Australian Dictionary

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Australia Decoded

Aussie Rules Football

Aussie Rules Football
By Flickerd - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

armchair ride—1. easy passage. 2. (Australian Rules football) easy game for a rover because of hit-outs from the ruckman.

Armidale—a provincial city of educational and architectural significance in the heart of the New England Tableland. The university and the nearby CSIRO complex at Chiswick are at the forefront of research in animal genetics. Known as the City of Four Seasons, Armidale has a population of 25,000 covering an area of 4,200sq km. The city is located in New South Wales, almost equidistant from Brisbane and Sydney. There are some fourteen different national park visitor areas within an hour's drive.

Armistice Day—(see: Remembrance Day.)

Arnhem—two Dutch ships were given the task of surveying the coast of the the mysterious southern land now known as Australia, the Arnhem and the Pera, under the command of Jan Carstenz. In January 1623 these ships sailed from Amboyna and to the coast of New Guinea. Travelling easterly, Carstenz was not able to report on the area's fruits and minerals, but did note the natives were not friendly and were cannibalistic. At one point the captain and several of the crew of the Arnhem were killed by natives. Carstenz headed to the Torres Strait through a maze of reefs and shallows, to the west, then south along the west coast of Cape York. There was a mutiny onboard the Arnhem and it left Carstenz and the Pera on the 25th April, 1623. The Pera continued gathering what information it could about the people and possible things to trade along the coast, but their reports were not very promising. Carstenz returned to Amboyna in New Guinea (June 6). Following its separation from the Pera, the Arnhem was blown west, making land on the east-facing shore of the opposite side. From there, she explored north and west across the top of the region called then (and still known as) Arnhem Land before returning to home. The region was named by Matthew Flinders after this ship, which had preceded his own.

Arnhem Coast—a coastal strip extending from just east of Cobourg Peninsula to just north of the mouth of the Rose River in south-eastern Arnhem Land, and including many offshore islands, most notably Groote Eylandt (and its satellites), the English Company and Wessel group, and the Crocodile Islands. Coastal vegetation includes well-developed heathlands, mangroves and saline flats, with some floodplain and wetland areas, most notably the extensive paperbark forest and sedgelands of the Arafura Swamp. Coastal dune systems are unusually well developed on sections of Groote Eylandt and Cape Arnhem Peninsula. Rugged Cretaceous sandstone areas occur on Groote Eylandt and islands of the Wessel group. Tertiary laterites are extensive on the Gove Peninsula. Inland from the coast, the dominant vegetation type is eucalypt tall open forest, typically dominated by Darwin woollybutt and Darwin stringybark, with smaller areas of monsoon rainforest and eucalypt woodlands.

Arnhem Escarpment—the remnant sandstone sea cliffs of a Mesozoic sea, over 500km long and varying from vertical cliff faces to stepped cliffs. Fossiliferous sandstone and siltstone deposited over lowlands record the history and chronology of events that took place here. Spreading across the Kakadu region 140 million years ago, the waters of this sea eroded the older sandstone into sea cliffs. The retreat of the scarp and the headward erosion by streams have isolated massive blocks of resistant sedimentary rock, producing classic outliers. Subsequent erosion along joint and bedding plans and the weathering of tunnels in less resistant strata have produced intricate patterns of relief as well as large numbers of overhang caverns, which house much of the Aboriginal rock art. Most of the watercourses originate on the plateau and waterfalls occur at widely spaced nick points along the escarpment. Creeks have scoured into the escarpment, forming gorges in which monsoon forests have developed. Water seepage from the rock walls of the gorges and the deposition of alluvial soils have resulted in a micro-environment on which many animals rely during the months of drought. Rising 330m above the Arnhem Land plains and extending over 500km along the eastern boundary of Kakadu National Park, the escarpment varies from vertical cliff faces to stepped cliffs with long talus slopes. In the south the escarpment rises about 200m, while in the north it is generally less than 100m high and is much more broken

