I Am Not from Brisbane, But How ‘Brisbane’ Am I?

The other week there was an article in the Courier Mail with the headline “you’re not from Brisbane until…” and that was followed by 25 things that the average Brisbanian would be likely to do.

South Bank Parklands, Brisbane


Well, of course, I’m not “from” Brisbane, but I have lived here for almost 6 years now, how Brisbanian am I?

Hardly much at all I would think, because Brisbanians aren’t called Brisbanians, they are called, if anything, Brisbanites.

But of course, I knew that, as I said, I have lived here nearly 6 years! I’ve not been living in the bush you know.

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to go through the list to see if any of them applied to me, and, as it turns out, some do, some don’t, and a few others I am completely indifferent to.

So, how much ‘from Brisbane’ am I?

Rather conveniently, I was indifferent to 5 of these things and of the remaining 20, 10 applied and 10 didn’t. So after living here for nearly 6 years it appears I am 50% Brisbanite.

Let’s take a closer look and will start with…

I know you (that’s me) are from Brisbane (a bit) because:

  • The Bureau of Meteorology radar viewer is on your Internet favourites list.
BOM Radar

BOM weather radar

Yes, it’s been in my favourites almost since I arrived here. You’d be nuts to live in this city and not have the weather radar one click away, storms can arrive in the blink of an eye during the “storm season”. And when a storm does show up, how would you know how big it is without the radar?

It’s a “must have” for all Brisbane residents.

  • You say “you could never get a house like this in Sydney/Melbourne for this price”.
A Brisbane house

A Brisbane house, but not mine.

I have never actually said those words out loud, but I wholeheartedly agree. You can’t.

  • You can correctly answer this question. Stefan? (Answer: Yes, Stefan)

Amazingly, I could. I don’t really know much about him, but I am pretty sure he moved to Brisbane, from wherever, opened a hairdressers in the city and then went on to be a bit of a well-known millionaire and I think I’ve even eaten in one of his restaurants.

  • You think peak-hour traffic lasts for between three and 15 minutes.
Traffic Hotspot Western Suburbs Brisbane

4pm, Thursday. Western Suburbs Notorious Hotspot. Not too bad eh?

I laugh at peak hour traffic here, but then I used to have to drive around London and the M25 back in the day.

  • You call swimming costumes “togs”.

Interesting one this; I’ve always called them togs. When I was a kid, living in Southend, we called them togs. Perhaps Southend should be twinned with Brisbane?

  • When you tell people you had a 2m python in your backyard they stare blankly and just say “and …?”
Carpet snake on a chair

A 2 metre (at least) python in my friends back garden

When I first arrived here, within the first few months, I found a snakeskin in my back garden; it was about a metre long. That week at some kind of party I said to one of the other guests “I found a snakeskin in my back garden; it was about a metre long”.

“Ah, it was just a baby then. Did you find its mummy?” Was the reply.

Now, at any party or social gathering, if anyone mentions finding snakes in their back garden I am also similarly dry humoured/sarcastic. Live and learn eh?

  • You think every State of Origin home game should be a public holiday.

Of course.

  • You have passionate arguments over which is better, the Goldie or the Sunny Coast.


Sometimes, yes, and it’s the Sunny Coast.

  • You’ve heard all the rumours about the Ekka’s Dagwood Dogs, but eat them anyway.

Yes, and this is a picture of me eating my Dagwood Dog…

Dagwood Dog

A Dagwood Dog

I’ve only ever done it once, but I suppose that counts.

  • You know you’re from Brisbane when you get all defensive about people in Sydney and Melbourne making snide jokes about BrisVegas.
Brisbane Casino at night

Brisbane Casino at night

“How dare you! Who do you think you are! You know nothing about Brisbane!!”

Sorry, I got carried away there. Maybe I need anger management classes. It’s just that when people say nasty and mean things about Brisbane I just get all, all, you know.

Now, how much ‘from Brisbane’ aren’t I?

So, as you can see, I’m certainly settling in well here in Brisbane, but it’s not all a bowl of cherries, some things I’ll never get used to. Here’s the second part of the list…

You know you are not (that’s me still) from Brisbane because:

  • You get your jumper out when the temperature falls below 22 degrees.

Oh come on! At least wait until it’s around 16 to 17°.

  • You think 7am is a sleep-in.

This is something I will never, ever get used to in Brisbane. I seriously do know people who are in bed by 8:30 PM and up at 5 AM. I, on the other hand, am a serious night owl. I can’t even talk at 7 AM, my mouth simply doesn’t function.

Trouble is, sometimes it’s hard to fit in with the rest of the city. Just bought new carpets? The carpet fitter’s will want to start at 7 AM. 7 AM!!

This conversation actually happened with an electrician; I needed him to hook up a cooker. He wanted to come round first thing on a Saturday morning so I said “Oh no, not first thing, it’s Saturday. I wouldn’t mind a bit of a sleep-in.”

