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Tuesday 14 May 2024

The lesser of two eagles: a memoir of bureaucratic warfare.

This email from a colleague who has read an advance copy may forewarn* you:

Dear Peter
I am just loving your collection of puns and word jumbles and can’t thank you enough for your gift of your latest scribbles!

It brings back many happy memories of my earlier days.  My father had a similar bent and the pages brought back the enjoyment of the quiet chuckles I used to share with him when he came out with a saying.  And of course our family were avid Muir and Norden listeners along the same lines!

To begin at the beginning, as Dylan Thomas put it:

As a young bureaucrat, I did not like meetings: I preferred to get things done, rather than wasting time discussing
Plans for a Policy on getting Things Done, 
but to keep myself from erupting, I carried a pad and a fine pen into each meeting, and doodled. As a biologist, I knew
how to use stipple to draw animals like this one. (Stippling is monochrome pointillism with a pen, and each has no lines, just dots.)

Andronicus, hatless.
Mostly, I began drawing a sphere because I was trying to master shading, but the spheres invariably went wrong, and morphed into strange heads that I changed into birds with bent beaks and often, to hide wrong starts, I gave them crash helmets.

At home, I amused my children with the tales of Andronicus Duck, who wore the helmet due to a fear of low level bridges, and bent his beak when he landed badly. The weight of the helmet meant Andronicus usually needed some sort of flotation device.

I also introduced them to Victor, the Rotorua Moa and a small budget of other dotty characters. 

Back at the meetings, I would comment only occasionally, but this stippling distracted the drones who would otherwise have stopped the meeting going anywhere, and before long, a like-minded colleague and I realised that the idiots sitting each side of me spent more time watching my work than in vapouring and sowing confusion.

As the colleague (Ian Munro) was a true artist, he took to sitting opposite me, between two more clowns while drawing fanciful seascapes. Thus we knocked out four numpties, giving the Sensible People the upper hand, most of the time.

One day, though, I was completing the duck pair on the left, and one of the numpties asked why the following duck was smaller than the other. Ian had made a joke earlier about renting a couple of easels for our work, and I had asked where we might find a lessor of two easels? 

I replied “They are both eagles in witness protection." Then pointing at the follower, I declared: "And that is the lesser of two eagles."

As Ian and I gained a reputation as doers who could get things going, we were both promoted, and I found myself managing higher-powered people of varying quality. Once, I sat in a committee with two urbane and educated people and one idiot. Having been instructed not to rush an action, I said “So in other words, festina lente?”

The clever ones smiled and nodded, but the idiot chimed in “What does that mean?”

It is worth noting here that I have some facility in Latin, and I use it to confuse. Extreme case, importunate sales types and religious door-knockers are greeted with mater tua caligas gerit, which means ‘your mother wears army boots’. This is clearly more than nonsense syllables, and I have quite enough phrases to make them run away. Latin-as-a-weapon is fun! Excreta tauri cerebrum, vincit.

I grinned inside: I had a Gotcha, and answered. “Get rotten during Lent. It was a favourite saying of the emperor Augustus. These days it just means ‘hasten slowly’.” The clever ones kept straight faces. (They both later found me interesting jobs.)

In those higher strata of administration, I could not really doodle while my betters and superordinates were speaking, but I could make the notes that, forty years ago, set this work in motion.

The Lesser of Two Eagles is both a  Kindle e-book and a dead-tree paperbackThink of Ambrose Bierce, brought up to date to take in higher mathematics, lower mathematics, quantum physics, music, art and philosophy, which are all treated with scant respect. Here, there are puns, misleading origins (feghoots, which are like punny shaggy dogs: look them up) and remarkably dubious scholarship, derived over 40 years of sitting in boring committee and board meetings: one learns to look busy, and shows great wisdom. Buy it, read it, and you will be ready to become an anarchist/surrealist bureaucrat as well. Give the paperback (AUD$20, perhaps with GST) to your enemies, let them read it and be reduced to babbling confusion.

What is a feghoot? Here are three short examples:
1. A culture vulture is a person who can listen to the entire William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger. In passing, William Tell was extremely fast as a runner, and in the Tyrol, whenever somebody is praised for running fast, they will say, self-deprecatingly, ‘If you think I’m fast, time Will Tell!’.

2. law and order. In actual fact, much easier to maintain than the conservative authorities would like to admit. Recent research has shown that a significant number of different events must occur simultaneously to cause a real tumult, and that two wrongs do not make a riot.

3. rabbit. A small and over-sexed mammal. They are rare in some areas, as the female rabbits prefer to mate with roosters, which is the origin of the ‘Easter Bunny’ legend. To achieve this result, a rabbit must first associate with hens, to acquire a suitable smell, after which they move in with the rooster, but it does not last, for a fowl and his bunny are soon parted.

The book starts simply enough:

Abacus. A Roman general, Abacus was the grandson of Count Belisarius of the Byzantine Roman Empire, from whom he inherited title of Count. His name is derived from A-Bacchus, a spurner of Bacchus, but it was a name he often failed to live up to. He settled in Britain, late in the 6th century and married the Lady Beadawen of the Cambrians. Their son, Abacus Beadus, was the first of a line of counts that ended when Abacus’ great-great-grandson, the venerable Bede entered the church, and relinquished the title.

abdomen. A pompous person’s stomach. If you encounter an abdomen, you would be doing the owner a favour if you jabbed the abdomen hard, apparently by accident. One finger is recommended, although, if you fear losing your finger, an elbow may be used in its place. On hygiene grounds, umbrellas should only be used if they have first been opened. This prevents excessive penetration and also intercepts spray.

abdomination. 1. The visible result of too many good dinners, easily circumvented by cutting a half-moon shape from your dining table. 2. A crowd-quelling effect brought about by having your abdomen enter the room before you do. Erasmus Darwin is widely credited as the originator of this practice, as well as inventing the table modification.

abductor muscle. Tough hired help, used in kidnapping operations.

Abecedarians. A sect of the Anabaptists who were opposed to all kinds of learning. Their intellectual descendants (if either half of that term can rightly be used in this context) are the anti-vaxxers.

abendbrot. A Viennese form of pretzel or plaited loaf.

abendstern. Approaching a person with your posterior leading. The Sultan of Turkey used to try to make foreign ambassadors bow to him by requiring them to enter his audience chamber through a low door. The European ambassadors all took to entering the chamber by walking backwards in the abendstern position. Certain fundamentalist religions may be said to stem from this period.

ability. Commonly a serious impediment to success, especially in politics and military affairs. It is probably contagious, since its presence usually causes discomfort in other people.

abscess. A hole of a very nasty sort. When it occurs in a lung, the abscess may collapse that organ, allowing the heart to migrate across into the vacated space in the chest cavity, in accordance with the widely-accepted observation that an abscess makes the heart go yonder.

absinthe. A liqueur, made from wormwood roots, macerated and steeped in alcohol. Now banned because of the cardio-vascular health risks it causes, it having been shown conclusively that absinthe makes the heart go thunder.

absorption cost. In economics, the cost of absorbing some of the more bizarre theories of the economic rationalists. This cost can be minimised, just so long as widows and orphans are assessed correctly, based on their scrap value.

Getting steadily worse, it ends like this:

zeitschrift. An academic paper dealing with the anatomy, taxonomy and cultivation of tame breeds of zeitgeist for the export market.

Zener diode. More Zen than Zen, a poem written on both sides of a Möbius band about the sound of one band flapping.

Zeno’s paradox. It is unlikely we will ever be able to get to the end of this.

Zero’s parrot flocks. These mythical birds no longer exist, because they were fed with plaster of parrot.

zero sum. A worthless piece of mathematical work which gains no marks.

Zeus. The Greek god who coined the phrase ‘take me to your Leda’. He was always swanning around.

ziggurat. A smoking device, popular in Mesopotamia. It is made with tobacco rolled in paper, but then bent into a zigzag shape, which the Mesopotamians believed would trap carcinogens.

zither. The third (vertical) dimension equivalent of hither and thither. Zither music often reaches great heights.

Look, just sign on the dotted lion...

All the stippled drawings seen here have already been used in my revised Monster Maintenance Manual.

How to buy it: Amazon paperback, AUD$22, Amazon ebook, AUD$5


* forewarn:

handiped. An unfortunate individual with a birth deformity, resulting in the person having a second pair of arms, complete with hands, where the legs should be. The most famous recorded handiped was an Icelandic Viking called Thorfinn the Legless, who sailed to Greenland with Erik the Red. While he was necessarily diminutive, Thorfinn was extremely dangerous in battle, as he came in low, wielding one shield and three weapons. The mere sight of Thorfinn’s unique helmet with four horns was a cause of fear to other Vikings, giving rise to the saying four-horned is four-armed.

Monday 13 May 2024

Auroras and flares

It was too cold to photograph the aurora, but we
walked in snow, almost as bad for Australians
Having just returned from Norway after ticking off a bucket list item, seeing the Northern Lights we landed home to find the aurora's southern cousin was about. I pulled out some old notes: In 1716 Edmond Halley suggests that auroras are caused by “magnetic effluvia” moving along the Earth’s magnetic field lines. In fact, we now know better, thanks to a event in 1859, and here I pillage my history of 1859 science, Mr Darwin's Incredible Shrinking World.

Solar flares spout out from the Sun all the time, but at a distance, they are hard to detect, mainly because the Sun is so bright. Sometimes the flares are so massive that they still become apparent. A typical flare has the energy of a few million large hydrogen bombs, and it involves radiation right across the electromagnetic spectrum. In 1859, the known spectrum only extended from infrared, through visible and on to ultraviolet, and the astronomers could only see the visible part, but it was enough.

On September 1, 1859, two astronomers, Richard C. Carrington and Richard Hodgson, were independently  observing sunspots, using filters to limit the solar brightness, when they each detected a massive flare. The gamma rays, X-rays and other hard radiation travelled as quickly as the light, but a huge blast of protons crossed from the Sun at 8 million km/hr and slammed into the atmosphere, shredding the ozone layer, and setting off spectacular auroral displays, all over the world.

The ship Southern Cross left Boston on June 10 and arrived at San Francisco on October 22, a passage of 134 days. They were 23 days off Cape Horn, and that was where passengers and crew saw an amazing auroral display on September 2, thanks to a major solar storm. The storm was so violent that English astronomer Richard Carrington detected solar flares on the Sun, the first time they were seen.

Colourful auroras, usually only seen in polar regions, were visible at Rome and Hawaii. These were admired, but then the damage began. The storm sent a plasma blob hurtling out of the Sun, much faster than any cannon-ball, reaching the Earth in just under 18 hours. One day, another blob will come our way, but the damage next time will be far worse.

In 1859, telegraph wires suddenly shorted out across the United States and Europe, causing fires in many places, but it was comparatively minor damage. A modern solar blast like that of 1859 will cost billions of dollars as phone lines, power lines and communications satellites and earth stations are fried. Even computers and home networks could be at risk.

