Australian Dictionary

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Australia Decoded

Aboriginal Camp

Aboriginal Camp

a bad trot—(from horse racing) a series of misfortunes; a spate of bad luck.

a big ask—a large request or requirement: e.g., It's a big ask, son, but I need you to donate one of your kidneys to me.

a bit gone—mad; silly; insane.

a bit hot—1. unjustifiably, unfairly expensive. 2. rather excessive, unfair.

a bit more choke and you would have started—(joc.) statement to someone who has farted loudly in company.

a bit of a lad—a high-spirited fellow; a rogue.

a bit rough/rugged—1. unfair; unjust. 2. unseemly; risqué; lewd; indecent.

a bit solid—harsh; unreasonable.

a bit thick—1. too much to tolerate; unreasonable: e.g., Being expected to work late without pay is a bit thick. 2. (of a person) rather dumb.

a bite of the cherry—a share of the proceeds, goods, etc.

a bite short of a bikkie—not all there; scatter-brained; mentally deficient.

a brick short of a load—a bit short on brainpower.

a change is as good as a holiday—a break in one's usual routine (or look, etc) is enough to revive the spirit.

a coldie—a beer, generally a bottle of beer, cold of course: e.g., Mate, let's stop at the pub after work and crack a coldie.

a crock—a falsehood: e.g., Don't listen to him, it's all a crock!

a cuppa—a cup of tea: e.g., Come on over this arvo and we'll have a nice sit-down and a cuppa.

a feed—a meal: e.g., I could really go for a feed of steak n' kidney pie.

a freckle past a hair—the stock answer when someone asks the time of someone not wearing a watch, or when someone gives annoyance by asking repetitively.

a good few—quite a large amount: e.g., We didn't expect a large crowd, but a good few turned up.

a green one—a bottle of Victoria Bitter (ale).

a lie down—a short rest or nap: e.g., Me nan used to have a lie down every arvo—till she finally carked it.

a loaf short of a picnic—a wee bit short on brains.

a nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse—under the prevailing circumstances, the difference is inconsequential.

a nonsense—absurd or meaningless: e.g., It is just a nonsense to say that!

A over T—arse over tit; upside down; fall over heavily: e.g., I broke my leg when my horse went A over T.

a packet of broken biscuits—a description of someone whose crumbling life is concealed by attractive packaging.

a quart into a pint pot—1. the placement of, or the attempt to place, a large amount into a small space 2. an impossible task: e.g., Give it away, son, you're trying to fit a quart into a pint pot!

a serve—a rebe; a reprimand; a scolding: e.g., He copped a serve from Mum for what he said.

a set-to—a quarrel, argument or fight.

a shitload—a lot: e.g. I have a shitload of things to do this arvo.

a spot of—a small amount; e.g., I'll have a spot of tea now, if you don't mind.

a stubby short of a slab—intellectually challenged.

a throw—each; each time, e.g., Those things cost me ten dollars a throw. A term originating from dicing games.

a toss—(see: a throw).

A$—signifies the Australian dollar (as opposed to the New Zealand or U.S. dollar). In Australia, the exchange rate between Australian and U.S. dollars is reported nightly on the mainstream TV news programs.


AAL—(see: Aboriginal Advancement League).

AAPA Act—(see: Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act, 1972 (WA)).

AAT Act—Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975, the centrepiece of legislative reforms to Australian administrative law in the 1970s, providing for a review of Commonwealth administrative decisions. By this Act, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is invested with the jurisdiction to review decisions made under more than 400 separate Acts and legislative instruments. Notable examples include Commonwealth employees' compensation, social security, taxation, veterans' entitlements, bankruptcy, civil aviation, corporate law, customs, freedom of information, immigration and citizenship, and industry assistance and security assessments undertaken by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. The Act also provides for a right of appeal from the tribunal to the Federal Court of Australia, on questions of law. The AAT Act of 1975, along with a number of other Acts, was amended by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Amendment Act 2005.

AAT Amendment Act—(Administrative Appeal Tribunal Amendment Act 2005 No. 38) aims to improve operations of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal without fundamental change to its purpose, structure or function. The Act addresses concerns that the dispute resolution process at the federal level gave rise to undue delays, high costs and unfairness in litigation. A number of the amendments are based on recommendations from an ALRC Report, including: allowing the AAT president to authorise conference registrars to issue directions as to the procedure to be followed at, or in connection with, the hearing of a proceeding before the hearing has commenced; imposing an obligation on agency decision-makers to assist the tribunal to reach its decision; allowing the AAT president to authorise members to give a party leave to inspect a document produced under summons (previously done only by a presidential or senior member). The Administrative Appeals Tribunal Bill was passed by Parliament in March 2005, and the majority of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Amendment Act 2005 commenced operation in May 2005.

AAV—(see: Aboriginal Affairs Victoria).

ABA—(see: Aboriginal Benefits Account).

abattoir—animal slaughterhouse.

