist.”

Get along with you: (1) you’re pulling my leg (2) friendly way of asking someone to push off without causing any offense

Go on!: Really! An expression used when reacting with surprise or disbelief


Swearing is commonplace in the speech of many, if not most, Australians. In some places, like work environments or the home, it is not so much discouraged as mined for profit. A swear jar is placed in a prominent location and receives a predetermined amount every time a swear word is uttered. Profits go to various causes, usually a social gathering for those who contributed. Given that this natural resource is plentiful, the Campaign Against Vulgarity decided that this mining effort should be conducted on a national scale and produced the following video to promote it:

I hope you all enjoyed this week’s program. If you’ve come across some Aussie lingo and you’re not sure of the meaning, please mention it in the comments and I’ll add it to the current working draft. Tune in next Saturday from 10:30am EDT for part 4. (◕‿◕)


Originally posted to Mopshell on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Cranky Grammarians and PostHuffPost: Connection-Conversation-Community .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    Please note that lamps in the MAGIC LAMP EMPORIUM are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

    by Mopshell on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:30:18 AM PDT

  •  so a red light district would be a root route (5+ / 0-)

    resulting in lots of cheering?

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:49:40 AM PDT

    •  That's pretty good! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NonnyO, Ahianne, slowbutsure

      The red light district would definitely be a root route and rooting on a root route might well culminate in cheering... (◕o◕)  

      Please note that lamps in the MAGIC LAMP EMPORIUM are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

      by Mopshell on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:13:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hilarious, informative, delightful diaries (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mopshell, NonnyO, Ahianne, unfangus

    (I went back and read the ones I apparently missed - thanks for the links), and what enjoyable reading!

    Thank you very much.


    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of these United States of America -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:05:29 AM PDT

  •  Cheers and thank you for such a beaut comment! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Please note that lamps in the MAGIC LAMP EMPORIUM are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

    by Mopshell on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:20:02 AM PDT

  •  Besides the different words (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, Mopshell, Ahianne, KenBee

    there is also the difference in pronunciation.  My Aussie hosts were showing the area around Queensland and New South Wales.  Every once in a while the male (vet) while pointing to buildings would say to his wife "have we been to that Airosel club?"  At least that is what I thought he said.  I would search in vain for the club he was talking about. Finally when we were smack dab in front of one and he said "this is a good Airosel club."  I suddenly realized that he was saying R.S.L. club.  Returned Service L...(league?) forget what the L was.
    Big DOH moment.

    Someone needs to remind Republicans that being President while black is not an impeachable offense.

    by regis on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:37:21 AM PDT

  •  Any special names for these guys? (6+ / 0-)

    I really enjoyed my encounters with them on Rottnest...;)


    "Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"

    by Dood Abides on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:51:22 AM PDT

  •  I like (and use) the phrase Good On You, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, Mopshell, Ahianne

    also learned from my Aussie friend Nick. It has no direct parallel in English AFAIK.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:56:44 AM PDT

    •  Good onya (as we would write it) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CwV, Ahianne

      Has several permutations in meaning, depending on the situation. I'll add it to my draft for next week. (◕‿◕)  

      Please note that lamps in the MAGIC LAMP EMPORIUM are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

      by Mopshell on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:47:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  :-) If you can't get enough... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    unclebucky, Mopshell

    ... of the Aussie accent, there are two TV shows I've watched in their entirety on Hulu.

    Rush (four seasons) about a Tactical Response Unit in Melbourne and I've watched this series twice (I used to work in law enforcement when I was young, so I get the whole adrenalin rush thing) and  Offspring (four seasons) about a doctor and her crazy family.  The lead actress in Offspring makes several guest appearances as a reporter and love interest of one of the characters in Rush, and a minor character in Offspring makes a guest appearance in Rush (I think she plays a counselor/therapist in the latter).

    There are a couple of other Aussie series available on Hulu, but I haven't watched them.

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:25:24 AM PDT

    •  Hulu, great! I wondered where regular (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mopshell, Ahianne, NonnyO

      and consistent Aussie shows can be had. Certainly not consistently in YT, and as for US TV, welll... (face palm)...

      The PBS and a couple of independents do bring in some Aussie programming, but the main networks, HAH.



      The Republican Party is run by the KOCH BROTHERS.

      by unclebucky on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:39:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm a big fan of Offspring! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne, NonnyO

      and I'd also recommend House Husbands and Gruen Planet (which is where the Campaign Against Vulgarity promotional video originated).

      House Husbands has a similar quirky humor to Offspring while Gruen Planet is a show about advertising. The latter has a panel format with comedian Wil Anderson as host (he is the one last seen in the video this week), two permanent panelists (each from large advertising agencies) and two guest panelists. They discuss all aspects of advertising honestly, irreverently and humorously. The show is broadcast on the only non-commercial channel in Australia - no commercial channel could afford to show it or they'd lose sponsors!

