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soc.culture.australian FAQ (Part 5 of 6) (monthly posting)

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 )
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Archive-name: australian-faq/part5
Last-modified: 2 April 1996
Version: 3.10

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

PART I (separate posting)
1.About soc.culture.australian
2.How to find Australians, Australian Information
  2.1 on the net
      2.1.1 Public access sites 
      2.1.2 Gopher and WWW
      2.1.3 Weather
      2.1.4 Finding people
      2.1.5 Other
  2.2 elsewhere
  3.1 Australian citizenship
  3.2 Dual Citizenship of other countries
  3.3 Visas
      3.3.1 For Foreigners in Australia
      3.3.2 For Australians in other Countries
  3.4 Immigration
      3.4.1 Addresses
      3.4.2 Criteria and Points System 
      3.4.3 Spouse/fiance(e) immigration              
      3.4.4 Employers sponsoring foreign employees
  3.5 Emigrants
PART II (separate posting)
4.Coming to Australia
  4.1 Quarantine
  4.2 Standards
  4.3 Cars
       4.3.1 Car Insurance 
  4.4 Shipping Information
  4.5 Miscellaneous        
  4.6 Australians Returning Home
5.Studying in Australia
  5.1 Overview of Australian Higher Education
  5.2 Postgraduate Study
  5.3 Miscellaneous Questions
  5.4 "Classification" of Australian Universities 
  5.5 Academic Addresses
  5.6 Australian Medical Schools
6.For Australians Overseas
  6.1 Radio Australia
  6.2 Newspapers:
  6.3 Australiana in the USA
  6.4 Video Conversion 
  6.5 Expatriate organisation
  6.6 Oz News
PART III (separate posting)
  7.1 Pre-Europeans
  7.2 European Discovery
  7.3 European settlement
      7.3.1 Penal Colony
      7.3.2 Gold Rush
      7.3.3 Post WWI Immigration
      7.3.4 Miscellaneous
           (includes Tasmanian Aborigines)
  7.4 Political History
      7.4.1 Independence
      7.4.2 Aboriginal Voting
  7.5 Wars
      7.5.1 Boer War
      7.5.2 World War I
      7.5.3 World War II
      7.5.4 Korea, Vietnam and others
  7.6 National heroes/Notable Australians   
  7.7 Miscellaneous
  8.1 Political System 
  8.2 Voting System 
  8.3 Current governments
  8.4 Taxation
  8.5 The Independence Debate
  8.6 Mabo
  8.7 Health Care
      8.7.1 Medicare
      8.7.2 Medicare Levy
      8.7.3 Doctors
      8.7.4 Fees
      8.7.5 Public Hospitals
      8.7.6 Private Hospitals
      8.7.7 Aged Care
      8.7.8 Skin Cancer
  8.8 Economic Information
PART IV (separate posting)
9.Geography, Natural History
  9.1 Geographic information
  9.1 Cities and Population
  9.2 National Holidays
  9.3 Weather 
  9.4 Flora
      9.4.1 Extinct Species
  9.5 Fauna
      9.5.1 Monotremes
      9.5.2 Marsupials
      9.5.3 Tasmanian devils and Tasmanian Tigers
      9.5.4 Venomous Fauna
      9.5.5 Extinct and Endangered Species
      9.5.6 Koalas
  9.6 National Symbols
      9.6.1 Flag
      9.6.2 Coat of arms
10.Australian Life
  10.1 Housing
  10.2 Schooling
  10.3 Public Transport
  10.4 Roads
  10.5 Prices
  10.6 Shopping Hours
  10.7 Crime
  10.8 Sport
PART V (this posting)
  11.1 Money      
  11.2 Jet-lag
  11.3 Responses to 3 questions      
  11.4 Travel Reports and Recommendations
       11.4.1 A Trip description 
       11.4.2 Uluru (Ayers Rock)
       11.4.3 Places of interest in Tasmania
       11.4.4 Accommodation tips to the low budget motorhome traveller (BB)
       11.4.5 Adelaide and SA
       11.4.6 Touring Australia by Motorcycle [C]
       11.4.7 Cheap travel agent [RM]
       11.4.8 Places of Interest in Melbourne
       11.4.9 Australia from south to north [JO]
  11.5 Advice for Australians in ....
       11.5.1 United Kingdom
       11.5.2 United States
       11.5.3 Canada
  12.1 Australian pronounciation
  12.2 Australian spelling
  12.3 Australian slang, word origins
  12.4 Australian word usage (misc)
PART VI (separate posting)
  13.1 Recipes and food
       13.1.1 Vegemite
       13.1.2 Sweets recipes: anzac biscuits, pavlova, lamingtons,
                                chocolate crackles
       13.1.3 Meat Pies, Damper, Galah, pumpkin soup
       13.1.4 Misc
  13.2 Songs 
       13.2.1 "Waltzing Matilda",  by Banjo Paterson (3 versions :-)
       13.2.2 "Advance Australia Fair", National Anthem
       13.2.3 "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda", Eric Bogle
       13.2.4  "Tie me kangaroo down" (Rolf Harris)
  13.3 Literature
       13.3.1 Fiction
       13.3.2 Poetry
	- "My Country" by Dorothea McKellar
	- "The Man From Snowy River" by A.B. (Banjo) Paterson
       13.3.3 Children's Literature
       13.3.4 Non-Fiction
  13.4 Films 
  13.5 Music
       13.5.1 Classical
       13.5.2 Pop
       13.5.3 Jazz
       13.5.4 Other
   13.6 Opera
   13.7 Ballet
   13.8 Theatre
14. Contributors

A major reorganisation has been done (June 1994) and some sections are
incomplete. Contributions welcome - send to Stephen Wales,



11.1 Money 

* transferring Money Australia <-> UK

Banks will accept sterling cheques, they just take longer to clear (2
weeks).  [Cost? AN]

[JC] To open any bank account you must prove your identity to a total
of 100 points, over a number of items e.g. passport 40?, driver's
licence (I do not know whether a UK licence is sufficient*), rent
notice, etc.

*You should be able to get an Australian licence with a valid UK
licence plus a road rules test + money.

All of the 'big four' banks i.e. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA),
National Australia (NAB), ANZ and Westpac have a nationwide branch
network, with very wide ATM access.  You can use Commonwealth and
Westpac cards at the other's ATMs.  Similarly for NAB and ANZ.  There
are a number of smaller regional banks e.g. Advance, St George, which
have linkages to nationwide ATM networks.

Transferring money UK <-> OZ should not be a serious problem. However,
ensure that you give very clear instructions as to where you want the
money placed.  I have tried transferring money to UK via telegraphic
transfer (where the UK bank charged to deposit it.), and by taking a
banker's draft in the currency of the destination country.  The latter
path works if you have taken sufficient cash (always more than your
estimate!) to survive until you can open an account and have the draft
credited to it.  If you want to make smaller, regular transfers
telegraphic transfer may be more relevant.

The Commonwealth Bank announced recently that they will support CIRRUS
both ways i.e for overseas travellers and for Australians overseas.
We got into a money hole in UK, and get close to making withdrawals
from our Australian account, even though we *thought* we had
sufficient cash for the initial cost 'hump'. CIRRUS offers a useful

There are low bank charges for business accounts.  Most of the 'big
four' will charge heavily for operating a cheque i.e. current account
but will give interest on savings accounts which can be linked to the
cheque account at the ATMs.  All of the 'big four' have branches in

[JS] The easiest way to transfer money between Australia and any other
country is to deposit it into a credit card, and withdraw it on the
other end.  There's no fee, and the exchange rate is as good as you'll
get most places. Check with your credit card agency to make sure this
will be OK, just in case.

[SW] My brother did just this for a holiday to the US.  Dumped money 
on the credit card to give him a 'positive' balance and spent it in
the US by charging.

Regarding banks, in my experience Australia's banks are far more
user-friendly than UK banks. The last time I used UK banks was eight
years ago; they may have changed. Due to the mergers and interbank
links there's not much to choose from between them, and all have ATM
access and branches across Australia. I recommend choosing one that
has a convenient branch in the UK; that's the biggest factor that is
likely to affect you.

[MJ] I also received generally rotten service from Westpac over the
years.  The quality of this was about on a par with the (also lousy)
service my parents received from the Commonwealth. At least, this was
what I thought until I came to Britain. The level of incompetence and
rudeness, the patronising attitude of the employees, and a failure to
come to grips with technology that I have seen banking with Barclay's
over here have astonished me.
One general comment about banking in Australia. As a consequence of
deregulation in the 1980s, Australia now has many smaller and younger
banks in addition to the big four and the state banks. Many of these
are former building societies that have turned into banks. Generally,
these provide service of higher quality than do the larger and older
banks. (For instance, friends of mine who bank with the Advance Bank
and St George Bank (both in NSW) have told me very good things about
them). Their disadvantage is that being smaller, their branch networks
are not nearly as large (usually being concentrated in one
state/geographical area). On the other hand, most financial
institutions (smaller banks, building societies, credit unions) in
Australia other than the large banks have pooled their ATMs together
to form a single network comparable in size to those of the larger
banks.  Thus, at least from the point of view of basic access to your
money, the lack of branches is not that big a disadvantage.

[TT] Deposting to your credit card before arriving in Australia and
then using your card for purchases and cash advances is really the
best way to go.  Someone said that the exchange rate is as good as 
you get in a bank, but my understanding is that is it better, as they
give you the wholesale exchange rate rather than the retail you get in

However, someone said this avoids bank fees - this is not quite true. If
I use my Canadian credit card in an Australian ATM, I am charged C$2 (mind
youm this is still cheap, especially when compared with the $1 I'm
charged if I use another Canadian bank within Canada; but it is still a 

Metway Bank in Queensland can't do cash advances unless they issued the
Visa Card (don't ask me why) - and then they charge $5.

Metway is tied to the Plus Network (although their teller don't seem to
know this so don't ask them).

Using the PLus (or Cirrus) Network, one can actually access one's regular
savings or checking accounts back in Canada or the US or wherever,
just as if the ATM were back at home.  All you have to do is find a bank
that uses the same network as your own bank does.  Once again you get the
wholesale rate and you are charged.

Canadians who have some types of Gold credit cards (certainly Visa) 
can get commission-free travellers cheques. This makes it worthwhile to 
have at least some travellers cheques on you (I've been caught in Sydney 
at 11 pm on a Friday night when an ATM ate my bank card), preferably in 
the currency of the country you are travelling to - Oz in this case - 
meaning they are as negotiable as possible.

* transferring money from Aus to the US [BJ]

- Write a cheque and post it. Takes time to clear, and there may be
bank service fee and the exchange rate may be bad.
- Bank draft: cost A$8-A$12.
- Wire transfer: cost A$30.
- Use my bank card (ATM card) issued by bank in the other country and
withdrawn straight from my chequing account.  This doesn't work on all
teller machines though...
- Draw money on credit card and pay off straight away.

* Credit cards in Australia

Almost everyone in Australia takes Bankcard, MasterCard and Visa.
Someone mentioned a few places that only take Bankcard, and also
suggested that a few don't take Visa.

[AT] I'd forget travellers cheques and use credit cards wherever
possible.  VISA and MasterCard almost universal, Amex and Diners
widely accepted.  You can get cash advances on VISA, Mastercard and
Amex at many ATM's and for VISA and Mastercard across the counter at
all banks.  You can also use Cirrus and Plus system ATM cards at many
ATMs.  ANZ Bank ATMs accept Cirrus and Plus, Commonwealth Bank accepts
Cirrus and State Bank takes Plus.  Using cards will in general get you
a better exchange rate and you avoid the additional fees which the
banks charge to cash travellers cheques.
* Travellers cheques

These are not commonly used as currency in Australia.  Thomas Cook and
American Express have offices in major cities, or you can change them
at banks.

[SW] I took in a Japanese exchange student in 1991 and she brought over
several hundred dollars in travellers cheques.  Everywhere she went to
buy stuff accepted them, as long as she had her passport.,

* Visa

All visitors to Australia need visa, except for Australian and New
Zealand nationals.

