UK vs Aussie Slang Construction Sites - HLH Group

UK vs Aussie Slang on Construction Sites – The Difference

Learning the Lingo of Construction Sites

When moving from the UK to Australia versus any other destination there is no need to learn a new language. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be left red faced in some situations – especially if you’re working as labour hire on a construction site. Just like back home slang is used here in general life and in the workplace. We can tend to take this for granted when we grew up using this slang and think its intuitive. It’s important to know your Blokes from your Sheilas and hopefully this guide can help to give you an idea of what to expect to hear on a construction site down under!

Dunnys and Dorys

When you land to site on your first day you will likely be asked “What’s the John Dory?” which translates to what’s the story? John Dory is a fish found in Sydney Harbour (and it’s great grilled with lemon). After a quick chat you will probably “Have a Captain Cook”. Which is a brief look or inspection coming from Captain James Hook who after landing at Botany Bay he sailed on past Sydney Harbour. He had a Captain Cook (a look) and liked it. While you are getting shown around the site you might hear about the “dunny” which is important to remember as it’s the toilet.

Whats the John Dory - Aussie Construction Slang

Drinking Lizards and Dog’s Breakfasts

Hopefully after an induction you will be “Flat out like a lizard drinking” which is similar to as busy as a bee. You definitely don’t want to be a “Bludger” which is someone who is lazy! Once you’re doing “Hard yakka” (hard work) you should be ok! Being a “Larrikin” however is okay this is someone who is up for a laugh. Remember you don’t want to leave the place looking like a “dog’s breakfast” which is messy and chaotic.

Smoko Time

Next thing you know it’s probably “smoko time” which is a smoke break or lunch break. You might be offered a “Dog’s eye” – don’t be shocked it’s a meat pie. Or maybe you have brought a “Sanger” a sandwich, or maybe you’re treating yourself to a “Maccas” a McDonalds.

Once the “avro” or afternoon comes around you might get told you are doing an “aussie salute” where you wave your hands around to ward off flies. Others on site might start chatting about the “footy” but don’t hop in with the latest Charlton Athletic news be aware they are talking about NRL or AFL.

Tinnys and Stubbys

You might get told you can “Hit the frog and toad” at 3pm. Hitting the frog and toad is when you hit the road, and after a long days work you might have a “tinny” or a “stubby” which is a can or a bottle of beer. That is if you’re not “cactus” (dead) after a long day of work. Or maybe if it’s a Friday evening you might swing by the “bottle-O”and grab some “goon” which is just going to the off licence to get cheap wine.

Although it probably won’t come up on a site don’t be surprised if heading to the beach and an Aussie reminds you to bring your “Thongs”. Do not be alarmed if your newfound Australian friend asks you to wear thongs to the beach. They are most likely expressing their concern of the hot sand on your delicate feet.

Aussie Construction Slang Labour Hire Sydney

Aussie Construction Site Slang

Heading into a new site can always seem daunting but as someone who has experienced it the banter is just the same as a site in London or Birmingham as it is down in Australia it just might take a day to get up to speed on their slang. If you have recently arrived in Australia and would like to work in the Australian construction industry, give us a call on (02) 8985 2019 or email jobs@hlhgroup.com.au and one of our recruitment “mates” will be able to assist you.

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