21 things every Irish person in Australia should know
Do you know your bogans from your rorting, and your Vegemite from your Golden Gaytimes?
Vegemite, made from leftover brewer’s yeast, is part of the national diet
Every year, more than 15,000 Irish people board flights for a new life in Australia, content in the knowledge that they are going somewhere just like Ireland, only with better beaches and more sunshine.
But sharing a laid-back attitude and a bloodline with 10-30 per cent of Australians is not much practical help when you are called on to converse knowledgeably about thongs, bogans and rorting, or left to dismantle a UV tent in gale-force winds. You don’t have to prove you can do any of these things to qualify for an Australian visa, of course – but it would definitely help.
And so, in honour of Australia’s national holiday, Anzac Day, on Friday, here are 21 things every Irish person in Australia should know.
1 You’ll never forget your first huntsman spider. But you’ll probably forget your second, fifth and 228th. After the first, only the memorable ones stay in your mind – such as the audacious little fella who scurried across the car dashboard in rush-hour traffic and jumped into your lap.
2 No self-respecting Australian will be impressed by your story of how you managed to get the car to safety before beating the huntsman to death with a rolled-up Harvey Norman catalogue.
3 No self-respecting Australian is frightened of sharks, funnel web spiders or snakes either. They are nervous of the sun though. Wusses.
4 Other things genuine Australians will not admit to: watching Home and Away ; wearing Ugg boots or using the phrases “fair dinkum” or “bleedin’ galah”.
5 Vegemite, made from leftover brewer’s yeast, is part of the national diet. There’s no point feigning an appreciation of it – unless you have 100 per cent Australian blood, you will only be able to taste crushed multivitamins dipped in salt.
6 Morning tea and afternoon tea are daily events. Disappointingly, neither involves cucumber sandwiches served on silver platters by a chap named Carson. Or even tea.
7 Domestic television is approximately 90 per cent people crying over cooking and home renovations, 10 per cent news programmes about bizarre medical conditions.
8 The streets are busy by 7am on a Sunday morning – and not with people coming home from the night before.
9 Running is a combat sport, especially at lunchtime on weekdays in the city.
10 In many words, the later syllables are considered superfluous. “Kindergarten” (junior infants) is “kindy”. A car registration is a “rego”.
11 The world of confectionery is fraught with opportunities for cross-cultural confusion. “Lollies” are sweets. What we call lollies are lollipops. Ask for an “icy pole” if it’s a Choc Ice you’re after. (Choc Ices don’t exist, but Golden Gaytimes are a glorious alternative.)
12 “Bogans” are uncouth, frequently tattooed types; “snags” are sausages; “rorting” is Australian for the art of stroke-pulling.
13 It does rain here. In fact, Melbourne has 150 rainy days a year – just like Dublin.
14 Sydney’s relationship to Melbourne is like the one between Dublin and Cork. In fact, Canberra was only made the capital because the other two couldn’t stop fighting about it.
15 Property is a national obsession. If you miss Ireland in 2006, you’ll probably feel right at home.
16 You can face six months in jail if you kill, trap or politely ask a possum to move on – worth bearing in mind when you’re woken at 3am by the sound of them partying on your roof.
17 Australians bring a military precision to beach outings. Owning at least three of the following is a sign you’ve gone native: a baby Weber portable barbecue/an “Esky” cooler box/a family-sized UV tent/a “rashie” rash vest/a giant inflatable thong (it’s a flip-flop, but if you have to ask, you clearly haven’t gone native).
18 There are only a few occasions on which Lycra is not an acceptable choice of outerwear.
19 It is illegal to wear hot pink pants on a Sunday afternoon in Victoria. No, really.
20 Anzac day is so called in honour of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, who landed at Gallipoli on April 25th, 1915, during the first World War.
21 More Irish men than New Zealanders died at Gallipoli. Feel free to mention this to your colleagues on Friday.