11.2 Jet-lag

Different people have different strategies for trying to reduce the
effects of jet-lag. Here is a compilation of suggestions:

- Get a good night's sleep before the flight so you are rested.
- No binges on the night before, or specially heavy meals.
- Carry spare underwear and wash kit on plane. Change, wash face and
shave and brush teeth shortly before arrival at destination.
- Eat lightly and drink lots of liquids on the flight, but no
caffeinated drinks (coke!) until the later part of the flight. Avoid
heavy meals - airline dinners are a lot more sensible today than when
I started flying. I have a standing order for veggie meals when I fly
long distance. No booze unless you can limit it to one or two cans or
glasses. Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics which will drain you.
- Sleep or doze as much as you can. It doesn't seem to matter whether
it is real sleep or not. A blindfold often helps. A neck cushion helps.
- On arrival, get a shower ASAP. Have another before supper if you
want.  Eat lightly during the day, but let yourself go in the evening.
Get to bed at a reasonable time, but try not to sleep during daylight
hours. The next morning the body clock should be 99% hoodwinked.
- Exercise (a run or whatever) from the second day on also helps things.
- Carbohydrate loading on the day or two before the flight, with extra
protein on the day of the flight, may also reduce the effects of jet
- Try to synch you body clock to your destination - i.e. when you land
don't go to bed until your normal bed time in the *local* time zone.

11.3 Responses to 3 questions      

These 3 questions were posted at one stage. Here are a summary of

1. How are the conditions of the streets (or roads?) in Australia
in January?  I heard that the roads in the North are often
overflowed. Is this right?

2. We want to rent a car (or jeep or motor home) to go through
Australia.  Which kind of car is required or recommended
(especially for the desert in the center of Australia)?

3. Maybe we want to fly within Australia. Which airlines are
recommended and how much are the prizes (examples are enough)?

Answers (1) 

Roads are O.K. around here - but I live in Sydney :- I don't know
about the roads up north because I have never been there..

I've never heard of roads being overflowed, unless you mean
flooded (with water). This has happened over the last couple of
summers in the northern tropics, but roads are generally only cut
for a few days.  If you want to travel north, it is usually best
to do that May to November when it is dry and travel south
September to April. [FS]

The monsoon hits the far north of australia, so the roads may be
flooded and only usable by boats. however this only is a problem
north of Townsville in Queensland and around Darwin in the
Northern Territory the rest of the country is in summer HOT and
dry for the most part but its is much colder in the southern
parts and you may have some rain down there...  IT IS A BIG PLACE
and spans a large part of the earth!! [FW]

The term 'condition' usually implies whether they are good for
driving on or not.  The term 'streets' usually means the roads in
the cities.  The term 'roads' usually refers to the highways,
etc.  So, to answer your question: they are generally in a good
condition to drive on (the government has spent a lot of money
lately fixing up the roads).  I'm not sure where you mean exactly
when you say 'north' since there is a lot to the north half of
Australia (covering three states and many thousands of
kilometres).  If you mean Queensland (North East) then the roads
are usually busy with holiday travellers.  If you mean Northern
Territory (North Central of Australia) then the roads are usually
busy before Christmas (although there are still a number of
people about on the roads).  If you mean in Western Australia
(North West) then you will find a lot of outback, very few
people, few roads, and few cars.  I think you mean Northern
Territory ? [IC]

No worries. Stay on the highways and you'll have no problems. It
often rains a bit, but it is rare these days to have major
holdups. But don't go off on to unsealed roads. [RC]

Answers (2)

Almost every area in Australia is accessible by any car. That is,
as long as you stay on the bitch (bitumen) you can go anywhere.
If you really want to go off the beaten track you will need a
4WD, but I've never owned one and I've never felt that I've
missed anything. If you want a cheap form of accommodation that
you can take almost anywhere, hire a motor home. If you can
afford the outlay, and you are staying long enough, the cheapest
way by far is to buy something civilised and semi reliable, then
sell it before you go (you could pick up a half decent mid range
car for A$3-4,000. [FS]

Unless you have driven a four wheel drive (4WD) in sand/mud
before then stick to a conventional car/motor home they are
cheaper and you will probably not have enough time to spend
exploring the rougher areas. If you want to see a sight that is
only available by 4WD then there is probably a tour that will
get you there and back for less trouble than hiring a 4WD. [FW]

I would recommend a four-wheel drive vehicle for driving around
through the desert in the centre of Australia.  A motor-home will
probably slow you down and use up a lot more petrol, a jeep will
probably mean you will get sunburnt very easy. [IC]

A bloody big one mate.! Rent a car, Ford or Holden from a
reputable company, with air conditioning. Stay in motels and
hotels. Don't leave the main roads, and even then, carry a 15ltr
can of water if you go more than 200 km inland from any city on
the coast. Travel with other vehicles in convoy if you can
arrange it. Does this sound bad? keep in mind that there are only
17 million people in Oz, and most of those live in Melbourne,
Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide, then Darwin.  That doesn't
leave many to spread out over a country that is the size of
Europe, plus England, plus lower Mediterranean etc. Try it on a
map.  It can be many days between passing cars in central
Australia, and if you are broken down, you MUST stay with your
vehicle.  My advice ? See Australia by bus tour, the only way to
go unless you are prepared to face the last frontier and all the
hardships that that entails.  And wear a hat. The temperature can
be 40+ C in the shade. [RC]

Answers (3)

I never fly when going on holidays in Australia. This is because
everything is so spread out. You fly somewhere then you have to hire a
car to get out and see something, unless you want to ride on a sheep
truck (tourist bus). Also when you fly you miss out on all the good
things in between major centres where the airports are built. [FS]

You should arrange this as part of your air ticket to australia as it
will be cheaper than buying the air tickets here.  All of the
australian air lines are very good one of the best safety records in
the world sometimes the service may not be the best but its a lot
better than some of the service I have had in other parts of the
world.  Basically pick out what you want to see ask where it is, there
may be a number of sites eg desert, we have about 5, sandy, stony etc
then plan your trip it would take 4 days to cross the country east
west 3 days to cross north south by fast car, with no stops for sight
seeing... [FW]

[IC] I presume you are not going to book these flights until you get
to Australia (so you can ask around and get the best price at the
time).  However, the problem with this may be that many airlines will
be heavily booked and getting a flight during the holiday season in
Australia may take some time.

Unfortunately, a local airline company (called Compass) went broke for
the second time and a lot of really cheap flights within Australia
have gone. There are 3 main local airlines now are Ansett, East-West
Airlines and Qantas, previously the government owned international
carried, merged with Australian Airlines, the government owned
domestic carrier. The fleet is being repainted in Qantas colours.

I don't have any actual information handy,so I am guessing here and
these are my own approximate guesses (Prices in Australian Dollars):

* Sydney - Perth.  This is a long trip. Probably $700 - $900
Apparently it is cheaper to fly to New Zealand than to fly to Perth
from Sydney.
* Sydney - Darwin Approximately $400
* Darwin - Perth Approximately $600
* Flights to Tasmania (or is going by ship better?)  If you don't
think you'll get sea sick, then a ship (from Melbourne) will probably
end up being cheaper.

I have from a paper some exact figures from Melbourne:- (This is
Ansett Airlines and the price is for a return ticket).

	Melbourne <-> Sydney    $179
	Melbourne <-> Adelaide  $189
	Melbourne <-> Canberra  $199
	Melbourne <-> Brisbane $289
	Melbourne <-> Perth     $419
	Melbourne <-> Cairns    $489

Another paper I have quotes this price (it is a 17 day package) :-
* Darwin <-> Perth (Aeroplane and Bus) 17 days $3973
  [includes hotel accommodation, plane, bus fares and most meals]

11.4 Travel Reports and Recommendations

   [ writes] A while ago I posted a request
   on behalf of my sister on info about trekking around Australia. All
   the people who replied [which got send a thank you message, but some
   bounced. :-(] Both my sister and me wish to thanks for all their kind
   help and effort. A number of people e-mailed me about forwarding the
   info I received. Although I said I would, the number has grown a bit
   larger than expected. :-) So during the weekend I will put an archive
   of all the replies up for FTP and WWW access. Anybody interested is
   hereby invited to come and get it...

   Here are the addresses where it will be after the 4th december 93.


   I hope it will help other people as much as it helped my sister.

11.4.1 A Trip description 

I returned from Oz about three four months ago.  I had an 11 month
stint down there.  I was working in Sydney and Brisbane.  I went on a
whirl wind tour of Australia which included.  Sydney -> Alice Springs
-> Darwin -> Cairns -> Sydney.  All this was done in 2 and 1/2 weeks.
I would not go into the outback or the rainforest, etc. without some
sort of guide but Australia is reasonably civilized.  Your main enemy
is not going to be people but the harsh environment.

I do not recommend that you try and see Australia in 2 and 1/2 weeks
like I did.  The reason that I did that is because I was trying to fit
it into my regular holidays.  What I did in that time was well filled
but it would nice to have the luxury of time to contemplate what you
want to do and where you want to go.  I was in Alice Springs for about
5 days and that was about 2 days too long.  It's the middle of the
desert and the key landmarks there are Ayer's Rock, the Olgas, and
King's Canyon.  I definitely recommend seeing Alice Springs.  The rock
is spectacular.  I went on an AAT Kings tour but if I was to do it
again, I would either go on a younger or more adventure based tour
(AAT Kings is for the blue rinse set :->).  Or else organise
transportation to the major places and just hike around (that would be
far cheaper than taking a tour and I don't think that you miss much by
skipping a tour.)  In the desert it is very important that you carry
lots of water.  It is very easy to get dehydrated.  Also, I would
recommend going to Alice in the Winter (which is the same time as
North American summer) if at all possible.

In Darwin, I went on a 5 day tour of Kakadu with an adventure
back-packing company called Backpacker's Australia (or something like
that.  There's another tour which is shorter but similar by Saratoga
Safaris (there is more of an emphasis on wildlife on this one.  It is
run by an ex-zoologist).  I organised my travel out of Darwin through
Top End Travel.  They are excellent!  I was in Darwin during the dry
season (which is the same as the North American summer)

Cairns, I found, to be very touristy.  There's a million things to do
but they all cost money.  Definitely get out on the reef.  There's
tons of cruises out to the reef to suit any type of lifestyle.  You
can snorkel or dive and there are tons of certification courses
available if you are interested in getting certified.  (I couldn't
because of my asthma)

11.4.2 Uluru (Ayers Rock)

*Accommodation at Uluru (Ayers Rock) [GR]

1) If you are a group 4/5/6 ++ people look at the possibility of
renting a mobile home... It is stationary but cost about A$50/day.
2) Pioneer Outback Hotel (A$80/night bed/bath)..booked through AAT
Kings travel agency..very pleased
3) Kitchenettes... somewhere in the 60 to 100 dollar range... double
bed, a/c, share choice at price
4) Check with NT bureau

11.4.3 Places of interest in Tasmania

[JL] Things I would look at:

The Gorge in Launceston
Hellyer Gorge on the West Coast
Ocean Beach at Strahan
day walks at Lake St Clair (overnight if you're set up)
SW rainforest (might be difficult - check out adventure tours out of Hobart)
scuba diving at Bicheno
fishing on the East Coast

Tas Redline Coaches, who have some sort of Tassie Pass for out of
state travellers (008 006 006). However [MP] Just be careful to
investigate the Red Line Tassie Pass a little more carefully.  I spent
several weeks in Tassie and loved it with one exception: actually
getting around.  The Pass doesn't even go to certain parts of the
island and when it does it's usually once a day, every other day, and
things like that.  It's possible to rent a VW bug for A$25 per day or
something which really works well if there are two or three of you.
Four, five or six might be pushing it a little.  Simply drawing out
your itinerary beforehand and then pricing it on individual tickets
actually competes with the Pass within a few dollars believe it or

	Bicheno, Tasmania, Australia

	Bicheno is a small fishing community located on the East Coast
	of Tasmania.  The dive shop and other locals are trying to
	get the bay declared an Under Water Park.  They ask that you
	please not take any shells or game.  You will appreciate why
	they want to keep it the way it is.  You can buy fish, crab,
	lobster, at the local fish market fresh from the fishing boats 
	at a more-than-reasonable price.  A camp ground is located 
	close to the dive shop or you can stay at the dive shop itself, or
	you can stay at one of two hotels in town.

