'Straya - 50 Australian Sayings

Karen Alsop’s Animal Tales exhibition is an exciting and captivating collection of photographic art pieces that showcase anthropomorphic local wildlife in unexpected humanlike places. Along with her Australian Animal collections, Karen also has on show her ever-popular Animal Puns series, which offers an interactive adventure for viewers who are challenged to find the idioms represented in each artwork.

The latest addition to Karen’s Animal Pun series is “Straya,” a panoramic wonderland set at Menzie Creek Station, Puffing Billy, that incorporates 50 Australian sayings into the piece. Karen has cleverly incorporated Aussie slang visually into a storytelling piece, including sayings such as “Madder than a cut snake” and “Tickets on yourself,” among many others.


Purchase your own Straya Print or Canvas from the artist:

Some of the Sayings to get you started...


  • Mates Rates
  • Charge like a wounded bull
  • Tickets on yourself
  • Emu Bob
  • Bean Counter
  • Drop Bear
  • Redback
  • Cat’s Pyjamas
  • Bush Telegraph
  • Spit the Dummy
  • Quack
  • On ya bike
  • Like a rat up a drainpipe
  • Drink with the flies
  • Hit the turps
  • Flat out like a lizard drinking
  • Better than a Ham Sandwich
  • Hit the frog and toad
  • Bin Chicken
  • Sandwich short of a picnic
  • A thirst you could photograph
  • Snot Block
  • Playing Possum
  • Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed
  • Ratbag
  • Wombat’s picnic
  • Goose
  • Budgie Smugglers
  • Flying off the handle
  • Hen’s night
  • As scarce as hen’s teeth
  • Mother hen
  • Ants pants
  • Cat on a hot tin roof
  • In the Sticks
  • Across the ditch
  • Stickybeak
  • Madder than a cut snake
  • Ankle biter
  • Tall poppy syndrome
  • Dead Horse
  • Act the goat
  • Flamin’ Galah
  • Have a Captain Cook
  • Rabbit on
  • Stone the crows
  • Bog roll
  • Dunny
  • Cunning as a dunny rat
  • A few kangaroos loose in the top paddock

The Animal Tales series began with a single elephant sitting in the middle of a hallway, representing the saying “Elephant in the Room.” After sharing my progress with my husband, Stuart, he encouraged me to add more to the piece. This led me to incorporate as many animal sayings as possible, resulting in 20 animal puns in one room, challenging viewers to find the idioms in a game-like fashion.

Subsequent iterations of the concept focused on specific animals, including “Sick as a Dog,” “Piggy Bank,” and “Bull in a China Shop.” Following the installation of the Animal Tales exhibition at the Emerald Lake Park Visitor Centre, I had a vision for “Straya,” set at a Puffing Billy station and featuring as many Aussie slang sayings as possible as the prompt for the visuals. The resulting panoramic artwork incorporates 50 Australian sayings in one piece, creating a truly unique and immersive experience.

The artwork “Straya” features several significant animals that represent various Australian sayings. The wombats, in particular, are essential to the artwork as they depict sayings such as “Ham Sandwich,” “Wombat’s Picnic,” and “A sandwich short of a picnic.” These wombats were originally photographed for my “Homeless Wildlife” series, which is also part of the Animal Tales collection. As an artist, it’s essential for me to bring attention to the challenges faced by native Australian wildlife and the remarkable work of our local rescuers.
The inclusion of each element or animal was always inspired by the corresponding Australian saying that needed to be illustrated. My goal was to showcase these sayings in a unique, thought-provoking way, encouraging the viewer to think outside the box and discover something unexpected. More detailed information about the animals featured in the artwork and their stories will be available in an upcoming book.


Contact Karen to order your own fine art print or canvas direct from her Gallery. You can visit the gallery 10 – 5pm every day at 2 Montuna Grove, Guys Hill. Ph. 0416 233 451