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Old 03-12-2004, 06:41 AM   #1

Join Date: December 9, 2003
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Australia is a very confusing place, taking up a large amount of the bottom half of the planet. It is recognisable from orbit because of many unusual features, including what at first looks like an enormous bite taken out of its southern edge; a wall of sheer cliffs which plunge deep into the girting sea. Geologists assure us that this is simply an accident of geomorphology and plate tectonics, but they still call it the "Great Australian Bight" proving that not only are they covering up a more frightening theory, but they can't spell either.

The first of the confusing things about Australia is the status of the place. Where other landmasses and sovereign lands are classified as either continent, island, or country, Australia is considered all three. Typically, it is unique in this.

The second confusing thing about Australia is the animals. They can be divided into three categories: Poisonous, Odd, and Sheep. It is true that of the 10 most poisonous arachnids on the planet, Australia has 9 of them. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that of the 9 most poisonous arachnids, Australia has all of them. However, there are curiously few snakes, possibly because the spiders have killed them all. But even the spiders won't go near the sea. Any visitors should be careful to check inside boots (before putting them on) under toilet seats (before sitting down) and generally everywhere else. A stick is very useful for this task.

Strangely, it tends to be the second class of animals (the Odd) that are more dangerous. The creature that kills the most people each year is the common Wombat. It is nearly as ridiculous as its name, and spends its life digging holes in the ground, in which it hides. During the night it comes out to eat grass and roots.

The wombat kills people in two ways: First, the animal is indestructible. Digging holes in the hard Australian clay builds muscles that outclass Olympic weightlifters. At night, they often wander the roads. Semi-trailers (Road Trains) have hit them at high speed, with all 9 wheels on one side, and this merely makes them very annoyed. They express this by snorting, glaring, and walking away. Alas, to smaller cars, the wombat becomes an asymmetrical launching pad, with results that can be imagined, but not adequately described.


The second way the wombat kills people relates to its burrowing behaviour. If a person happens to put their hand down a Wombat hole, the wombat will feel the disturbance and think "Ho! My hole is collapsing!" at which it will brace its muscled legs and push up against the roof of its burrow with incredible force, to prevent its collapse. Any unfortunate hand will be crushed, and attempts to withdraw will cause the Wombat to simply bear down harder. The unfortunate will then bleed to death through their crushed hand as the wombat prevents him from seeking assistance. This is considered the third most embarrassing known way to die, and Australians don't talk about it much.

At this point, we would like to mention the Platypus, estranged relative of the mammal, which has a duck-bill, otter's tail, webbed feet, lays eggs, detects its aquatic prey in the same way as the electric eel, and has venomous barbs attached to its hind legs, thus combining all 'typical' Australian attributes into a single improbable creature.

The last confusing thing about Australia is the inhabitants. First, a short history: Some time around 40,000 years ago, some people arrived in boats from the north. They ate all the available food, and a lot of them died. The ones that survived learned respect for the balance of nature, man's proper place in the scheme of things, and spiders. They settled in. Then around 200 years ago, Europeans arrived in boats from the north. More accurately, European convicts were sent with a few stupid people in charge. They tried to plant their crops in Autumn (failing to take account of the reversal of the seasons when moving from the top half of the planet to the bottom), ate all their food, and a lot of them died.

About then the sheep arrived, and have been treasured ever since.

Eventually, the new lot of people stopped being Europeans on Extended Holiday and became Australians. The changes are subtle, but deep, caused by the mind-stretching expanses of nothingness and eerie quiet, where a person can sit perfectly still and look deep inside themselves to the core of their essence, their reasons for being, and the necessity of checking inside your boots every morning for fatal surprises.

There is also the matter of the beaches. Australian beaches are simply the nicest and best in the entire world. Although anyone actually venturing into the sea will have to contend with sharks, stinging jellyfish, stonefish (a fish which sits on the bottom of the sea, pretends to be a rock and has venomous barbs sticking out of its back that will kill just from the pain) and surfboarders. However, watching a beach sunset is worth the risk.