	Bicheno Dive Centre
        4 Tasman Highway
        Bicheno, Tasmania 7215, Australia
	Phone: International+ (003) 75-1138

        Rental Equipment is in very good condition.

Charter Boats
	Bicheno Dive Centre

General Information
	Site Rating: 
		 Excellent, Very Unspoiled

	Best Time of Year to Dive:
		Best visibility is in winter-spring (July-November).
		Summer is not really bad but you may get plankton bloom
		  and more people show up.

	Water Temperature:
		Average 50 F, Use 1/4 inch or 7mm wetsuits

	Types of Diving:
		Boat, Shore, Cave, Night, Deep and Shallow

	My wife and I really enjoyed Bicheno.  The dive centre is run by
	an Ex-Abalone diver who says he has dove every inch of Tassie.  
	You can really appreciate how professional and smooth the diving
	is set up, you really feel safe diving with them.  We stayed at
        the dive centre in our own private cabin.  We would leave our door
        step, suited up, get on the boat dive for 30-40 minutes and be back
        taking a warm shower in about an hour.  We would usually do about
        2-3 dives per day.  The night dives were really incredible,
        Sea Horses with 8-12 inch body length, Octopus.  

        For most of the 10 days we were the only people on the boat.
	We thought it was a lot like Monterey, CA use to be like (about
	150 years ago).

11.4.4 Accommodation tips to the low budget motorhome traveller (BB)

1. Obtain the Automobile club district maps for the area. They are the
best to navigate by showing all the sights to see and have "Rest
Areas" marked on them. Now some rest areas can be nothing more than a
rubbish bin on the side of the road but others, particularly in
Queensland can have toilets,fresh water and even showers. As a
traveller you can stay for up to two nights at a proper rest area. I
know of two places within 20mins of the Gold Coast for example.

2. Obtain information from National Parks, State Conservation Areas
and State Forests on camping areas. Most are free and those that you
have to pay at are generally worth it. I regularly stay the night in a
State Forest near the Sunshine Coast.

3. Many remote picnic areas, lookouts etc are also good for one night
even if the sign says "No Camping". Who's going to know if it's only
one night and you don't make it obvious? Up to 10pm you're only having
a BBQ before returning to the camp aren't you?  I'm not campin' I'm
goin' fishin'!. And of course you got up early to have breakfast in
the bush.

4. The first bit of bush you like. Often there are areas of unfenced
land on the side of the road. Just find a track and drive in (careful
if raining, don't get bogged). With all bush sites I prefer to be as
far away from the road as I can. First because it's quieter. Second -
if they can't see you they can't bother you, even if it's some kids
wanting to hoon around. I can remember one night at Mallacoota this
young couple drove right past us into the centre of the clearing (it
was dark). She got out and urinated on the ground in full view then
back into the car for some fun. Suddenly they realised that they were
not alone. Engine on, quick reverse out of their favourite parking

I have been touring this way for 24 years without any trouble but a
lot of adventure. Camping grounds are for when you desperately need a
shower or to wash the clothes. They invariably are built next to the
highway or railway, have noisy people who insist on partying all night
and wasting the daylight hours sleeping in, and aren't anything like
being in the bush at dusk or dawn when the native animals are active.

11.4.5 Adelaide and SA

In Adelaide itself, there's some very interesting architecture.  It's
one of only two designed cities I know of in Australia - the other
being Canberra, the federal capital.  It was designed by Colonel
William Light (I hope I remember correctly) in the early days of the

There are many lovely churches, and the parks are also nice.  The
stone architecture in the area is unique in Australia - wood was
scarce in SA, so stone was used.  Also, many of the early migrants
were from Germany and Europe, and preferred stone to wood.

The town of Hahndorf just outside the city has some wonderful german
influences, including the food!

Then there's the wineries: To the north is the Clare Valley, to the
south is McClaren Vale, to the north east is the Barossa Valley.  The
Barossa is the longest established, and my personal favourite, because
one of there specialties is german-style white wine.  McClaren Vale
has some interesting styles including the light italian table wines.
Down in the south-eastern corner of the state can be found other
wineries specialising in sparkling wines (including methode
champagnoise).  The areas around Mildura also have extensive grape
crops, but these are often for sultanas, or made into wines by the
southern wineries.

The citrus growing areas close to Mildura are great for fruit - the
town of Berri can be seen lending its name to products in the
supermarkets all over the country.

National parks and recreation areas: The Adelaide hills have a number
of small national parks and recreation areas including some
spectacular gorges and viewpoints.  There are other small parks to the
south on the Fleurieu Peninsula, including Hallet Cove.  Kangaroo
Island, off the tip of the peninsula is a popular weekend destination
and has a lot to offer - including the chance to see seal colonies.

Other places for weekend trips - or preferably longer - include the
Flinders ranges and the Gammon ranges, the Eyre peninsula and the
Grampians National Park in Victoria.  There are also extensive
wetlands near the mouth of the Murray River, and paddle-wheeler trips
on the Murray are popular.

The Flinders Ranges, especially the Gammon Ranges at the northern end,
are a good introduction to a visitor of what "the Outback" really
means.  There are comfortable motels to stay in, but the gorges and
valleys are well worth seeing.  I was lucky enough to see the Gammon
just after rain - the ephemeral flowers were amazing, and the red rock
reflecting in still pools of the gorges something that must be seen to
be believed.

[DS] Kangaroo Island, just a 30-minute light plane flight or a
somewhat longer ferry ride from Adelaide, is a must-see.  The tourist
office can organise extremely cheap long-weekend trips incl. car hire
(but watch out for the roads -- I had a tyre come off and didn't even
realise it, the roads are that corrugated!) and accommodation.  It's a
great place with excellent swimming and fishing and, of course, lots
of kangaroos.

[WS] For animal petting, Cleland Wildlife Reserve is the place to go.
You can walk among wallabies and Kangaroos and on occasion pet a koala.
If you like to hike, you could start at Waterfall Gully and hike there
through some beautiful woods, but check the distances and directions
first to make sure it fits your time and hiking constraints.

If you like to try good wine, McClaren Vale is south of Adelaide and
Barossa Valley is north.  They have some of the finest wines that are
not too outrageously priced, in the world.  A tour by a knowledgeable
native would be most helpful.  My wife, an Adelaide native, recommends
Handorf, a German town not too far, and the art gallery where you
might view Hans Heisen's art.  A popular place to shop is the Rundall
Mall in downtown Adelaide.  On the River Torrens is "Popeye" which
offers quiet trips on the river.  In that vicinity is the theatre
complex. The Adelaide Zoo and the parklands around the main city are
also pleasant endeavours.

[MW] BEACHES - don't let anyone tell you beaches are no fun in winter,
it just isn't true.  Personally, I think the southern beaches are the
best, that is the ones south of Adelaide, heading towards Cape
Jervois.  For a secluded beach, you can't go past Normanville.  If you
like body surfing, try Boomer beach near Goolwa.  Victor Harbour is
worth a day trip, and you can see fairy penguins under the rocks on
Granite Island.  I haven't been to Kangaroo Island for quite a while,
but people say it's still beautiful and relatively unspoilt.

HILLS - Adelaide's best kept secrets.  Besides Hahndorf, there are
many other (less touristy) towns, with local crafts, tea shops, lovely
old buildings, and great country bakeries.  There are also forests to
be wandered through (Kuitpo "Kai-po" and Second Valley are the
largest).  Further north, the wildlife park at Cudlee Creek (already
mentioned elsewhere in this newsgroup) is a must.  In the Barossa, try
to see the Whispering Wall.

HIKING and bushwalking - the Flinders Ranges are really spectacular.
The best time to go is August/September, when the wildflowers are out
and the weather is not too hot.

11.4.6 Touring Australia by Motorcycle [C]

Oz by bike is heaven. Try the Great Ocean Road south west of
Melbourne. Most of the country is pretty safe, and it's beautiful, and
has lots of lovely curvy country roads, and frequent bike rallies
(look at Two Wheels and Bike Australia magazines when you get here)
and there are campsites all over the place in National parks, state
forests etc etc. And plenty of "motorcycle enthusiasts" to help you
find your way around.  (There's a wry joke that once we were filthy
bikies, but when the Grand Prix brings money into the state, we become
"motorcycle enthusiasts".)

A few tips: don't ride at dusk in the country; that's when you find
lots of animals on the road. Don't travel alone on back country dirt
roads in the desert a long way from the nearest town, unless you are a
mechanical genius and can fix everything with a bit of string and
chewing gum. Take water if you do that. There are sealed roads all
round the country, but a lot of the minor roads in less populated
areas are dirt. Radar detectors are illegal, and Australian beer is
good but drink-driving is a very bad idea. Sun-screen is a good idea.
Spring and Autumn are good times to travel, because wearing full
leathers in summer sucks severely. If you're female, you need to be
able to cope with minor sexual harassment, but generally there's a
sufficient bike camaraderie that it won't get dangerous. Just insult
them back. (And if you're gay or lesbian there's cool bike groups
around; "Dykes on Bikes" usually lead off the Mardi Gras parade.)

11.4.7 Cheap travel agent [RM]

Last month I questioned the net looking for consolidators to get a
cheap ticket to Australia. I found a good source and thought people
would be interested - indeed there have been a number of requests in lately.

Try AUSTRAVEL 1-800-633-3404
Their San Francisco office is 360 Post Street, Suite 606
Phone (415) 781-4329, Fax (415) 781-4358.
They also have offices in New York, Chicago, Houston, Sydney, and I
believe they started in the UK, so there may be offices there (hence
the unrestricted distribution of my article).

They also have an office in London.

I don't know whether they are a "consolidator" as such, as I am not up
on the strict definition. They have block bookings with Qantas which
are definitely cheaper than I could get direct through Qantas or my
usually great travel agent (who is now going to use AUSTRAVEL for her
Aussie ticketing). You can still get FF miles with these tickets which
I understand is not generally the case with consolidators.  They also
got me cheaper domestic connecting flights in Australia and I believe
have package deals for tours and accommodation that I cannot comment
on, having not used them.  They gave me good fast service, fedexed my
tickets to me, are bonded with IATA.... in other words this is a
recommendation from a happy customer who had one good experience and
thought you'all ought to know.

11.4.8 Places of Interest in Melbourne


Melbourne is one of the top restaurant cities in the world however it
doesn't seem to have adopted the North American fashion of brew pubs
and microbreweries. If you want to you can buy bottled beer at a
bottle shop and take it with you to a BYO (Bring Your Own, ie bring
your own liquor) restaurant. There are LOTS of these in Melbourne.
Many pubs serve inexpensive counter meals but usually have fairly
restricted dining hours (eg 12-2 and 6-8pm). If you really want to
explore Melbourne's dining scene pick up a copy of either "The Good
Food Guide" or it's spinoff "Cheap Eats in Melbourne" in one of the
bookstores downtown (there are several along Bourke St., Swanston St
and Elizabeth St.).

"Must see" sights? Melbourne has a lot of interesting things to see
but doesn't really have any truly compelling sights. The Victoria
Market (Elizabeth and Victoria streets) is a large farmers market that
may be of interest. It's open Tuesday and Thursday mornings, Fridays
till about 3:30, Saturday till 12 and Sunday till 5. There is no
produce sold on Sunday.

The Melbourne zoo is worth a visit (far more so than Taronga zoo in
Sydney!). The arboreal primate exhibits, small feline exhibits, great
flight aviary, butterfly house and platypusary are some of its best

The Botanic Gardens are a very fine example of formal gardens and
contain numerous native plant species along with imports from the
Northern Hemisphere.

The Shrine of Remembrance, adjacent to the botanic gardens is a grand
memorial to those who have died in various wars. Some of the statues
around it are quite interesting. There is a really good view from the

Outside Melbourne you could visit the Dandenong Ranges and see Fern
Tree Gully national park, the Ricketts Sanctuary and the state
Arboretum, a little further away is Healesville with it's native
animal zoo (the Healesville Sanctuary). A few miles north of
Healesville (up Myers Creek Road) Mt St Leonard offers a spectacular
view of the Yarra Valley. The walk to the top goes through some
magnificent forests. The Great Ocean Road to the south-west of
Melbourne is a wonderfully scenic weekend trip.

