Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Aboriginal Words in the English Language L-Z

larapinta – a dunnart, Sminthopsis macrura, of Australian central areas, having a long tail and a prominent facial stripe; Darling Downs dunnart. [?]

lowan = mallee fowl [Wembawemba lauan]

lubraMacquarie says: (derogatory) an Aboriginal woman. [Aborig. (? south-east Tas.) lubara penis]

luderick – a highly prized Australian estuarine and rock fish, Girella tricuspidata, usually black or dark brown above and having dark bars down back and sides; nigger; darkie; black bream. [Ganay ludarag]


"maban reality" Mudrooroo


mado – a small sea fish, Atypichthys mado or A. strigatus, found in southern Australian and northern New Zealand waters. [? NSW language]

makarrata - 1.(in certain Aboriginal tribes) a peacemaking ceremony marking a resumption of normal relations after a period of hostility. 2. a propose agreement between Aborigines and the rest of Australia which would include a formal Treaty of Settlement and a constitutional amendment to safeguard Aboriginal rights. [Yolgnu]

mala - Lagorchestes hirsutus rufous (and other spp?) hare-wallaby

mallee - 1. any of various Australian species of Eucalyptus having a number of almost unbranched stems arising from a large underground lignotuber, such as E dumosa. 2. the mallee, also the Mallee - a. any of various semi-arid areas in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, and especially Victoria, where the predominant species is a mallee. b. any remote, isolated, or unsettled area. [Wembawemba mali]

mamu – devil? 'Career Highlights of the Mamu' Trevor Jamieson, Scott Rankin
manin – Toona ciliata – also…

mardo - the yellow-footed antechinus, Antechinus flavipes. [Nyungar mardu]

marl - the barred bandicoot Perameles [Nyungar maarl, marla]

marla SMH 24.11.05 new names for roo meat = mala? Town in SA – Marla - said to mean kangaroo. (see marlu)

marlu - Aboriginal English a red, plains kangaroo. [from several languages]

marn grook

marri – a tree, Eucalyptus calophylla, - ‘redgum’ - endemic to western Australia which, together with its hybrids with E. ficifolia, flame gum, is widely cultivated for its coloured flowers. [Nyungar marri]

marron = jilgie (?)
merrin – Maq

merrit – Eucalyptus flocktoniae. Also, (perhaps incorrectly) merritt.

mewurk – Murray cod (WAust 10-11/12/05) see bardi grubs – also goodoo, ponde

mia-mia – a temporary bush shelter used by Aborigines; gunyah; humpy, wurley. [Nyungar maya-maya]

mikiri – native well (N. Rothwell W. Aust 5-6/1/08)

mindai = mindi

mindi – (in  Aboriginal legend) a fabulous serpent with supernatural powers. Also mindai. [Wembawemba mirnday]

minga – a small black ant. [?]

minnerichi – a shrub or small tree occurring in two restricted regions in South Australia, Acacia cyperophylla, which has thin, peeling curls of reddish bark and hard wood; red mulga. [? SA language]

minyaAboriginal English meat. (no etymology in Maq)

mirrigan – (not in Macquarie)

mirrnyong – a mound of shells, ashes, etc., accumulated in a place used for cooking by the Aborigines; kitchen midden. [? Vic. language] Also see murrnong.

mongan – a brown and white ringtail possum, Pseudocheirus archeri, with a rather short snout and prominent eyes, found in Queensland rainforests; Herbert River ringtail possum. [?]

moonah – a shrub or small tree, Melaleuca lanceolata (formerly pubescens) widespread in the southern half of Australia.

morwong – any of a number of species of marine food fiches of the family Cheilodactylidae, especially Nemadactylus douglasii, of southern Australia and New Zealand waters; black perch. [? NSW language]

mudgerabah = blackwood (no etym Maq)

mugga – a striking tree with dark, fissured bark, the pink-flowering ironbark, Eucalyptus sideroxylon, native to eastern Australia. [Wiradjuri maga]

mugurpyl – T. ciliata – also…

mulba – (in the Pilbara region of WA) an Aboriginal person. [Panyjima: marlba]

mulga = shield – ‘Aust. Wildflowers in Colour’ text Barbara Mullins – Reed 1969
mulla-mulla, mullamulla – Ptilotus macrocephalus
mullentypery – long-necked tortoise (but not back-referenced in Maq)
mumarki (from marn grook)
mumin – T ciliata
munning (?)

murrnong = yam daisy … Also murrnong, myrrnong, myrrnong. [Wathawarung and Wuywurrung mirnang]

muttai (?)

muttlegarEucalyptus macrocarpa, of Western Australia, with fruits up to 10cm long.


naga – a loin cloth, as worn by Australian Aborigines. [Wuna (NT language) naga dress, covering]

namma (hole)  - WA .. also gnamma hole

nannygai – a handsome fish of fine flavour, Centroberyx affinis, found around the southern half of the Australian coast; redfish. [? NSW language]

nanto – a horse [Kaurna nantu kangaroo, (by transference) horse]

napunyahEucalyptus thozetiana (not in Maq)

narangy – a person on a station whose status is between that of the boss and that of the stationhands. [Dharug narang small, little, few]

nardoo – 1. any of the Australian species of the mud-loving or aquatic genus of ferns, Marsilea. 2. the sporocarps of such a plant ground into a flour and eaten by Australian Aborigines. [Diyari ngardu or Kamilaroi nhaaduu]

narlu – an evil spirit [Macquarie: Aborig.]

narm-boon-bongEucalyptus terminalis (not in Maq)

narrawa burr

nealie ? – Acacia loderi, also Acacia oswaldii (also nelia) Maq “Origin uncertain”

ningaui – a small dasyurid resembling the planigale, as the inland ningaui, Ningaui ridei, and the Pilbara ningaui, Ningaui timealeyi. [? Aborig.; from the name of a mythological being]

nipan ? – Capparis lasiantha – native orange. Actually a native caper. Fruit is eaten and nectar from flowers used by some Aborigines to treat colds.

