AE 525 – Expression: Go Down the Gurgler

Learn Australian English in this episode of the Aussie English Podcast where you’ll learn how to use the expression GO DOWN THE GURGLER like native speaker.

AE 525 – Expression: Go Down the Gurgler

First, and today’s Sydney reporter Lara Bella in Bondi. Lara, what is it like where you are?

Karl, it’s really no wonder that our emergency services were so concerned about this low-pressure system. You can see behind me, it is a total white out down here at Bondi. It is absolutely bucketing down right across Sydney this morning. But, it’s not just this pelting rain, Karl, it’s also these really gusty southerly winds that are making the temperature feel a lot, lot, cooler, and also, down here at Bondi, we’ve had lightning snap across the sky. So, as a result, we’ve actually had to move under cover, because it was just getting a little bit too wild and woolly.


Oh, good morning, guys. It’s an early morning today.

I have woken up early to smash this podcast episode out, because I didn’t manage to get it done yesterday. I was hoping to, but I got a little bit side tracked, I got a little bit distracted, I was a little bit busy, because the new computer arrived. So, yay! The computer arrived and now I will have time to put my laptop through repairs.

So, I don’t know if you guys know the story there or not, but I have a laptop that I use for work and the keyboard started breaking. So, now when I type, there are lots of spelling mistakes because letters get type twice instead of once. So, it’s a real pain in the arse, because you have to go back, you have to delete different letters that you’ve typed twice. Anyway.

So, I’ve finally had sort of saved enough money to upgrade to a better computer a desktop now that I can use a lot more powerful and I can edit videos on it and audio and everything with no problems at all, so that finally arrived yesterday and the funny story was that I wanted to go to the shops to get some food and Kel was like, yeah, let’s go to the shops, and I thought, that the computer’s meant to be arriving at some point in the next few days, so maybe we should just have someone at home and I’ll go get some food or something, and then come back, and then we just decided, alright, nah, we won’t go. It’s all good. So, as soon as that happened, the person showed up with the computer. So, there you go. That was pretty funny. Anyway, guys.

Long intro aside, welcome to The Aussie English Podcast. This is the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English. I hope you guys are having an amazing week. Don’t forget if you would like to get the transcripts and the MP3s for all of these podcast episodes, go to and sign up, and, I guess, a little bit of news there, The Podcast site is about to be upgraded, so we’re going to put in a new player, a new transcript reader, and there’s going to be a better way of just using the podcast on your phone or on the site. So, stay tuned for that, and yeah, I’m looking forward to that.

Also, The Podcast is brought to you by The Aussie English Classroom, guys. Now, with this new computer and the new studio that I got, I have been able to record a heap of new videos, and I’m currently learning about how to put them together a little bit more professionally. So, this new course that I’m working on is all about spoken English as it is spoken by native speakers, right, like contractions, intonation, rhythm, everything like that, all the stuff you don’t really often get to hear about in classes. So, stay tuned for that.

And remember, if you were to like all the bonus content for this episode, as well as all of my other courses, go to and for just one dollar you can try it for the first 30 days, and then it’s just a monthly payment after that.

Anyway, guys, the video at the very start there was all about severe weather. And now, that was from the Today Show’s YouTube channel. So, go and check them out via the link in the transcript, watch the whole video on YouTube if you would like to learn more about Australian news, Australian culture, everything like that. And I thought of this one because it’s linked in, it’s connected to, the fact in today’s Aussie English fact where we’re going to talk about floods.

Anyway, guys. Time for a joke. We always have a joke at the start here, right.

Why do we tell actors to break a leg?

And if you don’t know this already, in English you often say ‘break a leg’ to an actor when they’re about to go out on stage and perform, because it’s considered bad luck to say something positive, so, like, good luck, or whatever. I don’t know why we have this sort of thing. It goes back a long way in our history, but any time someone is going to go on stage, if they’re in a play or something, often if people want to wish them luck without being positive, they’ll say ‘break a leg’ wishing that something horrible happens to their leg. Break a leg.

So, why do we tell actors to break a leg?

Because every play has ‘a cast’.

Did you get it? Did you get it, guys? So, ‘a play’ is obviously the show that’s played at the theatre, right, with people on the stage, and the group of people in the play are called ‘the cast’, ‘the cast of the play’ all of the members in that play all of the people are the cast. But, ‘a cast’ is also like a mould, right, or it’s something that you can put around your leg made out of plaster, for example, when you break your leg or maybe your arm. So, if you break your leg, you’ll often have a plaster cast put around your leg to protect it while it heals. Okay?

