11 January 2024

Hang your bloody heads in shame Wollongong, residents are among country's worst swearers

| Jen White
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The table showing the Australian cities where people swear the most.

Preply’s table showing Wollongong makes the top 10 Australian cities for swearing. Main photo: Jen White.

The results of a new “survey” lobbed in the editor’s email this week, with the teasing subject line – “Wollongong ranks among the top …’

I jumped onto that email quicker than a rat up a drainpipe. Any sentence that contains the words ‘Wollongong’, ‘ranks’ and ‘top’ has to mean a cracker of a story.

I just need to explain that for a journalist, January is pretty much a dead month. The people you want to talk to are on leave, or are about to go on leave, or have just come back from leave – whatever, they’ve pretty much been in holiday mode since their Christmas party.

The last thing they want to do is spend a minute of their time speaking to some journo who expects them to fire up those holiday brain cells.

But we still have to produce stories for you, dear reader, so we’re on a mission to unearth fresh and fascinating content to make sure you have some entertaining holiday reads.

Hence my excitement when my email alert “ting” broke the (very) silent morning.

And bugger me dead. The rest of that teasing subject line was “Wollongong ranks among the top swear cities in Australia – did you notice?”

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Hmmm, gotta say, nope, hadn’t noticed that before.

The guts of the release was that Wollongong ranked No 10 for swearing in Australia, with residents averaging 14 swears per day. Mind you, the average for Australia is 14, so we’re not that bloody bad.

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

As usual, we were beaten by bloody Newcastle with 16 daily naughty words, along with Brisbane and Rockhampton. We rounded out the top 10 behind Albury-Wodonga, Ballarat and Cranbourne.

At least we aren’t the “swear in public” type of people – that honour goes to the Gold Coast, where almost 32 per cent of swearing occurred in public places. We contain our swearing behind closed doors at the dinner table, at least the 22.84 per cent of those who actually admit to it.

At the other end of the scale, the goody two-shoes award went to the brown-nosed residents of Hobart, who, according to this survey, only uttered swear words six times a day.

The shame started to creep in, although I can’t be sure if that was because we made the list at all or that Novacastrians are better than us at yet something else.

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But then I thought, what the bloody hell were they talking about – and who was talking about it? Like any decent journo, I turned to social media to confirm this was not fake news.

Nope, this was the real thing. It turns out a company called Preply had commissioned the survey because, “We 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.”

Preply is an “online language learning marketplace connecting tutors to learners”, so I can only assume it wanted to know its tutors don’t live in the cities where people swear the most.

Given the size of the survey, I think they probably still don’t have a clue whether their tutors have a tendency to swear or not.

Seriously – 1500 people around Australia were surveyed? Geez, Wollongong alone has a population of a bit over 214,000, so really, they can shove their survey where the sun don’t shine.

And if they think for a minute that it’s newsworthy, they’re kidding themselves – anyone would think this is the silly season. Region Illawarra has infinitely more important stories to share with our readers – right?

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