A couple of weeks after the flares, Scientific American reported that the current generated in the telegraph wires was enough to overcome the telegraph batteries, which in some cases were shut off, after which “ . . . messages were actually sent between Philadelphia and this city by the Aurora.” That is to say, the telegraph keys clattered aimlessly under the influence of stray currents induced in the lines.

The Scientific American reporter could see a hopeful aspect: if telegraph wires could scoop electricity out of the air, so, too, might balloons. What, asked the reporter, if balloons were able to collect and store the electricity and use it? (Scientific American, 17 September 1859, page 193.)

This sort of damage will come again: a 1989 solar flare caused surges that knocked out a Quebec power grid, and as our technology becomes more complex, there will be more lines, more circuits, more satellites and perhaps even more computers that are at risk. The next big flare will travel at the same speed, 5 million mph or 8 million km/hr, giving us about 19 hours to get ready. It won’t be a lot of time.

Monday 8 April 2024

Post card from Norway #3

This is a stub, to be completed later. It follows on  from #2.

We will begin with Finnkirk Rock. The thing about Norway is fiords. The next thing is cross-cuts, so there are nests and nets of channels, and before there were maps, the early Scandinavians must have had something like what we Australians have learned to call song-lines. That meant naming features, and remember that this area was not just the Germanic Vikings: there were Russians, Sami people (Lapps, if you must), and Finns.

Post card from Norway #2

 This follows on from an earlier post, but it is a work in progress.

Up near the Russian border. there are signs in Cyrillic for the odd border-crosser. We saw a couple of mini-buses coming through, an a girl on  bicycle, who was apparently headed for Russia. Kirkenes was heavily swarmed by Germans and heavily bombed by the Russians, who then liberated it, and apparently behaved nicely enough. For me, the best thing was birch trees,  well north of the Arctic Circle, and more significantly, loads of mistletoe, the clumps in the tree here.

This is a novelty for Australian botanists, because we all know very well that the tree line cuts out where the snow line comes in, and we are far to the north of the snow line. There is even sea ice: not ice bergs as such, but floating lumps.


As we came into Kirkenes, we saw our first sea-ice. These are slim planes of frozen fresh water. At first, they were less than obvious, but then they were more numerous and thicker.

Once upon a time,  ports up here were blocked in winter, but this is growing rarer. We knew about this from complaints in Amsterdam that one could no longer skate on the canals. Shortly after, on Saaremaa, a sand island off the Estonian coast, we heard how the moose that bred on the island could no longer escape over the sea ice in winter. 

I have been amusing myself catching snow flakes in my beard, and leaving tracks in the snow on the deck. After a first walk on snow, wearing spikes as overshoes, we have now mastered the art of spotting and avoiding slippery ice.

Skate-boarding and wheelchair work would be a challenge up here, but I was very much taken by this snow-ready version of a Zimmer frame, and I saw a man scurrying along on a ski-based push scooter.

Back at Kirkenes, I saw a snow cannon in action, and we asked why in such a place of deep snow, they needed to make more of it, but apparently there will be National championships in a ski-based motocross competition.

We nodded sagely, and went to get what we called a Norwegian hot chocolate. At least our sense of the ridiculous has not yet frozen solid.

Here is yet another port that we called into yesterday. Hurtigruten got started as transport for local people and freight up and down the coast, but now it is mainly for tourists. Even in the time we have known the service, the vessels have grown larger and more luxurious. It is no longer rough and scruffy, but that's the down-side of tourism.

That's enough: more later, perhaps. I thought these were puffins, but they weren't.

These sea eagles, on the other hand, near Finnkirk Rock, were the real McCoy: I will come to tge rock in #3

And that ends #2

I have already created the stub for #3, but nothing much there, just yet.

Saturday 6 April 2024

Post card from Norway #1

We are one week into our travels, so its time to show and tell. This will come in dribs and drabs when I find time away from shore excursions (as I start this, we are near Nordkapp, as the very top of Norway. Anyhow, bookmark this page, and drop back in to read more.

We flew Sydney-Dubai -Oslo, got our bags and asked a young man how to get seniors' tickets to Oslo-S, and he said that as seniors went at half price, I should go through the turnstiles at full price, while he ushered Christine around them. We congratulated each other on our joint mathematical genius, and reached Oslo in no time at all.

The next morning, we caught a train to Bergen, which took us over the mountains, where the notion of spring had yet to catch on, as seen by the icicles sighted near Myrdal. Then came the bummer: it was Easter Sunday, the train stopped at Voss ("technical reasons"), and all of Norway was driving back from the mountains, so it took three hours, not the promised hour and a half.

With jet lag biting in, we grabbed a cab, and got absolutely ripped off. That's life...

English is the primary second language of Norway, and they seem to assume that even foreigners will speak it, give this sign from an Oslo bookshop. On the cruise, announcements are in Norwegian, English and German: the French, it seems, are expected to manage to understand the English.

Tours off  the boat are in German and English, though some of the guides give more detail in German. We toured Alesund with a German couple, and got a great deal of social history.

They were a bit short on the humour side, or perhaps they just did not know what skate boards  are, but my delight in finding a troll on a skate board left them cold.
On with the tour  then, we are travelling along the cost of Norway in what was once a freighter line that took a few passengers, and expanded. This is our third visit to Norway, so we know they are very strong on managing and climate change, but when jet lag saw me out of bed before dawn, I snapped this island, and totally failed to se the wind generators out on the ridge behind. Eat yer heart out, Don Quixote!

The next morning saw me also up befores dawn, trying to catch sunrise in the mountain tops, but the intense (to us) cold drove me in before I saw it. There is snow and ice everywhere!

As we had been to Nordkapp in summer (a chilly 18C at midsummer, we gave today's excursion a miss,.

Still, as we pull out from the wharf, we are all being plied with hot chocolate and apple cake, so I will post this much and finish it later. At least you have the pics.

After dinner and slipping in a bit more, this next one marked where we crossed the Arctic circle.

And here is Chris, looking happy, just after we did so.

Interesting to us: trees well north of the Arctic circle. Two typos in that line: time for bed.

We went on a coastal walk. The 'guide' was of little value: failed to point out the barnacles, and gave us a load of old cobblers about a tsunami putting the Dogger under water, when it was a case of melting glaciers.

He also failed to mention the lichens and this moss, and had no knowledge of how Hrafna-Floki used ravens to find Iceland. In short, not much chop!

When people are going into guiding, they really need to be able to stay ahead.

Then again he failed to point out these snow-covered rocks, which tell a very relevant story.

The antique physics teacher in me said nothing, but I certainly thought it.

Back on the boat, this snowy hill was beautifully framed by a bridge. Norway has many, many bridges, and even more tunnels.

Trees, however, are another matter. All the same, this one was north of the Arctic Circle,  as were the ones below, clearly planted to act as an extra snow fence.

This last one in this first tranche is of Honningsvåg, and it reminded me of a style I knew as a child. I thought it might have been like L S Lowry, but an artist mate, Tamsyn Taylor, tells me it is reminiscent of Breughel. See what you think...

Here ends the first round. I ill put a link to the others as they kick off. (The next one is now complete.)

Tuesday 19 March 2024

A botanical rural dean

This text is drawn from chapter 6 of my book, Curious Minds, because Woolls emerged in the midst of a Facebook discussion on the flower Woollsia pungens.

William Woolls (1814 – 1893)

You get a sense for the way the old botanists worked, when you read William Woolls adding extra comments like the following, wherein you will recognise two recent acquaintances of ours [mentioned earlier in the book]:

There also I noticed the remarkable shrub Atkinsonia ligustrina, of the Loranthus family, which is very dissimilar to the other species of the order. This plant, at my request, was named by Dr. F. Von Mueller, in honour of my friend Miss Atkinson (now Mrs. Calvert), who collected many interesting specimens during her residence at the Kurrajong, and to whom the compliment was especially due.

Sydney Morning Herald, 31 March 1871, 2. 

As we have already met the baron and Ms Calvert (née Atkinson), let us now consider these three masters of 19th century Australian botany: Louisa Atkinson (Beata Ludovica Calvert), Ferdinand von Mueller (who referred to Louisa in that way) and William Woolls, but mainly the latter.

Woollsia pungens was always the first plant collected by Botany II students in the 1960s, when we were sent off at the end of Lent term to collect “70 native species”. Back before the glaciers started tumbling, Woollsia was one of the few plants flowering in chilly May.

Prior to my diversion at 14 into the science stream, I had acquired a smattering of Latin before I was told ex cathedra by Wally the Deadmaster: “Boys who do Physics don't do Latin!”. This dictum was probably delivered at the urging of the dragon lady who taught us Latin, but I digress. The point is, I could make sense of most of the Latin names, but having collected and pressed my specimens, I wondered “why Woollsia?”.

On the left, Dr, William Woolls, as he appeared in the Australian Town and Country Journal, 5 October 1872, on the right, Woollsia pungens.

I asked Professor Roger Carolin, who said it was named by von Mueller for William Woolls. Jump forward to the twenty-noughts when I was a Trove-fiend, working through old newspapers, and I either deduced or was told that Woolls used to write about botany and nature as ‘W.’ for the Sydney Morning Herald, so one lazy night, I searched out and tagged most of his articles with his name.

I still didn’t know what the plant was first called, but as I am doing this second edition, I dug deeper. Antonio Cavanilles called it Epacris pungens in 1797, but Robert Brown later moved the species to a Western Australian genus, Lysinema, something I had deduced from a pencilled note in my copy of Florence Sulman’s little book, The Wildflowers of New South Wales. Some prior owner had noticed the error and corrected it (while getting the spelling wrong).

The correction that set me on the right track.

As an avid reader of old Herald copies, I knew von Mueller had named Atkinsonia after Louisa Atkinson, later Mrs Calvert, and here is how Woolls explained why von Mueller did so:

This plant, at my request, was named by Dr. F. Von Mueller, in honour of my friend Miss Atkinson (now Mrs. Calvert), who collected many interesting specimens during her residence at the Kurrajong, and to whom the compliment was especially due.
Sydney Morning Herald, 31 March 1871, 2.

Now you are ready to tackle a mix of abbreviations and odd Latin: the first line below tells us Antonio Cavanilles named it Epacris pungens, the second says Robert Brown moved it to Lysinema. Line 6 tells us Louisa Calvert (her married name) collected it in the Blue Mountains, and the author of the treatises (auctori opusculorum) in line 7 is William Woolls.

Ferdinand von Mueller, Fragmenta phytographiæ Australiæ, 8. 1873, 55.

Woolls’ article was mainly about his Species Plantarum Parramattensium, or Plants of Parramatta, and that was the key, when you burrow into von Mueller’s Latin. Keep in mind that in those days, scientists mainly learned “on the job”.

Born in 1814, Woolls was his parents’ 19th child, and shortly after his father’s death in 1830, the 16-year-old William emigrated to Australia, where he soon became a teacher, and spent a generation educating the sons of prominent colonists. While he was a staunch Anglican, Woolls resisted ordination, but in 1873 became a deacon, and six months later a priest at Richmond, and in 1877, became a rural dean.

In 1871, he received a Ph. D, from the University of Göttingen for his work that we have already met as Plants of Parramatta, but they said of Christopher Wren, si monumentum requiris circumspice: to see his monument, look around. Woolls’ monument is all over Australia’s east coast.

Woollsia pungens, without a doubt one of the hardest heath flowers to photograph.


Sunday 18 February 2024

When did we begin to say that?

William Strutt's depiction of
an Australian giving a cooee.
This is a prologue to my pitching a very different sort of book to publishers: it is about the words and phrases that we Australians use among ourselves, to the utter confusion of outsiders.

Here you see a refined selection from a far larger number of entries in my ms, and these all start with A. Right now, there are 1250 distinct expressions (you can find them all listed at the end of this page) and some 2600 quotations from carefully recorded and checked original sources, most of them online. In most cases, I have been able to push back the first recorded use date from what you will find in other similar works: each entry has been meticulously checked: I am right, and they are wrong.

The print sources are all sorts of books, the Trove newspaper archive, on which I am an active voluntrove. The collection presents Australian English at its most inventive.

Freebies: schools and scholars can get a 4.12meg PDF by emailing me at This PDF may be shared with other scholars, or loaded on school networks. No charge, but as I am pitching it to publishers, I would be happy to get nice reviews. More to the point, I want people, especially young ones, to enjoy being Australian without necessarily sounding like a footy player. (And "footy"? Toowoomba Chronicle and Darling Downs General Advertiser, 22 May 1894, 3.)

The main surprises in this sample:

* how early some Australians realised that our indigenous people were being badly treated;
* how early some expressions crept into the language (33 entries from the 1790s);
* that alligator in The Rocks  (it had to be a goanna);
* how we learned to make floors out of ant bed;
* how soon we started marking Anzac Day;
* when we started saying 'Australia'.

I could go on about the rest, but just scroll down to the list of sample entries below. Now get your chops around this lot, and ask when you last mullenised something. or wore a donkey-supper hat...they are both covered.

* * * * *

Abolitionists: 1840

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 5 May 1840, 4.

We entirely concur with him also as to the course which it behoves the Archbishop of Dublin and other Transportation Abolitionists to pursue. Transportation stopped, they would be bound to promote emigration on the greatest possible scale to the Colonies which had been Penal…

Aboriginals killed: 1837

John Dunmore Lang, An Historical and Statistical Account of New South Wales, 2nd edition, 1837, volume 1, 37.

There is black blood, at this moment, on the hands of individuals of good repute in the colony of New South Wales, of which all the waters of New Holland would be insufficient to wash out the deep and indelible stains!

Aboriginals killed: 1883

The Diary of Emily Caroline Creaghe, Explorer, 28 February 1883, 26.

Mr. Watson has 40 pairs of blacks’ ears nailed round the walls collected during raiding parties after the loss of many cattle speared by the blacks.

Aboriginal land: c. 1852

Rudston Read, What I Heard, Saw and Did at the Australian Gold Fields, 252.

I heard a native in the town of Sofala … amusing a lot of diggers by chaffing a sergeant of mounted police … asking him what business had he or any other white fellow to come and take his land, and rob him of his gold? What would he … say, if black fellow went to England and “turn em Queen out”?

aborigines: 1798

David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, vol. 1, 454.

Conversing with Bennillong after his return from England, where he had obtained much knowledge of our customs and manners … I then asked him where the black men (or Eora) came from? He hesitated; did they come from any island? His answer was, that he knew of none: they came from the clouds (alluding perhaps to the aborigines of the country); and when they died, they returned to the clouds (Boo-row-e). He wished to make me understand that they ascended in the shape of little children, first hovering in the tops and in the branches of trees; and mentioned something about their eating, in that state, their favourite food, little fishes.

aborigines: 1814

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 10 December 1814, 1. This is a remarkable document, and well worth reading in full. The governor in question is Lachlan Macquarie.

Government House, Sydney Saturday, 10th December 1814
HIS Excellency the Governor having long viewed with Sentiments of Commiseration the very wretched state of the aborigines of this Country; and having revolved in his Mind the most probable and promising Means of ameliorating their Condition, has now taken the Resolution to adopt such Measures as appear to him best calculated to effect that Object, and improve the Energies of this innocent, destitute, and unoffending race …

absentee: 1803

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 11 September 1803, 4.

JAMES WEST, a Convict-servant, By HIS EXCELLENCY’S Permission taken off the Store.
All Persons are hereby strictly Cautioned against Harbouring and Employing the said Absentee; and whoever will give Information concerning him to Henry Kable, at Sydney, shall be handsomely Rewarded.

absquatulate: 1841

Sydney Free Press, 13 July 1841, 3. In 1933, the Adelaide Advertiser called it an ‘Americanism’.

A rumour is current in town that a country gentleman, who was for some time resident here, has “absquatulated” with a large amount of the money of the public-ans [sic]. This gent has left several tailors’ bills long overdue, who of course will suffer much from his sudden disappearances.

absquatulate: 1846

South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register, 8 August 1846, 2.

When Governor Grey “absquatulated” to New Zealand, he carried off with him, by no other authority than his own that we ever heard of, about £6000 of money belonging to the colonists of South Australia …but [as] a second supply of money of nearly the same amount is on its way to New Zealand, it is time to inquire by what authority is the money of the colonists misappropriated?

absquatulate: 1856

Melbourne Punch, 20 November 1856, 3. Humorous proposed slang dictionary entry.

ABSQUATULATE—Originally written Absquostatulate. Verb neuter: To clear, to vamos, to mizzle, to cut one’s stick, to hook it, to slide, to bolt to break out, etc. Derivation—From the Latin—ab or abs-quo-status and latum from fero, i. e., to be carried or to carry one’s self away from the place in which one previously was.

according to Cocker: 1822

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 2 August 1822, 4.

This, according to Cocker, would be 60 per cent per annum on their nominal capital ; and if, as I have been told, one half this capital was lost by the defalcation of their late cashier, it will amount to 120 per cent annually on their real capital.

according to Cocker: 1826

The Australian (Sydney), 27 September 1826, 2. This phrase means reliably or correctly calculated.

Consequently, only one fourth of the whole number of flocks and herds in the Colony graze on the waste lands. That is, according to Cocker, out of profits amounting to one hundred thousand pounds, a Government Regulation in one instant deducts twenty thousand pounds, and abstracts that sum from the pockets of settlers…

according to Cocker: 1874

The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, 19 February 1874, 2. A charge under the Masters and Servants Act, heard at Walgett.

He had hired her in Sydney as cook at fourteen bob a week, and the “run of her Dover,” and she had pleased him mightily these four months, but the other evening she skedaddled, and left them potluck, and he didn’t think that according to Cocker. She had ten pounds odd coming as wages.

act your age, not your shoe size: 1995

The Canberra Times, 18 April 1995, 24.

Peper was also told that the spectator was drunk, and that he had also clashed with Norman last year. “Last year Greg evidently told this guy to, ‘Start acting your age, not your shoe size’. This guy held the grudge for a year.”

aerial ping pong: 1945

The West Australian, 24 November 1945, 5. Article ‘Brave New Words’.

The most popular Army gamble is the “swi game,” from the German for two. Rugby is “organised wrestling”; Australian rules football, “aerial ping pong.” Any type of dessert is “pudding”; rice is “Ah Foo Ballast”; sausages are “snaggers”; tea is “chi” or “brew.”

aerial ping-pong: 1947

The West Australian, 22 April 1947, 5.

In 1941 he enlisted in the A.I.F. and joined a unit which fostered rugby football. Renfrey did not join in the “mud bath” and did not play “aerial ping-pong,” as the rugby exponents in the army termed the Australian game, until 1946.

Aeroplane jelly: 1928

Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga), 12 July 1928, 5.

5½d Packet 5½d Packet.

a few sandwiches short of a picnic: 1983

The Canberra Times, 8 May 1983, 3.

Thinking up less-than-charitable descriptions of people, it appears, is an art. The Federal Police Association journal printed a number of them supplied by Trooper Charles Black, a police officer, of Des Moines, Iowa. They included … hasn't seen the ball since the opening kickoff; one of his walls is not plastered. The boys of the AFP made a few additions: a sandwich short of a picnic; if his brains exploded he'd be safe; his woodwind section is short a flute; a middy short of a schooner; if his ears weren't watertight his brains would fall out.

a few sandwiches short of a picnic: 1988

Torres News (Thursday Island), 7 October 1988, 3.

Considerable damage was done to the school office. Mr Koster said the items meddled with include the photocopier, electronic type writer, electronic calculator, telephone and electric urn. “The culprits were obviously a few sandwiches short of a picnic…”

aggro: 1970

Tribune (Sydney), 5 August 1970, 2.

The present society gives them their values, turning their aggressive revolt against their boring school or factory existence into physical aggression (“aggro” in skinhead language) and a philistine hatred for culture.

aggro: 1975

The Canberra Times, 23 September 1975, 2. It may have been an English term that we adopted.

The “soccer specials”—which have made it possible for example, for young Visigoths from Manchester to go to London for a day’s “aggro” with Chelsea fans and have, a little pyromania on the way home at British Rail’s expense for just £3.50 (about SA5.60) have been abolished. The same pleasures will now cost £13 (about $A21).

aggro: 2002

Tharunka (Kensington, NSW), 5 February 2002, 23.

If there’s something that makes you angry, and you want to vent it in the most aggro fashion possible, without bashing anyone, contact or email Tharunka. But please: guest columnists will not be published if your pissed-offness pertains to really important stuff.

aggy: 1899

The Queenslander, 15 April 1899, 673, Column ‘Jottings by the Way’. The aggy was a marble.

The Trades and Labour Council of New Zealand is very anxious to get legislation to prevent the individual acquisition of wealth… A law to prohibit the individual acquisition of marbles would prevent the “muckers” of the school—such is the term by which the crack marble players are known—gathering in the “chows” and “stonys” and “aggys” of his schoolmates.

all froth and no beer: 1889

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 14 December 1889, 9.

Sympathy without something substantial is all froth and no beer.

all froth and no beer: 1950

The Age, 22 July 1950, 9.

The feature film at the Capitol is Bride for Sale… In it Claudette Colbert Is a young financial genius who uses her, gifts to secure the richest man in the U.S. as a husband… The crazy details keep the audience rocking, but it is only afterwards one recognises it is all froth and no beer.

alligator: 1770

James Cook, Captain Cook’s Journal During the First Voyage Round the World. August 1770

In the rivers and salt creeks there are aligators.

alligator: 1788

Arthur Bowes Smyth, Journal, HRNSW (2), 394. This was actually a lace monitor, or goanna.

16 February 1788 An alligator, ab’t 8 feet long, was seen close by where I go to birdlime just behind the camp, and has been seen among the tents at night more than once.

alligator: 1819

Lt. P. P. King, Narrative of a Survey of the intertropical and western coasts of Australia, vol. 1, 299.

In the evening (since we had lately seen no appearance of sharks) the people were allowed to bathe; but they had no sooner finished, and every one on board, than an alligator swam past the vessel.

all my eye: 1825

Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser, 12 August 1825, 4. The Lord Chamberlain had banned a play in London, so the phrase is imported.

The fact, however, is, if we judge aright, that Mr. Colman and the Chamberlain have proved, by their rejection of this play, that they consider our freedom to be “all my eye;” for if we be not permitted to speak of tyrants except with respect and reverence, those who prevent us must certainly consider themselves tyrants, and imagine that whenever we talk of tyrants our allusion is to them.

all over, red rover: 1984

Port Lincoln Times (SA), 24 August 1984, 32.

Coffey tried hard all day and took some good marks, but mistakes further down the line wasted these precious opportunities. At the last change it was all over red rover unless someone was able to perform a miracle.

all over, red rover: 1994

The Canberra Times, 21 May 1994, 12.

If the moderates don’t make a decision and move collectively and be seen to be the ones to make the change as bloodlessly as possible, there’ll be less place for us in the new leadership group. We’ve got to say to Hewson: ‘It’s all over red rover, we’re going to X and he will be leader.’

ambo: 1928

Western Mail (Perth), 27 December 1928, 2. Very early, but is it related?

Ambo” (Perth) writes: “From what is the word ambulance derived?” The word ambulance is derived from the Latin “Ambulare,” to move about, and has come into English through the French, the substantive “ambulance” being formed from the objectival participle “ambulant,” as in “hopital ambulant” (moving hospital.)

ambo: 1999

Port Lincoln Times (SA), 16 November 1999, 9.

He said he became an ambulance officer after years in the printing industry. “I did 15 years in the printing industry and they sent me to do a first aid course and I got such a buzz out of it I thought I wouldn’t mind being an ambo,” he said.

ambo: 2000

Port Lincoln Times (SA), 10 February 2000, 1. We can safely blame the Port Lincoln Times

Ambo crisis deepens
The ambulance service crisis in Elliston has deepened with a poor community response to a call for new volunteers.

a middy short of a schooner: 1983

The Canberra Times, 8 May 1983, 3.

The boys of the AFP made a few additions: a sandwich short of a picnic; if his brains exploded he'd be safe; his woodwind section is short a flute; a middy short of a schooner; if his ears weren't watertight his brains would fall out.

ankle-biter: 1900

Referee (Sydney), 12 September 1900, 5. (A different meaning?)

But the optics of the young millionaire fairly, glistened as they lit upon a speaking likeness of Mr. E. H. Fry, side by side with an ‘ankle-biter’ of Mr. ‘Joe’ Thompson.

ankle-biter: 1982

The Canberra Times, 17 December 1982, 19.

She wades bravely through the schmaltz of Annie’s enduring goodness and optimism until one finds oneself almost liking the little ankle-biter.

another pair of sleeves: 1850

The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 2 February 1850, 3. Filler item from the US: the text indicates the term’s origin.

Hurrying back to the bank, he informed the paying teller that he had made a mistake. “We rectify no mistakes after the parties have left the bank,” was the reply. “Yes, but you’ve paid me too much money.” This was quite “another pair of sleeves.” The officers of the bank were instantly on the qui vive. Mr. Jesserun handed in the 1000 and received a 100 in return, without even a “thank you!” by way of difference. [New York Globe.]

another pair of sleeves: 1892

Darling Downs Gazette, 15 June 1892, 2. Protection, free trade and Federation.

Resentment in this case will cast about for some method of returning tit for tat, and scourging Victoria with centipedes in return for her scorpions. We cannot say we ever loved Protection, but retaliation is another pair of sleeves.

another pair of sleeves: 1931

Miles Franklin, Old Blastus of Bandicoot, 1931, chapter 1.

It was another pair of sleeves when Sandy Lindsey and his son Ross came back from Sydney with a car of their own. Motor cars became a personal and local concern from Canberra to Brindabullah, Bombala to Yass, and back again to Bandicoot, and the kernel of gossip.

ant-bed floor: 1890

The Australasian (Melbourne), 12 July 1890, 43.

Consequently he stopped, and going down upon his knees on the ant-bed floor, opened his box, took out a bundle of papers and a small packet.

ant-bed floor: 1893

Mrs A. (Julia) Blitz, ‘An Australian Millionaire’, serialised in Evening News, (Sydney), 18 September 1893, 7. At the close of the 19th century, Julia Blitz felt she needed to explain ant bed to the readers of her novel. The drawing room she describes was in a house that was once a station manager’s quarters.

The “drawing-room” floor was of ant-bed, which, when crushed to powder and mixed with water, hardens like cement; the walls were papered at intervals with woodcuts from illustrated periodicals and some painted almanacs, which served to partly conceal the ungainly fissures of the slabs and curtain their ugliness.

ant-bed floor: c. 1896

K. (‘Katie’) Langloh Parker, Australian Legendary Tales, 1896. The dardurr was the Yuwalaraay name for the Eora gunya.

The young men did as they were bade. When they had the bark cut and brought in, Wirreenun said: “Go you now and raise with ant-bed a high place, and put thereon logs and wood for a fire, build the ant-bed about a foot from the ground. Then put you a floor of ant-bed a foot high wherever you are going to build a dardurr.”

ant bed floor: 1899

The Northern Miner (Charters Towers), 11 November 1899, 5.

…office and store for tools, detonators, &c., combined, 12 by 10 tent, with the added luxury of an ant-bed floor

ant caps: 1896

Kalgoorlie Miner, 28 October 1896, 2.

In about six or seven weeks hence the members of the local Presbyterian denomination will worship in a new building in Cassidy-street … Bricks have been used for the base work, and these have been covered with ant caps.

ants: 1770

Sir Joseph Banks, The Endeavour Journal of Sir Joseph Banks, vol. 2.

23 May 1770…upon the sides of the lagoon grew many Mangrove trees in the branches of which were many nests of Ants, one sort of which were quite green. These when the branches were disturbd came out in large numbers and revengd themselves very sufficiently upon their disturbers, biting sharper than any I have felt in Europe.

ants: c. 1844

Louisa Ann Meredith, Notes and Sketches of New South Wales, 69. This is a bull ant.

Many various kinds of ants inhabit New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land: I know about a dozen species myself. One is a very formidable-looking personage, full an inch long, with a shiny coat of mail gleaming purple and blue, and a threatening sting, which I am told inflicts a most painful wound, as severe as that of the hornet.

ants: 1854

F. Eldershaw, Australia as it really is, 46–7. The largest known Australian ants are ~40 mm long.

Different kinds of Ants, black, white, and red, lend their important agency towards the torment of the dwellers in the Bush; they also play their part effectively as scavengers. The Warrior-Ants, soldier or sailor, according to colour, are bold and formidable insects; they are sometimes very large, between two and three inches in length, and do not seem afraid of attacking anything …

Anzac: 1915

The Advertiser, 8 June 1915, 12. At this early time, ‘Anzac’ is a place, or HQ.

During the progress of the fight I received information from Anzac that enemy reinforcements had been seen advancing from Maidos towards Krithia.

Anzac biscuits: 1916

Sunday Times (Perth), 4 June 1916, 7. A recipe contest: she got an engraved electroplated butter knife. The leading winners were melon and lemon conserve; chilli wine and wheaten meal biscuits.

Fourth prize is awarded to Mrs. M. Sutherland Grosvenor, Mt. Kokeby, for recipe—
Anzac Ginger Biscuits.
Ingredients: One cup treacle, quarter-cup dripping or butter, quarter-cup sugar, quarter-cup milk. Put on stove to make hot. Then put in dessertspoonful of ginger, one teaspoonful of baking soda and enough flour to roll out stiff. Cut round. Bake in moderate oven.

Anzac biscuits: 1920

The Argus, 15 September 1920, 7. There had been no further mentions of these biscuits during the war, so did Australian women bake and send them to the troops? After that, there were many further recipes.

Anzac Biscuits or Crispies. “Josephine” (E. Brunswick) has been kind enough to contribute the following recipe for Anzac biscuits:—Two cups John Bull oats or flaked oatmeal, 1 cup flour, 1 table-spoonful golden syrup, half-cup of sugar, 1 teaspoonful carbonate of soda, 1 good pinch salt, 2 tablespoonfuls boiling water, half-cup melted butter. Put oatmeal, flour, sugar, and salt together. Pour on the melted butter, mix syrup and boiling water, and stir in the soda. Mix all while frothing. Put on the greased oven slide with a teaspoon, bake brown in a moderate oven. They must be very ripe when ready for the table. They are usually eaten with a spoon.

ANZAC Day: 1915

The Advertiser, 28 August 1915, 2. Note that this was to be October 13. The April 25 ANZAC day was still a long way ahead.

The Executive Committee of the MONSTER PROCESSION, PAGEANT, and CARNIVAL to be held on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13, in aid of THE WOUNDED SOLDIERS’ FUND, has decided that the day shall be known as ANZAC DAY. The Souvenir offered by the Committee to the person whose suggestion for a title was adopted has been awarded to Mr. Robert Wheeler, Prospect.

ANZAC Day: 1915

Barrier Miner, 13 October 1915, 3. This is the 161st instance of “Anzac Day” in Trove, and the first from outside South Australia (but it is from Broken Hill, which always looked to Adelaide).

Mr. James referred to the “Anzac Day” celebration which, was to be held in Adelaide in connection with the Eight Hours’ Day celebrations there the proceeds from which were to be utilised to swell the South Australian Wounded Soldiers’ Fund.

ANZAC Day: 1915

Sydney Morning Herald, 14 October 1915, 10. Before this event, there were almost 220 “hits”. This one was in the interstate press notices—on page 10!

ADELAIDE, Wednesday. This year the Eight-hours Day committee sacrificed the identity of its celebration by conducting a carnival in aid of the wounded Soldiers’ Fund. The committee was enlarged to embrace all sections of the community, and the day was observed as Anzac Day. Many thousands of people witnessed the street procession.

ANZAC Day: 1915

The Advertiser, 20 October 1915, 14. A brawl had broken out between drunken soldiers and police.

THE STREET RIOT. Incidents connected with the riot in King William-street on Anzac Day were again related in the Adelaide Police Court on Tuesday, when Allen Dalziell was charged with having hindered Constable Feudeloff in the execution of his duty, namely, while he was arresting John Davoren on a charge of drunkenness.

ANZAC Day: 1915

Gippsland Times, 16 December 1915, 3: yet another date for “the day”, 17 December. There were more than 400 instances of “Anzac Day” before this.

