Language is a wonderful thing. It helps us to communicate with each other.
With Christmas not long past, my mind turned to the old practice of putting coins into Christmas puddings. In Australia I believe threepennies or thrupences were the coins of choice, whereas in the UK I believe it was the sixpenny piece was their choice.
Now since the introduction of decimal currency such coins are no longer widely available and thus the practice has been gradually dying as less and less coins are available each year. Our then new coins contained copper and nickel and would turn green if cooked in the pudding, however they could be added just prior to serving.
The decimalisation of our currency has seen the disappearance of the old Aussie slang names for the various denominations of what was once our currency.
Remember the names we once gave to the various coins in Australia. A trey was the term used for threepence, zac was for sixpence (now 5 cents) deener or bob for 1/- (now 10 cents), a tenner for 10/- (now $1) and a brick or quid for 1 pound (now $2), As we are approaching Australia Day, it is not only coins that bring back memories of Aussie slang terminology. Back in 1997 I took my wife on a trip to the old country. Driving around the UK’s Lake District, we decided that we would like to stay for a day or so. Calling into the town of Kendal, my wife enquired at a Tourist Information Bureau about local “Bed & Breakfast” accommodation, whilst I parked the car. She came back out and told me that there was only one B&B still available but the girl in the Bureau had said it was “Crook”. I smiled at my wife and said that they do not use that term in England to describe something terrible. Actually the B&B was in a farmhouse in the village of Crook and was very nice too. My wife still talks about how beautiful the B&B was.
Another term (although not slang) I recall was used by Harvey Grennan when editor of “The Hills News” who wrote in his “Fearless Fortescue” column about “Bosky” Baulkham Hills. Harvey asked readers what it meant. I responded with the meaning “wooded; covered by trees or shrubs” and shortly thereafter, Harvey resigned from the “Hills News” and the then owner (before it became a “Fairfax” paper) asked me if I would like to write for the paper. The newly appointed Editor, who had replaced Harvey Grennan and I did not see eye to eye. I was to be a columnist, whereas the Editor wanted me to become more investigative. After just a few weeks, “The Hills News” and I parted company. But I digress. The column in this issue is more about old Aussie slang and phrases.
Australia has had some beaut phrases over time and whilst we celebrate the silly season of New Year and Australia Day whilst necking down some amber fluid during the arvo or be up at sparrow’s fart, I hope that you enjoy some of the bonzer terms that appear here because they are all dead-set fair dinkum Aussie. Give it a burl and keep reading and learn a bit of Aussie Culture ‘cause this is the real thing. I mean we have had some grouse terminology over the years. I reckon London to a brick, that these terms are all ridgy didge. I’ll be stoked if you find different. Well I’ll be stuffed, this column has just become a gutser. I’ve run out of space to carry on. Still there are 25 more columns to be composed during the year. Why not write one yourself and send it in to me.
Don’t forget to contribute your memories and also any old photographs that you would like to see published in this magazine’s “as we were” section.
NOW WHAT ABOUT YOUR MEMORIES OR YOUR STORY.
You can write about childhood memories of where you may have grown up or moving into the area. Tell us about your school days. Where you worked, played or went on holidays; your first car; that first date, getting married or maybe the history of your family, group or organisation in the district. This page is about memories so tell us yours.
If you have some great memories, or perhaps you belong to a local community organisation and would like to share your organisation’s history or story with us then feel free to share your memories or experiences by writing to 17 Rose St., Baulkham Hills NSW 2153 or email to [email protected] You can also share memories on any of my Facebook memories groups including Hills District Memories which you will find at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Hills.memories/ or Hawkesbury Happenings & Memories which you will find at https://www.facebook.com/ groups/Hawkesmemories/