“Head ‘em up” could be heard from the beer gardens of pubs across Tamworth on Anzac Day.
Australian Diggers were renowned for playing two-up in almost all theatres of war that we have been involved in, and the tradition grew to become a synonymous with Anzac day, one of three days it is legal to play.
It is a simple game that is thought to have originated among the peasantry of 18th century England and Ireland, before being modified from one coin to two or three and taken on by Australian soldiers.
‘Australia’s national game’ starts with the ‘ringie’, who controls the ‘two-up school’, places the coins on the ‘kip’ or ‘paddle’, and makes sure that the ‘spinner’ tosses the coins at least ten foot in the air.
The spinner comes out of the crowd and pays for the right to toss the coins, with his money doubling every time they throw a ‘heads up’, up to three times, although a tails up throw results in the end of their turn and money.
Punters that make up the school stand around the circle and bet with each other, where phrases like “tennahead” and “head em up” get yelled out before the ringie announces “come in spinner” to signal that the coins, usually always pennies, are ready to go.
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