Author of The Essential Lingo Dictionary, John Miller, gives us his favourite Australian slang words and phrases, some weird, some borderline crude, but most hilarious.

1. Pitt Street farmer

Someone who lives in the city but has rural property, possibly as a means of tax avoidance: Pitt Street farmer (NSW), Collins Street cocky (Victoria), Queen Street bushie or ringer (Queensland) or St George’s Terrace cocky (WA).

2. Toorak taxi

Slang in various states for a city-based 4WD or SUV that never sees off road driving: Toorak taxi or tractor in Melbourne; Double Bay tractor, Mosman tractor, North Shore tank, Rose Bay shopping trolley or Turramurra tractor in Sydney; Kenmore tractor in Brisbane.

3. Gosford skirt

A very short skirt, so called because the NSW city of Gosford is close to a town called The Entrance.

4. Kate’s Folly

Bruce Stadium in Canberra, named after Kate Carnell, former chief minister of the ACT. Also Jeff’s Shed, The Melbourne Exhibition Centre, named after former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett.

5. Mildura marching girls

The tough roots of the mallee tree found in southwest NSW, northwest Victoria and eastern South Australia, the area around Mildura.

6. Madonna’s bra

A Sydney nickname for the Anzac Bridge which is said to resemble the pointy bra once worn by pop star Madonna.

7. Methodist gate

A gate that is difficult to open – only a Methodist could open it without swearing.


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8. Mt Isa by the Sea

A nickname for the Queensland city of Townsville and coined owing to its lack of greenery, just as the town of Mt Isa, which is a long way west of Townsville.

9. Snow birds

Those people travelling with caravans. Believed to originate from the traits of many birds who fly north or south to escape the cold winters.

10. Territory confetti

The ring pulls from beer cans. So called because it is hot in the Northern Territory meaning that the locals tend to drink more beer and litter the ground with ring pulls.


Edited extract from The Essential Lingo Dictionary (Exisle Publishing, 2015) by John Miller ($14.99)