Our Top 5 Favourite Aussie Furphy Tales

According to Wikipedia, "A furphy is Australian slang for an erroneous or improbable story that is claimed to be factual. Furphies are supposedly 'heard' from reputable sources, sometimes secondhand or thirdhand, and widely believed until discounted." 

In fact, the origins of the term trace back as far as World War 1 where water carts used to rehydrate troops were produced by Furphy Engineering, a local Victorian outfitter. The water carts and the gossip mixed with news brought with the H2O by Furphy drivers quickly became the prototype of the water cooler conversation and begun generating tall tales amongst Anzac soldiers across the fronts. 

To honour the classic tradition of spinning a furphy to your mates, Little Creatures Brewing Co released an exclusively Geelong craft beer under the same name which was so successful amongst Victorians, It's been rolled out nationwide. Say Hello to our current Beer of the Month.


Furphy Refreshing Ale 4.40% ABV 

Furphy Refreshing Ale was brewed from 100% Victorian ingredients. Clean, crisp with just a slight hint of fruits and malts to keep things interesting before finishing nice and smooth. Perfect for a good old fashioned session of yarn-spinning with your mates...

Keep reading about our current Beer of the Month: Furphy Refreshing Ale...

But what are Australia's most infamous furphy tales?

These are some of our favourites;

Image courtesy: SMSA.org

Image courtesy: SMSA.org

1. Harold Holt Being Kidnapped by a Chinese Submarine

According to the official story put out by our Government, Prime Minister Harold Holt drowned near Portsea, Victoria, on 17 December 1967, yet his body was never recovered and conspiracy theories quickly surfaced that he was either kidnapped by the Chinese or was a Chinese spy after disappearing out of calm seas possibly taken aboard a submarine. Holt's widow dismissed the theory several years later. "Harry? Chinese submarine? He didn't even like Chinese cooking," she responded. Let it be known that for over half a decade, the Australian Government and media have never once tried to debunk this furphy nor did they ever call for an offical investigation into his disappearance further fuelling rumours of foul play. 


2. Toilets down under flush in the opposite direction to the Northern Hemisphere... 

This furphy is based on the Coriolis effect in nature and was boosted by its inclusion in that Simpsons episode from the mid 90's when Bart prank-called Australia and the family travels there so he can apologise. The reality is that this is not true and each toilet anywhere in the world will flush differently depending on their function and construction. Don't panic, this ain't no flat earth theory bubbling..


3. Most Aussies are bronzed fit active healthy people

Shh. Don't tell the rest of the world but it's true.. This is how a lot of the world sees the a-typical Aussie. Tan, fit and sun bleached hair from all that time at the beach surfing. Just plain beautiful. Now we aren't saying we don't have some very attractive Aussies lurking around but the reality is we are one of the most obese and unhealthy nations on Earth. According to the results of a global study into obesity rates cited by the ABC,  show almost 1/4 of Australia's kids and 63 per cent of the adult population is obese and our country is now on par with the US for overweight people. Maybe, just maybe, you should opt for the low carb beers this time.

A Yowee illustration. Image courtesy:  Queensland Times

A Yowee illustration. Image courtesy: Queensland Times

4. Australia's Mythological Menagerie: Bunyips, Yowees and Drop Bears!

There are two mythological creatures from Aboriginal mythology and folklore that have seemed to permeate through to survive still today in our collective Australian identity and zeitgeist. The bunyip is a large mythical creature often interchanged with water spirits that tend to occupy smaller bodies of water like billabongs, creeks and lakes. The other creatures, yowies are most often described as primate like creatures covered in hair with huge feet sometimes up to 2.1 metres in height. Think the Indigenous Australian version of the Sasquatch of Big Foot. We as Aussies, are pretty fond of spinning a good furphy or yarn including these local mythic creatures but in more modern times, a new addition to Australia's cryptozoological index has taken the place of the Bunyip and Yowee.


Drop bears are described most commonly to travelling backpackers from overseas and very young Australian children as giant carnivorous cousins to the koala that you must keep an eye out for while out in the bush camping, if you know what's good for you that is... They are thought to share a similar home to koalas in the top of trees and hunt by simply dropping onto the heads of their prey equipped with razor sharp teeth and claws and a taste for blood not Eucalyptus leaves. To keep them away, we heard your best strategy is to rub toothpaste or better yet, Vegemite onto the back of your neck and to always be vigilant by pointing your torch upwards when trekking through the bush at night.


5. Simpson and His Donkey: The ANZAC Legend

The legend of Simpson and his donkey at Gallipoli is one of our nation's favourite ANZAC stories which embodies the values we hold so close as a nation. Stretcher bearer John Simpson Kirkpatrick became legend for transporting wounded men back from the frontline with his donkey and worked tirelessly to save lives over the four short weeks he was stationed at Anzac Cove before he was shot and killed by a sniper. However, Simmo and his ass might not have been as good of a bloke as you initially thought... In fact, it turns out that there was almost definitely more than one donkey but the scandal continues. Aussies also don't typically realise that Simpson was an Englishman who had joined the war effort as a means to make his way home to London and his family. Contrary to popular belief, war scholars also believe he might not have been responsible for saving any lives at all and would typically be transporting soldiers back from gullies and trenches who mostly carried leg wounds. 

Don't forget to stop by to come and have a yarn about your own favourite Aussie furphy with our staff and if you haven't already, come give a furphy a try.