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bullrush

Game in which children have to run across and oval without being tagged by those that are in. Called bullrush in Tamworth, Cockie Laura in Griffith, and Red Rover in other places: Child who is in yells out "Bullrush!" to signal all the other children to start running across the oval. Compare British bulldog, cockylora, red rover.

Contributor's comments: [Sydney informant] We called this Bullrush.

Contributor's comments: Sounds like what we used to play at school in NZ. Except we called it "Bull Rush"

Contributor's comments: Definitely in use on the Central Coast, NSW.

Contributor's comments: [Sydney informant] British bulldog was the tackle version, bullrush was non-tackle.

Contributor's comments: [Sydney informant] We used to play this in Primary School. I have heard it called Bullrush AND Cocky Laura. The same or a similar game was called Scat

Contributor's comments: "Bull Rush" exists in Dubbo NSW.
bedlam

a playground game with similar rules to red rover, played at Toowong Primary in the 1950s

Contributor's comments: We played a game of the same name in Toowoomba in the early 1970's. It was a kind of teams hide and seek. As you caught people, they were taken to a central area, and they could be freed by someone from the hiding team.

Contributor's comments: In Mackay,Qld.,we played the game "bedlam"in the early 1960's.

Contributor's comments: We played it at Enogerra Primary in the 60's.

Contributor's comments: I've never heard this word for a game. I grew up in the 50's and 60's in the south of WA . My mothers used this term frequently in relation to the level of noise us kids were making. Stop all that bedlam! What is all that bedlam going on in there. I am sure people still use this term today in WA. I can't say I've heard people use that term here in the top end.

Contributor's comments: We played bedlam at scouts in NW Brisbane in the early 70's - a game as described by others here, a subset of the more general scout "wide games".

Contributor's comments: As a school kid in Innisfail, North Queensland, during the 1950s I played both bedlam and red rover. They were two different games then.
British bulldog

A game played by a group of five to twenty or more boys. One in the middle of the playground, the others have to run from one side to the other and one is caught, who stays in the middle and joins the other one. Then more and more. Last one caught becomes the middle one in the next game: Let's play British Bulldog! Compare bullrush, cockylora, red rover.

Contributor's comments: As a Boy Scout in the Sydney suburb of Cheltenham we played the same game under the name of British Bulldog, but this may have been peculiar to the Scouting movement.

Contributor's comments: We played the same game at my school in Melbourne in the '50's; except we called it "British Bulldog". Have no idea why.

Contributor's comments: This game was known as British Bulldog in Melbourne. However, it was also called 'Fish' at my school after it was banned and was then played in secret at a different location.

Contributor's comments: [Sydney informant] In the 80's the primary school I attended also played British Bulldogs. The girls played too!!

Contributor's comments: When I was in primary school (30 years ago) in Toowoomba, British Bulldog and Red Rover were different games, similar in principle, but British Bulldog was the version in which one tackled the players in order to capture them. Red Rover was the 'touch' version of British Bulldog. I don't remember any objection from the school authorities about either form of the game, but for health reasons I preferred Red Rover.

Contributor's comments: British Bulldog was played on a grand scale at my school in the 1960's. The description of 5 - 20 boys should be in this case about 100. British Bulldog involved tackling the player to the ground. Red Rover was also played which involved just tagging the player. At my school I recall that Red Rover was played when girls were in the line up.

Contributor's comments: Also used in Tasmania.

Contributor's comments: we played British Bulldog (girls & boys) every lunchtime during primary school (lates 1970s) in Sydney's western suburbs.

Contributor's comments: I was in the Scouting movement, and we referred to "British Bulldog" as a toned down version of the rougher Red Rover game.

Contributor's comments: [Sydney informant] British bulldog was the tackle version, bullrush was non-tackle.

Contributor's comments: A schoolyard game played by primary school children in the 1980s: I seem to remember that it was banned by the Department of Education in 1988 or 1989: we renamed it in order to continue playing it (Scottish this/Welsh that). It involved a large number of students running from one side of the oval to the other - trying not to get caught by delegated 'it' students in the middle. If you were tackled to the ground, you had to stand in the middle and catch others. It was a game that was wildly fashionable across Melbourne primary schools, and not as violent as to warrant a ban from the Department. In the vernacular, it was always simply called 'British': "Let's play British this lunchtime."