Arnhem Land—an area within the Top End of the Northern Territory, encompassing some 150,000sq km. This vast area consists of lowland plains and rock formations. The most spectacular of these is the Arnhem Escarpment, which rises 330m above the plains, extending over 500km along the eastern boundary of Kakadu National Park. Water seepage from the rock walls of the gorges and the deposition of alluvial soils have resulted in a micro-environment on which many animals rely during the months of drought. Arnhem Land is home to numerous Aboriginal communities speaking a large number of different languages, and was declared a reserve in 1931. North-east Arnhem Land (including the Gove Peninsula) is part of the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Land Trust area, held under inalienable freehold title by the traditional owners. Creeks have scoured into the rock escarpment, forming gorges in which tall monsoon forests have developed. Arnhem Land extends around the Gulf of Capentaria from Port Roper to the East Alligator River, where it adjoins Kakadu National Park. The region was named by Matthew Flinders after the Dutch ship Arnhem, which explored the coast in 1623. Largely untouched by tourism development, the home of the world's oldest living culture has only recently become accessible to a tightly restricted number of visitors. (Only about 1000 people are granted permits to visit this area each year, and only 16 non-residents are allowed at any time. Prior to the establishment of the Arnhem Land Reserve in 1931, Arnhem Land had equated with what is now generally known as the Top End.

Arnhem Land Aboriginal Trust—previously an Aboriginal reserve, the Arnhem Land region came under the hegemony of the Land Trust in 1980. A grant of fee simple was made under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth) (the Land Rights Act) to the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Trust, placing the region under Aboriginal control. The region has some areas leased for other purposes, such as Gurig (Coburg) National Park and the mining operations near Nuhlunbuy and on Groote Eylandt.

Arnhem Land bandicootIsoodon auratus arnhemensis, a subspecies of golden bandicoot, of the Arnhem Land area of the Northern Territory.

Arnhem Land Plateau—the extensive and highly dissected Proterozoic sandstone massif of western Arnhem Land, which forms the headwaters of many of the major river systems of the Top End. It supports an unusually diverse biota, including very many relictual and endemic plant and animal species. The major vegetation types include sandstone heathlands, rainforests (characteristically dominated by the endemic tree Allosyncarpia ternata), hummock grasslands and eucalypt open woodlands (with a range of dominants including scarlet gum, Eucalyptus kombolgiensis, woollybutt and variable-barked bloodwood). Most of the bioregion is Aboriginal land, including a major part of Kakadu National Park.

Arnhem Land Reserve—the great majority of the region, an Aboriginal reserve of more than 100,000ha and some 18,000 people, was established in 1931. The reserve came under the hegemony of the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Land Trust, the largest Aboriginal reserve in Australia, in 1980. Kakadu National Park adjoins the reservation.

Aroona Valley—an area of the outback flanked by the Heysen and ABC ranges, and one of the most scenic locations in the Flinders Ranges National Park. The Aroona Valley is best known for the inspiration it to gave landscape painter, Sir Hans Heyson. An Adnyamathanha word meaning 'place of the frogs', Aroona was settled on a permanent spring. Above the spring are the remains of Haywards head station for the Aroona run of the 1850s.

around the traps—pertaining to an intimate familiarity with and knowledge of the places where people gather, news is spread, decisions are made, etc.

around the twist—at the end of one's endurance or tolerance; unable to cope in a reasonable or sane manner; crazy: e.g., I'll go around the twist if those kids don't stop screaming!

Arrernte tribal group—an extensive Aboriginal clan. The Eastern and Central Arrernte people live in Central Australia, their traditional land including the area of Alice Springs and the east MacDonnell Ranges. Many Arrernte people also live in communities outside of Alice Springs and on outstations. There are roughly 1800 speakers of Eastern and Central Arrernte, one of the largest populations of Australian language-speaking people.

arsapeek—upside down.

arse—1. buttocks; bum; bottom. 2. cheek; impudence. 3. nonsense; rubbish; foolish talk. 4. despicable person. 5. a woman as a sex object. 6. daring; effrontery; self-confidence; brazenness.

arse about/around—1. muck around; fool around; play around. 2. do nothing constructive; waste time: e.g., Quit arsing around and get some work done.

arse about-face—back to front; facing the wrong direction by 180 degrees.

arse has dropped out of (something)—a failed situation, especially in commerce, business, finance, real estate.

arse knows no bounds!—an exclamation of surprise at an unusual degree of good fortune: i.e., there's no limit to your luck!

arse off—peremptory request for some to depart, or to leave-off from some annoying activity. Equivalent to "piss off".

arse out of (one's) pants—(to have one's...) impecuniary; financially impoverished: e.g., He's had his arse out of his pants since he took up the trots.

arsed out—fired, dismissed unceremoniously.

arsehole—1. anus. 2. despicable person or thing. 3. throw out unceremoniously; evict; sack; fire: e.g., He wasn't doing his job so we arseholed him quick smart.

arsey—unusually lucky.

arsey-tarsy—arse-a-peek; upside-down.

art bank—a government-funded collection of works of art for display in public buildings.

