"But the grand passion of emancipated youth is not Woman – it is Beer"

Norman Lindsay, A Curate in Bohemia,1913

If Norman Lindsay was right, the humble engineering student is in fact among our most emancipated youths. The beer drinking exploits of Aussie engineering students are legendary – many are indeed blokes whose grand passion is the amber brew. Why is this so, why are they bigger drinkers than most other faculties? Grab a beer, and read on. You’ll find a theory.  But first a warcry...


We are the boys from Engineering
We don’t smoke
We don’t drink
We don’t even f**king think
We are retarded – UGH

Traditionally, a young man entering engineering was faced with a problem. That problem was the disproportionately low number of young women in his classes. This caused the bloke to spend more time with his mates and nothing better can be done with one’s mates than getting as pissed as a fart. Hence the engineering culture evolved to combine a healthy enjoyment of beer with that classic Aussie trait of mateship.

Here we have a few toasts to mates that have been observed in use among engineers:

Here’s to Angus, he’s true blue,
He’s a pisspot through and through,
He’s a legend so they say,
Should have gone to heaven but he went the other way,
Singing down, down, down, down, down, down, down, down
down, down, down, down, down, down

And how about this one:

Here’s to brother Angus, brother Angus, brother Angus,
Here’s to brother Angus, he’s with us tonight,
He eats it, he beats it, he sadly mistreats it,
Here’s to brother Angus, he’s with us tonight,
So drink you mother f***er,
Drink you mother f***er,
Drink you mother f***er, drink

One may suggest that the engineers are in fact living examples of the what the early Australian settlers and miners who came to this sunburnt land to make their fortunes in the nineteenth century would have been like if they drank with us today. They too existed in an environment in which there was a shortage of women but plenty of beer and they developed the core Australian traits: mateship and piss swilling.

Without the distractions of significant numbers of the fairer sex in their lives, the engineering student turns to the two things that are left when one takes away "woman" – we have already mentioned "beer" but there is also "song" (usually it’s song about beer):

(Sung to the tune of "John Brown’s Body")

We are, we are, we are, we are, we are the Engineers,
We can, we can, we can, we can, we can demolish forty beers.
Drink rum, drink rum, drink rum, drink rum, drink rum with all of us,
For we don’t give a bugger for any old bugger that don’t give a bugger for us.

Godiva was lady who through Coventry did ride,
To show all the populace her lovely lily-white hide.
The only ones who noticed as she rode upon her horse,
Were a bleary-eyed surveyor, and an Engineer of course.

"I am tired and I am thirsty and I have travelled far,
So take me off my bloody horse and lead me to a bar",
The only ones who helped her down and helped her to a beer,
Were a bleary-eyed surveyor, and a drunken Engineer.

My father was a miner, way back in old Caloote,
My mother was a lady form a house of ill repute,
The very first words I heard them say when I began to hear,
Were, "Get out of here you drunken bum and be an Engineer."

Venus was a statue made entirely out of stone,
Not a fig leaf was upon her, she was naked as a bone,
On seeing that she had no arms, the Engineer discoursed,
"The damn thing’s faulty concrete, and should have been reinforced."

Engineers congregate to form strong undergraduate societies which are simply excellent drinking clubs: a good example is EUS (Engineering Undergraduate Society) of the University of Queensland:

(Sung to the tune of "Here we go")

We’re the best,
We’re the best,
We’re the best,
Cos’ we f**k on all the rest.

The function of an engineering society is primarily to put on as many piss ups for the engineering students as possible. During lunch hours there are the "Smokos" which are essentially barbeques where much beer is drunk. There is an annual Engineering Ball which is essentially a formal dinner where much beer is drunk. There is a Sports Day which is essentially a day in the park where much beer is drunk. And there is a Pub Crawl (unless the last one was particularly shocking and the Dean bans them for a while) which is essentially a bus trip where much beer is drunk.

The Engineering Sports Day usually involves a number of interesting "sporting events" which may take some time to catch on as Olympic sports. You have your field sports such as "brick kicking" (which involves kicking a brick) and starter-motor throwing (which involves throwing a starter-motor). You also have the "Iron-Gut" competition (which involves eating many lovely things such as lambs brains – vomiting incurs penalty) and the infamous "Pig-Pen" (which involves drinking beers in a small roped off area – vomiting incurs a penalty) – the "winners" usually consume close to a carton of beer and often end up in hospital. You CAN have too much of a good thing.

This brings us to the Pub Crawl. To set the scene we’ll reproduce one Engineering Society's Official Pub Crawl Rules (as amended to 24 April 1992) You should note that does not endorse these rules in any way but merely reproduces them for the purposes of dissemination of cultural information and discussion:

    1. All beers are to be consumed, head and all, in a swift and rowdy manner.
    2. Any spewing, vomiting or other discharge is to be directed OUT of the bus, preferably out of an OPEN window or orifice.
    3. All song, limericks and general chants should be sung at maximum rowdiness, preferably through an approved megaphone [a traffic cone], directed at any non pub crawl-member or publican.
    4. Any pog [a cross between a pig and a dog – yes, engineers can be misogynists] spotted whilst in transit (be it motor omnibus or hut-hutting), in situ (in any pub, tavern or bar) or in any other fashion is to be accosted with the call POG!, at a volume clearly discernable at least one block away.
    5. Bonus points may be obtained by combining the clause in subsection (4) above with an approved megaphone, or two.
    6. Any form of anal exposure, particularly at innocent bystanders or members of the constabulary, will be looked upon with the highest regard.
    7. Every ticket holder, regardless of race, size or running speed is to attempt the theft of at least 1 (one) keg and/or several jugs and/or pot glasses in the duration of the event.
    8. Above all, whilst on duty, every pub crawl participant must train the civilians in the way of the engineer, by exercising any/all of the above rules.

Sometimes, participants have been known to apply the rules literally and take things too far. Pubs and buses have been known to have been damaged. Consequently Pub Crawls have been toned down or taken off the social agenda.

But they’re not all bad. An Engineering Pub crawl is one of the few times today (apart from sporting matches) in which grown people can enjoy and sing along to old favourites (which are contemporary folk songs).  For the lyrics (and a live performance) contact your local engineering student society.

Please send your own engineering tales, songs and photos to