Australian Dictionary

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Australia Decoded

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park

cossid mothPtilomacra senex, one of the largest moths in the world and the final stage of the witchetty grub.

cossie/cozzie—bathing costume; swimming togs.

costermonger—a person who sells fruit, vegetables, etc, in the street from a barrow.

cot—bassinet; baby's crib.

cot case—someone who is so sick, drunk or tired as to be confined to bed.

cottage pie—a savoury dish of meat or poultry, with or without vegetables, or lentils. The pie has no bottom crust, but is topped with mashed potatoes and browned in the oven, thereby resembling a pie in appearance. A favourite way of using up leftovers or stretching the family budget.

cotton/cottonwool between the ears—(to have...) to be lacking in intelligence; stupid.

cottonbushes—family Asclepiadaceae. Shrubs, or herbs; laticiferous (with white latex); annual or perennial, to 1.5 m high (in A. curassavica in Australia). Plants hermaphrodite. Flowers aggregated in simple ‘inflorescences’, usually in umbels. Fruit 50mm—60mm long, seeds endospermic; compressed; conspicuously hairy, with a tuft of hairs. Distribution: Naturalised in Australia via private gardens, and now found in Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales. A genus of 100 species. Named for Asklepios, the Greek god of healing.

cottonwool—absorbent cotton.

cough drop—fool; stupid person; simpleton.

cough lolly—medicated lozenge for a cough.

could eat a baby's bum through a cane chair—an expression of one's extreme hunger.

could eat an apple through a paling fence—said of someone who has protruding buck teeth.

could kick a bullock up the arse and walk away with the hide—said of someone with exceptionally large feet.

could open a can of peaches with that nose—said of someone who has a large or hooked nose.

couldn't catch a cold—incompetent.

couldn't drag the skin off a rice pudding—1. physically weak; not strong. 2. incompetent.

couldn't give a stuff—expression of total lack of concern or worry: e.g., I couldn't give a stuff whether he comes back or not.

couldn't lie straight in bed—pertaining to a crook, cad, cheat, ratbag, swindler etc.

couldn't make the kindergarten leftovers—pertaining to having no skill at a particular sport.

couldn't raise a gallop—almost exhausted; just keeping going.

couldn't run guts for a slow butcher—to be totally ineffective, incompetent, slow.

council—1. the elected local administrative body of a parish, district, town, city or county and its paid administrators and employees. 2. (of housing) public housing.

Council of Australian Governments—(COAG) the peak inter-governmental forum in Australia, comprising the Prime Minister, state premiers, territory chief ministers and the president of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA). The role of COAG is to initiate, develop and monitor the implementation of policy reforms that are of national significance and which require cooperative action by Australian governments (for example, National Competition Policy, water reform, reform of Commonwealth and state/territory roles in environmental regulation, the use of human embryos in medical research, counter-terrorism arrangements and restrictions on the availability of handguns). Issues may arise from, among other things: Ministerial Council deliberations; international treaties which affect the states and territories; or major initiatives of one government (particularly the Australian government) which impact on other governments or require the co-ooperation of other governments. COAG meets on an as-needed basis.

Councils and Associations Act, 1976 (Cth)—the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act, 1976 (Cth); also known as the ACA Act.

counsel—1. a barrister, or barristers (collectively). 2. in criminal law, to advise concerning the commission of a crime.

counter lunch/meal—a pub meal; originally, these were served at the counter along with beer.

counter-jumper—person who works behind a counter, such as office worker, public servant, sales-person.

country cousin—(rhyming slang) dozen.


court/court of law—a judicial tribunal. All courts are ranked within the judicial system as being either an Upper Court or a Lower Court. Separate tiers of the court system, established under legislation, have certain prescribed powers. Court levels can be distinguished from one another on the basis of the extent of their legal powers (jurisdiction). Court levels include Court of Summary Jurisdiction, Intermediate Court and Supreme Court. The names assigned to each of these court levels varies across Australia.

Court of Appeal—a court of law hearing appeals against judgments in lower courts of the states.

Court of Criminal Appeal—a state court exercising the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction in criminal matters.

Court of Disputed Returns—a court to determine disputes about elections.

Court of Petty Sessions—an inferior State court of summary jurisdiction, usually presided over by a magistrate.

court of record—a court, the proceedings of which are made part of a permanent record and which has the power to punish contempt.

Court of Summary Jurisdiction—a lower court that deals with relatively less serious charges and has the most limited legal powers of all the state and territory court levels. A court of summary jurisdiction is presided over by a magistrate, and has jurisdiction to try and sentence matters relating to summary offences. Courts of summary jurisdiction include Childrens' Courts, electronic courts and drug courts. Under some circumstances, this court level may also deal with less serious indictable offences known as 'minor indictable' or 'triable either way' offences. Courts of summary are also responsible for conducting preliminary (committal) hearings for indictable offences. A court of summary jurisdiction may also be referred to as Magistrates' Court, Local Court or Court of Petty Sessions.

cove—a body of water forming a coastal indentation. A cove is similar to, but smaller than, a bay.

cow—term of abuse: e.g., Now look what you've done, you stupid cow!

cow of a thing—anything exasperating, difficult, unpredictable or unpleasant.

cow-banging—working or operating a dairy farm.

cow-cocky—dairy farmer.

Cowal Creek—(see: Injinoo).

Cowan, Edith—(1861–1932) born in Geraldton, Western Australia. In 1921 she was elected to the Western Australian Parliament. As a Member of the Legislative Assembly she worked for migrants' welfare, infant health centres and women's rights. She introduced laws that allowed women to become lawyers. Cowan lost her seat in parliament in 1924, but kept helping people.

cowslip orchidCaladenia flava, a wildflower of Western Australia. A small woodland orchid with lower sepals of bright yellow and upper petals streaked with red, often observed growing in clumps of hundreds. Found from Geraldton to Esperance, flowering from July to December (September, in the Margaret River area).

crack a coldie—open a beer.

crack a darkie—become suddenly angry, violent.

crack on to—1. (someone) strike up a friendship, especially for the purpose of having sex. 2. (something) discover, find with enthusiasm.

crack up—lose (one's) temper: e.g., Don't crack up at me, I didn't do it!

crack-brained—stupid; crazy; ill-conceived.

cracker—a paper cylinder both ends of which are pulled at Christmas etc, making a sharp noise and releasing a small toy etc.

crackers—crazy; mentally unbalanced.

cracking it—working as a prostitute.

Cradle Mountain—forms the northern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, itself a part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The jagged contours of Cradle Mountain epitomise the feel of a wild landscape, while ancient rainforest and alpine heathlands, buttongrass and stands of colourful deciduous beech provide a range of environments to explore. There are also icy streams cascading out of rugged mountains, stands of ancient pines mirrored in the still waters of glacial lakes and a wealth of wildlife. Located in the Central Highlands of Tasmania. They are part of a massive World Heritage national park, and the mountain has become something of an icon for Tasmania.

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park—stretches over a vast 1262sq km, with some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in Australia. Lake St Clair on the south-east side of the park is the main attraction and starting point for Tasmania's most famous walk, the 80km Cradle Mountain track. The park covers some of Tasmania’s highest land, with craggy mountain peaks such as Mount Ossa (1617m), the state’s highest point, and is one of the most glaciated areas in Australia, with many lakes and tarns. At its northern end, Dove Lake, backed by the jagged outline of Cradle Mountain, is one of the state’s most breathtaking sights, and at the park’s southern end, Lake St Clair is the country’s deepest freshwater lake at over 200m, occupying a basin gouged out by two glaciers. Between Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair, the 80km Overland Track, attracting walkers from all over the world, is the best way to take in the stunning scenery – spread over five or more mud- and leech-filled days of physical, albeit exhilarating, exhaustion. Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair is Tasmania’s best known national park, its northern Cradle Mountain end easily accessible from Devonport, Deloraine or Launceston, and its southern Lake St Clair end from Derwent Bridge on the Lyell Highway between Queenstown and Hobart.

crap (someone) off—annoy, irritate, anger, disgust (someone).

crap up—bungle; make a mess of.

crapped off—annoyed; disgusted.

crapper—the toilet, which was invented by Thomas Crapper.

crash on—pet; fondle; cuddle: e.g., We used to crash on in the back seat of the FJ at the drive-in.

crash-hot—excellent; first-rate; wonderful: e.g., I'm going to take a sickie 'cause I don't feel so crash-hot today.

crash-tackle—(football) a vigorous tackle.

crawl up the wall—be extremely annoyed, irritated, exasperated, frustrated.


crawlies—insects which neither bite nor fly.

crayfish—Australia has a large and unique crayfish fauna, including the largest and the smallest species in the world. Of all of the freshwater invertebrates of inland Australia, they are the most widely recognised and important to the human population and natural aquatic ecosystems. Crayfish are crustaceans and are part of the phylum Arthropoda, all of which have a hardened outer shell of calcium carbonate that acts as a skeleton. Crayfish bodies are divided into three parts: the head, the thorax (the section that contains the legs), and the abdomen (or tail). Crayfish, like many crustaceans, have a carapace which projects backward from the head and covers all of the thorax. It has two functions; firstly it protects the delicate feather-like gills which branch off from the base of the legs, and secondly it provides a water channel that is a constant flow of oxygenated water passing over the gills and enabling the crayfish to breathe. All freshwater crayfish in Australia belong to the family Parastacidae, and are divided into nine genera which include over 100 species. The three most common and widespread genera are Cherax, Euastacus and Astacopsis. These are all medium-to-large crayfish that are found in streams, lakes and swamps. Cherax species are the best known and occur over the widest range—northern, eastern and south-western Australia—and are distinguished by having smooth bodies and claws. Cherax is also the main species used in the rapidly growing aquaculture industry. They have a relatively rapid rate of growth and greater tolerance of temperature ranges and water conditions than many other crayfish. They are popularly known by a number of names, depending on the region. In New South Wales and Victoria they are called yabbies, in Western Australia the koonac, gigly and the marron, while Queensland has the redclaw.

Creaghe, Emily Caroline—in 1883, she set out as the only woman in an exploration party of three men and 17 horses, across uncharted and hostile territory, on a journey that was to take several months and result in the slow and agonising death of one of her group. Creaghe kept a diary of her experiences. It is unclear why Creaghe and her husband, Harry, were included in the expedition by its leader, Ernest Favenc. Favenc was an experienced explorer who had been sponsored by private pastoral interests to assess the commercial potential of land east of Normanton, Queensland, as far west as the northern telegraph line between Adelaide and Darwin. There was the precedent of an earlier expedition by Charles Sturt, who took with him three women, among them Scotswoman Eliza Davies, who in her memoir recalled overhearing a conversation between "high officials, from which I learned that the policy of taking ladies, and bringing them all back in safety, would ensure a readier sale of land in England . Capitalists would not fear the savages when ladies had traversed the country in safety."

cream off—skim.


crease—(cricket) a line marking the position of the bowler or batsman.

creation ancestors—(see: Aboriginal creation ancestors).

creature—contemptible, despicable person.

crèche—a day nursery for babies and young children; nursery school.

creel—a large wicker basket for fish.

crested hawkAviceda subscristata: the Pacific baza, formerly known as the crested hawk; renamed to bring it's common name in line with those of it's overseas relatives.

crested pigeonOcyphaps lophotes is a ground-feeder often seen in pairs or small flocks. It originally inhabited lightly wooded grassland. However, the clearing of dense coastal forest has forced it into agricultural areas and towns. During flight, the wings of the pigeon produce a metallic, whistling sound. The crested pigeon is considered common throughout Australia.

cricket—1. a game played on a grass pitch with two teams of 11 players taking turns to bowl at a wicket defended by a batting player of the other team. 2. (usually in the negative) fair play: e.g., His behaviour really wasn't cricket.

cricketer—a cricket player.

cries and screeches—(rhyming slang) leeches.

crikey!—euphemistic expression of surprise or concern.


crimson finchNeochmia phaeton, a medium-sized finch (140mm) with striking crimson body plumage. This finch is rather aggressive and antisocial, and rarely forms flocks. It is usually encountered in pairs or small parties, which constantly squabble amongst themselves. Crimson finches feed close to the ground but are seldom seen on the ground. Instead, they prefer to cling to the tops of tall grasses. Courtship display is quite elaborate. The male takes a length of grass in his bill and ruffles his feathers before adopting a horizontal position beside the female who also assumes this posture. In this position, both birds keep their heads and tails pointed toward one another. Next, the male begins a bobbing dance and sings. This dance continues until the male mounts the female. Formerly, the crimson finch was found only in dense grasslands near water in tropical woodlands. Now it is also found in canefields and pineapple plantations. Their distribution is from Northern Australia around Derby in the south-eastern corner of the Gulf of Carpentaria, north to the Aurun Mission on Cape York Peninsula, and on the east coast from Port Douglas south to Mackay. Also known as white-bellied crimson finch.

crimson rosellaPlatycercus elegans. There are several colour forms of the crimson rosella but the mostly crimson plumage and bright blue cheeks easily identify the one from which it receives its name. The feathers of the back and wing coverts are black, broadly edged with red. The flight feathers of the wings have broad blue edges and the tail is blue above and pale blue below and on the outer feathers. The birds measure about 32cm—36cm, with individuals from northern Queensland smaller and darker than southern birds. The crimson rosella has a range of calls, the commonest being a two-syllabled cussik-cussik. It also has a range of harsh screeches and metallic whistles. There are several populations of the crimson rosella. Red birds occur in northern Queensland, in southern Queensland to south-eastern South Australia, and on Kangaroo Island. Orange birds are restricted to the Flinders Ranges region of South Australia, while yellow ones are found along the Murray River, the Murrumbidgee and neighbouring rivers (where yellow birds meet red birds they hybridise, producing orange offspring). Throughout its range, the crimson rosella is commonly associated with tall eucalypt and wetter forests. These birds are normally encountered in small flocks. Natural foods include seeds of eucalypts, grasses and shrubs, as well as insects and some tree blossoms. Crimson rosellas breed mostly between September and January. The nest is a tree hollow, located high in a tree and lined with wood shavings and dust. The female alone incubates the four to eight (normally five) white eggs, but both sexes care for the young. The chicks hatch after about 20 days, and, although they leave the nest after about 35 days, they remain dependent on their parents for a further 35 days.

crimson-winged parrotAprosmictus erythropterus, a large parrot, measuring 300-350mm. The male is bright green with a red wing patch, black back, and blue above the tail, which is more noticeable in flight. Females and immature birds are overall green with a small red wing patch. Both sexes have a scarlet bill. Nesting site is the hollow of a tree, with the entrance from ten to twenty metres above the ground and the actual nest site often being deep within the tree. Trees chosen are usually not far from water. They travel in pairs or small flocks. Flight is fast and buoyant, the call is short and metallic. It feeds on seeds, nectar, pollen and blossoms in temperate and tropical woodlands. Distribution is across northern Australia from Broome in Western Australia east to Cape York Peninsula and south into northern New South Wales. It also occurs in southern Papua New Guinea. The crimson-winged parrot has hybridised with the king parrot, superb parrot, Princess parrot, Regent parrot and the Sula Island king parrot of PNG. Also known as the red-winged parrot, red-winged lory.

crisps—potato chips.

critical habitat—habitat declared to be critical under Part 3 of the Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995). For the purposes of the Act, and other acts as amended by the Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995), critical habitat is the whole or any part or parts of an area or areas of land comprising the habitat of an endangered species, an endangered population or an endangered ecological community that is essential for the survival of the species, population or ecological community.

Croajingolong National Park—a World Biosphere Zone that stretches more than 100km along Victoria’s far eastern coastline. The park, which protects some of the state’s most remote coastline, incorporates two of Victoria's earliest national parks. Aborigines have lived in the area for perhaps 40,000 years. The name of the local tribe, the Krauatungalung, part of the Kurnai (Gunai) nation, is reflected in the name of the park. Wildlife, especially birdlife, is abundant. The lighthouse at Point Hicks stands where Captain Cook first set eyes on Australia in 1770. The park is noted for its wildflower displays in the spring and its extensive bird population. The Wilderness Coast Walk runs the length of the park, the 100km walk. Two declared wilderness areas, the Sandpatch (15,600ha) and the Cape Howe (7100ha), preserve a range of undisturbed vegetative communities, intact natural catchments, rare species of wildlife and diverse geological, geomorphological and landscape values. Croajingolong National Park is in east Gippsland, the far eastern corner of Victoria, about 450km east of >Melbourne.


crock—1. old, inefficient and decrepit person. 2. nonsense.

Crocodile Island—an island of Aboriginal habitation, adjacent to the Northern Territory coast. Culturally, it is a part of Arnhem Land.

crocodile tears—a sham display of misery.


cronk—fraudulent; shoddy; deceptive; dishonest.

crook—1. sick; ill; feeling bad: e.g., He's really crook, so he took a sickie. 2. angry; ill-tempered; annoyed: e.g., He'll go crook at you when he finds out how much you paid for that thing. 4. not up to par: e.g., the weather's gone crook today. 6. badly made or badly done, e.g., It's a crook job he's done on that car.

crooked on—angry, upset with: e.g., I'm really crooked on her for not telling me sooner.

crookie—a failure; broken down and useless item.

croppie—(hist.) at first, an Irishman who cut his hair short, later a more general term for a convict.

croquette—a ball of minced meat, fowl, rice, vegetables, or other ingredients, often in a thick white sauce, highly seasoned, breaded, and fried; as, a dish of crab croquettes.

cross as two sticks—angry; annoyed; vexed; bad-tempered.

cross (one's) t's and dot (one's) i's—pay meticulous and often petty attention to detail.


cross-paddock wrestlers—those who play Rugby League football.

crossing of the Blue Mountains—between 1788 to 1813, the new settlement of Sydney was restricted to the coastal plain east of the Great Dividing Range. The rugged Blue Mountains had prevented any further westward progression. However, the urgent need to find improved farming and grazing land meant that this formidable barrier had to be crossed. Prior to 1813, many attempts had been made to find a suitable route but each explorer had ultimately been forced to abandon his full mission. The first expedition to succeed was undertaken by Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth in 1813, who crossed over to Mount York and descended into the valley below.

crow-eater—someone from South Australia. North of Goyder's Line of Rainfall, farmers tried to grow wheat in an excessively arid climate, failed, and suffered from a scanty diet as a result. Hence, 'crow eaters'.

Crowdy Bay National Park—a beachside, dunal wetland system, comprising a mosaic of wet heath, sedgeland, dry heath, forested swamp and sclerophyll forest. Here are preserved the coastal heaths and forests that once ran all the away along the eastern seaboard. Reputedly, the Park has taken its name from Captain Cook, who dubbed a prominent headland 'Crowded Head' when he saw a crowd of Aboriginals standing on it as he passed by in the Endeavour.

Crown—(the...) a metaphorical term of several meanings. In its oldest and most specific meaning, "the Crown" is part of the regalia "necessary to support the splendour and dignity of the Sovereign". The crown itself came to symbolise the sovereign head of government, and as such, the expression descends from one sovereign to the next. By extension, the term also identifies “the Government”, being the executive as distinct from the legislative branch of government, as represented by the Ministry and the administrative bureaucracy that attends to its business. “The Crown” is further used in constitutional theory derived from the United Kingdom. In criminal law it is symbolised in the case names, as in R v Citizen, where 'R' means 'Regina, reigning Queen' or 'the Crown'.

crown—a former coin equal to five shillings.

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