Like when Captain Cook first lobbed
He said, "This land's not fit for animals, much less we of British blood!"
A couple of aborigines heard, what was going on,
and one turned to his mate and he said, "f***ing whinging pom!"
That's what he really said
f***ing oath he did
cross me heart and hope to die, look I wouldn't tell a fib
'cause shit mate I was there I ought to know
may lightning strike me dead!
Honest mate, fair dinkum, that's what he really said.

Kevin Bloody Wilson, Singer, Words toned down for the Internet

Better beer than back home!

Last night during a speech at the exclusive Geelong Grammar School Prince Charles said he fondly remembered his time there as the resident "Pommy bastard". The heir to the throne said one of his duties at the school's Timbertop campus had been to turn out the lights. "All I could hear were cries of 'Pommy bastard'," Prince Charles said at the school's anniversary dinner.

Charles bound for Sydney, News.com.au, 4 March 2005

English television viewers woke on Thursday to see a cherub-faced expatriate Australian, beer in hand, declaring: "Is there any sport we can't win? You Poms are hopeless!"

Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 14, 2003 after a Soccer Flogging of the Poms

I interviewed him [ie Prime Minister Bob Hawke] in 1984, when Britain was negotiating to sell some naval vessel or other to Australia, a deal which Hawke referred to 'the Poms trying to rip us off again'. The interview was informal - Hawke was lying on the lounge in his hotel room wearing only a pair of shorts and eating iced cherries from a bowl perched on his chest.

Phillip Knightley, Australia: A Biography of a Nation, 2000

It is great that he was able to come to a country and be proud that, although he might have started life as a Pommy, he had become a fair dinkum Aussie

Minister for Urban Services commenting on the former Director of Town Planning with the National Capital Development Commission

ACT Week 5 Hansard (27 August 1998) Page 1425

He just said he was stabbed by two Poms who come from Pomland, or from whereever they come from. 

Stabbed Aboriginal Man's Sister, Perth, 25 March 2000

Morely plans to be the best Pommy bastard he can be

Sydney Morning Herald discussing Adrian Morley, 16 February 2001

I am often stunned to discover [the English's] complete ignorance of Australia and its people. Most of the English people... have relegated us to the Never-Never as most unpleasantly accented, sport-crazy people whose idea of when and when not to imbibe alcohol are prehistoric; who are badly dressed and often ill-mannered...

Gods or Flannelled Fools, Keith Miller and RS Whitington, 1954

Pom, or Pommy, has long been used in strine as meaning English, or an Englishman. And its use brings up the whole Australian England relationship, which has always been somewhat of a love hate dichotomy.  In the earliest of days, of course, we were predominately English (apart from the aboriginals, of course).   We arrived in our convict ships, and set up camp.  And we owe much of our culture and language to the English, that can't be denied and is discussed elsewhere.  

A large proportion of these wasters are not Australians, but Emmigrants from England.  There are some very bad Australians I admit, but their badness is of a different type. The Australians' chief weakness has been drink and violence but the Englishman is a dirty sneak and in some cases a deserter from the Imperial Service. When I say dirty I mean slovenly and filthy...

Digger Carl Jannsen, Mena Camp, Egypt, 1914

It is also true that we have traditionally been very proud to be English.  Take a look at our flag, for example, or the fact that we are a monarchy - after all the Queen of England is also the Queen of Australia! And up until 1965, God Save the Queen was our national anthem. Amazing stuff. What's more, during World War I we couldn't wait to rush off to the slaughter to defend the mother country (and, to be honest, our mother country couldn't wait to put us in the front line, over and over, before english troops, to be slaughtered, and 60,000 australians were).   

On land and sea, whereever you be,
Keep your eye on Germany!
For England Home and Beauty
Have no cause for fear!
Should old acquaintance be forgot?
No! No! No! No! Australia will be there!
Australia will be there!

W.W. Francis, August 1914 (Allans Music Australia Ltd).

The Australian Prime Minister told the nation, 'Our duty is quite clear - namely to gird up our loins and remember we are Britons... If the old country is at war, so are we.' The leader of the opposition.. soon to become Prime Minister, agreed: 'We Australians will help defend the mother country to our last man and our last shilling'. Before the war was over it had almost come to that.

