Download the PDF transcript [sdm_download id=”2157″ fancy=”0″]
21 Ways To Greet Someone Like A Native
Blue text = Pronunciation tips using English spelling
G’day guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. I’m Pete, and today I’m going to be teaching you 21 ways to greet someone like a native. Let’s go!
So, let’s start with the simple ones guys.
Hello. Hello. Hello, mate! Hello. So, Hello is the kind of greeting that I would use as a native when answering the phone, you know, *ring* *ring*, “Hello? It’s Pete speaking.”, if I was answering the door and I didn’t know who it was, someone’s knocked on the door, “Hello? Who’s there?”. But it’s not really the kind of greeting that I would use when talking to someone face-to-face.
Hi. Hi, mate! Hi. Hi, again, is pretty common. You’re going to hear this all the time, especially, in countries like America, probably Britain as well. You might hear it from time to time in Australia, but again, it’s not the kind of greeting that I would really use with people I know. It might be something that I say to a stranger. If someone bumps into me and I turn around and they were like, “Oh, sorry. How’s it going?”, I might say, “Oh, hi!”.
Hey. Hey, mate! Hey, how’s it going? Hey. Hey’s the kind of greeting that I would use all the time. This is short, sweet, very quick. Hey. Hey, how’s it going? Hey.
G’day. G’day, mate! G’day. G’day. G’day is another greeting that you guys hear me saying all the time. This one, however, is definitely Australian. You’re not going to hear this by Americans. You’re not going to hear this by people from the UK, at least, not with that contracted “Good”. They’ll probably say “Good day” if they’re really in a formal situation. But in Australia we say “G’day” all the time, and especially the more working-class you are, as you go out into the countryside, you’re going to hear people like Steve Irwin or Crocodile Dundee, that kind of stereotypical Australian saying, “G’day mate.” G’day. G’day.
Howdy. Howdy, guys! Howdy. Howdy’s another one that you might hear sometimes from Australians, but I think this one is a lot more American, and the only reason that Australians might say it is if they watch a lot of American TV and they hear this all the time, or they’re kind of just being a little jovial, you know, a little humorous, like “Howdy! How’s it going? Howdy, guys!”, you know, sort of putting on that American accent a little bit, but not in a nasty way. So, that’s “Howdy”. Howdy, guys! Howdy.
Alright, before we move onto the really really good ones, the longer ones, the slightly more difficult ones, I want to get through the fact that we don’t say “How do you do?”. This’s something that I feel is taught all the time, and I have people saying this to me, but it is incredibly formal. Obviously, if you were incredibly proper, incredibly formal, if you’re in the royal family, if you’re the Queen of England you might say to people, “How do you do? How do you do sir?”, but no one is going to say that to you in real life. No natives would ever greet each other “How do you do?” unless they were being sarcastic. It’s a lot more natural to hear people saying…
6. How’re you doing? = How ya doin’?
HOW AH YU DO EN / HOW YA DO EN
How’re you doing? How are you doing? How ya doin’? How ya doin’? Good mate. How are you doin’? How’re you doing? And this one’s pronounced “HOW YA DO EN”. How ya doin’? How ya doin’?
So, now that we’ve covered that let’s move onto the next ones, and these are really common, these are really common.
7. What’s up = S’up
WOT SUP / SUP
What’s up? Hey, mate, what’s up? What is up? Not literally what is up, but more, “What is up with you? What’s going on? What’re you up to? What’s up?”, and you’ll often hear this contracted to just “S’up?”. So, I might be like, “Hey, mate, what’s up?” or I could be, “Hey mate, s’up?”. So, you’re going to hear this all the time. What’s up? What’s up? Or simply, s’up? S’up mate?
8. What’ve you been up to (lately)? = Whatcha been upta?
WAH TEV YU BEEN UP TA LATE LEE / WAH CHA BIN UP TA
What’ve you been up to lately? What have you been up to lately? So, what’ve you been up to? What’ve you been doing? What’ve you been up to lately? And you’re going to hear this contracted all the time to, “Whatcha been upta?” WHA CHA BIN UP TA. Whatcha bin upta? Whatcha bin upta, mate? G’day mate, whatcha bin upta? Whatcha bin upta? And this is just another way of saying, “What’ve you been doing?”. WHA CHA BIN UPTA?
9. What’s going on? = S’goin’ on?
WOT SGO EN ON / SGO EN ON
Another really common one is “What’s goin’ on?”. What’s goin’ on? Not much, what’s goin’ on with you? What’s goin’ on, man? What’s going on, mate? And you’ll often hear, What’s goin’ on? What’s goin’ on? What’s goin’ on?, you’ll often hear this contracted to just “S’goin’ on?”, SGO EN ON? So, we’ve just taken “What” out of the equation, left the “S” and then we’ve got “GO EN ON”. S’goin’ on? S’goin’ on, mate?
10. What’s the goss?
WOTS THA GOSS
What’s the goss? What’s the goss, mate? Not much. What’s the goss with you? What about you? What’s the goss? What’s the goss? “Goss” in this case, is short for the word “Gossip” as in rumours, what’s the news?, what’re the secrets about people? What’s the goss? What’s the gossip about you? What’s the goss?
11. What’s new?
What’s new? G’day, mate, what’s new? What’s new? What’s new, man? What’s new is just literally, “What is new with you?”, What is the news? What’s new? Can you tell me something I don’t know or that I didn’t know when I last saw you? What’s new?
12. What’s the news? = What’s news?
WOTS THA NYUS / WOTS NYUS
What’s the news? What’s the news? And this often gets contracted to “What’s news?”. What’s news, mate? Not much. What about you? What’s news? So, you’ve got “What’s new” with no “S” at the end, and then you’ve got, “What’s news?”. And when someone says to you, “What’s news? What’s news?”, they’re asking you to tell them what yours news is. Like you’re watching the news on TV and you’re hearing all of the new information for the day. They want to know what your new information is. What’s news? Tell me what’s new with you. Tell me what’s news. What’s your news? What’s news?
13. What’s been happening?
WOTS BIN HAP EN EN
What’s been happening? Hey, man. How’s it goin’? What’s been happenin’? What has been happening? And this often gets contracted all the way down from “What has been happening?” to “What’s been happenin’?” What’s been happenin’? And this is a lot similar to “What’s the news?”, “What’s the goss?”, “What’s your news?”. I’m asking you about what’s been happening in your life. What’s been happenin’?
14. How’s it going? = How’s it goin’?
HOW ZIT GO EN
Another really really common one, and this is one that you should probably focus on out of all of them in here, all of these different greetings, this is a really really common one that’s easy to remember and that you’re going to be able to use a lot and hear a lot in Australia, “How’s it goin’?”. How’s it going? How’s it goin’, mate? How’re you? How’s it goin’, mate? “How is it going” getting contracted down to “How’s it goin’?” HOW ZIT GO EN. How’s it goin’?
15. How’re you going? = How ya goin’?
HOW AH YU GO EN / HOW YA GO EN
Another one, similar to “How’s it goin'” is “How’re you goin’?”. How’re you going? How’re you going, mate? Yeah, not bad. How’re you goin’, mate? How are you goin’, and this gets contracted down to just HOW YA GO EN. How ya goin’?
16. How are you? = How are ya?
HOW AH YU / HOW AH YA
How are you? How are you? How ya goin’? How are ya? Hey, mate! How are ya? How are ya, mate? How are you? Are you good? How are you? Tell me how you are. Are you good? But this one gets contracted down to HOW WAH YA. How are ya? So, that again, that is an incredibly common one. How are ya? How are ya? Learn that one as well as, “How’s it goin’?” and “How are ya?”. How are ya, mate? How’s it goin’, mate? How are ya?
17. How’s things?
How’s things? How’s things on your end? How’s things, dude? How’s things? How is things? This one’s probably incorrect grammatically because “Things” is plural and you’re saying “How IS things”, but all the same, it’s said a lot. How’s things? How’s things? This’s similar to “What’s news?”, “What’s goss?”, “What’s been happenin’?”. How are your things? What’re the things like on your end? Tell me about your things. How’s things?
18. How’re things?
HOW AH THINGZ
And then, obviously, we’ve got the grammatically correct version, “How ARE things?”. How’re things? Dude! How’re things? I haven’t seen you in ages. Yeah, good to see you too, man. How’re things? How’re things? We should catch up! How’re things? How’re things?
