Australian Dictionary

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Australia Decoded

Australian Painted Lady

Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi)

Australian golden antIridomyrmex cordatus stewartii, a species of ant belonging to the largest and most commonly encountered group of ants in Australia. They are also one of the most ecologically important groups, as they interact strongly with many other invertebrates as well as many plants. The golden ant associates closely with the caterpillars of certain butterflies. In particular, they farm the larvae of the endangered Apollo jewel butterfly, which then pupates and hatches normally. The caterpillars have special glands that produce secretions very attractive to these ants. Distribution: north-east coast of Queensland.

Australian Government Envirofund—the local-action component of the Australian government's $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust. It helps communities undertake local projects aimed at conserving biodiversity and promoting sustainable resource use. Community groups and individuals can apply for grants of up to $30,000 (GST inclusive) to carry out on-ground and other actions to target local problems. Grants of up to $50,000 (GST inclusive) will be considered where the magnitude, complexity or public benefit of the project is such that additional funding would be beneficial.

Australian Greens—the fifth political force in Australia, represented only in the Senate. The Greens arose out of a number of environmental battles of the 1980s. The party has held the balance of power in Tasmania's state parliament, attracts strong support in Western Australia and has one representative in the Senate. Support has continued a slow growth in other states, with the focus on old-growth logging.

Australian Heritage Commission—maintains a comprehensive listing of places within Australia of natural, historic and indigenous significance. The Australian Heritage database contains information about more than 20,000 natural, historic and Aboriginal sites, including the World Heritage List, the National Heritage List, the Commonwealth Heritage List, the Register of the National Estate, and places under consideration for any of these lists. The Australian Heritage Commission also serves as the Commonwealth Government's adviser on the National Estate.

Australian Heritage Council—the principal adviser to the Australian government on heritage matters. The council assesses nominations for the National Heritage List and the Commonwealth Heritage List, and compiles the Register of the National Estate. The Council was appointed on 19 February, 2004.

Australian honors—recognise and celebrate outstanding achievements and contributions of extraordinary Australians. The individual medals within the various families of medals that make up Australia's system of honours include those of the Order of Australia, Australian bravery decorations, military medals for gallantry and for distinguished and conspicuous service, commemorative medals and medals for meritorious service and long service. Postnominals are the initials that a person is entitled to place after their name to signify that he or she has been awarded a significant honour. For example, a person is a recipient of the Companion in the Order of Australia. The postnominal for that honour is AC. The person's title will therefore be: "Mr John Smith AC". Only some medals in Australian honours have postnominals. These are the membership of the Order of Australia, awards for meritorious service such as the Australian Police Medal and the higher gallantry and bravery decorations.

Australian Imperial Force—(see: AIF).

Australian Industrial Court—(AIC) (1973-1978) took over the functions of the Commonwealth Industrial Court in 1973. Under the Trade Practices Act of 1974, the new court was invested with jurisdiction in a number of areas other than industrial relations. In 1978, the functions of the Australian Industrial Court were subsumed by the Industrial Division of the Federal Court of Australia.

Australian Industrial Registry—(AIR) a statutory authority established under the Workplace Relations Act 1988 to replace the former Office of the Industrial Registrar. The AIR provided administrative support to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC), keeping a register of organisations and published decisions, orders and awards of the AIRC. The registry also had responsibilities relating to the registration of unions and employer associations and their financial accountability.

Australian Industrial Relations Act 1988 (Cth)—(AIR Act) (1988-1996) established the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIR), which replaced the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The AIR Act also repealed and replaced the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The new Act revised the provisions of the old Act, and introduced a number of changes to federal industrial arrangements. While maintaining most of its predecessor's substance, the establishment of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to replace the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission was the centrepiece of a federal legislative reform package. The AIR Act of 1988 was replaced by the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (WROLA).

Australian Industrial Relations Commission—(AIRC) (1988—present) a national tribunal dealing with employment issues, including dispute settlement, unfair dismissal, and the setting of wages and conditions. Established under the 1988 Workplace Relations Act, the AIRC replaced the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and three specialist tribunals covering the maritime industry, public sector employment and airline pilots. Through the commission, the award-wage system was altered in an attempt to relate rates of pay to the productivity of employees. The commission cleared the way for wage-bargaining at the enterprise level, breaking the long-held dominance of the trade unions in negotiating industry-wide working conditions. The AIRC was weakened in 1996 by the Workplace Relations Act, which reduced its primary function to making rulings on certain workplace matters (mainly pay, work hours and closely related issues). Commission rulings on matters outside these areas ceased effect in 1998. Instead of these powers, the AIRC was made responsible for the examination of all Certified Agreements to ensure that they do not unfairly disadvantage employees in relation to their terms and conditions of employment. It also conducts one National Wage Case each year, where it hears submissions from unions, employer groups, governments and others, and then sets an increase for the minimum wage rate under awards. This ‘safety net’ increase eventually flows through to all federal and state awards. Under the Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Act 2005, the role of the AIRC will be further eroded, with many of its present functions to be transferred the newly created Australian Fair Pay Commission.

Australian Inland Mission—(AIM) was founded by the Reverend Fred McKay in 1912. The AIM was a network of nursing hostels and hospitals, each in association with a patrol padre, established to create a ‘mantle of safety' for the inhabitants of the remote regions of Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. A large component of the collection was created by Reverend John Flynn, a Presbyterian minister who was founder and superintendent of the Australian Inland Mission of the Presbyterian Church of Australia. He established the Aerial Medical Service in 1928, which later became the Royal Flying Doctor Service. A number of glass slides relating to Rev. John Flynn's early work in the Gippsland region is also included in the collection.

Australian Institute of Marine Science—(AIMS), a tropical marine research centre located primarily at Cape Ferguson, North Queensland. Established in 1972, by the Commonwealth of Australia, the institute's primary function is research for sustainable use and protection of the marine environment. The Institute investigates topics from broad-scale ecology to microbiology. AIMS is committed to the protection and sustainable use of Australia's marine resources. Its research programs support the management of tropical marine environments around the world, with a primary focus on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, the pristine Ningaloo Marine Park in Western Australia and north-west Australia. AIMS' headquarters is located on a 207ha coastal site 50km from Townsville, Queensland, in a scientific zone surrounded by National Park and Marine Reserve. The location was selected because of its proximity to the geographical centre of the Great Barrier Reef and access to clean seawater. This strategic position provides a fast transition from the sea to the laboratory, a key advantage in marine science. Two smaller offices, in Perth, Western Australia, and Darwin, Northern Territory, provide direct links for research partners and clients in these regions.

