Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Schoolies vs. The Toolies

As someone I know from Melbourne put it, an "advantage" of living in Queensland is that the 12th year of school is optional. Yes, that means many kids here finish school after the 11th grade. I don't really understand all the consequences of making such a decision, but I do believe that a student's chances to attend university are helped by staying in school until the end of Year 12. Regardless, here in SE Queensland the school year is about to end. Therefore, students who are finishing their school lives, known here as "school leavers" or "Schoolies," will soon be out on the beaches celebrating in style. One big draw for the Schoolies is the Gold Coast, which is about an hour away from our home. I found this article, which appeared in today's Courier-Mail, quite fascinating, as it makes me realize (yet again) how much more I need to learn about Aussie culture. For example, try to figure out what a "Toolie" is from this story...
Schoolies-only zone on the Gold Coast

Jeremy Pierce

November 12, 2007 11:00pm

THE kids are ready to party, but parents of this year's generation of Schoolies revellers have been warned against giving them the booze to fuel the fire.

The 2007 Schoolies Festival kicks off with a bang on Friday as up to 35,000 school leavers descend on Surfers Paradise, and parents have again been reminded of the penalties facing under-age drinkers.

By law it is not an offence for parents to supply their children with liquor, but once in their possession, the schoolies, most of whom are 16 or 17, face heavy fines.

Under-age drinking, public drunkenness and possession of alcohol in a public place all attract fines of up to $1875.

Entry to this year's Schoolies will be the toughest ever, with personalised, bar-coded wristbands required to enter a special kilometre-long fenced-off section of Surfers Paradise.

The 1.8m high fence will run along the Esplanade and down to the water's edge.

Police and security guards will patrol the perimeter of the special "schoolies pen", turfing out anyone not wearing official Schoolies accreditation.

People who try to gain access to the enclosure by swimming around the side of the fence will also be arrested.

Wristbands have been a common feature of Schoolies Festivals in the past, but this is the first time they have been personalised. It is also the first time an area has been specifically fenced off for the event.

Both measures are designed to stop "Toolies" from spoiling the fun, initiatives welcomed by Benowa High school leavers who could hardly contain their excitement yesterday, celebrating the end of school with a swim at the beach - in full school uniform.

"I think (keeping Toolies out) is definitely a good thing," said Alix Crozier, 17. "It's our party and we don't really want them coming along trying to ruin it."

She also said she could not wait for the party to start.

Also yesterday, Schoolies organisers announced an entertainment program for southern schoolies, who traditionally miss out on most of the concerts and events organised for Queensland graduates during the first 10 days of the festival.

For the first time there will also be official Schoolies events running in the second week of the festival.


Audra said...


Mooselet said...

I hope you've got it figured out now! Miss Thing finishes next year, and I've told her if she goes to Schoolies she's completely on her own in terms of funding. I'm totally against it and won't contribute one dollar. So far she doesn't want to go - finger's crossed.

Also, that info about QLD kids being able to leave after year 11 is incorrect. The laws were changed last year so that unless the child is in a full time job or apprenticeship they cannot legally leave school. As the principal kept repeating, "earning or learning". It used to be ok to leave after year 10!

Tors said...

The term "Toolie" is not specifically Australian, but comes from Internet gamer slang. In those circles, a tool is someone (usually a kid) who causes trouble or acts like a jerk during an online game; as in, "I can't believe he did that! What a tool!" Toolies rhymes with Schoolies, and there ya go.

(As you can see, I'm a game widow, hehe)

Anyway, sounds a lot like a shortened version of the US spring break. I used to live near South Padre and I saw a lot of things...scary things...

Waldog said...

In the schoolies context, a "toolie" is someone who hasn't left school that year, but attempts to hang out with 17 year olds on a beach at surfers.

Most of the time these people will just be idiots out for a party, but the main concern is that they may bring drugs etc to sell to the schoolies.

When in doubt, check wiki:


Audra said...

OH, and I love some of the goofy roundabout laws here.

It is ok for parents to give their kids alcohol, but illegal for them to have it! Precious.

I think there is a similar law covering prostitution...

Tors said...

{Bill Lumberg voice} Yeahhhh I'm gonna have to kinda disagree with the Wiki on that one. Australia likes to claim it invented many things, but that particular definition of "tool"...uh, no.

fitcat said...

Toolies also refers to those who have already left year 12 in previous years but keep going back to Schoolies to hang out...

Just found your blog via CNN (and their article on the election) and I'm really enjoying it!

Myschoolies.com.au said...


I had lots of fun at Schoolies, I wish the Toolies woud just let it be our time.