Being Australian in 2020 means you have a new Prime Minister every month, your most fulfilling relationship is with Married At First Sight and you’re painfully close to being able to taste Marble chocolate again. But sometimes it’s nice to look back on simpler times, and remember what it was like growing up in Australia.
Whether it was ordering lunch from the canteen on a paper bag, learning about the human body from a giraffe or living at your friend’s pool every summer, there are some things that only Aussie kids do.
only in Australia do we wake up and there’s a new prime minister
— H☻SE☻KIE DAY⁷ (@billytae_cyrus) August 24, 2018
Here are 20 things you can only learn by growing up in Australia:
#1 No party is complete without Fairy Bread
If your birthday party didn’t have a plate of buttered white bread topped with 100s and 1000s, did you even have a birthday party?
#2 Healthy Harold
It’s crazy to think that kids in the rest of the world never climbed into a pitch-black van to learn about health, sex and drugs from a talking giraffe puppet.
i really do be missing healthy harold tho pic.twitter.com/Kj8AfYrKPb
— 「icarly」 (@hellosmelliot) January 15, 2020
#3 Playing handball
Tired: college football
Wired: playing handball on the quad every recess
#4 “No hat, no play”
Every Aussie schoolkid knew the rule, but we all tried to get away with it so we could play with our friends at recess. Now that we’re adults we appreciate that our teachers were just looking out for our skin, but growing up in Australia and forgetting your hat was a dark time.
#growingupaustralian The “NO HAT, NO PLAY” rule was such a traumatising rule in primary school
— Alina (@AhmadiAlina) November 4, 2015
#5 You’re used to living with massive spiders
No one is as calm as an Aussie with a giant huntsman in their house. Other people might freak out, but we know that old mate will protect us from mosquitos and just wants to chill out.
Foreigners think we’re all scared of spiders and snakes where the reality is we live in perpetual terror of this email pic.twitter.com/aTsOvNoe7Q
— (@punchhappiness) July 6, 2019
#6 You’ll never sweat as much as you do on Christmas day
Unless your family had air con, you dreamed of a white Christmas because Australia in December is unimaginably hot. The pavlova after lunch was pretty great, though.
#7 But there’s nothing hotter than a seatbelt buckle in summer
And don’t even think about gripping the steering wheel properly if you’ve been parked in the sun.
#8 Zooper Doopers are a summer essential
Every Aussie’s freezer is full of Zooper Doopers in summer, and you know there’s nothing quite as disappointing as a bag with just the orange flavour left.
20 Zooper Doopers almost look quite sad and lonely. It’s not summer if your freezer doesn’t look like this. pic.twitter.com/6yT8NFRckx
— David Packer (@mrdavidpacker) May 27, 2019
#9 You know all the words to Untouched
None of us know the words to the second verse of the national anthem but we’re ready to sing this on every night out.
why does untouched by the veronicas still go so hard to this day just what the fuck was going on through their minds when they made that song, the power and international implications that it holds is astounding
— ༺ ༻ (@arabthot) July 30, 2018
#10 You abbreviate everything
“Maccas”, “Avo”, “Choccy”, “Servo” — growing up in Australia makes you a master of shortening words. Even ones that don’t even really need to be shortened.
do any of you aussies ever just
not know how to explain a slang word a foreigner doesn’t understand because it seems normal to you
— ##el hiatus (@LIXLVR) April 15, 2019
#11 And you call money “dollarydoos”
Growing up in Australia means you were obsessed with the Australian episode of The Simpsons and you probably quote it at least twice a week.
#12 The unimaginable pain when your thongs break
God help anyone whose thongs broke while they were walking. On hot concrete. In summer!
#13 You low-key wanted to be a mermaid
Thanks to H2O: Just Add Water, every girl hoped she’d grow a mermaid tail when she dived into a pool. And every Aussie was proud when America discovered this show and lost its mind.
why do i laugh so much at this lmaooo. h20 just add water pic.twitter.com/zO52ntl3pA
— hollie|fan (@wasabijoanne) July 26, 2019
#14 Your local bakery has the world’s best meat pie
If you grew up in rural Australia, you know for a fact that your bakery has the best meat pie or vanilla slice in the world. Just because everybody believes this about their hometown doesn’t make it any less real.
#15 You know all the moves to Nutbush City Limits
The most important thing we learned at school wasn’t maths or English, it was the Nutbush dance. Only Australia could take a song about a small American town and claim it as our own national dance, to be performed at every school disco and wedding.
ONLY AUSSIES WILL GET THIS IM PISSING pic.twitter.com/fhpfIthexT
— ًmackie (@wontustayaIive) January 25, 2019
#16 The worst traffic is actually the wildlife
If you learned to drive in rural Australia, you always had to stop to let kangaroos, wombats, echidnas or cows cross the road.
#17 You lost your mind when a Coles mud cake came out
There was no greater betrayal than when your parents baked you a cake for your birthday instead of getting a choccy mud cake from Coles or Woolworths.
— Mud Cake Memes (@mudcakememes) May 25, 2017
#18 How to respond when someone drops a glass
All Australians are born with the innate knowledge that the correct response when someone drops a glass is to yell “TAXI”.
#19 On your first trip to the bottle-o, you got a six pack of Vodka Cruisers
Whether you’re going to your first house party, or drinking in your friend’s paddock, the watermelon Vodka Cruisers is what almost every Aussie kid chose when they started drinking alcohol.
#20 A dog at school was the best thing ever
Whenever a dog got loose in your school, you knew three things: no one would get any work done, you’d get to watch your teacher chase it around the playground, and if you were lucky you’d get to pat it.
Definitive ranking of excitement at presence of a dog in specific locations, in ascending order:
5. Dog at the pub
4. Dog at the picnic
3. Dog on the train
2. Dog in the office
1. Dog in the school yard
— Sally Rugg (@sallyrugg) April 4, 2019
(Lead image: The Veronicas, ‘Untouched’ / YouTube)
Alana is the staff writer on AWOL who thinks the best way to travel is by taking spontaneous detours and stopping at every local bakery to try the cakes. She writes a lot about Australian TV, Big Things, cursed food, and theme parks. You can follow her on Instagram @alana.dotcom. It’s mostly dogs she meets along the way.