Send 'er down, Hughie!

"Send 'er down, Hughie!", sometimes "Send her down, Hughie!" or "Send it down, Hughie!", is an idiomatic Australian phrase uttered in response to the onset of rain. It was in very common usage in the early 20th century, but is less common now. Interpreted literally, the phrase is a request that God, or a rain god, send plenty of rainfall. The phrase apparently originated a British military phrase of similar meaning, "Send it down, David." St Hugh having long been associated with rain, "Hughie" became Australian slang for a rain god.

The phrase thus embodies the typical response to rain in most areas of Australia, which are prone to drought; and the common Australian practice of referring to people by nicknames, often with obscure meaning. It is also testament to the social egalitarianism prevalent in Australia, in which even God may be treated with familiarity. With regard to this last point, Russel Ward has referred to the phrase as "egalitarian and familiar, yet not essentially sacrilegous".

The phrase has been used as the name of a Slim Dusty song from the album "Walk a Country Mile", and is the name of a 1968 book by Arthur Clifford. In 2002, "Send it down Hughie" was used for a series of drought relief concerts and music releases, including a CD that sold over 4000 copies.

References

* http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/01/24/1042911540685.html
*
* "Hughie", "Oxford English Dictionary"


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