19. How’s it hanging?
HOW ZIT HANG EN
How’s it hanging? How is it hanging? Dude, how’s it hangin’? Yeah, not too bad, mate. What about you? How’s it hangin’? How’re you mate? How’s it hangin’? “Hanging” like you were hanging from a tree. How’s it hanging? This’s also very common. And again, with that “How’s it…” it turns into HOW ZIT, HOW ZIT. How’s it hangin’? So, it gets contracted down from “How is it hanging?” to “How’s it hangin’?”.
20. How’ve you been?
HOW EV YU BEEN
And getting to the last one here, guys, “How have you been?”. Mate, how’ve you been? How have you been? Have you been well, mate? How’ve you been, mate? This is one that also gets contracted even further. We get rid of the EV from “Have” that’s on “How” and we just say…
21. How ya been?
HOW YA BIN
“How ya been?”. How ya been? Dude, I haven’t seen you in ages! How ya been? Dude, what about you? How ya been? How ya been?
That’s it, guys. There’s at least 21 in there. They should be pretty easy. There’s a few interesting pronunciation things going on there, but definitely go back over it. Have a look at the way that I’ve outlined the real pronunciation of these phrases, and focus more on using those kinds of colloquial greetings and colloquial ways of saying, “How are you?”, “How’re you going”, “How’re you doing?”, “What’s going on?”, all of that sort of stuff. You’ll sound a lot more native and people are going to respond really definitely I think you’ll find than if you were to use things like, “Hello” and “How do you do?”.
Anyway, let me know what you guys think. Do you already use some of these in your day-to-day spoken English? Comment below, and I’ll catch you later guys. Hope you’re well.
G’day. Goodbye. See ya!
- As I speak more casually or with a stronger accent the pronunciation of certain vowels often shifts.
YOU [jʉː] > YA [jɐ]
BEEN [biːn] > BIN [bɪn]
-ING [ɪŋ] > EN [en]
TO [tʉː] > TA [tɐ]
Download the PDF transcript
[sdm_download id=”2157″ fancy=”0″]
Check out all the other Pronunciation episodes here!
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.
About the AuthorI learn languages, teach Australian English, and love all things science and nature!
You Might also like
By pete — 2 years ago
AE 257 – 16 Aussie Slang Terms. Do I Use Them?
G’day guys what’s up?
I got a postcard today in the mail from listener Juliana.
So she sent me a postcard with a few different slang terms and expressions from Australia, and I thought it would be the perfect chance for me to break these down and talk about whether or not I actually use any.
Alright let’s get it started.
1. G’day mate
The first one “G’day mate”.
“Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
This is definitely one that I use a lot.
And I’m sure you all know this “G’day mate. How’s it goin’ mate? G’day. G’day mate!”.
2. He’s blotto
The next one “He’s blotto”, “Inebriated beyond the capacity to stand up”, meaning he is so drunk he can barely stand or he can’t stand “He’s blotto”.
This is one that I hadn’t heard of until I read this postcard.
It could be said but I have never used this.
I would just say that “He is wasted. He’s wasted. He’s so drunk. He’s wasted.”
3. You little ripper!
“You little ripper!” meaning “Words of praise failed me”.
As in I don’t know what else to say aside from “You little ripper” as in, amazing, great job, you little ripper.
This is one that I would hear quite a lot, and I’m sure a lot of more Australian Australians in air quotes would say “You little ripper” but I probably wouldn’t use this in my day to day language.
4. Rack off!
“Rack off!”. “Rack off!” is one that I used to hear when I was younger, meaning “Go away. Leave me alone”.
So “Your presence is no longer required.” according to this postcard.
It’s a somewhat politer way of saying “F off” or you know “F-U-C-K off” if you wanted to be really rude but “Rack off!”, I probably wouldn’t use this that often but I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard it and I would know exactly what I meant. So more Australian Australians would probably use this, yeah, in slang.
5. Fair dinkum
“Fair dinkum” meaning “Of course I’m telling the truth. I’m fair dinkum”. “Fair dinkum”.
This can mean a few things and it’s something I would probably use from time to time.
I would use “Fair dinkum”. You can use it to mean that you are “True, legit, the real deal.”
“I am fair dinkum”. But you can also say it as, like, “Fair enough” or “Oh really” “Really?”.
So you can just say “Oh fair dinkum? “Fair dinkum!” if someone tells you something that surprises you a little bit.
6. Pull your head in!
“Pull your head in!”.
So you may be correct in your assertion but shut up.
As in “You may be right, but be quiet shut up”.
“Pull your head in”.
This is one that I would probably use but it’s hard.
This one probably for me would mean pull your head in, as in, “Stop being an idiot! Stop mucking around!”.
It could be like someone’s trying to… Alright say you’ve got a child at school and he’s slacking off and his marks are going down hill so he’s not doing very well.
He’s not doing very well.
He’s getting C’s or D’s.
He’s passing but it’s not great.
You could say to him “Dude, pull your head in. Stop wasting your time. Stop mucking around. Do the right thing. Work hard. Pull your head in!” or if someone was being nasty to someone you could just say “Mate cut it out! Pull your head in! Stop it!”.
7. Wanna rage?
“Wanna rage? Do you want to rage? Wanna rage?”.
This means you want to drink a lot of alcohol.
So would you like “To drink large amounts of alcohol with me until we both drop” according to this postcard.
I wouldn’t use this, personally.
I… that wouldn’t be my assumption either.
Someone said, “Do you want to rage?” that would to me… that would be me thinking “Are you asking if I’m going to rage?” as if to get angry to become really full of rage or even “Did you want to fight me?”. “Do you want to rage?” I don’t know.
That would be the feeling I get but it’s not something I use.
8. Bloody oath!
“Bloody oath!”. “Bloody oath.!”
“I’m in total agreement with you.”
“Bloody oath, mate. Bloody oath!”
This is relatively colloquial, very slangy.
I would probably not use it very often but I definitely would use it from time to time.
So… and it’s something you’re going to hear a lot of Australians say.
“Bloody oath, mate. Bloody oath”.
9. Your shout
“Your shout”. “Your shout.”
Now I know what this means and I use this as well quite a lot.
In fact I think most Australians would use this in day to day language.
“Your shout” if you value your wellbeing you should buy me a drink.
Yeah, it’s not really a threat.
Like that sounds on the postcard.
It’s more it’s your turn to pay or it’s “Your shout” meaning can you shout me the next round of drinks, the next meal the next lift to work “It’s your shout”.
It’s normally with paying something so if you have to pay for something it’s your turn, because last time I paid for all of us whether it was a drink or something to eat or the petrol for the car it could be anything you’ve paid for.
That was “My shout” and if it’s your turn it’s “Your shout”.
10. Go on
“Go on” means quite a few things, but according to the postcard “I’m not entirely convinced you know what you’re talking about”.
So I guess from this point of view it would be if someone was telling you something and you were a little skeptical you could be like, “Go on.” or maybe they mean. “Go on. Go on”.
Yeah see. Personally I wouldn’t. I can’t go on.
I would say is like have a try “Go on, mate! Go on give it a go! Go on, have a go. Go on.”
That would be more what I would use “Go on” for.
I don’t think I would use it like this for being skeptical about what someone was saying.
11. You pong
Now I do… I know what this means but I probably wouldn’t use it.
“You pong” is “Dear me. And we do smell, don’t we.”
That’s an interesting way of phrasing it because they’re using the collective “We” as opposed to “You” but it’s referring to that person that you’re talking to is and you smell.
“Dear me! Oh my gosh! We smell a little bit, don’t we?”, or as in like “You smell a little bit, don’t you?”.
Yeah I would know what this means but I wouldn’t use it personally.
“You pong! Far out you pong.”
I think I’ve done an episode on this.
I know “Whadaya”, “Whadayawant?”.
“Might I inquire about your needs? Might I inquire about your needs?”
What would you like?
What would what do you want.
“Whadayawant?” is a very Australian sort of contraction of “What do you want?” all the way down into sort of this one word of “Whadayawant?”.
I would use this all the time.
I use those kinds of contractions of all those words a lot in English.
13. To have a chunder
“To have a chunder”.
