Thursday, May 4, 2017

Talking Australian :Happy as Larry - the origins

The earliest printed reference to “Happy as Larry” (meaning extremely happy or content) is from New Zealand writer G. L. Meredith, dating from around 1875:

"We would be as happy as Larry if it were not for the rats".

When Australian middleweight boxer, Larry (Laurence) Foley (1847 - 1917) retired unbeaten at 32 (1879) , he collected a purse of £1,000 for his final fight. A newspaper article in New Zealand carried the headline “Happy As Larry,” to describe the father of Australian boxing. The phrase slipped into common lexicon thereafter and a reference can be found in Tom Collins’ (the pen name of the popular Australian writer Joseph Furphy), Barrier Truth, 1903:

"Now that the adventure was drawing to an end, I found a peace of mind that all the old fogies on the river couldn't disturb. I was as happy as Larry."

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