      Please note that lamps in the MAGIC LAMP EMPORIUM are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

      by Mopshell on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 10:00:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And it's for darn sure... (0+ / 0-)

        ... commercial, probably not even cable TV, would NOT show the Swedish-Danish version of The Bridge (sex scenes are graphic, as is nudity), nor the Swedish version of Wallander.  They come with adult warnings on Hulu and one has to be registered to watch and birth dates are asked for to "prove" age.  Only Season 1 for each is online (I can hardly wait for the second season of each), and each comes with English sub-titles.

        I bought the complete un-edited Swedish version (English subtitles) of the Millennium Trilogy (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, etc.), each DVD is three hours long and follows the books faithfully; 3 DVDs, 1 DVD that is extra and features interviews, etc.  I think the theater versions of all three are on Hulu, or were (I saw the page scroll through, not sure if they're still there); I didn't watch them because the full, unedited version is so much better, but I did see the first one in theater length (half of the movie was edited out), on YouTube, and that's what prompted me to get the full-length version (I got the full set through Amazon a year or two ago).

        There are full-length Britcom series on YouTube (WITHOUT ads!), and in the computer I had that just crashed some 6-7 weeks ago I had saved the links to all of them by season and episode (not always listed on YouTube, but I followed the seasons & episodes and titles on their Wiki pages and edited the bookmarks to reflect that).

        Errrrr..., not that I love foreign films and TV shows because they're Sooooooo much better than US shows, or anything like that....  ;-)

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 01:43:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Budgie Smugglers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mopshell, Ahianne

    Made my day!  

    Darn near American Redneck: Puppy Thumpers (Real Big rear tires)

  •  I know that this phrase is probably being saved... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for edition 27 of this series, but this one caused quite a bit of embarrassment for me.

    While cruising through Indonesia there was a conversation on the morning radio net between 2 of you down under bloks about the location of a fresh fruit and vegetable market in a place I would soon be visiting. Since we were out of said fruits and veggies, I was listening intently. Then one of the Aussies give transportation advice. He says, "You'll need to take a Shank's Pony from the anchorage to the market."

    Now, I've travelled quite a bit and I've seen about every conceivable example of horse, pony or donkey pulled cart that probably exists. Most are adequate for a short ride with the exception of being placed behind the excrement excreting end of said animals.

    I make a mental note of this Shank's Pony and a few days later arrive in this anchorage and am looking forward to restocking on some fresh fruits and vegetables. Once ashore, I look around and I see mopeds, but I don't see any pony drawn carts anywhere. I know enough Indonesian to know how to ask where is the market(pasar). The local people point in the general direction and then I ask them where I can get a Shank's Pony to take me there. They look at me like I'm from a different planet. After a few of these encounters I realize that they think I want to buy some portion of a horse or pony to eat, and frankly, they are a little shocked by that.

    I finally give up and start walking in the heat and dust and about 30 minutes later I find the market. Now, loaded with fresh stuff, I again pursue the fabled Shank's Pony for a ride back to the anchorage. Surely there must be a Shank's Pony at the market if this is how I'm supposed to get to the market. After some more dreadful encounters with the locals, I guy on a moped offers me a ride back to the anchorage. Picture 260lb white guy on back of little tiny moped with shock absorbers bottomed out!

    Back at the boat I call one of my Aussie friends on the radio to relay the my difficulties in getting to a from the market. I didn't need the radio to hear the howls of laughter emanating from their boat.

    Now, I may be the only person in the world that doesn't know what a Shank's Pony is, but I suspect there are many more just like me. And, no! I'm not going to explain what Shank's Pony means. I'm going to leave that to you Mopshell!!!

    Most of the Australian slang I find quite humorous, this one I found quite embarrassing!! I truly can't wait to read your reply!!!

    •  I started laughing from the first mention (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of shank's pony because I realized then how misleading it must have been. You poor thing (she says while still giggling)... oh dear, that doesn't sounded appropriately sympathetic at all!

      I will add shank's pony (or the actual corrected spelling - you'll understand what I mean by that when you see it) to next week's addition so you don't have to wait half a year for it.

      One more thing: may I quote your anecdote? It's gold!

      Please note that lamps in the MAGIC LAMP EMPORIUM are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

      by Mopshell on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:18:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Be my guest! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I've gotten many a good laugh from the Aussie's when I relay this one!!

      •  I tried posting this last night (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        when you first put up the diary but for some reason, I can only get the internet in the morning on this island. And even then it's a lousy connection. I've truly enjoyed your series and look forward to seeing more. Can't wait for the one on directions and travel. I'm sure Shank's Pony isn't the only funny one in that group!

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