Now this I would use “To have a chunder.”, however, this one I would use around other Australians, because they would know what I meant and foreigners would be like “Ewhh?”. “Chunder” is to vomit, to munt, to throw up, to spew.
We’ve got a lot of words for this.
“To have a chunder” is for you to go and have a spew, have a vomit, have a throw up.
You’re spewing up.
And what does it say here “The delicate act of regurgitation.”
There you go, “The delicate act of regurgitation”.
“To have a chunder.”
14. Give it a go ya mug!
“Give it a go ya mug! Give it a go ya mug!”, and this according to the postcard means “Are you perhaps incapable of performing this act?”.
So I guess it’s sort of like “Try it man. What’s wrong with you? Give it a try. Give it a go.”.
“Give it a go ya mug”.
I don’t think I would ever use “Mug” as like a I guess a term of endearment here for another person, “Mug”.
I think in English in Australian English particularly… maybe all kinds of English, “Mug” would refer to someone’s face.
I think so, like, “Oh, you’ve got it all over your mug.”
But even then, I wouldn’t really use it.
“Give it a go”.
I would use that all the time.
“Give the go ya mug”?
I wouldn’t say that.
15. How ya goin’?
“How ya goin’?”. “How ya goin’?”.
“May I inquire about your welfare.”
“How ya goin’?”. “How ya goin’?”.
You guys know that I use this a lot.
“How ya goin’?”.
This is a very very Australian greeting as well.
So definitely learn this one if you’re coming to Australia because people are going to say this to you all the time, and they’re not necessarily going to want to hear what you’ve actually been going through, they’re just saying hello “How ya goin’?”, and you would just say “Yeah good. Not bad.”
16. You drongo
Last but not least “You drongo”. “You drongo”.
“You really are rather dim witted person”.
And if you’re dimwitted it means that you are not very smart.
So you are very witty. It’s dim like as if you had a bright light dimmed down, so the light intensity sort of dropped down, it became dim, if your wits were to become dim you’re becoming dimwitted and you are dimwitted.
You are very unintelligent.
You’re not very smart. Dimwitted.
So anyway, “You drongo”, this is the kind of thing that is used a lot, and my father, my father would use this a lot, and on me in particular.
So if I did something stupid or something silly like say I was trying to build something outside and I was hammering above my head and something came down and smacked me, you know, because I was being clumsy.
He could say, “Dude, you drongo! What are you doing you drongo? You drongo.”
Anyway, that’s the Aussie gentleman postcard.
I hope you guys liked it.
I hope guys get a bit of a sense for how I use these slang terms and the ones that I don’t use.
But, yeah, there are a lot here that are definitely Australian that you could learn, but there are also a few that are probably not very useful or not anymore.
They might have been once upon a time when this was made.
Anyway, thanks Juliana so much for the postcard.
I really appreciate it!
And in the next episode I will do An Aussie Sheila, the girl’s version.
See ya guys!
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.Post Views: 2,474
By Admin — 3 months ago
Learn about Australian English, news, and current affairs in this episode of My Country on the Aussie English Podcast where I talk about Australian weather in 2019.
AE 531 – My Country: Australian Weather 2019 – Droughts, Bushfires, & Floods
What’s going on, guys? I was inspired to jump on today to do another episode on here about my country, about Australia, because the weather has been going crazy, right? Across the nation, there’s been a whole heap of different events and I thought it would be worth sort of showing you them and talking a bit about them. Let’s get into it.
So, at the moment, we have 28 bushfires raging through Tasmania. So, it’s really dry down there at the moment, in the height of summer, just after the height of summer I guess, we have 28 of these fires that are raging all around Tasmania and threatening a lot of households and there’s been quite a few buildings that have obviously been burnt down and damaged and yeah it’s been going on for about a month or so now so, it’s crazy and that is due to the hot temperatures, the dry climate down here, although I don’t think that Tasmania is currently experiencing a drought. I know that in New South Wales we have been experiencing a drought, ok? So, Australia is one of those countries where we don’t have very much water. We’re not always in drought like it’s a very, very dry country and there are definitely parts of the country where you just don’t expect water, but I guess drought, and again I’m not an expert, but I would imagine when when a place is in drought, it’s experiencing less water than usual, right? Less rainfall than usual. It’s not that it doesn’t have much rainfall or that it has a lot of rainfall it’s more about the average, ok? And if a certain period of time, say five years in a row, which has been happening for New South Wales is experiencing less than the average amount of rain each year.
So, that’s happening in New South Wales at the moment and there’s been quite a lot of stress on farmers. There was this photo that was shown recently where a woman was helping her her father and she captured an image of him. This photo here where he’s on his knees praying in the fields, hoping that rain will come because it’s affecting, it’s affecting the crops that a lot of these farmers are planting where if it doesn’t rain early on enough or even during that crop, the crops can’t grow to be harvested and then sold in order to make money and generate income for these farmers. The animals are really expensive to feed in these sorts of times because the price of the food that they get the hay and everything goes through the roof because you have farmers who make that hay obviously struggling as well to make it because of the drought.
And on top of that, you… if you can’t afford that sort of stuff, you have very little in the way of grass and hay on your own property, then the cows and the other livestock that you’re going to have tend to obviously get smaller and not grow as large, they’re not as healthy, and so when you try and sell those each year, you’re going to get much of a reduced sort of price for those animals too. So, for the last few years we’ve been seeing that farmers, especially on the interior of the West Coast of Australia, right? So, we have the Great Dividing Range in Australia. See if I can show you a map of that let me tell you you’ll see here on the screen. Right so we have what we call the Great Dividing Range which goes from about here in Cairns all the way down the East Coast. A few, maybe, a 100 or so kilometres in, maybe a few hundred kilometers in New South Wales, down into Victoria. And what happens is that that causes air to go up into the sort of higher level of the atmosphere, and I’m not a meteorologist, but my basic understanding is because of that mountain range, you get water generated or rainfall rather generated and it comes down and goes down both sides of the mountains into rivers and you have the Murray Darling Basin, which is this big base in New South Wales where you, and in the interior of Queensland as well as Victoria, the Murray Darling Basin, the Darling River and the Murray River and you have the water coming off the Great Dividing Range going west across those farmlands and you also have it going east down to the ocean on the other side of the Great Dividing Range. So, that’s why we have that green line or strip of forest up the east coast of Australia because there’s rainfall because of the mountains, right? You’ll talk about the Murray Darling Darling Basin and the other issues there. So, anyway there’s farmers on the interior there. There’s not enough rainfall down in New South Wales and South Western Queensland at the moment so, we’re having this drought and a lot of the farmers are obviously under pressure because they’re finding it very hard to survive.
They’re getting support from other farmers, they’re getting support from the government. I think they’re getting a lot of donations though as well, although I’m sure it’s not enough and they’re really battling, but hopefully the drought will break soon and they’ll get through that. You might be asking though at the same time is having this drought, especially if you’re in Australia at the moment, you might be thinking well… I’ve just heard of all these reports that places like Cairns and Townsville are being flooded, right? So there’s all this stuff going on in Queensland with ridiculous amounts of rainfall and I guess I can show you that on a map here, I had it up here. So, this is the 2018 Australian rainfall decile map so you’re going to see here rainfall across the continent, where it’s blue it is up to, highest on record so, very good amounts, above average, right? And beyond, and where it goes from white to dark red it’s below average, right? So, you can see there on this map that most of Southern Queensland here almost all of New South Wales as well as Victoria are all experiencing droughts as well as South Australia here on the eastern side. And so a lot of our farming land is in this area and that’s why the farmers are having such trouble, but you’ll also see up here in the top of Australia that they’re receiving very much above average rainfall and there are even some places here that seem to be receiving highest on record levels of rainfall and even in the interior here in southern Western Australia.
