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Black-footed Wallaby

Black-footed Wallaby

by John Gould - John Gould, F.R.S., Mammals of Australia, Vol. II Plate 42, London, 1863, Public Domain, Link

black wallabyWallabia bicolour, a large macropod with a head and body length to 850mm, and a 650mm tail. The fur on the back is dark blackish-grey, while the underneath is light reddish-brown. Ears are upright, but short. There is a dark patch from the muzzle to the eye and a pale to white stripe below this along the cheek, and also across the muzzle. The tail is dark grey becoming black towards the tip. It has the typical short front legs and well-developed hind legs, adapted for hopping, of all kangaroos. It is a solitary animal and it is unusual to see two adults together. Found in forested eastern regions of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Found throughout Victoria, but uncommon in the north-west of the state.

black wallarooMacropus bernardus, one of the smallest species in the kangaroo family, weighing just 13kg to 22kg. The name comes from the color of the males, which are a sooty brown to glossy black, while females are a dark brown to grey colour. Unlike kangaroos, where the muzzle is covered with hair, the black wallaroo's nose is completely naked. The black wallaroo, similar to other wallaroos, breed continuously throughout the year under good conditions. Females often increase their area of activity in order to attract the largest, most dominant male in that area. Reproduction often depends on lactation to nourish the underdeveloped young, which depends on the availability of food resources. A young is attached to the nipple until approximately 4 months of age, during which time the mother may be carrying another embryo in the uterus in an "embryonic diapause" or halted state of development. After the young detach themselves from the nipple, they continue to live in the pouch, but the mother is able to give birth to the other baby, which has resumed uterine development. The young emerge from the pouch after about 6 months. Even after the joey is not living in the pouch anymore, it returns to the pouch to suckle for many months. The black wallaroo is a rather solitary animal, except while breeding, with no more than three individuals being found in a group (usually an adult male and female, along with a large young). Aggressive behaviors are shown between males, but rarely lead to injury, and usually end quickly. These animals are extremely shy, running until out of sight if approached. Black wallaroos are grazers, who spend between 7 and 14 hours a day feeding, depending on the season. They are most active at dawn and dusk, but relatively inactive during the middle of both the day and night, when they rest. They are the only type of kangaroo which is not good to eat; the meat has a rank and unpleasant smell and taste. The Black Wallaroo occurs naturally in a very small area on the sandstone escarpment and plateau of the western edge of Arnhem Land. These animals usually occur in a wide range of vegetation types, varying from closed forests to open eucalypt forests to hummock grasslands and heaths. In most cases, they are found in areas that have large boulders in the landscape.

Black War—(see: Tasmania's Black War).

black wattleAcacia mearnsii, one of the most common framework species. Black wattles, along with gums, native box and native hop, form the framework vegetation on so-called "hill-topping" sites. They are often isolated, remnant pockets of native vegetation invaded by exotic pasture grasses. These hill-topping sites are critical habitat for male butterflies to attract females for mating, which then lay their eggs under the wattle's bark elsewhere, but still within close proximity. Black wattle flowers attract pollen-feeding birds such as the wattle birds, yellow-throated honey-eaters and New Holland honeyeaters (flowers October to December).

black window spider—(see: black house spider).

black-backed wren—(see: splendid fairywren.)