Australian king parrotAlisterus scapularis, a strikingly coloured parrot endemic to eastern Australia. It is found in humid and heavily forested upland regions of the eastern portion of the continent, including eucalyptus wooded areas in and directly adjacent to subtropical and temperate rainforest. They feed on fruits, seeds or small insects. The Australian king parrot was first described by the German naturalist Martin Lichtenstein in 1818. The species belongs to the genus Alisterus, whose three members are known as king parrots. The genus is sometimes sunk into the genus Aprosmictus. Two subspecies are recognised, which are differentiated by size: Alisterus scapularis (Lichtenstein, 1816), Alisterus scapularis minor (Mathews, 1911), Alisterus scapularis scapularis (Lichtenstein, 1816). Adults of both sexes are about 43cm in length, including the long, broad tail. The adult male has a red head, breast, and lower undersides, with a blue band on the back of the neck between the red above and green on the back, the wings are green and each has a pale green shoulder band, the tail is green, and the rump is blue. The male has a reddish-orange upper mandible with a black tip, a black lower mandible with an orange base, and yellow irises. The plumage of the female is much different to the male, having a green head and breast, a grey beak, and the pale shoulder band is small or absent. Juveniles of both sexes have brown irises and a yellowish beak, and otherwise resemble the female. A. s. minor is found at the northern limit of the species range and is similar in appearance to the nominate subspecies but smaller, typically about 5cm smaller in length. Australian king parrots range from North and Central Queensland to Southern Victoria. They live in pairs or small flocks, and are frequently seen in small groups with various species of rosella. They generally prefer high, open perches. Nesting is within tree hollows, the entrance being ten to twenty metres above the ground and the actual nest site a good distance down into the hollow, sometimes several metres down. Preferred sites are in dense forest and seldom far from water. Its call is high and piping. Upon taking off and in flight it utters a harsh chrack, repeated at intervals. Commonly known as king lory; also known as eastern king, Queensland king, scarlet parrot or green parrot.

Australian Labor Party—(ALP) the oldest political party in Australia, with a continuous history that predates Federation. The considerable political clout of the ALP arose from the support of the working class, through the trade union movement of 1880-90. After the defeat of the unions in the shearers' and other strikes, union leaders decided that the labour movement needed a voice in the parliaments of the colonies. Unionists then formed Labor parties and ever since then, trade unions have been the chief supporters of the Australian Labor Party. The Labor Party developed as an organisation to represent workers in times when they were badly paid and badly treated by their bosses. Andrew Dawson become the first Labor premier in the world in 1899 when he became Queensland premier. In 1910, the ALP won control of both houses of the federation parliament, and formed the first majority Labor government in the world. Their central tenet was that a capitalist state could be managed to the advantage of workers through a combination of strong trade unions and a powerful Labor party in parliament. This use of political power to achieve their aims severed relations with their early Socialist supporters, who decried any connection with the élitist forces of parliament. Today, its chief supporters are still the unions and its strongest electorates cover towns and suburbs in which less wealthy people live. The Labor Party wants greater equality in the distribution of income, wealth and opportunity through government provision of resources, services and other activities. Labor believes that because private businesses produce injustices and inequalities, they need to be controlled for the benefit of workers and the common good.

Australian lacelidNyctimystes dayi is a brown frog with big, black eyes, vertical pupils and 'lacework' eyelids. It is usually found on vegetation or rocks around fast-flowing streams in tropical rainforest of north-east Queensland. Due to current fungal disease, it currently appears more common at lower altitudes. The Australian lacelid was only found in Australia in 1969. It is currently considered as the only one of it's genus found in Australia.

Australian language—1. an Aboriginal language. 2. Australian English.

The Australian Law Reform Commission—(often abbreviated to ALRC) is an Australian independent statutory body established to conduct reviews into the law of Australia and advocate options for law reform. The commission works with other law reform bodies such as the Administrative Review Council and the Family Law Council. The commission is the primary law reform agency for the Australian government. It was first established in 1975 as the Law Reform Commission under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975 (Comm). The first commission was abolished on the recommendation of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. That committee found that the act the commission was established under was outdated and that it should be updated in accordance with modern drafting styles. The report of the standing committee, was called "Law reform: the challenge continues" and was tabled in May 1994. All office holders became office holders in the new commission named the Australian Law Reform Commission. The commission is established under the Australian Law Reform Commission Act 1996 (Comm). The commission consists of a president, a deputy president and at least four other members. Members of the commission are appointed by the Australian Governor-General. A member has to be either: a judge for an Australian superior court; a lawyer of at least five years experience; a graduate in law of university with experience as a member of academic staff of a university; or is, in the governor-general's opinion, suitable for appointment because of the person's special qualifications, training or experience.

Australian loan word—a word borrowed from an Aboriginal language.

Australian Local Government Association—(ALGA) a small advocacy body that represents the collective national and international interests of Australian local government, as defined by constituent state and territory local government associations. Core priority areas for action are: local government; finances; roads and transport; sustainability and the environment; regional equity and regional development; social policy; human services information; communications technology; and whole-of-government collaboration. The Australian Local Government Association represents 673 councils across the country. Since 2001, membership has also included the government of the Australian Capital Territory.