Abbott's boobyPapasula abbotti, the rarest of the seven species of Sulidae in the world. Abbott's booby is unique amongst the sulids and was recently placed in its own genus. It has some very ancient characteristics and may have diverged from other sulids prior to the divergence of gannets (Morus) and boobies (Sula). It is unique in its breeding biology and behaviour. It measures about 80cm from beak to tail; has off-white plumage; black panda-like eye patches; black wings, flank marks and tails; and black outer ends to its blue, webbed feet. Males have pale grey bills, tipped black, while females have black-tipped pink bills. Abbott's booby is known to breed only on Christmas Island, and to forage in the waters surrounding the island. Within Christmas Island, most nests are found in the tall plateau forest on the central and western areas of the island, and in the upper terrace forest of the northern coast. Abbott's booby is a marine species. It spends much of its time at sea, but needs to come ashore to breed. There were no realistic estimates of numbers of Abbott's boobies before 1967, but it is known that the global range had been severely reduced. In 1967, the breeding population on Christmas Island was estimated at 2,300 pairs. Abbott's boobies are thought to be very long lived, and from breeding data it has been estimated that it would take between 24 and 31 years for parents to produce their replacements. They probably first breed at eight years of age and the average life span could be around 40 years. Breeding commences in March, when established pairs begin returning to nest sites and start collecting nest material. Laying may occur at any time between April and October, but most birds lay between mid-May and mid-July. Abbott's booby feeds on fish and squid, and is thought to travel up to 400km to feeding grounds when they are breeding, but the location of fishing areas has not been confirmed. When not breeding Abbott's boobies may travel large distances; it has been recorded near the Chagos Archipelago, some 4000km west of Christmas Island. There are a number of threats to Abbott's booby, including clearing of forest and wind turbulence; sea surface temperature conditions; storms and cyclones; deterioration of feeding areas; and the introduced yellow crazy ant.

ABC—the Australian Broadcasting Commission is Australia's national public broadcaster. Originally created in 1932 as a radio network, the Corporation has gradually expanded and diversified into all forms of mainstream media, providing television, radio and online services throughout metropolitan and regional Australia, and overseas via its Asia-Pacific Television service and Radio Australia. Founded in 1929 as the Australian Broadcasting Company, it was subsequently made a state-owned corporation on 1 July 1932, as the Australian Broadcasting Commission. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 changed the name of the organisation to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, effective 1 July 1983. Although funded and owned by the government, the ABC remains editorially independent, as ensured through the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983.

Abercrombie Caves—the most accessible cave system in New South Wales, it is one of the most spectacular limestone cave systems in Australia. The Abercrombie Caves consist of a large arch, claimed to be the largest natural limestone tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere, and which has a number of smaller passages leading from it. While the cave system is small as a whole, the Abercrombie Archway is of enormous dimensions, surpassing the size of the Grand Arch at Jenolan by two and a half times. Mount Gray, just above the caves, was established as a gold mining community covering over 20ha. The first white visitors to the caves appear to have been bushrangers. In 1830 armed settlers, mounted police and an army regiment fought it out with the Ribbon Gang near the caves. Convict leg irons have been found in Bushranger Cave. A severe flood hit the archway in April 1950; water was reported to be 7m up the walls, and many of the tracks were washed away. The Reserve is a wildlife sanctuary, with wallabies, kangaroos, wombats, and many different species of birds. In 1854 gold was discovered in the area. Located 289km west of Sydney and 72km south of Bathurst.

Abercrombie River—a river in New South Wales, flowing from Mount Werong westward to the Wyangala Dam near Cowra. The river is a tributary of the Lachlan, which it joins at Wyangala lake. The 130 km (81 mi) river flows through freehold land as well as the Abercrombie River National Park, and provides habitat for platypus and rakali. The Goulburn-Oberon Road crosses the Abercrombie River in the steep-sided Abercrombie Gorge. The original inhabitants of the land alongside the river were Aborigines of the Wiradjuri or Gundungarra clans, which may have used the river as a trading route. The first European to discover the watercourse was explorer Charles Throsby on 5 May 1819, during an expedition from Sydney to the Central West of New South Wales. Alluvial gold was discovered in and along the river in 1851, inspiring a minor gold rush hampered by the ruggedness of the terrain and the periodic depths of the waterway. Early miners recovered up to 3 oz (85 g) of gold a day along the river, and by 1862 between forty and fifty mining parties were at work at Milburne Creek, a minor tributary of the Abercrombie. It is the furthest east of the inland flowing rivers.

Abercrombie River National Park—the 19,000ha park is the largest extant patch of low open forest in the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales. It is an important area of remnant bushland within the south-western central tablelands, helping to preserve the pristine quality of the river environment. Located 40km south of Oberon and 60km north of Goulburn, this park conserves communities of flora and fauna that are typical of mountain and tableland areas. Fauna include wallaroos, red-necked wallabies, swamp wallabies, eastern grey kangaroos, wombats, echidnas, greater gliders, sugar gliders, brush-tailed possums, ring-tailed possums, platypus, Gippsland water dragons and over 60 different species of birds. The land and waterways, and the plants and animals that live in them, feature in all facets of Aboriginal culture—including recreational, ceremonial, spiritual and as a main source of food and medicine. They are associated with dreaming stories and cultural learning that is still passed on. The local Aboriginal tribes were possibly the Wiradjuri or Gundungarra people. These tribes probably used the Abercrombie River as a trading route for stone tools and even shells from the coast. The area that now forms the national park was prospected during the 19th century gold rushes, and there are still some diggings, water races and sluice boxes left behind by the miners. There's also an early 20th century wattle-and-daub hut in the park.