Phillip Knightley, Australia: A Biography of a Nation, 2000

The British troops were suffering from 'an atrophy of mind and body that is appalling... The physique of those at Suvla is not to be compared with the Australians. Nor, indeed, is their intelligence... They are merely a lot of childlike youths without strength to endure or brains to improve their condition... After the first day at Suvla an order had to be issued to officers to shoot without mercy and soldiers who lagged behind or loitered in an advance... [By contrast] It is stirring to see them [the Australians].. they have the noble faces of men who have endured. Oh, if you could picture Anzac as I have seen it, you would find that to be an Australian is the greatest privilege the world has to offer' 

Phillip Knightley quoting Keith Murdoch, father of Rupert, who was at Gallipoli.
 Australia: A Biography of a Nation, 2000

The French often threw black troops from their colonies into exposed positions in order to save white troops from slaughter... the British High Command tried to use Australians and Canadians in a similar manner so as to save British troops.

Phillip Knightley, Australia: A Biography of a Nation, 2000

The fictions that British generals were all dolts and that British soldiers lacked courage on Gallipoli have been demolished in James Hayward's Myths and Legends of the First World War, and in the essay Exploding the Myths of Gallipoli by the Australian War Memorial historian Ashley Ekins in The Bulletin last year.

The lingering myth of Anzac Day, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 April 2005

Before that, of course, our first government was elected on the basis of a White Australia policy. Such views are now largely history, but the point is we were of English blood, of English culture, and we also were, in some ways, very proud of that. However at the same time, we despised the upper class English, or the English English. They sent us over here to this dry land, and proceeded to flog us to death, work us like slaves, and treat us like scum. They didn't speak like us, they didn't act like us. From day one we were burdened with an inferiority complex, and indeed, the English treated us as inferiors.

The floggings are hideously frequent. On flogging mornings I have seen the ground where the men stood at the triangles saturated with blood, as if a bucket of blood had been spilled on it, covering a space three feet in diameter, and running out in various directions, in little streams two or three feet long....

Frere gave him fifty more lashes, and sent him the next day to grind cayenne pepper. This was a punishment more dreaded by the convicts than any other. The pungent dust filled their eyes and lungs, causing them the most excruciating torments. For a man with a raw back the work is one of continued agony. In four days Rufus Dawes, emaciated, blistered, blinded, broke down "For God's sake, Captain Frere, kill me at once!", he said. 

For the Term of His Natural Life, 1867

Australian history is a bigoted one, in which at first the convict hated the free settlers who followed them, and then these early Aussie workmen hated the Pommy bastards who followed, because they feared the newcomers might pinch their jobs, and then everybody hated the Wops, Wogs, Frogs, Huns, Chows and Japs and anyone else they could describe in a one-syllable name

Donald Horne, author of The Lucky Country

And post world war I with the debacle that was Gallipoli and during this century, what pro-English sentiment that did exist waned, while the anti-English sentiment has remained at the core of Australian culture (although the original anger has of course dissipated). Generally speaking Australians are still against anything that smacks of a class structure. We can't stand pomp or insincerity or formal English language. We detest it with all our might. It is against everything that is Australian.

The Irish in Australia brought a complex hatred of England that has lasted - in a more developed form - to the present. 

The Story of English, Robert McCrum, 1992

Poms Down Under

[Australian traits] include a ragged-trowser informality, a laconically expressed desire for independence, an irremovable parochialism, a prolific power to create both euphemisms and also expressions that go beyond normal profanity, and a deeply embedded suspicion of Poms (more recently always called 'Whingeing Poms')

Dr Robert Burchfield, Kiwi

Increasingly, the English do not like themselves much. Long used to decrying their weather as appalling, they now see themselves as drab, a country of naysayers and jobsworths who can barely screw in a lightbulb when the old one blows, let alone run a decent health service. Australians by contrast, seem so positive. Even our grating accent is acceptable... "I love that accent," a young Londoner said to me. "It sounds friendly". 

Sydney Morning Herald, March 9-10, 2002

Just as an English friend of mine last week had his day clouded by a taxi driver who told him he was arrogant for sitting in the back seat. "You're in Australia and you should behave like an Australian," the driver raged. Is his belligerent egalitarianism the Aussie way, Bruce? 

Excuse me, but etiquette stops us turning into yobbos, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 April 2002

On my first evening back [ie in England] I met up with my parents in their London club. It was a warm April evening and I marched up the stairs to the restaurant smartly dressed in a suit and shirt, tan gleaming. No sooner had I sat down than a waiter came over. 'There's a gentleman over there complaining that you're not wearing a tie', he told me. Peering through the panelled gloom, I saw a scowl above a fat pinstriped belly and sincerely wished I had never got on that returning plane. 