The … Lord Mayor’s Central “Button” Committee has fixed to-morrow as “Anzac” day, and have issued at special “remembrance” button to be sold throughout the Commonwealth at the usual price of 1/ [one shilling], the proceeds to be divided between all the tents working for the welfare of those under arms either at home or the front, viz., Y.M.C.A., Churches of England, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Methodist, and Salvation Army.

ANZAC Day: 1916

The Brisbane Courier, 10 January 1916, 8. And now the pattern was set: ANZAC day would be April 25.

Proposed Celebration in Brisbane. A public meeting will be held in the Exhibition Hall this evening to discuss the steps to be taken for the celebration of Anzac Day on April 25.

ANZAC Day: 1916

The Register (Adelaide), 10 January 1916, 4. He was an early adopter!

(‘Well, I was 70 years old last birthday,’ remarked the gentleman from Blackrock, ‘and I am not likely to forget it, because it was April 25, Anzac Day.’

apples (she’s): 1941

Western Mail, 18 December 1941, 35. This and the next entry both come from W.A.

Darkness, was approaching, so the three anti-tank gunners, reconciled to their unhappy position, placed the ammunition in a handy place ready for use … The corporal came along and during a “once over” found that in the hurry of the previous night the ammunition had not been primed! Imagine the feelings of the three anti-tank gunners! After the first dread thoughts had passed away out came the postal orderly’s final remarks: “Wouldn’t it——. Anyhow, she’s apples.”

apples (she’s): 1945

The West Australian, 24 November 1945, 5. Article ‘Brave New Words’.

Anything satisfactorily arranged or done is sometimes “sewn up” but more frequently: “she’s apples” or “she’s caster.” The roots of both phrases are unknown.

argy-bargy: 1888

Shepparton Advertiser (Vic), 16 August 1888, 1. Note that this is Scots dialect.

I winna argy-bargy wi’ ye, Tammas; but I dinna see hoo ye cud get at it by presentiment.

argy-bargy: 1893

Northern Star (Lismore), 4 November 1893, 6. Here, Alan Breck Stewart in Stevenson’s Kidnapped (serialised in Australian newspapers) speaks a less dense form of Scots.

“Captain,” said Alan, “I doubt your word is a breakable. Last night ye haggled and argle bargled, like an apple wife, and then passed me your word, and gave me your hand to back it, and ye ken very well what was the upshot. Be damned to your word!” says he.

artesian water: 1858

The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 December 1858, 4. They talked about, but knew nothing.

By the formation of dams, the construction of tanks, and the sinking of artesian wells, water may possibly be supplied in adequate quantities to this enormous district. And the increasing price of meat will be an inducement to squatters to make this outlay, if popular jealousy will show them a reasonable tenure of the lands.

artesian water: 1881

Gippsland Mercury (Sale, Vic), 5 May 1881, 3.

By direction of the mayor, the artesian well water was allowed to stream into the street during the afternoon hours, and considerable interest was manifested by our visitors in the, to them, unusual sight.

artesian water: 1881

The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 17 September 1881, 513.

The great under current is tapped at last. Mr. J. H. Angas has got Artesian water 2.5 miles north of the Blinman, and it runs to the surface. We shall have the real Australian rivers upon the surface yet.

artesian water: 1882

The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 August 1882, 4. It needed explaining.

An artesian well is simply the end of a pipe. It requires that water should exist somewhere at a greater elevation, and should pass continuously from that elevation to the outlet. There is only one part of Australia where the requisite elevation is furnished, and that is in the great Cordillera Range, and it is only there that there is a sufficient rainfall to be practically useful. Even there, it depends upon the character of the rock whether the water shall roll down the slopes along or near the surface, or whether it shall sink in to come out elsewhere.

artesian water: 1896

Banjo Paterson, The Bulletin, 17, 1896.

‘Song of the Artesian Water’
Sinking down, deeper down,
Oh, we’re going deeper down:
If we fail to get the water, then it’s ruin to the squatter,
For the drought is on the station and the weather’s growing hotter;
But we’re bound to get the water deeper down.

Arthur or Martha: 1943

Daily Mirror (Sydney), 7 September 1943, 6. The fish wrapper newspapers carried syndicated propaganda stories like this. There is an indecipherable instance of Arthur or Martha, in the Inverell Times 16 May 1941.

Some of the warships built a smokescreen on either flank and the landing boats surged forward into the valley in between. Others steamed offshore from Lae and pounded the town and the ‘drome. Bombers dropped their loads on Lae until the Japs didn’t know whether they were Arthur or Martha. Then the shelling of the beach suddenly ended and the time for wondering was over and the time for action had come.

Arthur or Martha: 1948

Truth (Sydney), 14 March 1948, 17. See Rafferty’s rules.

THE LATE lamented Mr. Rafferty would have jumped with joy had he been at Erskineville Oval yesterday, when Eastern Suburbs and Newtown staged trials for the coming League season. Players were all over the place like Brown’s cows, and most didn’t know whether they were Arthur or Martha. Still, the season’s only beginning, and Rafferty will be put to shame later.

arvo: 1926

Sydney Mail, 25 August 1926, 16.

‘And the shivoo’s this arvo?’
She slipped over to the window. Red and Alf were still busy with the car.
‘Slip off yer shoes,’ she said curtly. ‘Now follow me.’

arvo: 1929

Northern Star (Lismore), 8 June 1929, 14. “Unless a determined effort be made to overcome this modern tendency to contract and mutilate, the criticisms of the Australian use of the Mother tongue will have a great deal more justification than has been heretofore bestowed upon such as our nasal vowels, etc.”

A most regrettable feature of the present day speech is the tendency to mutilate or, to say the least, contract—many words of the English language. In addition to the recognised contractions, “isn’t,” “don’t” “that’s,” etc., on every side we hear the objectionable and wrong “ain’t” (I cannot spell this). Then again are heard the almost universal use of “exam.” and lately another objectionable expression “this arvo” for this afternoon, seems to have taken a firm hold of the younger members of the community.

arvo: 1932

The Brisbane Courier, 10 September 1932, 18. At least they were blaming the movies and not the teachers!

Films and Their Influence. By “HYGIEA.” “GEE, it was a beaut picsher—six blokes shot, and you could see fair-dinkum blood on some of ‘em,” said one of the small boys excitedly. “Oh, yeah,” said the other, superciliously. “Well, I bet it wasn’t half as good as the fillum that I saw this arvo. There was a bloke in it strangled with wire after he’d shot a man, and was just going to burn down his house with the woman and kids in it.

as clear as mud: 1835

The Australian (Sydney), 11 August 1835, 3.

Mr. Burton, from his Commission as a Judge at the Cape, being dated before that of Mr. Dowling for this Colony. The latter is the elder Barrister. Between such high contending powers it would ill become us to interfere— “When Doctors differ” as the poet says, “who shall decide?” To us however the case seems as “clear as mud”…

ash tray on a motor bike: 1990

The Canberra Times, 18 February 1990, 9.

Here is one more piece of very important advice. Check the expiry date on your card before your leave home. If it expires while you are overseas, it will be as useful as an ashtray on a motor bike.

Aussie: 1915

The Farmer and Settler (Sydney), 13 July 1915, 2. Letter from Private P. G. Stephens.

Writing on board a transport (May 3) a few hours before landing at Gallipoli from Egypt, he said: “Rare yarns are being told about the ‘Aussies’ at the front. On Thursday night I saw a train of wounded being unloaded … my stomach turned somersaults, and I broke out into a cold sweat…”

Aussie: 1915

Sydney Sportsman, 8 December 1915, 3. This seems to be the earliest instance of “an Aussie”, but see Aussie rules, below, for an earlier use of the adjectival form: it was clearly around in the spoken language.

Archie poked that little red demon about, and ran between the wickets like an Aussie chasing the Turks in Gallipoli. It really was refreshing to see Archie exciting himself so. You surely wouldn’t expect it from a cove with the appellation of Archie.

Aussie: 1917

The Forbes Advocate (NSW), 6 July 1917, 7.

Aussie (pronounced “ozzy”). An Australian soldier.

Aussie: 1917

Bairnsdale Advertiser and Tambo and Omeo Chronicle, 17 October 1917, 2.

Rumor hath it that the Americans are to take over portion and we are to go elsewhere. The ‘Aussies’ (Australians) have had a ‘box-on’ with the Americans already. One of the Yanks said ‘The Australians are no good now, and they had to send for us to finish the war.’ An ‘Aussie’ ‘all dressed,’ flew at him, with the result that there was a free fight, which resulted in favor of the ‘kangaroo’.

Aussie Rules: 1907

Coolamon-Ganmain Farmers’ Review, 19 July 1907, 11.

On Saturday, Junee Australian Rules team went down to Holbrook after a very slow start. Junee, it will be remembered, were very slow to get going against Yerong Creek after pushing The Rock to 10 points the week before, but on Saturday they slept through the first half until awakened by coach Roy Hart in the dressing room … but they had shut the gate too late.

Aussie Rules: 1924

The Bunbury Herald and Blackwood Express (WA), 5 September 1924, 6. Short news report, quoted in full. (See also Australian Rules.)

AUSSIE RULES. Under the Australian rules the semi-finals were entered into last Sunday when Yarloop met Mornington at Brunswick and after a stirring game Yarloop won by 8 points.

Aussie salute: 1921

The Mail (Adelaide), 21 May 1921, 3. What might this salute have been? We will never know…

Mr. Roberts gave a capital skit on soldiers saluting, and brought forth rounds of applause for his interpretation of the Aussie salute.

Aussie salute: 1966

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 1 June 1966, 10. Almost there…

On to Alice Springs, where Pat said she was given the traditional Aussie salute—flies! “Not that they bothered me much. Those fly sprays are pretty good.”

Aussie salute: 1989

The Canberra Times, 9 April 1989, 23.

Many people are asked to speak frankly about their problems with the fly, which seems to have become one of our national symbols: witness the worldwide acceptance of the Great Aussie Salute as we swat or swipe at the little devils.

Australasia: 1793

The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 May 1905, 14. Note that this is a 1905 account of an earlier usage.

Shaw evidently favoured Australia while Smith in the “Transactions of the Linnaean Society” vol. iv, p 213 (1798), uses Australasia for the continent several times. Neither name however, passed then into general use… 1793 G. Shaw and J. E. Smith, “Zoology and Botany of New Holland,” p. 2:
“The vast island, or rather continent, of Australia, Australasia, or New Holland, which has so lately attracted the particular attention of European navigators and naturalists…”

Australasia: 1808

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 6 November 1808, 2. Incorrectly rendered in one TROVE correction as “Australia”. It actually reads “Australasia”. Some Trove volunteers are dills!

“Your sage Correspondent affects to describe,
“The HABITS that grace Australasia’s Black Tribe;
“But if Habit means Dress, you’ll permit me to call
“The Dress of HER Natives—No Habit at all.”

