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Queens Birthday Long Weekend in June

Queens Birthday Long Weekend in June

The second Monday in June in most of Australia is a public holiday known as the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend.

The quirky thing is, the actual Queen’s birthday isn’t in June at all, it’s April 21st! The origins of the public holiday date all the way back to 1788 when Australia was settled by the British and Governor Arthur Phillip gave the convicts three days off to celebrate the birthday of King George III.

We continued to celebrate the reigning King or Queens birthday until 1936 when the states decided to have an annual holiday closest to the late King’s birthday (King George V) on June 3rd.

Oddly enough, although Australia has a public holiday to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday, the UK does not. I guess us Aussies are always looking for an excuse to have a day off work and celebrate!

Growing up, the Queen’s birthday long weekend was always our firecracker / fireworks night before the safety laws came in requiring a license to handle them. All I can remember is being taken to one of our relatives houses while we had a bonfire or fireworks display in the backyard. Back then, every second or third backyard seemed to have their own fireworks being set off – it certainly was a colourful night around the neighbourhood!

Now the Queen’s birthday holiday means a weekend trip away, maybe a picnic or BBQ on Monday with the family or in our case, a restful day off work.

Learn the Lingo – Grab Bag

Welcome to this week’s grab-bag of Aussie slang, it’s another list with no real theme, some of these are favourites of mine. Hope you enjoy them!

  • As mad as a cut snake  – very angry.
  • Bizzo – Business, as in “mind your own business”.
  • Booze Bus – police vehicle used to catch drunk drivers.
  • Coldie – beer.
  • Give it a burl – try it, have a go.
  • Heaps – a lot, e.g. “thanks heaps”, “(s)he earned heaps of money” etc.
  • Mate’s rate, mate’s discount – cheaper than usual for a “friend”.
  • Outback – interior of Australia.
  • Pozzy – position – get a good pozzy at the football stadium.
  • Ripper – great, fantastic.
  • She’ll be Apples  – everything will be alright.
  • Slab – a carton of 24 bottles or cans of beer.

Australian Animal Facts - The Echidna

Australian Animal Facts - The Echidna
  • The Echidna is a mammal but a unique one at that, like the platypus it is the only other egg-laying mammal on the planet.
  • The echidna lay eggs that have a soft shell and the female carries them in her pouch for two weeks when they hatch and only produce one egg at a time. Once hatched the young echidna remains in the pouch for approximately 50 weeks by which time the baby would have grown spikes. The baby is then transferred by the mother to a nursery burrow where she returns every few days to feed the baby until it’s about 7 months old.
  • Echidna young are called Puggles.
  • The echidna has a very long tongue, approx 18cm in length but it has no teeth. The tongue is quite sticky and as its diet consists of ants and termites this works quite well.
  • When faced with attack, the echidna will either burrow to safety or curl up in a ball showing only the spikes covering its body.

At Australian Native T-Shirts we sell Echidna products such as pewter figurines, t-shirts and cute plush toys – click here to check them out.

Advance Australia Fair Lyrics - The Australian National Anthem

Advance Australia Fair wasn’t always our National Anthem, originally it was ‘God Save the Queen’ (or King, if the ruling Monarch was a King), it was voted on at times, changed, then changed back and changed again and this time it seems to have stuck. It was officially declared the national anthem on 19 April 1984.

Of this song, only the first and third verses are normally sung and a lot of Aussies hoped ‘Waltzing Matilda’ would’ve been chosen for our national song.

Advance Australia Fair

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage
Advance Australia Fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

Quirky Australia – Big Things

Quirky Australia – Big Things

Why is it that ‘big things’ become iconic? In Australia, we’re no stranger to having big things dotted around the country, the first built was the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour which was built in 1964.

We have over 150 big things in Australia and they have become almost a cult phenomenon with people always stopping by to grab a photo of them. Quite a number of our Big Things here are even being heritage listed.

Now that’s quirky!!

Some of the more well known Big Things we have are:

  • The Big Banana – Coffs Harbour NSW
  • The Big Barramundi – Daintree QLD
  • The Big Captain Cook – Cairns QLD
  • The Big Cassowary – Mission Beach QLD
  • The Big Cheese – Bega NSW
  • The Big Croc – Humpty Doo NT
  • The Big Dog on a Tuckerbox – Gundagai NSW
  • The Big Earthworm – Bass VIC
  • The Big Gold Panner – Bathurst NSW
  • The Big Golden Guitar – Tamworth NSW
  • The Big Guitar – Narrandera NSW
  • The Big Gumboot – Tully QLD
  • The Big Koala – Dadswells Bridge VIC
  • The Big Lobster – Kingston SA
  • The Big Merino – Goulburn NSW
  • The Big Murray Cod – Swan Hill VIC
  • The Big Ned Kelly – Glenrowan VIC
  • The Big Penguin – Penguin TAS
  • The Big Pineapple – Gympie QLD
  • The Big Potato – Robertson NSW
  • The Big Prawn – Ballina NSW

Learn the Lingo – A Potpourri Mix of Slang Terms

Let’s just have a bunch of different slang today to mix it up in this Learn the Lingo post.