As a result of all this hardship, dirt, thirst and wombats, you would expect Australians to be a dour lot. Instead, they are genial, jolly, cheerful and always willing to share a kind word with a stranger. Faced with insurmountable odds and impossible problems, they smile disarmingly and look for a stick. Major engineering feats have been performed with sheets of corrugated iron, string, and mud.

Alone of all the races on earth, they seem to be free from the 'Grass is Greener on the other side of the fence' syndrome, and roundly proclaim that Australia is, in fact, the other side of that fence. They call the land "Oz", "Godzone" (a verbal contraction of "God's Own Country") and "Best bloody place on earth, bar none." The irritating thing about this is they may be right.

There are some traps for the unsuspecting traveller, though. Do not under any circumstances suggest that the beer is imperfect, unless you are comparing it to another kind of Australian beer. Religion and Politics are safe topics of conversation (Australians don't care too much about either) but Sport is a minefield.

It is very likely that, on arriving, some cheerful Australians will 'adopt' you, and on your first night, take you to a pub where Australian beer is served. Despite the obvious danger, do not refuse. It is a form of initiation rite. You will wake up late the next day with an astonishing hangover, a foul-taste in your mouth, and wearing strange clothes. Your hosts will usually make sure you get home and waive off any legal difficulties with, "It's his first time in Australia, so we took him to the pub," to which the policeman will sagely nod and close his notebook. Be sure to tell the story of these events to every other Australian you encounter, adding new embellishments at every stage and noting how strong the beer was. Thus you will be accepted into this unique culture.

Most Australians are now urban dwellers, having discovered the primary use of electricity, which is air-conditioning and refrigerators.

Tips to Surviving Australia: -

(a) Don't ever put your hand down a hole for any reason whatsoever. We mean it.
(b) The beer is stronger than you think, regardless of how strong you think it is.
(c) Always carry a stick.
(d) Air-conditioning
(e) Do not attempt to use Australian slang, unless you are a trained linguist and good in a fistfight.
(f) Thick socks
(g) Take good maps. Stopping to ask directions only works when there are people nearby.
(h) If you leave the urban areas, carry several litres of water with you at all times, or you will die.
(i) Even in the most embellished stories told by Australians, there is always a core of truth that it is unwise to ignore.

[ 03-12-2004, 06:43 AM: Message edited by: Skippy1 ]
"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind." -- William James
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Old 03-12-2004, 06:54 AM   #2
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Ah it makes me proud to be an aussie!
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Old 03-12-2004, 07:17 AM   #3
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I couldn't get out of my head the theme song of the TV show with the same name as this thread
Davros was right - just ask JD
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Old 03-12-2004, 07:19 AM   #4
Lord Ao

Join Date: September 11, 2001
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 2,061
Great post Skippy! [img]graemlins/laugh3.gif[/img]

It's true about our animals - they're all deadly!

(Well, except for the koala - but I have heard they can scratch pretty bad).

[ 03-12-2004, 07:22 AM: Message edited by: GokuZool ]
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Old 03-12-2004, 07:52 AM   #5

Join Date: December 9, 2003
Location: England (Ex-pat Aussie)
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Originally posted by GokuZool:
Great post Skippy! [img]graemlins/laugh3.gif[/img]

It's true about our animals - they're all deadly!

(Well, except for the koala - but I have heard they can scratch pretty bad).
The Drop Bear is a close relative.....or so I've been told.
"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind." -- William James
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Old 03-13-2004, 12:43 AM   #6

Join Date: October 30, 2003
Location: Washington, United States
Age: 36
Posts: 237
A few notes...I was "down under" a few years back. Stayed in a small town named Oberon, nestled in the blue mountains, in NSW. About 3 hours north-ish from Sydney if I remember correctly. Biggest town nearby I think was some place named...Bathurst? I'm not sure how it was spelled.