So, why do we tell actors to break a leg? Because every play has ‘a cast’.

Anyway, today’s expression, guys, is ‘to go down the gurgler’, ‘to go down the gurgler’, and this is from Djib in The Aussie English Classroom Facebook group. Remember, guys, if you are in The Aussie English Classroom, jump over to the Facebook group, and each week I ask for people to suggest expressions that they’re having trouble with or that they’re interested in learning more about, we vote on them, and then they end up… the winning one ends up being the episode for the week.

So, as usual, let’s define the different words in ‘to go down the gurgler’.

Right, so you’ve got ‘go down’, this phrasal verb, and I’m sure you guys know this means to descend, right, to move downwards, or sink into something, right? To go down.

Now, ‘a gurgler’, this is Australian slang, and it is slang for ‘a drain’, right? So, you could have a drain in the bottom of your sink in the kitchen or the drain in your bath.

And when you have the bath or the sink full of water and you pull the plug out, the water goes down the gurgler, it goes down the drain. And the reason… I think the reason that we call it ‘a gurgler’ is because when water goes down a drain, it gurgles, it makes the sound that we call gurgling, right. It makes a hollow bubbling sounds like that may when water runs into or out of something. That’s to gurgle. So, we call ‘a drain’ ‘a gurgler’ in Australia.

So, what does the expression mean ‘to go down the gurgler’ or ‘to go down the drain’. So, it was originally the expression ‘to go down the drain’ and we’ve obviously changed it in Australia to be ‘go down the gurgler’, and it just means to be a wasted. Okay? So, you might waste a lot of your money. The money goes down the gurgler. You might waste a lot of your time. Your time has gone down the gurgler. Okay. So, to be wasted.

So, as usual, let’s go through three examples of how to use this expression.

So, number one. Imagine that your father has started a company selling tools, you know, things like drills or screwdrivers, saws, whatever it is, chainsaws. So, he’s opened a warehouse, he’s invested a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of energy, into growing this business. He’s hired people, he’s taken people on to work for him, and it’s been doing really well. Then all of a sudden, business dries up, people stop buying things, maybe there’s some sort of financial crisis and no one wants to spend any money anymore, so everything goes down gurgler, right. Business has tanked. Business has dried up. Business has really slowed down. So, all of a sudden, his business went down the drain, it went down the gurgler. So, all that hard work, time, money, energy, it all went down the gurgler.

Number two. Imagine you’re an athlete and you’ve been training for years to be an amazing runner or maybe an amazing… I don’t know. What are some of these other sports that are at the Olympics? A javelin thrower or a shot-put thrower or discus thrower, you know, someone who’s trying to compete in the athletics at the Olympics, and your dream is to compete at the Olympics one day. So, it’s been your dream since you were little. You always showed up early in the morning to training sessions many times a week almost every day, and you’ve finally gotten to a skill level and the height of your development where you can compete in the next Olympic Games. You’re in your prime. However, just before The Games, you get injured in training, maybe you break a leg and it gets put in a cast, and you can’t compete. So, because you couldn’t compete and the next Olympic Games is like four years away, which is going to be a very difficult thing to sort of, you know, maintain your level of that amount of time until the next Olympics, you feel like you’ve failed and everything’s gone down the gurgler, right? All your hard work’s gone down the gurgler. The effort, the time, all those mornings you got up early and trained really hard, all that energy you put into developing and honing your skills has gone down the gurgler. It’s gone down the drain. It’s all been wasted.

Example number three. Imagine you are a single guy who’s on the dating scene at the moment. You know, you’re trying to meet the right woman. You’ve been going out with many different women over the past few months, getting to know them, but none of really tickled your fancy, none of them have been a catch. You know, your soul mate, ‘the one’. You haven’t clicked with any of them enough to say that you’re interested in pursuing a long-term relationship. But finally, the right woman comes along and you guys hit it off and you get along like a house on fire. You go out on numerous dates and end up in a relationship with this dream woman of yours, however, you end up doing something careless, reckless, or stupid, that leads to you guys breaking up. So maybe you cheat on this girl when you’re drunk or maybe you forget to show up to your anniversary dinner one day. If that happens and the relationship ends, it’s all been for nothing, it’s all wasted, you’ve screwed up, and, you know, you’ve wasted your time, your energy, everything you put into this relationship, the relationship has gone down the gurgler. It went down the gurgle out when you screwed up, okay. It went down the drain. It went down the gurgler.

