Antedatings of "throw a wobbly"
hugovk at GMAIL.COM
Mon Sep 30 11:20:11 UTC 2013
"to throw a wobbly" (OED: 13 April 1977, Brisbane Telegraph)
I found the phrase slightly earlier in the Australian Trove archive of newspapers, in The Canberra Times of 12 March 1977:
The story begins with Howard Beale, a nationally-broadcast news commentator, throwing a wobblyon camera and getting fired.
I also found it in earlier Google Books snippets. They need verifying as GB often gets snippets' metadata wrong, but they look promising.
First, it shows up in a 1964 Google Books snippet of The Watersiders by Michael Davis:
They were laying down long planks at odd angles from the square as though about to participate in some peculiar rite. "What's the matter, mate? You look queer. Ain't going to throw a wobbly, are you?"
Google Books snippets are sometimes wrong, but the author, title and year seem correct and it was published in Australia so it's plausible.
Another Google Books snippet is from the 1972 Parliamentary Debates of New Zealand:
Mr Moyle — Perhaps he will throw a plum at them. Mr TIZARD — He can throw a plum, or he can throw a "wobbly", which is more in keeping with the Minister. He complained that the Opposition did not congratulate the Government and the …
Searching for 1972 brings up correct-looking results. Furthermore, a Colin Moyle was an MP from 1963-1977 (and 1981-1990), as was a Bob Tizard from (1957-1960 and) 1963-1990.
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