So, what’s happening now is that you have all of these different weather systems, I guess, happening or going on at the same time you have flooding up in Townsville at the moment, in Queensland, where I was hearing crazy stories of them getting something like a year’s worth of water in a week. It may have even been less than a week. There were stories of, I think, 20 different suburbs around Townsville that have had to evacuate. They’ve had to take the people out because the water levels of the river are rising after the River has broken its banks, the water is rising, it’s going to submerge these houses and people just have to get out while they can. There was a woman saying that in her house she had to escape and leave, she went to drop the kids off at school, I think, and then came back after half an hour and the water had risen three metres in half an hour. So, imagine that a metre every 10 minutes, that would be visible, you would imagine the speed at which the water is rising and so, in the case of these floods as we were talking about on the podcast recently when we were talking about floods, these are fast onset floods where you have these… this weather with a severe amount of rain and the river systems can’t cope. So, the rain comes down and the water just rises, the rivers break their banks or even the rain ends up in the streets, right? Because you just have consistent rain that the drains can’t handle and the rivers can’t handle, they can’t drain away all that water. So, that’s what’s happening in Townsville at the moment, but yeah it is just, it’s crazy to see across the monsoon tropics there you have heaps of rain. Meanwhile, you know, 1000 kilometers or a few hundred kilometers below the monsoon tropics that northern sort of stretch of Australia, that sort of banana across the top, you have all of this dry, dry, dry drought sort of conditions as well hammering the country at the same time. So, Australia is very unique in that respect, I think, that you can have flooding in one part of the country, even within the same state. Meanwhile, you also have droughts in the same state, Queensland for example here. So, it’s very it’s a very crazy time.
I also want to touch on what’s going on in the Murray Darling Basin. So, there’s been story after story of these fish killings recently in the Murray Darling Basin and if I can go back to this map here, the Murray Darling Basin is let me just zoom out here a bit, it’s this section of Australia here. So, you have the Darling River I think coming from up here and going all the way down and joining with the Murray River, which is the border here of Queensland and the Murray flows from the Great Dividing Range, the Alps up here, all the way between Victoria and New South Wales into Adelaide and then out into the great Australian bite here. So, this whole section here is the Murray Darling base and you have a lot of farming there. You have a lot of cotton farms and I think they have been the biggest problem that I’ve heard so far with regards to taking water from the Murray Darling system.
So, a lot of the farmers that are there rely on the water in the Murray Darling system to feed their cattle or their livestock or water their crops, right? For Irrigation and that sort of stuff. Now obviously when you have a drought you have a lot less water in the system and so, the cotton crops, which I’m not 100 percent sure on their location, but I would imagine they’re further up the system further to… and again I’m not sure, I’m just double, I’m just double checking, I have to have a look, but I think they’re up sort of further in the north here and they had been, it’s been found as far as I’m aware that they’ve been taking more water at least some cotton farmers had been illegally taking water out of the system in order to grow their cotton. There might have been other types of farms as well. Effectively, what’s happened, though, is that you have had this blue green algae, this algae grow in the water and it’s boomed in the water as a result of the conditions that have occurred and this has led to massive, massive amounts of fish dying because when the algae blooms in the water, it sucks the oxygen out of the water and the fish simply suffocate. So, we’ve had the Darling River with extensive mass deaths of fish that’s been occurring for weeks now, you know, and you would just see millions of dead fish, some of them are up to 40 or even 50 years old, you know, like massive fish. So, it’s really tragic.
Another problem is that the fish that are surviving tend to be invasive species and I think I was reading something the other day about the carp, which is a problem species in Australia because it digs up all the soil on the bottom of these river beds and it leads to them becoming very muddy and silty and it’s just they outcompete the native species, anyway, it seems like those species are actually surviving better than the native ones and this thing is spreading down the Darling River. So, we’re having areas where there are fish kills upstream and then I think that the algae is spreading downstream in these same conditions are occurring more and more and we’re getting more and more fish deaths. So, just one more thing that’s happening to the Australian environment at the moment.
The last thing that I wanted to touch on was the feral brumby culls that are finally coming in. So, we have a problem in Australia where in the south east part of Australia we have feral horses. These are horses that have been released into nature, into the wild and they live there, but they damage the river systems. They eat a lot of the plants, the native plants, they… the hooves on the animals, destroy the ground because Australia, before Europeans came, had no livestock at all, had no source of animals that had hooves like horses, sheep, cows those kinds of animals, donkeys etc. And so the land, the plants and the soil system effectively wasn’t used to these animals and this the sort of I guess the hardness of their feet compacting the ground and so, quite often we have a problem where if you get lots of these animals feral in an area, they can actually destroy the soil and the ground systems and the plant systems and so it’s a sort of cascading effect. It’s almost from the bottom up, disturbing sort of the balance of the ecosystems so, there was a massive sort of to do recently about this brumby death that they… someone stumbled upon in Santa Teresa here where this drought is going on in New South Wales and southern Victoria and north western Victoria, southern western Queensland, and these these feral horses had obviously been everywhere doing their thing and then when a few hot days rolled through, which recently occurred, where we had like days up to 49 degrees, I think, in South Australia, it was definitely over 40 here in Victoria and NSW hit it as well so, that centre of Australia definitely got really hot, we had a heatwave and tragically or, you know, I guess it depends if you like horses or not, but these these brumbies that were spread out in this landscape went to where they thought water was and there was no water there because of the drought and because of the temperature and they all died in this one location. So, someone obviously found, them took these photos, a lot of people were sort of… I don’t know necessarily if they were outraged, but they were definitely upset because people tend to like horses, right? You don’t really think about rats and other animals that live there naturally that have probably died as well, but horses people like.
The problem that I have, though, is that we have a lot of horses here and people won’t allow the government to kill them or to cull them or to reduce the numbers because their horses and people have it in their head that horses are these cute cuddly animal, whereas the native animals like kangaroos and dingoes and wombats and those other animals that also live in the environment, that are also cute and cuddly, are sort of competing with these horses, anyway. It looks like the government has decided to roll out some culls in order to control the numbers of Brumby’s which I wholeheartedly support. I don’t like… I don’t like animals… feral animals in our environment destroying the environment or competing with native Australian animals and I also hate the idea of these feral animals suffering in this kind of way. So, I’m sure that a bullet and a humane death is much, much much, much more of a… what would you say? A better option than dying of dehydration in the heat.
Anyway, that is it for this my story about Australia guys and their sort of climate and weather that’s going on, I hope you enjoyed it. If you find any good articles feel free to send them my way. I’m going to start rabbiting on I’ll let you get on with your day. Thanks for joining me! See you later!
Learn Australian English even faster in
Each course is a comprehensive
English lesson covering these areas:
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.Post Views: 884
By pete — 1 year ago
AE 412 – Interview: Life Working as a Brickie in Australia with Rhys Linnett
G’day, guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English, the number one podcast for everyone and anyone wanting to learn Australian English.
As usual, at least as I try and do every single Wednesday, this is a new interview episode where I try to bring you an Australian, and I chat to that Australian about their life, about what they do for work, what they do for a crust, how they earn a living, just about interesting things related to that person and life in Australia. And today’s episode is no different.
So, today I had the pleasure of interviewing my little cousin Rhys. Rhys is a really interesting fellow. So, he is a pretty typical Aussie bloke. He has a pretty strong accent, which I think you guys are going to either love or hate, and you will see you shortly what I mean. Rhys absolutely love you mate. Thank you so much. But you do speak incredibly quickly. He does mumble a little bit. And he changes his sentences halfway through saying them quite often. So, that is why today’s episode is definitely for advanced learners. You might have to listen to this one a couple of times, because he speaks incredibly quickly.
So, make sure that you download the free download for today’s episode, guys. You can read the transcript and you’ll be able to better understand everything that Rhys is saying. Make sure you download the MP3 too. So, just jump over to the website, TheAussieEnglishPodcast.com and go to the free download to get your free transcript.
So, today’s an interesting episode, because of works as a brickie, and aside from this, is a world champion in karate. So, we get to talk about both those things, although today’s episode just focuses on being a brick, laying bricks, working in Australia as a tradie, how to do that how to find a job doing that, working as a brickie, a tradeie, a sparkie, whatever the trade is. If you’re a trader from overseas, there’s a lot of content in today’s episode that will hopefully help you with regards to things like getting paid, what to look out for with bosses, and how to avoid dodgy jobs, as well as what it’s like working with Aussie blokes. Quite often I hear from other listeners, as well as Australians that I know, that Aussie trendy blokes tend to be pretty brutal with their… the way that they joke around on the work site. So, there’s lots of jokes. They hang shit on each other, as we say, which means “to tease” each other, and Rhys talks quite a bit about this and what it’s like and how you should view it, especially if you’re a foreigner and you’re not used to these kinds of jokes. Rhys into a bit of depth talking about that.