No Worries, A Journey through Australia, Mark McCrum, 1997

One of the authors was shocked when touring Canada during 1998 to find English flags strewn throughout the country (with the exception of the majestic Quebec, bien sur!).  That would never, ever happen in Australia - you would sooner see the dead rise. And yet the English-Canadians were proud of their English heritage.   The author was gobsmacked as to why this might be the case, but soon formed his own theory as to why Canada was so proud (although it was rejected mostly by Canadians he explained it to - but often fish can't see the water they are swimming in).

First, the bulk of the Canadian population in the early days consisted of retreating loyalists during the American revolution.  Now, what was the distinguishing characteristic of these loyalists? No, it is not that they were losers by definition, but rather they were loyal to England by definition. They identified with being English.  What's more, Canada appears to spend a great deal of time trying to distinguish itself from the destroyers down south - the Americans.   Now given that America can destroy cultures on the other side of the globe merely by flexing its capitalist and marketing muscle, what chance does poor old Canada have. Bugger all, as they say. But regardless, they strive on and continue to cling to their English loyalties, almost in defiance. Although all this occurs primarily at a subconscious level of course.

The second reason why they wave their English flags with pride has to do with the French English conflict that is as old as European Canada itself.   And of course, how does an English-Canadian distinguish himself from a French-Canadian? Well, the name gave it away, didn't it - it is just another reinforcement of the fact that he is English.  You speak French. I speak English. You are French. I am English. English English English. To a lesser degree this may be occurring in the face of the many other cultures that have encroached on the English Canadians.  It is quite possible that Canada is the most multicultural country in the world (indeed the word itself was invented to discuss Montreal). You name it: Italians, Greeks, Chinese, Indians, Pakistanis, Africans - they are all there, waving their own little flags. And so of course, the original English Canadians have all the more reason to continue to wave their own.

But, as outlined, the opposite is true in Australia. We in no way identify with England now. We are Australian, through and through, and we refer to the English, not just as English, but as Poms. Or pommy bastards. Or bloody whingeing poms. That last expression comes about because the Poms have always been perceived as coming over as immigrants and then continually complaining about the state of affairs in Australia. "It's too hot", whinge the Poms. "The beaches are too sandy!" they cry. "The sea is too wet!".  And so on, and so forth. At least that's been the stereotype.

Too many bloody fresh vegetables in the food over here, if you ask me. Can’t get a decent fry up for love or money…

Stephen, Pommy Immigrant, by e-mail, 13 Jan 2005

WE MAY mock them as whingers and have a dig at their lack of sporting prowess, but in the eyes of the British, Australians are the best people on Earth. Our Commonwealth cousins believe Aussies are the friendliest people in the world, a survey by UK firm YouGov has found. Backpacking Brits Katherine Mann, Lucy Higgs and Laila Bimson say Aussies are the friendliest – and happiest – people in the world. "They're just really nice . . . laid back and generally really helpful," Ms Mann said. "English people always moan about where they live, they moan about the traffic, the weather, whatever," she said.

Poms really do like us, Synday Mail, 6 Feb 2005

The same newspapers who coined the phrase whingeing Pom to describe the Englishman who is always complaining, now encourage readers to "make a Pom whinge" by phoning him up and gloating about Wallaby success.

Aussies 'love of agro', BBC Sport, 18 June 2001

We suppose there was never anyone better abused. You, if you choose, can add that there was never anyone who better deserved to be abused. The Englishman has no friends.

A.G. Stevens, 'The Englishman', Bookfellow, 1921.

He wanted to be described as a Pommy who left his mark and became a fair dinkum Australian. From my experience of dealing with him, he was certainly a fair dinkum Australian. He told it exactly as it was.

Minister for Health and Community Care commenting on John Gilchrist, ACT Week 5 Hansard (27 August 1988) Page 1424

I told him, 'If they haven't called you a Pommy bastard 20 times before half-time, they aren't serious'

Sydney Coach Graham Murray on Pom Adrian Morley, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 February 2001

When fast bowler Simon Jones lay spreadeagled on the Brisbane outfield with his cruciate knee ligaments in shreds, a handful of witty Australians told him: "Get up, you soft Pommie bastard".

Barmy Army Rattle Whinging Aussies, Mirror [UK Paper],  11 Jan 03

Former health minister Michael Wooldridge dismissed a voter as a "nitwit loser" in 1999 and later branded the same man "a puffed-up little Pom with a permed hairdo". Paul Harley-Green, 71, had sent a fax advising Dr Wooldridge to "Keep away from my letterbox in future, fart-face."

Lesbian poet fires up MP Turnbull, News.com.au, May 16 2006

Of course, given our past relationship, traditional inferority complex and love of sport, it is little wonder that one of the few absolute delights in a dinkum aussie's life is seeing the Poms getting flogged at sport (any bloody sport you wish, mate, we'll love it regardless).

