jennycdrew

HOUZZ CALL: What strange household habits put Australia on the map?

Jenny Drew
4 years ago

For an upcoming global story, we're looking for the weird and wonderful household habits of our Australian Houzzers, so that we can share them proudly with the rest of the world.

Russians, for example, use newspapers to clean windows, and no country is as fond of whacking their thongs together to get rid of sand like the Aussies.

Share your unusual (but genius) household habits below. It can be anything from bbqs in the front yard and strange ideas for clothes lines to a water-saving tips passed down for generations.

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Comments (70)

  • olldroo
    4 years ago

    Aussie households aren't "strange" we are 'RESOURCEFUL"!!!

    I don't think using newspapers to clean windows is limited to Russia either, I've used it many a time and just the fact we own and use clothes lines IS Aussie. We invented the rotary clothes line and when it comes to saving water we also invented the dual flush toilet.

    Australians are innovative, we don't just do things to be quirky, we go the extra mile to change lives. We have invented things like permanent creased clothing, the electric drill, the first ice making refrigerator and the power board. We even invented the wine cask to make drinking easier and of course the mandatory styrene holder to keep a stubby cold. We invented wi fi and away from the home we are world leaders in medical science. We even invented the black box flying recorder.

    Best Answer
  • olldroo
    4 years ago

    Nothing like Cocky's Joy and damper - beats marshmallows around a campfire any day.

  • LouieT
    4 years ago

    My mum used to use 'blue bags' to whiten whites in the washing & she had a bottle with a rubber stopper that had holes in the metal cap that she used to dampen the clean washing down & roll it up before ironing & she ironed EVERYTHING!

    If we got sunburnt we were told to wash the area with soda water & apparently tomatoes took the sting out too. What about vinegar for blue bottle stings? I think they use ice now. We always had a bottle of pink calamine lotion for itches like mozzie bites & mozzie coils to repel them.

    My dad had a bbq made from a plough disc, it was a concave disc made of steel with a hole in the middle for the fat to drain and sat on top of a 44 gallon drum with a hole cut out at the bottom for air flow. We also used it for the back yard incinerator to burn anything like newpaper etc... laws against that now...

    Pawpaw ointment is a wonderful aussie ointment for everything from burns to dry lips. Nothing strange about any of these things to me...except the ironing routine ;)))

  • snow_momma
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    So, who here uses pegs to keep open packets closed?

    For example - cereal, rice, sugar, bags of jatz crackers??

    I seem to loose tupperware containers like socks in the washing machine, so I have given up buying plasticware. I just close the bag/packet with a peg.

    Simples!

  • olldroo
    4 years ago

    Pegs are good.

  • havingfun
    4 years ago

    those blue bags were a bluing agent made whites look whiter, they don't sell any more like old fashioned water softener. There is a mr. clean it that was always using these things, but you can not find them anymore.

  • Vicky Small
    4 years ago
    Having an esky ( or three) in almost every house that are used as an extra seats at barbies. Cutting up a full cold watermelon and spitting out the seeds when it's a hot, hot day, putting sliced beetroot on hamburgers, pies and tomato sauce and Vegemite on toast and the Pav with passionfruit are Aussie specialties. Heading to the beach in summer, watching the footy on TV, following the Bathurst car races, and playing cricket in the yard or the middle of the road using the garbage bin as a wicket and driving round on Christmas Eve to see the Christmas lights. Having a lemon tree and a chook or two in the backyard, swinging from the rotary clothesline, plastic bottles of water to keep the dogs off the front lawn (did it ever work?), sharing extra veggies (always zucchinis)with the neighbours in the street, cutting bunches of NSW Christmas bush and agapanthus for the house at Christmas time, using Eucalyptus oil to get everything clean and Vaseline to get everything working properly. And when asked where we come from saying Straya.
  • dohraime
    4 years ago
    I do pegs in packets, snow-momma.
  • havingfun
    4 years ago

    Ok vicky I give you some of that, but not all. Some are just hot weather or beach things, born and raised in FL, I know.