nondaParinari nonda

noolbenger, noolbender - honey possum Tarsipes rostrata [Nyoongah]



palai – T. ciliat – also…

parakeelia – any of several species of succulent herbs of the genus Calandrinia of inland Australia, with large rose-purple flowers. Also parakeelya [? Guyani]

parma (wallaby Maq)

penda ? - Xanthostemon spp. (incl. Luya’s hardwood)

perentie = perentyVaranus giganteus

piccabeenChiefly Queensland = bangalow [Yagara bigi palm + been, respelling of BEAN]

pinkieSA = bilby Also pinky. [Kaurna bingu]
pirri (point)
pituri – Duboisia hopwoodii – pitcheri, pitchiri
ponde – Murray cod (WAust 10-11/12/05) also goodoo, mewurk

potoroo – any of several species of small macropods of the genus Potorous, having pointed heads and living in dense grass and low, thick scrub in various parts of Australia. [? Dharug badaru]

punkari - white-eyed duck Aythya australis {Yaralde]

punty – any of various shrubs of the genus Cassia, especially Cassia nemophila of all mainland states of Australia; kangaroo bush. [Western Desert language bundi]

purnu - Coolamon, and applied to vehicles because they carry people. (train, Clyde)

qualup bell

quarrion - = cockatiel. Also quarien, kwarrion. [Wiradjuri guwarraying]

quenda – Solanum esuriale – but maq bandicoot

quokka a small wallaby, Setonix brachyurus, found on Rottnest and Bald islands, off Western Australia and in small colonies on the mainland [Nyungar kwaka]

quoll – 1. any of several cat-sized predatory marsupials of the genus Dasyrus, having slender, white-spotted bodies and very pointed snouts; native cat. 2. Also eastern quoll – a carnivorous marsupial, Dasyurus viverrinus, from eastern Australia, having a spotted body but without spots on the tail. [Guugu Yimidhirr dhigul]

Quowcken - name given by West Australian Aborigines to the extensive coastal sand plains along the Great Australian Bight.

robby – a handsome tree of the Tweed and Richmond rivers are of northern NSW, Eugenia moorei, with showy red flowers and rounded, cream-coloured fruit. (Macquarie has no etymology)



saratoda – see barramundi

shiralee – 1. a burden, or bundle. 2 = swag. [Origin unknown says the Macquarie, as does Chambers, which adds "perhaps from an Aboriginal word".]

tammaWA low, thick, shrubby vegetation, especially dominated by species of casuarina. [WA language]

tammar – a small scrub wallaby, Macropus eugenii, of south and south-western Australia and offshore islands. Also dama. [Nyungar damar]

tandan - any of various Australian eel-tailed catfishes, particularly freshwater forms of the genera Tandanus and Neosilurus; dewfish, dhufish. [?]

tarnuk – NIM – water vessel made from gnarl of a gum tree (Kulin people, sthn Victoria)

tarwhine – an eastern Australian bream, Rhabdosargus sarba, distinguished by golden streaks on a generally silver background. [Dharug darawayn]

tcharibeena - Bennett's tree kangaroo, Dendrolagus bennettianus, found in mountainous rainforest of north-east Queensland [? Aborig.]

Tjukurrpa – “the flash of the present moment and the echo, far off, from primary, long-vanished events” (N. Rothwell, W. Aust 5-6/1-08)

tookoonja ? - Morinda citrifolia

toolache – a large wallaby, Macropus greyi, of the border country between South Australia and Victoria; Grey’s  brush wallaby. [Yaralde dulaj]

toolah - Maq no etymology

towri – the territory or hunting ground of an Aboriginal tribe. [Kamilaroi dauray]

towrow (?) fishing net

tuan – any of certain brush-tailed, carnivorous marsupials, rat-sized and largely arboreal, of the dasyurid genus Phascogale; phascogale; wambenger. [Wathawurung duan]

tuart – a large tree, Eucalyptus gomphocephela, endemic in south-western  Australia on calcareous coastal soil. [Nyungar tuwart]

tuckeroo – a fast-growing slender tree, Cupaniopsis anarcardioides, of northern and eastern Australia, with fern-like leaves and showy black seeds set in an orange-red, fleshy case, often cultivated as an ornamental. [? Yagara dagaru]

tungoo – as boodie Also, tungo.

tupong - noun congolli (a marine and freshwater fish...) [Gangubanud dubang]

uroka = eldin = gruie

waddy – 1. an Aboriginal heavy wooden war club. 2. a heavy stick or club of any kind [Dharug wadi tree, stick of wood, wooden weapon]

waddy-wood – a tree, Acacia peuce, with very hard dark wood, found in the dry interior of Australia [Macquarie no etymology]

wallaby – 1. any of various members of the family Macropodidae, many resembling kangaroos, belonging to a number of different genera, as Macropus (as the tammar and parma), Thylogale (as the smaller pademelons), Setonix (as the quokka, Onychogalea (as the nail-tailed wallabies), Lagorchestes and Lagostrophus (as the hare-wallabies), Petrogale (as the rock wallabies). 2. Obsolete colloquial a swagman. 3. on the wallaby (track) Colloquial on the move, most frequently with reference to a swagman, seasonal worker, et. [Dharug walaba]


wallowa – a wattle ‘Aust. Wildflowers in Colour’ text Barbara Mullins – Reed 1969

wallum – 1. a small shrubby tree, Banksia aemula, of coastal eastern Australia, mainly Queensland and New South Wales. 2. the sandy heath-land country in which this species grows. [Gabi waalum]

wambenger = tuan
wamulu – yellow-flowering and for art SMH 4.3.05 p13

wanderrie – any of various plant species of the genus Eriachne, which are native to inland Australia and range from slender annuals to tussocky perennials, with purple of straw-coloured spikelets. [Macquarie no etymology]


wandoo – a white-barked tree endemic to Western Australia, Eucalyptus wandoo. [Nyungar wandu]

wanya – T. ciliata

waybungCorcorax melanorhamphos - white-winged chough [? Aborig.]