This will give the Poms something to whinge about

Rugby Union World Cup Bus Advertisement, Sydney, 1999

We might not have a national food or costume, but there's one thing we do enjoy doing together - belting the Poms!

Heidi Aarons, Australia Day, 1999

Aussie Aussie Aussie, oy, oy, oy. Yes, apparently that's what being an Australian is all about... watching our boys put the Englishmen to the sword on the telly, then enjoying a nice beer....

Tony Squires, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 January 1999

Not content with humiliating England at every other sport, the Aussies have discovered an amusing new way of making Poms look stupid.

The UK Guardian Newspaper after a flogging of the English soccer team by the Australians, 13 Feb 2003

THE Socceroos have taken up where Australia's cricket and tennis teams left off and put England to the sword with victory at Upton Park in London.

Roos Rule Britannia, Herald Sun, 13 Feb 2003

One of the remarkable aspects of the failed tour of New Zealand by the British and Irish Lions was the refusal of the team's coach, Sir Clive Woodward, to face up to the reality that his team had been thrashed. In three Tests the All Blacks scored 107 points to 40 against, and 12 tries to three... Any Wallabies or All Blacks coach with this record after spending $23million dollars and boasting that this was "the best prepared" side to make a Lions tour would have been given a bottle of whisky, a loaded revolver and taken to a darkened room to consider his future.

Bledisloe battles will decide who rules the world, Sydney Morning Herald, July 12 2005

English television viewers woke on Thursday to see a cherub-faced expatriate Australian, beer in hand, declaring: "Is there any sport we can't win? You Poms are hopeless!"

Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 14, 2003 after a Soccer Flogging of the Poms

After yesterday's win Australia can add soccer to a long list of conquests over England including cricket, tennis, netball, swimming, rugby league [don't forget Union!], women's hockey, the speedway world cup, and even darts. We even outrank them when it comes to croquet and Real Tennis.

Kewell magic sinks Poms, The Courier Mail, Feb 14 2002

ENGLAND's ineptitude was staggering. Its cricket yesterday was as uneducated as it was unedifying and its defeat among the most humiliating in the annals of the game.

Holders of urn exposed as impostors in ultimate arena, The Australian, December 6, 2006

Similarly, we can't stand losing to the Old Enemy. 

Throughout the series, the Barmy Army dug up enough goodwill to cheer the game, win or lose. But for most Aussie blokes, it seemed that a loss to the Poms took on tragic proportions, tantamount to pouring a supertanker of VB into Sydney Harbour.

Learning Dignity in Defeat, Sunday Telegraph, 12 January 2003

On a firm first-day pitch, the cream of Australian bowling failed to make an impression. No one was surprised. Australia's confidence is low. Two slips and a gully after 10 overs. Before long their supporters were saying: "Maybe we can get a draw." A draw?! Against the Poms?! It has, indeed, come to that.

Not overstepping the mark to say worm has turned, Sydney Morning Herald, 26 August 2005

AUSTRALIAN middle-order batsman Simon Katich has apologised for his temper-tantrum but vowed to use it as motivation for next week's blockbuster Ashes decider. On his way back to the pavilion, he stopped and watched a replay of his dismissal on the big scoreboard, which is against ICC laws. He was fined for that, and as he made his way up the race and into the dressingroom he shocked members in the pavilion enclosure by screaming: "You f...ing Pommy c...s."

Katch-22: I shouldn't have said it, but..., Herald Sun, 1 September 2005

Of course, any pride England ever had in sport was lost forever with the disgraceful bodyline tactics adopted against Australia in the Ashes series of 1932/1933. Basically, it involved repeatedly smashing the heads and chests of the unpadded, helmetless Australian batsman with rock hard cricket balls traveling at over 140k per hour. It was a strategy aimed at trying to neutralise the greatest Australian to ever live: Don Bradman. It worked, but all the Poms involved in this disgraceful period of English history are now rightfully rotting in hell. May the English long hold their heads in shame. It just wasn't cricket.

Body-line bowling has assumed such proportions as to menace the best interests of the game, making protection of the body by the batsmen the main consideration. This is causing intensely bitter feeling between the players, as well as injury. In our opinion it is unsportsmanlike. Unless stopped at once it is likely to upset friendly relations between Britain and Australia.

Telegraph from the Australian Board of Control to the English M.C.C., Jan. 18, 1933.

There are two teams out there. One is trying to play cricket and one is not.

