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Hay's Australian Ladies

Debutantes in Queensland, Australia, 1952

Australia Day

Jan 26

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"G'day Australian ladies!"

Give the ladies some respect and think twice before referring to them as "Sheilas" a well-known and antiquated slang Australian English term, dating from the 1830s! "Sheila" as a term for a woman is derived from the Irish girls' name Síle and a common given name in many English-speaking countries, reaching a peak of popularity in the 1960s! It has been variously spelled over time as as shaler, shelagh, sheeler, shellah, shela, and shelah. In Irish traditions, Sheelah is named as the wife of St Patrick, with St Patrick’s Day followed by Sheelah’s Day, a tradition which was maintained in Australia in colonial times. Use of this as a term today as a generic may be considered with disfavor, so gauge your audience wisely today on this day of celebration! Happy Australia Day to all Aussies and ex-pats on this official national day of Australia. The 26th of January marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip. 💃 💃 💃 🇦🇺

Hay's Australian Ladies

Happy Australia Day to Australian ladies and all!

Most of the vocabulary of Australian English is shared with British English, though drawn from many sources, including various dialects of British English as well as Gaelic languages, some Indigenous Australian languages, and Polynesian languages.  Australian slang has its own character and uniqueness!

One of the first dictionaries of Australian slang was Karl Lentzner's Dictionary of the Slang-English of Australia and of Some Mixed Languages in 1892. 

Where British and American vocabulary differs, Australians sometimes favour a usage different from both varieties, as with footpath (for US sidewalk, UK pavement), capsicum (for US bell pepper, UK green/red pepper), or doona (for US comforter, UK duvet) from a trademarked brand. In other instances, it either shares a term with American English, as with truck (UK: lorry) or eggplant (UK: aubergine), or with British English, as with mobile phone (US: cell phone) or bonnet (US: hood).


Australian English is particularly divergent from other varieties with respect to geographical terminology, due to the country's unique geography. This is particularly true when comparing with British English, due to that country's dramatically different geography. British geographical terms not in common use in Australia include (Australian usage in parentheses): 


coppice (cleared bushland); dell (valley); fen (swamp); heath (shrubland); meadow (grassy plain); moor (swampland); spinney (shrubland); stream (creek); woods (bush) and village (even the smallest settlements in Australia are called towns or stations).

In addition, a number of words in Australian English have different meanings from those ascribed in other varieties of English. Clothing-related examples are notable. Pants in Australian English follows American usage in reference to British English trousers but in British English refer to Australian English underpants; vest in Australian English pass also in American refers to British English waistcoat but in British English refers to Australian English singlet. Thong in both American and British English refers to underwear (known in Australia as a G-string), while in Australian English it refers to British and American English flip-flop (footwear).


There are numerous other examples, including biscuit which refers in Australian and British English to what in American English is cookie or cracker but to a savoury cake in American English!

For more on common expressions, click the regional slang map below.

And to see the dance performed by the Ochil Scottish Country Dancers, St Ninian's Church Hall, Stirling, Scotland, 2018, scroll down (music By Alan Ross).

Hay's Australian Ladies

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

Hay's Australian Ladies

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WELCOME TO An Entertainment Site for Scottish Country Dancers - Enjoy the curated selection of theme-related dances for celebrations and holidays, or find a dance associated with a special calendar day, or EVEN your own birthday!  

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