Only in Australia…

Last week BBC News carried a story about a new and unusual land speed record for the fastest motorised toilet.

Stuntwoman Jolene Van Vugt recorded a speed of 75km/h in Sydney, beating the previous record by 7km/h. “I flew into Australia yesterday and came out here to jump straight on the toilet,” she said. “That was so fun and I’m stoked to get the record.” In order to win the title she was timed over 100m in both directions. There were some problems early on when the chain fell off, but the toilet was soon repaired leading to what a local doctor described as a rapid movement of an unusual kind.

Of course, this was not a motorised version of the notorious “dunny”, an Australian expression used to distinguish between a flushing and a non-flushing toilet (e.g. a “longdrop” or “thunderbox”). And there is, believe it or not, a Great Australian Dunny Race that takes place during the Weerama Festival at Werribee, near Melbourne. My Australian friends are invited to corroborate this slur on Australian cultural achievements.

Meanwhile, more from Down Under…


3 comments on “Only in Australia…

  1. Peter Horsfield says:

    I am fighting against the urge to become totally banal in my response to your invitation for someone to comment on this piece of esoteria from “down under.” But if one at times has to run to the toilet, what’s so unusual about a toilet that runs to you – even if at 75km/h. Bloody ingenious I say.
    What would Melbourne – the world’s most liveable city – be without its lanes and inner urban alleyways that once bore the nightcarts that serviced those backyard thunderboxes.
    I have on my shelf a prized book called Dinkum Dunnies – a photographic essay of the best and most unusual of Australian thunderboxes – that was given to me as a farewell gift in the late 70s when we travelled from rural Australia to the US for graduate study. The occasional perusal of the book in that refined intellectual centre of Boston kept my theological studies, shall I say, earthed.
    One should also not underestimate the now lost rite of passage of a past generation of Australian childhood when a visit to the throne in the unlit dunny at the end of the garden in the middle of the night ceased to be a thing of terror and became simply, dare I say it, an in-convenience.

    • Philip Lee says:

      The British, too, have their urban legends of the outdoor “kazzie” (not quite sure how to spell it) or outhouse – about which there is an interesting wikipedia page here This structure was to be found more in the north of England than the south and especially in tenements. But I have never heard of either a sociological study or a photographic study about them. Next time I am down your way, I shall look forward to browsing Dinkum Dunnies, but not necessarily as an occupant!

      • Peter Horsfield says:

        Which reminds me, the dunny was also the reading place. In a family of eight with one loo, the ominous thing was to see Dad disappearing into the loo with the newspaper just when you wanted to go.

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