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11 Traditions and Customs Only Aussies Will Understand

Picture of Monique La Terra
Updated: 21 June 2017
Australia’s multicultural heritage means that many of our traditions have been adopted from other parts of the world, however, there are a few customs that are all our own. Engrained in our true blue identity, these Aussie traditions might seem completely bonkers to the rest of the world, but to us they are sacred.

Australia Day with Triple J Hottest 100

No Australia Day pool party, picnic or barbeque is complete without Triple J’s Hottest 100. Every Australia Day, millions of listeners tune into the publicly voted countdown to find out what the most popular songs of the year were. The chart features many independent artists and is packed full of home grown tunes.

Chucking a Sickie

This phrase is generally used on Monday and Friday when an employee wants to take a day off work. Although “chucking a sickie” might imply that the person is in fact sick, this is not always the case and most likely they’ve taken the day off work because they are hungover from the night before. While everyone chucks a sickie from time to time, a person who calls in sick too often is known as a bludger (lazy person).

Pixabay
Pixabay | Pixabay

Muck Up Day

A rite of passage for each year 12 student’s muck up day differs from school to school, but the core elements remain the same. From parades to costumes, water guns, harmless pranks and tearful goodbyes, muck up day is a chance for senior students to have fun at the end of their final school year.

Schoolies

A tradition since the 1970s, schoolies is an opportunity for gradates to let loose after exams, muck up day and formal celebrations have concluded. Typically, graduates from all over Australia flock to the Gold Coast for a week long holiday in November, however, other beachside towns are also popular.

Surfers paradise during Schoolies Week 2004
Surfers paradise during Schoolies Week 2004 | ©Tristanb/WikiCommons

Two Up

Popularised by the Diggers in World War I, Two Up involves tossing two coins into the air and gambling on how they might fall. In Victoria, the game is illegal every day except on Anzac Day, while in New South Wales, the game is legalised on other commemorative days in addition to Anzac Day.

Anzac Day two-up, IV
Anzac Day two-up, IV | © Newtown graffiti/WikiCommons

Christmas Seafood

While a chilly White Christmas calls for hearty meals such as roast turkey, down under the scorching summer heat means the lighter the meal, the better. During the season, Australians prefer to feast on seafood such as prawns — barbequed of course.

Pixabay
Pixabay | Pixabay

Nicknames

If you’re friends with an Aussie, they’ve no doubt assigned you a nickname. Examples include David — Davo, Sharon — Shazza, John — Johnno and Lauren — Loz. Surnames can also be abbreviated, for example Smith, which becomes Smitty or Fitzgerald, which becomes Fitzy. It’s also not unusual for radio, television and sporting stars to be known by their nicknames. However, if you’re unsure of someone’s name, just call them mate.

Abbreviations

In addition to nicknames, Aussies abbreviate pretty much everything else. Typically any proper noun with three syllables will have a shortened colloquial alternative. For instance: Australia becomes straya, McDonald’s becomes Maccas, this afternoon becomes s’arvo, mosquito become mozzie and swimming suit becomes cozzie. Also, abbreviations aren’t exclusively used in casual conservation, for example in this traffic report: “Got a bingle out in Broady. Towies on site but as a result it’s chockers in that direction.”

Shouting a Round

Australia is an egalitarian society where dinner bills are split equally and friends often pay for one another. If you go to bar and you hear a friend say “I’ll shout this round,” it means that they will pay for this set of drinks with the expectation that you will pay for the following round in return.

Pixabay
Pixabay | Pixabay

Maccas Run

Going for your first Macca’s run after getting your P-plates is a cherished experience in Australia. Macca’s is the pit stop after any night out. Let’s say you went to a distant cousins wedding and the meal portion sizes were ridiculously small. No worries, just coordinate a Macca’s run on your way home.

Bunnings Sausage Sizzle

There are two things Australians love: home renovation and snags (sausages), which is why the Bunnings Sausage Sizzle is a sacred part of Australian culture. Bunnings Warehouse is Australia’s largest hardware shop and no trip is complete without a barbequed snag wrapped in sliced bread.

Bunnings Sausage sizzle
Bunnings Sausage sizzle | © Henk Tobbe /WikiCommons