Macquarie Dictionary


Revving up the Balmain bulldozer

Ah, the smell of peak hour traffic, don’t you just love it? Well, no, but while you’re on the school run, you might find yourself surrounded by a fleet of Balmain bulldozers. 

A Balmain bulldozer is a derogatory term for a city-only four-wheel drive. This is a vehicle owned by someone living in an urban area and rarely, if ever, used for off-road driving. On holiday, these vehicles stick to the highway and stay well away from outback dirt roads. 

Balmain bulldozer is only one of a legion of names for these 4WDs. In Sydney alone they are known by the following: Balmoral bulldozer, Double Bay tractorMosman tractorNorth Shore tank and Turramurra tractor. They are also commonly known as wanker tanks.

In fact, just about every city in Australia has a slang name for these urban road warriors. The Melbourne equivalent is Toorak tractor, also known as a Toorak taxiPerth has the Dalkeith tractor, Adelaide the Burnside bus, and Brisbane the Kenmore tractor. Basically, stick the name of an affluent suburb in front of any large vehicle and you have yourself a suitably snarky name. 

Beep beep. Drive safe. 

Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.

Leave a Comment

Featured Articles