Art Gallery—(the...) rock art sites at Cathedral Cave and the Art Gallery are some of the largest in central Queensland. The art styles and motifs suggest that Carnarvon Gorge was occupied by people closely associated with the Bidjara people from the headwaters of the Warrego River. In freehand art, pigment was applied to the rock surface with a finger or possibly a twig brush. Stencils were applied by blowing ochre pigment mixed with water from the mouth, over an object held against the wall. Engravings were made by removing material from the rock surface by pecking and abrading, possibly using bone or stone tools.

Art Gallery of New South Wales—located at the north-eastern end of The Domain, a large grassy area set aside for public recreation by founding New South Wales Governor Arthur Phillip in 1788. The Domain, separated from the Royal Botanic Gardens by Cahill Expressway, was also the site of Australia's first farm. The Art Gallery of New South Wales houses extensive art collections, including Australian art from the colonial period, Asian and European art, and an extensive Aboriginal collection in the Yiribana Gallery.

art union—something like a lottery, except that it is usually run to raise money for a charity, and the prize is usually not money, but a house on the Gold Coast, or a car, or both. Art unions were formed in Britain and Europe in the 19th century as associations to promote art by purchasing paintings and other works of art and dispensing these things among their members by lottery. Over time in Australia and New Zealand things changed. All kinds of prizes (not just paintings and other works of art) came to be offered, and consequently 'art union' came to be applied to any lottery with prizes in kind rather than cash.

artesian aquifer—a confined aquifer in which the hydraulic pressure will cause water to rise in a bore above the upper confining layer of the aquifer. If the pressure is sufficient to cause the well to flow at the surface, it is called a flowing artesian aquifer.

Arthur, Lt-Governor George—(1824-1836) the fourth governor of Van Diemen’s Land, appointed in 1823 and taking office on 14 May 1824. George Arthur was fresh from battling monopoly timber interests as the Superintendent of Belize (a British colony in Central America on the Caribbean). Governor Arthur’s control over colonial timber interests in Van Dieman's Land resulted in the preservation of large timber tracts that were maintained in Tasmania right up to recent times. In the first six years of his 12 years as governor, Arthur became one of its largest landowners. In 1825, he established the first penal colony in Van Diemen's Land, at Maria Island. Two years later, he acquired the Cascades for the female factory from the owner of a failed rum distillery. The infamous Port Arthur prison was established in 1930. One of his earliest actions as governor was to place the island under martial law, resulted in the genocidal Black War (1824—1831). In November of 1830, he directed the military operation known as the Black Line, which attempted to drive all Aboriginal people from the settled parts of the colony and onto the Tasman Peninsula. Arthur's autocratic and authoritarian rule led to his recall, following the longest term of any governor of Van Dieman’s Land, in 1836.

Arunta—alternate spelling of Arabana.

Arunta Province—a region that is believed to be mineral-rich. Ongoing geoscientific studies are expected to assist further mineral exploration in the region. The eastern part of the Arunta Province has been the target of many previous studies, including regional mapping in the 1970s (BMR) and 1980s (NTGS). A major goal of the studies is to increase geological knowledge and understanding of the eastern Arunta Province, and in particular the Strangways Metamorphic Complex. The southern Arunta is now recognised as a discrete terrain, with chronological and lithological affinities with mineralised terrains such as Mount Isa and Broken Hill. The eastern extension of the southern Arunta occurs in Hermannsburg and eastern Alice Springs. The northern Arunta Province lies between the Tanami and Tennant Creek regions, which are the largest gold-producing regions in the Northern Territory.


as Australian as meat pie—a reference to the wide popularly of such staple meals as the classic steak and kidney pie.

as clear as mud—denoting murky instructions.

as common as dishwater—1. lacking in refinement; working-class. 2. coarse; vulgar; having low morals. 2. very common; nothing out of the ordinary.

as game as Ned Kelly—defiantly reckless.