Contributor's comments: My kids used to play this game when they were young as they were growing up in Adelaide. It was game introduced to them by their school.

Contributor's comments: Played this in the 50's and 60's in Melbourne. Our version was very violent with a lot of scragging. The brothers banned it after one broken collarbone and sundry contusions etc.

Contributor's comments: We played British Bulldog regularly in the Scouts in Ipswich in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was the tackle version of Red Rover, which was a tag game. Red Rover was played frequently at primary school, but British Bulldog was restricted to Scouts.

Contributor's comments: At my Primary School in the late 70's, the person was tackled to the ground and then swung by hand and feet by 2 other players and tossed to the count of '1,2,3, British Bulldog'- (injuries resulting from this caused it to be banned). The form of the game played where only a tag was required was played on asphalt and called 'Cat and Mouse".
cockylora

a schoolyard game in which a group of children run repeatedly through an area guarded by other children, those who are caught each time joining forces with their catchers until only one child remains uncaught and is the winner; often banned by teachers as too dangerous: Let's play cockylora at lunch today. Compare British bulldog, bullrush, red rover.
Contributor's comments: Game in which children have to run across and oval without being tagged by those that are in. Called bullrush in Tamworth, Cockie Laura in Griffith, and Red Rover in other places.

Contributor's comments: I was brought up in the central west of NSW at Forbes and we called this game Red Rover Cross Over, but I've also heard it called British Bulldog but I can't remember where that was.

Contributor's comments: [Central Coast Qld informant] This is new to me, but sounds very much like "red rover" that we played.

Contributor's comments: I've never heard this game called "cockylora" before. It was always called "Cross over Red Rover" and played in the street or down the park when I was young.

Contributor's comments: Growing up in Sydney, I knew this game as cockylora, and have never heard it referred to by the other names listed.

Contributor's comments: At Bourke Intermediate High (read public primary) School in the early 60's the schoolyard version (suitable for concrete or bitumen) was called 'cockylora' (or "1,2,3, cockylora" to be precise) and never anything else. 'British Bulldog' was a similar - but more violent - game involving rugby style tackling, suitable for dirt or grass and mostly played out of school hours because the teachers didn't go much for it.

Contributor's comments: [Tassie in the 50's] Never heard this term; the game was "British Bulldog" but the teachers usually broke it up, as kids often got hurt.

Contributor's comments: Played this game when a school child in Wagga. Very popular at that time.

Contributor's comments: [Werris Creek informant] When I moved to the country in 1975, this term was unknown to me but still used. It was replaced with British bulldog even while I was in primary school.

Contributor's comments: In Manly (suburb of Sydney) in the 1950s, it was definately "cockylora".

Contributor's comments: During my time at primary school in the Wollongong area during the sixties, the term cockylora was used to describe this game.

Contributor's comments: We played cockylora 123 in northern Sydney throughout the late 50's, early 60's. It was a tag game very suited to our front lawn!

Contributor's comments: [Sydney informant] Game similar to British Bulldog, where the player who was "in" was restricted to "tipping" the other players running between two bases or "bar" areas, which were areas where you in which you were safe from being tipped and getting "in": "Let's go outside and play cocky lora."

Contributor's comments: [Sydney informant] I grew up playing cockylore before I heard it called British Bulldog. I've also heard it called bullrush.

Contributor's comments: I grew up in Bathurst and used to play Cockylara 123 in the school yard of St Patricks from 1963 - 1966. When I moved to Kogarah in Sydney in 1966 no one there had heard of it.

Contributor's comments: As a a primary school student in the late 80's, we used cockylora only for the tackle style of ballrush. Ballrush was usually a tipping kind of affair while cockylora you had to tackle if you were in - again, not normally to popular with the teachers!

Contributor's comments: [Sydney informant] We used to play this in Primary School. I have heard it called Bullrush AND Cocky Laura. The same or a similar game was called Scat.

Contributor's comments: We used the name when I was at Barkly Hwy primary 1968 to 1970. But, the way it was pronounced, I would have thought it was spelled cockallora. My experience with the game was similar to other reports I've read, as teachers often stopped the game.
red rover

a running game played at school with as many children as possible running form one side of the asphalt as possible. Someone was in and had to catch another person to be in. Schools always ban this game saying it is too dangerous. However children still play it at my school today in inner city Sydney. I grew up in Brisbane in the 1960s: Let's play red rover while the teacher's not looking. Compare British bulldog, bullrush, cockylora.

