Send 'er down, Hughie!

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Send 'er down, Hughie!, sometimes Send her down, Hughie! or Send it down, Hughie!, is an idiomatic Australian phrase uttered in response to the onset of rain.

It was in very common usage in the early 20th century, but is less common now. Interpreted literally, the phrase is a request that God, or a rain god, send plenty of rainfall.[1][2] The phrase apparently originated from a British military phrase of similar meaning, Send it down, David. St Hugh having long been associated with rain, "Hughie" became Australian slang for a rain god.[1]

The phrase thus embodies the typical response to rain in most Outback areas of Australia, which are prone to drought; and the common Australian practice of referring to people by nicknames, often with obscure meaning.[3]

It is also testament to the social egalitarianism prevalent in Australia, in which even God may be treated with familiarity.[4] With regard to this last point, Russel Ward has referred to the phrase as "egalitarian and familiar, yet not essentially sacrilegious ".[1]

The phrase has been used as the name of a Slim Dusty song from the album Walk a Country Mile,[5] and is the title of a 1968 book by Arthur F. Clifford.[6][7] Singer John Williamson has used the term as well [8]

In 2002, Send it down Hughie was used for a series of drought relief concerts and music releases, including a CD that sold over 4000 copies.

The term is used in context on page 154 of "The Anzac Legend - a Graphic History" as rain began to fall on the troops lying on the hills above Anzac Cove, 25 April 1915.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Ward, Russel (1958). The Australian Legend. Oxford University Press. 
  2. ^ "A fair dinkum dictionary". The Age. Fairfax Digital. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "SEND HER DOWN!.". The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954). Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 19 April 1947. p. 5 Edition: SECOND EDITION. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "Dud Mills' Poems.". Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative (NSW : 1890 - 1954). NSW: National Library of Australia. 28 May 1953. p. 3. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Clifford, Arthur (1968), Send her down, Hughie ex : an Australian experience, Rigby, ISBN 978-91-20-10674-8 
  7. ^ "Look what Hughie sent down.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). ACT: National Library of Australia. 11 January 1969. p. 11. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ page 154 of "The Anzac Legend- a Graphic History" by Dave Dye published March 2014; ISBN 9780992482602