G'day G'day Translated

During our show which went to air in Sydney on 3 February 2006, I played a song by Australian country music legend Slim Dusty called "G'day G'day". It's an iconic song, and nearly all Aussies know at least the chorus even if they have to muumble the verses. But there's lots of strange idiom and slang in the song, so for the benefit of our non-Australian listeners, here's what the song means, more or less ...

G'day G'day - written by Rob Fairbairn, sung by Slim Dusty.

G'day G'day, how ya goin'
whatdaya know, well strike a light,
G'day g'day and how ya goin'
just say g'day g'day g'day and she'll be right.

Despite appearances to the contrary, 'G'day' is a greeting not a farewell. The poms (British) often use it as a rather snooty kind of farewell, and thats perhaps why Aussies started saying it - to poke their tongues out at the British.

'She'll be right" is a rather dated expression now, meaning 'dont worry, hang loose, chill out.'

Isn't it great to be an Aussie,
takin a walk along the street
looking in shops or buying a paper
stoppin' and havin' a yarn with people that you meet
down at the pub or at a party
when ever you're stuck for what to say
if you wanna be dinkie die why dont you give it a try
look him right in the eye and say g'day ...


Aussies buy things in 'shops' not 'stores'. Havin' a yarn means a conversation, telling a tall tale or two, passing the time of day.

The pub is a bar, nearly always part of a hotel, rarely a stand-alone drinking establishment, although in most of the pubs I know, the rooms are hardly ever used by paying guests. They're more a formality really.

'Dinkie-die' is an old fashioned term for true , the real thing.. You're a Dinkie-die Aussie if you behave just as an Aussie would under the circumstances.

now when Italians speak they all go crazy
the blokes all like to hug each other too
the Yanks invented 'hi' and 'see ya later'
while the Pommie will shake your hand and say 'how do you do' now watch our for a frenchman or he'll kiss ya
the spaniads go for 'hola' and 'ole'
but in the land of the cockatoo cork hats and the didgeridoo
when you meet an aussie ten to one here's what he'll say ...


To an Aussie, anyone from north America is a 'Yank', even if they're from Mississippi. It's sometimes funny to see an American southerner meet Aussies for the first time and hear himself referred to as a Yank. Trust me, it's not any kind of insult. Canadians take it as an insult though. They're often called 'Yanks' too. Until they say "oot and aboot' that is. eh?

'Pommies' or 'Poms' are British. A lot of people think it's a kind of insult, but it isnt. Aussies use what a lot of people think as insults as terms of endearment. In most places it's a supreme compliment to be called a silly old bastard. Australians are very confusing to a lot of foreigners.

The Cockatoo - white parrot, found in large numbers flying wild through skies of most parts of the country
Cork Hats - a tourist cliche now - to keep flies off the face, the early settlers had corks hanging from strings from the wide brim of their Akurbra hats
Didgeriedoo - Aboriginal musical instrument - made from a hollow tree branch. Makes a wonderful low booming sound that most people around the world will recognise instantly as being an identifiable Australian sound.

It's a greeting that you'll hear across Australia.
From Geraldton to Gove and Gundegai
It's as dinkum as the dingo and the dahlia and you spell it with a g apostrophe a d a y


Gove is in the far north, way up in the tropics, so far north they dont even have four seasons each year. They only have two. Gundegai is south on the east coast. Geraldton is .. well .. um .. well I've never been there . so it's unimportant where it is. Look it up.

Dinkum is another word for real, fair, true. In the 50s, someone would say something and the person he said it to woudl say "really? fair dinkum?" meaning "is that really true?" Over the years 'Fair Dinkum' has become shortened to just 'dinkum'. If an Aussie tells you something is 'dinkum' he means its' real and true.

Dingo is a native dog about the size of a labrador. They are not domesticated, becuase it's illegal to own Australian animals as pets.

Dahlia is a flower.

So now you know. Now you can go and sing the song and amaze all your friends with how much you know about that weird land where they seem to speak English, but not a brand of it that makes any sense to outsiders!