Australian magpieGymnorhina tibicen, a medium-sized, black and white passerine bird native to Australia and southern New Guinea. A member of the Cracticidae, it is closely related to the butcherbirds. At one stage, the Australian magpie was considered to be three separate species, although zones of hybridisation between forms reinforced the idea of a single species with several subspecies, nine of which are now recognised. The adult Australian magpie is a fairly robust bird ranging from 37-43cm in length, with distinctive black and white plumage, gold-brown eyes and a solid, wedge-shaped, bluish-white and black bill. The male and female are similar in appearance but can be distinguished by differences in back markings. With its long legs, the Australian magpie walks rather than waddles or hops and spends much time on the ground. This adaptation has led to many authorities maintaining it in its own genus, Gymnorhina, however, a genetic study published in 2013 has shown it to be most closely related to the black butcherbird (C. quoyi) rather than an early offshoot from the other butcherbirds. Described as one of Australia's most accomplished songbirds, the Australian magpie has an array of complex vocalisations. It is omnivorous, with the bulk of its varied diet made up of invertebrates. It is generally sedentary and territorial throughout its range. Common and widespread, it has adapted well to human habitation and is a familiar bird of parks, gardens and farmland in Australia and New Guinea. Magpies were introduced into New Zealand in the 1860s but have subsequently been accused of displacing native birds and are now treated as a pest species. Introductions also occurred in the Solomon Islands and Fiji, where the birds are not considered an invasive species. Spring in Australia is magpie season, when a small minority of breeding magpies (almost always males) around the country become aggressive and swoop and attack those who approach their nests, especially bike riders. This species is commonly fed by households around the country and is the mascot of several Australian sporting teams. Also known as western magpie, kulbardi (Nyoongar name).

Australian merino—merino sheep were first brought to Australia from the Cape Colony, and then from a number of other countries where the famed "Spanish sheep" had gained prominence by the early years of the nineteenth century. Away from their native Spain the merino changed due to differing climate conditions and selection pressures applied by breeders in the different countries. Such differences are to be seen today in the Australian merino, which is not a homogenous breed but a number of strains of sheep—all of which, regardless of their origins, are uniquely Australian. In the development of the great Australian sheep flocks, merinos of all types were introduced, and through selection and crossbreeding, and with particular attention to the impact of the environment on both animal and fleece, the Australian merinos that we now know were developed. The four basic strains are: Peppin, Saxon, South Australian, Spanish Peppin.

Australian mountain ashEucalyptus regnans, the world's tallest flowering tree (up to at least 100m tall and 7m diameter). It is believed that specimens of E. regnans felled during the 1800s may have reached more than 140 metres (Guiness Book of Records), making it the tallest tree ever recorded on earth in historic times. The species is native to wet sclerophyll forests in the Otway Ranges in southern Victoria, the Gippsland forests in eastern Victoria, and north-eastern and southern Tasmania. It relies solely on seed for regeneration and can be eliminated from an area by fires that occur at frequent intervals.

Australian Multicultural Foundation—(AMF) administers a trust fund and conducts research and project work promoting the benefits of Australia’s cultural, linguistic and religious diversity.

Australian National Botanic Gardens—a major national attraction, opened to the public in 1967 following more than 20 years of planning. Included in the gardens are plants of the rainforest, the desert, the mountains and more, all in specially created ‘climatic zones' such as the Rainforest Gully, the Rock Garden, the Eucalypt Lawn and the Mallee Shrub lands on the marked trails. The National Botanic Gardens comprises several departments devoted to growing, studying and promoting Australia's native flora. In 1993 the scientific research component of the gardens united with those parts of CSIRO Plant Industry with an interest in native flora, forming the jointly run Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research. The pressed plant collections of both institutions were combined into one herbarium known as the Australian National Herbarium. The National Botanic Gardens are located at the foot of Black Mountain in Canberra, ACT.

Australian national emblems—Tree: golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha). Flower: southern cross (Xanthosia rotundifolia). Colours: green and gold. Gemstone: opal.

Australian national flag—a defaced British blue ensign (the State Ensign of the United Kingdom). The design caused some controversy when announced several months after Federation. The Australian Natives' Association in particular felt that it was insufficiently patriotic. In the upper hoist (canton) of the flag is the Union Flag (i.e. the State and Civil Flag of the United Kingdom, popularly called the Union Jack). On the fly are 5 white stars, representing the Southern Cross, a constellation of stars generally visible only in the Southern Hemisphere. Each of these stars has 7 points, except for the smallest star which has only five. Directly below the Union Flag is a large, 7-pointed white star called the Federation Star, representing the federation of the colonies of Australia on 1 January 1901. There is one point for each of the six original states, and one to represent all of Australia's internal and external territories. When the Northern Territory and ACT were created as Federal Territories in 1911, a decision was made not to increase the number of points on the Federation Star. Instead, the seventh point would represent all territories and states created after 1901. The Australian national flag is the only one to fly over a whole continent.

Australian national football—(see: Aussie Rules.)

Australian National Herbarium—contains the original botanical specimens collected, and consequent drawings made, during Flinders's voyage around Australia. Botanist Ferdinand Bauer, regarded as the "father of Australian botany" collected nearly 3,900 specimens, including more than 1700 species and 140 genera not previously known to science. These specimens were used by Bauer to make original illustrations that were exceptional in their quality and accurate detail. The illustrations had remained in custody of the British Museum until a selection of them was first published as a limited edition in 1976. The goal of the Herbarium is to develop and manage scientific collections of Australian and related floras as a permanent record of Australian plant diversity, and a resource for research on those floras. And to provide high-quality botanical information to a range of users.

Australian National Parks—cover more than 24 million hectares and include 14 World Heritage areas. The Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service was established in 1975 under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975. The following year, the first grant of Aboriginal Freehold title to an Aboriginal Reserve was made, for Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. Three of the six Commonwealth National Parks, namely Kakadu National Park and Uluru—Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory and Booderee National Park in the Jervis Bay Territory are managed jointly with their traditional Aboriginal owners. The other three protect unique island ecosystems within Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island (located in the Indian Ocean) and the Norfolk Island Territory (in the South Pacific). Australia has one of the largest and most diverse national park systems in the world.

Australian National University—(ANU) commands a magnificent position between lake and mountain in the centre of the nation’s capital, Canberra. ANU is one of the world’s foremost research universities and attracts leading academics and outstanding students from Australia and across the world.

Australian Natives Association—(ANA) a non-sectarian organisation composed of native-born Australian males of European descent. The Association's motto was 'Advance Australia', and its vision of a country united in one Commonwealth was pursued with unswerving zeal. ANA branches on the goldfields in Western Australia were instrumental in securing a majority in the referendum of July 1900, thus ensuring that Australia would become a Commonwealth. Founded in 1871 with the support of Alfred Deakin.

