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Send her down, Hughie!

Posted by R. Berg on January 24, 2003

In Reply to: Origin of an Australian common phrase posted by Rob Sinclair 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).