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Re: Send her down, Hughie!

Posted by Masakim on January 24, 2003

In Reply to: Send her down, Hughie! posted by R. Berg on January 24, 2003

: : I am seeking the origins of a common Australian phrase
: : "send her down Hughie" Used when it's raining this phrase is appealing to the heavens for more and heavier rain.
: : Can you help ?

: From Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British":

: "send her down, Hughie!" (and ". . . , Steve!") This Aus. -- hence also NZ -- catchphrase of late C19-20, the 'Steve' var. being used during WW1, expresses a fervent desire for rain. . . . Variations of the next, 'her' for 'it' being characteristically Aus.

: "send it down, David (with var. "Davy lad")!" The var. belongs to the Regular Army; and the basic 'send it down, David' is often intensified by the addition of a repetitive 'send it down': late C19-20. In the army, esp. during WW1, it was used to implore David, the Welsh patron saint, to send a preferably very heavy shower, notably when it might cause a parade to be postponed or cancelled. Parts of Wales have a notoriously wet climate: and, what is more, Wales is 'the Land of _Leeks_' (leaks).

Hughie A 20th-century Australian euphemism for God, especially in contexts that have to do with the control of the weather. *Send her down, Hughie* is a common outback exhortation to the Almighty Rinmaker.
From _Brewer's 20th-Century Phrase & Fable_

Huey noun a jocular name for the powers above used when encouraging a heavy rainfall, good snow or good surf: _Send her down, Huey!_ _Whip 'em up, Huey!_ Also, *Hughie*. [origin of appellation unknown]
From _Macquarie Book of Slang_
----------
Down Hughie* pours.
*Hughie = the rain. (L.J. Villers, _The Changing Year_, 1918)

_Send her down, Steve!_ Let it rain on. (W.H. Downing, _Digger Dialects_, 1919)

The missionary tackled him with 'Who made this country, Peter?' 'Dunno' -- says Peter -- 'was here when I came.' 'Well,' says Parson, 'who is it makes the rain?' Peter knew that all right. 'Ole Hughie,' he answered promptly. (_Bulletin_, January 26, 1922)

To the best of my belief, it was at Charlton [in 1905] that 'Hughie' as the chief deity in the job of controlling the weather came into being. (H.P. Tritton, _Time Means Tucker_, 1964)