as happy as Larry—completely satisfied; without a care in the world.

as it were—so to speak.

as long as (one's) arse points to the ground—as long as one is still standing, i.e., so long as one lives: e.g., Fleeb will tinker with crazy inventions as long as his arse points to the ground.

as mad as a cut snake—viciously or dangerously angry.

as mad as a frog in a wet sock—amusingly and ineffectually angry.

as mean as monkey muck—exceedingly stingy: e.g., My boss is as mean as monkey muck, and that's too mean to stink!

as miserable as a bandicoot—wretched.

as near as damn it—as close as possible to: e.g., We came as near as damn it to winning the final.

as rough as bags—uncouth; unrefined (a reference to the hessian bags once used for packing and transporting goods).

as rough as guts—uncouth.

as scarce as hen's teeth—so rare as to call its existence into question: e.g., Men who uncomplainingly help with the housework are as scarce as hen's teeth.

as scarce as rocking horse manure—rarely encountered or only rumoured to exist.

as serious as a whore at a Christening—irreverent.

as the actress said to the bishop—a stock remark to someone who has said something innocent or innocuous that could be taken as a sexual innuendo having a double, lewd meaning.

as tight as a fish's arse—exceptionally stingy: e.g., Yeh, the old man's as tight as a fish's arse—and that's watertight!

as weak as cat's piss—pusillanimous.

asbestos—any of the fibrous (asbestiform) varieties of several different minerals. Asbestos fibres for commercial use have been derived from silicates belonging to the serpentine and amphibole groups of rock-forming minerals, including actinolite, amosite (brown asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), chrysolite (white asbestos), tremolite, or any mixture containing one or more of these. The fibres are resistant to wear from heat, chemicals and abrasion. Asbestos was used in the Australian building industry between the 1940s and late 1980s. In buildings, asbestos fibres are found either firmly or loosely bound in a number of products. Loosely bound asbestos was commonly used as insulation and fire retardant. Firmly bound, or “non-friable” asbestos can be found in the following building products: Flat or corrugated sheeting (commonly called “fibro” or “AC (asbestos cement) sheeting” or “FC (fibrous cement) sheeting”; water or flue pipes; roof shingles; flexible building boards; imitation brick cladding; plaster patching compounds; textured paint; vinyl floor tiles, and the backing of linoleum floor coverings. The commonly found, internal asbestos-cement sheet walls are not regarded as a health risk, provided that they are in good condition and coated with paint. Asbestos-based products become a health hazard when broken or in a deteriorated condition, and may result in asbestos-related diseases.

Asbestos Range National Park—renamed to Narawntapu National Park.

asbestos-cement sheeting—flat or corrugated sheeting used in the building industry for the construction of walls and ceilings; wallboard. Known in the trade as AC sheeting, and to the general public as fibro. Also known as FC (fibrous cement) sheeting.

asbestos-related diseases—lung diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma are caused by inhalation of asbestos fibres. The latency prior to onset of these diseases is typically from ten to forty years following exposure to asbestos fibres. As the level of exposure that may cause health effects is not known, exposure to asbestos fibres or dust containing asbestos fibres should always be avoided.

Ash Wednesday fires—consisted of some of the most devastating bushfires Australia has ever experienced, sweeping through parts of Victoria and South Australia. Between April 1982 and January 1983, Victoria experienced severe drought conditions and little rainfall, resulting in its driest period on record. A combination of dry grasslands and forests, very hot temperatures, low humidity and high wind gusts presented Victoria with a high bushfire risk. Around 180 bushfires broke out on 16 February 1983, now known as Ash Wednesday. The largest bushfires started in Victoria at Cudgee and Branxholme (near Warrnambool), around Mount Macedon in the Dandenong Ranges and in the Otways. Fires also broke out in South Australia, where 159,000ha in the Adelaide Hills and in farming country in the south-east of the state were burnt in the fires. The Victorian fires burnt an area twice the size of metropolitan Melbourne, around 200,000ha. The Ash Wednesday fires claimed 75 lives in total—47 in Victoria and 28 in South Australia The largest number of lives were lost in the Upper Beaconsfield fire with 20 deaths. Hundreds of others were burnt or otherwise injured. Twelve volunteer firefighters in Victoria were killed in the fire at Beaconsfield. In Victoria, more than 2,000 houses were destroyed and several hundred more in South Australia. Most of the major Ash Wednesday fires were controlled on the day, some in two to eight hours, others in a couple of days. Accessibility to the fires played a large part in how quickly fires were brought under control. For example, fires in mountainous areas were often more difficult to put out due to difficulties in moving the fire vehicles in close enough to the fires. In some areas, there was no road access into the fires.