Aberdeen—a small, rural service town situated beside the Hunter River, amidst pastoral and agricultural lands. The town developed on the site of the Upper Hunter River ford used by pioneer settlers in the early 19th century. Only a short drive from Aberdeen are the famous Scone thoroughbred studs, which were among the first to bring highly successful stallions from Britain, Europe and the US to enrich Australian bloodlines. A highly successful thoroughbred stud, Segenhoe Estate, located on the northern fringes of the town, has played a pivotal role in the development of the area since the early 1830s. In its time, the original Georgian homestead hosted many a passing dignitary—the guests who watched the sunset from the bull-nosed verandah included explorers Allan Cunningham and Edmund Kennedy, and Sir Richard Bourke, who was Governor of New South Wales from 1830 to 1837. Aberdeen is situated on the Upper Hunter Wine Trail, which runs from Scone in the north down to Muswellbrook and Denman in the south, along which you'll find some of Australia's most well-known vineyards, such as Rosemount Estate and Arrowfield. The district about Aberdeen was once occupied by the Wanaruah people. Because few written records of Aboriginal Australia were kept, it is difficult to make firm assertions about their lifestyle in pre-colonial Australia. However, it is known that the Wanaruah had trade and ceremonial links with the Kamilaroi people, who may also have occupied the area. Located 273 km north of Sydney.

Abo—(derog.) an Aboriginal Australian.

Aboriginal—1. of the Australian Aborigines. 2. Aboriginal English.

Aboriginal Advancement League—(AAL) aims to establish and administer programs that improve the social, economic and cultural circumstances of Aboriginal people. These include family support, food assistance, home visits, advocacy, counselling and educational programs, drug and alcohol awareness and funeral services. The AAL was formed following the Victorian government’s appointment, in 1955, of a retired magistrate, Charles McLean, to inquire into the circumstances of Aboriginal Victorians. McLean was critical of conditions at the two remaining Aboriginal reserves, Lake Tyers and Framlingham and suggested that Indigenous Victorians of mixed descent should be removed and assimilated, thereby reducing the populations of the reserves. The people at Lake Tyers resisted all attempts to close their community; one result of their campaign being the formation of the Aboriginal Advancement League. The first person to become the fulltime officer was Doug Nicholls, who in 1976, became the first Aboriginal person to be appointed a state governor, in South Australia.

Aboriginal Affairs Act 1967 (VIC)—enabled a newly appointed Minister for Aboriginal Affairs to review existing laws and policies on Indigenous people living in Victoria. Within the first year, the minister expressed concern about 'unauthorised fostering arrangements of Aboriginal children'. However, real change only came with the establishment of Indigenous-operated community services. These included: Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Cooperative (appearing for Indigenous children in court); Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (opened in 1976). In 1969 the Aboriginal Affairs Act was amended to provide that the Victorian police were to notify the Ministry whenever an Aboriginal child was brought before a Children's Court. Thereafter the Aborigines Advancement League would be notified, enabling the children to be legally represented. The efforts of these Indigenous-operated organisations within 10 years resulted in a 40 per cent reduction in the number of Indigenous children in homes. The Act was amended three years later, by the Aboriginal Lands Act 1970 (VIC), to allow for Aboriginal ownership of the land on which they lived.

Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority—a statutory body established pursuant to the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972 (WA). The purpose of the Act, as defined in Section 13, requires that Authority to provide: consultative, planning and advisory services in relation to the economic, social and cultural activities of persons of Aboriginal descent, and advise on the adequacy, implementation and co-ordination of services provided, or to be provided from other sources. Section 14 of the Act sets out the powers of the Authority, which include: power to confer and collaborate with departments of the Commonwealth or states, and other bodies or agencies having to do with Aboriginal affairs, for the purposes of the Act; power to establish committees to investigate and report on any aspect of the Authority's functions; power to invite any person, subject to approval of the Minister, to act in an advisory capacity to the Authority in relation to any of its functions.

Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972 (WA)—(AAPA Act) establishes the Aboriginal Lands Trust, which is empowered to acquire and hold land. It must use and manage that land for the benefit of people of Aboriginal descent and, as far as practicable, in accordance with the wishes of the Aboriginal inhabitants of the area. The Trust is authorised to consult, negotiate and enter into financial arrangements with other persons or bodies as may be necessary or desirable for the development of the land for which it is responsible. The Trust is also empowered to take, instigate or support any action that may be required to ensure the most beneficial use of the land. The minerals and petroleum on or under land vested or held by the Aboriginal Lands Trust remain the property of the Crown. Explorers and miners seeking to enter these reserves, if not themselves Aboriginal people, are required to obtain a permit from the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority. Some former Aboriginal reserves have been transferred to Aboriginal Land Trusts, but most Aboriginal reserve land in Western Australia remains under direct government ownership and control.

Aboriginal Affairs Victoria—(AAV) the Victorian government's central point of advice on all aspects of Aboriginal affairs in Victoria. This policy advice may relate to services provided by other state government agencies, Commonwealth departments, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), or to services delivered within the Aboriginal community. An important aspect of the work of AAV is to promote knowledge and understanding about Victoria's Aboriginal people within the wider community. AAV also administers legislation that protects Aboriginal cultural heritage in Victoria.