  • Amber fluid – beer
  • Big-note oneself – boast or brag
  • Clayton’s – fake or substitute
  • Deadset – true, the truth
  • Earbashing – nagging, non-stop chatter
  • Hooroo – goodbye
  • Lob, lob in – drop in to see someone (“the rellies (family) have lobbed”)
  • Mickey Mouse – excellent, very good
  • Never Never – the Outback, centre of Australia
  • Ocker – an unsophisticated person
  • Piker – Someone who leaves parties early or doesn’t want to socialise
  • Ridgy-didge – original, genuine
  • Shoot through – to leave
  • Tee-up – to set up an appointment
  • Whinge – complain
  • Click – kilometre
  • Compo – Workers Compensation Insurance
  • Knocker – somebody who criticises
  • Oz – Australia!
  • Quack, or off to the quack – the doctor, or off to the doctor
  • Scratchy – instant lottery ticket
  • Strides – trousers
  • Thingo – Wadjamacallit, thingummy, whatsit
  • Togs – swim suit
  • Wobbly – excitable behaviour (“I complained about the food and the waiter threw a wobbly”)

My Country – A Poem by Dorothea Mackellar

An iconic Australian poem by Dorothea Mackellar. A favourite from our childhoods, we thought we’d share it with our blog readers.

My Country

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze…

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand
though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Funny Australian Place Names

Funny Australian Place Names

Like most countries, we have some funny place names. I would imagine when they were named they weren’t too funny but as language develops as does slang it makes for some funny signs.

Below is a list of some of the funny ones in Australia:

  • Bald Knob (QLD)
  • Blackbutt (QLD)
  • Bobbin Head (NSW)
  • Bogan Gate (NSW)
  • Boinka (VIC)
  • Bong Bong (NSW)
  • Boobyalla (TAS)
  • Broke (NSW)
  • Burpengary (QLD)
  • Burrumbuttock (NSW)
  • Coffin Bay (SA)
  • Come by chance (NSW)
  • Dark Corner (NSW)
  • Dicky Beach (QLD)
  • Dismal Swamp (TAS)
  • Dum Dum (NSW)
  • Eggs and Bacon Bay (TAS)
  • Gingin (WA)
  • Grass Patch (WA)
  • Humpty Doo (NT)
  • Humpybong (Qld)
  • Iron Knob (SA)
  • Mooball (NSW)
  • Nowhere Else (Tas)
  • Pimpinbudgie (QLD)
  • Poowong (VIC)
  • Rooty Hill (NSW)
  • Tittybong (VIC)
  • Useless Loop (WA)
  • Wee Waa (NSW)
  • Wonglepong (Qld)
  • Yorkeys Knob (Qld)

Botany Bay Lyrics – Aussie Ballad

Botany Bay is an old favourite of Australians, it’s about the convict history and arriving in Botany Bay, NSW.

BOTANY  BAY

Anonymous

Farewell to old England for ever,
Farewell to my rum culls as well,
Farewell to the well-known Old Bailey,
Where I used for to cut such a swell.

Chorus:
Singing, too-ral, li-ooral, li-addity,
Singing, too-ral, li-ooral, li-ay.
Singing, too-ral, li-ooral, li-addity,
Singing, too-ral, li-ooral, li-ay.

There’s a captain as is our commander,
There’s the bo’sun and all the ship’s crew,
There’s the first- and the second-class passengers,
Knows what we poor convicts goes through.

‘Tain’t leaving ol England we care about,
‘Tain’t cos we misspells wot we knows,
But because all we light-fingered gentry
Hops round with a log on our toes.

For fourteen long years I have ser-vi-ed,
And for fourteen long years and a day,
For meeting a bloke in the area,
And sneaking his ticker away.

Oh had I the wings of a turtle-dove,
I’d soar on my pinions so high,
Slap bang to the arms of my Polly love,
And in her sweet presence I’d die.

Now, all my young Dook-ies and Duch-ess-es,
Take warning from what I’ve to say –
Mind all is your own as you touch-ess-es,
Or you’ll meet us in Botany Bay.

Information about Australia's Coat of Arms

Information about Australia's Coat of Arms

Our Australian Coat of Arms

The shield is the focal point of the coat of arms, contained within is the badge of each Australian state. In the top half, from left to right, the states represented are: New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. In the bottom half, from left to right: South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania. Above the shield is the seven-pointed ‘Commonwealth Star’ or ‘Star of Federation’ above a blue and gold wreath, forming the crest. Six of the points on the star represent the original six states, while the seventh point represents the combined territories and any future states of Australia. In its entirety the shield represents the federation of Australia.

The Red Kangaroo and Emu that support the shield are the unofficial animal emblems of the nation. They owe this recognition not only to the fact that they are native Australian, (found only on that continent) but also to the mistaken belief that animals can not move backward, only forward – i.e. progress (the reality being that both animals can, but infrequently do). In the background is wreath of Golden Wattle, the official national floral emblem, though the representation of the species is not botanically accurate. At the bottom of the coat of arms is a scroll that contains the name of the nation. Neither the wreath of wattle nor the scroll are technically part of the official design described on the Royal Warrant that grants the armorial design.

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