‘The Wacka.’

Caption: “Is that a wacka alert whistle we can hear in the distance?”
In the Language of the Old Guv Printing Office nothing was more important to hear the announcement of a new “Wacka”. Why?
A “wacka” was a juicy rumour so important that an instant crowd of workers would gather on hearing the wacka alert whistle.
Normally they were bullshit and no real good ever came out of spreading a “wacka.”
“Like blowflies gathering around a lump of shit.” That was Kevin “Dago” Stack-Neale’s masterly description of a “wacka crowd” gathering and hovering around eager to hear the latest gossip.
And the English Version goes like this: Whack !– When compositors are gathered together and a tall story is told, or it be doubted that the truth has been told by a speaker, a whack with the composing stick on the frame is given as an indication of unphilosophic doubt.
That is interesting don’t you think?

‘Let’s ava Barbie this Arvo mate.’


If you’d lost your mobes in Melbourne at a barbie on a Sunday arvo you couldn’t be anything but Australian.
In fact, Australians use abbreviations and diminutives more than other English-speakers – and a new study is trying to find out why.
“There are many theories,” says Nenagh Kemp, a psychologist specialising in language at the University of Tasmania, who’s leading the work.”
“Australians who use these diminutives might be trying to sound less pretentious, more casual and more friendly than they would by using the full words.”
Nenagh and her colleague Evan Kidd at La Trobe University in Melbourne have asked more than 100 Australians aged 18-90 to write down as many abbreviations and diminutives (which can be shorter or longer than the original word) as they could think of in 10 minutes.
Abbreviations and diminutives
The most common words they’ve identified so far were barbie (barbecue), arvo (afternoon), footy (football), sunnies (sunglasses), rego (registration), servo (service station), brekkie (breakfast), cuppa (cup of tea) and sanga (sandwich).
But people also came up with a lot of abbreviations for brand names, like Maccas, Woollies, Subie (Subaru) and Suzy (Suzuki).
While there’s a good deal of overlap between the abbreviations used by older and younger Australians, there are also seems to be some differences.
Nenagh and Evan’s preliminary analysis of their results suggests that older people use ‘cosier’, family-oriented words like cardi (cardigan), lippy (lipstick), rellies (relatives) and oldies more often than younger people.
From Australian Geographic

‘The Hoons of Australia’ c.1970s.

At the Pub Brisbane 1982

A Hoon is a male Aussie Wanker generally from Queensland or New South Wales who thinks he is a supercharged Vin Diesel when he gets behind the wheel of his car.
They like to do “burn outs” and go the wrong way down a one way street. They love playing “chicken” with other morons.
They get pissed on a Saturday Arvo with their mates, wear thongs, (see above), look scruffy and talk like arseclowns.
They like big angry dogs and they pretend they hate sheilas (ladies).
And they definitely don’t like rich blokes like the one below, who can be seen here drinking wine from a bloody tin can.
What a bloody disgrace this bloke is to Aussie manhood!


Old Guv Nicknames.

2940869-popeyeHere are just a few that come to mind:

“The Toff, Planner 9 or Cruel Man” – Alex Riley (snob and Jaguar Owner).
“Sputnik” – Edgar Andrews (would only see him once every hour).
“Ankles” – Ron Fletcher (Boss who was three feet lower than a ####).
“The Flash” – Don Woolman (Grubby Hartshorne claims Woolly was the best Government Printer).
“The Bull” – Les Hawes (Grubby Hartshorne claims the Bull was the best Government Printer).
“Jumbo” – Brian James (GP but much better footballer).
“Grubby” – Brian Hartshorne (professional groveller but a lovely man).
“Handbag” – Malcolm Jones (Boss, who needed to be carried).
“Mirrors” – George Sparnon (Boss who was always looking into things).
“The Thief of Baghdad” – Tony Williams (had quick fingers and a slow brain).
“The Thief of Baghdad’s Dad” – Peter Williams (Tony’s Dad, but a very nice man).
“Concord” – Harry van Straalen (Boss who had a very long nose, of course).
“The Garden Gnome” – Rob Davies (small man, would look nice in the front Garden).
“Mushroom” – Don Conigrave (Boss who popped up everywhere).
“Wingnut” – Paul Raby (Ten pound Pom and nice man with big Ears).
“Dr. Cack” – Keith Stevenson, Government Printer (‘orrible man evidently from the old days).
“The Bishop” – Colin Haines (Priestlike and a Saintly fellow. A Perfect description).
“Yank” – Graham Hall (shocking bullshit artist who actually was a Yank).
“Crayfish” – Eric Miles (all arms and legs and a head full of shit).
“Turkey or The Gobbler”- Geoff Murray, Haircut like a chook.
“Fred Lipps” – Lew Morrison (Lew’s Secret Code Name and alter ego).
“Rags” – John Elsdon (as a shit boy bought sanitary napkins instead of headache pills).
“Abo” – Warren Pietsch, threw darts at the dart board as if they were spears.
“Stolen Biro” – Nick Penn (clever one, eh!)
Using the nicknames below could get you punched in the Nose:
“Popeye” – Frank Nelson.
“The Clown” – Cyril Barson.
“The Ape” – Charlie Ludlow.
“Dogs Breath, 1,2 and 3” – take your pick.
And there were heaps of others. Want to help grow the list. Contact me by Email.
derwombat (Rod Parham)

