The Australian language has come a long way since our country was colonised. Here's a taste of what our slang was like back in the 1880s!
Read by Paul Danger Mclean
"Tis the everyday Australian
Has a language of his own,
Has a language, or a slanguage,
Which can simply stand alone.
And a "dickon pitch to kid us"
Is a synonym for "lie",
And to "nark it" means to stop it,
And to "nit it" means to fly.
And a bosom friend's a "cobber,"
And a horse a "prad" or "moke,"
While a casual acquaintance
Is a "joker" or a "bloke."
And his lady-love's his "donah"
or his "clinah" or his "tart"
Or his "little bit o' muslin,"
As it used to be his "bart."
And his naming of the coinage
Is a mystery to some,
With his "quid" and "half-a-caser"
And his "deener" and his "scrum".
And a "tin-back" is a party
Who's remarkable for luck,
And his food is called his "tucker"
Or his "panem" or his "chuck".
A policeman is a "johnny"
Or a "copman" or a "trap",
And a thing obtained on credit
Is invariably "strap".
A conviction’s known as "trouble",
And a gaol is called a "jug",
And a sharper is a "spieler"
And a simpleton's a "tug".
If he hits a man in fighting
That is what he calls a "plug",
If he borrows money from you
He will say he "bit your lug."
And to "shake it" is to steal it,
And to "strike it" is to beg;
And a jest is "poking borac",
And a jester "pulls your leg".
Things are "cronk" when they go wrongly
In the language of the "push",
But when things go as he wants 'em
He declares it is "all cush".
When he's bright he's got a "napper",
And he's "ratty" when he's daft,
And when looking for employment
He is "out o' blooming graft".
And his clothes he calls his "clobber"
Or his "togs", but what of that
When a "castor" or a "kady"
Is the name he gives his hat!
And our undiluted English
Is a fad to which we cling,
But the great Australian slanguage
Is a truly awful thing!