    1. Watermelon and spitting seeds - heck when i was pregnant, we had a preordained slot in the fridge for the watermelon, minimum 3 a week.

    2. Every Sunday took my son to the beach. til I was 18, every sunday on the boat to a better beach- well parents thought so anyway.

    3. Back home mom had lime, orange and grapefruit trees, I had a kalamundin tree.

    Oh and Christmas lights, every year, at least one night.

    Are the beets cooked or raw?

  • telperien
    4 years ago
    Don't forget the old outhouses with the choko vines.
    The aussie bush flies have had significant effects - from the corks on the hats, to fly veils (for horses and people) , to the windows and doors with fly screens, to the "Great Aussie Salute". I went for a walk this morning and exhausted my arm muscles! Hubby had 50 or more flies hitching a ride on his back - they are extraordinarily persistent! And of course the bushman's drawl - where people don't open their mouth very much when talking because the flies will get in!
  • havingfun
    4 years ago

    don't know much about outhouses, though i know they had them in md in the 80s. We have fly screens too. don't think even our flies are that bad though. I have always wondered where these people live that have all this open to the outdoors, but no screens? Do they not have mosquitos, deer flies, horse flies, bees, moths, blue bottle, etc.

  • telperien
    4 years ago
    Exactly, havingfun! We get the British show, Grand Designs, and as interesting as it is, I can only assume the Brits can't have many bugs, because the houses often are completely open to any insects who care to walk / fly / crawl in.
  • havingfun
    4 years ago

    Now one thing they did Baltimore, that i never heard of before moving to md, though i thought of doing myself. They used to paint the screens on the houses, apparently makes it more private, just looked really cool!


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  • hevva9
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    The painted screens are a Baltimore thing, like 'zinc' for sink and ladies out scrubbing the marble row house steps in East Baltimore in the early mornings! I know I am back in Oz (I have been transplanted to both the UK & the US ...FL & MD) because there is sliced beet on the burger & a Hill's Hoist rotary clothes line in most suburban back yards and I can get Passionfruit to put on my Pavlova with the other tropical fruit & berries.. You can still buy Bluo which my Mum used in the copper to boil white sheets, we also put it on Bluebottle jellyfish stings. Some Aussie bush homes still have a strip of flypaper hanging in the kitchen. Most of the housekeeping things that are Australian are related to our harsh climate and the long distances we travel as well as brand names like Sunlight soap and Vitawheats . Cookies are biscuits and biscuits are Scones!

  • havingfun
    4 years ago

    yep, tis what i said, but would it not be cool if we all had painted screens. Did you live Eastern shore Md? In small town we had several aussie visitors and a couple lived there. We also used fly strips there, and here in de. Never used in FL though. It is strange how some things relate and others not.

  • hevva9
    4 years ago

    In spite of our flying bugs etc hardly anyone has a screened pool though. I lived in Towson and then in the Highlandtown area of Balto. Love the Eastern Shore. Have a crab cake for me please...Yum

  • stellebelle75
    4 years ago

    What about the Tim Tam Slurp, milo n milk before bed and hot hot summer nights with a ceiling fan clicking in the darkness.

  • chookchook2
    4 years ago

    Unique household custom to Australia? Keeping the fly screen door shut with a

    "Shut the bl. door ya ---------- were ya born in a tent or what?"

  • olldroo
    4 years ago

    I'm afraid I draw the line at a Tim Tam slurp. Chocolate has to be very cold for me.

  • how2girl
    4 years ago
    Going to Bunnings every weekend!
  • chookchook2
    4 years ago

    We don't have a Bunnings in our town, but their three competitors, we do. My family know not to throw out the hardware catalogues, I love them!

  • 7weed1
    4 years ago

    Avocado and Vegemite on toast.

    Anzacs dunked in sweet tea.

    Vanilla Slice cook-off.

    Hmmmm.......... I'm noticing a trend here - they're all food related....

  • chookchook2
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    You can keep all of those, 7weed! I will eat a bit of vanilla slice, although Houzz is making me put on weight due to reduced exercise!

  • olldroo
    4 years ago

    7weed .................... LAMINGTONS .................... you forgot the Lamingtons.

