Is word-of-mouth more powerful in China?

The sheer size and increasing wealth of the Chinese population makes China an attractive target market. There is no doubt that Chinese culture and history differs from the western world, but how do these differences translate into differences in Chinese buyer behaviour? And are there differences that should affect a brand’s growth strategy? This is a question we examine in How Brands Grow Part 2: Including Emerging Markets, Services and  Durables, New Brands and Luxury Brands. Here I briefly discuss a topical area: word-of-mouth (WOM).

Given the importance of family, relationships and social networks in the lives of the Chinese people, there is frequent speculation that WOM will have more influence on Chinese buyers. This can lead marketers to invest in more WOM-generation activities in China, at the expense of mass advertising. Two factors determine the usefulness of any media: reach and impact. WOM has limited reach, but might have more impact on those reached. We tackle the assumption that Chinese buyers are more affected by WOM than buyers in the USA.

Professor Robert East (co-author Chapter 7: Word-of-Mouth Facts Worth Talking About) highlights that to determine the relative influence of any received brand advice, you need to know the starting point, i.e. how likely they were to buy the brand prior to receiving the WOM. Buyers vary in their brand purchase propensities—some get WOM about a brand they are already highly likely to buy, while others get WOM about a brand where they have little initial interest.

East and colleagues found WOM is more influential when it reaches people with less chance of buying the brand initially (East et al., 2008), and is less influential on those with a higher probability of buying a brand. This is important when researching WOM in China, and comparing results to other countries.
For example, when we compared the influence of WOM in the automobile market in China versus the USA we found that China has a less mature automobile market. This means more buyers have a lower benchmark probability of buying a brand of automobile before they receive any WOM, compared to a similar sample of car owners from the USA. Figure 1 illustrates that the majority of category buyers from China have a benchmark probability of 40–60%, and three times as many people from the USA have a benchmark probability of over 90%. These differences affect aggregate assessments of impact.

Figure 1: Benchmark probability of buying a car brand prior to receiving WOM

Figure 1: Benchmark probability of buying a car brand prior to receiving WOM

One way to see if WOM really has a greater influence on Chinese buyers, compared to those in the USA, is to look at people who have a similar benchmark probability in the same category. So we compared buyers in each country with a benchmark probability of 50% chance of buying the brand. The result showed no evidence that WOM is more influential on the Chinese. So it would be misguided to invest a lot in WOM generation activities in China thinking that it would have a substantially higher impact. It might be that WOM has greater reach, or cut through, and these are possible reasons for investing in WOM (they of course need similar testing), but we don’t see any evidence of WOM’s higher impact. (See How Brands Grow: Part 2 Chapter 7 for more information on this and the testing of other WOM generalisations.)

How Brands Grow: Part 2 has other examples from China, covering diverse areas such as loyalty, brand competition, brand associations, attitudes and cross media exposure. Our approach is to test established knowledge and see if that holds as a first point of action. Our evidence is that much of the empirical knowledge from western markets also holds in China. When it comes to the laws of growth, China is a different country, not a different planet!

This doesn’t mean that important differences between China and western markets don’t exist. It’s just that we need to be careful to disentangle real differences in buyers from transient differences in factors such as category experience/maturity. Otherwise, you risk being caught out when the market does mature, as is happening in many packaged goods categories in China.

On a final note, just because the strategic path to growth might be similar in China, it doesn’t mean marketers can just roll out a ‘one size fits all’ marketing plan. China does have some major differences that will influence tactical choices, as do India, Indonesia, Brazil and other emerging markets. Whether your global brand is just getting started or is well established and looking to fight off competitors, the chapters in How Brand Grow: Part 2 on building mental and physical availability, as well as launching a new brand, are there to help you to prioritise smartly and avoid the common pitfalls of assuming there are big differences rather than relying on the evidence.

Further reading:
East, R., K. Hammond and W. Lomax (2008), ‘Measuring the impact of positive and negative word of mouth on brand purchase probability’, International Journal of Research in Marketing 25(3): 215–24.

Romaniuk, J., and East, R. (2016), ‘Word-of-Mouth Facts Worth Talking About’, How Brands Grow Part 2: Including Emerging Markets, Services and Durables, New Brands and Luxury Brands

9780195596267Professor Jenni Romaniuk
Executive Director (International) at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science (www.MarketingScience.info)
Author: How Brands Grow Part 2: Including Emerging Markets, Services and Durables, New Brands and Luxury Brands (2015).

