I don’t even realise that I'm using slang!
When I told some Aussie friends and authors that I had written a rural Aussie romance, they were happily encouraging. We are proud of our Aussie roots, and we like to show it. But in writing a rural romance, there is the inevitability that slang is going to be used.
I floated the idea past my editor of using a glossary at the beginning of my story, and I believe she almost melted in thankfulness. So I began to browse my story for words that would stump the non-Australians. Sure there were some obvious ones: thongs, esky, smoko. But there were some surprising ones that I had to enter too.
There was an outcry from my fellow Aussie authors. They wanted a peek at my glossary. So without further ado I present it to you. Here are the terms you are going to need to know in order to read The Shearing Gun.
Anzac biscuit – a sweet biscuit made from oats and golden syrup, named for the Australian soldiers who fought in WWI in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs).
Blow or strike – when referring to shearing, a blow is a rounded, smooth movement of the shearer’s arm across the animal while removing the fleece. A strike is a downward or upward movement.
Border Leicester – a breed of large sheep, grown especially for their meat.
Bottle-of-beer! – in the shearing shed, should the person sweeping the floor drop the broom, they are said to “owe” the shearers a bottle of beer.
Bull-bar – a large type of nudge bar, especially designed to protect the vehicle in the case of a frontal collision with large stock such as cows (and bulls). See also: Roo-bar.
Bushie – a person who lives in the bush. One who lives in the rural areas. See also: The Bush.
Caravan – a trailer home.
Chook – the Australian term for a chicken/hen.
Chook pen – chicken coop.
Classer – see: Wool classer.
Copper – a policeman.
Corriedale – a breed of sheep, good for both meat and wool.
Countryman – a weekly newspaper publication for people in the farming communities.
Daks – pants.
Esky – a cooler box.
Footy – football, especially Aussie Rules.
Gas-bagging – slang for chatting, talking, gossiping.
Granny flat – a small apartment (usually single occupancy) built near to the main residence, but with independent access. Mostly used for widowed, elderly parents.
Grub – slang for food.
Lubricate the arm – to have a few drinks at the beginning of the night, i.e. to loosen your drinking arm before getting seriously drunk.
Merino – a breed of sheep with extremely fine wool.
Missus – slang for wife.
Mongrel – usually refers to a dog of mixed breeding, can refer to a person as a derogatory term.
Mozzie – slang for mosquito.
Panadol – brand name of a common painkiller.
Roo-bar – abbrev. from Kangaroo-Bar. A large type of nudge bar, especially designed to protect the vehicle in the case of a high speed frontal collision with a kangaroo. See also: Bull-bar.
Rousie – shortened term for roustabout, a farmer’s worker who helps with the livestock.
Pavlova – a dessert similar to meringue made with egg whites. Historically fought over as to whether it is of Australian or New Zealand origin.
Potbelly – an indoor, wood-burning stove used for cooking.
SAO biscuit – a savory cracker.
Shearing gun – a super-fast shearer, capable of shearing a large quantity of sheep in a single day.
Singlet – tank top, undershirt.
Smoko – a short break, usually for morning tea or afternoon tea. Slang for a smoking break.
Sunnies – sunglasses.
Taking the mickey – to mock or scoff.
The big smoke – the city, usually referring to the capital city of the state.
The Bush – slang for the rural areas.
Thongs – footwear, flip-flops.
Triple-zero – Emergency call number. 911 in US. 999 in UK.
Wether – a castrated, male sheep.
Wool classer – a person responsible for rating the quality of the fleece as it comes off the animal.
Woop-woop – a fictional town that is supposedly in the middle of nowhere.
Are you confused yet? The Shearing Gun is now available for pre-order: (link to Dreamspinner here.)