Lacking an opinion

There are times when, as a newcomer to Australia, a topic of hot debate is brought up and, while others raise voices, all you can do is raise your eyebrows.

I came across the first example of this last winter when I wore a purple football shirt to a training session with the local veterans’ team. This top, from my hometown non-league football team, Carshalton Athletic, drew heckles from some of my team-mates who suspected it was the maroon (inexplicably, pronounced ‘marown’ here) shirt of Queensland’s State of Origin rugby league side.

If you are reading this with a quizzical expression, I should explain that, once a year, representative sides from Queensland and New South Wales face off in a three-game match series for bragging rights over their neighbour for the next 12 months.

It’s like an international match in that players represent the state they were born in — except there seemed to be a Fijian chap playing last year — and the whole of the eastern half of Australia grinds to a halt to watch and cheer. Of course, if you’re not from here and have no real allegiance — Canberra is neither part of NSW or Queensland, although most locals seem to root for NSW — then the series is likely to leave you cold.

There seems to be a similarly passionate loyalty over the two local car brands, Holden and Ford, particularly their Australian designed and built models (until the factories close next year), the Commodore and the Falcon.

To an outsider, arguing whether Holden or Ford make the better cars seems a little like debating who had the best songs, New Kids On The Block or The Backstreet Boys. In the end it doesn’t matter and you should just go and listen to The Beatles instead. Which is probably what I’ll be doing when the next State of Origin comes around.

4 thoughts on “Lacking an opinion

  1. Kobi says:

    Ahhh new kids on the block… Backstreet boys, showing your age there mate 🙂

    You are of course correct though, as a newcomer to the city and country most of the time you just find yourself listening and trying to take things in.

    Although to be fair I’m finding myself quite opinionated and vocal when discussing Aussie home build quality…

    All the best mate, YNWA



    • You know the other thing that I’ve noticed, is those conversations about just how Aussie your family is — fifth, sixth, seventh generation Aussie. Mini-CBRbound told me he has a class-mate who can trace her ancestry back to the First Fleet. You can’t top that unless your relatives carved their own didgeridoos. Oh and, Aussie build quality… that’s a shocker. Enjoy the cup final and here’s to a win for the reds. Best, Mark


  2. Interesting comments – and I think it takes a long time to have opinions on anything uniquely Australian. A recent example I can use is ‘Aunty Jack’ (you’ll have to google it). My GM was telling me that she might use an Aunty Jack video to illustrate something. I poured cold water on it because it’s just one of those things that is too uniquely Australian for me to have any informed opinion on. (Secretly I just don’t think it’s funny either…but that’s a different matter)

    And on that Maroon question…continually amuses me and you find that a few Aussies do say Maroon (my husband for one). My conjecture is that it comes from the French pronounciation for the colour/fruit thingummy ‘chestnut’ – spelt marron. That’s all I can come up with.


    • I think you’re right, there’s a difference between not being integrated enough to have an opinion (e.g., State of Origin or politics) and taking a step back and asking whether this really matters at all (e.g., Ford vs Holden). As for pronunciation, we knew about ‘daata’ and ‘pro-ject’ but others still catch us off guard, like ‘marown’. Good theory on the latter though.


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