Ashes—(the...) the bi-annual Ashes cricket series, played between competing teams from England and Australia, is the most widely followed competition of its type. When England lost to Australia in 1882, the English newspaper, Sporting Times, printed an obituary to cricket which read: 'In Affectionate Remembrance of English Cricket Which Died At The Oval on 29th August 1882.' Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances R.I.P NB: The body will be cremated, and the ashes taken to Australia.' The English captain during his stay in Sydney for the third test was billeted at the home of the Fletcher family in the suburb of Woollahra. On his return to the Fletcher home from the after match celebrations, it was suggested by Annie Fletcher she should make a velvet bag in which Bligh could store the "imaginary" Ashes of English cricket. Bligh agreed, and Annie promptly made a beautiful brown velvet bag with the year 1883 embroidered on the front in gold thread.

Ashmore, Captain Samuel—the first recorded European to sight Ashmore Reef was Captain Samuel Ashmore, commander of the Hibernia. He discovered the reef on 11 June 1811. This same captain, who was admired in Sydney for his ability in sailing through the Torres Strait, had discovered Hibernia Reef, 3km north-north-east of Ashmore Reef, 13 months earlier. Ashmore began voyaging on the Indian Ocean in 1809 as the merchant captain of the brig Hibernia. From 1809 to 1816 Ashmore captained the Hibernia on various trade voyages between India, Tasmania, and Sydney, with an 1814 stop at the Dutch port of Batavia, where he spent some time and even attempted to sell the Hibernia. Having failed to sell the Hibernia in Batavia, Ashmore left Batavia in May of 1814. This was Ashmore's last voyage as captain of the Hibernia. Subsequently he traveled as Captain of the Udney, which generally sailed between Mauritius and Indian ports. His last recorded voyage before he briefly disappears occurred in 1816 on the brig Guide, captained by John Higgins, with Ashmore listed as the owner. The extremely thorough and extensive British records of Ashmore's Indian Ocean voyages identify annual, and sometime bi-annual, trade missions nearly every year from 1809 to 1833 – with a notable exception. These records are curiously blank between 1816 and 1822. What we do see is that he seems to have traveled extensively between British colonies in India and Australia and former French colony of Mauritius in the years just before and just after he disappears.

Ashmore and Cartier Islands Territory—a shelf-edge atoll, rising from a depth of over 100m. The Ashmore Reef, comprising the islands known as West, Middle and East, lies at the western extremity of the Sahul Shelf. These biologically diverse platform reefs exhibit a high level of inter-dependency with adjacent ecosystems to the north and south. An ocean current known as the Indonesian Throughflow provides a steady stream of nutrients across the west Sahul Banks, transporting biological material from the rich and diverse reef systems of the Philippines and Indonesia. The reef platform covers an area of 239sq km at the edge of the North West Shelf. Captain Samuel Ashmore, commander of the Hibernia, was the first European to discover the reef on 11 June 1811.

Ashmore Reef—a shelf-edge atoll, rising from a depth of over 100m. The reef platform covers an area of 239sq km at the edge of the North West Shelf. The Ashmore Reef, comprising the East, Middle and West islands, lies at the western extremity of the Sahul Shelf. A steady stream of nutrients travels across the West Sahul Banks on an ocean current known as the Indonesian Through-flow, transporting biological material from the rich and diverse reef systems of the Philippines and Indonesia. Today, 58,300 ha of wetlands in the Ashmore Reef are protected within the Ramsar-listed Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve, which is also listed on the Register of the National Estate. The Ashmore Reef is included on the World Conservation Union (IUCN) list of coral reefs of international significance .During the 1850s, American whaling ships operated in the region and during the latter half of the nineteenth century, West Island was mined for phosphate. This resulted in the removal of most of the topsoil from West Island and the impacts are still evident today.

Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve—for centuries Indonesian fishermen have exploited resources along the north of the Western Australian coast and also around the islands and reefs located off this coastline. They have targeted a range of species, including beche-de-mer (trepang or sea cucumber), trocus, seabirds (particularly frigate birds), seabird eggs, sharks, marine turtles, clams and various molluscs. Traditional fishers had no navigational equipment and many set a course from Indonesia using land marks. When some distance out to sea they would then head for the clouds which form above Ashmore Reef. At Ashmore they replenished water from the fresh water wells and collected birds and eggs for food. From here they sailed to the islands and coastline further south. Captain Samuel Ashmore, Commander of the Hibernia, was the first European to discover' the Reef on 11 June 1811. The nearby Hibernia Reef was named after the ship. During the 1850s American whaling ships operated in the region. During the later half of the nineteenth century phosphate mining was carried out on West Island. This resulted in the removal of most of the topsoil and the impacts are still evident today. From as early as 1952, scientists expressed concern that plants and birds of the islands of Ashmore Reef were at risk from over-harvesting by Indonesian fishers. In November 1974, traditional Indonesian fishing practices in the region were formalised under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Governments of Australia and Indonesia. This MOU covers Scott Reefs, Seringapatam Reef, Browse Island, Ashmore Reef, Cartier Island and various banks. On 16 August 1983 the Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve was proclaimed as part of the Australian Government's intention to protect this important area.

Asia-Pacific Television—On 31 December 2001 ABC Asia Pacific, a new television service for the region, was launched. The return of a reinvigorated television service, complemented by its own online service, was—and is—intended to strengthen the ABC's ability to provide an independent voice in the region and raise awareness of Australia's economic and trade capabilities. ABC Asia Pacific has a different relationship with ABC from other ABC networks. ABC AP has its own board and a business-type relationship with the ABC in that it will pay for programs produced by the ABC and will commission programs from it. However it is still under the control of the ABC Board. It has separate funding, a grant of $90M over five years from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; DFAT maintains that the service will remain independent of government. To be viable. ABC AP has to supplement its income through sponsorship and advertising. Commercials are placed at the beginning or end of programs (except on programs purchased from the domestic commercial channels). There is strong reliance on sponsorship, particularly from the education sector.

ASIO—(see: Australian Security Intelligence Organisation).

aspro—1. aspirin (from a popular brand name). 2. an Associate Professor.

Aussie—Australian slang for the words Australia and Australian, and can be used in the form of an adjective, noun or proper noun.

Aussie Rules—Australian rules football, a sport played between two teams of 18 players on the field on either an Australian football ground, a modified cricket field or similar-sized sports venue. The game's objective is to move the ball downfield and kick the ball through the team's goal. The main way to score points is by kicking the ball between the two tall goal posts. The team with the higher total score at the end of the match wins, unless either a draw is declared or a tie-break is used. During general play, players may position themselves anywhere on the field and use any part of their bodies to move the ball. The primary methods are kicking, handballing and running with the ball. There are rules on how the ball can be handled: for example, players running with the ball must intermittently bounce or touch it on the ground. Throwing the ball is not allowed and players must not get caught holding the ball. Possession of the ball is in dispute at all times except when a free kick or mark is paid. A distinctive feature of the game is the mark, where players anywhere on the field who catch a ball from a kick (with specific conditions) are awarded possession. Australian football is a contact sport, in which players can tackle using their hands or use their whole body to obstruct opponents. Dangerous physical contact (such as pushing an opponent in the back), interference when marking and deliberately slowing the play are discouraged with free kicks, distance penalties or suspension for a certain number of matches, depending on the seriousness of the infringement. Frequent physical contests, spectacular marking, fast movement of both players and the ball and high scoring are the game's main attributes. Australian football has the highest spectator attendance of all sports in Australia. The most prestigious competition is the Australian Football League (AFL), culminating in the annual AFL Grand Final, currently the highest attended club championship event in the world. The rules of Australian football are governed by the AFL Commission with the advice of the AFL's Laws of the Game Committee. Details of the game's origins in Australia are obscure and still the subject of much debate. Australian football became organised in Melbourne in May 1859, when the first laws of the game were published by the Melbourne Football Club. As early as 1841, there is documented evidence of "foot-ball" being played in metropolitan and country Victoria as well as mention of early matches in Adelaide (1843) and southern Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). While the exact rules being played in these matches are unknown, they may have shared similarities and influences. In 1858 English public school football games began to be played in Melbourne and surrounding districts. The earliest known such match was played on 15 June 1858 between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar School on the St Kilda foreshore. A letter by Tom Wills was published in Bell's <em>Life in Victoria & Sporting Chronicle</em> on 10 July 1858, calling for a "foot-ball club", or some other "athletic game", with a "code of laws" to keep cricketers fit during winter. This letter is regarded by many historians as being a catalyst for the development of a new code of football in 1859, today known as Australian football. On 31 July, a knock-a-bout match at Yarra Park was played between a "St Kilda scratch team" and "Melbourne scratch team". Trees were used for goal posts and there were no boundaries and the match lasted from 1 pm until dark. There were no rules and fights frequently broke out. Melbourne being a relatively young city, the majority of the early players were migrants and the media of the time noted that participants of each nationality played the game their own distinctive way: the English played in a fashion that resembled rugby football, the Scots played recklessly, and the Irish played in a fashion that resembled the Irish sport of Gaelic football. How the Welsh played is unknown. The theory that Australian football was derived from Gaelic football became popular in the mid-20th century, despite the fact that Australian football was codified almost 30 years before the Irish game. There is no archival evidence in favour of a Gaelic origin, and the style of play shared between the two modern codes was evident in Australia long before the Irish game evolved in a similar direction. Since the 1980s, the theory that Australian football comes from the Aboriginal game of Marn Grook has also gained attention. It is claimed that Tom Wills, growing up amongst aborigines in Victoria, may have seen or played Marn Grook, and used elements from the game when formulating the laws of Australian football. This, too, has no basis in direct evidence. Officially known as Australian football, also called football, footy (and in some regions is marketed as AFL, after the Australian Football League, the only fully professional Australian football league).

