9 January 2024

POLL: WTF? How did Albury beat Wagga in the swearing stakes?

| Chris Roe
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Man swearing

Chris Roe calls bulls–t on the national swearing survey. Photo: Chris Roe.

When a new “study” claiming to have identified Australia’s sweariest cities was published this week, I was shocked to see that Albury-Wodonga was flying the foul-mouthed flag for the Riverina Murray.

“WTF?” I thought. “Surely Wagga Wagga, or at least West Wyalong, would be a frontrunner!”

With the term ”slow news day” summing up the year so far, I took the PR company’s bait and dived into the media release that had named our Twin City neighbour as the seventh-sweariest city in our great nation.

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The survey declared Bendigo to be Australia’s swearing capital with an average of 21 swears per day (SPD), followed by Toowoomba with 18 and the Gold Coast with 17.

With an average of 15 naughty words per day, Albury-Wodonga tied with Ballarat ahead of Cranbourne and Wollongong, which maintained the national average of 14 SPD.

table about Australia's ''sweariest'' areas

This dubious survey has named Bendigo as Australia’s sweariest city.

Apparently, Australians do most of their swearing in the car, with 25.58 per cent of us unleashing on our fellow drivers while behind the wheel.

Sounds legit. I remember one occasion when my wife was cut off in traffic and slammed on the brakes, we heard a little voice pipe up from the baby seat in the back.

“Say bloody hell, mum!” suggested our angelic two-year-old daughter.

table about Australians' swearing habits

At the other end of the scale, the goody-two-shoes award went to the saintly residents of Hobart, who, according to this survey, only uttered six SPD.

But as I worked my way through the findings, the cynical journalist within began to question just how scientific this data was.

I called bulls–t when Townsville was listed just after Hobart as the second-least-sweariest city with a ratio of just seven SPD.

I spent years living in North Queensland and would argue that Townsville is the perfect nexus for profanity with its large populations of miners, soldiers, farm workers and of course, Queenslanders.

The Sunshine State appeared to be well represented occupying half of the top-10 places, with the northernmost being the the Central Queensland capital of Rockhampton. What about Far North Queensland? FNQ is literally a veiled obscenity. Where the bloody hell was Cairns?

It was beginning to smell like fake news.

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The survey was commissioned by an international “online language learning marketplace” named Preply, which “wanted to know which Australian cities use the most swear words, so we surveyed 1500 residents of the 22 largest metropolitan areas and asked them”.

Presumably, they are wondering how much swearing to include in the syllabus.

But only 1500 people from 22 cities? There are 86 cities in Australia and more than 29 million people who are globally renowned for their good-natured approach to bad language.

So which cities? Weirdly, a look at the raw data shows that Townsville was not even on the list. So how the hell did they decide it was the second-least profane?

As for the largest inland city in NSW, Wagga Wagga, it was not included in the “study”. A bloody disgrace!

In light of this revelation, I feel it is Region’s duty to commission our very own wildly unscientific click-bait poll.

Get voting, FFS!

Under new laws in NSW, only magistrates and judges can grant bail. Do you think this will mean:

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