So, hopefully now, guys, you understand the expression ‘to go down the gurgler’. This is a great Aussie expression. And it just means for something to be wasted, whether it’s money, time, whatever resource it is.

So, as usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise, guys, where you guys can practice your pronunciation so just listen and repeat after me, guys. If you are working on your Australian accent obviously really try and mimic me. If you’re working on a different accent, you know, British or American, don’t necessarily try to copy my pronunciation exactly, but say these words after me. Okay. Let’s go.


To go

To go down

To go down the

To go down the gurgler x 5

My business went down the gurgler

Your business went down the gurgler

His business went down the gurgler

Her business went down the gurgler

Our business went down the gurgler

Their business went down the gurgler

Its business went down the gurgler

Great job, guys. Great job. Now remember, if you would like to go through the video today breaking down all of the different connected speech and pronunciation aspects of this exercise, make sure to go over to and sign up where you can get access to all the videos for this episode and all the other courses as well.

Now, before we finish up, let’s go through the Aussie fact today where we’re going to be talking about severe weather, and specifically floods, right, you know, way too much water.

So, floods are a common occurrence in Australia and they happen when water from heavy rainfall causes rivers to overflow, to break their banks, and the surrounding, usually dry land, to be covered in water, to be submerged in water.

So, they occur every year in Australia and they cost the country between 300 and 400 million dollars in damages. Sadly, floods can also cause loss of life, most of which is 100 percent preventable, but occurs when people don’t take the right precautions and/or underestimate the severity of a flooding event.

Now, usually, heavy rainfall underpins most flooding events. In some places in southern parts of Australia, this can be due to snow melting at the end of winter or particularly severe storms caused by low-pressure systems in late winter or spring. Whereas in the north of Australia, they’re often caused by cyclones, which dump vast quantities of water once they make landfall in these wet seasons.

So, floods of this kind are often affected by the El Niño Southern Isolation. This is the oscillation between, I guess, amount of water in the climate. So, in the El Niño period, there’s less water. In the La Niña years, in the La Nina period, there’s a lot more water. So, in the La Nina period, heavy rains fall on Australia and floods can be even more common.

What are the different kinds of floods though?

So, we have slow-onset floods, which usually occur on inland rivers, and as the name suggests, they take a week or more to develop and they can hang around for months, and they’re caused by long periods of consistently heavy rainfall.

We have rapid-onset floods, which occur quickly and, as a result, they can be more catastrophic as there’s much less time for warnings to go out, you know, and subsequent time to react compared to slow-onset floods. Now, these occur on rivers in coastal areas and mountain headwaters of major rivers usually, so these river types that drain a lot more quickly, and thus, flooding begins and ends more rapidly than slow-onset floods.

Now, the last kind are flash floods and these occur when there is extremely heavy precipitation, so when it rains incredibly heavily, due to intense storms, which are more than local drainage systems, either natural or manmade, can handle. So, they occur with little to no warning and as a result have the highest propensity of any floods to cause loss of life. They’re often a big problem in cities due to ineffective drainage.

So, to protect against floods, there are a number of flood mitigation projects including building dams up river from flood-prone areas, as well as building levees and walls around river banks to prevent water from overflowing and reaching inhabited areas. However, these defenses can fail and extreme events and early detection is the best defense against floods. Thus, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology monitors river levels and rainfall in order to issue warnings as early as possible.

Now, a severe flood that I got experience with was in 2010-2011 in Queensland, ‘the Queensland Floods’ they were called, and these floods hit Queensland in the beginning of November in 2010 when I was doing fieldwork up the east coast of Australia catching goannas for my Master’s degree. And it was crazy, because there were thousands of people that had been evacuated from towns and cities. There were at least 90 towns with over 200,000 people affected. Damages for this flood cost something like 2.3 billion dollars, and tragically 33 people died in these floods with three still missing today.

So, that was a really bizarre time, because I remember seeing that story about a 12-foot-long bull shark, a man-eating shark, somehow swimming upstream out into the flood waters and swimming through a McDonald’s takeaway restaurant. So, there was a shark inside this restaurant. You’ll find that article online. Yeah. Anyway, floods in Australia.

I hope you enjoy this episode, guys. I hope you have an amazing weekend and I will chat to you soon. See ya!

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