 

Image source: How Brands Grow: Part 2; Adapted from figures in Chapter 7: Word-of-Mouth Facts Worth Talking About, How Brands Grow: Part 2.

The Anzac Legend

Ever since news of the landing at Gallipoli first reached Australia via the reporting of the British war correspondent Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, the achievements of the AIF have become embedded in Australian national consciousness. By the end of the war the AIF had come to be regarded as one of the premier Allied fighting forces, and [General Sir John] Monash as one of their most successful generals. Reflecting the widespread militaristic outlook of the early twentieth century, Gallipoli was regarded as the nation’s ‘baptism of fire’, which was understandable given that its only previous military involvement had been in the much smaller scale South African (Boer) War. What was, and is, less understandable is the suggestion that Gallipoli marked the birth of the nation, as if the very achievement of Federation in 1901 by peaceful means and the introduction of universal suffrage (Indigenous inhabitants excepted) was less significant in the history of the new Commonwealth. One hundred years on from the landing of 25 April 1915, ‘Anzac’ remains a contested concept that attracts vigorous criticism and impassioned defence. The fact that scores of thousands turn out every year at dawn services throughout the country suggests that the AIF as the original Anzacs continues to inspire new generations.

Mackay Regional Council

Anzac Day ceremonies became an annual fixture after the war. This one, held around a temporary memorial, was in Mackay, Queensland, in 1929.

Bean concluded his final volume of the official history by hailing the story of the AIF as a ‘monument to great-hearted men; and, for their nation, a possession forever’. That the AIF was able to achieve what it did truly is a remarkable story. It would have been almost inconceivable in the decade following Federation that Australia could raise a substantial force within a matter of months and dispatch it to fight in distant campaigns. Yet from the moment that Australia entered the war and opened recruiting until the first convoy sailed from Albany, less than three months had elapsed. It was because of the work of countless military and civil officers, and with the support of large sections of the Australian community, that the initial force of 20 000 men—one infantry division and a light horse brigade—was raised so quickly. That was a significant achievement in itself, but the ultimate expansion (and probably over-expansion) of the AIF to a strength of five divisions and the best part of two mounted divisions was, by any measure, an extraordinary effort on the part of a small (and new) nation. By 1918 the AIF was, by any reckoning (and here we can avoid the extravagant claims of some cheerleaders), among the best fighting forces in the empire and, indeed, in the whole of the Allied camp. In the process it produced officers (many from the ranks but also from the pre-war Militia/Citizen Military Forces) who could command at every level. Monash was the outstanding Australian officer that the war produced, and in some circles he was touted as a possible commander-in-chief for the whole of the British Expeditionary Force, but this move to elevate him to the very top was as much a political campaign as it was a sound evaluation of his capability. He was supported by a legion of subordinates, many of whom grew into their positions from a very low base of experience: war was to be the great teacher. The war also produced thousands of soldiers of all ranks who performed their duties efficiently and effectively.

Underpinning these achievements was, first, a training scheme that quickly developed into one that could turn untried civilians into soldiers in a short period, for time was always of the essence. From its arrival in Egypt in December 1914, the AIF had barely four months to create a semblance of a military force from the mass of raw recruits that had embarked in the first convoy. Thereafter as reinforcements arrived in Egypt and, after the failure of the Gallipoli campaign, in Britain for eventual deployment on the Western Front, the training system developed the capacity to keep units at the maximum strength that the flow of recruits would allow. This was no mean feat.

The second, and often overlooked, factor underpinning the exploits of the AIF was the complex yet efficient administrative system that was developed, one that extended from the front lines to the bases in Egypt, France and Britain, all the way back to Australia. It is a source of wonderment a hundred years on to see the level of detail that was recorded on an individual’s file and the efforts that were made to communicate to families the particulars of their loved ones at the front, thereby ensuring public support for the AIF, even when wider questions were increasingly contested. More generally the act of keeping track of movements, equipment and all the support functions necessary to keep the AIF in the field required remarkable administrative abilities across the whole of the AIF and the Department of Defence.