Aboriginal Ancestral Being—around the beginning, the Ancestral Beings rose from the folds of the earth and stretching up to the scorching sun. They called out, "I am!" As each Ancestor sang out their name, "I am Snake", "I am Honey Ant", they created the most sacred of their songs. Slowly, they began to move across the barren land naming all things and thus bringing them into being. Their words forming verses as the Ancestors walked about, they sang mountains, rivers and deserts into existence. Landscape features may be the embodiment of the Ancestor itself, such as a particular rock representing a specific figure, or they may be the result of something the Ancestor did or that happened to the Ancestor in the Creation Period, such as a river having formed when the Rainbow Serpent passed through the area in the Creation Period, or a depression in a rock or in the ground representing the footprint or sitting place of an Ancestral Being. Wherever they went, their songs remained, creating a web of songlines over the country. As they travelled the Ancestors hunted, ate, made love, sang and danced, leaving a trail of Dreaming along the songlines. Finally, at the end of their journey the Ancestral Beings sang 'back into' the earth, where they can be seen as land formations, sleeping.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Act 1965 (Qld)—an attempt to effect assimilation through education and housing. The Act established the position of Director of Aboriginal and Island Affairs in place of Director of Native Welfare and the director was no longer the legal guardian of Indigenous children. However, the director could still order the compulsory removal of people, including children, between reserves. The new law introduced the classification of 'assisted person', and every Indigenous person living in a community or mission was an assisted person. All ‘assisted Aborigines’ were required to hold a 'certificate of entitlement' in order to remain on the mission or settlement that provided the subsistence-level assistance. The director could order any 'assisted' Aborigine or Islander who was not residing on a reserve to be transferred to one; and could order an assisted Aborigine to be transferred from one reserve to another, upon the recommendation of an Aboriginal Court of a reserve on which the assisted Aborigine was residing. Similar provisions were made in relation to Islanders. The dormitory system was maintained under the Act. Repealed by the Aborigines Act 1971 (Qld) and the Torres Strait Islander Act 1971 (Qld).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission—(ATSIC) Australia's national policy-making and service delivery agency for Indigenous people. It is an independent statutory authority established by the Australian (federal) government under the ATSIC Act. The ATSIC board assists the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in administering the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 and other Commonwealth land rights legislation. ATSIC is also required to keep accounts and prepare financial statements for the Land Fund. On 27 May 2004 the federal government introduced legislation to abolish the ATSIC board.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) Act 1989 (Cth)—established ATSIC, which replaced the Aboriginal Development Corporation (ADC). on 5 March 1990, the ADC handed its functions over to ATSIC. The functions of the new body were expanded to include providing loans and grants to Aboriginal communities for housing and business enterprises. The ATSIC Act has since been amended on a number of occasions, and was the subject of a major Government review.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 (Cth)—the principal Commonwealth legislation protecting Indigenous heritage. The act complements state/territory legislation and is intended for use only where such laws and processes prove to be ineffective. Under the act the responsible minister can make temporary or long-term declarations to protect areas and objects of significance under threat of injury or desecration. It was the first recognition of the right of Indigenous people to preserve, protect, access and manage their own cultural material. This recognition formed part of a general move away from policies of assimilation and towards self-determination. Since the passage of this legislation around 200 applications have been lodged with the result that eight declarations have been made protecting objects of significance to Indigenous people. Emergency (i.e. temporary) declarations have protected five significant places, and two long-term declarations remain in place, one protecting women’s sites under threat from a dam near Alice Springs and the other (with effect from July 2000) protecting Boobera Lagoon in northern New South Wales. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 was amended on 1 July 2004, effectively excising country generally understood to form a substantial part of the Bunurong’s traditional tribal land.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Acts 1991 (Qld)—the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 and the Torres Strait Land Act 1991. Together, these two acts provide a scheme under which Indigenous people can obtain secure title to certain categories of land, that is, existing Indigenous reserves or Deeds of Grant in Trust. The acts have two mechanisms to achieve this purpose, land transfers and land claims.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Fund—(the Land Fund) part two of the Commonwealth government's response to the High Court's historic native title decision in the Mabo case in 1992. (Part one was the introduction of native title legislation in 1993.) The Land Fund is a self-sustaining capital fund established in 1995 in conjunction with the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC). The Land Fund was established by the Land Fund and Indigenous Land Corporation (ATSIC Amendment) Act 1995, inserted into the ATSIC Act 1989 to recognise the fact that most indigenous people will not benefit from the High Court’s Mabo (No. 2) decision and the Native Title Act 1993, because they were dispossessed of their land and cannot therefore demonstrate the continuous association necessary to prove native title. The Land Fund is a public trust account, providing an ongoing source of funds to the ILC. Government allocations to the Land Fund ended in 2004, however funding to the ILC continued from investment income earned by the Land Fund. Since June 2004, the corporation has continued to assist Indigenous people in land acquisition and management by operating off the interest earned by the Land Fund. The Land Fund itself remains the property of the Commonwealth.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services—(ATSIS) an executive agency of the Commonwealth, which operated in 2003-04 and continues to operate in considerably reduced form. It was established on 1 July 2003 to provide services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and administer programs that were previously the responsibility of ATSIC. From the point of view of ATSIC's clients and the organisations it funded, ATSIC and ATSIS operated as one agency. On 15 April 2004, the Australian government announced its intention to abolish both ATSIC and ATSIS and distribute the programs and services ATSIS administered to mainstream Australian government agencies. The transfer of the vast majority of programs occurred on 1 July 2004; however, the abolition of both agencies has now been delayed by the Senate's referral of the ATSIC Amendment Bill to a committee.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner—a position created by the Federal Parliament in December 1992 in response to the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the National Inquiry into Racist Violence. The role of the commissioner is to keep Indigenous issues before the federal government and the Australian community, to promote understanding and respect for the rights of Indigenous Australians. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner is a member of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

Aboriginal art—one of the oldest continuing art traditions in the world. Much of the most important knowledge of Aboriginal society was conveyed through different kinds of storytelling—including narratives that were spoken, performed as dances or songs, and those that were painted. Rock pictures are widespread throughout Australia, being found from the far north—with notable concentrations in the Kimberley, Victoria River, Arnhem Land and Cape York Peninsula—through the Pilbara, Flinders Ranges, and Sydney Sandstone, to the Grampians in western Victoria and the Ice Age caves of south-western Tasmania. Engraved walls excavated from beneath archaeological deposits in the Cape York area have been dated to more than 13,000 years ago. Pigments used in pictographs made on sandstone shelters in the far north of Australia have yielded a date of about twenty thousand years ago. 'Rock varnish' in petroglyphs in South Australia has been dated to greater than thirty thousand years ago. Red and yellow ochres have been recovered from contexts dated to 60,000 years ago.