assignment—(see: convict assignment.)

assignment registers—(hist.) very few assignment registers have survived but the assignment registers of 1821 to 1824 do exist. They are indexed, and record names, ships, assignment dates, masters, residences, dates and reasons for return. Occasionally they give occupations and other details as well. The 1828 census provides a column for 'employer'. Convicts were often listed as 'Government Servants' (GS) while serving time.

assignment to convict's wives—(hist.) convicts who had been in the colony for a period, and who did not commit further offences, were eligible to apply to have their families brought out at the expense of the Crown. Applications had to show that convicts would be able to support their families upon their arrival and not incur any further expense to the Government. In general, families were not permitted to reunite in Australia unless the convict applying had a Ticket of Leave allowing convicts to work for themselves and thus able to provide the means of supporting their families.

assimilation—a process of acculturation imposed upon Indigenous Aboriginals. In 1937, the State Governments met with the Federal Government to discuss a national assimilation policy. The NSW Government responded by replacing the Aboriginal Protection Board with the Aboriginal Welfare Board. Assimilation would now take place under welfare laws. The policy was introduced in 1939 and implemented vigorously under Paul Hasluck as Minister from 1951 to 1963. In 1962 Aboriginal people finally won voting rights for Commonwealth and Territory elections. Two years later the Northern Territory Welfare Ordinance was replaced by a comprehensive social welfare Ordinance that lifted all major restrictions on Aboriginal people. The 1967 referendum removed the constitutional barrier to the Commonwealth Government's power to legislate for all indigenous people

assisted Aborigine—a designation, created under the Aborigines’ Act 1965 (Qld), that was applied to all Indigenous people living on a mission, station or reserve. All 'assisted Aborigines' were required to hold a Certificate of Entitlement in order to remain within the settlement that provided assistance. Conversely, an assisted Aborigine could be legally detained for up to one year, for "leaving, escaping, or attempting to leave or escape, from the reserve". The designation was abolished by the Aborigines' Act 1971 (Qld).