black-breasted buttonquail—Turnix melanogaster, a rare buttonquail endemic to eastern Australia, where it is usually found in rainforest. Like other buttonquails, it is unrelated to the true quails. Both sexes have marbled black, rufous, pale brown and white plumage, but the female is larger than the male and has a more extensive black face and chin. The species was originally described by ornithologist John Gould in 1837. Along with other buttonquails, the black-breasted buttonquail was traditionally placed in the order Gruiformes, but more recent molecular analysis shows it belongs to an ancient lineage of shorebirds (Charadriiformes). The black-breasted buttonquail is a plump, quail-shaped bird of predominantly marbled black, rufous and pale brown, marked prominently with white spots and stripes, and white eyes. Like other buttonquails, the female is larger and more distinctively coloured than the male. Measuring up to 20cm, it has a black face and chin sprinkled with fine, white markings. The smaller male measures up to 19cm and lacks the black markings. The female makes a low-pitched oom call. The black-breasted buttonquail is found from Hervey Bay in central Queensland south to the north-eastern corner of New South Wales. It is rare and its habitat fragmented. It is found in rainforest and nearby areas, as well as hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) plantations, and lantana thickets. It is found in Palmgrove National Park, which has consequently been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area for the species. The species was classified as vulnerable until 2012 when it downlisted to near threatened. The population has been estimated at 5000 breeding birds and declining. The usual sex roles are reversed in the buttonquail genus, as the larger and more brightly coloured female mates with multiple male partners and leaves them to incubate the eggs. One or two broods are probably laid each year; the nest is a shallow depression scraped out of the leaf litter and ground, lined with dried vegetation. Three or four shiny, grey-white or buff eggs splotched with dark brown-black and lavender are laid. It is found in the drier rainforest areas that have a continuous low canopy in northern New South Wales and southern and central Qld. Active by day, the bird forages for insects on the forest floor. Each bird rotates in its selected spot and clears away the leaf litter in a circle, picking up food items that are uncovered.

black-eared minerManorina melanotis, a controversial bird, as many taxonomists have considered it a species, a subspecies or a morphological variant of the yellow-throated miner. However, recent morphological, behavioural, ecological and genetic evidence suggests that the black-eared miner is a distinct species. Black-eared miners were once considered either common or locally common within their mallee habitat prior to 1940. However, there have been few recent records in Victoria and New South Wales, and the last stronghold of the species is in South Australia. Black-eared miners mainly feed on invertebrates and lerp, along with some nectar. These birds breed opportunistically when conditions are suitable. Breeding appears to be linked to elevated insect activity, lerp abundance and flowering following rainfall in mild to warm seasons. Like other members of the genus, black-eared miners are colonial. Breeding is co-operative with up to 12 juvenile and adult non-breeding individuals (helpers) assisting at a nest. Colonies function as a whole to repel potential predators and other intruders. The major reason for the decline of the black-eared miner is that their primary habitat on fertile soils has been cleared. This has allowed the closely related yellow-throated miner to interbreed with them, causing genetic swamping. Fire is a major threat to the remaining colonies, as these birds require mature mallee eucalypt woodland that has not been burnt for at least 55 years. Most remaining habitat in Victoria and NSW has been burnt far more frequently than this. According to the Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000, the black-eared miner is endangered.

black-footed rock-wallabyPetrogale lateralis, endemic to north-western Australia. Regarded as a threatened species, as those in the Kimberleys are confined to a very small area in the south of the region. However, they continue to thrive on Barrow Island, an important nature reserve off the Pilbara coast. They are remarkably agile, bounding up and down sheer rock cliffs at astonishing speed. During a hot day they shelter amongst the rocks but come out in the cooler mornings and evenings to eat grass or to drink from a nearby waterhole.

black-footed tree-ratMesembriomys gouldii (formerly known as Hapalotis hirsutus). Three subspecies are recognised: Mesembriomys gouldii gouldii from mainland Northern Territory and Kimberley; M. g. melvillensis from Melville Island; M. g. rattoides from Cape York (Queensland). Secure in Arnhem Land, on the Cobourg Peninsula and on Melville Island; rare in the Kimberley and on Cape York. Former distribution: Northern coastal regions of Western Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory, extending as far inland as Daly Waters. Inhabits eucalypt forest and woodland, favouring areas of tall northern woollybutt/Darwin stringybark open forest on deep soils supporting a relatively dense understorey of small trees and shrubs. Grazing by introduced ungulates and changes in fire regimes since European settlement may have reduced the abundance of the understorey trees and shrubs which provide food for this species.

black-fronted plover—Charadrius melanops, a waterbird that incubates its eggs on bare sand behind the eastern foredunes.

black-gloved wallaby—(see: western brush wallaby).

black-headed pythonAspidites melanocephalus has dramatic coloration, with dark brown or reddish-brown bands against ground colors from cream to tan, and a black head. The scales are smooth. Females are generally larger than males and can reach lengths of ten feet. It feeds mainly on reptiles. It lacks heat-sensitive pits, and in winter warms rapidly when exposed to sunlight. Whereas most snakes must expose themselves fully to the sun (and therefore to predators such as birds), the black-headed python suns its head while leaving its light-coloured body hidden. Distribution: northern Australia, from central Queensland to the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

black-naped snakeNeelaps calonotus, one of the tiniest of the elapid snakes. It is a burrower, restricted to a narrow coastal strip in the vicinity of Perth, WA.

black-striped wallabyMacropus dorsalis; the black stripe down the back of these wallabies gives them their name. They are social macropods, although, as with most other species, the females will not tolerate other's joeys. When alarmed, a group of up to 20 individuals will race off in the one direction rather than separately, as do the antisocial macropods. The gestation period is around 33-35 days, and joeys stay in pouch for up to 7 months. One of the most unforgettable traits of the black-striped is their hunched-over stance, which makes them look 'ill'—they usually take this stance when they are sunning themselves, and have their eyes half closed. They also spread their arms out wide away from their body when taking off in fright, which makes them look as though they are trying to fly. They have an unusual smell, not unlike dirty old socks, and do not tend to get many ticks. Their fur is soft, much like rabbit fur.

black-throated finchPoephila cincta, a medium to large grassfinch, averaging 100mm. Males have blue-grey heads with a blue-white ear patch; throat and upper breast is black; flanks, belly and lower breast are light brown and the back is fawn-brown. There is a black bar on the rump, a black patch between the eye and bill, the bill is black and the legs are orange-red. Favors undergrowth in tropical and warm temperate savannah woodland—rarely far from water. Its diet consists of ripe and half-ripe grass seeds.

blackbacked blue wrenMalurus melanotus, a subspecies of the wren that lives in central south-east Australia.

blackboy—any tree of the Australian genus Xanthorrhea, with a thick, dark trunk and a head of grass-like leaves. Also called grass-tree.

Blackbutt—a small town surrounded by native forests. Often referred to as the 'Timber Town', its name was comes from the blackbutt tree that is native to the area. The town of Blackbutt has a strong association with the timber industry, dating back to the mid-1800s. Located at the southern entrance to the South Burnett area of Queensland.

Blackbutt treeEucalyptus piularis, a tree characterised by an exceptionally rough bark and black patches on the bole that appear as though caused by a bush fire. The timber is used for structural framing, hardwood flooring, internal finishing and external cladding. Blackbutt is readily available as an abundant species in NSW and southern Queensland.

Blackdown Tableland National Park—an undulating plateau of sandstone that rises above the hot, dry plains of central Queensland to form the northern extension of the Central Highlands Sandstone Belt. The plateau is about 600m above the surrounding area and is bounded by precipitous cliffs 60 to 350m high. Woodlands, tall open forest and heath cover the tableland, which is dissected by deep gorges. In sheltered areas, ferns and mosses thrive in damp environments fed by the plateau's streams. Blackdown Tableland's elevation results in a moister, cooler climate than that on nearby plains, and its plant communities are several hundred kilometres from similar communities. A number of species on the tableland are found nowhere else.

blackfella—an Aboriginal male, or any dark-skinned man.

blackfella's picnic—an idle, lazy or easy time: e.g., Digging the garden in the hot sun was no blackfella's picnic.

blackfish—any of several species of the genus Gadopsis, principally river blackfish and two-spined blackfish. This nocturnal, freshwater fish is prized by angle fisherman: G. marmoratus, common in rivers and streams south of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria and in higher waters in the south-eastern Murray-Darling basin; G. bispinosis, generally found in clear, cool rocky bottomed streams in north-eastern Victoria.

blackish blind snakeRamphotyphlops nigrescens, Australia's largest blind snake, round-bodied and smooth-scaled. They live beneath ground debris and rocks, or in ant nests. Rarely seen other than when earth, stones or logs are turned over, or on the surface after rain. Their diet includes ant and termite pupae, larvae and eggs.

blackleg—(derog.) a person who fails or declines to take part in an industrial action. 2. Leptosphaeria maculans, a microbial fungus that infects canola and cattle; the disease is almost always fatal to cattle.

blackwoodAcacia melanoxylon, a very common tree of eastern Australia, grows to 10m, everywhere other than at high altitudes. The fine, hard wood of this wattle was used by some Victorian Aboriginals for making spear-throwers, boomerangs, clubs and shields. Bark was steeped in water for bathing aching joints, and the inner bark was used to make string.

Blackwood, Captain Francis—as it was the usual practice of vessels returning from the Australian colonies in the early-to-mid 1880s, or from the South Sea, to proceed to India through Torres Strait; and most of those vessels preferring the chance of finding a convenient opening in the barrier reefs to the labour of frequent anchorage in the Inshore Passage, it was thought fit to send out an expedition under Captain Francis Blackwood, in 1850, to determine which was the best opening that those reefs would afford, and to make such a survey thereof as would ensure the safety of all vessels which should continue to adopt that mode of reaching the strait. Although that specific object was successfully achieved by the survey of Raine Island passage, and by the erection of a durable beacon there to render it the more accessible, yet it appears that much is still to be done in those seas in order to make the approach to the strait more secure and certain, as well as to afford the choice of another entrance farther to the northward in case of vessels overshooting the latitude of Raine Island by stress of wind or current.

bladder saltbushAtriplex vesicaria, a species of saltbush endemic to Australia. It grows as an erect or sprawling shrub up to a metre high. Leaves are oval in shape, 5-25mm long, and 3-15mm. The species was first published by George Bentham in 1870, based on a name selected by Robert Heward. It is a highly variable species—the Flora of Australia treatment of this species recognises eight subspecies, namely A. vesicaria subsp. vesicaria, A. vesicaria subsp. appendiculata, A. vesicaria subsp. variabilis, A. vesicaria subsp. calcicola, A. vesicaria subsp. minor, A. vesicaria subsp. incompta, A. vesicaria subsp. macrocystidia and A. vesicaria subsp. sphaerocarpa. Not all of these are accepted in South Australia, where the subspecies tend to intergrade. It occurs in arid and semi-arid areas across southern Australia, growing in coastal dunes, salt pans, salt lakes, sandy plains and limestone ridges.

Blairgowrie—known as Sorrento East prior to the 1950s, when a major subdivision separated it from the town of Sorrento. Like the neighbouring suburbs of Portsea and Sorrento, Blairgowrie is situated on a thin strip of the Mornington Peninsula, facing Port Phillip Bay in the north and Bass Strait in the south.

Blakely's red gumEucalyptus blakelyi, found native in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. The bark sheds, leaving a smooth white or grey bark with grey-blue, pink or cream-yellow patches. The shedding bark appears at an early age. The wood is strong and durable and has been used in fencing. Juvenile leaves are ovate, adult leaves are shaped like a lance. The flowers are white and occur in groups of 7 to 11. It is a food source for koala browse and an important source of pollen for beekeepers of the Northern Tablelands. However, both in New South Wales and Victoria, trees have experienced chronic and severe dieback, causing a great reduction in the trees' capacity to flower. Affected trees lose their canopies and must rely on carbohydrate reserves in the trunk to replace them the following year. With repeated defoliation the trees' condition worsens to the point where some die. One significant cause of the dieback is from outbreaks of lerp-forming insects (Hemiptera).

blakey—a metal cap on the heel or toe of a shoe or boot.

Blanche Cave—the first cave discovered at Naracoorte, in 1845. It was called the Big Cave until 1886 when the first guided tours were introduced. From the time of its discovery it was a favoured venue for parties, picnics and other community gatherings. Blanche Cave is still a popular venue for special events such as wedding ceremonies, and the annual ‘Carols by Cave-light'. On its way to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games the Olympic Torch visited Blanche Cave, with the flame being exchanged by two torchbearers in the third chamber, with a backdrop of huge stalagmites and columns spectacularly lit by 1500 candles. Located in Naracoorte Caves National Park, South Australia.

Blandowski, William—(21 January 1822-18 December 1878), a zoologist, was born in Gliwice, Upper Silesia, Poland, then part of Prussia. He was the first scientist appointed to the Victorian Museum in 1854. He was a member and on the council of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria (forerunner of the Royal Society of Victoria), but became a controversial figure in 1857 when he wrote an article describing and naming some fish species. He returned to Europe in 1859 and complained of his treatment in Australia. He died in Boleslawiec (then Bunslau) in 1878.

blastocyt—a living organism at an incomplete phase of embryonic development. Marsupials are born as blastocysts into an external pouch upon the mother's abdomen. Tiny, blind and hairless, these young attach themselves to an internal teat, enabling them to complete their development without a placenta.

blatt—a newspaper. 2. printed sheet of information, instructions etc. 3. fast drive in a car.

blatt along—travel at speed in a car.

Blaxland, Gregory—leader of the 1813 expedition, together with Lawson and Wentworth, that found a way across the Blue Mountains. From the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, settlement had been confined to the coastal strip around Sydney, expansion being blocked by the Great Dividing Range, of which the Blue Mountains are a part. Undeterred by Governor King's conclusion that the mountains were impassable, and that further efforts to master them would be "as chimerical as useless", Blaxland determined to test the theory that the way to cross the mountains was not to follow a valley but to climb to the top of a ridge and trace it westwards. Cutting his way through heavily timbered country, he succeeded in opening up a passage towards the western plains, which led to the establishment of a new town at Bathurst, and paved the way for inland settlement.

Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth expedition—from 1788 to 1813 the settlement at Sydney grew rapidly, and soon more land was needed to grow food and graze animals. The Blue Mountains, with their deep valleys and sheer cliff walls, was the barrier to expansion. Three land-owning settlers, Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Wentworth, were given permission by Governor Lachlan Macquarie to conduct an expedition to find a way across the mountains to new pastures for sheep grazing. They set off with four packhorses, five dogs and four other people, three of them convicts. Their supplies for a six-week journey included salted meat, tents, compasses, cutting tools and guns. After leaving from Emu Plains, the explorers at first spent their time travelling along the main ridge that led them up into the mountains. They marked a track as they went, cutting bark from trees on either side so that they could find their way back again. The explorers went down into a deep valley near Mount York to let their horses eat some fresh grass and drink water and later they crossed the valley and climbed a high hill on the other side. From here they saw a vast expanse of good grazing land to the west of the Blue Mountains. They returned on June 6 with news of their discovery. The settlement of Sydney soon expanded across the Blue Mountains. Convicts were set to work building a road that followed the path mapped by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth.

bleeder—1. abusive term for a person. 2. person; bloke; fellow: e.g., He's not such a bad little bleeder.

bleedin'/bleeding—euphemism for bloody: e.g., He took the whole bleedin' lot!

bleeding dog's eye—tomato sauce on a meat pie.

