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I’ve been gathering Aussie vocab for you and just never had enough room in prior posts – until now! It was a bit of a light week in terms of new experiences, so I’ll take this opportunity to share some Aussie vernacular with you. Starting with a word in the title of the blog post – “heaps.” This is equivalent to “piles” in North America, as in, “there are heaps of killer creatures in Australia.” And you will hear heaps of people using this term here. (Note that many of these words could be British, I’m not sure, I’m just learning them here so I’m calling them Aussie!)

WARNING TO ANYONE WHOSE KIDS ARE READING THIS – there are references to some 4 letter words in this week’s blog.

“Mob” is another very commonly used word here and it refers to a group of people with something in common. For example, at my doctor’s office, there is a sign saying, “Help protect our mob…” referring to the staff at the clinic. Or you might refer to your family using this word, like “My mob are heading to a friend’s place tonight.” However, when I googled “mob” to see if I was understanding its correct application, all that came up was that it was used to describe a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples associated with a particular place (or what they call here Country). When I mentioned the various words I was including in the blog this week with some Aussie friends this afternoon, they immediately identified the same definition of mob I had understood. Will have to see what else I can learn about this.

“Crook” was one I first heard back in July when going through the cancer stuff (oh, speaking of that, I had bloodwork done this week to check on a cancer indicator that had been higher than anticipated after the surgery and great news, it’s totally back to normal levels!). A friend said he’d heard that I’d been “feeling crook” – I had no idea what he was talking about! It just means sick or ill. Apparently you can also use it as an adjective to mean injured, so a crook back.

“Get stuffed” would be the equivalent of “go f*** yourself.” Similarly, to “stuff something up” would be equivalent to “f*** something up.” I really like that Aussies have good ways of expressing the same sentiment as swear words without using swear words! Although I really do have to question why we deem some words to be swear words. When you swear in another language, it’s just a word, it doesn’t inherently make you cringe. But it is interesting to study which types of words are swear words in different languages and what that says about various cultures. But I digress!

“Far out” is a fun one that took me awhile to figure out. At first, I thought it meant the same as in 1960’s North America. Nope. It would be the equivalent of saying “unbelievable” with an eye roll, or maybe “you’re kidding me” or “seriously.” For example, “When I got home, Hugh was STILL making bread. Far out.”

“Bogan” is sort of equivalent to “red neck.”

“Beanie” means “toque” (BTW, Aussies really seem to get a kick out of the word toque!).

“Twiggy sticks” are “pepperettes.” I dare someone to head into a North American grocery store and head to the deli counter and request some twiggy sticks :).

I haven’t quite figured out “fair dinkum” yet so will have to report back on that one another day.

Another word I’d never heard before, not an Aussie word but a North American word that refers to Australia and New Zealand, is “Antipodean.” It’s used a lot in the audiobook In a Sunburned Country / Down Under that I told you about last week. It can be a noun but is more commonly used as an adjective to describe something relating to Australia or New Zealand. I believe it actually means coming from the opposite side of the earth, which, for North Americans, would be Australia and New Zealand. So if you were in North America and said β€œAntipodean wines”, you would be referring to wines from Australia and New Zealand.

OK, enough words, let’s get some photos and videos for you.

Last week I told you about this time of year being turtle egg-laying season. We weren’t lucky enough to see turtle tracks on the beaches when we were in Bargara last week, and still haven’t seen them here either. But someone on Facebook posted a photo of them from Lammermoor Beach, which is one of Yeppoon’s beaches, so I wanted to show you what they look like. I didn’t use their photo in case there were any copyright implications, so here is one I found online:

On Friday night, we went to a Christmas music bingo night with our friend Leigh (and our other friend Rob P happened to be in town for the evening, so he came along too). Hugh would normally poke his eyes out with a fork if asked to listen to Christmas music, but he was a good sport and came along with me – and he came close to winning! As is typical in all the music bingos we go to, there are a lot of Aussie songs in the mix, so we get to learn a bit while enjoying the night. Well, you’re gonna love these Aussie Christmas songs and they have the Hugh stamp of approval:


This one is called Aussie Jingle Bells and it gives you an opportunity to learn more Aussie words:

“Bush” for us would signify something like forest – somewhere there’s heaps (LOL) of trees. Here it just means sparsely-inhabited area, it doesn’t have anything to do with trees.

“Holden ute”: Holden is/was an Australian subsidiary of GM. “Ute” is the interesting vehicle you can see pictured here: The front is like a pick up truck and the back is like, well, I’m not sure. A shallow fenced-in flat bed I guess. Utes are EVERYWHERE here. I’m not sure if that’s an Australia-wide phenomenon or just in rural areas. People LOVE their utes and SUVs here and they spend a fortune on them. You’ll see a lot of (as in heaps of…) utes that look like this:

You’re probably wondering what that black thing is snaking up from the engine on the right side of the ute. It’s called a “snorkel” and it’s to ensure the engine gets air if you’re driving through deep water. You see snorkels EVERYWHERE. This would make you think that there is a lot of deep water that everyone must have to drive through here. That doesn’t seem to be the case, unless a) you don’t plan well (e.g., leave your ute on the beach when the tide is coming in – in which case you probably have bigger issues than just getting air to the engine) or b) you don’t know how to turn your vehicle around (e.g., a flash flood has filled a dip in the road). I do recognize in saying this, however, that Cairns is experiencing major flooding after Cyclone Jasper this week and I suspect that having a ute with a snorkel might actually come in handy.

