Believed to be a derivation of the American slang gunsel (1), meaning a gangster or hoodlum who uses a gun, popularised in books such as The Maltese Falcon. In these books the implication was that a gunsel was somewhat foolish and reckless. The word gunzel originated from the Sydney Tramway Museum in the 1960s as a term for foolish or reckless railfans who shot at things with cameras. Usage was originally confined to south eastern states, it has since spread to the whole of Australia and parts of New Zealand. May be used to refer to a specific interest, e.g. "freight gunzel", "tram gunzel".
gunzel (plural gunzels)
- In Australia, a railway enthusiast. Originally derogatory, referring to overly enthusiastic or foolish rail fans. Now refers to railway enthusiasts in general, and the term is often used with pride.
- There is an alternative meaning of the American slang gunsel (2) but this is not the meaning imported as gunzel.