[Oz-teachers] honky nuts

Don and Trish Wade dtwade at optusnet.com.au
Thu Feb 16 20:11:34 EST 2006

>From the ABC's Word Map http://www.abc.net.au/wordmap/default.htm :

honky nut 

noun a large gum nut.

Contributor's comments: Gum nut from the Marri tree found in SW WA. Good for

Contributor's comments: I have always been fascinated with the origin of
some slang. I believe I may be the origin of this term though I would be
happy to be disproved. I grew up in WA and had never heard the term Honky
nut (gumnut) in all my active years as a schoolboy. In 1965 I went to live
in the USA and in the late sixties black slang included the word Honkie as a
derogatory term for white people. When I returned to Australia in 1969 my
nephews who were six and eight years old at the time were throwing gumnuts
at each other and I called out and said stop throwing those honkie nuts.
They then asked me about the term and while I made it up I told them that's
what they were called. Years later my own primary school children began to
use the term and I assumed it began with my original comments. Am I wrong? I
would like to hear from any one who may know more.

Editor's comments: The easiest way to find out whether or not you were the
originator of the term "honky nut" is to find out if anyone remembers the
word before 1969! Does anyone?

Contributor's comments: Specifically the gumnuts of the marri tree -
originally "Eucalyptus callophylla" but now not classified as a Eucalypt.

Contributor's comments: I distinctly remember my mother using this term when
I was just a (small) child -- and I was born in 1950. Definitely in use in
WA before 1969. (Mum was born and grew up in Narrogin, so it may be a
country term).

Editor's comments: Ah, so it is. The origin from the US slang term "honky"
cannot hold water.

Contributor's comments: My Mother in law grew up in Jarradale in the late
20's. They used large gum nuts and curved sticks to play hockey. She always
refers to them as 'Hockey Nuts'.

Contributor's comments: Born in WA in 1954, lived here all my life. Remember
"honky [honkey?] nut" from childhood in a south west town, so well before
1969. Still call them honky nuts.

Contributor's comments: I grew up in Perth (Darling Ranges) in the seventies
and we all used honky nuts for throwing at each other as children. They came
from eucalypt trees and were abundant on the ground. None of my friends on
the east coast has any idea what I am talking about when I use the term
honky nut!


-----Original Message-----
From: oz-teachers-bounces at cobia.ed.qut.edu.au
[mailto:oz-teachers-bounces at cobia.ed.qut.edu.au] On Behalf Of Don
Sent: Thursday, 16 February 2006 7:51 PM
To: 'Royce Moncur'; 'Professional community for teachers'
Subject: [Oz-teachers] honky nuts

Dunno either but WA knows about them.

They can order numbers and understand the relevance of the order: for
example, they know that if they have 9 shells and 7 honky nuts, they do not
have to line up the items to say whether they have more shells or nuts. 




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