Blessing of the Fleet Festival—a festival that is held annually at Easter in Ulladulla, NSW since 1956. This is a centuries old tradition which originated in Sicily, Italy, and is now continued by the area's descendants of the original Italian fishing community. The most significant element of the festival is the actual Blessing of the Fleet ceremony held at Ulladulla harbour on Easter Sunday. The festivities conclude with a fireworks display over Ulladulla harbour on Easter Sunday and the Harbour Markets on Easter Monday.

Bligh, Captain William—born in Plymouth, England in 1754. In 1770 he joined the Royal Navy as an able seaman, rising to midshipman the following year. Between 1776 and 1793 he made three voyages to the South Seas, the first as master of HMS Resolution under Captain James Cook, 1776-1780, and the second as commander of HMS Bounty on a voyage to Tahiti to collect breadfruits for use as a food crop in the West Indies, 1787-89. This voyage was interrupted by the celebrated mutiny when Bligh and 18 loyal crewmen were cast adrift by the mutineers. Without charts or adequate provisions, he successfully navigated an open boat 6,705km to Timor. In 1805, at the suggestion of Sir Joseph Banks, Bligh was appointed Governor of the colony of New South Wales. His attempts to reform the colony antagonized the New South Wales Corps, whose officers had monopolized the lucrative rum trade and indulged in irregular land transactions. His policies also brought him into conflict with a number of influential settlers. The result was rebellion. On 26 January 1808, Major George Johnston—at the head of the New South Wales Corps—marched on Government House, placed Bligh under arrest and assumed control of the colony. Bligh eventually returned to England in 1810. After vindication by court martial he received a governor's pension and was promoted firstly to rear admiral and then, in 1814, to vice-admiral. He died in 1817.

blighter—1. a scoundrel or unprincipled person, esp. a man. 2. someone who spoils things for others.

blimey—(Brit.) 19th-century corruption of the oath, 'God blind me'.

Blind Freddie—apocryphal person used as a standard of extreme incompetence, obtuseness: e.g., Even Blind Freddy could've seen that coming!

blinkin'/blinking—euphemism for blasted, confounded, damned.


Blinky Bill—a cartoon koala. The Adventures of Blinky Bill was an Aussie product through and through. Australian animation legend Yoram Gross adapted the cartoon from a children’s book series penned by Dorothy Wall in the 1940s.

blister—an annoying person.

blithered—intoxicated to the point of behaving foolishly; drunk.

blithering idiot—1. a foolish and excessively talkative person: a corruption of the Scottish word 'blather', meaning excessive or foolish talk. 2. complete fool; clumsy oaf.

block—a person's head; e.g., Say that again and I'll knock your block off!

block and tackle—system of pulleys and weights used for lifting heavy objects.

blockie—1. person living on some land, as opposed to one living in town. 2. small farmer.

bloke—In her book The Dinkum Dictionary Sue Butler says that no one knows for sure the origin of “bloke”, but the best guess is that it comes from the language used by gypsies and tinkers (a language which they called “shelter”), and was their word for “a man”. Presumably it was brought to Australia by convicts. Its earliest recorded usage here is from 1841, from Van Dieman's Land, where it referred to the man in charge, the proprietor or boss. And if you wanted to be treated decently and fairly, then you had to find a boss (or “bloke”) to work for who was a “good bloke”. As a result, qualities of fairness and decency came to be attached to this word “bloke” as it became a generalised term in Aussie English for an adult male. The word has developed again in more recent times, to be associated with what is called “blokeyness” – for instance, in the hearty, noisy behaviour of football players or fans. But the word retains its association with good intentions, good heartedness, and decency. Although younger Aussies may use “bloke” interchangeably with “guy”, Sue Butler points out that “guy” has never had the moral underpinning that supports the notion of a “good bloke”.

blokey—typically male behaviour, attitude, appearance, etc.; macho.

blood and blister—(rhyming slang) sister.

blood worth bottling—exceptionally good or praiseworthy people are said to have blood worth bottling.

bloodhouse—hotel or public house with a reputation for brawling clientele.

bloodwoodCorymbia eucalyptus, either a dense shrub or a tree of up to 15m in height. When the bark from this tree is cut or damaged, it exudes a sap that quickly turns blood red. The timber contains so much resin that it will burn when green. Extensive horizontal roots and a deep taproot allow the bloodwoods to thrive in sand dunes, and the scrub bloodwood is often visible on the edge of the rainforest or in stony places.

bloodwood woodland—the bloodwoods come from the subgenus Corymbia, genus Eucalyptus and from the family Myrtaceae. The name ‘bloodwood’ is derived from the tree's kino (gum) veins, which are often seen oozing red kino from lesions in the bark. The bloodwoods are widely distributed through a range of environmental conditions, with a common occurrence in Northern Australia’s dry tropics. The bloodwoods may be divided roughly into two groups: the paper-fruited bloodwoods, of which there are approximately 8 species, ranging from small to large trees up to 35m tall; and the woody-fruited bloodwoods, which comprise approximately 35 species and are mainly small trees, with the exception of some growing to 30m. The fruits of the two groups may appear to be somewhat similar in shape, however are easily distinguished by the thickness of the mature fruit's wall – hence the names, paper-fruits and woody-fruits. Although a division occurs among the bloodwood's fruit, many species have in common a distinctly tessellated bark. The outer, dead bark is not deciduous like the smooth-barked gums, instead cracking into roughly square or rectangular pieces, producing a scaly appearance.

bloody—1. considered to be 'the Great Australian Adjective' because of its prolific use and its significance as an intensifier. 2. Originally, an oath: identified by some linguists as an elision of 'by my lady' (Mary, mother of Jesus).

bloody galah—silly, foolish person; dolt.

bloody hell!—expression of frustration, anger, amazement. Once a strong oath, now considered quaint.

bloody nong—silly, foolish person; dolt; someone who makes many errors.

bloody Nora!—mild oath of frustration, anger, amazement, wonder etc.

bloody oath!—expression of complete agreement; emphatically yes!

bloody Pom—any person from England, but especially one held in contempt for being lazy and continually complaining.

bloody Yank—any person from the United States, but especially one held in contempt for his garrulous personality.

bloody-minded—(Brit.) uncooperative; stubborn.

bloom—an algal growth in a water's surface. Feeding on an excess of nitrogen in the water due to fertiliser run-off, bloom is threatening the survival of coral colonies. Australia holds one world record it could do without: in November 1991 we scored the largest river toxic algal bloom in history. An estimated 1000km stretch of the Barwon and Darling rivers in New South Wales was affected; from the air it looked like a long ribbon of pea soup.

bloomer—an embarrassing, laughable mistake, person or situation.

Bloomfield River—this mission was established south of Cookstown by the Lutheran church in 1887. When it closed in 1901 many of the people were transferred to Hope Valley (Hope Vale). In 1957 the church resumed work in the area, and in 1970 the name was changed to Wujal Wujal.

bloomin'/blooming—euphemism for bloody: Move yer bloomin' arse!

blossom batsSyconycteris australis, head and body length is about 50mm—72mm, the tail is a mere spicule, and forearm length is 38mm—50mm, weighs 11.5g -25.0g. The coloration is reddish brown or grayish brown to dark brown above and lighter below. Males do not have neck tufts. As in the other bats of the subfamily Macroglossinae, the tongue is long, slender, and protrusible, with brushlike projections that pick up nectar and pollen. This genus is distinguished by dental features, especially the large size of the upper incisors and the great difference in size between the first and second lower incisors. Bats of this genus feed mainly on nectar and pollen. In New South Wales this species may form "camps," like those of Pteropus, for a period of two to four weeks in October. Found in eastern Queensland and New South Wales.

