Australian Roadsigns

Outback Dunny, 50 meters (like you couldn't tell from the smell)

Thea sent over this collection of Australian roadsigns that is postmarked last Wednesday and arrived today.  Now that’s what I call service.  One place you won’t get service is at the traditional outback dunny.  Any port in a storm, I guess; when you gotta go, you gotta go.  Dunny is, of course, Australian slang for any toilet or toilet facility.  Nobody’s really sure where the word came from, but it was first used in print in the 1950s and may originate from an older word, dunegan (or dunnakin) which meant the same thing.  I’m sure this does not reflect poorly on anyone of Irish extraction named Dunegan.

(Do you realize that a toilet is probably the only thing in the English language that doesn’t have a name?  Even the word toilet is a euphemism, as is every other word I can think of to describe it.)

Speaking of insulting Australian slang, we Yanks are sometimes referred to as seppos.  Apparently rhyming slang survived the trip from Cockney London, which is why, for example, Cockneys refer to a flight of stairs as apples.  (No, really — stairs rhymes with apples and pears, which is usually shortened to apples.)  In any case, the Aussies have taken it a step further by rhyming Yank with septic tank (supposedly because Yanks talk a lot of, well, you know), then shortening that to seppo.  It must be confusing — making up a word based on rhyming slang, then having to tell everyone what the hell you’re talking about.

I guess it could be worse; they call New Zealanders sheepshaggers.

2 Responses

  1. postcardy says:

    Cute postcard.

    Strange that “toilet” wouldn’t be considered the name if that’s what people call it, and it is in the dictionary.

  2. Lay Hoon says:

    This is cool !!!
    But, never anticipate to see a sign for the ‘Camels’ in Australia.

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