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The A-Z of all things Australian

Akubras: A traditionally wide-brimmed hat made from rabbit fur felt designed to keep the heat off in the sizzling Aussie summers. (Hang corks on it and it'll keep the flies off as well.)

Beer: Coopers, VB, XXXX, Tooheys New, Cascade … if it's amber-coloured, cold and alcoholic, and there's plenty of it, get it over here!

Cricket: The hallowed game. A religion, really, with sportsmen like Shane Warne, Steve Waugh and The Don.

Didgeridoo: Ancient wind instrument developed by Indigenous Australians. It is forbidden for women to play it.

Eskies: Used mainly to keep beer cold. See 'B'.

Funnel webs: Really scary, furry, big black, deadly spiders given to hiding in dark spots in the garden.

Gum trees: Also known as widow makers. A real bugger if you are trying to grow anything else because of the roots, although Sir Joseph Banks never mentioned that. More than 900 species.

Hills hoist: Another fast-disappearing icon perhaps because not everyone appreciates the true beauty of a multi-armed device on which you hang bush shirts and King Gees.

Iced VoVos: Apparently the biscuits that helped fuel former PM Kevin Rudd's 2007 election victory.

Jackaroo/Jillaroo: A young bloke or sheila who works on a sheep or cattle farm.

Kylie: Also known as the Singing Budgie. The hugely popular Kylie Minogue, OBE, began her career on the TV soapie Neighbours.

Lamingtons: A delicious combination of sponge, chocolate and coconut. A favourite with the ladies of the CWA.

Meat pie: All right, we didn't invent it. But we did make it our own. For best results, cover with tomato sauce. Goes with beer. See "B".

National anthem: Advance Australia Fair, a song for which very few people know all the words.

Ocker: An Aussie without the benefit of spit and polish.

Platypus: Protected, semi-aquatic mammal found in eastern Australia and seen in waters throughout the Northern Rivers.  

Qantas: Our national airline, the Flying Kangaroo, that was once our pride and joy but, these days, due to high fuel prices, intense competition and industrial disputes, is kind of going down the gurgler.

Red back spider: A dangerous spider, but rarely fatal.

Surf lifesavers: Heroes of the surf who spend their summers rescuing tourists who have no idea how to behave in Aussie surf.

Thongs: Footwear suited to the beach, the bar or even formal occasions.

Ute: A utility vehicle with a tray on the back, useful for transporting liquor or the missus.  

Vegemite: An acquired taste. Basically a salty, yeast spread that goes well with fresh butter and bread. Some Aussies raise their kids on it.

Waltzing Matilda: The unofficial national anthem of Australia, for which most people know the words.

Xenophobia: Please explain?

Yabbies: An Australian freshwater crustacean.

Zinc cream: What we're supposed to slap on before we go into the searing Aussie sun.

Topics:  australia day



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