The two biggest tourist day trips from Melbourne are probably to
Ballarat and to Phillip Island. Ballarat has much to do with
Victoria's gold mining history. It's easy to spend a day at the
Sovereign Hill Historical park there. Phillip Island has the "penguin
parade" when fairy penguins come home to feed their chicks and
scramble up the beach oblivious to the crowds of tourists watching

There are lots of National parks within 6 hours drive of Melbourne. If
you have no idea what to do or where to go visit the Victorian Tourist
Bureau in Collins St near Swanston St and they will give you LOTS of
ideas. Alternatively check with the RACV (Royal Automobile Club of
Victoria), they have reciprocal arrangements with many foreign
automobile associations (eg AAA in the US) and will provide maps and
information on production of your membership card.

11.4.9 Australia from south to north [JO]

This gives some comments on travel in Australia.
I have some definite biases and will admit them as appropriate.
Also, I am assuming that the reader has an atlas with maps of
Australia and New Zealand.

My biases:
- I don't like large cities, deserts or rainforests.
- I do like small cities, mountains, beaches and seacoasts.
- I think that the US and Canada have some of the most beautiful
scenery and interesting cities in the world.  Australia needs your
money and I would love to meet you but honesty compels me to say you
should see the US and Canada first.

I have never seen Adelaide or Western Australia so make no comments.
Also note that Australia is large.  You will need to fly unless you
like long train or bus trips.  Don't plan on intercity driving.  The
roads are poor and there is nothing like the US interstate highway

Hobart in Tasmania is a small but very nice city.  It has a beautiful
harbour, steep hills and some very good seafood restaurants and a
colony of artists and craft workers.  (San Francisco in miniature).  It
is a popular tourist area for Australians but most overseas visitors
miss it.  Tasmania itself is popular with Australians because it is
very different from the mainland.  Cooler and wetter, greener and has
more trees and some heavily forested low mountains.  People from the
eastern or northwest US would probably not see much point in visiting
it.  If you are from the plains or southwest US than it will be
different from home.

Melbourne - Sydney and Melbourne have a long standing feud (like San
Franciso and Los Angeles).  Its a nice city if you like cities of 3
1/2 million.  It does have a beautiful art gallery with a good
collection, some lovely parks, and a number of wildlife preserves
nearby in the Dandenong mountains.  It also has a good public
transport system of trams (streetcars) which are fun to ride.  There
are a lot of good restaurants and I think there is an "Eating Out in
Melbourne" guide book which is supposed to be reliable.  Eating in the
major hotels is a recipe for bankruptcy. (Just like the US.)

Sydney - Its slightly bigger than Melbourne, suffers from a horrible
urban sprawl, driving is terrible (no freeways) but there is good bus
and train service.  The harbour and Opera House are just as beautiful
as you have heard.  There are harbour ferries which are fun to ride.
The ferry service has several guided tours of the harbour which are
relatively inexpensive and worth the time.  The Opera House also has
guided tours. There is an historical area near the harbour called "The
Rocks" which is fun to wander through. Note that down here anything
older than 100 years is "historical.  My unimaginative but practical
suggestion is that the best way to see Sydney is to take one of the
bus tours like Grayline.  They all go to the same places .  There is a
public zoo (Taronga Park) which can be reached by ferry.  That is the
easy way to see koalas and kangaroos.  There is also a "Koala Park"
that I've never been to. I think its included in many of the sight
seeing tours.  Sydney also has an "Eating Out" guide and plenty of
good restaurants of all nationalities.  It lacks chains such as
Denny's or Sizzlers but the take away snack bar food is fairly good.
Not gourmet but they won't poison you.

Outside Sydney, the major tourist area is the Blue Mountains.  They
are not high (1500 meters/5000 feet) but are scenic. If you like
caves, try the Jenolan caves near Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.
There are coach tours from Sydney to the Blue Mountains and the caves.
Alternatively, take a train to Katoomba (2 hours, $8) and than catch
one of the coach tours there.  I believe the railroad organises this.
You might want to stay one or two nights.  There are plenty of good
motels.  I can also recommend the train trip to Wollongong as very
scenic but then I am biased since I live there!

The Whitsunday Islands: Now we jump 1500 km to central Queensland.
The Whitsunday Islands are a group of small, semi-tropical islands at
about 20S latitude.  You may be able to find the largest (Whitsunday
Island of course) in an atlas.  The nearest towns are Bowen and
Proserpine.  Two islands, Hamilton and Hayman, have been developed as
international standard resorts at international standard prices.  A
number of other islands have "family style" resorts aimed at the
ordinary Australian.  Hamilton Island has an airport.  You can fly
directly to it and take a boat to the other islands.  All the other
islands have check in counters at the Hamilton Island airport.

South Molle was run by Ansett Airlines.  Their lease expires in June
'94 and they are not renewing it.  So far, I have not heard whether it
is closing down or someone else is taking over.  Radisson Long Island
Resort was targeted at the 18 - 35 age range.  It has just been
purchased by another company.  The new owners say it will cater to all
ages.  I don't know if they plan to redevelop or whatever [JO].

South Molle is remaining open - it is under new management. [JO]

The islands are inside the Great Barrier Reef.  All the resorts
provide high speed catamaran trips to the outer reef (about 2 hours
to get there).  There you can snorkle, take glass bottom boat trips or
take a ride in a "submarine".  These don't submerge.  You sit inside
the underwater hull and look out through big windows.  The Whitsunday
Island region is world famous for scuba diving and sailing.  There are
dive boat operators for qualified scuba divers.  The island resorts
also have dive courses. Yachts can be rented for bareboat cruising and
there are tour operators who take people on 5 to 7 day cruises of the
islands using 45 to 55 foot yachts . You sail in the daytime and camp
on the beaches with tents, sleeping bags and air mattresses at night.
The operator provides the camping gear, crew and cook.  This is a bit
of "pot luck" since you will be with strangers and the boat might have
6 passengers or 18.  The cooking is also "pot luck" because the cook
will probably be a young woman who is touring Australia and has signed
on for only one trip.  With luck, she may know how to cook!  I did
this once and liked it.  For details, ask your travel agent for
brochures on the Queensland Islands, Whitsunday Islands or Northern

Cairns and Cape York: Now jump another 1000 km north.  Cairns is in
the tropics at about 9S latitude and is also inside the Great Barrier
Reef.  It has access to the reef and the rainforest of Cape York.
When I went there it was small and very lovely.  There are no beaches
in Cairns but some beautiful tropical beaches to the north of it and
around Port Douglas (an hour drive to the north).  Since I was there,
it has been developed as an international tourist resort (mostly for
Japanese).  I don't know what the town is like now but the reef and
rain forest are still there.  Cairns is an international airport with
flights to Japan, New Zealand and the US.  You could go skiing in NZ
in August and than fly to Cairns for swimming and sunning on the reef.
Warning: Don't go to Cairns or the Whitsunday Islands between December
and March. That's the cyclone (hurricane) season.

The Outback: I've never been there and have no interest in it.
However, if you want desert, kangaroos, or dingos than Alice Springs
and Uluru (Ayers Rock) are supposed to be very good.  There is also a
tropical park called Kakadu in the Darwin area.  It's reported to have
lots of crocodiles and birdlife and be very interesting if that's your
thing.  Watch the weather.  The rainy season is said to be awful -
roughly November to March.

11.5 Advice for Australians in ....

11.5.1 United Kingdom


I tried the big five:  Natwest, Lloyds, Midland, Barclays, and Abbey 
National.  Lloyds weren't interested in opening an account for someone who was 
only in the UK for a short time (18 months!).  Abbey National and Barclays 
required the last six months' worth of bank statements from my Australian bank, 
proof of income, a residential address, etc.  Midland wanted proof of income, 
or proof of employment, and to see my passport.  NatWest just wanted to see my 

I now bank with NatWest.  When I opened my account I did not have a
residential address - this did not bother them, and they used my employment
address instead.  The passport is merely used as proof of identity.  Opening
an account took 10 minutes at the local branch.  Within two weeks I had a 
cheque book, paying-in book, and a "Switch" card. The latter is both an ATM and 
direct debit card which saves me from having to carry large amounts of cash.

Transferring money from Australia to the UK is relatively easy.  There is a 
flat fee of $20.00 (I bank with the Commonwealth), and NatWest charge UKP 6.00. 
per transfer.  Therefore, it's best to transfer large chunks of money (many 
$1000's) at a time. I've found that arranging the transfer by fax is easiest. 
The whole operation takes roughly five working days from faxing the two banks 
concerned to having the money in my UK account.

NatWest also offer a direct debit / standing order facility to pay regular 
bills, and also support Cirrus / Maestro and Access (Mastercard) services.  
This means that I can use my Com Bank cards (which were Cirrus / Maestro-
enabled prior to leaving Oz) in NatWest's ATM's.  However, I believe every 
Cirrus / Maestro ATM transaction of this nature carries a $4.00 flat fee.

General note: if you are an Australian taxpayer, and do not pay UK income tax, 
then fill out the appropriate form to inform the UK bank of this (ask the bank 
for it). That way, what little interest your money earns will not be taxed.

Calling Home.

I use Mercury Communications Ltd. to call home.  They promise a 10% reduction 
on standard BT rates for calls to Australia (and STD calls within the UK).  
This rises to 15% reduction for four nominated UK STD numbers and one 
international number through the "Your Call" scheme.  To use Mercury, one must 
subscribe to them (flat annual fee) - the numbers are in the phone directory.  
The access code and pin are stored in memory in a Mercury-compatible phone 
(available from many retailers starting at UKP 15.00 for ownership).  (I use 
my PC terminal software's phone number database and dial prefix function with
my modem, pick up the phone when the called number starts to ring, and then 
disable the modem!)

Use BT for local calls in the UK - even Mercury admit that it's cheaper.


Upon arrival, contact the Family Health Service.  Again, the numbers are in the 
telephone directory.  State your situation, and where you are residing, and 
they will give you the names / addresses / phone numbers of local GP's.  If 
you're still an Australian taxpayer, then you are covered under the NHS / 
Medicare reciprocal agreement.  If any GP that you contact queries such 
an arrangement, have them contact the FHS office that you contacted.

Other Services.

Organisations such as electricity authorities, British Gas, water authorities, 
etc., may as for a deposit (e.g. UKP 100.00 from Northern Electric, UKP 90.00 
from BT) unless you have a credit record in the UK.  Many will waive this if 
you set up a direct debit transfer with your bank (BT didn't in my case!).

Value Added Tax (VAT) (like GST  :)  ).

It's currently 17.5% for most (all ?) items excepting some exempt categories.  
I believe that if one buys certain goods in the UK and plans to leave within 
three months then one can claim back the VAT upon departure. However, I've not 
tried it, and am not sure of what paper work is required apart from the VAT 

Visiting "English Heritage" Properties.

Many buildings / structures of historical / cultural / tourist significance are 
operated by English Heritage.  They have a reciprocal agreement with the 
National Trust in Australia.  If you are a member, this can reduce the entry 
fees to many interesting sites.

Obtaining a UK Drivers License

Australians can legally drive in the UK on their Australian 
licence, or an International Driving Permit, for 12 months 
after taking up residence.  (Note, this is residence, *not* 
citizenship!)  Beyond that period, a UK licence is required.

The task of obtaining a UK licence is fairly straight forward.  
You will require the following items:

a)	A *valid* Australian licence.
b)	A completed application form (D1) obtainable from any Post 
	Office.  (Pick up the D100 guide for completing the D1, as 
c)	A cheque for UKP 21.00 drawn on a UK (or EU) bank.

Send these items to the 'Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency' (DVLA)
in Swansea, Wales.  DVLA advise that it takes approximately two 
weeks after receipt of application to issue the licence.  (Mine 
arrived within a week.)  The licence is valid until the age of 70 - 
with *no* renewal fee!  Physically, the licence is a green and pink 
coloured A4 size sheet.

If you want your Australian licence returned to you, it is best 
include a letter stating this with the application.  All 
correspondence from the DVLA is via Second Class post - I wasn't 
happy with the security of this, and included a prepaid 
"recorded delivery" envelope (it cost less than GBP 1.50).  I'd 
recommend recorded delivery both ways - it doesn't cost much 
compared to the problems associated with obtaining a replacement 
Oz licence!

