The Dunny

04 Jul

They were funny looking buildings, that were once a way of life,

If you couldn’t sprint the distance, then you really were in strife.

They were nailed, they were wired, but were mostly falling down,

There was one in every yard, in every house, in every town.


They were given many names, some were even funny,

But to most of us, we knew them as the outhouse or the dunny.

I’ve seen some of them all gussied up, with painted doors and all,

But it really made no difference, they were just a port of call.


Now my old man would take a bet, he’d lay an even pound,

That you wouldn’t make the dunny with them turkeys hangin’ round.

They had so many uses, these buildings out the back,”

You could even hide from mother, so you wouldn’t get the strap.


That’s why we had good cricketers, never mind the bumps,

We used the pathway for the wicket and the dunny door for stumps.

Now my old man would sit for hours, the smell would rot your socks,

He read the daily back to front in that good old thunderbox.


And if by chance that nature called sometime through the night,

You always sent the dog in first, for there was no flamin’ light.

And the dunny seemed to be the place where crawlies liked to hide,

But never ever showed themselves until you sat inside.


There was no such thing as Sorbent, no tissues there at all,

Just squares of well-read newspaper, a hangin’ on the wall.

If you had some friendly neighbours, as neighbours sometimes are,

You could sit and chat to them, if you left the door ajar.


When suddenly you got the urge, and down the track you fled,

Then of course the magpies were there to peck you on your head.

Then the time there was a wet, the rain it never stopped,

If you had an urgent call, you ran between the drops.


The dunny man came once a week, to these buildings out the back,

And he would leave an extra can, if you left for him a zac*.

For those of you who’ve no idea what I mean by a zac*,

Then you’re too young to have ever had, a dunny out the back.


* Zac was slang for a sixpence (5c) coin before decimal currency came into Australia in 1966


Posted by on July 4, 2011 in Uncategorized


36 responses to “The Dunny

  1. gpcox

    December 11, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Fantastic!! I laughed all the way thru – I HAVE to print this out!

    • The Emu

      December 12, 2013 at 10:56 am

      Great that you enjoyed that bit of Aussie humour.
      Cheers mate.

      • gpcox

        December 12, 2013 at 10:58 am

        Well, we had those little shacks here in the States as well…

        • The Emu

          December 13, 2013 at 9:27 am

          Bet you never had a redback on the toilet seat like here in Aussie.
          Have you ever heard the song, There was a Redback on the Toilet Seat when I was there last night ?
          Google it up and enjoy a bit of a laugh mate.

  2. wonkywizard

    March 23, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Emu,Good piece of writing. It brings back memory of my Wee Waa days, when I worked in the cotton fields.During summer, the heat was ferocious. I bet anyone who could survive more than a few minutes inside the gas chamber.

    • The Emu

      March 24, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Hehe, days of long ago dear friend but memories that will always be a part of us.
      Cotton does sound like damn hot work and I think may be a bit like grape picking here in Mildura.
      Hope you are well dear friend and enjoying good health and great happiness.

  3. auntyuta

    March 19, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    LOL, Emu, Having lived in Australia since 1959 we experienced it all! The dunny men cam early in the morning. We lived at a corner block. Once the dunny truck went too fast around the corner and one of the cans fell on the road. The smell woke all of us up!

    • The Emu

      March 24, 2013 at 9:45 am

      Here in Mildura Auntyuta , we still have little lanes down the back of houses, and driving down the lanes you can still see a few old dunnys backing onto it for the dunny truck.
      Was an interesting time to be growing up in Australia back in those days.

  4. Roket Man

    July 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    I can hardly type for laughing! Hell, I can hardly type when I’m not laughing!

    • aussie emu

      July 10, 2011 at 2:28 am

      Bloodt true mate , here in Aussie they were all the rage back in the old days , them and trees , some dunnys still around and the toilet paper was phone books , the bloody paper would slide half way up ya back
      Emu aka Ian

  5. Sue Dreamwalker

    July 9, 2011 at 1:42 am

    loved that poem Emu… smelly though they were.. Now I remember living in some very old cottages when I was small.. Where there were no flushing loo’s just a building out back with a bench with a hole and a man with a lorry would come once in a while to carry away the smell lol.. I used to so Dislike going to the loo, I was scared of all the creepy crawlies and of falling in the hole! Lol .. Glad we dont get your creepies though.. Arrh the memories of those days eh.. Glad we have progressed in todays world Emu.. 🙂

    • aussie emu

      July 9, 2011 at 5:09 am

      Remember them well back in the old days Sue , smelly places with lots of flies and spiders under the seat
      and the only paper was phone books , all slippery that went half way up ya back when ya used em
      Cheers Princess

  6. jennygoth

    July 6, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    lol that was really funny our places like that i was told were called a midden i can remember as a kid my gran had one it was a shed with a box and a hole to sit on lol yuk as a kid i was always in there it was a novelty for me we had a propper throne great blog xxjen

    • aussie emu

      July 7, 2011 at 11:01 am

      Whatever they called them they always had an earthy aroma and plenty of flies

  7. summer breeze

    July 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Ah yes the thunder box…lol very funny post Ian, 🙂 I’m glad to say I was too small to remember them but saw them around while growing up.