Aboriginal artefact sites—(see: Aboriginal Heritage Sites).

Aboriginal Australian—the earliest known human inhabitant of the Australian mainland. Australian Aborigines descend from the same lineage as the first modern humans to migrate from Africa, DNA analysis has confirmed. DNA from people in New Guinea and Aboriginal Australians can be traced back to early branches of the human phylogenetic tree, associated with the first humans to leave Africa 50,000 - 70,000 years ago. The DNA analysis also revealed very little gene flow into Australia and New Guinea in the 50,000 or so years since the initial migration. Australians evolved in relative isolation compared to other parts of the Indian Ocean, which were subject to much more genetic mixing. This in turn suggests that developments in language and tool use were not influenced by outside sources

Aboriginal Benefits Account—(ABA) a trust account held by the Northern Territory office of ATSIC that is administered by an ABA Secretariat and with the advice of the ABA Advisory Committee. The Federal government pays into the ABA an amount of money equal to the royalties paid to the Northern Territory and Federal Governments from mining on Aboriginal land. These "statutory royalty equivalents" are distributed by the ABA as follows: 40% among the four Northern Territory Land Councils to fund operations required to carry out their statutory responsibilities of looking after the land interests of all Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory; 30% to Aboriginal groups and people in areas affected by mining on Aboriginal land via their royalty.

Aboriginal burials—practices varied throughout Australia, people being buried in parts of southern and central Australia, but having quite a different burial in the north. Across much of northern Australia, a person's burial had two stages, each accompanied by ritual and ceremony. In the primary burial the corpse is laid out on an elevated wooden platform, covered in leaves and branches, and left several months for the flesh to rot away from the bones. The secondary burial is when the bones are collected from the platform, painted with red ochre, and then dispersed in different ways. Sometimes a relative will carry a portion of the bones with them for a year or more. Sometimes they are wrapped in paperbark and deposited in a cave shelter, where they are left to disintegrate with time. In parts of Arnhem Land the bones are placed into a large hollow log and left at a designated area of bushland. The hollow log is a dead tree trunk which has been naturally hollowed out by the action of termites. Aboriginal rock art records ceremonies dating back tens of thousands of years, yet still continued to this day. A man dances a pose with his arms outstretched, holding a short stick in each hand, this photo being taken in Darwin in about the 1920s. Early Kimberley rock art in Western Australia records the same pose with a person holding short sticks in each hand. Conical and "bucket" headdresses are worn during a public performance ceremony in Alice Springs. Two boomerangs are used as clap sticks to beat time for the singing. The conical headdress and knees bent in a dancing pose appear in the early rock art of the Kimberley.

Aboriginal burning practices—(see: Aboriginal fire management regimes.)

Aboriginal Child Placement Principle—the premise that Aboriginal children are better off cared for in their Aboriginal families and communities, rather than being placed in a family of different cultural and ethnic background. This principle arises from the recognition of Aboriginal people as a distinct, albeit varied, cultural group: and as such, have a moral right to retain their own heritage, customs, languages and institutions. The principle is also an acknowledgement by the government that previous policies directed at Aboriginal children have caused suffering to Aboriginal people. The movement in policy from “assimilation” to this principle reflects a change in approach to the “best interests” of Aboriginal children. This change is also evident in the area of child custody. The principle essentially outlines a preference for the placement of Aboriginal children with Aboriginal people when they are placed outside their families. The order of preference is generally that an Aboriginal child be placed: within the child’s extended family; within the child’s Aboriginal community; and, failing that, with other Aboriginal people. The form of the principle varies across the various jurisdictions in Australia; however, the principle is stated policy, in one form or another, in all states and territories.

Aboriginal clan groups—an important unit in Aboriginal society, having its own name and territory. A clan is a group of about 40-50 people with a common territory and totems, consisting of groups of extended families. Generally, men born into the clan remain in the clan territory. But not all members of a clan live on the clan territory. The sisters and daughters of one clan go to live on their husbands' clan territory, if that is the tradition for that tribe, for the wives of the clansmen have come from clans of the opposite moiety. Regardless of where she lives, however, she remains a member of the clan of her father. Australian tribes are really "language groups", made up of people sharing the same language, customs, and general laws. The people of a tribe share a common bond and in their own language, their word for "man" is often the word used for the name of the tribe. Because a tribe is like a small country with its own language, some tribal groups also use the term "nation" to describe themselves, such as the Larrakeyah tribe around Darwin calling itself the "Larrakeyah Nation". Tribes were generally not a war-making group, they were not led by a chief, and people generally use their moiety or clan name to describe themselves individually, rather than their tribal name. There were an estimated 500 Aboriginal tribes in Australia at the time of European settlement. Of these, about 400 still have people representing them, and in central and much of northern Australia, these tribes are largely intact.

Aboriginal Communities Act 1979 (WA)—proclaims that any Aboriginal community may make by-laws relating to their community lands. These may be lands of any tenure, which the Governor proclaims to be community lands. These by-laws may prohibit and regulate entry onto those lands and may regulate the behaviour of people on those lands, in a manner and scope similar to local government by-laws. Offenders are normally dealt with by community courts convened by the Aboriginal community concerned. The provisions of this legislation apply to all people on proclaimed community lands—whether they are community members or not.

Aboriginal community—a group of Aboriginal people who are related by means of shared language or culture and land usage. Sometimes several different language groups belong to one community. Aboriginal communities are diverse, ranging from urban to rural and remote, and from modern to traditional in their beliefs and practices. Although many Aboriginal communities are now located on self-governing reserves, the original concept of a fixed-location community was imposed upon the traditionally nomadic tribes by State government.

Aboriginal community council—a local government composed entirely of members of an Aboriginal community, and Community councils represent the interests of, and which makes decisions on behalf of that community. It is a term that can be used to describe either a council or an association. Many community councils are legally incorporated under the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act 1976 (Cth). In that legislation, the term 'Council' could refer to either an incorporated Aboriginal 'Council' or an incorporated 'Association'. Other councils could be incorporated under one of the legislative regimes in each state or territory. This was made possible in Queensland under the DOGIT system of community-level land trusts, established in 1984. This deed enables traditional owners to legally possess and administer their former reserves. Incorporated Aboriginal councils elect representatives every three years, to manage the community's affairs.

Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer—(ACLO) liaises with the Aboriginal community and ACT policing in order to establish and maintain positive relationships and foster mutual understanding. Since 1998, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has employed Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers, recognising the importance of this role in co-ordinating and monitoring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community activities within ACT. A secondary function of the ACLO is to assist the AFP Recruitment Unit in the development and implementation of Indigenous recruitment, retention, career management and development strategies.

Aboriginal Community Police Officer—(ACPO) an arrangement between police and the Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory. The majority of ACPOs perform two roles – acting as law enforcement officers helping Aboriginal communities understand their obligations under Territory law, and as intermediaries or liaison officers between police and Aboriginal communities. Jointly funded, police provide training, salaries and uniforms to Aboriginal members of the community, while the community is responsible for providing appropriate infrastructure, vehicles, dinghies, office accommodation and housing. All ACPOs are members of the Northern Territory Police Force and the Northern Territory Police Association.

Aboriginal Community Services Acts—the Community Services (Aborigines) Act, 1984 (Qld) and Community Services (Torres Strait) Act, 1984 (Qld). Together, these two pieces of legislation established a system of community-level councils to own and administer former reserves or missions under a Deed of Grant in Trust (DOGIT). The Community Services Act became law in April of 1985, and the first deeds were issued in October. Initially these were granted to all 15 of the Torres Strait Islands where people lived, save for Murray Island, the subject of the case being fought by Eddie Mabo and others before the High Court.

Aboriginal Coordinating Council—(ACC) a secretariat body and local government to the fifteen Deed of Grant in Trust (DOGIT) communities across Queensland.

Aboriginal Corporation—an Aboriginal community council or an Aboriginal incorporated association. An Indigenous corporation registered under the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act 1976). The central feature of incorporation is that the Aboriginal corporation is a distinct legal entity. That legal entity is created when the Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations registers the corporation following an application by a group wishing to become incorporated. Thus, the corporation comes into existence upon registration of the proposed name in the Register of Indigenous Corporations.

Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act 1976 (Cth)—(ACA Act) a set of laws that establishes the office of the Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations (ORAC) and the framework for some Indigenous corporations. The laws regarding incorporation under the ACA Act were designed to meet the needs of Indigenous organisations intending to incorporate. The resultant corporations consist of every type of business, social and community enterprise. In particular, Indigenous groups have made extensive use of Part 4 of the ACA Act to form corporations for a variety of general purposes, including a wide range of service provisions. Some of these (e.g. Anangu Pitjantjatjarra in South Australia) are recognised as a local governing body and are eligible for local government assistance. There are now 2400 Aboriginal corporations under the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act.

Aboriginal Court Day—a day set aside in a Magistrates Court to sentence adult Aboriginal offenders. Aboriginal Court deals only with Aboriginal people who plead guilty to an offence. The magistrate sits off the bench, more at eye-level with the offender. An Aboriginal justice officer or a senior Aboriginal person sits beside the magistrate, to advise on cultural and community matters. The offender sits at the bar table with his/her lawyer and may have a relative sitting with him/her. Once the prosecutor and the defence counsel have had their say, the offender, the family and community members, or the victim (if present), have a chance to speak to the magistrate. The magistrate may ask them questions to help him/her in the sentencing process. Family and community members are encouraged to attend. Aboriginal justice officers and an Aboriginal court orderly work in the court. They can help the offender, his/her family and members of Aboriginal community if they have queries about the court process or outcomes, for example, payment of fines, conditions of bonds. Aboriginal Court Day began as an idea by magistrate Chris Vass, an active member of the Judicial Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Program and manager of the northern court circuits, which include the Anangu Pitjantjatjara lands. An Aboriginal Court Day was seen as a way to better serve the needs of the community and to make courts less culturally alienating to Aboriginal people. At Port Adelaide, South Australia, where this day has been effect since 1999, the attendance rate for Aboriginal people has been over 80%. The attendance rate for Aboriginal people in other courts tends to be below 50%.]

Aboriginal creation ancestors—in the Dreamtime they were the first people, who came in many different forms, e.g. rainbow snakes, Bula (Jawoyn ancestor), Namarrgon (lightning man), Warramurrungundji (Mother of the Earth). All things in the landscape were left by the Creation Ancestors—rules to live by, laws, plants, animals and people. They taught Aboriginal people how to live with the land. One of the main creation ancestors in the Kakadu area is Warramurrungundji, who travelled to Kakadu with her husband from the islands to the north-east. She sent out spirit children, telling them which languages to speak and teaching them how to hunt and gather food from their land. She created river systems, billabongs, and much of the wildlife in the region. Her journey completed, she sat down and rested, changing into a large rock, which still marks her Dreaming site today.