A word of warning to those licenced in the A.C.T. - the rules
state that you must surrender your A.C.T licence to the issuing 
authority once it is used to obtain a UK licence.  No other states 
and territories have this restriction.  Note that on DVLA's D1 
form the term used is "Exchange Licence" irrespective of the state 
or territory in which you are licenced.

Renewing the Work Permit

Your employer must make an application to the Home Office to 
renew your work permit.  This process should begin no later than 
eight (8) weeks before the expiry date of the existing permit.  
Towards the end of the eight weeks, the Home Office will also 
require your passport for stamping and validation.

11.5.2 United States

Calling Home

(Rates in US Dollars)

AT&T Standard (800-pick-att) high $3.10 first minute, $1.25 additional minute
AT&T Standard (800-pick-att) low  $1.71 first minute, $0.81 additional minute
AT&T reachout world plan (800-523-world) $0.78 (10pm-2pm) $3 monthly fee
MCI Around the World (800-672-8054 (8pm-2pm)  $3 monthly fee
MCI Around the World (800-672-8054 (2pm-8pm)  $3 monthly fee
Cyberlink (800-661-0393) $0.41 anytime, any number 6 sec billing  no mthly
   charge without changing long distance carriers


[SW]  From my understanding, there are no real _national_ banks in the
USA, like Westpac or ANZ or whoever, unless you include the really big
international operations like Citibank.

Depending on who you bank with, you may not be able to do your 
transactions at any branch of your bank.  The smaller banks seem to be 
of the mentality of 'at our office only', while the larger ones will
let you transact at any of their branches.

There is typically a $1 fee per transaction if you use any 'foreign'
ATM, that is any ATM not run by your bank.  Most banks also charge a 
fee if your balance falls below some point, typically four or five
hundred dollars.

There are also other fees for getting new cheques, and some banks will
issue you a new ATM card each year for a small fee (whether you want 
it or not).

Opening an account generally requires you to have a Social Security 
Number.  I don't know what happens if you try to open an account
without one.

11.5.3 Canada

To open a bank account, you definitely need ID, and presumably a fixed 
address, but to the best of my recollection we didn't yet have our Social 
Insurance Numbers when we opened our first account.

The big banks are:

Royal Bank of Canada (biggest retail bank in the world)
CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)
Bank of Montreal
Bank of Nova Scotia
Toronto Dominion (somewhat smaller)

I have always found Royal Bank and CIBC to have rotten service, and 
Scotiabank the best service. Bank of Montreal tends to have the lowest 
mortgage rates (or at least, leads the pack to lower them).

At least in smaller cities, foreign-currency accounts are difficult or 
impossible to come by, with the exception of US Dollar accounts which are 
quite standard.

Bank deposits (US Dollar accounts excepted) are insured to $60,000 (some 
rules about how many accounts this applies to).

There are many other banks, more regionally based, and also Trust 
comapnies, some owned by banks and others not. Like the old Australian 
building societies, their interest rates are a little higher, but their 
services are more limited.

Visa, MasterCard, AmEx standardly accepted (some places no longer accept 
AmEx because of high commissions). Diners (now allied with EnRoute) much 
less so. If a business accepts one card only, it is most likely to be 
Visa. JCB also accepted in tourist-type establishments.

Canada has just seen the introduction of Interac payment, identical to 
Australian EFTPOS (only we got it much later than in Australia).

Banks will receive electronic transfers of money from overseas, but will 
cahrge for it, even if the amount is transferred already converted to 
CAD. The standard charge seems to be about $10. Transfer time varies 
between instantaneous and a couple of days (on occasion, longer).

[XXX Anyone care to write something similar for the US, others ??  - SW]


12.1 Australian pronunciation

* Pronounciation of Aussie [WE]

Information concerning how/why Australians pronounce Aussie with an
/z/ and Americans pronounce it with a /s/.  A linguistic analysis (I'm
a linguist) suggests the following:

1.  The Australian pronunciation of Aussie (/z/) is a normal
phonological feature called "intervocalic voicing of consonants" where
English speakers make /s/ -> /z/, /k/ -> /g/, /t/ -> /d/ etc. when
they are between consonants.  Some Americans pronounce "significant"
as significant, water as wader and we all say "laser" with a /z/.

2.  The American pronunciation of Aussie (/s/) is an example of
spelling pronunciation -- which, once again is normal behaviour when
we don't know the pronunciation of a word.  We usually say it the way
it spells until we find out differently.

3.  So why do Americans insist on saying Aussie with an /s/ even when
we tell them Aussies say it with a /z/?  Once again, that's normal.
We all have great difficulty saying things in a way that goes against
the grain -- our grain. I've lived a long time in the U.S., but still
can't say NEW York with /nu/.  I have to say /niu/.  Most Americans
say greasy (/s/) or blouse (/s/) -- all with /s/'s.  I think it may go
against the grain for them to say Aussie with a /z/.

* To distinguish Australian accents from various British ones: [RC]

  Australian "day" sounds like "die";
  Australian "buy" sounds like "boy".

So that "daylight" ends up something like "die-loyt".  For more
details see Afferbeck Lauder's, "Let Stalk Strine".

Actually I've heard people distinguish three different Australian
accents: Cultivated, General and Broad.  In the "broad" variant the
vowel shifts are particularly obvious, but I speak "cultivated" and
have been mistaken for English by Englishmen several times.

[PW] Some pommy accents are quite similar to strine.  In particular,
some of the south-coast ports are quite similar - probably because of
historical reasons !  There seem to be fundamental differences between
the northern and southern english accents.  The australian accent
seems to have picked up a mixture of the pronunciations such that
people here sometimes think that I'm really posh because of the way I
pronounce some words.

[MJ] It is said the accent spoken in Milton Keynes (a 'new' city
consisting largely of housing estates) in England (especially
among young people) is quite Australian, apparently due to their
watching Neighbours and Home and Away.

The variation in ozzie accents seems to be more to do with the scale
of the changes in pronunciation rather that the actual changes.  For
example, country accents always seem "stronger" that city ones, but
seem to have the same way of pronouncing words.  This seems to hold
true for all but the most posh people, but they live in world of their
own anyway.


There are many theories about the evolution of the Australian accent.
There would appear to be influences from cockney pronunciation, and
there are also vestiges of Irish influences as well (a lot of early
teachers were of Irish background, particularly in church run
schools.)  You will also find remnants of Irish, Scottish and Welsh
influences in the Australian pronunciation of some words.  Then, of
course, we had a large influx of German, Greek and Italian
immigration, which has probably also had an influence as well.  Of
later years, the language has been strongly influenced by TV media,
from, you guessed it, the USA.  To say that the convicts are the
predominating influence is probably false.  There were many more free
settlers than there ever were convicts.

One common comparison that is made is between the Received
Pronunciation (RP) (a la BBC English) and what is termed Cultivated
Australian (CA).  There is also a classification of Australian speech
called General Australian (GA).  GA differs from CA in that vowels
tend to become a little longer and some vowels are "diphthongized"
(hard to explain if you don't know phonetics -- maybe someone else
could have a bash at this one?)  CA is more likely to be found in
formal speech and GA in conversational.  There tends to be a slight
erm, what you might call a "class distinction" between the two,
although this is by no means a general thing. (Often politicians
cultivate a GA manner of speaking to be more appealing to the voting
population, as GA is more laid back, you might say.)  I might also
point out that the Australian accent was the but of much disdain for
some time earlier this century -- speech trainers would teach the
"proper speech" i.e. RP.

In general, CA speakers tend to form their vowels more forward in the
mouth than is the case for RP.  This is why RP pronunciation is often
associated with the phrase "plum in the mouth" because the vowels tend
to be formed further back in the mouth.  To an CA speaker, this is
probably the most noticeable characteristic.  RP speakers also tend to
have a more rounded lip formation than CA speakers for the same
sounds.  (Now *that's* a big generalisation!)

Another difference is the way in which words and phrases are
pronounced in isolation and in connected speech.  CA speakers tend to
use what is called the neutral vowel more often than RP speakers do in
connected speech.  Also CA speakers tend to have a slightly smaller
intonation range than RP speakers.  This lead to several criticisms of
CA speech as "monotonous" by many speech trainers earlier this
century.  There are other traits of RP pronunciation that are not
present in CA, such as frequent use of a definite vowel in the final
position.  These differences wrt neutral vowel and intonation patterns
are also why many Australians label someone speaking with an RP accent
as excessively pedantic.

These are some of the characteristics compared to RP, now of course
there are many dialectic variations of English in Britain!  RP is just
used as a useful reference point.  Also, any given speaker is not
necessarily going to use a "pure" dialect either, you'll find CA
speakers using GA pronunciations and all sorts of variations in the

One book you might like to look at is Mitchell and Delbridge
"Phonetics of English in Australia".

12.2 Australian spelling

[SW] For the most part, Australian spelling appears to follow the British
mould (funny that).  The letter 'u' appears in words like 'humour', 'colour',
labour et. al., unlike the corresponding American spelling of these words 

There are other differences as well.  The word 'tyre' gets 'tire' in the USA.
'Cheque' becomes 'check' in the USA.

I am by no means a linguist, but these are some examples that come to mind.

[Anyone care to add to this ? SW]

12.3 Australian slang, word origins

[ There are more than likely several errors in this. Please feel free
  to email me corrections/additions/notes -SW ]

A brief lesson in Australian English -
David Stybr of Illinois -

Much has been written about the differences between British English and
American English.  However, nothing quite matches Australian English for
its lively colourful phrases.  Some words and expressions are quite
naturally taken from British slang.  Some words have completely different
meanings in Australia than in Anglophone countries north of the Equator. 
A number of commonly-used words have been shortened considerably.  Other
words are indigenous to Australia and derived from Aboriginal terms, such
as "boomerang" and "kangaroo".  In general, however, the wonderful slang
of Australian English is primarily because Australians take English as a
game to be played, and they love to have fun with it.  Some of the words
and expressions are readily understandable but others can be incredibly
obscure in their meanings and derivations.

In addition to the slang, Australian pronunciation can be peculiar.  To
the casual listener is sounds similar to Cockney pronunciation, but it
differs in many ways.  Australian speech also tends to be more contracted,
with some sounds and even entire syllables omitted.  Most obvious in
Australian speech are the "I" sound for "A" and "Ah" for "R".  These can
best be illustrated with examples of pronunciations such as "egg nishner"
= "air conditioner", "G'dye, myte" = "Good day, mate", "Strine" =
"Australian", or  "Wyne chevva cold share" = "Why don't you have a cold
shower."  (American English has some similar examples, as in the phrase
"Jeet jet?" = "Did you eat yet?")


-->  Strine (Australian) Glossary from A to Zed  <--

Act:  Pretending to be something you're not.
Aggro:  Aggressive.
Alf:  Stupid person.
Amber or Amber fluid:  Beer.
Arvo:  Afternoon.
Aussie (pronounced "Ozzie"):  Australian.
Avagoyermug:  Traditional rallying call, often heard at cricket matches
(contraction of "Have a go, you mug!")

