Australia oozes eccentricity. Quite why is anyone’s guess. It may be because of its location Down Under, well away from the rest of the ‘Western’ world. Or, it could be that its roots as the largest penal colony in history has made the locals a bit peculiar.
That doesn’t mean Australia is bereft of a rich cultural history – just think of the spectacular Sydney Opera House, the art galleries and museums – it simply means the Land of Oz is unique, exciting and decidedly quirky. Let’s take a look at 4 characteristics that create the Aussie phenomenon:
A Whacky Vernacular
Australians have a lingua franca all of their own. It’s apparently based on the Queen’s English but, by golly, it’s difficult to understand. In addition to bastardising a perfectly good means of communication that’s been enthusiastically embraced around the world; Aussies have the proclivity to create diminutives out of perfectly good words.
So, when a grommet (surfer) invites you to a barbie (barbecue) in the arvo (afternoon) and a root (sex) later on, we recommend you decline forthwith or you may find yourself sated in more ways than one! Other little gems are a ‘slab of ponies’ for a 24-pack of beer; playing ‘pokies’ instead of slots; and having a ‘gander at a bit of footy’, which in real English means watching a game of rugby league.
If you need the services of a carpenter, electrician or garbage collector, be sure to request a chippie, sparky or garbo and when you pop into a mate for mid-day victuals, remember to take a plate and an esky chockers with ponies, handles, schooners or whatever brand and configuration of beer you prefer!
Bizarre Place Names
Travel the length and breadth of Australia and you’ll encounter really odd place names. There’s Yorkeys Knob which, by the way, is not a reference to your yorkie’s private parts, together with other canine-infused monikers that vary from Dog Swamp and Doo Town to Poo Wong and Wagga Wagga.
You can stop over for a decidedly titillating time at Burrumbuttock, Tittybong, Mount Buggery and Koolyanobbing and when you feel the need for a bit of refreshment, destinations like Banana, Egg and Bacon Bay, Orange and Wineglass Bay undoubtedly hit the spot!
Big is Better
Aussies like big things. In fact, many a road trip has been planned around what is fast becoming a cult phenomenon of the large, huge and gigantic bits and pieces of brand-inspired folk art. Sculptures and icons of food produce is particularly popular and includes a material homage to bananas, apples, mushrooms, cherries, cheese, avocados and Merino sheep.
In fact, visit any city or state and the monotony of long distance travel is broken by massive carvings, monuments and statuettes dedicated to all manner of things – Big Trout, The Big Boxing Crocodile, Big Blue Heeler, The Big Swan, Big Prawn, Big Soldier and even the Big Axe, Big Beer Can and Big Miners Lamp!
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Weird Festivals and Races
To cap the ‘Aussie weird’ trend are annual races and festivals held nowhere else. There’s the annual Cooee Championship, where the competitor with the longest, shrillest and clearest cooee call claims the kudos and the madly popular Cockroach Races in Brisbane, where the fastest roach wins gold.
You can form a clan of blacksmiths, design artists, wannabe medieval knights or just plain metal heads and take part in the awesome IronFest, or you can test your fish-throwing skills at Tunarama, where the person who tosses a 15kg tuna is crowned king of the sea!