30 things only Warrnamboolians will understand

GIVEN that social and entertainment news site Buzzfeed is pretty massive these days, it would be silly of us to ignore the popularity of their regular list stories. So here's our own localised version: 30 things only people from Warrnambool will understand.

1. The Gap is a thing you do and not just a location.

Unless of course you're a person of the larger variety, in which case you're better off not "doing The Gap" lest you want a bunch of sniggering firefighters helping you escape. Also; careful on the dismount.

2. They are called "nibble pies" - not "party pies".

Admittedly we don't know where this originated from but it's definitely a rule. Anyone who calls them "party pies" in Warrnambool gets looked at funny and then corrected (and rightly so). And while we're talking about pies, you're either a Clarkes lover or a Chitticks lover. It's Warrnambool's equivalent to the Beatles/Stones question.

3. Seeing the Silver Ball on the horizon means you've made it home.

After a bum-numbing three-hour drive back from Melbourne there's no sight sweeter than seeing the Silver Ball rising up like some kind of intergalactic spaceship. Unless of course you live in East Warrnambool or don't use the highway going to and from Melbourne, which brings us to....

4. There are only three ways to get to Melbourne (and all of them suck).

There's the highway, the back way and Foxhow Road. The highway takes too long, the back way is bad in the rain and has no overtaking lanes, and Foxhow Road is one of the worst roads in the district and doesn't actually save any time. And no, we're not counting the train as "a way to get to Melbourne". That's a whole new level of sucking.

5. Quigley Down Under/Charlie & Boots are movies worth watching.

But only to see people/locations you know in them. You'll be able to add Oddball to this list in a couple of years.

6. It's OK to judge people who begin their recollections of the night before with the phrase, "I ended up at the Gal".

Yeah, we've all ended up there, but that doesn't make it right.

7. Jumping off things into water gets you in trouble.

We used to jump off Penguin Jump, then they stopped us going on the island. Then we jumped off the high board at the pool, and then that got taken away. Then we jumped off the breakwater or one of the bridges over the Merri, but apparently that's illegal now. Talk about fun police...

8. Music was better at the Cri/Tatts/Lady Bay.

Everyone loves telling you about how great things were at the long-gone rock venues of Warrnambool. Of course, no one actually tells you that they were dirty, sticky dives where the threat of alcohol-fuelled violence loomed large. Mind you, the bands were awesome. Remember that time Split Enz/Men At Work/The Living End/George/Rollerball played in Warrnambool? Epic.

9. If you go digging in the sand dunes, you might find the Mahogany Ship (but probably not).

You're more likely to find the sun-bleached remains of Harold Holt, but hey, that doesn't stop every "expert" and their dog digging their way through the dunes between here and Port Fairy in search of a mythical caravel that's more than likely just an old sealing vessel (if it's even there at all).

10. Speedway is a rite of passage.

At least once (and preferably only once) you will go to the speedway. You will learn something about yourself there - some important piece of information that either helps you on your journey through life or in understanding your place in the social hierarchy of the south-west. The lessons of self-discovery to be found there range from "I love watching fast cars going round and round in circles!" to "I hate being hit in the head by giant clumps of mud!", but these are valuable lessons nonetheless.

11. Kermonds rules (when visitors come over).

Your regular burger joint is secretly Macca's or Hungry Jacks, but when out-of-town visitors come to stay you'll pretend you only ever get your burgers from Kermonds because they're "the best burgers in the world". And if anyone dares point out that the burgers are equally good at Fishtales/any fish & chip shop/mum's place, the answer is "No, Kermonds are the best", even if you don't really believe it.

12. Lapping is a legitimate way to spend an evening.

Maybe it was just one time, but we've all been lapping. Now you look at the knuckleheads driving up and down Liebig Street, tut-tutting their lack of ambition and wasteful approach to fossil fuels, but there was that one night when you totally wound down the window, sang along to some crap song, and went back and forth along the main street. You don't have to admit it in public, but you know it's true. Which brings us to...

13. Doing a beachie is respectable lapping.

It's a warm day, but not warm enough to go for a swim at the beach (it will be too windy and the water's always cold), so maybe I'll just jump in the car and go for a beachie, you think. Less sand, but plenty of fresh air and beach-like atmosphere - it's all the advantages of going to the beach without the downsides, such as getting wet or coming home with a crack full of sand.

14. Only racegoers go to the pubs during the May Races.

Unless your idea of a good time is waiting for ages to get a drink while being endlessly jostled by over-dressed drunken idiots, you know not to go out during the May Racing Carnival. Unless of course you are one of those over-dressed drunken idiots, in which case, have fun!