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation—(ANSTO) is Australia’s national nuclear research and development organisation and the centre of Australian nuclear expertise. ANSTO is responsible for delivering specialised advice, scientific services and products to government, industry, academia and other research organisations. It does so through the development of new knowledge, delivery of quality services and support for business opportunities. ANSTO’s nuclear infrastructure includes the research reactor HIFAR (High Flux Australian Reactor), particle accelerators, radiopharmaceutical production facilities, and a range of other unique research facilities. HIFAR is Australia’s only nuclear reactor. It is used to produce radioactive products for use in medicine and industry, as a source of neutron beams for scientific research and to irradiate silicon for semiconductor applications. ANSTO has a salaried staff of approximately 850. Its main site is located at the Lucas Heights Science and Technology Centre (LHSTC), 40km south-west of Sydney’s CBD. The LHSTC occupies 70ha and is surrounded by a 1.6km buffer zone.

Australian owlet-nightjarAegotheles cristatus, the smallest nocturnal bird found in Australia. Its large brown eyes are non-reflective when exposed to a torch or spotlight. The owlet-nightjar has two different plumage colourations: russet-brown, and the more common grey. In both forms the birds are paler below, and are faintly barred with black. There are two wide black stripes that extend over the head from the top of the eyes, and meet on the back of the neck. Australian owlet-nightjars breed in July to December each year, and raise one brood per season. Both sexes construct the nest, which is a bed of green leaves, placed in a suitable tree hollow or rock crevice. Both birds also incubate the two to five eggs and care for the chicks, which hatch after around four weeks. The young owlet-nightjars leave the nest three to four weeks after hatching. also called "mopoke", it is very important in central Cape York traditional custom since it is the totem of one of the moieties. The totem of the other moiety is akabakab (nightjar, Caprimulgus spp.). When a dead owlet-nightjar was presented to one of the Kowanyama Olkola elders, he referred to it as a "messenger."

Australian painted ladyVanessa kershawi, a butterfly endemic to Victoria. A strong migrant of immense numbers in the Eastern States. Although primarily confined to the mainland, it has on occasion dispersed on westerly winds to islands east of Australia, including New Zealand. It has even been reported on Macquarie Island some 1800 km south of Tasmania (halfway to Antarctica). Migrations are mainly in a southerly direction during spring, with a lesser northerly migration reported for autumn. One such migration lasted for eight weeks on a 600 km front, with the butterflies moving in a general southerly direction. Such mass sightings are no longer reported. It is not known if this butterfly is the result of an ancient migration of the painted lady of the northern hemisphere (Vanessa cardui), or if it is part of Australia's ancient Gondwana fauna.

Australian paralysis tickIxodes holocyclus, one of about 75 species of Australian tick fauna and is considered the most medically important. It can cause paralysis by injecting neurotoxins into its host. It is usually found in a 20km-wide band following the eastern coastline of Australia. Paralysis ticks are found in many types of habitat, particularly areas of high rainfall such as wet sclerophyll forest and temperate rainforest. The natural hosts for the paralysis tick include koalas, bandicoots, possums and kangaroos. The two features which are most easily recognised and which are characteristic of Ixodes holocyclus: the first and last pairs of legs are distinctly darker than the 2 middle pairs of legs; and the anal groove forms a complete, though somewhat pear-shaped oval, around the anus. Common hosts include long nosed bandicoot (Parameles nasuta), giant brindle bandicoot (Isoodon torosus), echidnas and possums. Potential hosts include many species of mammals, birds and occasionally reptiles. Because of continuous infestation the native animals are usually immune to tick toxins. Most mammals such as calves, sheep, goats, foals, pigs, cats, cavies, rats, mice and humans can be infested by the Australian paralysis tick. Fatalities resulting from a single engorged adult female tick are mostly reported in the young animals of the larger species and all ages and sizes of the pet species (dogs and cats). Larvae and nymphs can also produce toxic reactions in the host. Fifty larvae or five nymphs can kill a 40g rat, larger numbers of either can induce paralysis in dogs and cats. One adult female can kill four susceptible rats during engorgement. Although it is not typical, an engorging adult female apparently can re-attach several times to different dogs. One of the earliest Australian references to ticks as a problem in human disease is found in the journal kept by Capt William Hilton Howell for his 1824-1825 journey from Lake George to Port Phillip. In this he remarked on "the small insect called the tick, which buries itself in the flesh, and would in the end destroy either man or beast if not removed in time". James Backhouse, a well-travelled Quaker of the early colonial period, gives the following account: " insinuates itself beneath the skin, and destroys, not only sheep, but sometimes foals and calves. Paralysis of the hind quarters often precedes death in these cases. Sometimes it occasions painful swellings, when forcibly removed from the human body, after having fixed its anchorlike head and appendages in the skin." Whilst pioneering settlers knew that ticks posed a threat to their dogs and perhaps to themselves, the paralysis tick was not scientifically identified until 1899 (by Neumann). By 1921 Dodd had established a definitive link between Ixodes holocyclus and clinical disease in three dogs. His findings were that it took 5 to 6 days from time of attachment for clinical signs to develop, with motor paralysis being the major neurological deficit. Ian Clunies Ross also demonstrated that a toxin produced by the tick was responsible for the paralysis and not some infective agent carried by the ticks. The first confirmed human death due to tick venoming in Australia was reported by Cleland in 1912 when a large, engorged tick caused flaccid paralysis in a child, progressing to asphyxiation. Headstones at the Cooktown cemetery apparently reveal how some human deaths were attributed to ticks. In the first half of the 20th century at least 20 human deaths had been attributed to the paralysis tick. Eighty percent of the victims reported in NSW between 1904 and 1945 were children aged under four years. Many cases of 'infantile paralysis' (later known as poliomyelitis) may well have been misdiagnosed and actually been cases of tick paralysis.