Aboriginal cricket tour of England, 1868—(hist.) a team of Australian Aborigines who toured in 1868 were among the few remaining members of their clans—most had already been wiped out by European settlement and imported diseases. The quality of their cricket surprised the English crowds, but it was a commercial tour and they were marketed as racial freaks. They played under 'slave-names' like King Cole, Dick-a-Dick and Sundown, and at the end of each match had to put on exhibitions of boomerang and spear throwing. The first game of the touring Aboriginal cricket team at the Oval against Surrey, England attracted some 20,000 spectators, with one of the audience recalling that the Aborigines played bare-footed 'and ran like deer'. They were never paid and only three ever played again. They were the first cricketers to represent Australia overseas, yet no Aborigine has played for his country since.

Aboriginal culture—is complex and extraordinarily diverse. It is one of the world's longest surviving cultures, which goes back at least 50,000 years. There were over 500 different clan groups or 'nations' around the continent, many with distinctive cultures and beliefs. Hundreds of languages and dialects existed (although many are now extinct), as well as a variety of different customs and rituals, art forms, styles of painting, forms of food, and hunting habits. Before European settlement, the very distinctive and culturally unique groups that made up Aboriginal Australia shared a number of common traits. All of Australia's Aborigines were semi-nomadic hunters and gatherers, with each clan having its own territory from which they 'made their living'. These territories or 'traditional lands' were defined by geographic boundaries such as rivers, lakes and mountains. They all shared an intimate understanding of, and relationship with, the land. It was the basis of their spiritual life. It was this affinity with their surroundings that goes a long way to explaining how they survived for so many millennia. They understood and cared for their different environments, and adapted to them.

Aboriginal descent—in the 1980s a new definition was proposed in the Constitutional Section of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs' Report on a review of the administration of the working definition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The section offered the following definition: An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which he (she) lives. This three-part definition (descent, self-identification and community recognition) was soon adopted by Federal Government departments as their 'working definition' for determining eligibility to some services and benefits. The definition also found its way into State legislation (e.g. in the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983: where 'Aboriginal means a person who: (a) is a member of the Aboriginal race of Australia, (b) identifies as an Aboriginal, and (c) is accepted by the Aboriginal community as an Aboriginal') and was accepted by the High Court as giving meaning to the expression 'Aboriginal race' within s. 51 (xxvi) of the Constitution (Justice Deane in Commonwealth v. Tasmania 1983). It was also used by the Federal Court when, in a first instance decision, it found that the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody had no jurisdiction to inquire into the death of Darren Wouters as the community did not identify him as Aboriginal nor did he identify himself as Aboriginal (although the full Federal Court subsequently found in Attorney-General (Cwlth) v State of Queensland, July 1990, that the Royal Commission's letter patents were framed in such a way as to make Aboriginal descent a sufficient criterion).

Aboriginal Development Corporation—(ADC) replaced the Aboriginal Land Fund Commission in 1980, to become the second Commonwealth-funded land acquisition program for Aboriginal people. The functions of the new body were expanded to include the provision of loans and grants to the Aboriginal communities for housing and business enterprises. In March 1990, the ADC handed its functions over to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC).

Aboriginal elder—the moral and spiritual leaders of the various Aboriginal communities. It is the elders who keep order, who ensure that everybody is heard, and treated with respect. Elders understand the law, which tells us where we are going and what to do. They understand their responsibilities in relation to the law, and they help us to understand our responsibilities. They create a safe place for clan members to learn and discuss these responsibilities, where everybody can speak and participate. They encourage participation by asking questions that allow clan members to grasp this reality by speaking it. They act as guides and mentors by sharing their experiences and knowledge. A person becomes an elder when they develop a quality that is recognised and acknowledged by the people. Being an elder is not a matter of age, nor is it dependent on exclusive or even comprehensive knowledge of history or the means of physical survival. Being an elder is a quality of spirit that transcends the physical, that can be earned only through service to the universal good. In recognition of their standing within their communities, various state governments now consult with local Councils of Elders.

Aboriginal English—the name given to a dialect of Australian English used by a large section of the Indigenous Australian population. It is made up of a number of varieties which developed differently in different parts of Australia. These varieties are generally said to fit along a continuum ranging from light forms, close to Standard Australian English, to heavy forms, closer to Kriol. There are generally distinctive features of accent, grammar, words and meanings, as well as language use. Aboriginal English is not to be confused with Kriol, which is a separate language from English spoken by over 30 000 people in Australia. Speakers have been noted to tend to change between different forms of Aboriginal English depending on who they are speaking to, e.g. striving to speak more like Australian English when speaking to a non-Indigenous English speaking person. Several features of Aboriginal English are shared with creole languages spoken in nearby countries, such as Tok Pisin in Papua New Guinea, Pijin in the Solomon Islands, and Bislama in Vanuatu. Australian English terms, or derivative terms, are sometimes used by the broader Australian community. Australian Aboriginal English is spoken amongst Indigenous people generally but is especially evident in what are called 'discrete communities', i.e. ex-government or mission reserves such as the DOGIT communities in Queensland. Because most Indigenous Australians live in urban and rural areas with strong social interaction across assumed rural and urban and remote divides, many so-called 'urban' people also use Aboriginal English. See the extensive research of Diana Eades for information on the impacts of these linguistic communities on the relationship between Indigenous people and Australian institutions such as the legal system.