15. The May Races is the only time you care about horse racing.

Aside from those three minutes on the first Tuesday in November, the May Racing carnival is probably the only occasion where you actually read a form guide or watch a horse race. It's certainly the only time you go to the Warrnambool racecourse when there are horses there. It's possibly the only time a lot of local guys suit up that doesn't involve someone getting married. But it is absolutely definitely the only time women wear something called a "fascinator", despite spending over $100 on the damned thing.

16. If there's no empty car parks in front of your shop, I'm not going to your shop.

In Warrnambool, we don't like to walk more than 20 metres from the car to the shop. We will do a lap of the block - from roundabout to roundabout - until we find a car park right out front. If there is still no park... we'll just keep lapping.

17. Paying for parking is inhumane.

And as for paying for parking, what a rip off! It doesn't matter that it costs about $1 an hour, or that the car parks are conveniently located to allow you to visit all the shops you want to visit, or that compared to Melbourne it's practically free, or that there is never a shortage of car parks, or that it helps generate revenue for council that we would otherwise pay for in our rates. No, these things matter not in Warrnambool, where free parking is viewed as a birth right and not just a Monopoly square.

18. Everyone else in Warrnambool is a terrible driver.

Despite dealing with roundabouts, double-lane highways and every type of intersection known to humankind, everyone in Warrnambool is a terrible driver, suffering indicator deficiencies and a fundamental lack of understanding when it comes to road rules and common courtesy. Except you. You're awesome.

19. Cheeseworld is not a theme park.

Yes, it sounds like it should be a theme park, and every visiting comedian will make a joke about it as part of their token local schtick, but we locals know Cheeseworld only has two things going for it - the milkshakes and the awesome cheese.

20. Warrnambool is the perfect size.

Anyone from a place bigger than Warrnambool is a city slicker. Anyone from a place smaller than Warrnambool is a country bumpkin.

21. Our hometown heroes should be everyone's heroes.

Even though you have no interest in golf/hard rock/comedy/AFL, you are quick to tell out-of-towners about how Marc Leishman/Airbourne/Dave Hughes/Jonathon Brown is from Warrnambool. Because they're awesome... even though you have no interest in golf/hard rock/comedy/AFL.

22. Warrnambool is absolutely part of the Great Ocean Road.

Yes, technically it ends at Allansford (right near Cheeseworld in fact), but Warrnambool is definitely part of the Great Ocean Road because, well, Allansford's practically a suburb of Warrnambool. Right?. But all this guff about Portland being part of the Great Ocean Road? Rubbish! Outrageous!

23. Whales love us.

And we kinda love them, in a very noncommittal way. I mean, we're happy they turn up each year and people come here to look at them, but we locals just tend to wait for the obligatory whale pics to pop up in The Standard because it's damned cold standing out there at the viewing platform and nobody's got time for that.

24. The weather is crap for 341 days of the year.

In summer, it's either raining or it's unacceptably hot. In winter, it's always raining and it's freezing cold. Spring and autumn last for a week each and are lovely. The rest of the year, the weather is whinge-worthy. And oh boy, don't we love a good weather-whinge. And the wind! Good lord, don't get me started on the freakin' wind....

25. War memorials are always sad (except from certain angles).

We all know what our war memorial is affectionately called by residents but we can't print it here because the local RSL will be on the phone accusing us of being disrespectful. And we all know why it's called that by Warrnamboolians. But we ain't explaining it here. You all know.

26. Everyone else's water tastes bad.

Our water tastes so good. Have you tried the water in other places? It's not water - it's some weird clear-ish solution mixed with chemicals, dirt and recycled urine (probably). We're looking at you guys, Mortlake and Port Fairy....

27. We love Port Fairy.

Sure, we only go there once a year (Folkie!) and we refuse to drink the water, but Port Fairy is like our cool little cousin who's fun to hang around with but we only see at Christmas time. And secretly we all want to retire there (but none of us will be able to afford it).

28. Camping at Surfside is a legitimate holiday.

Non-Warrnamboolians will never understand the sheer joy that comes with holidaying in your hometown. Camping at Surfside 1 and 2 (or whatever they're called now) cuts out the long tiresome drive to your destination, avoids the possibility that said destination might actually be crap, and allows you to duck home to get anything you might need while on holiday. Plus you know everyone and it's the only time you remember how awesome our mini-golf course is. What's not to love?

29. Warrnambool has suburbs that only locals know about.

They're not on any official documentation, but everyone knows where North Warrnambool meets West Warrnambool, and the difference between South Warrnambool and Merrivale, and where the boundary between West Warrnambool and Dennington is. And if you don't know, you've probably argued/discussed the matter with a fellow Warrnamboolian.

30. You don't swim in Lake Pertobe.

No one's ever done that right? It would be totally stupid. The only things you do at Lake Pertobe is run in the maze. And kick the footy while having a barbie.


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