Australian colloquialisms

There are particular words and phrases that are uniquely Australian, meaningless to many from outside the country, but part of what binds Aussies to each other.

hard yakka
hard work
Especially manual labour.
From the aboriginal language Yagara, from the Brisbane region.
aussie slang since the 1880s
happy little vegemite
an australian
 From an advertising campaign for Vegemite, it refers especially to a young aussie in a good mood.
aussie slang since 1954
half your luck!
good on you!
Short for I wish I had half your luck!
aussie slang since the 1930s
australian labor party
 The oldest political party in the country, with its origins dating back to the 1870s and the formation of Australia's first trade unions.
used since 1912
Al Capone
a telephone
Interestingly, Aussie slang – not American.
rhyming slang: al capone for phone
1 australian football league
 The organisation which replaced the Victorian Football League in 1990 and which regulates the national Australian Rules Football competition.
2 a game of australian rules football
The acronym AFL is used colloquially as a name for the sport when distinguishing it from other football codes, particularly in Qld and NSW.
aussie rules
knock down
to spend the entirety of your wages from a seasonal job
He knocked down his cheque at the local pub. A former habit of shearers, usually by going on an unrestrained drinking binge, frequently because they were victims of lambing down.
colonial slang
Kembla Grange
loose change
Don't forget your kembla.
After the name of the racecourse at Woolongong NSW.
rhyming slang: kembla grange for change
Kelly country
parts of north-eastern vic and across the border into nsw

The area where the Kelly Gang operated.
a 750 ml bottle of beer
The preferred term in Qld, generally called a long neck elsewhere, except WA, where the term king brown is favoured.
queensland slang
the idiomatic use of this word defies description
That's a big building. Nah, it's not that big.
What's in the fridge? Just meat and vegies and that.
She was that excited.
things are crook in Tallarook
the situation is not good
Common in Victoria, the home state of the town Tallarook.
In NSW things tend to be crook in Muswellbrook or Coolongolook.
top end
the far north of australia
 Covering a vaguely defined area of perhaps 400,000 sq km.
Encompassing the northern capital Darwin to the town of Alice Springs in the southern part of the NT, referred to as the Red Centre.
knock 'em down rains
a violent thunderstorm
Strong winds, lashing rain, and plenty of thunder and lightning are features of the weather in the Top End. Looks like we're in for another knock 'em down tonight.
nt slang
killed a chinaman
beset by a series of misfortunes
I must have killed a chinaman!
Referring to a putative Anglo-Australian superstition that killing a Chinese person brought about bad luck.
aussie slang since the 1940s
bad trot
a period of misfortune
I've been on a bad trot lately, the wife left me, the budgie dropped dead, and some bastard nicked my car.
aussie slang since the 1940s
face like a
an ugly face …
Someone is said to have:
A face like a smashed crab.
or even:
A face like a half-eaten pastie.
bogan slang
fair cow
something distinctly unpleasant
aussie slang since the 1900s
an insolent answering back
aussie slang since wwii
aerial ping-pong
australian rules football
national rugby league slang
act the goat
to behave foolishly
Acca Dacca
ac / dc
The nickname for the undisputed Kings of Aussie Rock.
the australian broadcasting corporation
Compare the acronym ABC with BBC, the British equivalent.
fair dinkum
genuine, true
Showing typical Australian honesty, guts, directness and the like.
They were all fair dinkum blokes and sheilas.
I'm fair dinkum, bloody oath I am!
aussie slang since 1890
the state of tasmania
aussie diminutive
Harold Holt ∼ to do a Harold Holt
to bolt, to flee
Referring to the former prime minister who disappeared while swimming in the ocean.
rhyming slang: harold holt for bolt
magic pudding
a never-ending or endlessly renewable source