Australian pelicanPelecanus conspicillatus, one of the world’s largest and heaviest flying birds and the only pelican in Australia, sporting a wingspan of 2.3-2.5m and can weigh from 4 to 6.8kg. These birds can stay in the air for 24 hours, covering hundreds of kilometers at a stretch. hey have the longest bill length of any extant bird ranging from 36 to cm. The average bill length of males is between 42 and 46 cm and in females from 36 to 41 cm. Between the bones on the lower bill is a stretchy patch of skin called the gular pouch. The gular pouch will stretch when it is filled with water and can hold up to three gallons. Pelicans also have a large nail on the tip of the upper part of the bill. They have short legs and large feet with webbing between all four toes. Non-breeding adults have primarily white plumage. The lower back, primary wing feathers are all black. These pelicans have dark brown eyes. The bill is light pink, as is the gular pouch. The beak can also feature a dark blue stripe and the nail on the tip of the bill is yellow to orange. Their legs, feet and webbing are grey to blue-grey. Juvenile Australian pelicans are primarily brown in color. The plumage on the head can vary from white to brown. The bill and the gular pouch are a light pink in color. Unlike non-breeding adult Australian pelicans the feet and legs are brownish grey in color instead of blueish grey. Sexual dimorphism in this species only applies to size not plumage. Males are larger than females, but the plumage in both sexes is identical. They usually inhabit the coastline but can also be found inland near bodies of freshwater during times of high rainfall. They are generally white with black wings, a pale orange bill, and a slender arched neck, and may live 25 years or longer. They are native to Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste and vagrant to Fiji, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, and Vanuatu. Australian pelicans live very close to water in coastal inlets, shorelines, lakes, swamps and rivers of the interior. They will reside in almost any area that supports a large abundance of fish, but their major habitat is the marine intertidal zone, including sandy shoreline, sandbars and spits. Reproduction Australian pelicans breed in large colonies, usually on islands or inland where there are few predators. Pelicans are seasonally monogamous, meaning that every breeding season they pair up with a mate and then stay with that mate for the rest of the season. The following breeding season they may or may not be with the same mate. Courtship occurs when the local breeding population gathers at the breeding site. The large group breaks away into smaller groups consisting of a single female and two or more males. Within these smaller groups, males compete against one another for the attention of the female. Females lead the males in her group on courtship walks, swims, and flights, all the while the males display for her. The subordinate males will slowly break away and join other groups. Generally by the end of the ritual, only one male will remain. The pair will then land and begin designating a nesting site. While the female pelican sits on the nest site, the male will perform a ritualistic display which may be followed with copulation. Breeding usually occurs in winter or early spring, but may occur at any point in the year. Timing of breeding season is dependent upon rainfall and usually after rain events. Parents incubate by cradling the eggs on their feet. These birds will travel very long distances in order to find food, and have been known to remain airborne for 24 hours. Adult pelicans have few calls and they rarely use them. Their calls include hissing, blowing, groaning, grunting, or bill-clattering. The young are much more vocal than the adults and will loudly beg for food. Australian pelicans primarily communicate with visual cues using their wings, necks, bills, and pouches, especially in courtship displays.

Australian pidgin—a pidgin used in colonial Australia in which English is combined with one or more Aboriginal languages.

Australian ringnecks—any of several parrots of the genus Barnardius, widespread throughout the drier areas of Australia. These birds inhabit low foliage and the ground, feeding on seeds and blossoms. Habitation includes mallee, scrub and woodland, and forest in Western Australia. The four main subspecies are the twenty-eight parrot, Port Lincoln parrot, mallee ringneck (aka Barnard's parrakeet) and Cloncurry ringneck. All species are green, long-tailed, and have a distinctive yellow ring on their hind-neck. Differentiation between species can be determined by location, the bird's call, and the colouring of its head and breast. They fly between areas with swift wing-beats broken with undulating dives, often calling. Until the 1930s they were incorrectly classified by taxonomists into the group Platycercus, along with the rosellas.

Australian round limeCitrus australis, occurs naturally on the fringe of lowland sub-tropical rainforests of south-east Queensland, from Brisbane northwards. This slender tree can reach up to 15m in height and 6m—8m in diameter with multiple trunks, making it the most vigorous of the native citrus plants. The round, knobbly fruit, usually reaching 3.5cm—4cm in diameter have a distinctive and recognisably citrus flavour, with a similar globular texture to the more commonly known Australian finger lime. The round lime is suitable for including in cordials, sauces, marmalades and lime flavouring. The skin is very thick (up to 7mm) and has potential for culinary use, such as grating into spice pastes, or for candied peel and may also have potential for essential oil extraction. Also known as dooja, Gympie lime.

Australian Rules—a form of football played with an oval ball by teams of 18, properly entitled Australian National Football.

Australian sea-lionNeophoca cinerea, the only sea-lion native solely to Australian waters, and the largest animal found along the shore of Southern Australia. Unlike true seals, sea-lions have external ears instead of small ear openings, and they use all four flippers to move around on land. With nostrils shut, sea-lions speed through the water and swallow their food head-first and whole. An endangered species, it relies on the oceans for food and sandy or rocky beaches to rest and breed. The Australian sea-lion is found from the western coast of WA along the southern coast to Kangaroo Island.

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation—(ASIO) Australia’s national security service. Its functions are set out in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 (the ASIO Act). ASIO’s main role is to gather information and produce intelligence that will enable it to warn the government about activities or situations that might endanger Australia’s national security. ASIO focuses on terrorists, people who may act violently for political reasons, and people who may clandestinely obtain sensitive government information (spies) or otherwise harm Australia’s interests in order to further their own causes or the interests of foreign governments. Other ASIO functions include providing security assessments, protective security advice and collecting foreign intelligence in Australia. ASIO only collects foreign intelligence—information on the capabilities, intentions and activities of foreign powers—at the request of the Minister for Foreign Affairs or the Minister for Defence. Under the ASIO Act, the Attorney-General, the Minister to whom ASIO is responsible, has issued guidelines on how ASIO should perform its functions relating to politically motivated violence and its functions of obtaining intelligence relevant to security. ASIO has a staff of around 1000. Its Central Office is in Canberra, and there is a local office in each mainland state and territory capital.

