Thursday, February 07, 2008


I vaguely recall from my childhood the word Donne written on some toilets in Oakleigh. Is it Italian for female? Not sure how many Italian women shopped in Oakleigh. Many Greek women did and according to my grandmother, 'stood around in groups blocking the footpaths and yabbering away in Greek'.

So I suppose it is quite legitimate to have the word Donne on these Port Melbourne Beach toilets where many Italians once lived. But I would expect the gender indication would be faded and almost illegible, but no, it must regularly get repainted. How many non English reading Italian women would now frequent the beach?

Never mind, as a toilet block, it is quite attractive and the sign keeps a bit history alive. There is a matching block for the blokes.


  1. They still stand around in groups blocking the footpath yabbering away in Greek/Italian/insert language of choice

  2. Anonymous5:38 pm

    You're almost right; 'donne' means 'women' in Italian. Vik.

  3. It's the plural of donna: woman.
    And you'll be astonished to know I'm versed in italian.

  4. I thought at first it meant John Donne, the poet. I'm versed in culture as well, and at the height right now of my career as a poet.

    Stand Clear!

  5. In spite of Oakleigh changing so much in 40 years, somethings haven't changed hey.

    Thank you Vik. I knew that would grab your attention.

    Nothing surprises me about you Robert.

  6. Using toilets signposted in Italian can be treacherous for English speakers who don't know Italian. The Italian for "Men" is "Uomini" - which looks and sounds similar to "women", while "Donne" (for "women") sounds similar to the "Don" in Don Corleone, Don Quixote etc - leading the uninformed to assume it stands for the male gender!
    Also, once inside an Italian bathroom - be careful not to burn yourself washing your hands - the "Caldo" on the taps means hot/warm (cold is "freddo").

  7. Hmm, think I will stand back and watch to see who goes in where Altissima.

  8. And there's no upper case in italian. Fancy that.

    Which dunny would a drag queen use?

    (I only ask because I don't know)

    caldo nella cucina.

  9. Could be a reference to poet, Johnny Donne, allegedly a black sheep relative of r.h. - the king of the rhyminining couplet - wot wrote a pome celebrating the life of a famous 16th century debt collector, "Owed to a grecian, Ern."

    Isn't 'donne' vaguely related to the word 'donate'.

    'Donne' at a dunny ... mmmm? All a bit Joe Orton-ish.

  10. Robert beat you to that one M'lord.

    Nowt wrong with a bit of rough trade at the local lav, so Orton reckoned. Wonder why he chose such a ponce as a boyfriend. I know why really.

  11. The don't use the toilet Robert. They tie a knot before tucking.

  12. I was going to tell you about when I came off the prison van at Pentridge and we lined up for SHORT ARM INSPECTION and there was a drag queen in out midst. I'd never seen one before: a bloke wearing a turban.

    He put up a good fight.