At the register in a local service station buying fuel this week, I was amazed to hear the young motorbike rider in front of me in the queue say “thanks, cobber” to the attendant after his purchase was complete. I swear, I have never heard any Aussie under the age of (at least) 65 use this expression, referring to a male ‘mate’ or ‘friend’. I mentioned it to my other half, who says he’s heard it several times in dealing with local business people since we moved to Tasmania. So far, I haven’t noticed any particular differences in the English spoken in Tasmania compared to elsewhere in Australia. I am sure there are some differences… more research required.
Then it got better… later that day, having an afternoon drink with friends at a fairly upmarket establishment in Hobart, the waiter addressed my husband as “cobbs”! Is that the shortened form of cobber?