Below is a list of words, expressions and institutions that you will regularly hear about once you land in the land down under. I expect this list to expand as you guys send me words that you often use within your Australian experience. For more information on Australian slang words check out Koala Net
Oz/ Aussie: Australia
DIMIA: Until and unless you become an Australian citizen, and to a lesser extent when you become a permanent resident, DIMIA (meaning The Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs) is like a traditional African father: remains pretty much in the background when you’re in line. Step out of line and they come down on you with fury and viscous anger.
Have you heard stories of people who were picked up from their homes and deported on the spot, from out of the blue? These are the guys that did it.
Detention centres: These are places where people who the government thinks shouldn’t be in the country are kept. Otherwise, mess with DIMIA and their rules, this is where you get locked up. Avoid this place!
EFTPOS (pronounced Efft-Poss or Eff-Poss): This is when you use your debit card to make a purchase as opposed to using cash. When a business says EFTPOS is allowed, that means you can use your savings/debit card.
Goon bag: Goon refers to really really really cheap wine. A Goon bag is an even cheaper box of this far-from-dear wine. Usually 4-5 litres of goon is sold for less than $20. This stuff messes you up, I know many vomit stains can be attributed to the goon bag.
A root: (Usage: I am going to get a root) Sex or sexual intercourse.
Btw: And to think they call football, or soccer or whatever Americans call it, a sissy sport??!!)
Sheila: A woman
Cockatoo: If you head out to the country, you may here the expression cockatoo: that’s a chicken.
Ocker: According to Koala Net, it refers to an unsophisticated person. Typically this is used to refer to blue collar workers who are crude in the manner they carry themselves. Great guys IMO though. Also referred to as Yobbo. Once you’ve seen an ocker or yobbo once you have a pretty clear picture of who they are that’s hard to forget.
Stubby: A 375ml. beer bottle (They really love alcohol, or as Aussies call it, piss across all age groups in this country)
Spunk: Good looking person. Usually a male, could go either way.
Sickie: A day that you take off from work because of illness.
Chuck a sickie: Take a day off work claiming illness when you are actually quite healthy.
Snag: An Australian sausage that’s usually grilled or barbecued….speaking of which….
Barbie: A barbecue or an event centered around barbecuing food.
Dole: This is the Australian equivalent of welfare. Money given to support people who are unemployed for one reason or another.
Dole Bludger: These are people who are on the dole when it’s unjustified or are seen to be lazy and exploiting the dole.
Pom: A British person
Yank: An American
Kiwi: A New Zealander
Supa/ Super (pronounced like Super): Short for superannuation. Money automatically taken out of every wage or salary and placed in a fund where it’ll be cashed out when you retire. If you return to Africa after working here feel free to withdraw your super then and go home with it.
Work hours limit: This goes by many names but is basically the idea that as an international student, you are limited to 20 hours of work per week during the school term -during holiday time you can work as much as you want. A lot of students due to various circumstances choose to defy this rule by working more than 20 hours. In general this comes to bite students in the butt when:
a) Their working too much interferes with their studies in any way shape or form: The University reports you, an investigation begins and it snowballs on and on and on…..
b) You have friends who either don’t like you, are envious of you or want to make money by reporting you to DIMIA.
c) You have employers who are dissatisfied with you and chose to report you.
In short, before you come here, please make sure you have thought through how you will be supported while you do your studies. Otherwise you may hear the dreaded word……
Deportation: You are deported when you break DIMIA or the Government’s rules and they don’t want you anymore. Doesn’t look good on your record.
States, Cities and Suburbs/Territories: Australia is a federal country that has 6 states:
1) New South Wales 2) Queensland 3) South Australia 4) Tasmania (an island separate from the Australian mainland) 5) Victoria 6) Western Australia
Australia also has a number of territories, refer to this article for more information.
Each of these states and territories then divides into cities, complete with their own city councils and mayors. For example, in Victoria there is:
1) City of Melbourne (which has the ever popular mayor John So) 2) City of Knox 3) City of Whitehorse 4) City of Monash, just to name a few.
Each of these cities consists of suburbs. Which leads me to:
Address: Back in Kenya, we used to use the Post Office Box system. That means that when someone used to ask me for my mailing address I would refer them to a mail box in the middle of the city whereas when asked for my residential address I could only describe it according to the landmarks that were on our road. Though a lot of houses have numbers on them, I don’t remember using them often to get to someone’s house.
In Australia though, unless you take advice I gave you on previous posts, your mailing address will be your residential address and it’ll look a little something like this:
24 Carvey Street,
NB: The above is not a real address but merely an example
a) A street name and the number of the home or mail box on the street (24 Carvey Street)
b) The suburb-not the city or State (Glen Iris)
c) State or territory, usually abbreviated into two or three letters (VIC meaning Victoria, NSW meaning New South Wales, NT meaning Northern Territory)
d) Post code (4 digit number that usually only has relevance to the mailing company. Good to know if you are sending a letter e.g. 3150, 3000 etc etc)
Have any words to the add to the ‘Australian dictionary’? Leave a comment below and spread the word!