wee juggler

wilan-wilan – crescent-shaped cloud – Sandy Desert – ABC-TV Kurtal: Snake Spirit

wilga – a small shapely tree, Geijera parviflora, of inland eastern Australia, valuable as fodder in drought. [Wiradjuri wilgar]

wilgie – a red ochre used by the Aborigines to paint their bodies for ceremonial occasions. Also wilga, wilghi, wilgi, wilgy. [Nyungar wilgi]


willy-willy – a spiralling wind, often collecting dust, refuse, etc.; dust devil [? Yindjibarndi wili wili, or from Wembawemba wilang-wilang]

wirilda – Acacia retinoides - Yaralde

wollum wollum – Hymenosporum flavium
wonga (-wonga)
wongai (NIM) Torres Strait native plum
woolia – T. ciliata
woota – “ “
wootam – “ “

woylie – a small bettong, Bettongia pencillata, of central and southern Australia, having a long prehensile tail covered with black hairs on the upper surface towards the tip; brush-tailed bettong. Also woilie. [Nyungar walyu]


yadthor - Acacia bidwillii
yarrabah satinash ?? -  Syzigium angophoroides

yarran – 1. a small tree, Acacia homalophylla, found in inland eastern Australia, useful as fodder, and for firewood and fenceposts. 2. Also, bastard myall. A wattle, A. glaucescens, which is chiefly coastal and has silvery foliage and fluffy spikes of flowers. [Kamilaroi yarran a river gum tree]

yarri – 1. Dasyurus maculatus gracilis, the spotted tail quoll (North Queensland subspecies) [Commonwealth Dept of Environment and Heritage website] 2. Eucalyptus patens, the Swan River blackbutt [not in Maq. Presumably Nyungar]


yoolahng – an Aboriginal initiation ceremony for young males who are reaching manhood. [Dharug yulang place where initiation ceremonies take place]

yorrell – a species of mallee, Eucalyptus gracilis, found in dry areas of southern inland Australia. (? Macquarie no etymology)

yowie – an ape-like human, about two metres tall, believed to roam in certain parts of Australia, especially southern NSW. [Yuwaalarraay yuwi dream spirit] 

yudi ?

Baagandji = Pakkantji
Banggala = Parnkalla south of Lake Torrens to the Gawler Ranges, SA
Bundjalung – Northern Rivers NSW and SE Qld
Gabi – Mary River district, Redcliffe to Fraser Island, Queensland
Gangalu – Dawson River district, Queensland
Gangubanud – from the coast at Portland Bay, Victoria
Goreng Goreng – vicinity of Bundaberg Queensland
Guugu Yimidhirr
Kulin – sthn Victoria
Muranpatha – NT?
Mutthi Mutthi
Nyoongah, Nyungar 
Oyster Bay language
Paakantji = Baagandji (Maq)
Ulurai – people near Lightning Ridge (SMH 20.1.05)
Yagara – from the vicinity of Brisbane
Yuwaalarraay – a dialect of Kamilaroi, from near Lightning Ridge

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Mandurra Gold

The whole district was buzzing with the news that the stagecoach had been bailed up on the road from Mandurra to Barradine Junction and the gold shipment stolen.
William Woleton, manager of the Mandurra branch of the English, Scottish & Australasian Bank, was seated at his breakfast table on the upstairs verandah, looking out at dry lawn and a row of stunted apple trees, the straggling settlement beyond the back fence, a cloudless sky, blazing blue. On the ridge a few hundred yards away, a team of men were knocking down the chimney of one of the town's earliest houses and throwing the bricks onto a tip-dray to be taken to the crushers; several other older chimneys had produced payable gold, the clay for the bricks having come from the 'good' side of the creek.
The bank manager sipped his tea and perused the newspapers. The Barradine Bugle and the Sydney papers all agreed that three, possibly four, men had blocked the road with branches. One masked man on horseback levelled a firearm at the coachman and his offsider. The passengers had been told to disembark and cross the road to a ditch, keeping their backs turned. The horseman's accomplices had ransacked the assigned goods; there was an 'undisclosed weight' in gold, some cash, promissory notes and general mail. One of the passengers - 'a little girl' - had noticed that the horseman had very shiny boots.
William Woleton knew precisely how much gold had been stolen, how much flake, what nature and weight in nuggets. The bank manager sipped his tea.

Sergeant Flynn prepared his men to make arrests over the gold robbery. "You worthless dogs will accompany me to Wombat Flat with guns loaded. Not for a moment will ye trust these beggars not to stretch the friendship. When we reach the creek, Edwards, you make for the back of the hut. Smith, you'll stick by me."
And so they rode out of town to Wombat Flat, two miles, and the Quinns' little slab hut at the end of the road. Ben was chopping wood, shirtless, when the police rode up. The sergeant called out, almost unnecessarily loudly, "Ben Quinn, I am arresting you for robbery under arms. Where is your brother Daniel?"
Ben carefully leaned the axe against his chopping stump. "He'll be out the back seeing to the hens. And Ma will be by the fire, making oatcakes."
Ben and Dan had not put up a fight, contrary to Sergeant Flynn's warning to his constables. The sergeant locked them in a cell at the rear of the police station and then duly visited the post office to telegraph the district superintendent. Almost as soon as the Quinn brothers were locked up, however, some men of the town came along to the police station, all to say the same thing: Ben had been with them in the Middle Pub when the robbery took place. And the local Catholic priest, Father Berrigan, told the sergeant that Dan had been in his company - "Just quietly, in the very confessional" - at exactly the fateful hour.
"And why would you have been after arresting the Quinns anyway?" asked the priest.
"The authorities had been provided certain information by a member of the public," replied Sergeant Flynn.
Father Berrigan gestured towards the cells - not the first time he had performed this act. "If I could trouble you, Sergeant?" Sergeant Flynn was not happy, but each of the boys had his alibi. He would have to telegraph the district superintendent again.
That evening, around the fire in the Quinns' dirt-floored dwelling, Ben, Dan, their aged mother and the priest tucked into wallaby stew and damper. Father Berrigan finished picking and sucking the last bits of goodness from between his teeth, then spoke, first addressing the mother. "A lovely meal, Mrs Quinn. Nothing better. And I am very glad to see your boys home."
"Praise the Holy Family," replied Mrs Quinn, rolling her eyes heavenward.
"Boys," said the priest, glancing to his right and to his left, "do you ever catch possums, for the pot or for their skins?" And for the next hour Father Berrigan extracted every bit of information Ben, Dan and their old mother had regarding possums. The priest, who was neither young nor old, had largely abandoned his interest in alleged occurrences in the Holy Land as recorded in sacred scripture and had turned his attention to the amazing revelations of Mr Charles Darwin. The strange beasts of this new old country had helped to open his eyes, and phalangers had become Michael Berrigan's passion. Any time not devoted to tending his flock - which he never resented or regretted - was spent investigating brushtails, ringtails and sugar gliders.

