Thursday, January 10, 2013

Flashtalk - convict slang

The convicts came to Australia with many different regional accents but a common feature of their culture was the development of their own slang language. This would have been as easily understood in London as it was at Sydney Cove, and would have been familiar to James Gough when he lived at The Rocks in 1828. While researching some early court records, I found many slang expressions used in the evidence recorded. All these expressions were used by a gang of  thieves in 1824 when planning and executing a robbery. The sequence really tells the story of the outcome of their plan...

the cove: the boss

rogues & splits: ínformers

to weed:  to steal some of the goods

on the cross: dishonest deal

on the square: honest deal 

a mark: person handling the deal

his regulars: his usual payment

we will knap that: we will grab that

a sing out: an alarm has been given 

the cove is down: the boss is on to us

a down on me: the boss suspects me

ding it: dump it 

its all dick on the green: it's all over, it's finished

(Some Wool, a Cart & a Devious Plan 1824;  from Murder, Mayhem & Misdemeanours, Early Settlers at the Cowpasture River 1810 -1830)

No comments: