Dad roasts daughter, 15, in searing census response

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Young woman with big blue eyes staring with a shocked expression.
Dad jokes: embarrassing teens for millennia. Photo: Getty Images.

Some things never seem to change, such as the practice of surveying populations via a census — or dad jokes.

One of the earliest recorded censuses took place in 3800 BC in Babylon, where they tallied up the number of people, livestock and food stores.

Around 6,000 years later, Aussies are gearing up to fill in their own census on Tuesday, August 10.

Something else that appears to have stood the test of time is the always unfunny 'dad joke'. A particularly groan-inducing example was immortalised in the 1880 US Census and uncovered by

Catherine Cudney's dad stated that the 15-year-old
Catherine Cudney's dad stated that the 15-year-old "does as she pleases" as her occupation. Photo: supplied.

Clearly taking the opportunity to flex his fatherly wit, one Mr. Cudney dryly listed his 15-year-old daughter Catherine's occupation as, well, not much at all.

"Does as she pleases" he wrote of his teen offspring. We can almost hear Catherine's eyes rolling from beyond the grave.


Census sarcasm

Mr. Cudney wasn't the only parent to exhibit a sarcastic sense of humour. In the 1911 UK Census, Annie Costa, a widow and head of her household, didn't hold back when describing her two-year-old granddaughter.

Toddler Queenie Charatan apparently did her best to live up to her name and made it her official occupation to "annoy other people".

Toddler Queenie Charatan's occupation was
Toddler Queenie Charatan's occupation was "annoying other people," according to her grandmother. Photo: supplied.

Also completing the UK Census in 1911 was Arthur Edward Callis, who seemed at his wit's end. The 37-year-old listed his job as "Waiter, Boots, Chambermaid, God knows what," while pointedly adding that his grandmother "does nothing, sleeps".

On the other end of the spectrum, the census was an opportunity for some to express their political beliefs and demand change.

Rosina Mary Pott was a loyal suffragette and friend of Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the British suffragette movement, who boycotted the 1911 UK Census.

"Votes for Women," she wrote in capital letters across the form.

"No Vote, no information about my household," she added.

Suffragette Rosina Mary Pott used her census form to demand votes for women. Photo: supplied.
Suffragette Rosina Mary Pott used her census form to demand votes for women. Photo: supplied.

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