What made all this possible? In the first instance it must be recognised that although the AIF was largely formed from scratch in terms of the bulk of enlisted men, it did not spring from nowhere. The small cadre of officers who formed the tiny pre-war professional army, together with the more robust officers and men of the CMF (a number of officers quickly showed that the rigors of a campaign were beyond their mental and physical capacity and were let go), provided a solid base on which to build. Such men as [Inspector-General, Brigadier-General William] Bridges had honed their skills through experience, in Australia and in South Africa, and on attachment to and working with the British Army. It is fashionable in some ignorant circles to decry the influence of the British Army on the AIF, but the fact is that the AIF fought as part of a larger British formation: the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at Gallipoli, the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front and the Eastern Expeditionary Force in Egypt, Palestine and Syria. Besides the indispensable support that the British Army and Britain more generally made available to the AIF, which was far beyond the capacity of Australian industry to provide, the British Army was, for better or worse (decidedly better by war’s end) the source of imperial military doctrine that made it possible for such a formation as the AIF to slot easily into wider operations.

Similarly, access to British training establishments was critical in enabling the AIF to develop over time its operational skills while, without the resources of the British Army medical system and its supporting network of hospitals, especially in Britain, the AIF could not have sustained the level of medical care that it was able to afford its sick and wounded. British officers who served with the AIF, from Birdwood down, rendered invaluable service, especially in such areas as staff work where the Australian military lacked deep experience. Again, much popular writing denigrates British officers (contemporary cartoons in unit newspapers mercilessly lampooned the monocled ‘toffs’ of the British military establishment), and there were certainly cases of incompetent British officers being posted to Australian units (just as there were incompetent Australian officers), but on the whole the

British officers who were attached to the AIF performed well, and the AIF would have been hard-pressed without them.

Nevertheless, although it is essential to acknowledge the inevitable reliance of the AIF on its far larger British counterpart, we should not underestimate the element of self-reliance that eventually made the AIF the force that it was by 1918. We should remember also that the fledgling force of 1914 bore little relation to the AIF of 1917–18. That it should become so highly valued within Allied circles was due in no small part to its officers, whose professional ability grew with experience. Monash, for example, had not done very well at Gallipoli; three years of hard fighting on the Western Front turned him into a leader to rank with the best. Those who held commissions in the CMF more on the basis of their social standing than because of their perceived ability were quickly weeded out in the AIF: demonstrable merit rather than background became the test for commissioning and promotion, an approach that served the AIF well.

Much has been made of the egalitarianism of the AIF, especially compared with what was regarded as the hidebound, class-conscious British Army. Emphasis on the latter can be exaggerated, but it is clear that officer–men relations in the AIF were more relaxed than in the British Army, not least because by the second half of the war many officers had come from the ranks. The AIF became notorious for the ill-discipline displayed by its members of various occasions, not only in comparison with the British Army but also with the Canadian and New Zealand forces. The vast majority of disciplinary cases arose from minor transgressions—drunkenness, overstaying leave, being out of bounds, using obscene language and so on—but there was a significant number of cases of criminal behaviour. Minor lapses in discipline and displays of ‘larrikinism’ could be excused as a release from the stresses of the front line, and in any case they largely escaped the attention of the public in Australia. It was a different matter when troops returned to Australia and engaged in public rowdiness and, in some cases, in such discreditable behaviour that there was danger of a public backlash against them.

‘Mateship’ is often touted as a peculiarly Australian characteristic, but this is a gross exaggeration, as though this tendency to stick together, whatever name is given to it, was not equally to be seen in every other army, especially those from the sister dominions. Australian troops might have been more overt in their demonstration of mateship, but the Diggers were no more concerned about their fellow soldiers than their counterparts from Canada and New Zealand, or indeed from the British Army. Australians did not have a monopoly on small group cohesion. What they shared in particular with their dominion counterparts was the fact that they were away from Australia for exceptionally long periods, and very few got home leave. This naturally focused emotions and a sense of responsibility on the soldier’s immediate surroundings—his platoon and company. The ‘fellowship of the trenches’ was a very real motivating factor that enabled men to endure the rigors of war.

[Charles] Bean was right when he wrote that the AIF became for Australia a possession forever.

The bitterness of the conscription campaign took years to fade and had long-lasting political effects, but the reputation of the AIF remained undiminished. When a second AIF was raised in 1939 it seemed only proper that, following in the footsteps of its famous forebear, it should adopt the names and numbering system of the 1st AIF (thus 2/10th Battalion, 2/12th Battalion and so on), with its divisions following on sequentially from the five divisions of the First AIF. Whatever the prevailing views about the Great War and ‘Anzac’ are—and they regularly change and mutate—the AIF is rightly firmly established in Australia’s consciousness as one of its great achievements.