Here’s an SUV with a snorkel plus even more equipment:

What you see on top is for camping. I haven’t seen one opened up yet but somehow they open up and turn into a bit of a tent trailer so you can sleep off the ground. On the left hand side next to the trailer thing on the roof, you can just see the end of a black cylindrical item running the length of the roof – this contains an awning you can pull out so you have shade to sit under while camping in your SUV. Quite ingenious!

OK, back to the lyrics of Aussie Jingle Bells. “Esky” means “cooler.” “Kelpie” is a herding (called “mustering” here) dog. I don’t recall hearing about Kelpies in Canada? Hugh and I actually just started watching a series on Netflix called Muster Dogs – keep an eye out for it if you’re interested in how dogs are trained to herd livestock. Hugh and I each selected our favourite puppy in the first episode last night – Hugh chose the one with the green collar and I chose the one with the orange collar. We’ll see which of us wins πŸ™‚ More Aussie vocab from this song: singlet, shorts, and thongs. I have previously explained that thongs are flip flops. Shorts are just shorts. But we just recently learned “singlet” – click here for a history of this word. I ordered 2 for myself just yesterday. “Swaggie” is short for “swagman” and I think that’s sort of like a hobo or gypsy – an itinerant person looking for work.

A couple more Aussie Christmas songs for you would be Six White Boomers and Yobbo Santa. I’ll let you Google these if you’re so inclined πŸ™‚

Thursday night was the height of the Geminid meteor shower. It’s apparently more spectacular in the northern hemisphere than here, but in Canada, we were just not into standing out in the cold in the middle of the night in mid December, so we never saw them. Here, in addition to warmth, we also have the advantage of way less light pollution so we get amazing views of the night sky (when we were in Bargara last week, the night sky was even better than here because so many residents and businesses there turn their lights off at night during turtle nesting season). This week we have a new moon too, so really good to see the meteors – we saw a bunch from our perch on an open stretch of road about 10 minutes north of here. Thank goodness I brought a jumper (sweater) with me and wore long pants – it got down to a brisk 24 C on Thursday night. Clearly I have acclimatized to temperatures here πŸ™‚

On Saturday night, the local town council put on a free outdoor movie down at the Yeppoon Lagoon. Before we wandered down to check it out, we had dinner at a pub on the water and I took this photo for you:

Many pubs/taverns have liquor stores attached to them – sort of like the on and off sale you’ll see in the States. The first time I realized this was when I saw a Visa charge come through for $165 at a pub in Yeppoon and I wondered what on earth Hugh had eaten to cost $165 – but it was from the liquor store behind it. Phew, just a bad alcohol habit, nothing to worry about πŸ™‚ Most of the off sale places here seem to have a drive thru – you rarely see a drive thru coffee shop here, but you can drive thru to pick up your beer and liquor. Priorities when driving.

So after dinner, we wandered down to the Lagoon to see what the movie set up was. Pretty neat having a movie screen with the ocean in the background:

Puss in Boots was the movie showing. We felt like walking so didn’t stay to watch it – but we put it on when we got home :). We’d seen the Yeppoon Lagoon a couple times when we’d stopped to have a drink at The Rocks, which is right next to it. But it turns out we hadn’t seen the whole thing, we’d just seen a small section that was mostly a children’s wading pool. Last night we walked around and saw just how huge it is! Last week I posted this aerial photo and it has the lagoon in it – I’ve circled the lagoon:

We hadn’t even seen half of it in previous visits! It’s amazing – and it’s free! Mom – we have to wait until you come visit in a few weeks before we can go swimming there though:

Parental Supervision is required πŸ™‚

This photo shows some of the infinity pool part of the lagoon (the pool is right next to the beach, so you can sit in it and watch the ocean):

And the colours were so pretty as the sun was going down:

Last photo for this week – our lemon tree has sprouted some baby lemons!

Nothing on the lime tree yet.

I have previously mentioned that we live in a neighbourhood known for its Christmas lights and indeed, some of our neighbours really go to town channeling Chevy Chase! We see people driving or walking by in groups to check out the lights – thank goodness we got lights up so we weren’t dud neighbours! And in fact, Hugh Widdup, yes the Hugh Widdup who put Christmas lights up this year for the first time in literally decades, commented that next year we should probably add a couple more rows of lights from the fence onto the retaining wall. Not really sure where all this Christmas spirit has come from, but I like it πŸ™‚

All right, that’s it for this week. Sunday night Hamilton-time, our Gulch friends are getting together for the annual Christmas dinner we started a few years ago. Hugh always did the cooking for this one as he loves putting on a big turkey dinner for everyone. We’re really going to miss being with our friends this year πŸ™ But we’re hoping we might Zoom in to say hi for a few minutes, just have to work around my Monday morning work schedule. Thinking of all our family and friends far far away as we head into our first Aussie Christmas.

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