From the invasion of an ancient land and a convict settlement….

… grew a country with a wry sense of humour and a deep suspicion of authority

“It’s a lot wilder on the streets of New York, but at least they’re not full of crazy Australians!”

– Skyhooks’ Greg Macainish, monologue 1980














bloke: a man

blue-arsed fly: to be doing something like a blue-arsed fly means to be moving with great speed or racing around frantically.

fair dinkum: Fer real, yo.

frog n toad: road; “I have to hit the old frog n toad.”

full as a goog: Used when something is completely full; especially used after eating: “I’m full as a goog.” (goog = egg, and eggs are full)

g’day: hello (contraction of “good day”)

get stuffed: means “Run along and get a penis in you”; stuffed can also mean broken or tired (no, “stuffed” is not “full” in Australia. So don’t tell everyone you’re stuffed after you’ve eaten.).

kick it in the guts: start it up; especially a car or motorbike.

not the full quid: Not totally mentally “with it.”

beyond the black stump: bloody far away.

pissed as a fart: very drunk

root: sex; to have sex (so, my American friends, it isn’t good to say in Australia, “I’m rooting for my team.”)

she’ll be right: everything will be okay.

sheila: a female

Straya: “Australia” said with a strong Aussie accent.

Strine: “Australian” pronounced with a strong Aussie accent; also used to describe heavily accented Aussie English, “I speak Strine!”

thinks his shit doesn’t stink: someone who has a high opinion of him/herself.

tucker: food

Westie: someone from the much-maligned western suburbs of Sydney. Derogatory term unless used by a local.


ANZAC biscuits:
biscuits/cookies with a predominantly golden syrup and coconut taste; several variations; my mum used to make them rock hard – the traditional way – and you’d almost break your bloody teeth on them.

Non-alcoholic mixer; the “drink you have when you’re not having a drink”; big gimmick in the 1970s but not popular now.

drink made from liquid concentrate that comes in a variety of flavours, stirred into a glass or jug of water. Easy option for shutting up whinging kids.

cream bun:
a bread roll with a slash down the middle filled with mock cream and a dash of raspberry jam.

a very basic bush food; flour, water, and salt, with butter if you have it, cooked in coals; a staple of the old swagmen/swaggies (hoboes)

fairy bread:
buttered bread covered with “hundreds-and-thousands” (round sprinkles)

fish n chip shop food:
a wide range of delicious and greasy fried treats – battered savs, fish cakes, scallops (thin layer of mashed potato in batter), dim sims (probably not like any dim sim/dim sum you’ve ever had), Chicko Rolls, Aussie-style hamburgers, and, of course, battered fish and thick-cut chips.

a piece of sponge cake a few inches square, covered in a thin layer of moist chocolate and sprinkled with coconut.

leg of lamb/baked dinner:
lamb has always been a traditional and much-loved food in Australia, and is often part of the hallowed baked dinner, which includes vegetables and, often, gravy.

candy; sweets; many of which are unique to Australia.

meat pie:
beef and gravy or beef mince (and other fillings, on occasion) in a shortcrust base with puff pastry top. Hand-sized and enough for one person. A balanced diet is a meat pie in each hand.

milkshakes (real milkshakes):
choice of flavouring, a shitload of milk, and a scoop of ice cream blended into a frothy drink. The emphasis is on milk, not ice cream. When the opposite is true, that’s what Australians call a “thick shake.”

mince meat and vegetables in an envelope of pastry.

a popular dessert made with a crisp meringue exterior and soft, billowy center filled with whipped cream and fresh fruit; involves egg whites and is bloody delicious!

sausage roll:
sausage meat wrapped in puff pastry. Particularly good with sauce, aka tomato sauce (not called ketchup).

Tim Tam:
rich chocolate-covered biscuit sandwiches with soft filling; Americans seem to lose their minds over them.

a savoury spread that Aussie kids were (are?) weaned on at a young age; made from “yeast extract,” and every Mum says it’s good for you; has a “unique” taste; most Americans despise it; probably doesn’t help that it’s black.