Australia: 1793

George Shaw and James Edward Smith, Zoology and Botany of New Holland, vol. 1, 2, 1793.

The vast Island or rather Continent of Australia, Australasia, or New Holland…seems to abound in scenes of peculiar wildness and sterility…

Australia: 1813

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 30 January 1813, 3. A poem called ‘Effusions of Gratitude’, by Michael Massey Robinson. First Australian use in print. This is the first of six verses.

FROM Albion’s blest Isle have we cross’d the wide Main,
And brav’d all the Dangers, of Neptune’s Domain—
The Hurricane’s Whirlwind, the Tempest’s loud Roar,
An Asylum to find on Australia’s rude Shore
For the Genius of Britain sent forth a Decree,
That her Sons should be exil’d—once more to be free!

Australia: 1814

M. Flinders, “Voyage to Terra Australis,” introduction, 3, and footnote.

 “I have…ventured upon the readoption of the original Terra Australis, and of this term I shall hereafter make use, when speaking of New Holland, and New South Wales, in a collective sense.”
Footnote: “Had I permitted myself any innovation upon the original term, it would have been to convert it into Australia, as being more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth.”

Australia: 1817

The History of New South Wales From the Records, vol. 1, s. 1.11, n8, 1889.

Despatch to Lord Bathurst, of April 4th, 1817, from Governor Macquarie: “Lieutenant King expects to be absent from Port Jackson between eight and nine months; and, I trust, in that time, will be able to make very important additions to the geographical knowledge already acquired of the continent of Australia; which, I hope, will be the name given to this country in future, instead of the very erroneous and misapplied name hitherto given to it of New Holland, which, properly speaking, only applies to part of this immense continent.”

Australianisms: 1883

R. E. N. (Richard) Twopeny, Town Life in Australia, 1883.

The circumstances of a new colony naturally cause additions to the word-stock of the mother country. New occupations and modes of living need new words to describe them, or, as often as not, the settler not being of an inventive disposition, old words are used in a new sense … There is room for a very interesting dictionary of Australianisms. But I have no time to collect such a list.

Australianisms: 1888

Western Mail (Perth), 28 January 1888, 15. The writer’s spelling is less reliable than we might wish.

But much might be done by the teachers of our higher schools to correct the coarser Australianisms of speech, so unfortunately common amongst the children of the colony, and to form the pronounciation [sic] of our future men and women in fair accordance with educated English models. Nothing is so dreadful as to find a pretty and ladylike Australian girl open her mouth and deliver her words with a wretched nasal drawl.

Australianisms: 1891

The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser (SA), 1 May 1891, 2.

A writer in London Notes and Queries points out: that “there are several good dictionaries of Americanisms,” and he wants to know whether there is “such a thing as a dictionary of Australianisms.” … He quotes from a recently-published Australian novel such words as “new chum,” “stuck-up,” “cattle-duffing,” “nobblers,” “bail-up,” &c., which, he says, require explanation in order to be intelligible to English readers.

Australianisms: 1891

The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 October 1891, 7.

But against objection to the inclusion of new words of aptness and expressiveness in our current vernacular, in the name of British liberty we protest. For why should we not increase the wealth of our native language by “Australianisms” as they are contemptuously called, provided only that, we find them useful to our hand?

Australianisms: 1894

Truth (Sydney), 7 January 1894, 1.

That Imperialism generally gives Australianism a back-hander or a bribe.

Australianisms: 1897

Clare’s Weekly (Perth), 18 December 1897, 10.

There’s one exception, and that’s a brilliant one. The Sydney Bulletin is the snappiest paper in the world. Suggested by the Americanisms of some American comics, it has created a new “ism” and flooded the world with “Australianisms.”

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Creating the list of topics below took two hours, and I don't have the time, right now, so here's an out-of-date list.

