Each week we will endeavour to ‘demystify’ Aussie slang – those weird and wonderful words and phrases that are so much a part of life in Australia. This light-hearted explanation will look through the eyes of a new arrival who is presented with a typical Aussie scenario.
Your new friend invites you to visit the local zoo where you will be able to see some of our Aussie wildlife, as well as some of the more unusual animals that are there. Eager to build your friendship and have a nice day out, you accept her kind offer.
You arrive at the zoo and have a great time seeing the many animals, enjoying time with your friend, and learning many new things about Australia. All of a sudden you turn the corner and come face to face with a large type of bird that is as tall as you are and looks like it should be in the movie, ‘Jurassic Park.’ Although it is safely behind a fence, it is staring right at you. You are completely fascinated with it and do not move.
As you stare at this monster-bird with a large pointed head you hear your friend laugh.
She: “Having a right gawk are you mate?” She continues to laugh as you watch the bird, not sure whether to run and hide or stay and take its photo with your camera.
You do not answer her question, because you really do not understand what she said, and you are too fascinated with the monster in front of you anyway.
She: “Hello? Are you away with the fairies?”
You watch as the animal slowly takes its gaze from you and walks away to the other side of its compound. You then turn to your friend and ask what she said, as you are very confused with her talk of gawking and fairies. All you saw was a bird, or at least, that’s what you thought it was!
Your friend laughs once again, and invites you to the cafe, where she says she will explain what she said earlier, and find out about the lovely animal you just saw.
- ‘Having a right gawk are you mate‘ – this is a common expression in Australia, and refers to someone having a really good, long look, or staring at something, like you did at the bird
- ‘Hello? Are you away with the fairies?’ – as you were not answering her, she firstly called to you (hello), and then when you still did not answer, she was asking if you were distracted or day-dreaming?
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Living each adventure,
Trev and Chris Barre