  • havingfun
    4 years ago

    No idea what any of those are, but are not all great cultures judged by their food?

    chook here they say barn, but that is odd since i grew up in the city and we knew little about barns.

  • stellebelle75
    4 years ago

    Checking the underneath of your plastic outdoor chair for redbacks before u start the barbie,

    and shaking out your shoes if they have been sitting outside for any creepy crawlies. Calling into the servo to pick up a couple of bags of ice to chuck in the esky, cos your meeting your mates 'thusarvo' for a couple of snags and a few 'cold ones'.

  • 7weed1
    4 years ago
    Indeed Oldroo, indeed I did.
    AND Lamingtons. ♥
    Chookie how can you not adore avocado and Vegemite? Sad day when Kraft bought Vegemite and changed the recipe. It's nowhere as good as it used to be. And before anybody howls me down.... I once commented to an acqaintance of mine who used to be quite senior at Kraft that it didn't taste right anymore. She replied, quite matter of fact, that they changed the recipe.
    Trust the tastebud, Luke, feel the tastebud. (Skywalker, that is, not Buckle....)
  • olldroo
    4 years ago

    Remember the days of lamington drives? Working all day with coconut and chocolate and probably breaking every health regulation in force today. I'd add a photo except this site won't let me anymore.

  • chookchook2
    4 years ago

    Stelle, I find banging the shoes together, hard, once upside down gets the spiders out more easily. I can so relate to checking the chairs as I'm arachnophobic. 7weed, My kid has gone off Vegemite so I was interested to hear on Houzz this year that the recipe is different. Haven't tried it with avocado. Like Anzac bikkies very much, but not sweet tea, that reminds me of what they used to give for shock.

    Our Agricultural show had a competition in making lamingtons, one year. I think the sponge should be very fresh. Yes, I remember lamington drives through the school and girl guides, but those were commercial ones in packs.

  • bigreader
    4 years ago
    Bringing a plate......

    Often with the family name on tape on the bottom so it can be returned.
  • LouieT
    4 years ago

    What about bringing a plate of pumpkin scones?

    I prefer date scones that my nanna always made for our visit with lots & lots of butter melting on them fresh out of the oven...YUM!

    My other nanna always had Arnott's Honey Jumbles at the ready to go with a cuppa! A curious soft ginger biscuit with crunchy icing half pink & half white...double YUM!

    Flo Bjelke Peterson wife of former Qld premier Joe was famous for offering her pumpkin scones to visiting vip's & he was among other things a peanut farmer known for knocking down historic buildings in the dead of the night during his Premier day's...nothing strange about any of that???

  • chookchook2
    4 years ago

    Flo Bjelke Peterscone was known for her pumpkin variety even in Victoria.

  • LouieT
    4 years ago

    Strange fact from this interesting page of facts...Unusual facts about Australia

    "Alcohol- It has been reported that the first European settlers in Australia drank more alcohol per head of population than any other community in the history of mankind."

  • olldroo
    4 years ago

    Ahhhhh........................... so it is all their fault!!!

  • LouieT
    4 years ago

    Home made Ginger beer was interesting in my childhood home for the fact that it had to be stored safely in case it exploded....I never drank it though I had to help clean up the aftermath of a few accidents...If we were good dad would also make great pikelets with lot's of jam & cream...Triple YUM!

  • telperien
    4 years ago
    I am SOOOoOo hungry right now!
  • jmm1837
    4 years ago

    On the plus side, the Hills Hoist (much better than the old clotheslines
    I knew as a kid in Canada), dual flush toilets and wine casks. On the
    negative side, Vegemite (it's inedible unless you were born here),
    poisonous snakes and spiders, paralysis ticks (nearly killed my dog) and
    road roundabouts (what were you thinking?!). I'm of two minds about
    tin roofs, separate toilets, meat pies and preferential voting.

  • havingfun
    4 years ago

    Now I get the wine cask thing, you are talking about paper boxes not oak casks. are the round abouts the type where you have no light, but go around a circle? or like nj where they have no lefts? Both can be quite the pain. Tin roofs, late 1700s is earliest ref in america. Please please keep the bugs, a tick killed my beautiful pup. Do you have the dreaded coconut crab too?

