Time for a another reprint of an article I wrote for Australia and New Zealand magazine, this is the one that appeared in their March issue a couple of months ago. A month before that, I’d written an article about hopping on a plane and visiting other Australian cities and I was going to follow that article up with a round up of another plane hopping trip we did to Adelaide.
Struck me though, that for so many people who haven’t experienced life in Australia, they wouldn’t be too aware of the friendly rivalry that goes on between states here. So, with that in mind, I wrote…
What’s in a name?
Last month I talked about the joys of plane hopping between Australian cities, describing in detail the speed with which my family and I were transported from Brisbane to Sydney for a mini break. But why go to all the bother? Surely Australia is Australia is Australia? No, not at all! Think England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales and that in itself should help you to see how different our six states and two territories are.
The rivalry between each state that we have here is not dissimilar to how it is back in the UK either. It does seem that here in Australia people are very proud and defensive of the state or territory they were born in; in much the same way people are proud to be English, Scottish, Irish or Welsh.
I’ve certainly enjoyed my travels around Australia and I’m looking forward to telling you about my journeys in future articles. But first I wanted to give you some background and explain the cute little names we have given our interstate friends. Before we start though, it is worth remembering that these are not names we have given ourselves, but names chosen for us by our neighbours. You might notice then, that some of these names can be less than endearing.
Let’s get started.
As I am a Queenslander, I can be known as either a ‘Cane Toad’…..
…or a ‘Banana Bender’, because, I suspect, we have loads of cane toads here and we grow a lot of bananas.
Those from New South Wales are known as ‘Cockroaches’, maybe because they have more cockroaches than we have bananas and cane toads put together here in Queensland.
Those from Victoria were originally known as ‘Gum Suckers’ because they literally used to chew the resin from gum trees as an early substitute for chewing gum. Nowadays though, you might hear them referred to as ‘Mexicans’, because they live south of the border. South Australians are known as ‘Crow Eaters’ because the symbol on their state flag looks like a crow on a dinner plate.
A very, very long way away from us, over in Western Australia, the people there are known as ‘Sandgropers’; well they do have lots of beaches. Just about the only nickname I could find for those who inhabit Australian Capital Territory though, was the ‘Roundabout-Abouters’; I’ve never been, but I’m guessing the place has a lot of roundabouts.
I think the ACT has got off lightly considering how many politicians live there, I can think of plenty of nicknames way more suitable. I wonder if there is a suggestion box somewhere?
Northern Territory seems to have got off lightly too with the nickname ‘Territorians’, until you dig deeper and find the uncomplimentary ‘Alcoholics’ and the scary ‘Crocbait’. ‘Taswegians’ is similarly kind to those who come from Tasmania, but the alternative ‘Apple Eaters’ rivals my own ‘Banana Bender’ status and I’d don’t even want to mention the other nickname I found for them, ‘Two Headers’.
Oops, sorry, that slipped out.
When all is said and done though, we really do get on like one big happy family. What do you want to be when you move to Australia? Anyway, an Englishman, a Scotsman, an Irishman and a Welshman walk into a bar… no, maybe not.