Anyway guys, the intro has gone long enough. I’m looking forward to bringing you this interview with Rhys. So, Rhys, take it away. Let’s get into it.
Let’s see, one, two, one, two. All right, guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. I’m at my uncle, auntie, and cousins’ Christmas party. We’ve just had a few beers, had some… what do we have? Meat, veggies.
A bit of potato salads.
And then some fruit salad for dessert.
And I got my cousin Rhys here, my little cousin Rhys. How old are you now, Rhys?
23. So, seven years younger than me. But Rhys has become, I guess, you would say… you`re still a bricklayer or you’re not a bricklayer anymore? A brickie.
Yeah, so I still do bricklaying, but I work with a landscaper. So, I still get to do it every so often, but more like laying pavers, a little bit of everything, do a bit of everything in, like, the trade sense.
And aside from that, you’re a world champion martial artist as well.
Yeah, yeah. So, when I was a bit… was like 17, I won the World Cup in karate, and I’ve been doing karate for 12 years. So…
Yeah, so that was the main reason I wanted to get you on to talk about being a brickie and how that got started, and then to talk about, obviously, karate and where it’s taken you. So, can we talk about bricklaying? How on earth did you end up doing that? And was that something you always wanted to do or did you just fall into a trade after you finished high school?
So, for me I wasn’t very keen on school. There was a program like TAFE, where was every Wednesday you’d go and do like a trowel trade. So, I did bricklaying, bit of plastering, bit a rendering, bit of any sort of trade with a trowel, like tiling, and stuff like that as well, and I got… I was really good at bricklaying. I just sort of had a knack for it. And then I got offered a job showed on the spot, and I was about… I think I was 15, but my parents said, “No, you gotta stay in at least finish year 10 when I was 16”. So, then straightaway after that I did another course where every Wednesday for a year I would go into two bricklaying, and then I left school and got a job, pretty much instantly I met a guy at the doctors. Actually, he was a brickie. And then, I liked the trade. It was like fun for me to do and I was good at it. So, I sort of just fell into it like that by talking to the guy. And then yeah, just took off from there, did an apprenticeship, and yeah.
So, what kind of skills do you need to have if you want to be a bricklayer, especially a successful bricklayer? What are the kind of attributes or skills that are required or that you have to develop as your learning?
I think it’s more like the… I think a lot of people get caught up with the actual laying of the bricks. It’s not actually that difficult to lay bricks. It’s more about setting everything up and working… like time management. So, you know, working out which walls you want to tackle first. If it’s hot and, you know, the Australian summer, you want to be on the shade side and sort of work your way around following the shade, rather than sitting in the sun, ’cause, you know, it’s going to take a toll on you, you gonna get tired and things like that. So, I think it’s more about being smarter, not so much just thinking about I have to lay as many as many bricks as possible. Doing it the most efficient way possible. Also, obviously, you need to be physically fit. If you can’t, you know, lift a wheelbarrow full of mud or a wheelbarrow full of bricks, it`s going to make the job… your life a lot harder and just generally be motivated, when you get to work, you get there, you do your eight hours, and then you go home.
That’s crazy. So, what kind of numbers are we talking? With like how many bricks you’ve laid in a single day? Are we talking hundreds or thousands?
So, usually the… like, the standard you want to get to is 400 per person per day. That’s usually the standard. You can lay more. So, if there’s a group, we used to have a group of three, we’ll be aiming for about fifteen hundred per day, depending on the walls, though. So, if you’ve got a nice long straight wall, no windows, things like that in there, you’ll aim for a bit higher, ’cause you don’t, have any sort of the obstacles in the way. If you got a house with like windows, stuff like that, you might aim for a bit low, you might be trying to get your 400 or stuff like that per day, but that’s generally usually about 400 a day’s the goal, but if you get more or you get a little bit less, it’s sort of just depends on the walls and stuff like that.
And is it pretty competitive with the other guys? Like, who can reach this number first or get the most done first?
It kind of does, especially like as an apprentice because you kind of like have that sense that you want to prove yourself. So, a lot of the times you will race with like your boss and you’ll try to lay more bricks. But usually what happens is, because you know you’re not physically used to doing that much labour and that much work, the next day you might lay 500 on Monday, and then Tuesday you might lay 300 because, you know, your hands sore or your arms are sore, stuff like that, ’cause you’ve been working quite hard. So, it’s more about consistency as well. So, if you consistently can lay 400 each day, it’s kind of better than going, well, I lay 1000 on the first day, but couldn’t get to work the next day, ’cause I was too tired or, you know, too sore.
Was that something that shocked you too? Was it… and did it take a long time to work up the strength to be able to do, you know, days where you have to lay 400 bricks, and then the next and the next day? Do people go in and burn themselves out by trying to play too much at once? And is it something that takes years to develop or is it a lot quicker?
Enjoying Aussie English?
Support AE on Patreon today so I can bring you even better content!
I found from… ’cause obviously as an apprentice like if… when you`re an apprentice you pretty much do all the labouring and all the… you do the crappy jobs, basically. Once you start getting onto basically what, as a brickie you get called, you get to sit on the line, which basic means you’re lying all the bricks. It took about maybe a month of doing that every day for me to actually get used to being able to lay, you know, three to four hundred bricks consistently every day, more just my wrists and my actual hands, ’cause having to grab the bricks and hold them each day, and pick up a trail of mud every day, like your wrists get really sore from doing that, and your shoulders. But, yeah, about a month it took me to get… to sort of get used to it, because I suppose just doing it every day, you don’t really have a chance to have a break, whereas if you have a break, and then, you know, just try and start again, you sort of lose that muscle memory and that strength. So, yeah, it’s just basically took about a month, I think. So, if you did it for a month and you can practice and get that chance, actually sit on the line each day, it’ll… you’ll get… your body will adapt to be able to do that every day.
Crazy. And so, living in Australia is it… Is it interesting for you that you would imagine living in such a, you know, quote- unquote “well-off country” where everyone is highly educated that there are more and more young men going to trades these days? And what are the main things pulling them away from say going to university for another 10 bloody years to get a degree or a Master’s and a PhD? What are the main things pulling people towards say, you know, not even finishing high school, but ending up with a job like being a brickie or a sparkie or a chippy?
I think because you can be quite successful with it, and it’s not so much about the education, it’s more about the fact that, as you said, you know, six or seven years studying and there’s no real guarantee in a good job. So, it makes it kind of like… especially for me it was lucky, because my… I have, you know, well, I’ve got you, I got my older brother as well, who before I’d even left school were already in university, and I knew people who were in university, and they’d finish and struggling to get a job and, you know, we have Meg who she lives in Sydney and she finished, you know, a double degree.
This is my cousin for context, Megan. So, she came over from Canada and did a degree here, but couldn’t find a job.
So, you know, and I had that sort of benefit of going, well… I can still do all those studies at university, but there’s no real guarantee, whereas a trade, they always need tradies … you know what I mean?
Houses need to be built.
That’s it, you know what I mean? People want to live in houses. They need to be built. Someone’s got to do it. And you can still be really successful in doing that, and, I mean, eventually, if you play your cards right and you work hard, you do… probably… eventually, you don’t actually have to be on the tools. You can go and quote jobs and have a set group of workers, and they’re going to be doing the job for you, and then you don’t actually have to be on the tools, but you still are a bricklayer, you know, or you still are a sparky, but you don’t actually have to do all the manual labor. You still might go in each day, you know, some… here and there to get a job done if you need a few extra guys or something like that, but you can eventually get off the tools and, you know, you can still be earning really good coin as opposed to, you know, you might spend six or seven years, and then you might not even get a job for another two years or something like that.
That’s exactly it.
So, is that their main aim too of most tradies these days? It’s not to be like the old school guys? You know, when we were growing up a lot of my friends’ parents were these, you know, say, old Greek or Italian dudes who were brickies and had worked for 50 years in that job and their bodies were just totally torn up, and, you know, they just… they, you know, couldn’t sit down without being in pain. Is there more of an educated sort of take on that these days and trying to get you out of using tools for your entire life, and more towards say like managing your own business and having your own guys, than, yeah, just sticking to the tools and smashing it out your entire life?
