With the countdown underway for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympic Games we here at Brisbane Now have taken it upon ourselves to compile what we believe is a helpful guide for the many thousands of overseas visitors who might need a hand getting to grips with the local lingo (including some interstate ones).

From our early pioneers who liked to go their own way off the beaten track, here in the capital of the Sunshine State we pride ourselves on marching to the beat of our own drum.

We definitely don’t follow the crowd and we have forged our own unique identity (cue Billy Moore’s iconic 1995 State of Origin ‘Queenslander’ war cry).

Let’s start off with a few easy ones before progressing to a few more unusual examples.

Queenslanders love warm weather and cooling off in their ‘togs‘.

Togs to describe your swimming attire is the first to come to mind.

In other states you hear of swimmers and cossies but here, it’s definitely togs.

And we’re not alone.

Caroline reached out from Tralee in Country Kerry to confirm we are correct (and everyone else is wrong) saying they also call them togs. Mind you, the water is a bit chillier over there.

Next up is the good old school port.

Remember those tough ones, made out of plastic-coated cardboard and virtually indestructible and known to see a child through several, if not all their years of schooling.

Known for many years as a school port, one former Brisbane teacher thinks the term school bag has taken over in Queensland. Picture: ABC

Although retired teacher Dornell from Hendra thinks school bag has taken over (too many southerners here now perhaps?).

Another teacher Tamara, who now works south of the border says her students looked strangely at her when she said tuckshop instead of canteen and bubblers instead of drinking fountain.

Thanks Tamara and keep educating those kids down south.

The humble ‘bubbler’ is a welcome sight in summer.

Milk bar used to be commonly used but like the school port it seems to have been put on the rack and replaced with corner store or just the generic handle ‘shops’, according to born-and-bred resident Milan from West End way.

A goldmine of information on Brisbane, Milan also mentions Prep. He says it’s Reception in SA, Kindy in NSW and Transition in the NT and ACT.

A woman sitting at the counter inside the Regent Theatre Milk Bar c1936. Picture: Courtesy John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

After a long hot day (maybe walking home from the milk bar) you would stop by the local pub for a pot, which in Queensland is a 285ml beer but in NSW it’s called a middy, or maybe grab a tallie (750ml) or is it a long neck to some?

Apparently in Western Australia some people call it a King Brown (probably because of its bite!).

Anyway, many thanks to beer expert Bob from down Tweed Heads way who has spent long enough in Queensland to hold dual citizenship and comment on these important issues.

And if you want to go old school there’s also the lesser spotted pony, which comes in at 140ml and was popular with many lawn bowlers on a hot and steamy day between ends (or on a cold day for that matter).

Ordering a beer can sometimes be confusing.

Tony from Samford has come up with some crackers (no, not biscuits).

He points out cheerios versus little boys and cocktail franks at the deli of your local supermarket.

And of course he says it has to be a potato scallop instead of a potato cake when popping into the fish ’n’ chip shop.

Tony has also come up with one that took the team here by surprise.

When did we start calling peanut paste peanut butter?

There is a question that needs answering when it comes to a certain peanut spread.

Because Tony says it doesn’t have any butter in it.

He reckons renowned Kingaroy (but Kiwi-born) peanut expert and former premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen was quick to raise that point.

Other worthy mentions go to Trina who recalls rockmelon versus cantaloupe and the old deli finger-food favourite cheerios, this time up against saveloys.

Monica likes jersey versus guernsey, Chris from Gladstone says a workmate from Darwin says Texta, we say Nikko and tilly, while we say ute and Cate from Daisy Hill lists little lunch/big lunch as opposed to recess.

And Paul from Gladstone says he has a book listing many more examples and he’ll be in touch when he finds it.

We think we’re off to a good start with our mission to help future visitors but have we missed some, or are some contentious in your opinion?

Drop us a line and let us know what you think.


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