It was midnight and there was light rain falling over Mandurra when Sergeant Flynn heard a tapping at the window of the kitchen behind the police station. He was slightly startled but had the comfort of a loaded firearm within reach. And he still had his boots on, ready for action, though his shirt was undone and his braces hung loose at his sides. Of course it was Woleton, and Flynn regretted once again that he had ever joined forces with him. He was erratic, and the sergeant could tell at a glance through the dusty windowpane that the bank manager had been drinking. Erratic and dangerous, thought Flynn.
Once admitted to the kitchen, Woleton strutted up and down before the fire, his big round head turning left and right even quicker than his strutting pace. Flynn fetched a whisky and urged him to take a seat.
Woleton started his muttering. "Another shipment and by God we'll be close. Close, very close. But three will be the magic number." He was excited, and only minutes before Flynn had been sitting beside his fire, thinking the worst, expecting imminent arrest, cursing the drinks, the mutual admissions he had shared with the hot-and-cold bank manager.
"We must let the next go through unmolested," suggested the sergeant. "If the Barradine mob bring to bear then we're out."
"We take the next at the top of Busby's Pass," said Woleton. "Can you bring another man? That Smith seems - well - dim, let's say. And is he trustworthy?"
"If he was trustworthy he wouldn't be part of this already. He's a sworn offiicer of the crown. And we robbed the mail coach. Where's the trust in that?"
"I mean can we trust him?"
"I think, Mr Woleton, in the circumstances, we have no choice but to all trust each other."

The 'little girl' of the newspaper stories had returned to Mandurra from Barradine Junction.  She was Alice Pegler, seven years old, and was telling Jones the storekeeper about her adventures. "And I've seen those boots before."
"Really?" asked Jones. "You pay great attention to footwear, do you? What am I wearing on my feet?" His lower half was hidden from Alice's view behind his counter.
"What you always have on when I see you in here. Not your Sunday shoes. They're brown, a bit old, though the laces are new, and... Mr Jones, I can tell by your heels that you walk on the outsides of your feet."
"I what?" He lifted one leg and looked down with genuine curiosity. "You know, perhaps I do."

Half an hour later, Jones repeated young Alice's remarks to Constable Edwards, and they both had a good laugh.
"But where had she seen the bushranger's boots before?" Edwards inquired.
Jones looked perplexed. "Do you know, I forgot to ask."


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Aboriginal Words in the English Language A-K


I am a compiler of lists, and here is one that I have had going, off and on, for some time. It is a work in progress but I am publishing this version now with the intention of improving it gradually.
I was compelled to collect this stuff for a couple of reasons. One was the Chambers Dictionary giving ALL Australian etymologies as [Aboriginal], rather than listing separate languages, while having different etymologies for native North American words - Algonquian, Chinook, etc. The other spur was someone's remark that when a country is invaded, as this one was, all the linguistic traffic is one-way. Although to a great extent this is true - many languages gradually disappearing, even when the people themselves have not been killed - it is also the case, at least in Australia, that many of the fauna and flora were completely new to the invaders and that it therefore made sense to use existing names. But you will quickly see that not all these words relate to plants and animals; there are man-made artefacts and religious concepts too.
My main source has been the Macquarie Dictionary, 3rd Edition, but there are many other publications that have provided material of one kind and another. Most of the etymologies in square brackets are from the Macquarie and I suppose I will attempt to indicate otherwise where appropriate, though I may have lost the previously known references.

This is Part One of the list, the initial letters A to K.

Notes: SMH refers to the Sydney Morning Herald. NIM means "not in the Macquarie".
alcheringa -  Dreamtime – (in Aboriginal mythology) the time in which the earth received its present form and in which the patterns and cycles of life and nature were initiated [Aranda: lit., in the dreamtime, from altyerre dream + -nge ablative suffix meaning ‘from’]

aldoo (?)

ampweyAcacia acradenia – (from Qld EPA site)

amulla (?) - a shrub, Myoporum debile, with an ovoid, pinkish-red fruit, growing on grassland in warmer parts of Australia. (? No etymology Macquarie)

balanda [from Malay?]

baldoo – an annual herb, Atriplex lindleyi, family Chenopodiaceae, of drier parts of Australia, where it and other saltbushes provide much of the food for grazing animals. (No etymology in Macquarie)

ballart – any species of  the Australian parasitic schrubs or trees of the genus Exocarpus, characterised by an enlarges succulent pedicel, and fruit which is edible in some species. Also, ballee, ballot. [Wembawemba balaad]

balloo - the Macquarie says this is another name for a garfish, but there is no etymology, as often happens when it refers the reader to another head word. Also ballahoo.

bangalay – a tree, Eucalyptus botryoides, family Myrtaceae, of NSW and eastern Victoria, groweing near the coast, and yielding durable red timber; bastard mahogany. [Dharawal]

bangalow – a slender palm tree, Archontophoenix cunninghamiana, of NSW and Queensland, sometimes growing in clumps in areas near the coast; piccabeen (cf). Also, bangalow palm. [Dharawal]

banyalla -  a small tree, Pittosporum bicolour, of NSW, Tasmania and Victoria, growing in wet forest gullies, and yielding a hard, durable wood; cheesewood, tallowwood. (No etymology in the Macquarie)

bardi grubs – bait for Murray cod – Weekend Aust. Magazine 10-11/12/05 p39 But perhaps Bardistus??????