Do you eat Potato Scallops, potato cakes or potato fritters?

Scallops or potato cakes? Swimmers, cozzies or togs? Slippery dip or slippery slide?
While Australian English is mostly the same all over, there are some regional variations.
There is little regional variation in accents. Most people are familiar with the long “a” used by some South Australians versus the short “a” used elsewhere.
But there are larger differences in vocabulary, with a number of regionally specific words.
This was highlighted recently when a tweet kicked off a war of words over the correct name for a (delicious) oval-shaped piece of potato that has been battered and deep-fried.
These are known as potato scallops or scallops in north-eastern Australia, potato cakes in south-eastern Australia, and potato fritters in South Australia.
Potato scallops, potato cakes, potato fritters
The terms for the fried potato snack show a divide between the southern states, with potato cake favoured in Victoria and southern New South Wales, changing to scallop or potato scallop in New South Wales through to Queensland. South Australians maintain some individuality with the term potato fritter.
Bathers, swimmers, cozzies, togs
Bathers is used frequently in the southern regions and Western Australia, with togs used less frequently. Swimmers and cozzies are used in New South Wales, and togs is prominent in Queensland.
Slippery dip, slippery slide, slide
The common piece of play equipment was mostly known as a slippery dip in NSW and South Australia, and slide in Victoria and WA. Around the border of NSW and Victoria the term slippery slide was used, which is also the term used in Queensland.
Garbage bin, rubbish bin, dust bin
In all regions, the word bin is used on its own, but there are clear regional distinctions between garbage bin and rubbish bin.
Devon, fritz, strasburg, German sausage
This processed lunch meat was one of the most diversely named when the survey was carried out. This is apparently due in some part to the older, German-sounding names falling out of use from the first and second world war onwards and being replaced with more English-sounding names.
The number of names for this meat has probably decreased more recently as production has become less localised
Port, suitcase/bag
The Australia-wide term is suitcase or case, but the term port is still used in Queensland and parts of NSW.
Bubbler, drinking fountain, tap
Bubbler is the most common term in NSW for this water-dispensing apparatus. Other areas prefer drinking fountain or tap.
See the Maps via Maps of Australian language – swimmers v cozzies, scallops v potato cakes | News | The Guardian

‘Shooting through like a Bondi tram’.

Commonly known as toastracks, juggernauts, dreadnoughts and rattletraps, trams were a central part of Sydney life for close to 100 years.
It was a fast and well-patronised public transport service.
Indeed, the speedy Oxford Street route through Paddington was so popular that a colloquial term was coined: ‘Shooting through like a Bondi tram’.
Pitt Street’s last tram ran in the early hours of 29 September 1957. Draped with black streamers and decked with bouquets of red carnations and poppies, the tram was cheered by hundreds of people.
A few hours later linesmen began removing the overhead wires, terminating the service that was first established 96 years earlier.
This was the beginning of the end for Sydney’s trams; within four years all tramlines were closed.
Sydney’s tramway system was, after London’s, the largest in the British Empire and was a central part of Sydney life for 100 years.
The extensive network changed the character of Sydney’s streets, created many of its suburbs and helped it become a modern city.
via Shooting Through: Sydney by Tram | Sydney Living Museums.