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Australian Customs and Traditions That Only Aussies Understand

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We all know what chucking a sickie means and truth be told, it’s done the world over.

But what about eating prawns at Christmas or surfing Santas? Yep, those are just plain weird and are a little different to the things you learn about the country the moment you land.

But while we may embrace these traditions as our own (we do live here after all) they really are things that only born and bred Aussies will truly get.

Australia traditions that they keep

Now, we Irish are no strangers to traditions and superstitions and some of the weirdest of both come straight out of the homeland.

Incredibly though, neither the Irish nor the Aussies are on the list of the world’s weirdest superstitions.

That in itself is pretty weird, right? Nevertheless, below are some of those strangely odd customs and traditions that you may have come across in your time here in Oz.

Muck Up Day

Remember the last day of your leaving cert when you walked through the town with your tie as a headband? Me neither, honest.

Well, our shenanigans back home were NOTHING compared to what year 12 students get up to on what is colloquially known as Muck Up Day.

It’s a day when those students who are about to head out into the big bad world of college and university get to do as they please with barely a word said in anger from their teachers or principals.

It’s not something we have back home but it’s something all students should be able to do on their last day of school.


Another one for the students who have just finished up with their exams. Schoolies refers to that week-long vacation that many kids take in the Gold Coast.

If you have ever worked or lived in the Gold Coast during this time of the year, you’ll know that it’s absolute bedlam.

Everything is more expensive and the place is full of rowdy teenagers (and older folk) just having a laugh and enjoying life.

Imagine every student descending on Salthill for a week right after exams are done. Terrifying image, isn’t it?

Seriously though, schoolies are another pretty great idea that we’d do well to imitate back in Ireland.

Nicknames for everything

People, places, things; it doesn’t matter what it is, the Aussies have a nickname for it. So if your name is Liam or Siobhan, don’t expect your Aussie friends to call you that.

Things Australian people say

“chuck it on the barbie mate”

Likely you’ll become Liamo or Vonnie? Yeah, not sure how to give Siobhan a nickname (apologies to all the Siobhans out there).

The same goes for places and things, although they’re usually just shortened. So the barbecue becomes the barbie, afternoon becomes arvo, mosquitoes become those damned mozzies.

It’s easy to get into the swing of it, but it really is a purely Australian thing. A little like Cockney slang I guess. If you are looking for more Aussie slang read this post. 

Rhetorical questions make up half the conversation

people talking australia

How good is that? Is this barbie cooking, or what? Yes, when foreign folk first arrive on these shores, they may feel that the Aussies are an inquisitive people with questions for just about every situation.

However, try answering them and you’ll get a quizzical look that suggests you’re not all there.

You see, over here, people love to ask rhetorical questions to show their appreciation of something or to let you know just how astounded they are.

So when your colleague at work asks ‘How good is this chicken mate?’ don’t take it as an invitation to list the qualities of your McNugget. Oh, and on that subject.

The Maccas run

The macca run in Australia

There are many rites of passage that signal a teenager’s transition to adulthood. Their first legal drink, voting for the first time, or perhaps even moving out of home. But to an Australian, nothing says ‘I’m an adult’ quite like their first Maccas run.

Strange as it may seem to everyone but locals, it’s one of those things that everyone must go through once they get their ‘P’ plates. They drive to the local McDonald’s (Maccas) and order food for their friends.

Oh, and yes, it has to be late at night and you must buy a ton of food. Weird? A little but it’s also quite cool when you think about it.


Listen, these customs may be a little strange to many of us but it’s no different to Irish folk spending a small fortune in the supermarket the day before Good Friday because a certain establishment is shut for a whole 24 hours.

They are what makes Australia such a great experience. Yes, they’re odd customs but you know what? We love them anyway.

Ah go on, give it a share! Go on... go on.

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