Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ockerism exposed

Educational content
(well, sort of)

Okay. . . so it is not the most flattering pic of Mr Sunshine.  I can't help it if he stood in front of the camera while I was taking a picture of something even more rounded.  Sorry Mr Sunshine, that was uncalled for.  Actually Mr Sunshine does not look exactly like the gentleman in the photo (circa 2008).  He is now several kilograms lighter and if I continue to be such a slack cook, he may yet lose even more weight and his doctor will be pleased. 
The photo was taken at the Beaconsfield Mining Museum in Beaconsfield, Tasmania.  The whole world heard about Beaconsfield a few years ago when a couple of miners were rescued alive, after being trapped nearly a kilometer underground for two long weeks in a tiny (1.5 X 1.2 meters) metal cage.
But this is about the Furphy.  The photo is of a genuine Furphy and that's no Furphy.  Let me explain. . . . in Australia a Furphy is any misinformation, whether intentional lies or accidental.  The original Furphy was a water tank pulled by a horse and cart as in the photo.  During WW1 they were used to cart drinking water for our soldiers.  I thought it was pretty exciting seeing a real Furfy, the stuff of legend so to speak, but I'm easily pleased.
How did a water cart become a euphemism for misinformation?  I don't think anyone really knows for sure.  Wikipedia gives some theories about this so I won't repeat what they say.  Since it stems from WW1, I can't help thinking that it also could have something to do with wartime secrecy and propaganda.  After all, propaganda is all about the dissemination of Furfies (misinformation, not water tanks) in order to confuse the enemy.
Oh, and if you don't know what an ockerism is then you obviously are not Australian.  An ocker is an all-Australian bloke - a bit of a rough diamond.  Ockerisms are Australian slang terms used by ockers and others -  like 'ocker' for instance and 'furphy' and 'bottler' and 'dag' and 'yobbo' and 'galah' and 'budgie smugglers'.  What do they all mean?  If we told you we'd have to kill you. 
Then you would be cactus, mate, and that's no bull dust.

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Townsville, Queensland, Australia
I have worked as a Biology lab assistant, Pathology lab assistant, geochem lab assistant, land tenure researcher, hospital and prison chaplain, parish care coordinator and part owner of a small business. I have studied some science (no degrees) and have a theology and a chaplaincy certificate. I still love science of all types and enjoy studying theology. Science and theology belong together. At present I am a work-at-home Grannysaurus.

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