assisted passage—(hist.) by 1800 the settlement in the Colony of New South Wales was no longer at immediate risk of starvation. There were still concerns, however, about having enough skilled labourers to sustain the growing population. In addition to this, the British Government was eager to colonise other areas of the continent before their French enemies were able to. There was also a desire to make money from agricultural exports. These factors contributed to the need for more free settlers, particularly skilled workers, to migrate to Australia. During the early 1800s, as poverty and unemployment increased in Britain, many could not afford the expense of travelling to Australia; therefore, in 1830 the assisted passage scheme was initiated for British migrants. Rather than giving Australian land away to ex-soldiers (whose period of service had finished) and emancipists (convicts who had finished serving a sentence or been granted a pardon before their sentence had expired), this scheme required the purchase of colonial land. These settlers were called "Free Settlers". Some of these new settlers laid claim to vast tracts of land on which they started grazing cattle and sheep. They came to be called the "squatters". Over time some of these families became very wealthy and respectable. Their land holdings (stations) in some cases are bigger than some small countries. The proceeds from land sales were then used to pay for the passage of poorer migrants to Australia. By 1850 around 187 000 free settlers had migrated to Australia, most of whom had arrived under the assisted passage scheme. While the assisted passage scheme enabled the migration of many poor, male workers, there were concerns about the disproportionate ratio of men to women in New South Wales. In 1938, women were still outnumbered by men at a ratio of one to four. This increased to a ratio of one to twenty in rural areas. To solve this problem, in 1835 the bounty scheme was introduced. Designed to attract young couples and young single women, the bounty scheme involved the colonial government of New South Wales paying shipping agents a bounty (reward) for each suitably skilled migrant that they were able to secure for employers. Shipping agents, however, were criticised for overloading their ships in a greedy attempt to make a greater profit. The bounty scheme was abandoned six years later.

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asthma weedPariettaria judaica, an aggressively spreading weed of southern Queensland that is detrimental to farmland as well as people's health. Drought conditions assist its invasion of pastureland, where it competes for survival with grasses required for grazing animals.

Aston, Tilly—Matilda Ann Aston (11 December 1873-1 November 1947) was a blind Australian writer and teacher, who founded the Victorian Association of Braille Writers, and later went on to establish the Association for the Advancement of the Blind, with herself as secretary. She is remembered for her achievements in promoting the rights of vision impaired people. Tilly was born in the town of Carisbrook, Victoria in 1873, the youngest of eight children. Vision impaired from birth, she was totally blind by the age of 7. Six months after her father died in 1881 she met Thomas James, a miner who had lost his sight in an industrial accident and who had become an itinerant blind missionary. He taught her to read braille and soon after, the Rev. W. Moss, who visited Carisbrook with the choir of the Victorian Asylum and School for the Blind, persuaded her to attend the school in St Kilda, Melbourne, to further her education. She enrolled as a boarder on 29 June 1882. After successfully matriculating at the age of 16, Tilly became the first blind Australian to go to a university, enrolling for an Arts Degree from the University of Melbourne. However, due to the lack of braille text books and "nervous prostration", she was forced to discontinue her studies in the middle of her second year. While convalescent, she tried to earn her living as a music-teacher, and realised the plight of blind people. With the assistance of friends and the Australian Natives' Association, Aston established the Victorian Association of Braille Writers in 1894. This organisation would eventually become the Victorian Braille Library. In 1895 a meeting called by Tilly Aston founded the Association for the Advancement of the Blind (now Vision Australia) to fight for greater independence, social change and new laws for blind people. They quickly won voting rights for blind people; free postage for Braille material in 1899 (a world first for Australia); and transport concessions for the blind. In 1913 Tilly Aston did teaching training and become head of the Victorian Education Department's School for the Blind, the first blind woman to do so. Her appointment was not without criticism from staff and officials of the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind because of her disability and she was required to "sever her connexion with the blind societies she had helped to found". She proved a competent educator and administrator, but her school years were not happy ones. She retired in 1925, after suffering a slight stroke, and received a small allowance in lieu of superannuation. Aston was also a prolific writer, particularly of poetry and prose sketches, though her writing was often interrupted by her teaching and other activities. In 1904, she won the Prahran City Council's competition for an original story. The Woolinappers, or Some Tales from the By-ways of Methodism was published in 1905, and several books followed after that. Her writings were also serialised in Victorian newspapers and, for 12 years, she edited and contributed to a braille magazine for Chinese mission schools, A Book of Opals. She had 8 volumes of verse published in Melbourne between 1901 and 1940, corresponded around the world using the Esperanto language, and wrote her memoirs, which were published in 1946. She believed her book of verse, The Inner Garden, contained her best work. She died in Windsor of cancer on 1 November 1947. The Federal electorate Division of Aston in Melbourne's eastern suburbs and a street in the Canberra suburb Cook are named in her honour.

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