Australian Captain Bill Woodfull in the dressing room after being smashed repeatedly while batting, 1933

Some would say nothing has changed:

Ponting, just one game away from becoming the skipper who lost the Ashes, said on 3AW Michael Vaughan's men were a "disgrace" for abusing the spirit of the game over their use of substitute fielders. "I think it's an absolute disgrace the spirit of the game is being treated like that," Ponting said. "It is within the rules, it's just not within the spirit of the game." Ponting feels England has manipulated the substitution regulations to their advantage. Pratt had come on for the injured Simon Jones but Ponting, at the time, clearly felt Jones had been rotated off as part of England's questionable summer-long tactic of resting fast bowlers and replacing them with specialist fieldsmen. Australia noticed the substitution tactic through the one-day series when 12th man and gun fielder Vikram Solanki often replaced the fast bowlers in short spells.

Punter risks Test ban, News.com.au, August 31 2005

And is it an ethical thing to do? Of course not. Tut, tut, England. It is an abuse of the spirit of the game to tailor a pitch quite so blatantly.

The Ashes: England can turn up heat on Bunsen burner pitch, Telegraph.co.uk, 20 August 2009

The origin of the term is unknown. The two competing theories are:

The Macquarie Dictionary quotes the following usage for Pommy:

What cheer? Oh, that's pommy talk -- English for 'How's it cobber'?

Xavier Herbert, 1938

A drive-in Lion park half way between Brisbane and the Gold Coast had the following sign up till it closed in the early 80s:

Adults: $10
Children: $5
Pommies on bicycles admitted free.

The famous John O'Grady (aka Nino Culotta) summarises its use as follows (Aussie English, 1965):

The title was originally derisive, but is now sometimes bestowed affectionately. A bloke can have a 'Pommy Bastard' for a mate.  Nevertheless, a cultured English accent, to most Australians, indicates that the user is 'bungin' it on'. And a man accused of 'talkin' like a Pom' will indignantly deny it. Unless he likes Poms generally. Some do.... Americans are never called poms. They're just 'bloody Yanks'.

Poms who fought in WW1 were also known as Tommies.

Some English regiments that were sent over to reinforce the AIF had no more idea of fighting than kids a year old. Mind you these were not regular British Tommy but part of Kitchener's army and a bigger collection of dead and dying men you never saw, they have not the pluck of a louse and all their officers think of doing is to ape the regular officer when on parade, but when in action the first thing he does is lose his head and tell his men to retire. 

Lieutenant Mack, Gallipoli, August 1915
Later killed in the battle of Magdhaba

They were proud of their mateship and egalitarianism. Manning Clark writes in his A History of Australia of a British staff captain who ticked off an Australian private for failing to salute him. 'The Australian patted him on the shoulder and said, "Young man, when you go home, you tell your mother that today you've seen a real bloody soldier"'.

Phillip Knightley, Australia: A Biography of a Nation, 2000

Australians have probably never had such an influence on world affairs as they had at Villers-Bretonneux. It overlooks Amiens, 16 kilometres away. If the Germans had held it, Amiens, Paris and the Channel ports would have been within reach. The Australians played a major part in halting the German push. King George V drove to Monash's headquarters, outside Amiens, to knight the Australian. Monash called for three cheers for the monarch. The exhausted soldiers barely responded. Monash tried again: "Three cheers for King George." The response fell well short of the full-throated roar that Monash expected. The king drove off. The Australians loved Elliott, respected Monash and didn't mind the king. But they resented the order to cheer.

Blood, guts and the stuff of legend, SMH, 24 June 2005

"We do bugger all, mate," was how another Australian soldier described his down time. "We've got Foxtel so we can watch the cricket and the footy. We give the Poms plenty of stick over their sporting success."

As dry as their their desert camp ... Aussies bring larrikin spirit, Sydney Morning Herald, March 10, 2003

Trust a Pom to find a way to do laundry without using soap.

For clean clothes, just add water, Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 7 2005

..the Poms are really the world leaders at this sport at least. Some years ago my husband was standing alone at a bus stop in London when a polite gentleman approached him and said: "Excuse me, are you a queue?"... The experiences of (non) queuer Steve Thaxter brought to mind an experience in England some years ago. I stood fourth in a queue as the bus pulled in. The gentleman at the head of the queue courteously offered to let the lady in second position board first. She replied that he was head of the queue and should go first. He insisted back to her and she insisted back again. The bus conductor, apparently bored by the whole affair, pressed the buzzer and the bus drove off with no one boarding.

England's undisputed world title - in queueing, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 April 2005


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