9780195576801This extract is taken from The Australian Imperial Force.  Volume V of The Centenary History of Australia and the Great War series.

Explore Australia’s role in the First World War with our forthcoming local publishing, including a five volume series ‘The Centenary History of Australia and the Great War’.

ISBN 9780195576801 | Jean Bou & Peter Dennis | $59.95 | 26 May 2016

Image source: Mackay Regional Council

Using humour to inspire young writers

Hey, want to hear a joke?
Novice pirates make terrible singers because they can’t hit the high seas. 
(Cue collective groan)

Sometimes humour can be in-your-face and silly (like the joke above), and other times it can be more subtle. Whether it’s a pun, a child’s knock-knock joke, a funny movie, or situation comedy on television, we all enjoy a good laugh. Given this natural human tendency to appreciate humour, how might we, as educators, leverage humour in our teaching?  This idea deserves further attention.

Consider how social humour is. Think about the last time you watched a funny movie or television show with someone. When something funny happens on screen we turn to the person beside us as if to say ‘did you get it?’ It’s almost as if sharing the joke or funny situation enhances its humour.  The same is true with children, especially with their reading. Think about when you were a child, and saw a group of other children huddled together around a book, laughing.  How did you respond to that situation? You probably wanted to know what was so funny!  We all want to know what’s so funny. We all want to be part of the joke. Humour is a social phenomenon.

I observed this firsthand when I researched how humorous children’s literature engages young readers.  My research revealed that humorous literature is a huge motivator for children to read. When they read humorous books, they want to read more in general, and more specifically they want to read books by that author or other funny authors.  Also, when they do read something funny, they want to share it with someone immediately, whether they are a friend, family member, or teacher. This has classroom implications for teachers around the globe, because humorous literature can reach both struggling and reluctant readers.

In a related research project, I found that humorous children’s literature also motivates young readers to become writers of humour.  This was more than just wanting to copy their favourite author’s style of writing, but a need to be creative and write funny stories as well.  That is why in my latest book there is an entire chapter discussing humorous texts and their value in the classroom, and what teachers can do to harness these texts in developing young writers.

Some tips to help promote writing using humorous texts:

  • Expand your definition of ‘genre’ to include humorous texts (comics, joke books, etc.).
  • Value and include comics in your classroom activities.
  • Read and learn about blended narratives (Zbaracki & Geringer 2014) such as the 13-Storey Treehouse.
  • Allow students to write their own comics, perhaps using technology, websites or apps, and read each other’s creations.
  • Use technology (such as the ‘Pun of the Day’ app) to encourage students to explore the multiple meanings of words.
  • Explore parodies of well-known fairy tales and nursery rhymes to inspire students to create their own parodies.

So, it’s important to remember that humour, in addition to being fun, has great benefits helping students in both reading and writing.   ‘Sigmund’, a grade five student in my research study summed it up best:

… all books kind of have some humour, and if you don’t, I’m not saying that you should put like all humour in the book, it’s just if you don’t it’ll be kind of dull, and it won’t … well, it’ll be like the cake without the icing.

He’s so right! Keep eating that cake with icing, and reading and writing those funny texts!

Matthew Zbaracki is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at Australia Catholic University (Melbourne) and the author of Writing Right with Text Types (2015).

 

Featured image credits:  [1] OUP 9780195519068; [2]Shutterstock ID 144699151

 

Using real voices to inspire student teachers

OUP Authors Neil Harrison and Juanita Sellwood show the importance of using real stories in teaching by sharing their own experiences.

Be generous and stay a while

Numbulwar is a tropical paradise, replete with coconut palms and golden beaches. This was my first school appointment in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.

I had been teaching for ten days, when suddenly the kids starting yelling, ‘Get down, get down!’ But it was too late! I was left standing as a shovel-nosed spear sliced through the classroom door, its tail end vibrating like a rattle snake. One of the older students had been misbehaving the previous night and was being cautioned, publically!

1988: The sun as the provider of life

1988: The sun as the provider of life

Teachers came running from all directions to see that I was OK. Yes, I was fine, stirred but not shaken. Following some emotional checks on the beginning teacher, everybody returned to the classroom, and I returned to my teaching. Discipline can be swift and severe in some Indigenous communities if children do not do the right thing.