Back of beyond:  Far away in the outback.
Back of Bourke:  The middle of nowhere.
Bag:  Lady who is not particularly pleasant.
Bail out:  Leave.
Bail up:  Hold up, rob, earbash.
Banana bender:  Resident of Queensland.
Barbie (Barbecue):  Like a cook out.  Many people get together for a
'Barbie' in the warmer months.  They are usually BYO (Bring your own) meat
and drinks.
Barney:  Fight or scuffle.
Barrack:  To cheer on a team at a sporting event.
Bathers:  Swimming costume (Victoria).
Battler:  Hard trier, struggler.
Beaut, beauty, bewdie:  Very good.  Excellent.
Belt up!:  Shut up!
Berko:  Angry.
Bible basher:  Minister.
Bickie:  Dollar.
Big mobs:  Large amount, heaps.
Bikies:  Motorcyclists.
Billabong:  Water hole in a dry riverbed, or more correctly an ox-bow bend
cut off in the dry season by receding waters.
Billy:  Used for making tea in, usually over a campfire.  The best billies
are the old ones, which make better tea.
Bitumen:  Surfaced road.
Black Stump:  Out towards the horizon.  A long way away.
Block:  Block has a few meanings but the more Aussie one is your head.
Bloke:  Person, usually a male.
Bloody:  All-purpose intensifying adjective.
Blowies:  Blow flies.
Bludge:  Not doing anything or getting things of others.
Bludger:  Lazy person.
Blue:  A fight, or the nickname of someone with red hair.
Bonzer:  Great.
Boomer:  Very large, or a particularly male kangaroo.
Boomerang:  Curved flat wooden instrument used by Aborigines for hunting. 
If your boomerang returns, it means you MISSED!
Booze:  Alcohol, usually beer.
Booze bus:  Police van used for random breath testing for alcohol.
Bottle shop:  Liquor shop.
Buckley's:  No chance at all.
Bug (Moreton Bay bug):  Small crab.
Bullamanka:  Imaginary place even beyond back of Bourke, way beyond the
black stump.
Bull dust:  Fine and sometimes deep dust on outback roads.
Bunyip:  Mythical bush spirit.
Burl:  Have a try, as in "give it a burl".
Bush:  Somewhere in the country or away from the city.  Go bush means go
back to the land.
Bushbash:  Force one's way through pathless bush.
Bushranger:  Outlaw, analogous to the outlaws of the American Wild West
(some goodies, some baddies).
Bush tucker:  Native foods, usually in the outback.
BYO:  Bring Your Own (booze to a restaurant, meat to a barbecue, etc.)

Caaarn!:  Traditional rallying cry at football games (contraction of "Come
Camp oven:  Large, cast-iron pot with a lid, for cooking on an open fire.
Captain Cook:  To have a look.
Cask:  Wine box.
Chiko roll:  Australian junk food.
Chook:  Chicken.
Chuck a U-ey:  Make a U-turn.
Chunder:  Vomit, curbside quiche, drive the porcelain bus, pavement pizza,
liquid laugh, rainbow sneeze, technicolour yawn.
Cleanskin:  Unbranded cattle.
Clobber:  Clothes.
Chuck:  Chuck has a few meanings.  It can mean to throw or to put in.
Cobber:  Mate (archaic).
Cocky:  Small-scale farmer.
Come good:  Turn out all right.
Compo:  Compensation, such as workers' compensation.
Conk:  To hit someone.
Cooee:  Bush greeting.
Coolabah:  Type of box eucalyptus tree.
Corroboree:  Aboriginal dancing.
Counter meal, countery:  Pub meal.
Cow:  Also means anything that is difficult.
Cow cocky:  Small-scale cattle farmer.
Cozzie:  Swimming costume (New South Wales).
Crook:  Ill, badly made, substandard.
Crow eater:  Resident of South Australia.
Curbside quiche:  Vomit.
Cut lunch:  Sandwiches.

Dag, daggy:  Dirty lump of wool at the back end of a sheep, also an
affectionate or mildly abusive term for a socially inept person.
Daks:  Trousers.
Damper:  Bush loaf made from flour and water cooked in a camp oven.
Dead horse:  Tomato sauce.
Deli:  Delicatessen.  Milk bar in South Australia.
Dijeridu:  Cylindrical musical instrument played by Aboriginal men.
Dill:  Idiot.
Dillybag:  Small bag to carry things.
Dinkie die:  The whole truth.
Dinkum:  Genuine or honest.
Divvy van:  Police divisional van.
Dob In:  To tell (an authority) on someone.
Donk:  Car or boat engine.
Don't come the raw prawn:  Don't try to fool me.
Down south:  The rest of Australia, according to someone north of
Brisbane, Queensland.
Drive the porcelain bus:  Vomit.
Drongo:  Worthless person.
Duco:  Car paint.
Dunny:  Outdoor lavatory.
Dunny budgies:  Blow flies.

Earbash:  Non-stop talk.
Eastern states:  The rest of Australia, according to someone in Western
Enzedder:  New Zealander.
Esky:  Large insulated box for keeping beer etc. cold.
Evo:  Evening.

Fair crack of the whip!:  Fair go!
Fair dinkum:  The whole truth.
Fair go:  Give some a chance or an opportunity to do something. Financial:
 To be flush with cash.
FJ:  Most revered Holden car.
Flake:  Shark meat, used in fish and chips.
Flaming:  All-purpose intensifying adjective.
Flat out:  As fast as possible.
Floater:  Meat pie floating in pea soup.
Fossick:  To hunt for gemstones.

Galah:  Noisy parrot, thus noisy idiot.
Game:  Brave.
Gander:  Have a look.
Gaol:  Australian and British spelling of "jail".
Garbo:  Garbage collector.
G'day:  A greeting.  It is the Aussie way of saying good day.
Going "troppo":  Going tropical; laid-back and fun-loving.
Gibby:  Aboriginal word for stony desert.
Give it away:  Give up.
Good on ya!:  Term of approval.
Grizzle:  To complain.
Grazier:  Large-scale sheep or cattle farmer.
Grog:  General term for alcohol.
Grouse:  Very good, unreal.
Gumtree:  Eucalyptus.
Gutzer:  Some plans don't work out or to have an accident.

Hire:  To rent, as "to hire a car".
His nibs:  The boss.
Hooley:  Wild party.
Hoon:  Idiot, hooligan, yahoo.
Hooly-Dooly:  An expression of surprise.
Hotel:  Sometimes means only a pub.
How are ya?:  Standard greeting.
HQ:  Second most revered Holden car.
Hump:  To carry.

Icy-pole:  Ice cream on a stick.
Identity:  Celebrity.
In full feather:  In fine health.
In yer boot!:  An expression of disagreement.
It's a goer:  Something that will definitely occur.

Jack-in-the-box:  Person who can't sit still.
Jackaroo or Jillaroo:  Trainee on a cattle station.
Jingoes!:  Exclamation of wonder.
Jocks:  Men's underpants.
Joe Bloggs:  The average citizen.
Joey:  Baby kangaroo, still in the pouch.
Journo:  Journalist.
Jumbuck:  Sheep.

Kafuffle:  Argument.
Kanga or kangaroo:  Shoe.
Keen as mustard:  Enthusiastic.
Kerb:  Alternative Australian and British spelling of "curb".
Kelpie:  Sheep dog or cattle dog.
Kick:  To share or join in.
Kip:  Sleep or nap.
Kiwi:  New Zealander.
Knackers:  Testicles (also love spuds, nuts, nads).
Knock:  To criticise.
Knocker:  One who criticises.
Kombi:  Multi-purpose van-like vehicle.
Koori:  Aborigine (mostly south of the Murray River).

Lair:  Layabout, hooligan.
Lairise:  To behave in a vulgar, flamboyant manner.
Lamb-brained:  Stupid.
Lamington:  Sponge cake cut into squares, covered in chocolate and
Larrikin:  Ruffian or hoodlum.
Lay-by:  To put a deposit on an article so a shop will hold it.
Licensed:  Legally permitted to sell alcoholic drinks.
Like a bandicoot on a burnt ridge:  Lonely.
Liquid laugh:  Vomit.
Lob:  Arrive.
Lollies:  Candy or sweets.
Lolly:  Money.
Loo:  Lavatory or toilet.
Lot:  The whole thing.
Lurk:  Scheme (no negative connotation).

Mad:  Crazy (seldom means anger).
Mallee:  Remote bushland of Victoria.
Manchester:  Household linen.
Mate:  This usually means a friend but it can be used to talk about or to
anyone - even a total stranger.
Matey with:  Familiar or friendly with.
Matilda:  The belongings of a swagman, wrapped in a blanket or bedroll.
Middy:  285 ml beer glass (New South Wales).
Milk bar:  Corner general store.
Milko:  Milkman.
Mob:  Group of person or things (not necessarily unruly).
Mozzie:  Mosquito.
Mug:  Either a fool or your face.

Naff:  Ridiculous, useless.
Nana:  Banana.
Nark:  Spoilsport.
Narked:  Annoyed.
Neddies:  Horses.
Never never:  Desert region far away in the outback.
Nick:  To steal.
Nick out:  Go somewhere for short period of time.
Nit:  Fool or idiot.
No hoper:  Hopeless case.
No shortage of oscar:  To be flush with money.
No worries!:  Everything will be fine!
Noise off:  Speak loudly.
North Island:  Mainland Australia, according to someone in Tasmania.
Northern summer:  Summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
Nulla-nulla:  Wooden club used by Aborigines.
Num-nums:  Tasty food.

Ocker:  Uncultivated or boorish Australian.
Off-sider:  Assistant or partner.
Oil:  Accurate information.
On a good lurk:  To have a good job.
OS:  Overseas.
Outback:  The bush, or uncivilised uninhabited region.
Oy!:  An ocker's call.
Owyergoin:  How are you going?  Often used with "G'day" and "Mate".
OYO:  On your own (flat or apartment).
Oz:  Australia, as in Oz-tralia.

Packed out:  Filled to capacity.
Packet:  Large some of money, an envelope.
Paddock:  Field or meadow.
Pally:  On friendly terms with.
Paper yabber:  Letter.
Parcel:  Package.
Pastoralist:  Large-scale grazier.
Pavement pizza:  Vomit.
Pavlova:  Traditional Australian meringue and cream dessert, names after
Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.
Pearl:  Excellent.
Perve:  To gaze with lust, purview.
Pester:  Annoy or bother someone.
Petrol:  Gasoline.
Piffle:  Nonsense.
Pinch:  To arrest.
Pineapple, rough end of:  Stick, sharp end of.
Piss:  Alcohol, usually beer.
Piss turn:  Boozy party.
Pissed:  Drunk.
Pissed off:  Annoyed.
Pivot on:  Consider.
Plonk:  Cheap wine (contemptuous contraction of "vin blanc").
Poddy dodger:  Cattle rustler.
Poker machine, pokies:  Slot machine, found in clubs mainly in New South
Pom or Pommy:  English person.
Poofter:  Homosexual.
Possie:  Advantageous position.
Postie:  Postman.
Pot:  285 ml glass of beer (Victoria and Queensland).
Prang:  Accident or crash.
Proprietary (Pty.):  Company (Co.).
Pub:  Any hotel.  A favourite meeting place of many Australians.
Push:  Group or gang of people, such as shearers.
Putt-putt:  Any small vehicle.

Q:  Thank you (mumbled).
QANTAS:  Acronym for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service.
Quack:  Doctor, especially if not very good.
Quick smart:  In a hurry.
Quids:  A lot of money.

Rainbow sneeze:  Vomit.
Rapt:  Delighted, enraptured.
Ratbag:  Someone who does not behave properly.
Raw Prawn:  A lie or a con job.
Razoo:  Fictitious coin, as "I haven't a brass razoo".
Reckon!:  You bet!  Absolutely!
Rego:  Registration, as in car rego.
Ridgy-didge:  Original, genuine.
Ringer:  Fast sheep shearer.
Ripper:  Good.
Road train:  Multi-trailered semi truck.
Roo:  Kangaroo.
Roo bar:  Metal rod on front of vehicles to protect against kangaroo
Root:  Have sexual intercourse.
Rooted:  Tired.
Ropable:  Very ill-tempered or angry.
RS:  Lousy (rat shit).
Rubbish:  To tease, as in "to rubbish".
Rug up:  Dress for warmth.