Australian sheep flock—the Australian rural landscape is uniquely suited to sheep, with relatively mild climate extending over vast areas of natural grassland. Wool production is this country's largest and most important form of land use, with some 70,000 wool growing properties spread in a continuous crescent from the north of Queensland to the mid-north of Western Australia and including Tasmania and the islands of Bass Strait. Individual flocks range from a few hundred to as many as 100,000 or more animals, with some three quarters of all sheep run in flocks of 3,000 or more. The Australian sheep flock now numbers 115.8 million head (at 2000). Apart from its size, the outstanding feature of the Australian sheep flock is the overwhelming influence of a single breed—the Australian merino—which is grazed primarily for its heavy fleeces of fine-quality wool. More than 80 percent of all Australian sheep are pure merino, with most of the remainder at least part merino blood. Though the Australian merino derives its name and basic appearance from the famed Royal Flocks of Spain, it is in every way a distinct breed in its own right, developed and adapted in Australia to the specific conditions of this country.

Australian snake-necked turtleChelodina longicollis, This side-necked turtle is one of several species that is characterized by its extremely long neck, almost as long as the rest of its body. have a smooth, oval shaped carapace that is rather flat, and often have a slight longitudinal depression the length of the carapace. Wild C. longicollis emit a foul smelling fluid from the musk glands when captured, but captives do not tend to do this. Snake-necked turtles come from eastern Australia, ranging from the tropical north to the temperate south. They live in slow moving rivers, swamps and ponds. They prefer a soft, sandy substrate, and will pull out to bask on logs and rocks.

Australian Soil Classification—serves as a framework for organising knowledge about Australian soils, and provides a means of communication amongst scientists and those who use the land. The Australian Soil Conservation Council formally endorsed the new classification in 1992 and recommended its adoption by all states and territories, and its use in all future federally funded land resource inventory and research programs. Since its publication in 1996, the Australian Soil Classification has been widely adopted and formally endorsed as the official national system. Responsibility for maintenance and updating now resides with the National Coordinating Committee for Soil and Terrain.

Australian Strongman Triathlon—an international sporting event held annually at Torquay, Victoria in early February.

Australian teakFlindersia australis, a tall tree to 40m. flowers are white in panicles, Aug–Feb. Fruit is a woody capsule covered with short, blunt prickles, splitting into 5 boat-shaped valves; inedible. Seeds are papery and germinate readily when fresh. Flowers attract orchid butterflies, bees, wasps, moths, honeyeaters, fruit bats and blossom bats. High branches provide nesting and resting sites for birds. Natural habitat is dry rainforest (complex microphyll closed forest) extending into eucalypt forest, from Nymboida River, NSW to Mackay, Qld. Valued as a timber, especially for flooring. Also known as Crow's ash.

Australian terrier—a small breed of dog of the terrier dog type. The breed was developed in Australia, although the ancestral types of dogs from which the breed descends were from Great Britain. The Australian terrier is a small dog with short legs, weighing around 6.5kg and standing about 25cm at the withers, with a medium length, shaggy, harsh double coat that is not normally trimmed. Fur is shorter on the muzzle, lower legs, and feet, and there is a ruff around the neck. The coat colours are shades of blue or red with a lighter-coloured topknot, and with markings on face, ears, body and legs of a colour described in the breed standard as "tan, never sandy". The tail was traditionally docked. As with most pet dog breeds, all proportions and aspects of the body and head as well as colours and markings are extensively described in the breed standard. The Australian terrier is descended from the rough-coated type terriers brought from Great Britain to Australia in the early 19th century. The ancestral types of all of these breeds were kept to eradicate mice and rats. The Australian terrier shares ancestors with the Cairn terrier, shorthaired Skye terrier, and the Dandie Dinmont terrier; Yorkshire terriers and Irish terriers were also crossed into the dog during the breed's developmen, which began in Australia about 1820, and the dogs were at first called the rough coated terrier. The breed was officially recognised in 1850, and later renamed as the Australian terrier in 1892. The Kennel Club () recognised the breed in 1933; The American Kennel Club recognised the Australian terrier in 1960; and the United Kennel Club (US) in 1970. It is now recognised by all of the kennel clubs in the Dutch speaking world, and also is listed by various minor kennel clubs and other clubs and registries.

Australian vegetation—comprises a number of distinctive features: high diversity; high rates of endemism; dominance by Acacia and Eucalyptus; a profusion of sclerophyllous species; and large numbers of plants with Gondwanan affinities. At the continental scale distribution and seasonality of rainfall are primary controls on vegetation. Rainfall is more or less concentrically distributed, due to the compact continental outline and the subdued topography of the continent itself. There is some orographic enhancement on the east coast and a tendency for arid climates to occur closer to the west coast than the east as a result of cool ocean currents and (most importantly) the influence of STHP cells on regional wind directions. The inland areas are dry but not hyper-arid—Australia has vegetated deserts, not sand seas, active dunes or the like. In the south frontal systems contribute to winter rainfall maxima while in the north, summer rain is generated in a variety of ways with influence of the monsoon confined to the northernmost parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory. Between the two seasonally dominated climate regimes is a broad swathe of country exhibiting uniform rainfall occurrence or an equal probability that rainfall will not occur in either season.

Australian War Memorial—C.E.W. Bean first began thinking about commemorating the sacrifice of Australians in war in 1915, at Gallipoli. The idea of a national museum took hold later, while Bean was visiting Pozières, France, where the Australian divisions suffered 23,000 casualties in less than seven weeks of fighting in 1916. Bean's idea was to set aside a place in Australia where families and friends could grieve for those buried in places far away and difficult to visit—a place that would also contribute to the understanding of war itself.