I think… I mean, I’m not… I can only speak from my generation, cause a lot of my friends are tradies that pretty much everybody that I know who is a tradie is roughly around my age, you know, give or take, that is generally the goal, is to get to a point where either you’re running your own business and you’re not on the tools, and you sort of… you choose to go when you want to or if you need a few extra people just to, you know, get a job done or whatever, to help lift something, then you might pop in. Or the other instance is to become a project manager or a site foreman where the physical labor isn’t there. Okay, it’s a lot more mental strain, because you’ve got to be organising, you know, six or seven blokes, and making sure that everyone’s making their quota, you’re making money and they’re making money, and also the business itself is making money. Or, yeah, you go into more like a commercial side of thing, where you’re a foreman or, you know, you’re site supervisor, something like that where the labor intense side is not… it’s not going to basically, as you said, you’re not working for 50 years doing that trade and absolutely be wrecked by the end of it.
I know for a fact that everybody that I know that’s a tradie, that’s the goal, and it’s basically just taking the steps that you need to do towards that. You know, it’s not going to happen overnight. You’re not going be doing it at, you know, 23 or something like that. It’s more looking at 30, 35 when you’ve got a family and stuff like that. So, you’re not having to do all that physically demanding labor that’s going to, you know, limit you to be able to play with your kids, you know, play a bit of footy with the kids or, you know, take them swimming and stuff like that or, you know, being able to actually be active at that age rather than, you know, slugging it out, and you still might make a lot of good money, but you can’t really enjoy life afterwards.
I was going to get on to too talking about foreigners who have come over to Australia and could potentially obviously do these jobs or maybe they did these jobs in their home countries. Would you encourage listeners who are potentially not living in Australia to come over here and take up bricklaying or continue doing this job over here? Is it easy enough for foreigners to get into as well?
I find… to be honest, I mean, I’m only speaking from the people that I’ve work with who are foreigners, whether they be from England, from India, from, you know, Asia, any sort of like place that they actually work a lot harder because… especially if they’re trying to get citizenship here or residency that there’s a lot more on the line for them. For us, it’s, you know, it’s just a pay cheque.
You know, you might not get as much as you got last week, ’cause you, you know, you didn’t work hard enough or you know… I think we take it for granted how lucky we are that there’s so much work available and it’s so easy to get, like, especially if you’re working in the trade, it’s pretty impossible not to get a job, you know? If you really want to work, you’ll find something. You just gotta be wanting to do , you know, the harder job sometimes to then maybe get, you know… do the harder jobs for a few months, and then is going to lead into something that’s going to make, you know, a lot better, or… I mean, and if you’ve got the trade background, so if you are, you know, a brickie in your own country and you’re thinking maybe you’ll come over here for some work, I mean, generally, most of the time they work a lot harder, and they’re… you know, there’s no skill difference. It’s more just about getting out there and, you know, putting yourself out there to get the jobs rather than just, you know, chucking out a few messages. You’ve got to actively seek the jobs. If you drive past a job site or if you go on a train pass a job site, pop in, let them know that you’re looking for work, and they’ll probably, you know… tradies know tradies. So, I might not know somebody to, you know, for… looking for brickies, but I know a friend of a friend who’s a brickie who needs, you know, blokes to help him out. So, there’s always ways of getting, you know, people who are always asking for, you know, extra blokes for work and stuff like that. So, if you talk to one bloke, you know, they’re going to be… surely know somebody who needs an extra hand.
And what sort of advice would you have for them for coming to Australia? Say, they’re the best bricky in the world, they get the job, they come to the site, but they feel like they don’t mix well with the people there or they can’t communicate with them as well as they’d like. I have that… I’ve heard that from a few friends before, where they say they just seemed to be teased quite a bit or that they just don’t understand the slang or the accents. What kind of advice would you have for those people on how to learn the language or better fit in as well in these kinds of sites? Should they take this kind of stuff seriously with regard to like say being teased? Just do you wanna talk about that for a sec?
I think, for me, like, majority of the time, for… especially like in a trade atmosphere, there is a lot of… I won’t really call it “bullying”, because it’s all in good fun. Like, it’s very… I mean, me speaking personally, I’ve been on loads of different sites, with loads different crews, that majority of the time, everyone’s just taking the piss. We’re just having a bit of a laugh, sometimes it gets a little bit personal, and generally for me, I usually just… whoever’s, you know, sort of takes it a bit to far, just take them to the side afterwards like, not in front of everybody else, and say, “Look, I don’t really appreciate you talking like that”, you know, or “mentioning stuff like that”. I’m all for a laugh and, you know, if you make a mistake or you slip over in the mud or something like that and you get your clothes dirty, look, I’m all for a laugh. You know, if you want to make a bit of fun of me and stuff like that, I just… you know, I’ll laugh with you. It’s funny. We get over it, and stuff like that, but I feel like if it ever gets taken a bit too far, just to talk to the person who did, one on one, don’t do it in a group, and stuff like that, and just sort of address it, and just say, “look, I don’t appreciate it”. Like, I’m all… job sites are meant to be fun. You’re meant to have a bit of a laugh and, you know, take the piss a little bit with each other, but if it sort of oversteps boundaries a bit, I feel like you should just, yeah, talk to the person who did it and just let them know that you don’t appreciate it, and, you know, generally, most of the time tradies are pretty good. Sometimes, you know, in the heat of the moment, you might get… say something that, you know, you shouldn’t have said, and generally, they’re probably agreeing with what you’re saying. It’s probably just the best option to talk to them about it. You know, one on one. Just sit… you know, after it happens, or at the end of the day, or at the start of the next day, just let to them know. That’s probably the way I would say. Whenever I’ve had an issue with somebody, I’ve always sort of spoken to them, like, personally, after work or the next day in the morning.
I guess, that’s an important thing to know too that it’s not just unique to foreigners, getting say, you know, teased by Australian blokes. It is just that you guys tend to do this to one another, and it’s an important thing, I guess, yeah, is… it’s almost like telling kids at school not to react to bullies, because it’s almost like people are testing you to see how you’re going to react. And they… I think, for me at least, most of the time I’ve been in these environments people are looking to see that you can take a joke and that they can… they want to see if they can press your buttons, right? And you need to try not to show them that it’s affecting you. But it is… yeah, if it does get that bad, always either talk the person or talk to the manager or someone.
Enjoying this episode?
Get the bonus content for this episode with quizzes and vocab breakdown!
Yeah, yeah, exactly.
But what advice would you have to for the language and how to fit in learning the language that’s spoken? ‘Cause, I know that it is pretty… it’s a lot more full of slang than say the… you know, what I would experience at university or in a job in a café or something. What would you… what sort of advice would you have if you had an Indian bricklayer come and work with you, and he said to you, “I want to speak about how you guys speak?”. Do you have any advice for those sorts of people?
I think if you… exactly what you said, if they actually are… come up and ask, and say, “look…”, I know for 100% for me if we had, you know, anybody who… I mean, I’ve lived overseas and stuff like that before, and I have to explain sometimes what I’m speaking about or talking about just because…
Even to native English speakers, right?
Yeah, even to native… You know, I’ve lived in England and even the people who speak English they would struggle understanding what I was trying to convey sometimes, just because of the… you know, you slip into your slang and they don’t really understand what you’re saying, but I think like, yeah, the golden rule is if you approach someone and say, “look, I want to learn to speak the slang and understand what you guys are talking about”… because even for me, like, some people that I meet, I’m like “what?”, like, I don’t understand what they’re saying, and then, you know, usually, I’ll just ask them and it clicks and it kind of like makes sense. So, if you ask the people that you know, especially, if you get hired I will just talk to the boss and say, “look, I want to learn the slang and, you know, I want to approach them more” or approach to the guy to say, “Look, you know, if I… can I… is it okay if I ask, you know, if I don’t understand or something like that what you’re saying and you can explain it to me”, then, you know, that’s like you’ve already gone leaps and bounds in terms of understanding the slang, because, as I said, sometimes I don’t understand what people are saying. So, it’s just more about, yeah, just ask, if you don’t understand what they’re saying or, you know, just approach them beforehand at the start of the day. And then maybe they can even just give you a few things that they already say off the top of their head, yeah, and explain it, that way you already sort of have a rough idea.