I went on to work with an amazing Yolŋu (Aboriginal) teacher in north-east Arnhem Land. We established a shop in the school where the students sold everything from bubblegum to dresses, toys and comics.

We made a fortune, and the kids who previously could not add single digit numbers all of a sudden were counting the day’s takings in hundreds of dollars. Previously, it had been almost impossible to get parents into the school for any reason, now hundreds of parents were coming to the school to shop and talk and feel at home.

In the meantime, my amazing Yolŋu colleague negotiated a place for me in the local community, made sure that I was given a skin name (an Aboriginal name), and guided me through the local protocols. She was absolutely generous with her heart and time, and was an expert in working across cultures. Like me, she is still teaching today.

That gift of generosity has been part of my experience wherever I have worked with Indigenous people in education.

I moved to Sydney in 2007. I felt absolutely intimidated by the big city at the time, but I soon started to work with the Darug people, the traditional custodians of the Country here, and again I met with generosity of spirit. I asked for advice and received it; I asked for help with my teaching and people were only too happy to give their time and assistance. Because of that generosity, I now feel like I have a home here just as I did in Arnhem Land. It is good to feel at home in many places.

1982: Eel on the Parramatta River, Sydney

1988: The sun as the provider of life

Be generous and respectful in how you speak to your students about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—your language in the classroom will govern how kids learn about the Indigenous people.

Learning and Teaching in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education will set you up to teach well, and to enjoy your collaborations with Indigenous people, whether that be in the city or in rural and remote regions. It takes time to meet people, and to establish networks and to feel comfortable. Take your time – you have a lifetime. Working in Indigenous education is a lifetime commitment.

– Neil Harrison

Apasin (respect) and good pasin (sharing our good ways)

It was with much anticipation and excitement that I arrived on my family island in the Torres Strait, Masig: a beautiful coral cay shaped in a tear drop, surrounded by the most vibrant reef and turquoise waters. In such a small island community of 50 families (about 340 people), everybody knows who is coming to the island and the nature of their visit, so everyone knew that I had arrived for my eight-week practicum at Yorke  Island (Masig) State School.

I was assigned a composite Year 5–7 class. The behaviour in the class seemed challenging and I couldn’t keep the kids on task. I was trying all sorts of strategies to get them engaged. I tried speaking Yumplatok with them, but a couple of the older girls said my accent was not a Masig accent (and they were right). I tried talking about my father being a fisherman and working with him, but still the kids seemed to be testing me with defiant behaviour. It didn’t even matter that my uncle was one of the policemen on the island.

By the end of the first week, I was exasperated and I still had seven weeks of teaching ahead of me. I decided to observe the other two teachers in their classes and to my surprise everything was fine. I went back to my class and found my supervising teacher effortlessly teaching and the students working contentedly. All of the teachers had been on Masig for a number of years and each had developed good relationships with the children and their families.

Even though this was my family island, I was still considered an ‘outsider’ by the younger generation (who I had never met before). I then realised I had to earn apasin (respect). My role as the teacher had a certain kind of status in the community that exceeded my role as ‘Aunty’. It meant the children positioned me in a more formal way. I assumed that I would easily engage with the children because of family connections and I expected an automatic rapport. It did not happen, and like the other teachers who had been teaching on the island for a while, I had to develop a relationship with the children and show them I had good pasin (sharing our good ways) by being courteous and caring beyond the school context.

I started going to public events in the community and to the local church every Sunday, and I made sure I always chatted to parents, taking a genuine interest in their family and life on the island (and I made sure the children saw me doing this). Over those weeks the challenging behaviour ceased. By the end of my prac, I knew that I had developed a good rapport with the children as every afternoon the children would follow me along the beach, like the Pied Piper (and they still always called me ‘Miss’).

During your practicums when you get the opportunity to meet Indigenous students and their families, give your time generously and show interest in their lives both in and outside the school context. ‘Sharing our good ways’ will go a long way in establishing long lasting connections with families.

– Juanita Sellwood

9780190303204 Learning and Teaching in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education 3eNeil Harrison and Juanita Sellwood are the authors of Learning and Teaching in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education third edition.