  • chubbychicky
    4 years ago
    Nope, no coconut crab .....just mud crab with lime, chilli and coconut cream......mmmmmmmm
  • havingfun
    4 years ago

    i bet coconut crabs would make a whole meal if you like that sort of thing?

  • olldroo
    4 years ago

    Havingfun - we invented the plastic bladder that allows for wine to be stored in cardboard casks. Tin roofs can be deafening in a downpour, separate toilets allow for more versatility in bathrooms, especially for families, meat pies take a lot of hard work to burn the calories and don't forget our voting is compulsory too.

    I bet no one else has Balmain Bugs either.

  • havingfun
    4 years ago

    Yeah, that is what i got when i looked it up it just did not clarify the bag or box, oll, thanks. I know tin roofs, we had those in FL, online does not clarify where, but started in 1700s, all over US. Maybe come from england since we both have? Meat pies we have. American is pot pies, spanish - empanadas, i forgot the name for greek and armenian. We fought for the right to vote, but it was forced on you? Can you go to jail? Sounds harsh. Although we normally only have about a 30% show rate. i do not know who they are, but since my guys never win? It isn't people like me. lol

    oh and i don't think we have balmain bugs.

  • olldroo
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I don't look at compulsory voting as being forced on us - just more ensuring people take responsibility. I'm sure the people who fought for the vote would be very upset to think people nowadays don't take it seriously. Of course you don't actually have to cast a vote, just show up, register and write whatever you like on the ballot sheet which will then make your vote informal. Informal votes can still tell a story, like candidates not doing their jobs. Only a $50 fine for not showing up.

    Bugs are Aussie - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibacus_peronii

  • hevva9
    4 years ago

    There's Moreton Bay Bugs as well as The Balmain variety. Yummo.

    And I forgot to mention Christmas beetles, Bushfires, collecting cicadas, Christmas bush, Christmas bells, fake holly decorating a hot Christmas pudding when its 40deg C, and eucalyptus oil as part of my circulating blood volume. Vive la difference and vive les similarities!!! This thread has been such fun. Thanks & cheers to all of youse. (That is said in PA as well, and there are roundabouts in Massachusetts now I come to think of it.)

  • mrjudsonjames
    4 years ago

    Inordinate amounts of seafood for Christmas Day meals!

    And I think it's worth noting @havingfun that although you may be able to relate some of these Australian habits/things used to particular States or towns in America, the Aussies listing them here are talking about things we do as an entire country! So they're perfect suggestions for this post! Lol ;-))

  • havingfun
    4 years ago

    ok, i will go, i just like seeing more in common than disparate, i did not know it was about that. But one last thing before i go, tin roofs are everywhere in america, but we do not like to nominate people to royalty those things, i have discovered kinda rub us wrong. so there is one significant difference.

  • jaydub0
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I freeze any smelly rubbish until bin day - fishy stuff like prawn peelings and meaty wrappers mostly. I do the peg thing too, on the frozen peas mostly :-)

  • snow_momma
    4 years ago

    jdublya...I freeze smelly things too...especially field mice brought in by the cats!! Need to warn guests if I ask them to get something from the freezer !!!

  • jaydub0
    4 years ago

    Haha, I hear you Snow_Momma. I was freezing mice bodies during a plague several years ago and taking them to a wildlife park for their snakes. I had bags of mice in my freezer at that time, hundreds of the little furry suckers.

  • Serena
    4 years ago

    I know the vegemite, kraft discussion was a little while ago- but would just like to add my 2 bobs worth! Kraft bought Vegemite in 1935- so if they changed the recipe you would have to be quite old to remember what it tasted like prior to 1935 ...

  • georgi02
    3 years ago

    What about the good old Lamington drive, kids using the Hills hoist as playground equipment, home made slip and slides made with rolls of plastic liberally dosed with dishwashing liquid to ensure that there'd be tears sooner rather than later. In our house growing up - calamine lotion, tea tree oil worked as cure-all's for just about everything.