London 2012 and our ‘Aussies’


London 2012. One week in and while Australia’s total medal tally is respectable, it is unexpected for us to have only one gold medal at the end of the swimming events.

If any time is a good time for the chant, it must be now…

“Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi !”

I never thought I would say that out loud. But thanks to Germaine Greer, I have a better appreciation of this call to nationalism.

In an opinion piece in the Age newspaper last week (Nationalism), Dr Greer provided a succinct history of the origins of the chant. It has taken a circuitous route from the dockyards of Devon (UK) to a Welsh folk singer, to British rugby and football cries, and finally to the form we call our own.

Greer also gives the origins of ‘Aussie’ in the article as from around the time of the Great War. At that time it was used respectfully in honour of the servicemen.

Not everyone is enamoured of the chant, including me. Greer’s article appears to be in response to a Foxtel campaign to replace it, and her conclusion is that it will be a long while before ‘Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!’ is superseded, even if it is not favoured by all.

Rather than being a bogan chant, this divisive refrain is drawn from our history.

So all together now, for our Aussie athletes in London:

“Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi !”

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