Dr Neil Harrison is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at Macquarie University. He has over 30 years teaching and research experience in Indigenous education.
Juanita Sellwood is a Lecturer in the College of Arts, Society and Education at James Cook University. She enjoys the opportunity to work with students and inspire them to become passionate about Indigenous education.

Featured image credits: Neil Harrison

Connecting with Law Short Film Competition launches for 2016

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The Connecting with Law Short Film Competition is an annual event run by Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand. Now in its ninth year, the Connecting with Law Short Film Competition is open to all tertiary students currently enrolled in a law unit at an Australian university.

This year, we are asking students ‘why study law?’ To enter, students need to create a 2 – 5 minute film about what inspires them to study law that will educate, entertain and engage other law students and help them connect with law. Films could explore this theme from a number of angles, including the law school experience, how studying law can positively affect your life and understanding of the world, or why future students should start law school.

Not only are there great cash prizes to be won, but here are three reasons why you consider entering the Connecting with Law Short Film Competition this year:

  • Showcase your creativity: the competition allows you to apply your legal skills and knowledge in a creative setting and think outside of the lecture theatre. We understand that studying law can be a sizeable academic commitment – so why not take a brain break between readings and start filming?
  • Bond with other law students: this is a great opportunity to pair up with a classmate to work on an entry. Struggling to find a collaborator? Why not place a call-out through your campus law society and build your dream team.
  • Get your name known in law: The winning entries are shared with law schools across Australia, so you can get your name known in law before you start your legal career (and add breadth to your LinkedIn profile!)

Want to learn more? Visit the Connecting with Law Short Film Competition homepage to read our submission guidelines, download an entry form or watch the 2015 winners.

All of the winning and commended entries from previous years can be viewed online at the Connecting with Law Film Library.

Written by Stephanie Swain, Higher Education – Marketing and Product Specialist

Oxford Word of the Month – April: Kangaroo mile

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noun: a distance usually longer than an actual mile because of the nature of the terrain.

THE STORY BEHIND THE WORD OF THE MONTH
In 1842, on an overland expedition with Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin in Tasmania, settler and author David Burn wrote in his diary: ‘The path throughout, Mr. Calder reckons at six miles. To his long limbs they might seem no more; but my little legs considered them to be kangaroo miles. At all events they are very weary ones.’ (Narrative of the Overland Journeyfrom Hobart Town to Macquarie Harbour, ed. G. Mackaness, 1955) The journey was made worse by bad weather and flooded rivers, so that much of the wild terrain they covered must have seemed like kangaroo miles to the expeditioners.

This diary entry is the first written record of the term kangaroo mile. A later variant is bush mile, which has the same meaning, as evidenced in William Westgarth’s comment: ‘Bush miles often prove of vexatious length.’ (Victoria, late Australia Felix, 1853) Both these Australian terms hark back to the earlier British English term country mile, dating from the 18th century. A country mile originally referred to ‘a distance thought of as a mile in the countryside, typically regarded as longer than a standard mile’, but that sense is now obsolete, overtaken by the figurative sense ‘a very long way’. The origins of country mile and bush mile are self-evident. They are expressions of distance used in the context of
country or bush travel.

shutterstock_142625701

A kangaroo mile expresses the notion of outback distance in a different way. It alludes to the fact that a kangaroo can cover bush terrain much more quickly than we can, and in a more direct line—almost as the crow flies. Thus a distance that may appear short from a kangaroo’s point of view seems longer to us. Kangaroo mile also implies the difficulty of such travel, and the following writers illustrate this:

Notoriously, local computations of distance are invariably based on kangaroo miles, and, including a couple of retracings, due to tracks abruptly ending in settlers’ fences, five hours were occupied in the so-called 10-mile journey. (Perth Western Mail, 21 March 1908)

We had to cut our road through the scrub to get to the house, which was three kangaroo miles from the railway. (Geraldton Guardian, 7 August 1928)

Kangaroo mile has largely fallen out of use in the last few decades, but diarist David Burn and Sir John and Lady Franklin would have empathised with this 20th century Tasmanian tale of woe:

Country people reckon distance by ‘kangaroo miles’. Whatever the cause my feet had swollen, so that I had to walk the six or seven miles to West Montagu in my socks. (A.G. Horner, Tasmanian Journey, 1974)

Kangaroo mile will be considered for future inclusion in the Australian National Dictionary.

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Featured image credit: Shutterstock ID 142625701

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