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NewSouth NewSouth

Australia in 100 Words

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Bludger. Larrikin. Dinkum. Sickie. Pash. Illywhacker.

There are plenty of words to choose from to tell the story of Australia – from iconic Australianisms like mateship, fair dinkum, and bogan to drop bears, budgie smugglers and bin chickens.

And while you aren’t likely to hear bonzer, crikey, or cobber while walking down the street, you will hear no worries, mate, and yeah, nah. Words underpin the myths and stereotypes of Australian identity; they have also obscured harsh realities and inequalities. There were more than 250 languages spoken on this continent before invasion. And while Australian English has many male archetypes – from bushrangers to diggers – there are far fewer words that tell us about the lives of women.

Historian and Director of the Australian National Dictionary Centre, Amanda Laugesen gives a fresh history of Australia’s past, and present.

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