    • aussie emu

      July 6, 2011 at 7:44 am

      You are lucky you cant remember them , little houses full of smell and flies and old phone books for paper that was bloody slippery

  8. natswans

    July 5, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I loved this Ian just great, here in England we had an outside toilet ..But Dunny is just a fab word Lol Sheila 🙂

    • aussie emu

      July 7, 2011 at 11:04 am

      No matter what they were called dear friend they were always a smelly earthy place full of flies

  9. giselzitrone

    July 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Einen lieben Gruss sende ich dir und wünsche dir einen schönen Tag Gislinde http;//

    • aussie emu

      July 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm

      Ein schöner Tag auf Sie zu meinem deutschen Prinzessin
      Emu aka Ian

  10. Androgoth

    July 5, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Yes well you should have seen some of those Limey-Dunny’s
    at Camp when I was just a lad, okay a long way from Australia
    but the smell was exactly the same… lol Putrid

    A Wicked Posting Ian… lol

    Androgoth ; )

    • aussie emu

      July 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      Back before septics we all had them I think mate and no matter what country they all had a sweet aroma and plenty of flies

      • Androgoth

        July 7, 2011 at 10:23 pm

        I also remember the poor old sod that pulled the ‘Stink Cart’, what
        a Crappy job he had… Pardon the pun Ian… lol


        • aussie emu

          July 8, 2011 at 9:35 am

          Yeah I remember him coming around and timing his visits with our urgent needs and a few times cutting the job short to allow changeover of pans haha

  11. Mystique sunshine

    July 5, 2011 at 8:50 am

    I hadn’t seen a Dunny till i came to Bangalore… Back in Mangalore where i was born n raised you wouldn’t find it but here in Bangalore its very common… Almost every house has it in this area of Bangalore… Septics included.. Without septics i don think itl be found anywhere… Only difference is that its made of bricks n cement here… Ok maybe am getting this wrong.. Is Dunny the other thing without septics n ——-? LOL… Had seen one like that in a movie… Funny memories? Don wanna guess.. 😉

    • aussie emu

      July 5, 2011 at 11:51 am

      Hi Shareena , your dunnys were a bit upmarket to ours , yours were brick and ours was wood , but they always had a damn aroma around them and plenty of flies

  12. Lady Jude

    July 5, 2011 at 6:42 am

    We had the same looking dunny’s from where we lived down on the West Coast of the South Island many moons back, I’ll always remember the terrible pong from them and the tablespoon of lime was used to try and control the pong and the flies that hung around was really bad, just yucky… Oh how I hated that outdoor dunny, I like the indoor flushable toilets…..

    • aussie emu

      July 5, 2011 at 11:49 am

      Hi Lady Jude ,these dunnys were a big part of Australia way back before the advent of septic , yes they always had an aroma and we didnt stay long , one thing I remember was the old phone books we used as paper , bloody slippery stuff

  13. Rosemary Monteith

    July 4, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Enjoyed this Ian, but remember it was only Aussies who had dunny out the back. My generation here was used to indoor bathrooms lol

    • aussie emu

      July 4, 2011 at 11:41 pm

      Here they were a fact of life Rosemary , long before the advent of septics
      Still have a lot of funny memories of them

  14. Beth Marie

    July 4, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Laughing at this post. I remember the outdoor toilet from when I was a kid.

    • aussie emu

      July 4, 2011 at 11:40 pm

      Used many in my younger days Bethmarie and can still find some streets here with a lane up the back for the dunny cart and all the dunnys backing onto the street, remember the old phone books for paper , bloody slippery stuff, hehe

  15. penpusherpen

    July 4, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    and what a fine upstanding looking building it seems too, Emu. 😉 …still laughing my socks off (and thinking of the smell that’d rot yer socks!! )… have a great week, you fantastic tale teller you!! xPenx .

    • aussie emu

      July 4, 2011 at 11:38 pm

      Hi Pen , used many an old dunny in my younger days with old phone books as paper , the only time we couldn’t use it was when we knew the dunny man was doing his rounds in case we got caught doing the long drop hehe

  16. prenin

    July 4, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Very good Ian – a real slice of Australia!!! 🙂

    God Bless my friend!!!


    • aussie emu

      July 4, 2011 at 11:34 pm

      Yes mate they were an institution back in Australias early days before septics


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