Saving Aussie sayings

Posted: February 20, 2013 in Children's fiction, Drongoes, Events
Tags: , ,


Growing up in the bush, I cut my chops on prime Aussie slang.

Life was full of dills and drongoes, drop-kicks and silly galahs, useless buggers who couldn’t run a bath, and funny buggers who claimed to have hit every branch of the ugly tree on the way down.

Language was full of fun and effect. Cheating and stealing were lower than a goanna’s gearbox, and if you were caught in the act, you took off like a choko vine over the back dunny….

Yet these days, using Aussie slang can be a bit like speaking a foreign language to today’s kids. Hands immediately shoot up in the classroom. ‘What’s a dill? What does drongo mean?”

It occurred to me that some Aussie vernacular was in danger of dying a death if someone didn’t do something….so I wrote Drongoes to help breathe some new life into a favourite Aussie expression.

This latest chapter book in Scholastic’s Mates series of great Australian yarns introduces drongoes – (the bird, the word, and the dogged little triers it has come to represent) – to a whole new generation of newly independent readers.

Drongoes will meet its first readers at the Brisbane schools launch at St Ambrose’s, Newmarket, on Sunday 3 March from 3pm.

First reviews are now in – yay! You can read Fran Knight’s review for ReadPlus by clicking here, Dimity Powell’s review for Boomerang Books, by clicking here and Megan Daley’s review and teaching activities at Childrens Books Daily by clicking here.

Teachers Notes can be found at

  1. Angela Sunde says:

    Chris, I read ‘Drongoes’ yesterday while checking out the ‘Mates’ series in a bookshop here in Adelaide. And I thought to myself, hmm, I don’t remember Chris mentioning this. I can’t believe you’ve posted this on your blog today as I was about to leave you a FB message to say the story and your writing is absolutely BRILLIANT! Every little aspect of the language you used had me saying, ‘Oh, that’s really clever.’ So congratulations on a TOP BOOK! xx

  2. Angela Sunde says:

    I forgot to say the other bit of serendipity was I had morning tea at Fran Knight’s house yesterday. She’s delightful! And a very fair reviewer.

  3. […] Drongoes, her illustrated chapter book for newly independent readers,was published by Scholastic. […]

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