barramundi – 1. a large, silvery-grey food fish of excellent quality, Lates calcarifer, found in coastal rivers and estuaries of tropical northern Australia and the Indo-Pacific; giant perch. 2 Also saratoda, sarotoga. A primitive freashwater fish of genus Scleropages of northern Australia. [Central Queensland language] (But what of saratoda? Etymology?)

bauple = bopple = macadamia nut

belah – a tree, Casuarina cristata, of dry temperate eastern Australia, forming an important part of the vegetation in some inland areas. [Wiradjuri bilar]

bendee – a tree of Queensland and the Northern Territory, Acacia catenulata, which grows in stony, shallow soil and which has a deeply fluted trunk. [? Qld language]

bendo Eucalyptus exserta – Qld EPA site

berley - 1. any bait, as chopped fish or broken bread or chopped green weed mixed with sand, thrown into the water by fishermen to attract fish. 2. colloquial vomit, resulting from seasickness. 3. Colloquial leg-pilling; good humoured deceit. 4. verb to throw berley (on the water) to attract fish. 5. To use berley to attarct fish. Also burley, birley. [Origin uncert] - Macquarie. Chambers says: Berley or burley (Austr) n bait, groundbait; leg-pulling, humbug. (colloq.) [Origin unknown] So much for the dictionaries. I would guess that if this is regarded as an Australian word then it must have entered the local vernacular early during Sydney's settlement, if perhaps unrecorded and simply on the lips of those fishing the harbour. I wonder what the earliest known references are. This remains ??

berrin-berrin - Merops ornatus

bettong – a short-nosed rat-kangaroo of genus Bettongia. [Dharug badang]

biggada – Macquarie says = wallaroo, but no etymology

bilby – either of the rabbit-eared bandicoots of the genus Macrotis, of the regions west of the Great Dividing Range: 1. the greater bilby, Macrotis lagotis; dalgyte. 2. the lesser bilby, Macrotis leucura, now thought to be extinct; yallara; pinkie. [Yuwaalarraay bilbi]

billabong - 1. a waterhole in an anabranch, replenished only in flood time. 2. a waterhole in a river or creek that dries up outside the rainy season. 3. an abandoned stream channel. [Wiradjuri Li. a watercourse which runs only after rain, from bila river + -bang] But see bung

biltjie ??

bindi-eye – 1. one of any number of plants of the genus Calotis which have small burrs with fine barbed awns; jo-jo. 2. NE a plant, especially Emex australis or Soliva pterosperma, having many hard, sharp, spiny seeds at ground level. Cf bullhead, California puncture weed, caltrop, cat’s eye, double-gee, three-corner jack. Also bindi, bindy-eye. [Kamilaroi and Yuwaalarraay bindayaa]

binoomea – dark places, Jenolan Caves

bogghi – 1. the handpiece of clippers used in shearing sheep 2. the shears themselves 3 = stump-tailed lizard. Also boggi, bog-eye, bogi. [origin unknown; ? Wiradjuri: lizard]

bogong moth – an Australian noctuid moth, Agrostis infusa. Also bogong, bugong moth, bugong. [Ngarigo bugong]

bolly gum - Litsea reticulata ??

bolwarra – a shrub or small tree, Eupomatia laurina,  found in forests of eastern Australia. (No etymology in the Macquarie)

bombora – 1. a submerged reef of rocks. 2. a dangerous current over a reef. [? Dharug; said to be the name of a current off Dobroyd Head, Port Jackson]

bondi – a heavy Aboriginal club. [? Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi bundi]

boobialla – any of several species of Myoporum, especially M. insulare which is often grown as a hedge. [Oyster Bay language bubiala]

boobook – a small owl or mopoke, Ninox novaeseelandiae, brownish, with white-spotted back and wings and large dark patches behind the eyes; widely distributed in Australia, New Zealand and adjacent islands. [Dharug (imitative)]

boodie – a burrowing rat-kangaroo, Bettongia lesueur, formerly widespread on the Australian mainland but now confined to four islands off the western coast of Australia; Lesueur’s rat-kangaroo; tungoo. Also, boodie rat. [Nyungar burdi]

boomerang – 1. a bent or curved piece of hard wood used as a missile by the Aborigines, one form of which can be thrown so as to return to the thrower. 2. a scheme, plan, argument, etc, which recoils upon the user. 3. Colloquial that which is expected to be returned by a borrower. 4. Colloquial a dishonoured cheque. 5. to return to, or recoil upon, the originator. 6. returning, rebounding. [Dharug buminary]

boonaree = boonery

booneryAlectryon oleifolius. Macquarie: a small, native fodder tree, Heterodendrum oleifolium, of inland Australia. Also boonaree. [? Kamilaroi bunari]

boongary = Lumholtz’s tree kangaroo. A stocky, greyish marsupial, Dendrolagus lumholtzi, found in mountainous forest areas of north-eastern Queensland, having long, powerful forelegs, a long, cylindrical, non-prehensile tail, and a distinctive white band above the eyes. [Warrgamay bulnngari]

boonjee fig ?? – Ficus destruens

booral = geebung (Persoonia falcata)

boori – also boorie. An Aborigine. [Wiradjuri and neighbouring languages buray boy, child]

booyong – (white booyong, brown tulip oak) a large tree, up to 45m, of subtropical rainforest, Argyrodendron trifolatum, of the Sterculiaceae. Range from Port Macquarie, NSW, to PNG and Kalimantan. Brisbane Rainforest Action and Information Network site says the name is from northern NSW.