Australian Water Resources Council—a non-statutory body set up by the Commonwealth and State Governments in 1962. The Australian Water Resources Council existed into the 1980s. Located in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

Australian Wheatbelt—The Wheatbelt is split into three 'agroecological' grain growing regions, each with its own broadly similar climate systems and soil types: the northern, southern and western region. There are wide variations in the productivity of farms within each of these regions (primarily due to differences in the extent and reliability of rainfall), but some generalisations are still possible. Rainfall is the most important determinant of grain yields in dryland farming, with all three of the rainfall dimensions having an impact: 1. Extent – Total rainfall received in the average year. 2. Timing – Proportion of rainfall received during the growing season; excessive rainfall damaging crops during the growing season; and untimely rainfall causing crop damage at harvest time. 3. Reliability – Variability of rainfall from year to year. It is the interaction between these factors which dictates both average yields and the annual variability of yields in different regions of the Wheatbelt. in broad terms, the further east the more volatile and less conducive to yield reliability, do climate conditions become. Western Australia has the most reliable rainfall of any Australian state and also receives the highest proportion of this during the growing season. Indeed, even medium or low rainfall areas of the Western Australian Wheatbelt can be more reliable producers than some high rainfall areas in the south-east. Furthermore, Western Australia has the lowest incidence of crop damage due to summer rainfall occuring at harvest time, the lowest incidence of frost damage during the growing season and the lowest incidence of extreme weather events. As a consequence of its favourable climatic conditions, Western Australia has the most reliable yields of any major grain producing state. This is of vital importance to agricultural investors, because yield reliability (as opposed to average yield extent) is one of the most important factors determining farm profitability.

Australian white ibisThreskiornis molucca, identified by its almost entirely white body plumage and black head and neck. The head is featherless and its black bill is long and down-curved. During the breeding season the small patch of skin on the under-surface of the wing changes from dull pink to dark scarlet. Adult birds have a tuft of cream plumes on the base of the neck. Birds measure 69cm—76cm. Females differ from males by being slightly smaller, with shorter bills. Young birds are similar to adults, but have the neck covered with black feathers. In flight, flocks of Australian white ibis form distinctive V-shaped flight patterns.

Australian wild limeMicrocitrus maideniana, rather similar to the Russell River lime, except that its fruits have a sunken top to them.

Australian Workplace Agreement—(AWA) an individual contract that can over-rule an award or enterprise agreement. It is a written agreement between an employer and an employee about the employee's terms and conditions of employment that is legally binding, once approved. An AWA completely displaces any federal or state award or state agreement that would otherwise cover the employee. However, an AWA cannot override conditions of employment specified in Commonwealth laws that apply to an employee, nor can an AWA take away any rights that an employee has under Commonwealth laws. Legally, each agreement between an employee and the employer is a separate AWA, although several may be included in one document.

Australiana—collectable items of historical interest originating in Australia.

AustrobaileyaAustrobaileya scandiens, a primitive vine, is rare and endemic to the Wet Tropics. It is the only species in its family and is confined to very wet rainforests from low to upland altitudes. Austrobaileya is a canopy liane which reaches about 15 metres. Its leaves are an odd bluish-green colour but its flowers are the giveaway that it is one of the earlier representatives of flowering plants. Its flower parts are arranged in a spiral and the petals are a pale green colour. Flies are the only pollinator and to ensure they are attracted, the flowers smell like rotting fish. Apricot-coloured fruits of an oblong shape, up to 70mm by 50mm hang from the vine and contain a packed cluster of chestnut-shaped seeds.

Austrosaurus mckillopi—the fossil remains were first noticed on Clutha Station near Maxwelton in Queensland. The area is known for its marine reptile remains such as plesiosaurs, pliosaurs and ichthyosaurs, and it was anticipated that the vertebrae would be from one of these. Instead they turned out to be from a sauropod dinosaur. Sauropods deliberately avoided swampy areas, preferring firm, dry ground. Although dated to the Early Cretaceous the vertebrae are quite primitive, lacking many of the weight-saving features of more advanced sauropods. Additional specimens found in 1959 on Alni Station, north-west of Maxwelton, consist of the fragmentary remains of five individuals that have all been classified as Austrosaurus sp. One noticeable characteristic of the Austrosaurus sp material is the elongated forelimbs and massive metacarpals (wrist bones). Austrosaurus was initially classified as Cetiosaurinae, which seems to be a common placement of problem sauropods. However the vertebrae of Austrosaurus are much more solid and primitive than those known for Cetiosaurus, or for any other sauropod dating to the Cretaceous. It is the primitive vertebrae that distinguish this as a separate species to the only other well known Australian sauropod, Rhoetosaurus brownei from the Middle Jurassic. Ironically the vertebrae of Rhoetosaurus, one of the earliest known species of sauropod, are much more "advanced" than those of the younger Austrosaurus, with hollows and buttresses within them that help make them lighter while not sacrificing strength. Austrosaurus has since been shown to be related to the Titanosaurs, a group of (mostly) Southern Hemisphere sauropods characterised by (among other things) armoured scutes embedded within the skin.

auto-electrician—one who specialises in maintenance of the electrical systems of motor vehicles.

autumn leaf—(racing) jockey who continually falls.

'ave a go ya mug!—(cricket) cry directed at a slow batsman.

Avoca—an historic goldmining town and rural service centre. Avoca was created in 1852 when gold was discovered 3km east of the townsite. By June 1854, the Avoca was the new home to a rush population of some 16,000 diggers, making the Avoca diggings the first major goldfield opened up in north-western Victoria. By the 1870s grapes were being grown in the area, and over the next twenty years mixed farming—sheep, cattle, orchards—dominated in the area. Around Avoca were the clans of Dirag balug to the south, Banyul willem to the north and the clans of Bulangurd balug, Bial balug and Burung balug from Moonambel and Redbank north to St Arnaud. There are records of killings of the Djadja Wurrung between 1838 and 1846, but most of the native occupants were driven out or killed by the effects of the gold rush, which began in 1851. The effects of alcohol and disease increased Aboriginal mortality substantially; and resettlement (both voluntary and involuntary in the 1860s and '70s) resulted in the reduction of the native population to virtually zero. Located 181km north-west of Melbourne and 72km north of Ballarat.

Avoca floodplain—(see: Avoca wetlands).

Avoca River—the most variable of all the Victorian rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin. The river is never more than 2m deep along its entire length except for a 27km section where there are pools 2-5m deep. The river is very saline with de-oxygenated water in the bottom of deeper pools during low flow periods. Native riparian vegetation occurs along its entire length and on reasonably stable banks. It flows within a confined valley to Charlton then enters a broad alluvial plain. It is little used for irrigation as during the peak demand period (summer and autumn) it is often not flowing at all. During low flow periods, Avoca River water is usually too saline for watering crops, but can still provide drinking water for sheep and cattle. The Avoca catchment is located in North Central Victoria, occupying an area of 1.2 million hectares, and extends from its headwaters (at Amphitheatre) 270km north to Lake Bael Bael, where it terminates.