Contributor's comments: I seem to recall when living in Victoria (Melbourne) that "all over red rover" was used to describe something that was well & truly completed, or in particular to footy "it was all over red rover by half time".

Contributor's comments: Definitely used widely in QLD.

Contributor's comments: We used to play "red rover" at Coolabunia State School near Kingaroy Qld. One person began in the middle and had to catch others as they run from one side to the other. As people were caught they stayed in the middle and helped to catch others. We had great fun as children playing this game.

Contributor's comments: Red Rover was played in the school yard when I attended primary school in Adelaide in the 1950s & early 1960s. I suspect it is much more widespread than just Sydney. Not sure if it is still played in Adelaide schools.

Contributor's comments: Like Kiss Chasey, I am sure this regionalism is not limited to the east coast. I recall playing Red Rover when I was in primary school (mid-to-late 70s) in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Thought you'd like to know.

Contributor's comments: We used to play Red Rover in Victoria too.

Contributor's comments: Sounds like what we used to play at school in NZ. Except we called it "Bull Rush"

Contributor's comments: This game was known as British Bulldog in Melbourne. However, it was also called 'Fish' at my school after it was banned and was then played in secret at a different location.

Contributor's comments: We played the same game at my school in Melbourne in the '50's; except we called it "British Bulldog". Have no idea why.

Contributor's comments: I've played this game in Tassie, so it's not just a NSW term.

Contributor's comments: [Brisbane informant] I played this in primary school, between 1976-1979

Contributor's comments: [Brisbane informant] A number of people I know use the phrase: "All over, red rover" to announce the end of something (e.g. an event, a relationship, a game).

Contributor's comments: This term was used for the described game where I grew up in Fremantle in the early 1960's.

Contributor's comments: Red rover was played vigorously and often in my schooldays in Adelaide. Variations included a rougher version called 'British Bulldog' where the runner was picked up and dumped when caught, and a hopping version we called 'Hoppo Bumpo'.

Contributor's comments: [Sydney informant] We called this Bullrush.

Contributor's comments: As a Boy Scout in the Sydney suburb of Cheltenham we played the same game under the name of British Bulldog, but this may have been peculiar to the Scouting movement.

Contributor's comments: I think the name had something to do with the cry "cross over, red rover" played almost every lunch time at schools in NW NSW.

Contributor's comments: We used to play this in the Hunter Valley, too!

Contributor's comments: I was brought up in the central west of NSW at Forbes and we called this game Red Rover Cross Over, but I've also heard it called British Bulldog but I can't remember where that was.


Contributor's comments: This sounds suspiciously like British bulldog (also listed on Wordmap) which we played in Vic. in the 50s.

Contributor's comments: Red Rover was played during physical education (PE) lessons at my suburban Adelaide school in the 1980s. 'It' would stand in the middle and call players with a certain characteristic (clothing, etc.) to cross, but when 'it' called "All over red rover!" every player had to cross.

Contributor's comments: I've never heard this game called "cockylora" before. It was always called "Cross over Red Rover" and played in the street or down the park when I was young.

Contributor's comments: When I was in primary school (30 years ago) in Toowoomba, British Bulldog and Red Rover were different games, similar in principle, but British Bulldog was the version in which one tackled the players in order to capture them. Red Rover was the 'touch' version of British Bulldog. I don't remember any objection from the school authorities about either form of the game, but for health reasons I preferred Red Rover.

Contributor's comments: Growing up in Sydney, I knew this game as cockylora, and have never heard it referred to by the other names listed.

Contributor's comments: British Bulldog was played on a grand scale at my school in the 1960's. The description of 5 - 20 boys should be in this case about 100. British Bulldog involved tackling the player to the ground. Red Rover was also played which involved just tagging the player. At my school I recall that Red Rover was played when girls were in the line up.

Contributor's comments: Red rover was played at Toowong Primary in the 1950's. There was an equally boisterous game called bedlam with similar rules.

Contributor's comments: Red rover was still being played when I was a primary school student in Adelaide in the 1980's.