Home      Index      Carols & Songs      Traditions       Food  
The Australian version of Jingle Bells
First the Song
Then the explanations

Dashing through the bush,
in a rusty Holden Ute,
Kicking up the dust,
esky in the boot,
Kelpie by my side,
singing Christmas songs,
It's Summer time and I am in
my singlet, shorts and thongs

*

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia
on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

*

Engine's getting hot;
we dodge the kangaroos,
The swaggie climbs aboard,
he is welcome too.
All the family's there,
sitting by the pool,
Christmas Day the Aussie way,
by the barbecue.

*

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia
on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

*

Come the afternoon,
Grandpa has a doze,
The kids and Uncle Bruce,
are swimming in their clothes.
The time comes 'round to go,
we take the family snap,
Pack the car and all shoot through,
before the washing up.

*

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia
on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.


More information.
In 2002 I received the following email :-

I am a Girl Guide Leader for youths here in Ontario, Canada. This Christmas we are studying Christmas around the world, and my group was lucky enough to choose Australia. We have studied the resources found on the internet, (including your site) and I was wondering if I could bother you with some questions.

We are going to sing the Aussie version of Jingle Bells and I would like to tell the girls what some of the words mean. Do you have a minute to reply?

1) Dashing through the bush in a rusty Holden ute (what is a Holden ute?) What is the correct pronunciation?
2) Kicking up the dust, Esky in the boot.... (what is Esky?)
3) Kelpie by my side, singing Christmas songs.... (what is Kelpie?)
4) The swaggie climbs aboard, he is welcome too... (what is a swaggie?)
5) And pack the car and all shoot through Before the washing up.... (What exactly does this line refer to?)
6) Does Santa really wear a bathing suit? If not, what is his normal attire?
Thank you very much for your time. We really appreciate it.


Below is the translation from the Australian language to English.
1) Answer. Holden is a make of car, its main opposition in Australia is Ford or Toyota. See below. Ute is an abbreviation of utility. The ute is usually based on the current model car and is thus about the size of a car and not usually as large as what Americans call a "pick up truck" so "dashing through the bush in a rusty Ford pick up truck" is a translation. Pronunciation Holden - hold den. Ute to rhyme with boot.
2) Answer. An esky is a portable cooler to keep your drink and food cool. Say 18 inches long by 12 wide by 15 height. A clip on lid and a handle, we put ice in them to do the cooling. Very well insulated,
3) Answer. A kelpie is an Australian breed of dog. Much like a Border Collie only a rougher coat. Traditionally trained to herd sheep and is a farmers best friend. November 2003 received this email "The photo and description you have given of a kelpie sounds a lot like a blue heeler. I wonder if you would like to follow this up. I have included a link to a kelpie website."
4) Answer. Swaggie is an abbreviation of Swagman. These were men who during the depression tramped the country side with their few possession in a swag on their back. The english translation would be similar to a tramp.
5) Answer. Don't tell me you have not, run off and left your mum to do the washing up of all the dirty dishes after a meal. Shoot through means leave suddenly. This line means load the presents into the car and leave before the washing up is done.
6) Answer. No. The normal attire is as shown where he is sitting beside a billabong (water hole) with his boots and sox off, cooling his feet.
Ute is short for utility vehicle.

Here is a photo of the very first model Holden ute, it is a 48/215 series of 1948 (the model dubbed by used car dealers the "FX", even though never designated so). The marks on the door may even be rust.

The dog on the back is a kelpie, as usual master of all he surveys.

In Australia we drive on the left-hand side of the road, thus the driver sits on the right-hand side of the vehicle as seen in this photo. But that elbow should not be protruding from the window.

 A real ute

 
A plywood cutout of Santa in a ute. A Santa Ute

T O P