We have always thought that Stone the crows! and Stiffen the crows! were typical Australian exclamations, but it seems they come from Wales (not New South Wales).
British MP Sir George Edwards called his autobiography From Crow Scaring to Westminster and told of his childhood when, like many children in rural districts, he was sent out to the fields to throw stones and scare the crows away from crops.
He explained that this was once common practice in country areas, and children were paid sixpence a day for crop scaring. They were, in fact, living scarecrows.
Brits seem to have a soft spot in their hearts for scarecrows. Earlier this month (October 2012) the Nottingham Post reported that home-made scarecrows went on display in Toton, a Nottingham suburb.
“The stuffed creations” the paper reported, “ were kitted out in a variety of outfits from purple tights to lab coats, some of them relaxing in deck chairs or perched on walls at the village’s first scarecrow festival.” Here in Sydney we have just had an enjoyable Bushlands Festival, with people dressing up as scarecrows to aid local charities.
Max Cryer, possibly the best-known New Zealander, discusses scarecrows in his blog (see link below). He is a TV producer, broadcaster, entertainment producer, singer, cabaret performer and author. Educated in Italy and New Zealand, he has appeared in films and made 19 tours of the US. He was the kiwis’ first TV quizmaster.
Nottingham http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/Stone-crows-Madcap-creations-unite-community/story-17084843-detail/story.html Post:
Max Cryer interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P1uRWSlsgw
Bushlands Festival: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hornsbycouncil/5010196370/