by Mark Gwynn
Last time he arrived, plastered to the eyeballs, full as a State school. (C. Rohan, Down by the Dockside, 1963)
We sat under the oleanders eating liquorice all-sorts .. ‘God, I’m full as a goog‘, Connie said. (Paul Radley, Jack Rivers and Me, 1981)
He deals with bed crisis on a daily basis as the hospital is, as they used to say, ‘as full as a Catholic school‘. (Adelaide Advertiser, 24 June 2001)
In Australian English the word full is found in various similes to designate ‘fullness’ of three main kinds: (1) being very drunk; (2) having eaten to one’s limits or satisfaction; (3) containing or holding much or many. The earliest forms, full as a goog, full as a boot, full as a bull (or bull’s bum), and full as a state school (with variants such as full as a state school hat rack) are all recorded from the 1930s. A number of other variants emerge from the 1960s onwards, including full as a Catholic school, full as a pommy complaint box, full as the family po (from the French pronunciation of pot in chamber pot), the offensive full as a fairy’s phone book, and full as Centrelink on payday.