Avoca wetlands—a floodplain situated on the Murray River in Victoria. This area has been badly damaged by salinity, resulting in major losses in farm productivity. Wetlands are concentrated in the following bioregions: the Victorian Volcanic Plain, the South East Coastal Plain, the Riverina and the southern and northern parts of the Murray-Darling Depression and the Victorian Embayments marine bioregion. In bioregions of higher relief (the Australian Alps and the South Eastern Highlands), and in the north-west of the state in the mallee dunefields of the Murray-Darling Depression, wetlands are much less common. The Avoca is one of the least regulated rivers in Victoria, having no major impoundment on the mainstream or its tributaries.

avocado pear—avocado.

Avon Valley—an area of active drainage dissecting a gently undulating plateau. Here, the Avon River joins the Brockman River to form the Swan River. Characterised by proteaceous scrub-heaths, mixed eucalypt, Allocasuarina huegeliana and Jam-York gum woodlands on alluvial soils and sandplains. The Avon Valley is a semi-arid region to the east of the Walpole-Nornalup National Park in Western Australia, a region often referred to as the wheatbelt.

Avon Valley National Park—from summer to winter, from north to south, and from high outcrops to deep river and stream valleys, the forests of Avon Valley National Park are constantly changing. The Avon River flows in winter and spring when the river churns over spectacular rapids. During summer and autumn the river diminishes to a series of pools in a bed of granite boulders and tea-tree thickets. The park features forests and granite outcrops, panoramic views over the Avon Valley and the chance to see a wide variety of birds and wildlife. More than 90 species of bird have been seen in the park, including grey fantails, rufous treecreepers, western yellow robins and several types of honeyeaters. Rainbow bee-eaters and sacred kingfishers arrive to breed in the spring and can often be heard calling.

Avon River—can be run by experienced canoeists in winter and is made famous by the Avon Descent each August. In summer the river slows to a trickle, becoming a series of shallow pools unsuitable for swimming.

Avon wheatbelt—an area of active drainage dissecting a Tertiary plateau in Yilgarn Craton. Gently undulating landscape of low relief. Proteaceous scrub-heaths, rich in endemics, on residual lateritic uplands and derived sandplains; mixed eucalypt, Allocasuarina huegeliana and jam-york gum woodlands on Quaternary alluvials and eluvials. Semi-arid, warm Mediterranean climate. The south-eastern boundary has been modified, incorporating a small portion into the Mallee region. Extensively cleared for agriculture. Located in Western Australia.

AWA—(see: Australian Industrial Relations Commission).

Awaba—a suburb of Newcastle, NSW. The name derives from an Aboriginal word meaning 'flat' or 'plain surface', which was the Awabakal term for Lake Macquarie.

Awabakal—an Aboriginal peoples of the Lake Macquarie and Newcastle regions of NSW, and their language. Awabakal is singular in the degree to which it was studied and documented by Europeans. This endevour was carried out primarily by two men, the Scottish Reverend Lancelot Edward Threlkeld, and his Aboriginal friend. "Awaba" is the Awabakal name for Lake Macquarie.

Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal Co-op—the peak Aboriginal organisation in the Hunter Valley region. Established in 1976, the co-operative became responsible for Aboriginal affairs in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie as well as in Hunter Valley. Today the Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal Co-operative has more than forty staff and a wide variety of programs. These programs are funded to ensure Aboriginal self-determination by providing culturally appropriate services and facilities for the Aboriginal communities of the entire Hunter area. Being an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation, members elect a board of directors representative of the community.

award—a legally binding order made by an industrial tribunal, establishing the minimum rights and obligations of employers and employees in regard to wages, salaries, conditions of employment and other industrial issues. Awards may be federal or state. Sometimes, both federal and state awards can apply to the one workplace, although to different classifications of employees. A federal award specifies the category of employee to which it applies and will indicate which employers are covered. Employees not covered by a federal award may be covered by a state award in the industry or occupation to which the award relates. State awards are made by the relevant industrial tribunal and generally apply to every employer who employs a person in an industry or occupation covered by the award. In the ACT and the Northern Territory, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission may, under s141 of the Workplace Relations Act 1996, declare an award to be a ‘common rule’ award for a particular industry.

award wage—a fixed pay-scale determined by arbitration between the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and the AIRC. The award wage sets the minimum wage and pay-rise increments, as set out under broadly defined job classifications linked by skill levels. Once regarded as the safety net for all workers, the award wage is no longer the rule. The introduction of individual contracts in the form of Australian Workplace Agreements, under the Workplace Relations Act 1996, has weakened the bargaining power of both the ACTU and the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, and ushered in an era of enterprise bargaining.

away with the fairies/pixies—day-dreaming, not paying attention, e.g., She's in love and away with the pixies.

awning over the toy shop—a man's beer-belly.

axe-handle—(joc.) unit of measure: e.g., A woman with a large backside or hips could be said to be two axe-handles across the acre.

axle grease—butter.

Ayers Rock—the European name given to the monolith, Uluru.

azure kingfisherAlcedo azurea, a brilliantly coloured relative of the laughing kookaburra. The upper body is turquoise-blue, the breast a rusty orange. Measures about 18 cm in length and boasts the long bill typical to all kingfishers. Azure kingfishers reside along the north-east coast, from the Northern Territory to Tasmania, inhabiting fresh and saltwater streams, inlets, mangroves, ponds and lakes. They feed upon small fish, crustaceans and insects. A chamber at the end of a tunnel serves as its nest, which is often layered with fish scales and fine fish bones on the chamber floor. Sited in the bank of a stream, the tunnel is generally from 0.8 -1.3m long, and often placed among tree roots or overhanging vegetation. A stick, dead branch or other similar perch is usually adjacent to the entrance for use by the nesting bird's partner. Their call is a high-pitched whistle.

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