Do koala's actually exist? I visited a large park in NSW and a road sign signified by a silhouette that koala's frequented the next 20 kilometer stretch of road. Never saw one!

I got sick of roos. After I saw my first few dozen and got within about 20 feet of a joey, I had enough of them and put my camera up. I've come to the conclusion they aren't much different than deer from America cept they aren't as skittish and hop instead of run.

Amen about the wombats. We almost hit one driving at night.

My friends told me I had an American accent and "talked funny". It was humorous hearing about myself from their perspective.

I tried chatting with a guy my friends introduced me to and I could understand barely a word he said. Gotta watch that Irish/Aussie accent. Aaaggh!!

Wierd least it's original!

Rode a train from Mount Victoria (I think...north of a town named Katoomba--great town, cept for the heavy fog the day we went there and the guy that commited suicide at the park we were touring--) down to Sydney past Perth and all that. Geez. I swear Sydney and it's suburbs start about 50 kilometers out and half the population lives there.

Oh well, it was interesting. In fact one our friends is on her way over here in the States as I type.

[ 03-13-2004, 12:58 AM: Message edited by: Cienden ]
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Old 03-13-2004, 06:54 AM   #7

Join Date: December 9, 2003
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Age: 55
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Giday Cienden,

Thanks for the reply. Glad you enjoyed your time in our fair country. Would like to retire back to the Blue Mountains eventually. So I know the area your talking about quite well.

By the way, Koala's are nocturnal mostly, as are most Aussie animals. So it is rare that you see them about during the day.

Word of warning to visitor to OZ. Don't travel on the roads in the bush on dusk or dawn. This is when the wildlife are most likely to be on the road. In fact Kangaroos are frequently found bouncing down the road heading straight along the road. The theory is they enjoy the pace they can generate from the hard straight surface.
"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind." -- William James
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Old 03-13-2004, 06:59 AM   #8

Join Date: December 9, 2003
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Age: 55
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As for strange Aussie words, try this lot. I'm sure some of our Aussie posters can add a few more. This seems to be from a Queenslander, and their a strange breed anyway!!


amber fluid - beer
arse over tit - fall over
arvo - afternoon
award wage - minimum rate of pay


back o'Bourke - back of beyond, middle of nowhere
bail up - hold up, rob
bail out - leave
Balmain Bug - (also known as Moreton Bay bug) an estuarine horseshoe crab closely related to the shovel-nosed lobster
barbie - barbecue
barra - barramundi (prized fish of the north)
battler - hard trier, struggler (the outback is full of 'great Aussie battlers')
beaut, beauty - great, fantastic
bikies - motorcyclists
billabong - waterhole in a dried-up riverbed
billy - tin container used to boil tea in the bush or the outback
bitumen - asphalt, surfaced road
black stump - where the back o'Bourke begins
bloke - man
blowies - blowflies
bludger - lazy person, one who won't work and lives off other peoples money
boomerang - a curved flat wooden instrument used by Aborigines for hunting
boozer - pub
bottle shop, bottlo - liquor store
brumby - wild horse
bush - forest, wild and uncultivated country
bushbash - to force your way through pathless bush
bushranger - Australia's equivalent of the outlaws of the American Wild West (some goodies, some baddies) - Ned Kelly was the most famous
bushwalk - to walk or hike through the bush


camp oven - large cast-iron pot with lid, used for cooking in an open fire
chinwag - chat, to have a conversation
chook - chicken
chunder - vomit
clobber - clothes
cooee - call for greeting someone at a distance in the bush
corroboree - Aboriginal festive dance


damper - bush loaf made from flour and water and cooked in a camp oven
dead-set - without a doubt
digger - Australian or New Zealand soldier or veteran
didjeridu, didgeridoo - cylindrical wooden musical instrument played by Aboriginal men
dingo - indigenous wild dog
dinky-di - the real thing
dodgy - something suspicious and underhanded is going on
drongo - foolish or worthless person
droving - moving livestock a considerable distance
dunny - outdoor lavatory