blotched blue-tongued lizardTiliqua nigrolutea, the largest skink found in Tasmania—adult males have a head and body measuring about 25-27cm, while mature females are likely to grow to 27-30cm. It also occurs through the south-east of the Australian mainland. Although common and widespread in Tasmania, these lizards are very secretive and relatively seldom observed in the wild. Like other reptiles, they warm their bodies by basking in the sun. To prevent themselves from becoming too warm, they "shuttle", or move backwards and forwards between a hiding place and open areas. Blue-tongues are omnivorous. They have an unusual body shape for a skink, with a stout body, relatively small limbs and a thick, short tail, which they rarely lose. Blue-tongues use their characteristic threat display as a warning device: it expands its rib cage and turns side on in order to appear larger. At the same time it opens its mouth wide to hiss and display its startling blue tongue and pink mouth. Teeth are very small, but jaws are extremely strong. Some blue-tongues have been known to live as long as 20 years. Like all reptiles in cooler climates, blue-tongues are active only during the warmer months. They are solitary animals, except during the mating season. The males emerge first after winter hibernation: in Tasmania this occurs in late September. The females emerge in late October. Mating occurs in November or December, depending on the weather. These lizards are viviparous, giving birth to 1-17 live young (depending on body size) in autumn. Females only reproduce every 2-3 years, even though males mature sperm on an annual basis. Although there is a simple placenta, most of the nutrition for the developing young is supplied by the large, yolky egg. Young are independent at birth, receiving little or no parental care, but will not be sexually mature themselves for four or five years.


blow—a sort of emphasiser, in such expressions as “well I'll be blowed” and “blow that for a joke” . So used, “blow” or “blowed” is a euphemism for “damn” or “damned”, and they amount to being mild oaths of surprise, shock or annoyance. These expressions arose in the mid-19th century when “damn” was seen as a profanity, not to be uttered in the company of ladies. But how did the “blow” word family come to be chosen to play this euphemistic role? The answer is uncertain, but it appears most likely that this use of “blow” and “blowed” came from the tall ships – from the sailors who sailed the world in the days of wind-driven vessels. The word “blow” (and it cognates) has been used to describe a strong wind since at least the 11th century, and for sailors who had to work aloft in the rigging in a strong blow, being “blowed” was as bad as damnation.

blow a blue dog off its chain—pertaining to very windy weather.

blow in—arrive unexpectedly.

blow it out your arse!—an expression of contempt.

blow the gaff—reveal a secret inadvertently.

blow through—depart suddenly or without warning, often for the sake of evading responsibility of some sort.

blow-in—a stranger; someone new to a town, club, group, etc.


blowfly—1. a fly, especially Lucilia cuprina, introduced to Australia in the 20th century. 2. bluebottle.


blowing—inertia selling, i.e., being supplied with and billed for services or goods that were not ordered. Often, the supply is accompanied by a notice telling the consumer that if the offer is not rejected within a specified time, the seller will send an invoice or debit an existing account or line of credit. A common example of blowing is a person or business receiving an invoice for entry in an advertising directory when no request for such entry had been made.


bludge—originally, a pimp (living off wages of prostitutes); hence, 1. to be lazy, idle, inactive; evade work or responsibilities. 2. live by the goodwill of others: e.g., He bludges off his mum and dad. 3. to borrow without any intention of paying back; cadge. 4. a bludge: an easy job which entails a minimum of work.

bludger—a form of 'bludgeoner'. Crowe, in his Australian Slang Dictionary (1882), defines a bludger as 'a thief who will use his bludgeon and lives on the gains of immoral women'. From the early twentieth century it moved out to be a more general term of abuse, especially as applied to a person who appears to live off the efforts of others. It was then used to refer to a person engaged in non-manual labour—a white-collar worker, or, an idler, one who makes little effort. And thence to 'a person who does not make a fair contribution to a cost, enterprise etc.; a cadger': e.g., When it comes to your turn, return the shout. Otherwise, the word will spread that you are a bludger, and there is no worse thing to be.

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