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410. Feeling a bit Australian

July 9, 2010

Coloured pencil on paper, October 2009.

There’s a popular Australian kids’ song about a kookaburra sitting in an old gum tree. I don’t know why I thought of it, except that the tree here is gum tree-esque and there’s a bird in it. Not a kookaburra, though.

I wanted to capture a sense of the Australian summer. It’s usually hot, but in recent summers it’s been awfully hot. Living in south-eastern Australia means that the weather isn’t usually too bad, but it can swing to some crazy extremes in summer (December-February) and winter (June-August). So, while we’ve had temperatures in the high 40s (degrees Celsius) in summer, we also have had temperatures as low as 2 degrees Celsius in the last week. We have a saying in Melbourne: if you don’t like the weather outside, just look out a different window. More often than not, it’s true. Grey storm clouds out the kitchen window and sunshine out the bedroom window is a common enough occurrence that I started taking that saying literally!

On the topic of Melbourne, I wish I could demonstrate how it’s pronounced here. Maybe one of these days I’ll have to make a video of me talking about Aussie-isms (with my rural Victorian accent I sound more ocker than my “cultivated” husband’s city private school accent that other people mistake for being British)… and yes, I can do a fair impression of Strine. For the benefit of my multicultural friends, though, I often have to speak in the cultivated accent… though some of them find my ocker accent pretty entertaining. Ah, funny. I love being Aussie.

Oh, on pronouncing Melbourne, don’t think mel-born. Think mel-b’n. I hope that helps. On pronouncing Australia, think oss-stray-lee-aaah, not oz-strah-lee-ah. Hmm. This is why phonics doesn’t work so well, right? 😉

http://flokot.redbubble.com/sets/107560/works

7 comments

  1. the automatically generated possibly related posts include ‘Men at Work Losing 5% Royalties Over Flute Solo’…um…how?

    I haven’t noticed a great difference between you and Matt’s accents…do you put on a multiculturally appropriate cultivated accent around me…or am I just un-observant? 🙂


  2. ‘Oh, on pronouncing Melbourne, don’t think mel-born. Think mel-b’n. I hope that helps. On pronouncing Australia, think oss-stray-lee-aaah, not oz-strah-lee-ah. Hmm. This is why phonics doesn’t work so well, right?’

    Vital, thanks.:)


  3. Rosie – haha yeah, you spur me on to speak more clearly. If you get me when I’m really tired I’ll start slurring, and if you get me after I’ve spent the day with my family – wow! Am I ocker or what? My in-laws picked up on it after I had spent the day at my grandma’s farm with the extended family once. I then visited the in-laws and they remarked that I’d reverted to my other accent! 😀

    As for the husband (!) he’s been asked multiple times whether or not he’s English. Even when he was in England they didn’t know he was Aussie until he told them, and people would tell him, “Oh, that’s what it is,I thought you were just from a different part of England!”


  4. Russ – these things are dreadfully important! 😀 I remember watching an episode of Gumby when I was much younger, probably about 10 years old, and Gumby visited Australia. I was so upset with the way the characters pronounced Aussie place names, not to mention the bad imitations of Aussie accents. 😉


  5. Oh, and Rosie, I’m guessing the automatically generated link is probably because Men At Work were sued by the people who wrote the song “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree”.


  6. wow…I’m amazed that you know that (about Men at Work)…I spur you on to clearer speech? I’m such a good friend…:-P…

    I think it’s definitely important that people are educated on the correct way to pronounce Australia…and Melbourne…cause the travesty you describe in Gumby still occurs in other television shows…The Wild Thornberrys once visited Australia…the supposed Australians were definitely impostors. And…on a random sidenote…I wasn’t allowed to watch Gumby as a kid…too magical…but now my siblings can watch pretty much any kids shows they want.


  7. Rosie – Men At Work thing? I probably just heard it on the news! 😀

    I know what you mean about the tv watching thing. It’s the joy of being the oldest child. As my grandfather once said to me, “You realise that your parents are practising on you, don’t you?”



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