Sack:  To dismiss from a job.
Salvo:  Member of the Salvation Army.
Sandgroper:  Resident of Western Australia.
Scallops:  Fried potato cakes (Queensland), shellfish (elsewhere).
Scheme:  System or method (no negative connotation).
School:  Group of drinkers, each of whom buys a round.
Schooner:  Large beer glass (New South Wales, South Australia).
Screamer:  Noisy drunk.
Scrub:  Can be the same as the bush or mean areas in the country where
there are not many trees.
Sea wasp:  Deadly box jellyfish.
Sealed road:  Surfaced road.
See you in the soup:  See you around.
Semitrailer:  Articulated truck.
Session:  Lengthy period of heavy drinking.
Sheila:  Female or woman.
Shellacking:  Complete defeat.
She'll be right!:  Everything will be fine!
Shivoo:   Rowdy party.
Shonky:  Unreliable.
Shoot Through:  To leave or disappear in a hurry.
Shout:  Pay for someone else, particularly a round of drinks.
Shove off!:  Go away!
Shirty:  To get upset or angry.
Sickie:  Day off work ill, or malingering.
Silk shirt on a pig:  Something wasted.
Sink the boot:  Drive fast.
Skint:  Broke.
Skite:  To boast.
Slog:  Hard work.
Smoke-oh:  Short break at work.
Snag:  Sausage.
Sport:  More general way to refer to someone rather than a mate.
Spunky:  Good-looking, attractive as in "what a spunk".
Square off:  To apologise.
Squatter:  Large landowner who originally occupied land as a tenant of the
Squattocracy:  Australian "old money" folk, who made their fortunes by
being first on the scene and grabbing the land.
Station:  Large farm or ranch.
Stickybeak:  Nosy person.
Stinger:  Box jellyfish.
Strewth!:  It's the truth!  An exclamation, often of surprise.
Strides:  Daks, trousers.
Strine:  Australian slang.
Stubby:  Small bottle of beer.
Sunbake:  Sunbathe.
Swag:  Canvas-covered bedroll used in the outback.
Swagman:  Vagabond, rural tramp.

Take away food:  Take-out food.
Tall poppies:  Achievers, often a disparaging term.
Tariff:  Rate.
Taswegian:  Resident of Tasmania (patterned after "Norwegian").
Tea:  evening meal.
Technicolour yawn:  Vomit.
Tee up:  Organise or arrange.
Telly:  The television.
Thingo:  Thing, whatchamacallit, hooza meebob, doo velacki, thingamajig.
This arvo:  This afternoon.
Thongs:  Rubber sandals.
Tinny:  Can of beer.  Also a small aluminium fishing dinghy (Northern
Togs:  Swimming costume (Queensland, Victoria).
Too right!:  Absolutely!
Top End:  Northern part of the Northern Territory.
Trucky:  Truck driver.
True blue:  Dinkum.
Tucker:  Food.  Australian schools call their canteens a "tuckshop".
Twit:  Fool or idiot.
Two-pot screamer:  Someone who can't hold his liquor.
Two-up:  Traditional Australian heads/tails gambling game.
Tyre:  Australian and British spelling of "tire".

Underdaks:  Underwear.
Uni:  University.
Up a gumtree:  In a quandary.
Up north:  New South Wales and Queensland, according to someone in
Ute:  Utility truck or vehicle.

Vee-dub:  Volkswagon car.
Vegemite:  Popular vegetable extract used as sandwich spread. Velvet: 
Highly profitable or advantageous.

Waffle:  Nonsense.
Wag:  To skip school or work.
Walkabout:  Periodic nomadic wanderings.
Wallaby track, on the:  To wander from place to place in search of work
Waltz Matilda:  To carry a swag.
Weatherboard:  Wooden house.
Wet, the:  Rainy season in northern Australia.
Wharfie:  Dockworker.
Winge:  Complain and carry on unnecessarily.
Whomajigger:  Term for person or thing whose actual name one can't
Willy-nilly:  Small dust twister.
Wobbly:  Disturbing, unpredictable behaviour, as in "throw a wobbly".
Woomera:  Stick used by Aborigines to throw spears.
Wowser:  Spoilsport or puritan.

XXXX:  Fourex, a favorite brand of Queensland beer.

Yabbie:  Small freshwater crayfish.
Yahoo:  Noisy and unruly person.
Yahooing:  Boisterous behaviour.
Yakka, yakker:  Hard work, an Aboriginal term
Yank:  American.
Yankee shout:  A round of drinks in which everyone pays his own. Yank
tank:  An American car.
Yobbo:  Uncouth, aggressive person.
Yonks:  Ages, a long time.
Youse:  Plural of you.

Zebra crossing:  Broad-striped pedestrian roadway crossing.
Zed:  Australian and British pronunciation of "Z".
Zeds:  Pertaining to sleep (zzz).

* What is the origin of the word "Pom" or "Pommy"? [BR]

 - from (Greg Daniels):
   shipping crates labeled "P.O.M.E."  (Property of Mother England)

 - for (David W. Everett):
   Prisoner of Mother England (POME)

 - from (Nick Cerneaz):
   Piss Off Mother England

 - from
   convict clothing being labelled P O H M for Prisoner Of His Majesty

 - from (Andrew Bulhak):
   Push Off Miserable Englishman

 - from (Andrew Bulhak):
   short for pomegranate, referring to the complexion of recent arrivals
   who have not yet absorbed much of the Australian sun

 - from (Jacco Zwetsloot):

The general concensus (amongst academics at least) is that `pom' came
through this train of words and word association: immigrants came to
be called `jimmygrants' via some sort of rhyming slang.  `jimmygrants'
became `pomegranates' via another sort of rhyming slang.  This in turn
became shortened to `pommy' and `pom'.  While this may seem like an
incredible (in the literal meaning of the word) explanation for the
origin of `pom', it is verified in a number of books.  One being "The
Australian Language" published in 1945.

 - from bls@sector7g.Eng.Sun.COM (Brian Scearce):
   My _Dictionary of Historical Slang_ has this to say about it:

        pommy, Pommy. A newcomer from Britain, esp. from
        England: Australian: C.20.  The OED Sup. records it at
        1916, but it was current before the Great War.  Origin
        obscure; possibly a corruption of TOMMY imported by
        Australian soldiers returning from the Boer War
        (1899-1902).  Or perhaps ex. *Pomeranian*, a very
        "superior" sort of dog.  It may also have developed
        from JIMMY GRANT thus: Jimmy Grant > immy-granate >
        pomegranate > pommy.

   "Jimmy Grant" is, as a previous poster pointed out, rhyming slang for
   "immigrant" (or "emigrant").

* Sydney is spelt with a "y", not Sidney. It was named after
Baron Sydney of Chislehurst, the Home Secretary at the time when
the First Fleet arrived.  Actually, they named Sydney Cove and
the city was supposed to be called Albion, but it didn't come out
that way. [HG]

* State-based Nicknames

From:		Nickname:
NSW		Cockroaches,
                Mexicans (by Queenslanders)
Vic		Mexicans
		Gum-Suckers (Melbournians only ?)
SA		Crow Eaters
WA		Sand Gropers
Qld		Banana Benders
Tas		Apple Eaters
NT		Top-enders

* Origin of "Whinge"

[BD] The Macquarie dictionary says "Northern form of OE _hwinsian_ to
whine", and for whine "OE _hwinan_".

* Origin of "Dunny"

[LC] I was using the toilet the other day and noticed that the
brandname stamped on the porcelain was "Dunedin". Could this be the
origin from which the endearing term "dunny" is derived ??

[IR] Unfortunately no.  The Macquarie gives: "short for Brit. d.
dunnakin, dunnaken, from dannaken, from danna (dung) + ken (place)"

* "Show us your map of tazzy"

[PG] Well, being the literary expert that I am . . . 8-) I'll have a
crack at it.  Reference page 182 "A Nice Night's Entertainment" Barry
Humphries published 1981 by Granada:

"Anyway, there she was starkers! I didn't know where to look.  The
driver seen her norks in the rear-vision mirror and nearly come off
his dual carriageway.  He said, 'Ay, miss, 'ow are you goin' to pay
me?", at which she *pointed* ... Now, there's a nice crowd in here
tonight so I'm not going to tell you where she pointed; suffice it to
say she pointed at the map of Tasmania.  Those of you with a
rudimentary grasp of geography will have a rough idea of what I nearly
had a rudimentary grasp of - a large triangular land mass deep in the
southern hemisphere."  Quiz question: which BH character said this?

[JMack] I first heard the expression in conjunction with the arrival
of the show "Hair" in Sydney (this was about 1970). I don't remember
whether it was a friend, or a review in the paper or a quote from
Robert Helpman, but the person referring to the costumes on the stage,
mentioned the maps of Tasmania.  It's not quite as graphic as Barry
Humphries use above, but it predates it.

* "Claytons'"

Originally the brand name of a non-alcoholic beverage that looks like
neat Scotch whiskey, the television commercial featured Australian
actor Jack Thompson(sp?) sitting at a pub bar and ordering "I'll have
a Claytons' - (to camera) the drink I'm having when I'm not having a
drink" Almost immediately the press media used "Clayton's
Promise(chk?)" to headline a politician "making a promise when you're
not making a promise".  It now has accepted usage as a derogatory
adjective of anything that has questionable authenticity.  (Victorian
usage anyway) [RK]

* "Nugget"

This is a brand-name of a New Zealand shoe polish made of paraffin and
?carbon. To "nugget" your shoes is to apply any shoe polish and buff
the footware to shiny clean. Many Australians incorrectly think Nugget
brand shoe polish as a local Australian invention, it is just marketed
very well. [RK]

* "West Island".

New Zealand is another country, not a state of Australia. (Sometimes
people in NZ refer to Australia as the "West Island" as NZ has two
main land masses, North and South Islands) [RK]

* Origin of Taswegian [ZS]

Tasway n, {Colloq.}  Tasmania  [backformation from TASWEGIAN by analogy
     with {Norwegian} adj, from {Norway}
Taswegian n -> Tasmanian [TAS(MANIAN) + {-wegian} (by analogy with
     {Norwegian, Glaswegian,} etc.)]

* What is a bunyip? [BT]

Originally an Aboriginal legend.  A bunyip is a creature which lives
in fresh or brackish waterways (rivers, billabongs, swamps, but not
the ocean).  I believe that like most legendary creatures, it eats

More recently, "Bazza the Bunyip" has been appearing on Australian TV
sets, begging us all to "not muck up the Murray [River]", but I don't
think that's what the question meant.

Also, there is a mechanical bunyip in the Murray Bridge caravan park.
If you insert 20 cents, (s)he will rise from the depths of his/her
caged pond, let rip with some terrifying roars, and subside.  The
whole performance takes about a minute, and used to be a lot more
frightening when I was very young...

* What is the aboriginal name for koalas?

"Koala" is a bastardisation of a word from an Australian language.  As
stated, the question doesn't really have an answer, as there were
around 200 Australian languages at the time of European contact, and
while many if not all of these are fairly closely related, there are
many different words for koala.  "Koala" appears to be a misreading of
"kuu(l)la", the word for Koala in certain languages of the Sydney
region. [CM]

* What does QANTAS stand for?

 "Qantas, n. The Australian international airline, founded in 
  1920 as the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services 
  Ltd, with Sir Fergus McMaster as provisional chairman, P.J. 
  McGuinness and W. Hudson Fysh as the pilots and W.H. Baird as 
  the mechanic."

* And further in the line of QANTAS trivia, why is the name or word
(clue) Longreach, painted on the fuselages of the 747-400's?

Didn't QANTAS have it's origins at Longreach in QLD (where the
Stockman's Hall of Fame now is) ?  Also, when they bought the first
new 747-400, they flew it non-stop from London to Oz. [RB]

* Does water go down drains in the opposite way?

If you know anything about fluid dynamics than the fact that the
Rossby number for such a tiny vortex is very large, should give you
the answer.  In simple terms: a bath-tub vortex is much too small and
too fast for the Earth's rotation too have any effect on it. Planetary
scale mid-latitude lows and tropical cyclones however do spin in
opposite directions as a result of the rotation of the Earth, but
smaller scale vortices like tornadoes and dust devils do not. [SD]

[MJ] Technically, this is in some sense the case. The Coriolis force
due to the earth's rotation will in the absence of all other effects
cause the whirlpool in a bathtub to rotate in the opposite direction
in different hemispheres. In practice, however, the forces involved
are so small that other effects are more important ie you can make the
whirlpool go in either direction if you give it a nudge. As for using
this effect to determine whether a ship is north or south of the
equator, I don't believe a word of it. The effect increases as you go
away from the equator. It is largest at the poles. It is _zero_ on the
equator.  Anywhere even remotely near the equator, it is much smaller
than in somewhere like Australia. Combined with the fact that a ship
is likely to get buffeted around by the ocean a little, a much larger
effect, the whole idea is ridiculous.