earbash - talk non-stop
esky - portable ice box (brand name)


fair go! - give me a break
fat chance - little to no chance
flagon - 2 litre bottle (of wine, port, etc)
fossick - hunt for gems or semi-precious stones
from arsehole to breakfast - all over the place


galah - noisy parrot, thus noisy idiot
garbo - person who collects your garbage
g 'day - good day, friendly Australian greeting
good on ya - well done
grog - general term for alcoholic drinks


homestead - the residence of a station owner or manager
hoon - idiot, a show-off, who drives a vehicle in a noisy fashion with little regard for others


icy-pole - frozen lolly water or ice cream on a stick


jackaroo - young male trainee manager on a station
jaffle - sealed toasted sandwich
jillaroo - young female trainee on a station
jocks - men's underpants
joey - young kangaroo or wallaby
jumbuck - sheep


kiwi - New Zealander
knackered - exhausted, very tired


lamington - square of sponge cake covered in chocolate icing and coconut
lollies - sweets, candy


mad as a cut snake - insane, crazy; also crazy with anger
mate - general term of familiarity, whether you know the person or not
matilda - swag
mozzies - mosquitoes
muster - round up livestock


nick off - go away
no worries - she'll be right, that's ok


Oz - Australia


paddock - a fenced area of land, usually used for livestock (paddock's can be huge in Oz)
pal - mate
perve - to gaze with lust
piss - beer
pissed - drunk
pissed off - annoyed
postie - mailman or woman
pull your head in - tell someone to mind their own business



rapt - delighted
ratshit (R-S) - lousy
ridgy-didge - original, genuine
road train - multi-trailered semi truck


scallops - fried potato cakes (Queensland), the edible muscle of certain molluscs (North Queensland), shellfish (elsewhere)
scrub - stunted trees and bushes in a dry area; a remote uninhabited area
semi-trailer - articulated truck
sheila - woman, sometimes derogatory
singlet - sleeveless shirt
snag - sausage
squatter - pioneer grazier who occupied land as a tenant of the government
station - large sheep or cattle farm
stubby - 375ml bottle of beer
sunbake - sunbathe
swag - canvas-covered bed roll used in the outback
swaggie, swagman - itinerant worker carrying his possessions in a swag


ta - thanks
takeaway - fast food or a shop that sells it
tea - evening meal
thongs - rubber sandals
tinny - 375ml can of beer; also a small aluminium fishing dinghy
true blue - dinkum, the real thing
tucker - food


up your nose - something that annoys you
up shit creek without a paddle - things are going wrong for you
ute - utility, pickup truck


vegies - vegetables


walkabout - lengthy walk away from it all
waltzing matilda - to wander with one's swag seeking work or a place to settle down
wharfie - dock worker
whinge - complain, moan



yabbie - small freshwater crayfish
yahoo - noisy and unruly person, hoon
yakka - work (from an Aboriginal language)
yobbo - uncouth, aggressive person

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind." -- William James
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Old 03-13-2004, 08:25 AM   #9

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"Strewth! have a go ya mug" <--- my fave saying

My oldest gets called Bluey sometimes, cause he has red hair of course!

Just to let you know skippy, many 'Ozisms' are back in fashion big time, in Sydney at least. Not in a piss take fashion but in a real reclaim our heritage way. Is the cultural cringe truely dead? I hope so

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Old 03-13-2004, 03:46 PM   #10
Aelia Jusa
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It's funny just how many Australianisms we've retained in the face of huge exposure from American TV and other media - people often bemoan the loss of our culture but I think there's less to worry about than they fear - things like petrol (gas), car boot (trunk), biscuits (cookies), lollies (candy), mobile (cell phone) and so on don't see any signs of being dumped in favour of American terms - a good thing!

LOL I was surprised how many of those Australianisms from that list I use on a regular basis - I think when you're in the city you think of real Aussie slang as what people in the bush say
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