When I was a child scampering over rock pools on the south coast of New South Wales I had an Uncle Lofty, who was as short as he was wide. He was an oyster farmer and a handy person to know. My cousin with her thick red hair was either called Blue or Bloodnut which was a lot easier to say when you’re five years old than Valentine. When the Kowaloski’s moved next door they were known around the neighbourhood as the “Wheelbarrows”. Not meant to be racist, just easier to pronounce. As a teenager I had a mad crush on a St George footballer, whom I admittedly used to stalk, who went by the name of Lord Ted.* And who didn’t have a tall friend known as Stretch?
Nicknames can stick with you throughout life. My Dad was an Alf but close friends called him Mick. No idea of the relevance.
Interestingly, building sites seem to be the breeding ground for nicknames, especially for young apprentices. Here’s a couple of examples which should raise a smile :
Harvey Norman – it’s been 3 years with no interest.
Bushranger – always holding everyone up.
Pothole – cause they’re always in the road.
Devondale – someone who always does the cream jobs.
Mastercard – someone who always takes credit for someone else’s work.
Slinky – good for nothing but fun to push down the stairs.
Blister – only appears when all the hard work is done.
Do you have any nicknames to add?
*Confession: It was only in the last six years I tossed out Teddy Goodwin’s autographed photo – some fifty years later ! Which reminds me of a boyfriend called Keg – his Dad owned the local pub.
Demystifying Australian Language