* Australian Tea Tree Oil Melaleuca Alte [BS]

Tea tree oil-based antiseptic cream is the most fantastic skin cream
you can imagine.  It's great for open cuts/wounds, or acne, so far as
I have tried.  With acne, rub it in 3 times per day for very quick and
effective results.  Also I had a shampoo based on it - was good for
dandruff!  It was used in WWI in the trenches as an antiseptic cream
for open wounds.  Two companies that I know in Australia include
Melacare (based in Grafton) and Thursday (Island?) Plantation, not
sure where they are based but their products grace many a chemist's
shelves.  Also in London you can buy tea tree oil based products from
House of Mistry, Hampstead.

[KX] But it hurts (and stinks) like hell. I had a some pretty bad
scratches on my back that my cat inflicted and there is NO way that
I'd have had the courage to apply this stuff to "new wounds".
Although, I must admit, when I have actually used it (rare occasions,
I must add) it does actually seem to work.  BTW - if you're a horse
owner, Tea Tree Oil works well on minor cuts from fences etc., , bite
marks and similar injuries.

[AW] There is a pretty informative and interesting article on the tea
tree and its products in the February/March issue of _The Herb
Companion_, and probably lots of other information available from
herbal supply sources.  Seems to be a real wonder!

* What's the name of the swagman in Waltzing Matilda?

[RG] Andy.

"Andy sat
 Andy watched
 Andy waited till his billy boiled..." ;-)

* What does "BYO" mean in restaurants?

"Bring Your Own". Means alcohol.

* What is the "Didgeridoo"?

Traditional instrument of Australian Aborigines. A very long (> 6ft)
pipe.  You have to maintain a continuous stream of air through it,
which means you have to be able to store air in your cheeks to blow
out, and breathe in through your nose. See also section on music in

* What is a wanker?


1. _wank_ v.i. colloq. to Masturbate.

2. _wank oneself_, to maintain an illusion; deceive oneself. 3. an act
or instance of masturbation 4. a hobby: /flying is his wank/ 5.
behaviour which is self-indulgent or egotistical. 6. _wank wank_,
/Colloq./ (an exclamation indicating an ironic dismissal
   of some previous statement).

[orig. uncert.] -wanker, /n./

* Why do the stars on the Australian flag have 7 points?

(See 9.6.1 The Flag)


"Terra Australis" was the land of the south.  The Portuguese
Fernandez de Quiros, in the service of Philip III of Spain, named
it Australia del Espiritu Santo (Southern Land of the Holy Ghost)
"Australia" was used to flatter the King who was a Prince of the
Austria Ruling house. [VS]

* What is the source of ".oz" as an internet address representing
Australia?  (is it any different from ".au"; and why do some addresses
have "" both, or is that just harmless redundancy?)

[What follows is the combinations of comments from Robert Elz (KRE), Chris
Maltby (CM) and Piers Lauder (PL) which I hope I've integrated completely.
Any of you three gents may feel free to correct me if I've mucked it up -SW]

[KRE] No, its certainly not the same as AU, nor is it redundant
in addresses where it appears, its required, and can't be used in

Long ago when we were first setting up addressing for Aust we
were always going to use domain addressing - this is way back
when was the standard name for US hosts on the arpanet
(& milnet).  That is, the use of domain names wasn't new, but
there was not yet any organised structure for domain naming (ie:
the edu, gov, ... and the two letter country names didn't yet

We knew we wanted a domain name that represented Australia in
some way, and things like AU and AUS were suggested, but we also
knew that our (then) small group of sites couldn't really ever
claim to represent all of Australia, and do anything that would
effectively take over the entire Australian namespace leaving
nothing for anyone else unless they could fit themselves into our
naming scheme.

I should also mention that at this time we were already using
domain names, the domain we used was "SUN" which meant "Sydney
Unix Network" (and sometimes "Sydney University Network") - the
Australian net was an outgrowth of a network that started in
Sydney at Sydney University, and linked UNIX systems.  The
network started before Sun Microsystems was created - still they
asked us if we could use something other than "SUN" as our name -
and since our net was no longer just in Sydney, that seemed
reasonable (though the software used remained called "SUN" then
SunII and SunIII, until comparatively recently when SunIV was
renamed MHSnet).

[CM] The Australian use of domain tokens (they were more a hostname
adjective in the first implementation) was ahead even of the .arpa
stuff kre mentions above. I don't remember a "sun" domain, but there
were both hierarchical "domains" and non-hierarchical adjectives
which were intended to implement multicast delivery. I remember plans
to start a "news" adjective and to disseminate netnews to *.news, which
the SUN software would do efficiently. The "oz" domain also had the
meaning of "sites with an interest in global level routing" - if you
were the gateway to your site you had to belong to "oz". When kre
tried to connect Thailand he had many problems because the software
at that time made assumptions about ".oz" being somehow global.

[KRE - in response to "I don't remember a "sun" domain"]

It existed, but I'm not sure how visible it ever was inside Aust.
This may have only ever been added here on messages exported to
the world - I think it dates from about SUN II days, when domains
didn't exist at all on ACSnet.   If I hunted really hard I could
probably still find the message from Bill Shannon asking us to
stop using that name...

[PL] The SUN (II/III) software allowed a node to have as many domains as 
it liked, but one of them had to be nominated as the "primary" for the purpose
of making routing calculations more efficient - if the domain was "su"
for instance, the routing tables only needed to know about other nodes
in "su". The Thailand problem was due to a bug in SUNIII, rather than any
built-in knowledge about "oz" being special.

As an aside, it's worth noting that the SUN in Sun Microsystems stands
for "Stanford University Network".

[KRE] In any case, needing a name, something Australian, but not to
pretend to represent the whole of Australia, someone (it
certainly wasn't me, but I don't recall who) suggested "oz".
That sounds like the "Aus" part of "Australia" or "Aussie" when
spoken by an Australian (rather than an American, who pronounce
the thing in some totally wild way), and is fairly commonly used
by various people to represent things Australian (and has no
relationship I know of with the wizard), and was adopted.

[CM] In the great tradition of Unix, we selected "oz" because it was in
common usage in Australia and was shorter to type than any alternative.

[KRE] Eventually, the two letter country naming stuff was invented, and
AU of course became Australia - the "oz" part, which was always
just a subset of Australia fitted very neatly as a sub-domain of
AU, and so that's what was done with it.  In time, other
sub-domains of AU were created, including the etc
domains, that serve basically the same community as does,
but also and (which match the X.400 naming
"ADMD=telememo; C=au") that are used by commercial e-mail systems
in Australia, which has retrospectively justified the decision to
confine our naming within a subset of the Australian namespace,
and not even pretend to take over the whole thing.

There's another version of the "creation of oz" story, which
relates to the very first international e-mail connection that
the academic community had here, which ran between the University
of Sydney (home of the Sydney University/Unix Network) and Bell
Labs.  It was implemented using a maildrop on an IBM mainframe at
the University of Waterloo in Canada, Bell labs would dial there,
and leave mail for Australia in a file, then the University of
Sydney would call, using X.25, and pick up the mail in the file,
and leave another for Bell Labs the next time they called.  This
was set up by Ian Johnstone, initially from UNSW, but then at
Bell Labs - the theory is that "oz" was the name of the account
at Waterloo, or one of the file names, or something like that.
This may indeed be what sparked the suggestion to use "oz" as the
domain name, I don't know, I certainly don't recall that name
being in any visible use in that e-mail system though, whatever
use it had, if there was one, must have been internal I think.

[CM] In support of this story, it's important to note that ianj is close
to being the worst typist I have ever seen. "oz" is close to the
limit for him! Also, Bell Labs were using UUCP to deliver their end
to the gateway, and "oz!address" worked well at their end. At our end
we had only one site to mail to, so "user@usa" was sufficient.

Finally, "oz" still has a special meaning - although some of the .oz
sites are fully connected to the Internet. There is an assumption that
if you are called that you will maintain some sort of
ACSnet connectivity (even via an SMTP gateway), so that sites which
have only MHSnet software can work out from the address whether to
attempt internal delivery. Until AARNet began charging for MX address
registrations, kre had a rule for * which merely inserted the
incoming message into ACSnet for delivery.

[PL] No, this isn't true anymore, there are now many sites running SUN IV 
that aren't in "" -- more likely "" these days. Deciding
whether a site needs message delivery via SMTP or something else is
now done based on address tables specifying the delivery method.

[KRE] It is so true...

Though its not clear which part of Chris' paragraph you're
rejecting, you're right that's there's no longer any generic
* -> ACSnet rule (but Chris did say "had") - but it is true
that -> ACSnet.   The reason for that has nothing
to do with the Internet, but with ACSnet - there are still lots
of sites (on ACSnet) that simply dump * messages (as *.oz)
into ACSnet and assume they will be delivered.   Whenever a site
with an name leaves ACSnet and relies on MX stuff for mail
to be delivered (which works fine on the Internet) I get mail
from ACSnet sites asking what happened to them...

Note this doesn't imply (and hasn't since MHSnet) that sites
on ACSnet have to have names, anything legal that works
is OK - just that sites have to be on ACSnet.

* What is the village in northern France where the Australian presence
in WW1 is still celebrated?

In a little town called Viller-Bretonneuve, just outside Amiens,
there's a memorial to Australian soldiers a couple of kilometres
outside town, signposted from the main road. There's also a cafe on
the main road called the Boomerang Cafe, which makes me feel it's the
right area. :-) [HJ]

I can confirm that Villers-Bretonneux appears to be the town that you
have in mind. A large Australian contingent was situated in or near
the town during WW1. There remains a number of overt signs of this
presence [MS]:
- some of the streets and shops bear Australian names
  (e.g., Melbourne Street)
- there is a large Australian War Memorial just outside the town on a
rise. It contains a lookout and wall with the names of the Australian
soldiers lost (and, for the most part, never found) in the battles of
northern France and Flanders. On the wall, it is noted that 11,000
Australian soldiers died between 1916-1918, so this gives you an
indication of the size of the wall!
- At the entrance to Villers-Bretonneux, is situated Adelaide Cemetery
containing the graves of some of the Australian soldiers.
- In fact, the region contains a number of Australian and British
Commonwealth war cemeteries, all of them immaculately kept with cut
lawns and red roses!
- Villers-Bretonneux has an Australian "twin town" (Robinvale, Vic.
if I remember correctly).
- I spoke with the mayor, who showed me around the local school, which
was apparently built after WW1 with donations from Australia. The main
hall is panelled in Australian wood, and has a number of large wood
carvings of Australian animals.  The mayor said he visits Australia
every year, to maintain the contact between the Villers-Bretonneux and

In the cathedral of nearby Amiens, there is a commemorative plaque
that states: " the memory of The Australian Imperial Force who
valiantly participated in the victorious defense of Amiens from March
to August 1918 and gave their lives for the cause of justice, liberty
and humanity..."

* What is the name of the crazy boat race held in Darwin every year?

The Beer Can Regatta

* In which dry river near Alice Springs is there a boat race every year?

The Todd River

* Why is November 11th remembered (PB)

First and foremost, it is the anniversary of Armistice Day, the
end of the War to end all Wars (well,almost). It has also been
chosen as the date for the formal laying to rest in the
Australian War Museum in Canberra of the Australian Unknown
Soldier, an Australian soldier recovered from a graveyard in
France as a symbol for all Australians of the sacrifice the
Australian troops made during WW1.

It is also the anniversary of the sacking of the Whitlam
Government by the G-G, Sir John Kerr in 1975.

And finally, it is the 115th anniversary of the hanging of Edward
"Ned" Kelly in Melbourne Gaol in 1880.

12.4 Australian word usage (misc) 

* Units of measure

"kilo" - always refers to a weight (ie kilograms)
eg. "I've put on half a kilo", "one kilo of chicken breasts please"

"k" - always refers to distance or speed (ie kilometres or km/hour)
eg. "It's 250 k's to Lithgow from here", "I got busted doing 140 k's
on the freeway"

"mil"  - refers to liquid volume (ie millilitres)
eg. "I'll have the 500 mil bottle please"

The terms grams, metres, litres and degrees are used as is.  As yet
there is no conversational abbreviation for centimetres, which may
explain why description of people's heights in feet and inches still
persists somewhat in the street, although not in newspapers or on TV,
where the full word is used.

* Australasia and Oceania [BJ]

Oceania=Oz+NZ+Fiji+all those South Pacific Islands...

| | | | | |   Stephen Wales               | Internet:
|M|I|N|C|O|M  Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.    | No employer opinion included

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