Did You Say Borrie?

1 November 2013

There is no shortage of toilet related slang within the Australian vernacular. Backing one out, dropping the kids off at the pool, laying a cable and punishing the porcelain are just a handful of the linguistic gems we use to refer to this simple bodily function.

This month’s The Crack has seen us dusting off the history books to bring you a closer look at one of Australia’s favourite terms for the byproduct of the human body; the simple borrie. Ever wondered where the term Borrie came from? You probably haven’t but you’re about to find out.

Without Edwin Fullarton Borrie (1894-1968) Melburnians wouldn’t be enjoying the efficient and effective sewerage systems that they are today. Mr Borrie was a civil engineer and town planner born in Melbourne, integral in the planning of Melbourne’s drainage systems.

In 1924 the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works chose Borrie as its very first engineer of the growing city’s main drains. As chief engineer of sewerage (1929-50), he managed Melbourne’s ever-extending system and supervised the design of a sewage treatment plant at Braeside for the south-eastern suburbs.

Werribee’s Lake Borrie Wetlands owe their title to Mr Borrie. These wetlands are enjoyed by hundreds of species of birds each year including, (and most significantly) the Orange bellied Parrot.

So now you know.

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