Aboriginal blood: 1837;  Aboriginal land: c. 1852;  aborigines: 1798;  absentee: 1803;  absquatulate: 1841;  according to Cocker: 1826;  act your age, not your shoe size: 1995;  aerial ping pong: 1945;  Aeroplane jelly: 1928;  aggro: 1970;  aggy: 1899;  all froth and no beer: 1889;  alligator: 1788;  all over, red rover: 1984;  ambo: 1928;  ankle-biter: 1900;  another pair of sleeves: 1850;  ant bed: 1890;  ant caps: 1896;  ants: 1770;  Anzac: 1915;  Anzac biscuits: 1916;  ANZAC Day: 1915;  apples (she’s): 1941;  argy-bargy: 1888;  artesian water: 1881;  Arthur or Martha: 1943;  arvo: 1926;  ash tray on a motor bike: 1990;  Aussie: 1915;  Aussie Rules: 1907;  Aussie salute: 1921;  Australasia: 1793;  Australia: 1793;  Australian Rules: 1865;  babbler: 1904;  back-blocks: 1862;  back chat: 1895;  backhander: 1894;  back of beyond: 1830;  back of Bourke: 1871;  bad trot: 1914;  bagman: 1841;  Bagman’s Gazette: 1900;  bail up: 1844.;  balls-up: 1970;  Bananaland: 1881;  bandicoot: 1799;  banker, running a: 1866;  barbie: 1973;  bar, bull: 1979;  bark hut: 1815;  barney: 1855;  barrack: 1883;  barracker: 1881;  barracking: 1878;  bar, roo: 1977;  bash hat: 1950;  basket weavers: 1982;  bastard: 1945;  bastardry: 1945;  bathers: 1911;  bathing: 1810;  bathing dress: 1830;  Bathurst burr: 1850;  battler: 1901;  beak: 1838;  beanie: 1945;  beano: 1908;  bean (without a): 1891;  beauty bottler: 1957;  bee’s knees: 1874;  belly buster: 1933;  belly-flop: 1924;  Belyando spew: c. 1864;  berko: 1988;  berley: 1871;  bicycle: 1851;  big hat no cattle: 1994;  big note: 1938;  big smoke: 1854;  big wigs: 1825;  bike: 1898;  bikkies: 1890;  bikkies (money): 1977;  bilby: 1886;  billabong: 1838;  billy: 1827;  billycart: 1898;  billy lids: 2000;  billy-o: 1887;  bindi-eye: 1907;  bingey: 1882;  bint: 1945;  bite his lug: 1900;  bitser: 1926;  bitumen, leave the: 1926;  blackbirding: c. 1827;  blackfellow: 1831;  blackleg: 1865;  Black Maria: 1868;  black stump: 1865;  black tracker: 1828;  Blind Freddy: 1907;  bloke: 1848;  blokey: 1990;  bloodhouse: 1901;  bloody: 1853;  blow: 1929;  blowfly: 1829;  blowie: 1911;  Blucher boots: 1821;  bludger: 1897;  bluegum: 1803;  blue (in the sense of lose money): 1898;  Blue Mountain parrot: 1823;  Blue Mountains: 1793;  blue, start a: 1938;  bluetongue: 1849;  Bluey: 1845;  bluey: 1880;  blunt: 1826;  bob (shilling): 1838;  bodgie: 1950;  Bogan: 1987;  bogey: 1788;  bog roll: 1988;  boiling down: c. 1843;  bolter: 1827;  bombora: 1901;  Bondi tram, like a: 1943;  bonzer: 1851;  boodle: 1898;  Boofhead: 1924;  boofy: 1993;  boomerang: 1804;  boots and all: 1838;  borak: 1893;  boring as batshit: 1999;  boshter: 1903;  bosker: 1912;  boss cockie: 1875;  Boss-of-the-Board: 1900;  Boss-of-the-Board: 1900;  Botany Bay: 1786;  boundary rider: 1860;  bowerbird: 1894;  bowlo: 2004;  bowyangs: 1889;  box tree: 1834;  brass razoo: 1927;  breakaway: 1893;  brekky: 1900;  brickfielder: 1829;  brickie: 1902;  brick short of a load: 1992;  bright-eyed and bushy-tailed: 1954;  Brown’s cows: 1841;  brown-eye: 1981;  brum (penny): 1861;  brumby: 1871;  brush: 1788;  bubbler: 1912;  Buckley’s chance: 1887;  budgerigar: 1845;  budgie smugglers: 2006;  bugger me dead: 1975;  buggy: 1806;  Bullamakanka: 1948;  Bulletin: c.1880;  bullock driver: 1813;  bull-roarer: 1888;  Bundy clock: 1905;  bunger: 1891;  bunny: 1952;  bunya bunya: 1841;  bunyip: 1845;  bunyip aristocracy: 1853;  burning o: 1805;  burrawang: 1831;  bush: 1801;  bush bashing: 1943;  bush carpenter: 1902;  bushed: 1847;  bushfire: 1831;  bush inn: c. 1850;  bush lawyer: 1835;  bush lemon: 1910;  bushman: 1832;  bushranger: 1805;  bush store: 1847;  bush telegraph: 1863;  bush tucker: 1884;  bushwoman: 1869;  busier than Bourke street: 1877;  busier than Pitt Street: 1869;  B.Y.O.: 1968;  Cabbage Garden: 1842;  cabbage tree hat: 1799;  cabbage tree mob: 1841;  cabs: 1852;  Cab Sav: 1974;  cackleberry: 1918;  call a spade a bloody shovel: 1897;  camp: 1788;  canary: 1853;  cane toad: 1935;  cark: 1983;  cart: c. 1854;  caser: 1892;  cask wine: 1975;  Catherine Hayes: 1859;  cedar: 1795;  celestials: 1856;  chalkie: 1928;  champagne tastes on a beer budget: 1941;  chap: 1898;  chardonnay socialist: 1987;  charged like a wounded bull: 1976;  chateau cardboard: 1987;  chats: 1917;  cheap as chips: 1875;  chewy: 1922;  Chico roll: 1958;  chocolate crackles: 1937;  chockers: 1990;  choof off: 1965;  chook: 1889;  chook raffle: 1956;  chook with its head chopped off: 1982;  Chow: 1855;  chow: 1899;  Christmas beetle: 1893;  chuck: 1838;  chuck a u-ey: 1975;  chuck a wobbly: 1986;  chunder: 1954;  churchyarder: 1900;  chyack: 1873;  cigar: 1859;  Circular Quay: 1836;  civvies: 1946;  Clayton’s: 1983;  clean skins: 1868;  clearing: 1788;  clear out: 1831;  clobber: 1884;  clothes hoist: 1911;  clothes props: 1846;  coach travel: 1821;  coal: 1797;  cobber: 1890;  cobbler: 1827;  cobbler’s pegs: 1864;  cockatoo: c. 1854;  cockatoo fence: 1842;  cockatoo (lookout): 1991;  cock-eye bob: 1884;  cockies: 1878;  cockie’s joy: 1901;  coffee: 1902;  coffee tent: 1852;  coldie: 1985;  Collins street cocky: 1924;  come good: 1948;  come in spinner: 1919;  comic cuts: 1922;  Compo: 1921;  concertina: 1892;  conchy: 1917;  constables: 1826;  cooee: 1826;  coolamon: 1854;  coot: 1915;  corduroy road: 1856;  corn: 1834;  Cornstalk: 1827;  cossies: 1903;  cot case: 1915;  could eat a horse and chase the rider: 1934;  country store: 1834;  Cousin Jack: 1864;  cove: 1817;  cow cocky: 1907;  cracker night: 1890;  crack hardy: 1897;  crack onto: 1974;  crawler: 1864;  creek: 1790;  cricket: 1804;  crimson: 1883;  crinoline: 1839;  cronk: 1900;  crook: 1896;  cropper, come a: 1859;  crow-eaters: 1870;  cry crack: 1871;  cuddy: 1826;  cultural cringe: 1951;  currency: 1822;  cut lunch: 1913;  cut out: 1867;  cycling: c. 1895;  cyclists: 1899;  dacks: 1982;  dag: 1971;  dags (wool): 1928;  Dagwood dog: 1951;  dam: 1869;  damper: 1825;  darg: 1879;  date: 2003;  dead cert: 1877;  dead flat: 1900;  dead marine: 1856;  dead set: 1954;  deaf adder: 1832;  deaner (shilling): 1892;  death adder: 1845;  death warmed up: 1922;  demo: 1952;  derro: 1976;  devon sausage: 1994;  didgeridoo: 1918;  did his block: 1904;  didn’t come down in the last shower: 1893;  digger: 1817;  digging: 1849;  dill: 1946;  dilly bag 1829;  dilly-dallying: 1826;  dingbat: 1887;  dingo: 1788;  dinkum: 1917;  dinky di: 1914;  diphthong ships: 1852;  dipstick: 1982;  disperse: 1805;  divvy: 1885;  Dixie: 1918;  do a Melba: 1950;  dob in: 1953;  dodgy: 1856;  dog’s breakfast: 1903;  do his lolly: 1954;  doing the Block: 1854;  dole: 1915;  dole bludger: 1975;  dollop: 1833;  Dolly’s wax: 1909;  donah: 1889;  done like a dinner: 1838;  done me dash: 1915;  donkey engine: 1852;  donkey-supper hat: c. 1897;  donkey vote: 1894;  don’t bust your foofer valve: 1884;  don’t give a rat’s: 1994;  doover: 1941;  double dink: 1914;  double-headed coins: 1885;  dowak: 1848;  down the gurgler: 1979;  down under: 1907;  drafting: 1836;  drag the chain: 1840;  dray: 1820;  drink with the flies: 1898;  drongo: 1837;  drop bear 1967;  dropsies: 1952;  drought: c. 1842;  drought: 1878;  drover: 1814;  drover’s dog: 1868;  dry-blower: 1869;  duchess (v): 1944;  duck’s disease: 1940;  dud: 1918;  duds: 1900;  duffer: 1853;  duffing: 1856;  dummy: 1896;  dumper: 1912;  dunny: 1942;  earbash 1944;  echidna: 1828;  ecology: 1905;  education: c. 1830;  elastic-side boots: 1896;  elderly: 1900;  emu: 1788;  emu eggs: 1829;  emu oil: 1860;  enemy origin place names: 1916;  Eora: 1798;  every man and his dog: 1902;  exclusionists: 1826;  fair cop: 1897;  fair crack of the whip: 1902;  fair dinkum: 1880;  fair go: 1863;  fairy bread: 1915;  fairy floss: 1906;  fart-arse around: 1975;  fat lamp: 1827;  fed up to the back teeth: 1919;  fell off perch: 1857;  Female Factory: 1826;  fence: 1788;  ferals: 1992;  fibro-cement: 1905;  finger talk: 1934;  first fleet: 1817;  fizzer: 1861;  Flash Jack: 1826;  flash your dover: 1872;  flat chat: 1986;  flat out like a lizard drinking: 1930;  fleahouse: 1935;  fleas: 1803;  flick, give him the: 1979;  flicks: 1918;  flies: c. 1842;  floater (pie): 1923;  Flying Doctor: 1922;  flying fox: 1793;  fly veil: 1849;  football: 1829;  foot in mouth disease: 1910;  footpath: 1803;  footrot: 1822;  footy: 1894;  forester: 1861;  fossick: 1852;  four by two: 1898;  freebie: 1991;  Fremantle doctor: 1873;  Freo: 1947;  fruit fly: 1862;  full as a goog: 1942;  full board: 1875;  funnelweb: 1927;  Furphy: 1915;  gaff: 1901;  galah: 1861;  gallows: c. 1838;  gammon: 1826;  gander: 1939;  garbage: 1823;  garbo: 1950;  gas lamps: 1855;  g’day: 1848;  gee-gee: 1898;  geek: 1953;  gerries: 1991;  get a guernsey: 1902;  gibber: 1793;  gilgai: 1868;  gin: 1831;  ginormous: 1942;  Gippsland earth-worm: 1889;  give it a burl: 1911;  give me the drum: 1925;  glory box: 1904;  goanna: 1832;  goat (act the): 1881;  go bush: 1871;  goldfield: 1849;  gold mine: 1788;  gone bung: 1868;  good fist of it: 1856;  good oil: 1914;  good on ya: 1973;  goog: 1914;  goolies: 1922;  goonack: 1873;  goon: 1972;  go-slow: 1916;  go you halves: 1870;  gramma: 1874;  grass-tree: 1831;  grazier: 1804;  green bough: 1896;  greenhide: 1836;  greenies: 1982;  gremlins: 1942;  grog: 1788;  groupers: 1946;  gully-raking: c. 1837;  gum-sucker: 1849;  gum tree: 1788;  gunya: 1798;  gutless wonder: 1936;  gutser: 1917;  had it: 1945;  hairy eyeball: 1982;  half a mo: 1898;  half drunk half the time: 1967;  hambone: 1964;  handkerchiefs: 1901;  hang around like a bad smell: 1941;  hanging up: 1853;  happy as Larry: 1857;  hard: 1896;  hard case: 1900;  hard up: 1827;  hardwood: 1823;  harness cask: 1827;  hashmagandy: 1883;  hatful of arseholes: 1957;  hatter: 1858;  have a bash: 1943;  have a lash: 1892;  have the wood on: 1889;  have your guts for garters: 1888;  hawker: 1818;  hidey: 1863;  history, Australian: 1888;  hobble: c. 1830;  homestead: 1817;  hoon: 1983;  hooroo: 1916;  horizontal scrub: 1860;  hospital paddock: 1888;  hot-cross bun maker: 1903;  Hoyts, man outside: 1935;  humpy: 1838;  hundreds and thousands: 1899;  Hungry Tyson: 1877;  hunk: 1883;  huntsman spider: 1914;  Hyde Park: 1810;  Hyde Park Barracks: 1829;  icebergs: 1905;  ice block: 1934;  idiot box: 1959;  illywhacker: 1985;  indications: 1885;  inexpressibles: 1824;  inland: 1806;  in good nick: 1878;  invasion: c. 1798;  ironbark: 1803;  iron gang: 1826;  iron lace: 1919;  iron lace: 1944;  itchy grub: 1925;  jackeroo: 1845;  jack jumper: 1882;  Jack the Painter: 1846;  Jacky Howe: 1900;  jake: 1918;  jigger: 1898;  jilgie: 1873;  jimmy brits: 1942;  Jimmy Grants: 1850;  Jimmy Woodser: 1876;  