Exactly, and I think that goes for any area that you working in in Australia. I would say try and pay attention to these things. Ask someone. Don’t just let it slip by, because you won’t pick it up if you have to constantly keep sort of going past, and then, you know, take a note of it and try using it. Try saying it the next day. Don’t be afraid of saying it incorrectly, ’cause I’m sure that even, you know, wherever you work if someone was to say something incorrectly, you’re just going to have a sort of laugh and a giggle, correct them, and then move on.
Yeah. If anything, I think it kind of adds to the camaraderie, you know?
And that you can take a joke and the people can take the piss.
Yeah, exactly, like a lot of a…. the workplace I work at the moment, pretty much everybody has a nickname. Like, one of the guys has a nickname he mumbles a lot. So, we call him “Mumbles”, and it’s stuck, like, you know, like glue. So, you know, I wouldn’t take it as a bad thing if you, you know, muddle up a… some sort of slang that you’re trying to use, because it’s going to end up being your nickname, and it’s got to actually, if anything, it’s going to put you more within the group rather than push you away.
I think that goes with teasing a bit too, right? If people don’t tease you, it’s almost like you should probably… in these kinds of environments, potentially be a bit worried, because I remember being at jiu-jitsu and asking one of the guys there, “Why are you constantly making fun of me, mate? Like, do you not like me? Or like, is there something I can do, you know, to fit in better?”, and he’s like, “Mate, we do! That’s why we’re teasing. If we didn’t like you, we wouldn’t talk to you”.
Yeah, exactly, and I think that’s like… I mean, I know for like the boss that I work with, I’m like… we’re really quite close with him, and generally, if we…, I mean there’s me, the boss, and another guy who are sort of the main three workers, and basically, if we’re not making fun of you and including you in the jokes, we might… I mean, it might be more directed at you or something like that, but I wouldn’t take it personally, I would think that, if anything, you’re more included. And, I mean, you know, I get teased all the time at work as well, but you know, everybody knows that we can take a joke and give it back as well. So, if you are getting included by being, you know… it’s kind of… I won’t really like to use the word “bullying” and “tease”. It’s more just like you just having a bit of fun, and, you know, just if you noticed something like, you know, I wore a T-shirt that said “Rockstar” on it, so then I became “Rockstar Rhys”. So, you know, it was a thing to be but then it kind of like… it kind of stuck as a nickname and then now it’s funny, you know what I mean? And we all laugh about it, and then if I ever wore it again everyone would be like, “Hey, rock star!”.
I think there’s a very Australian thing to is learning to take a joke and not take stuff too seriously, and you should be able to tell when to take it seriously and when not to. But that’s, I guess, something that you have to kind of learn if you come from a completely different culture, it can be a bit of a shock sometimes, but I think, yeah, you have to come into it knowing, alright, Australians have a sense of humour and they like to joke with one another, especially, their closest friends will usually cop the brunt of these kinds of jokes, and if they don’t joke with you, they probably don’t like you very much.
Yeah, exactly. I think you, yeah, you’ve hit the nail on the head there where it’s exactly… exactly what you’re saying. If you’re not getting included in jokes with… I mean, all of my friends… I’m a short person, and all my friends always tease me about it, you know. Like…Oh, whatever we’re… if we’re going out shopping, they’ll… “Oh, man! There’s room in the six-year-old girl’s or something like that for you.”.
And then you remind them that you’re a black belt in karate and kick the shit out of them.
Exactly, you know, and that’s just the way things work. You know, I’ve got a mate who is… he’s… I mean, he’s quite heavyset. So, whenever we go, “Oh, mate, I don’t know if you’re allowed in the lift as well with us. You know, “It’s going to be too heavy”, and stuff like that. But, you know, it’s because he’s my mate that I do that, you know? I wouldn’t just walk up to somebody who, you know, who’s on the heavier side and just tell them that if I don’t know who they are.
And if you were actually worried that they were too heavy to get in the lift, you probably wouldn’t say anything. You just wouldn’t go in the lift.
Exactly, but I suppose, especially for a construction site side of thing, exactly what you said. If you’re not sort of being included in the jokes and, you know, even a little bit directed at you or directed to other people, you’re more included in the group. So, I wouldn’t take it to heart, and most of the things that are said on the job site are, you know, they’re just throw away comments, you know. They just say them.
Do you have any other do’s and don’ts, I guess, for working on a job site in Australia, especially if you’ve come from a different culture, speak a different language? And are there things like say, making sure you go to Friday night drinks and that sort of stuff that the listeners should try and do?
Yes. So, if… I mean, especially if you… I mean, if you’re first starting off you might, I mean, if you get like a Friday night drinks, something like that. If they offer you to come, I would say 100 percent you should go, because you’re being asked to come in and join, you know, join the other colleagues, the other workers, and it’s going to… it’s going to make you more including the groups. It’s going to make work life a lot better. I mean, I would say the first time you get invited 100 percent go. Obviously, if it doesn’t work with your schedule you’ve got things to do like after that, then, you know, you might have to miss a couple here and there. But if you… if the first time you definitely get invited, I would say 100 percent you should go just because it’s going to increase that camaraderie and it’s gonna make you more included in the group, and just can make work life a lot better.
What are your thoughts, if you were to start working on a work site and there’s just one guy who constantly doesn’t want to hang out with you outside of work? What does… How does that make you and everyone else there feel too?
I think for me… I don’t really… I’m not really too stressed about it. Sometimes you just don’t get along with some people. Some people are just there, they want to do their job and go home. So, I think, you know, I would always make an effort. You know, I’ll try to make an effort and most days. If I’m going out somewhere with a couple of guys from work, I’ll always invite as many people as I can, ’cause, you know, it’s just what you do. If you’re going out for a couple of beers after work, if you’re right near a pub, we invite everybody. If anyone wants to come down, we gonna have a couple drinks, you know, you’re more than welcome too.
And this is probably the most important thing if you’re from an overseas country and you want to make Australian friends, it’s make sure you socialise with these people.
Yeah, I mean, even if, you know, as you’re saying, if you’re struggling to understand what people are saying and stuff like that, just being there is going to make it, you know, it’s going to take a whole lot better. Just, you know, by having a presence there, you know, you’ll get included into things, they’ll invite you out, you know, just… just being there is going to be, you know, so much better than if you’re not.
And if for no other reason, but to practice your English.
Exactly, you know, you’re going to get a really good opportunity to practice your English, and I suppose you’re on… not even on a job site or someone that, you’re having beers, it’s gonna be even better opportunities to go, “Oh, look, what do you mean by this? Or, you know, I am saying this right? Or something like that, ’cause it’s a less more … you know, when you’re at work, you’ve got things to do. So, you can’t stop people and ask them, “Is it… Am I saying this correctly?” ’cause you got, you know, you’ve got certain things you have to get done for the day. Whereas, you’re having a couple of beer you can sit there and talk for 20 minutes about, you know, this is the way you say it, this way, and, you know, whatever it might be.
And so, I guess, a few more little housekeeping things about being a tradie in Australia. What was it like when you first started with regards to pay, and how’s it ended up today? Like, for people interested in wanting a career in Australia, what kind of income can they get as an Australian bricklayer when they start all the way up to where you’re at currently?
So, it depends on the age. So, if you… I mean, I’m assuming most people would be moving to Australia or trying to become a resident of Australia, they’re are going to be over the age of 21, which will make you a mature age student. So, I’m not exactly sure on the exact pay of a mature student, but I’m close to sure… say, I think is about 700 a week and that’s on a wage. And that’s… if you’re a first year or second year, sorry a first year, and then I think the increase isn’t as much as if you were younger. So, for me, I started on about 360 dollars a week, as a first year, but then, the jump was big. It was up to like, you know, 500 for when I was a second year. So, I think the jumps are less frequent, but because you’re obviously a mature aged, you got rent, you got food, you’ve got, you know, your car, you’ve got more bills and stuff to pay. They start you off quite high, and then the jump isn’t as big. If you’re a qualified bricklayer, you can pretty much expect to get about close to 350 to 400 a day. And that’s if you’re a subcontractor. If you’re on a wage, it might be a bit different, because they have to include things like super, tax, and your annual leave, and things like that. So, it might be a little bit less, but in the long run it means less stress for you about having to work out your own tax and what you get is what you take home, as opposed to if you’re subcontracting you need to have a bit of a… manage your money a little bit better where you need to save a little bit for your tax, maybe put away more for your super, and if you need any insurances you have to pay for that as well. Whereas, if you’re on wages, you’re covered under the boss. So, it kind of depends on which way you go. If you’re starting out and they don’t know who you are, maybe you’ll probably get put on a little bit less, and then, once you prove yourself, you can sort of… you’ll either get a bonus or you can ask for more money. And most bosses are pretty… pretty ok with you speaking to them about a pay rise and stuff like that. Generally, the way I always go about if I feel like I want more money, is I approach my boss, whoever it may be, and I ask them what do I need to be doing to be getting more money?
