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Remembered Today:

Fair Dinkum


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Whilst watching the excellent 'ANZACS' one of a draft of men who joined up after Gallipolli are called by one character 'one of the fair dinkums' because they joined after Gallipoli and therefore had an idea of what they were letting themselves in for.

The way it is phrased would suggest that this was a well used nickname for all such men and was a recognised group of men as opposed to saying 'he's a fair dinkum bloke in the singular (if that makes sense).

My question is were such drafts called fair dinkums or is a bit of poetic licence on begalf of the programme makers.

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From the book "Digger Dialects".By Wh Downing. DINKUMS (the)-The 2nd division. also applied to New Zealanders. The next shipment were the "Dinkums"-The men who came over on principle to fight for Australia- the real , fair dinkum Australians. Bean 1917 page 224

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fair Dinkum does not come from downunder but comes from various parts of England. It was first recorded in Australia in 1890 and in NZ in 1905 in the sence we still use it today - as something reliable or genuine. However the first record of the use of Dinkum in Australia was in 1839 when a Welsh convict called the Captain of a ship a Dinkum Arsehole - as a compliment! He was 'alright'

Unlike the never ending claim by NZ and Oz of who really invented the Pavlova we can be safe to say that both countries at times used the expression Fair Dinkum for their volunteers in WW1.

The 3rd Brigade of the NZEF from about January 1916 were nicknamed The Dinks which comes from Fair Dinkum. Earlier NZ drafts were called Fair Dinkums.

The difference of the NZRB (the Dinks) compared to the other two Brigades of the NZ Division was mostly drill, traditions and dress of a Rifle Brigade (RB blazes) fixed swords and the like. Additionally they had a Hon Col in Chief – The Duke of Connaught (also RB). I don’t believe the other two Brigades had a Hon CIC or any Australian Unit in WW1. When departing in 1915 The Dinks marched to the wharves in Wellington with trailed arms and in quickstep.

These differences initially caused some friction with the other NZ Brigades who called them derogatorily “Dinks” as a sarcastic term for Fair Dinkum soldiers after their fight with the Senussi and their drill differences. Eventually this term became a nickname and accepted by the NZRB. The Chronicles of the NZEF also at times touched on this friction.

It is interesting to note the term Digger comes from the New Zealanders if we are to believe Beans' acknowledgement in his Official History (1917)

Richard Bate

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