bora – 1. a special Aboriginal initiation rite. 2. Also bora ring a scared piece of ground where certain initiation ceremonies are performed by the Aborigines. [Kamilaroi buura; lit. a place of initiation, from buur initiation rite, initiation bell + -a (locative case)]

borakColloquial ridicule: ‘Don’t go poking borax at the dead,’ remonstrated Mumma. – Ruth Park 1949. Also borac, borack, borax. [Wuthawurung burag no, not]

boreeAcacia tephrina. Macquarie: any of several wattle as the weeping myall, the bastard myall and the Acacia cana of central and northern Queensland. [Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi buri]

brigalowAcacia harpophylla, extending over northern NSW and Queensland. The brigalow, country where brigalow is the main vegetation. [? Kamilaroi burigal, from BOREE + plural suffix –gal]

brolga – a large, silvery-grey crane, Grus rubicunda, of northern and eastern Australia which performs an elaborate dance as part of a courtship display; native companion. [Kamilaroi buralga]

budda – a small tree, Eremophila mitchellii, of drier inland areas of NSW and Queensland. Also, buddah, desert sandalwood, false sandalwood. [Yuwaalarraay badha]

budgereeObsolete Colloquial good; fine. [Dharug bujari good, right]

budgerigar – a small yellow and green parakeet, Melopsittacus undulates, of inland regions of Australia, that  has been widely domesticated and bred in many coloured varieties. Also budgerygah. [? Mispronunciation of Kamilaroi gijirrigaa]

budgerooLysicarpus angustifolia (not in Maq)

bugeen – an evil spirit, devil.  Also buggeen. [? Wiradjuri bagiiny, ? or British dialect bugan evil spirit]

bugong = bogong

bullich Eucalyptus megacarpa. Also bastard karri [Not in Maq – Nyungar?]

buln-buln – 1. ring-neck parrot (also mallee ringneck parrot) - a medium-sized parrot, Barnardius barnardii, predominantly green with dark blue back, red forehead and a narrow yellow band at the neck, found in open inland areas of south-eastern Australia. 2. lyrebird – either of two ground-dwelling birds of south-east Australia , the superb lyrebird, Menura novaehollandiae, and the Albert lyrebird, M. alberti, noted for their fine loud voices, powers of mimicry and the spectacular displays of the males during which they spread their long tails, thought to resemble a lyre. Also, bullen-bullen, bullan-bullan [Wuywurrung bulin bulin probably imitative]

bulwaddy -  a tree of northern Australia, Macropteranthes kekwickii, which forms impenetrable thickets.  Also bullwaddy, bullwaddie, bullwaddee. [? NT language; or bull (as in BULL OAK) + WADDY]

bundy – any of several species of Eucalyptus, especially E. goniocalyx, a rough-barked tree of south-eastern Australia. [Dharug bunda]

bungColloquial 1 Obsolete dead 2 not in good working order; impaired; injured 3 (of an eye) infected, especially when the lids are swollen shut or stuck shut with mucus, as with sandy blight or bung-eye – phrase 4 go bung a to break down; cease to function b to fail in business; to become bankrupt [Yagara bang dead]

bungarraWA – 1. Gould’s goanna a large, varanid lizard, Varanus gouldii, of brownish colour and of slighter build than the common goanna or lace monitor. Also sand goanna, ground goanna. 2. any large goanna [Macquarie, no etymology, but note WA]

bungum worm – SA colloquial – slimy (def. 5) [Macquarie, no etymology]

bungwall – a fern, Blechnum indicum, found especially in swampy lands along the coast of NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory, the rhizome of which is an important Aboriginal foodstuff. [Yagara bangwal]

bunjiAboriginal English a friend; mate [origin unknown]

bunya – a tall, dome-shaped coniferous tree of Australia, Araucaria bidwillii, bearing edible seeds. Also bunya-bunya, bunya-bunya pine. [Yagara bunya-bunya, bunya]

bunyip – 1. an imaginary creature of Aboriginal legend, said to haunt rushy swamps and billabongs. 2. Obsolete an imposter. [Wembawemba (Wergaia dialect) banib]

burgan ? – Kunzea ericoides formerly known as Leptospermum phylicoides

burramys – the mountain pygmy possum, Burramys parvus, known only in fossil form until mid 1960s, very rare and restricted in habitat to Mount Hotham, Victoria. [? Aborig. burra-(burra) place of many stones (referring to the rugged area where the fossils were first discovered) + Greek mys mouse]

burrawang – any native, palm-like plant of the genus Macrozamia, especially M. spiralis, having nuts which were once a part of  Aboriginal diet; zamia. [Dharug  barawang]

burrida – a claypan, a salt lake – WA (north of Shark Bay? – found on a website or similar)

cadagi – a tropical and subtropical tree, Eucalyptus torelliana, with large roundish leaves and smooth green trunk. Also cadaga. (? Aboriginal Macquarie)

callop - golden perch, Murray perch, yellowbelly, Macquaria ambigua. [Aborig. (? SA language)]

cananga ?? – Cananga odorata

carbeen - Eucalyptus papuana, more frequently (and according to the Macquarie) E. tesselaris (the Moreton Bay ash), though now renamed Corymbia tessellaris. [Kamilaroi and Yuwaalarraay gaabiin]

carradhy – “a ‘clever man’, ritual punishment man, hit man sanctioned under tribal lore…” (various definitions) (NIM – SMH 1.11.03) Sydney languages?

chowchilla – either of two birds: 1. northern chowchilla, a ground-dwelling bird, Orthonyx spaldingii, with a resonant call, which inhabits rainforests in north-eastern Queensland. 2. southern chowchilla, a ground-dwelling bird, Orthonyx temminckii, chestnut in colour mottled with black and white, which inhabits temperate or subtropical rainforests in NSW. [Imitative]

chuditchDasyurus geofroii, the western quoll [Nyoongah – Perth Zoo website]

cobbera – Maq – the head (Dharug), though web doc. -1846? – has pastor answering survey saying natives have plenty of opossum, fish and cobbera – a worm (1m long) near Kempsey (delicious raw or cooked, promotes appetite following illness) coberra?