And I explain my thoughts, and then I get theirs back, and you just basically talk them like, you know, a person. Don’t go in there saying you want more money, sort of demanding it. You just sort of ask, “look, I want more money. What can I be doing?”, and then, they’ll have a few list of things that they would want you to be doing, or they might have a few things they want you to be doing better. Maybe you’re doing all the work, but it’s just quite not up to scratch. So, it’s just a couple of those things that you could do to, you know, increase your chance of getting a pay rise or getting more money, but in the terms of bricklaying, as long as you land the bricks straight and everything is good, it’s just about the quantity you’re putting in per day, depending on whether, you know, you peers and stuff like that, there’s all sorts of different variations to the way you get paid. But generally, yeah I would just say talk to your boss, you know. If you’ve done three months and you saw in the same wage and you’re qualified, just ask them, “Look, I… you know, I want to get more money. What can I… what steps can we do to make this happen?” sort of thing, because if you getting paid more money, you’re obviously making him more money. So, it’s better for him in the long run anyway.
And so what kind of things do people need to look out for too so that they’re not taken advantage of? If they’re… if they come over here to Australia and get a job as a bricklayer and say, instead of being given a wage or on a contract, they’re being paid cash-in-hand. Are there any things that you would say, “Make sure that this isn’t happening” or “Make sure that you’re getting this”?
I think if you… for one, if you get a contract, read it. And, you know, go through it and if you don’t understand, get somebody who is, you know, competent in English, and who can read it and understand it. Maybe they speak your language and then they can convey it back to you, because you don’t want to sort of get any hidden clauses or anything like that, or something they might say, you know, if you make a mistake once, you’re gone, and they don’t have to give you any notice. So, if you got a contract there, just make sure you read it and understand it. If you don’t have a contract and you’re getting paid cash, it’s a bit dicey, because you’re not in… You don’t have a contract and you don’t…you’re not on their books, so they can pretty much… the work’s going to be very…. if there’s no work on, you’re not going to be getting a day’s work. So, if you’re getting paid cash, I’d be prepared that I’ll maybe have a backup, a plan B. So, if you’re getting paid cash and the job’s good, even just, you know, keep in touch with your boss and just say “Look, can you just let me know if work’s going to go quiet and give me like a week’s notice, so I can, you know, sort something out?”, rather than him just saying, “Look, tomorrow, there’s nothing on you for the next four weeks.”.
And you’re caught with your pants down.
Yeah, and you just, you know, you’re in a bit of a pickle. So, I would have had to have a plan B. So, you know, I’d always be sort of looking out and seeing if there’s anybody… especially, if you’re getting paid cash. If you’re getting paid cash and you can have a look on, you know, things like Gumtree or, you know, any sort of classifieds, and see if there is anybody who needs brickies. And just call them, you know? You just call them and say, “Look, I’m a brickie at the moment, what are you offering? I’m put in this many per day”, and most blokes will give you a trial, a day trial. If you live up to what your expectations are or, you know, what you’ve said you’re going to do. So, if you say “Look, I’m going to put in 400 a day on the straight wall”, you know, every day. If you’re doing it, then you know you can pretty much make sure if you’re saying, “Look, I want 350 a day” or whatever it might be, you’re probably going to get it. So long as you’re not going to say “Look I’ll put 600 in a day” and you know, you only getting 300. Then you need to live within your means. So, if you can do this every day and, you know, you’re… he’s happy with you doing that, he’s happy to pay you that, then, you know, you’re going to be able to do that easier, I suppose, rather than if you just sort of work with one bloke and sort of put a lot of trust in them, especially, if you’re getting paid cash, it’s very likely that they’ll just…as soon as… basically, as soon as they… it’s costing them money to have you, you’re gonna get the flick.
And so, I guess before we switch on karate, out of all the trades, what would you say are the benefits and the cons, I guess, the pros and the cons of doing each one of these, and which one, if you could start from scratch, would you pick? You’ve got being a bricky, bricklayer, chippy, carpenter, dunny diver, plumber, and then I say, a sparkie, an electrician. Out of all of those which have it best?
I think it sort of depends on whether you’re talking about domestic or commercial. I think brickies, physically, have it the hardest, just because it’s not always, you know… other trades have to do really physically parts of their job, whereas ours consistently every day you’re going to be doing a hard job. It might not be the hardest, you know, you might not have to be lifting up, you know, 200 kilo beams as a, you know, a chippy or something like that help out to, you know, do a second level floor, but every day is going to be putting in at least, you know, 300 to 400 bricks a day. So, every day you gonna come home and you’ll be tired.
Just this consistent labor.
Consistent labor, yeah, exactly. Chippies, I think, it’s quite good. If you’re…you know, some days you might be doing a lot of finishing off. So, it’s not as physically demanding. It’s the more technical side. But then other days, you know, you might be putting up frames and lifting up whole walls and stuff like that. So, it’s physically demanding. Plumbing, I mean, yeah, it’s, you know, dunny divers. It’s a bit of a… pardon the pun, “shit job”.
But, that’s for me, I mean, there’s so many different aspects of plumbing, and all trades really, that you got to look for… but, if you’re doing a domestic trade, you’re going to be dealing with toilets and stuff like that. So, if you’re not a big fan of bad smells and things like that, there’s obviously a downside to that. I think, in my opinion, probably sparkies are the best, just because of one: you don’t have to carry around a lot of tools. So, getting from job to job, it’s not as physically demanding just having to pick up all your stuff. You know, you can carry a bag around with screwdrivers, your pliers, you know, and various other things like that. You can chuck it all and toolbelt and you’re ready to go. And also, I mean, the only real downside is if you’re going to get zapped. But I mean, generally nowadays the safety standards are quite high. So, it’s very few and far between.
Awesome, awesome, man. We should just quickly switch onto Karate, I guess.
Alright, guys, so I hope you enjoyed that episode. Remember, get the free download via TheAussieEnglishPodcast.com. You should be able to find the link in the description for today’s episode to this episode where you can get the transcript and you can get the MP3. You can download them both, and you can read and you can study this episode.
Remember, listen a few times if you’re having a little bit of trouble catching everything that Rhys says. It’s good practice, because there are a lot of Australians who speak like this especially blokes who work as tradies. Okay? Your rougher Australians.
So, also remember, if you would like to study today’s episode in more depth, sign up to The Aussie English Classroom where you get all the bonus content for today’s interview episode, and you also get all the bonus content for all the previous interviews. So, the whole point of that section, that course, in The Aussie English Classroom is to give you access to different accents in Australian English. You have a listening comprehension quiz that you go through as you listen to an excerpt for about 5 to 10 minutes from this interview, and have to answer those questions, and you get a mark at the end for that quiz to see how well you were able to understand what was being said. And then also, you get to study in depth the different vocab, the different expressions, and the little bits of English like, “you know”, “like”, “um”, those sorts of interesting parts of the English language that aren’t often focused on. I love talking about why and when they are used by native speakers. So, if you want to study this interview in depth, make sure you sign up to The Aussie English Classroom, and remember, it’s just $1 for the first 30 days. I’ll see you in there, guys.
Once again, big thanks to my little cousin Rhys for chatting to me about being a brickie and what it’s like in Australia working as a tradie.
Remember guys, there will be another episode in the near future where Rhys continues chatting to me about what it’s like doing karate, what it’s like being a world champion in karate, and how he ended up doing that, and where it’s taken him today. So, he’s actually just left Australia to live overseas and follow his career teaching karate. So, he’s actually left being a bricklayer behind and he’s now teaching karate full-time.
Anyway, I look forward to giving you that episode in the future, guys. Stay tuned and I’ll see you next Wednesday for another interview episode. Catch you later, guys.
Struggling to understand and speak Australian English?
I’ve created the perfect solution.
Each course is a comprehensive English lesson covering these areas:
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.Post Views: 3,785