jinker: 1861;  jirrand: 1827;  joey: 1841;  John Chinaman: 1839;  Johnny cake: 1827;  Johns: 1915;  journo: 1969;  jumbuck: 1841;  jumper: c. 1853;  jump-up: 1828;  Jungle juice: 1941;  kangaroo: 1770;  kangaroo dog: 1806;  kangaroo feathers: 1900;  kangaroos in the top paddock: 1987;  kangaroo paw: 1892;  kangaroo skins: 1898;  kangaroo tail soup: 1837;  keep nit: 1890;  keg: 1803;  kelpie: 1879;  kerfuffle: 1935;  kerosene: 1854;  kibosh: 1835;  kick the bucket: 1832;  kindergarten: 1890;  kindy: 1933;  king hit: 1938;  kip (swy): 1910;  Kiwi: 1918;  knock off: 1825;  knockabout: 1856;  knock your socks off: 1978;  koala: 1804;  Kokoda track: 1908;  Kokoda trail: 1942;  kookaburra: 1829;  koori: 1972;  koradji: 1834;  kylie: 1842;  laced lizard: 1789;  Lady Blamey: 1942;  lag, old: 1831;  lagerphone: 1946;  lagging: c. 1830;  lagoon: 1803;  lamb down: 1838;  lamb’s fry;  Lamington: 1901;  land mullet: 1916;  larrikin: 1870;  lawn tennis: 1874;  leaks like a sieve: 1840;  leeches: 1817;  leg in: 1871;  legless: 1986;  leg pulling: 1890;  like a hairy goat: 1913;  like the clappers: 1920;  lime burners: 1804;  lime-juicer: c. 1855;  lime-juicer: c. 1855;  line ball: 1849;  lingo: 1825;  lippy: 1927;  little bottler: 1855;  little ripper: 1912;  lollies: 1846;  long neck: 1827;  long service leave: 1898;  lower than a snake’s belly: 1914;  lubra: 1838;  lumper: 1843;  lurk: 1904;  lurk merchant: 1945;  lumber: 1805;  lyrebird: 1800;  mad as a cut snake: 1946;  makarrata: 1937;  make a crust: 1860;  making wages: 1851;  mallee: 1882;  mallee bull: 1862;  march fly: 1843;  marmalade: 1808;  marsupial: 1829;  matches: 1841;  mate: 1860;  mateship: 1857;  meatworks: 1872;  meet the eye: 1827;  Melbourne: c. 1895;  metho: 1922;  mia-mia: 1847;  miles to Griffiths tea: 1913;  milko: 1904;  Minties: 1924;  missed the bus: 1893;  mixed-bathers: 1911;  mob (of animals): 1834;  moleskin: 1823;  mongrel: 1889;  moniker: 1888;  monotreme: 1876;  moonlighter: 1878;  moonlight flit: 1834;  more hide than Jessie: 1925;  mosquitoes: 1828;  motza: 1923;  mouse spider: 1947;  mozzies: 1922;  mucker: 1899;  muck up: 1896;  muck up: 1904;  mud map: 1896;  mug: 1888;  mug lair: 1924;  mulesing: 1939;  mulga: 1858;  mullenise: 1884;  mulligrubs: 1832;  mullock: 1889;  mushies: 1904;  mushies: 1915;  muso: 1956;  mutton dressed up as lamb: 1893;  myall: 1829;  my stomach thinks my throat’s been cut: 1933;  myxomatosis: 1938;  nark: 1885;  native raw materials: 1798;  nature strip: 1928;  neck, to get it in the: 1893;  Never Never: 1861;  new Australians: 1940;  new chum: 1827;  New year’s day: 1789;  nick: 1889;  nines, dressed up to the: 1835;  Norfolk Island pine: 1829;  not backwards in coming forward: 1991;  nothing between the ears: 1938;  not much chop: 1857;  not the full quid: 1947;  not worth a crumpet: 1947;  no worries: 1970;  nulla nulla: 1808;  numbat: 1854;  Ocker: 1971;  off her kadoova: 1883;  old hand: 1827;  offsider: 1871;  off the beaten track: 1855;  old hand: 1902;  omnibus: 1851;  one armed bandits: 1939;  one oar in the water: 1994;  on his hammer: 1932;  on his hunkers: 1851;  on spec: 1845;  on the nose: 1942;  on the ran-tan: 1854;  on the wallaby: 1858;  onion, to be off: 1879;  open go: 1882;  open slather: 1916;  ophthalmia: 1819;  other-sider: 1865;  outback: 1868;  out station: 1824;  overlanders: 1840;  packer: 1873;  Paddle Pop: 1954;  paddock: 1807;  pademelon: 1842;  patta: 1803;  Pavlova: 1934;  Peach Melba: 1912;  penny farthing;  peppered: 1851;  perish, doing a: 1881;  perve: 1968;  petrolhead: 1986;  piano 1788;  picnic: c. 1854;  piece of piss: 1987;  pig’s arse!: 1977;  pig-root: 1896;  piker: 1909;  Pinchgut: c. 1842;  pissed: 1984;  pissed off: 1981;  Pitt Street farmer: 1918;  Pivot City: 1855;  plant: 1835;  platypus: 1821;  plonk: 1916;  plute: 1900;  poler: 1848;  Pompey dodger: 1855;  pong: 1928;  portable soup: 1821;  pobblebonk: 1990;  poddy: 1864;  pointing the bone: 1901;  poison bait: 1847;  poisoner: 1900;  poke in the eye with a burnt stick: 1887;  poke mullock: 1912;  poker machine: 1895;  pokies: 1967;  Pommy 1912;  pooch: 1927;  possie: 1917;  possum: c. 1839;  possum skin cloak: c. 1840;  post: 1827;  preselection: 1857;  prezzies: 1998;  prickly pear: 1827;  Prince Alberts: 1894;  printing press: 1795;  privy: 1813;  Progress Association: 1860;  prospecting: 1849;  prospector: 1849;  puddling: 1851;  punt: 1834;  purler: 1848;  Push, the: 1899;  put the acid on: 1898;  put the boot in: 1906;  put the frighteners on: 1973;  quarantine: c. 1842;  Queen Street cocky: 1926;  quid: 1866;  rabbit-oh: 1894;  rabbit-proof fence: 1886;  rabbits: 1860;  rack off: 1976;  Rafferty’s rules: 1906;  ratbag: 1925;  rat with a gold tooth: 1953;  rawhide: 1849;  real corker: 1886;  redback: 1883;  redgum: 1816;  red ned: 1949;  reffo: 1945;  rego: 1972;  rellies: 1978;  remittance: 1864;  ribuck: 1891;  ridgy didge: 1974;  riding attire: 1900;  right as rain: 1874;  righto: 1902;  ring-barking: c. 1844;  ringer: 1870;  road: 1788;  road train: 1913;  ‘rock carvings’: 1788;  roof rabbit: 1891;  ropeable: 1847;  rort: 1901;  rosiner: 1930;  rotgut: 1831;  rough around the edges: 1952;  rough as bags: 1911;  rough as guts: 1920;  rough end of the pineapple: 1950;  rough spin: 1868;  rouseabout: 1907;  rum: 1826;  run: 1834;  runners: 1961;  runs like a dream: 1919;  rustbucket: 1949;  ruthless and toothless: 1945;  sacred sites: 1927;  Saint Andrews spider: 1939;  saltbush: 1848;  salted: 1854;  sand: 1846;  sandgroper: 1881;  sandy blight: c. 1865;  sandshoes: 1884;  sandy blight: 1900;  sanger: 1987;  saucy: 1860;  sausage roll: 1842;  sawney: 1826;  scab: 1842;  scads: 1925;  scallops: 1994;  scalp: 1852;  scalper: 1898;  schools: 1796;  scrammy: 1857;  screen door: 1903;  scribbly gum: 1886;  scrub up well: 1977;  scrub-bash: 1929;  scungy: 1927;  sea-breeze: 1830;  search party: 1833;  selector: 1862;  selfie: 2013;  semaphore: 1836;  semi-detached: 1850;  Send it down, Hughie: 1910;  sent out: 1882;  Seppo: 1998;  serve, give him a: 1986;  servo: 1985;  settler: 1803;  shag on a rock, a: 1843;  shandygaff: 1848;  shanty: 1830;  shanty: 1832;  shearing: c. 1840;  sheep dog: 1821;  sheila: 1921;  she’ll be right: 1848;  sheoak: 1803;  sheoak: 1803;  shicer: 1853;  shicker: 1883;  shindy: 1828;  shingle, lost or loose: 1846;  shirty: 1865;  shivoo: 1881;  shit for brains: 1984;  shivoo: 1882;  shonky: 1958;  shoot through: 1944;  shoot (wave): 1910;  short and curlies: 1982;  short arms, deep pockets: 1951;  shout: c. 1852;  show pony: 1940;  shypoo: 1881;  sick as a dog: 1830;  sickie: 1952;  silent cop: 1921;  silly coot: 1900;  silver-tails: 1879;  Simon Pure: 1832;  sin bin: 1968;  since sliced bread: 1952;  skedaddle: 1874;  skid lid: 1953;  skite: 1887;  sky-pilot: 1900;  slab of beer: 1911;  slanguage: 1896;  sledging: 1979;  sleepout: 1914;  sling off: 1891;  sling off: 1892;  sling your hook: 1884;  slip rails: c. 1845;  slop clothing: 1805;  slope: 1852;  slow as a wet week: 1923;  sly grog: 1825;  smallgoods: 1865;  smalls: 1945;  smoke: 1891;  smoke-oh: 1893;  smoodger: 1907;  snaggers: 1945;  snow-dropper: 1827;  Snowy Mountains: 1825;  Snowy River: 1834;  snuffle buster: 1875;  soldier settler: 1917;  songman: 1949;  sool: 1901;  sort: 1945;  southerly buster: 1854;  sparrow’s fart: 1942;  SP bookie: 1920;  Speewah: 1892;  spider: 1858;  spieler: 1881;  spifflicated: 1848;  spine bashing: 1941;  spitting chips: 1899;  spit the dummy: 1979;  split: c. 1833;  spruik: 1905;  squatter: 1825;  squiz: 1905;  standover: 1936;  station: c. 1860;  St George’s Terrace cocky: 1914;  sticky beak: 1917;  stiffener: 1906;  stir the possum: 1894;  stock horse: 1837;  stock station: 1823;  stockwhip: c. 1858;  stockyard: c. 1838;  stone the crows: 1913;  stonkered: 1918;  stony: 1899;  stony broke: 1883;  storekeeper: 1899;  stork (as a bringer of babies): 1920;  stoush: 1887;  strapped for cash: 1924;  stretcher: 1828;  strides: 1913;  stringybark: 1803;  Struth: 1895;  stubby: 1965;  stunned mullet: 1902;  such is life: 1880;  sucked in: 1863;  sulky: 1810;  sulky: 1900;  sundowner: 1906;  sunnies: 1961;  suss: 1994;  swag: 1851;  swag, humping the: 1851;  swag, humping the: 1852;  swagman: 1861;  swy: 1945;  Sydney Harbour: 1822;  Sydney or the bush: 1849;  Sydney side;  Sydneysider: 1852;  TAFE: 1974;  taipan (snake): 1932;  Tallowfat: 1862;  tall poppy: 1864;  tanks: 1791;  tanks: 1803;  tar pot: 1870;  tart: 1898;  Tassie: 1878;  Taswegian: 1940;  tea: 1834;  telephone: 1880;  Territorian: 1868;  The Ashes: 1882;  the pip: 1872;  the raw prawn: 1942;  The Rocks: 1803;  thick as two short planks: 1975;  thief: c. 1855;  thingummybob: 1945;  thongs: 1959;  thumb buster: 1873;  tickets of leave: 1806;  tickets on self: 1901;  tinny (beer): 1976;  tinny (boat): 1986;  tip the bucket: 1947;  tomahawker: 1873;  tommy: 1850;  too-hard basket: 1950;  too right: 1917;  Top End: 1923;  track: 1817;  tracky daks: 2000;  traps: c. 1831;  Traymobile:1919;  trey (threepence): 1900;  triantelope: c. 1845;  troppo: 1942;  truckie: 1945;  true blue: 1826;  tucker: 1852;  tucker bag: 1871;  tucker box: 1867;  turn dingo: 1940;  turps, on the: 1929;  turps, on the: 1962;  two-bob watch: 1922;  two men and a dog: 1887;  two shakes: 1839;  two up: 1855;  typhoid fever: 1883;  underground mutton: 1903;  under wet cement: 1978;  union: 1896;  union camp: 1887;  up a gumtree: 1845;  up the country: 1788;  up the duff: 1975;  up the pole: 1915;  up the spout: 1832;  urger: 1921;  Vandemonian: 1842;  veg out: 1986;  verandah: 1802;  vote with the feet: 1940;  waddy: 1801;  wag: 1885;  Walers: 1859;  walkabout: 1859;  wallaby: 1798;  wallaby stew: 1859;  wallaroo: 1828;  wanker: 1974;  waratah: 1797;  warrigal: 1841;  washing (for gold): 1849;  wash house: 1901;  water: 1788;  water bag: 1858;  wattle: 1789;  Wattle Day: 1895;  weather-board: 1838;  weirdo: 1968;  wet behind the ears: 1935;  whacko: 1934;  whaler: 1900;  wharfie: 1911;  wharf lumper: 1875;  What do you think this is? Bush week?: 1945;  what the cat dragged in: 1923;  wheelie bin: 1986;  whinger: 1907;  whiskers: 1829;  white-ant: 1919;  white ants: 1804;  wide awake hat: 1846;  widgie: 1950;  widow maker: 1990;  wigwam for a goose’s bridle: 1916;  wilga: 1879;  willy-willy: 1875;  wire: 1899;  within a bull’s roar: 1934;  within cooee: 1858;  wombat: 1799;  women in trousers: 1835;  Woolloomooloo: 1829;  woomera: 1793;  Woop Woop: 1910;  wouldn’t be dead for quids: 1921;  wowser: 1903;  wrinklies: 1969;  wurlie: 1839;  yabby: 1861;  yacker: 1875;  yarraman: 1846;  yobbo: 1975;  yonks: 1981;  your blood is worth bottling: 1903;  zack (sixpence): 1912;  Zambuck: 1926;  zonked: 1943;