colane – a tree, Owenia acidula, of the western plains of NSW and Queensland which bears edible subacid fruit; gruie. (And eldin and uroka) [Wiradjuri galayin emu apple]

comten - Tasmanian devil (letter The Australian 24.1.05)

congolli - noun a small marine and freshwater fish, Pseudaphritis urvilli, entering southern and eastern Australian rivers; tupong; marble fish; freshwater flathead; sand trout. [origin uncertain]

cooba – any of several  species of the genus Acacia, native to Australia, especially A. salicina, a pendulous and mainly riparian species, native willow, willow wattle. Also coobah, couba. [Wiradjuri gubaa]

coobooWA -  a baby, especially an Aboriginal baby. [? Yindjibarndi kubu small]

cooee - 1. A prolonged clear call, the second syllable of which rises rapidly in pitch, used most frequently in the bush as a signal to attract attention. 2. To utter the call 'cooee'. {Dharug guwi come here]

coondoo - Mimusops elengi. Also, Tanjong tree. [Not in Macquarie]

collabah = coolibah

coolamon – a basin-shaped wooden dish made and used by the Aborigines. [Kamilaroi gulaman]

coolibah – a species of eucalypt, Eucalyptus microtheca, common in the Australian inland and usually associated with areas subject to occasional inundation. Also coolabah. [Yuwaaliyaay (northern NSW language) gulabaa]

coolie – 1. the male partner of an Aboriginal woman. 2. (plural) the Aborigines.  [Wembawemba guli man]

coori = Koori

corella  - either of two large Australian parrots, the little corella, Cacatua sanguinea, and the long-billed corella, C. tenuirostris, having predominantly white plumage tinged with pink or red and, in the latter, more definite orange-red markings. [Wiradjuri garala]

cowalQld – a small swampy depression typically found in red-soil country. [Kamilaroi guwal gully]

cudgerie – any of several trees, as Flindersia schottiana, a large tree of the Australian rainforests with a big woody fruit capsule, or the blush cudgerie, Euroschinus falcatus, so called because of the pink colour of its wood. [Bandjalang gajari]

cumbungi – any tall, marsh plants of the genus Typha; bulrush; flag. [Wembawemba gamgang]

cunjevoi – 1. a hastate-leaved perennial herb of the Arum family, Alocasia macrorrhizos, native to Asia and the Pacific Islands as well as Australia, where it is common in rainforest and along coastal river-banks; its poisonous rhizomes were rendered harmless by cooking and eaten by the Aborigines. 2. Also cunje. A common, Australian, littoral tunicate, Pyura stolonifera, popular as a fish bait; sea squirt. [? Bandjalang]

currajong = kurrajong

currawong – 1. any of several large black and white or greyish birds of the genus Strepera, with solid bodies large pointed bills, yellow eyes and loud, ringing calls, found in many parts of Australia. 2. a small tree, Acacia doratoxylon, found on dry ridges in inland eastern Australia. 3. any of certain similar species of the genus Acacia. [? Yagara garrawang]

dalgyte = bilby (def. 1). Also dalgite. [Nyungar dalgayt]

dama = tammar

dargawarra – one of the indigenous Australian placental hopping mice, Notomys alexis; spinifex hopping mouse. [Macquarie – Aborig.]

dawurrga  – Mammea touriga, the brown touriga – appears on a list of Ngadjonji words, from the Ngadjon of north-east Queensland. (The ground seed used to trap scrub turkeys.)

dibbler – a dasyurid marsupial, Parantechnicus apicalis, of the Albany region of Western Australia; thought to be extinct but rediscovered in 1967. [Nyungar dibala]

dillybag – 1. any small bag for carrying food or personal belongings. 2. a bag made of twisted grass or fibre, used by Aborigines. Also dilly. [Yagara dili coarse grass or reeds, a bag woven of this]

Djangadi - a language from the Macleay River NSW

djella - NIM - Australian lungfish

djelwuck – a tall shrub or tree, Hedycarya augustifolia, found in or near rainforest in eastern Australia, native mulberry. [Macquarie no etymology]

doubah – a slender, twining plant, Leichhardtia leptophylla, widely distributed throughout Australia. [Macquarie no etymology]

dugite – a medium-sized, venomous snake, Pseudonaja affinis, of central and western areas of Australia, related to the common brown snake. [Nyungar dukayj]

eldin - [not in Macquarie] = gruie = uroka - Owenia acidula

eumung – any of several species of the genus Acacia, as A. Stenophylla of inland eastern Australia. Also, eumong. [? Aborig. says Macquarie]

euraba - ?? = eurabbie??

eurabbie – a tree found in Victoria and NSW, Eucalyptus globulus subsp. bicostata, with striking waxy bluish juvenile foliage and white flowers; blue gum. [Macquarie no etymology]

galah – 1. a common small cockatoo, Cacatua roseicapilla, pale grey above and deep pink below, found in open areas in most parts of Australia. 2. Colloquial a fool; simpleton. [Yuwaalarraay gilaa]

gang-gang - a greyish cockatoo, Callocephalon fimbriatum, of south-eastern Australia, the male of which has a red head and crest. [Wiradjuri gang gang (imitative)]

gardiya – whitefella (not in Macquarie)

geebung – 1. any shrub or tree of the genus Persoonia. 2. the small succulent fruit of this tree. 3. (sometimes cap.) Obsolete a rough and uncultivated Australian. [Dharug jibung] (jibbongs?)

ghilgai = gilgai

ghittoe – either of two species of trees, kerosene wood (Halfordia scleroxyla) of northern Queensland, or greenheart (Halfordia kendack) of Queensland and NSW, both of which provide strong, resilient timber which is known as saffronheart. [Dyirbal and Warrgamay jidu]

giddee giddee – Abrus precatorius

gidgee – 1. a small gregarious Australian tree, Acacia cambagei, which gives off an unpleasant odour at the approach of rain; stinking wattle. 2. any of certain other species of wattle as the poisonous georgina gidgee, Acacia georginae. 3. a long spear made from gidgee wood. Also gidya, gidyea. [Nyungar giji]

gilgai – a natural soil formation occurring extensively in inland Australia, characterised by a markedly undulating surface sometimes with mounds and depressions; probably caused by swelling and cracking of clays during alternating wet and dry seasons; crab-hole country. Also ghilgai. [Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi gilgaay waterhole]

gilgie = jilgie Also gulgie.