This is what he actually said.

“Okay, fair enough, no worries. I’ll have a bit of a play with the kids first, maybe have a swim in the pool, then I’ll have some breakfast. That way I won’t be getting to you until about, ooh, shall we say about 8:30 AM?”

As a policy now, before anyone even starts talking about an appointment for whatever day, I always say “I’m not about in the mornings, so afternoons would be good.”

  • When you talk about The King you’re not talking about Elvis Presley.

Of course Elvis is The King, we all know that. It’s just that here in Brisbane, a rugby player called Wally Lewis has that title. It’s a State of Origin thing, and maybe I need to rethink my “King” strategy if I want that bank holiday.

  • The first question you ask when meeting people for the first time is “what school did you go to?”
  • The second question is “what side of the river do you live on?”

Two in one here. No and no, I’ve never asked anyone either of those questions.

  • You have moved furniture using a boat.
Jetski to the rescue

Jetski to the rescue

No I haven’t, thankfully, but I’ve seen a cat being rescued on a jet ski.

  • You think an outing to Coffee Club is an epicurean highlight.

Egg on toast with a few beans? I don’t think so.

  • You know why they turn the sugar bowls at the Shingle Inn.

I didn’t, but I do now, I Googled it. But that doesn’t count, does it?

  • You add “hey”, “ay” or “but” to the end of long sentences.

No I don’t, but I’ve spoken to many people around here that do and it sounds quite endearing. It beats “innit” tacked on to the end of everything.

  • You think the best song of all time is Kim Durant’s “Love you Brisbane”.

Look, I seriously love Brisbane, but NO IT ISN’T…

So this is how you know you are, or are not, from Brisbane. What about the rest of Australia? Will some of these things apply in other cities?

Some will and some won’t I suspect. Tell us about the city you live in, how do you know you’re from where you are from?

Please do let us know in the comments below, and if you want to read the full article from the Courier Mail, click here.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Tim September 15, 2013, 10:25 am |

    When I was in England I thought that adding “hey” or “ay” to the end of sentences was a general Aussie thing and not a Queensland thing. At my work they say it’s an FNQ thing, not a Brisbane thing.

    Having said that, plenty of people in Hobart end sentences with “hey” – and start sentences with “look”.

    • BobinOz September 16, 2013, 3:11 pm |

      I have to say I don’t hear very much of it around Brisbane, and those who do drop these words on the end of sentences are usually from further north, so I think your FNQ theory is probably correct….hey.

  • Layla Turner September 12, 2013, 11:57 am |

    I know this isn’t Australia related but I’m going to add this comment anyway.
    I’m in Wellington NZ right now (I was way up in Auckland for 4 months) and there is a saying here, “You know you’re a Wellingtonian when…you have Geonet saved in your internet favourites”.
    Never a truer word spoke, I’ve only been here in Welly 2 months, they’ve had 2 major earthquakes and many moderate ones and it’s in my favourites on my work PC, my laptop at home and my smartphone.
    Also “You know when you’re a Wellingtonian when the phrase…”Did you feel that..?”, becomes part of your daily vocabulary ;o)

    • BobinOz September 14, 2013, 2:53 pm |

      No, not Australia related but it was well worth mentioning Layla, as someone who has the BOM radar permanently on my desktop and ready to view with just one click, I can fully understand where you are coming from.

      I always thought earthquakes could not be detected in advance, so I do wonder what Geonet does give you? Great quote as well…

      “You know when you’re a Wellingtonian when the phrase…”Did you feel that..?”

      • Layla Turner September 16, 2013, 8:07 am |

        No not detectable, hence the shock we all go through. But all recordable and we’re straight on it after a quake or aftter someone says..”Did you feel that..?”, we’re all like, “Nah probably the wind, maybe, lets check Geonet, wow, yes it was a 5.1” or something similar.
        Have yourself a quick look. 🙂

        • BobinOz September 16, 2013, 4:03 pm |

          Crikey, never a dull moment over at Geonet is there, somethings shifting and shaking all the time! Fortunately, most of them are weak, let’s hope they stay that way.

          Thanks for the link Layla, interesting stuff.

  • Patrick September 5, 2013, 11:29 am |

    Hey Bob,
    I don’t know if people ask the question here, but I see a lot of ads with the mentions NOR or SOR here in Perth. Meaning of course North or South of the Swan River.

    • BobinOz September 5, 2013, 4:33 pm |

      Hi Patrick

      No, not seem that here at all, but in some ways I’m not surprised. I’m more surprised that it’s supposed to be a thing people ask here, because the river is like a snake, it meanders throughout the city, I’m sure some people don’t even know if they are north or south!

      Technically where I am I’m north of the river, but I am actually “south” of Brisbane in western suburbs. I suspect the Swan River runs a lot straighter.

      Cheers, Bob

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