Aboriginal fire management regimes—when Aboriginal people arrived in northern Australia, probably more than 50,000 years ago, they found an environment shaped by fires sparked by lightning at the time of year the country is most flammable—when the dry season starts giving way to the wet. Aboriginal people altered the pattern, developing complex fire-stick management regimes. In the Top End of the Northern Territory, for example, fires were lit progressively from early in the dry season as the vegetation in different landscapes—from plateau to floodplains—dried out sufficiently to burn. Objectives included attracting kangaroos and wallabies to re-sprouting perennial grasses, flushing out and trapping small game, and promoting the growth of valued plants such as water chestnut, a favoured food of magpie geese. These animals were watched closely, surrounded when they converged in numbers upon the tender new growth, and killed with clubs and spears. Each year, this fire management produced an environmentally diverse mosaic of burnt and unburnt vegetation. It also meant, importantly, that fires started by lightning at the end of the dry season would burn less fiercely and over smaller areas than would otherwise be the case. Aboriginals on drier areas would patch-burn the country, lighting small fires close together during the cool season. This creates burnt and unburnt areas in a mosaic pattern, a major ecological management tool that has been adopted by the Australian government as a means of controlling bushfires. Fires set by Aborigines had low scorch height of tree crowns, reflecting low intensity—despite generally occurring late in the dry season. Aboriginal fires were less frequent than the annual or biennial fires characteristic of European fire regimes. The European fire regime appears to have triggered a positive feedback cycle, while the Aboriginal regime maintained a negative feedback cycle between fire frequency and flammable grass fuels. Allied studies found very low average grass-to-fuel loads in both managed and unmanaged areas compared to areas under European fire management. The preservation of Aboriginal fire management regimes should be a high management priority, given the difficulty of breaking the grass-fire cycle once it has been initiated.

Aboriginal fire practices—(see: Aboriginal fire management regimes).

Aboriginal flag—the flag was designed by Harold Thomas, an artist and an Aboriginal, in 1971. The flag was designed to be an eye-catching rallying symbol for the Aboriginal people and a symbol of their race and identity. The black represents the Aboriginal people, the red the earth and their spiritual relationship to the land, and the yellow the sun, the giver of life. In the late 1960s Aborigines stepped up their campaign for Indigenous land rights through protest marches, demonstrations, banners and posters. The protests increased in the early 1970s, and Thomas noticed they were often outnumbered by non-Aborigines with their own banners and placards. He decided they needed to be more visible, and the idea of the flag was born. The Aboriginal flag was first raised in Victoria Square in Adelaide on National Aboriginal Day in 1971, but was adopted nationally by Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in 1972 after it was flown above the Aboriginal "Tent Embassy" outside of the old Parliament House in Canberra. After a period of public consultation, the Government decided in July 1995 that the flag should be proclaimed a "Flag of Australia" under Section 5 of the Flags Act 1953. The flag was so proclaimed by the Governor General of Australia, William Hayden, on 14 July 1995.

Aboriginal freehold—a type of freehold tenure applying to land that has been granted under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, in which the title vests in the community rather than in individuals. Land successfully claimed is granted under inalienable freehold title. It cannot be bought, acquired or mortgaged. However, the land can be leased, and those leases of Aboriginal land can be mortgaged.

Aboriginal Heritage Sites (VIC)—Aboriginal people often cooked their food underground in earth ovens. Over time, debris from cooking and other domestic activities combined with natural sediments to form a mound. Scarred trees are those which show signs of scarring caused as a result of bark removal by Aboriginal people for making a variety of artefacts, or may be the result of bark having been removed to make toe notches for climbing. These trees provide important clues about the perishable resources used by Aboriginal peoples. An artifact scatter is a site where there is flaked material left over from the manufacture of stone tools. Rock art sites were predominantly used for shelter and vary from shallow, cramped overhangs to deep, spacious chambers. Marine shell middens are present along much of the Victorian coastline. Freshwater shell middens are far less common and are usually found near rivers, lakes and swamps in the northern half of Victoria only, particularly the north-west and along the Murray River and its tributaries. Rock wells are formed by natural processes and in some situations enlarged by humans through chipping or by fire heating. Coastal fish traps are walled cages with a high and low opening which could be opened or closed by removing and adding rocks. Known and undetected Aboriginal sites are protected by state and Commonwealth legislation. Anyone who willfully disturbs or destroys Aboriginal sites can be fined AUD$10,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 5 years.

Aboriginal identified position—positions with specific selection criteria that signify that the role has a strong involvement in issues relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Typically, these roles will involve the development of policies or programmes targeted at Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients, or which involve direct interaction with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities. Historically, two selection criteria have been used when advertising these positions. They are not legislated—their use is based on long-standing APS policy and best practice in the careful consideration and determination of appropriate selection criteria for particular jobs. The key requirements of the criteria are: an understanding of the issues affecting Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people; and an ability to communicate sensitively and effectively with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. These criteria are consistent with the merit and reasonable opportunity values under the Public Service Act 1999 and do not raise issues of discrimination under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 because the employment opportunities advertised in this way remain open to all eligible applicants: they are not restricted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants. The Public Service Commissioner's Directions 1999 work with the provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act to enable agency heads to put in place special measures to identify particular opportunities as open only to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants. It is important for agency heads to consider and record their justification for using the special measures provisions. Key factors justifying their legality include the inequitable employment outcomes experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as a group and the fact that this situation is not improving. It can therefore be argued that the necessity for the use of special measures has been met.

Aboriginal Incorporated Association—(see: Incorporated Association).

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