goodoo – Murray cod, Maccullochella peeli. (WAust 10-11/12/05 and a website Goodoo Dreaming) see bardi grubs – also mewurk, ponde

goomAboriginal English methylated spirits, especially used as a drink. [? Yagara gung freshwater, alcohol]

goonaAboriginal English faeces. Also guna, kuna. [from several languages]

goondy – an Aboriginal hut or gunyah. Also goondie. [Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi gunday stringybark, a hut made from this]

goongadjiAboriginal English = gunjie

gruie = colane = eldin?= uroka? Owenia acidula

gub, gubbah

guenda ?

gulgie = jilgie

guna = goona

gundabluey – a species of wattle, Acacia victoriae, of inland Australia. [Macquarie no etymology]

gundy = gunyah. Also goondie. [Yuwaalarraay and Kamilaroi gundhi house]

gunjieAboriginal English a police officer. Also goongadji. [shortened form of gunjabal, from a 19th century Aboriginal pronunciation of CONSTABLE]

gunyah – 1. an Aborigine’s hut made of boughs and bark; humpy; mia-mia; wurley. 2. a small rough hut or shelter in the bush. Also gunya. [Dharug ganya house, hut]

gunyang = kangaroo apple – either of two shrubs, Solanum aviculare and S. laciniatum, which have berries which are edible when completely ripe, but contain the toxic alkaloid solanine when immature. [Ganay gunyang]

gwardar - a venomous snake, Pseudonaja nuchalis, of western and central Australia, related to the common brown snake. [Macquarie no etymology]


heliman – bark spear shield. ‘Origin of the heliman or shield of the New South Wales coast Aborigines’ T. Dick 1915 - proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales. [no etymology found]

humpy – 1. a temporary bush shelter used by Aborigines. 2. any rude or temporary dwelling; a bush hut. [Yagara ngumbi]

jarrah – a large tree of Western Australia, Eucalyptus marginata, with durable dark red timber. [Nyungar jarily]

jerranObsolete afraid [Dharug jiran]

jerry-jerry – a small shrub, Ammannia multiflora, family Lythraceae, widespread in Australia. [Macquarie no etymology]

jibbongObsolete = geebung

jila – waterhole - Sandy Desert – ABC-TV Kurtal: Snake Spirit

jilgieSW an Australian freshwater crayfish, of the genus Cherax. Cf clawchie, crawchie, craydab, crayfish, lobby, lobster, marron, yabby. Also gilgie, gulgie. [Nyungar jilgi]

jillara ? – Buchanania arborescens


kadaitja - 1. a malignant spirit; feather foot. 2. a. a mission of vengeance. b. the ritual accompanying this. The Macquarie also lists: kadaitja magic - magic carried out by the kadaitja man; pointing the bone.
kadaitja man - in some traditional Aboriginal cultures, a man who sets out to take vengeance, either at the request of his community or on his own initiative, on someone accused of injuring another by magic.
kadaitja shoes - in certain central Australian Aboriginal tribes, shoes made of human hair, string and emu feathers, matted with human blood, worn by a man who has been chosen to avenge the death of someone (every death being supposedly due to the magic influence of some enemy) so that his footsteps may not be traced. Also kurdaicha, kadaicha, kaditcha, goditcha. [Arrernte gwerdayje]

karalla – the common wedge-pea, Gompholobium huegelii, of south-eastern Australia. [Macquarie no etymology]

karkalla – 1. a prostrate succulent plant, Carpobrotus rossii, of southern Australia. 2. pigface; any succulent herb of the family Ficoidaceae, especially species of the genus Carpobrotus, which have large showy daisy-like purple, pink or white flowers and succulent fruit. [Kaurna kargala]

karri – a rapidly growing western Australian tree, Eucalyptus diversicolor, family Myrtaceae, valuable for its hard, durable timber. [? Nyungar karri]

katoora – Sporobolus actinocladus

kerrawang – any shrub of the genus Rulingia, family Sterculiaceae, found in south-eastern Australia. [?]

kookaburra – either one of two Australian kingfishers renowned for their harsh voices and call resembling human laughter. 1 Also laughing kookaburra the large, dark brown and white common kookaburra, Dacelo gigas, native to eastern mainland Australia and introduced into western Australia and Tasmania; giant kingfisher; ha-ha duck; laughing jackass; settler’s clock; great brown kingfisher. 2. a slightly smaller bird with a paler head, the blue-winged kookaburra, D. leachii, of tropical northern Australia and  New Guinea; barking jackass; howling jackass. [Wiradjuri gugubarra (imitative)]

kooloo-loomooEnchylaena tomentose – (Koori – but what ref. was that?)
“Enchylcena tomentosa. R. Br. (CHENOPODIACE/E.) Native name of Cloncurry,  ‘Kooloo-loomoo’. A small, spreading, tender, perennial shrub, growing all over the plain country on the Flinders. About 2 feet high, frequently growing under the shade of other trees. Numerous fine fleshy leaves 1 inch long, pale green. Fruit, a red berry, small and flat, quite sweet, but not numerous; eaten raw. This is one of the salt-bushes.”
(On Plants Used by the Natives of North Queensland – Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of NSW, 1883)

kootchar – a small sweat bee which has no sting, Trigona australis. [Bundjalung guja]

kopi (cap) – see The Captioner No 117

kowari, mulgara, kaluta, ningaui, dunnart, kultarr (all from Qwen & Pemberton 'Tas. Devil' p55

kullingal - Eucalyptus pruinose or is that pruinosa?

kultarr – a small carnivorous marsupial, Antechinomys laniger, which inhabits the central desert of Australia and re3sembles the jerboa, though it does not hop. [? Yitha-yitha]

kurrajong – 1. a tree, Brachychiton populneus, widespread in eastern Australia, where it is valued as fodder. 2. Any number of species, mostly in the families Sterculiaceae and Malvaceae, as Hibiscus heterophyllus, green kurrajong. Also currajong. [Dharug garajung fishing line, applied to the tree from whose bark fishing lines were generally made]

kwila ? – Instia bijuga, Johnstone River teak

kylie – a boomerang having one side flat and the other convex. Also kiley. [Nyungar karli]