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In the book The Lucky Country, Donald Horne says:

Australia may have been the first suburban nation: for several generations, most of its men have been catching the 8.2, and messing about with their houses and gardens at the weekends.

It's on page 26 of my edition, early in Chapter 2: What is an Australian.

What does he mean by "catching the 8.2"? It would make sense if he said 8.02 (or 8:02), implying a commute to work by train or bus, so maybe this is a misprint? Or was "8.2" a common idiom in 60s Australia that I'm not familiar with?

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It should read as 8.20. Here is the same quote in a different source www.archive.limina.arts.uwa.edu.au/__data/page/186577/2Khamis.pdf. 8.2 is not an Australian expression I have ever heard of.

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You have interpreted it correctly (despite the typo, it should be 'the 8:20'), meaning those who commuted to work by train, taken as the essence of the Australian suburbs in the old days. Though being able to leave at 8:20 (to get to work by 9:00) now would be considered even more lucky that back in the sixties - commutes are often one or two hours now; leaving at 8:20 means you're inner-city, not suburbs.

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