Dunny

Dunny or dunny can is Australian slang for toilet, either the room or the specific fixture, especially an outhouse or other outdoor toilets. It is often used to specify a distinction between a flushing toilet and a non-flushing toilet (e.g., a longdrop or thunderbox). First used in print in 1952, the word is believed to be derived from the much older 'dunnakin' (also spelled 'dunnigin' and 'dunegan')[1] meaning privy.

Contents

History

Triple seated dunny, Wauchope, NSW

Traditionally an outhouse could be found in unsewered areas and consisted of little more than a seat placed over a can or cesspit. The latter variation can be referred to more specifically as a longdrop. The outhouse would be maintained at some distance from houses for reasons of smell and hygiene. The sheds themselves were generally made of either wood or corrugated iron, to facilitate the moving of the outhouse if required. In mining areas outhouses are sometimes placed over disused mine shafts.

Norman Park, like many areas of Brisbane was unsewered until the late 1960s, with each house having an outhouse or "dunny" in the back yard.

By the middle of the twentieth century, outhouses had become much less common as modern plumbing diminished the need to keep toilets at a distance from the house. Nevertheless even some large cities, such as Brisbane, had unsewered suburbs where residences required outhouses into the early 1970s, and they lingered on in Tasmania until the early 1980s.

In built up areas it was unhygienic to rely on cesspits and the usual arrangement was for waste to be collected in a can placed under the dunny. The cans would be collected, emptied, washed and replaced weekly by contractors hired by the local city or town council.

In modern times, many outhouses on old houses remained in use, but have been refitted with modern plumbing and flushing toilets. They are also used in areas too remote to justify the expense of pumping water and sewage piping to, but where there is a need for toilet facilities, such as at remote campsites or along walking tracks. Farmers and station owners sometimes also construct outhouses at remote but often used yards or sheds.

The Great Australian Dunny Race has become an icon during the Weerama Festival at Werribee.[2]

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ Grose, Francis. "1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue". http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/5402. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  2. ^ The Great Australian Dunny Race Retrieved on 14 March 2009

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Dunny — Dun ny, a. Deaf; stupid.[Prov. Eng.] [1913 Webster] My old dame Joan is something dunny, and will scarce know how to manage. Sir W. Scott. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dunny — ► NOUN (pl. dunnies) Austral./NZ informal ▪ a toilet. ORIGIN probably from DUNG(Cf. ↑dung) (the original sense) + archaic slang ken house …   English terms dictionary

  • dunny — A toilet. The dunny was originally any outside toilet. In cities and towns the pan type dunny was emptied by the dunny man, who came round regularly with his dunny cart. Dunny can now be used for any toilet. The word comes from British dialect… …   Australian idioms

  • Dunny — El Loco Dunny (2005), 20 von Tristan Eaton Dunny ist eine von Künstlern gestaltete Figurenserie des Herstellers kidrobot, die ab 2004 produziert wird. Die Grundfigur ist von einer Hasengestalt abgeleitet, der Kopf ist drehbar und die Arme sind… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • dunny — UK [ˈdʌnɪ] / US noun [countable] Word forms dunny : singular dunny plural dunnies Australian informal a toilet …   English dictionary

  • dunny —    a lavatory    Not just an Australian usage. Probably a corruption of dung:     He stuck out like a dunny in a desert. (Winton, 1994)    The dunnie van in rural Somerset collected the night soil for manure:     In only one or two places,… …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

  • dunny — /ˈdʌni / (say dunee) noun (plural dunnies) Colloquial 1. an outside toilet, found in unsewered areas, usually at some distance from the house it serves and consisting of a small shed furnished with a lavatory seat placed over a sanitary can: all… …   Australian English dictionary

  • dunny — /dun ee/, n., pl. dunnies. Australian Slang. an outside privy; outhouse. [1780 90; shortening of earlier dial. and criminal argot dunnekin outhouse, of obscure orig.] * * * …   Universalium

  • dunny — noun A toilet. Possibly an outside toilet and by implication old, ramshackle …   Wiktionary


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