Mudcat Café message #2143637 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #104536   Message #2143637
Posted By: Rowan
07-Sep-07 - 08:23 PM
Thread Name: BS: more Australian words
Subject: RE: BS: more Australian words
While it obviously contains lots of argot used in the Victoria of the 1920s I suspect the glossary given by Kerry Greenwood for her Phryne series may include some of her own inventions. As a young lad I was well aware of "gypsies" as a minority in the community and many of the attitudes of the dominant community were the same as those from Britain. Unsurprising, given that's where both communities had come from. I've never heard of the phrase "spoiling the Egyptians" being used outside Kerry Greenwood's book, although her research may have been more intense and/or from a different context.

Similarly for "Fitzroy cocktails". Leenia is correct in her association of the name Fitzroy with "classiness". This expression relies for its impact on metho-based drinking encapsulating the tension between Fitzroy as an indigent area associated with the 'upperclassness' of cocktails. While the Fitzroy of the 40s was a slum area, much of it was 'upper but not wealthy' middle class in the 1890s and it was still very respectable in the 1920s. I can recall the same type of tension used when referring to one of Melbourne's two shanty towns that were still operating in the mid 50s.

One was "Debney's Paddock", located in North Melbourne on the banks of the Maribyrnong River; it was demolished after the residents had been moved into the new concrete Housing Commission towers that still poke the North Melbourne skyline. The other was "Camp Pell"; now there's a name to conjure with. [ In-joke for Australians with an interest in religious politics.]

Camp Pell was north of Faulkner and well outside the limits of suburbia; a very dim memory associates its location with that of the encampment where much of the 24th Bttn of the 1st AIF enlisted during WWI. What may interest some from Oz is that, when the Melbourne Olympics were ended (our spring in 1956), the residents of Camp Pell were relocated into the Olympic Village, which had been built by the Housing Commission for this purpose; these were detached and semidetached houses though, rather than towers. But still concrete. Although all the residents were 'white' rather than Aboriginal, the papers all ran stories about how these people abused their housing by doing the sorts of things that, a generation later, Aborigines were accused of doing. By the same papers. A new High School was built for the offspring of the Olympic Village residents and it took a generation before West Heidelberg High lost its "don't send your kids there" reputation.

And guess what the favourite drink attributed to Camp Pell residents was called?
Camp Pell cocktails! The name rolls off the tongue more euphonoiusly than the one associated with Fitzroy.

Cheers, Rowan