Australian Dictionary

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Australia Decoded

Daintree Rainforest, Queensland, Australia

Daintree Rainforest, Queensland
by Killerscene (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

D—a detective, especially a federal one: e.g., They'd hidden all the evidence before the D's arrived.

D'Aguilar Range—in 1827, Sir Thomas Mitchell, the Surveyor-General for the Colony of New South Wales, named the D'Aguilar Range after Sir George D'Aguilar, a military officer who wrote the army textbook in use at the time, Regulations and Punishments of the British Army. He was probably known personally to the Governor, Lieutenant General Ralph Darling; the Moreton Bay Commandant, Captain Patrick Logan; as well as to Major Mitchell, for they all served in the Peninsula Wars under the De of Wellington. It is not clear which of these three originally suggested the name.

d'Entrecasteaux, Admiral Joseph-Antoine Bruni—French naval commander. Under instructions by the National Assembly, d’Entrecasteaux was dispatched in 1791 to lead a surveying expedition to the Pacific, and to search for the missing La Pérouse expedition. The d’Entrecasteaux expedition visited Tasmania: Recherche Bay and D'Entrecasteaux Channel (21 April—28 May 1792); Rocky Bay, D'Entrecasteaux Channel, Ralph's Bay, Frederick Henry Bay, Adventure Bay (21 January—27 February 1793); and Esperance Bay, in the Recherche Archipelago (9-17 December 1792) in south-western Western Australia. D’Entrecasteaux added only a relatively modest area of coast to the known continent, yet the expedition was of major importance, largely due to the botanical work of Labillardiere and the cartography of Beautemps-Beaupré. The charts produced by the expedition’s hydrographer were made with a method developed by him, which substantially improved the accuracy of coastal survey. The success of the d’Entecasteaux expedition in charting southern Tasmania, when augmented by Baudin’s wide-ranging visit in 1802, raised British fears of French intentions in Tasmania, thereby stimulating the British settlement of Port Phillip and Hobart in 1803 and of Launceston in 1804.

D'Entrecasteaux Channel—one of Australia's most sheltered and most picturesque waterways. Along its 60km length, the scenery changes from rural grazing land in the north to remote beaches and coastal scenery in the south. The channel was once an important shipping link between Hobart and the coastal bases of whalers, sealers and timber-fellers. One of the timbers from this part of Tasmania was the Huon pine, a durable timber that was highly prized for shipbuilding. Flanked by the Tasmanian mainland on one side and the Bruny Islands on the other, D’Entrecasteaux Channel is located in south-east Tasmania.


d'Urville, Jules Dumont—navigator, born in France, he published a number of popular books on his travels. Hydrographic researches in Aegean and Black Seas 1819-20, went round the world as second in command of the Coquille 1822-25, went to Polynesia 1826-29 as captain of the Astrolabe to search for La Pérouse, gathering valuable scientific data and finding the relics of La Pérouse's expedition at Vanikoro. Escorted King Charles X and his family, deposed by the July Revolution, to England in 1830. Placed by new king, Louis Philippe, in charge of an Antarctic expedition in 1837-40, which discovered the Louis Philippe, Joinville and Adélie Lands. Promoted to Admiral, accidentally killed in 1842.

D-notice—a government notice to news editors not to publish items on specified subjects, for reasons of security.

dab—expert, extremely proficient. An abbreviation of 'dabster'.

dab hand at—adept; skilled; good at: e.g., He's a dab hand at painting.


Dad 'n' Dave—1. (rhyming slang) shave. 2. pertaining to anything humorously rustic or unsophisticated. The characters of Dad and Dave are a well-known part of Australia’s cultural history. Created by Steele Rudd for his On Our Selection novels, Dad and Dave, and Mum, Mabel, et al, were characters set against the backdrop of land selection in the late 19th century. The humour of the On Our Selection novels struck a chord with readers, and the Dad and Dave characters formed the basis for a couple of silent films: On Our Selection (1920) and Rudd’s New Selection (1921). During the 1930s the characters became the basis of a popular radio series, Dad and Dave, as well as a number of feature films with Bert Bailey as Dad and Fred MacDonald as Dave: On Our Selection (1931), Dad and Dave Come to Town (1938) and Dad Rudd M.P. (1940).

Dad's Army—pertaining to anything old, worn-out or decrepit that is brought back into service or use.

Dadi Dadi—an Aboriginal language group. Communities of Dadi-Dadi people were found along the Murray River in Victoria and NSW (Riverina Bioregion).

Daens—(the...) Aboriginal name for themselves.

daft—1. silly, foolish, crazy. 2. (...about) fond of; infatuated with.

dag—1. originally, a term for the fecal matter that invariably becomes stuck to a sheep's behind, wadding itself into little balls that stick in the curly wool. 2. a hard case, either as a humorist or disregarder of convention (digger dialect).

Dagaman—an Aboriginal tribe of the Katherine River region in the Northern Territory.

Dagarugu—an area of land in the Northern Territory, previously known as Wattie’s Creek.

daggy—1. a person with slovenly habits or dreadful sense of style in clothing. 2. an odd or unconventionally amusing person.

dago—(derog.) person of Latin origins; any foreign person.

DAIA—the Department of Aboriginal and Islander Affairs (Queensland).

daily blatts—the daily newspapers.

Daintree National Park—the 76,000ha park is a significant part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area and has been left untouched for 110 million years. Daintree National Park is divided into two sections—the spectacular Mossman Gorge, 80km from Cairns; and the magnificent Cape Tribulation, which is further north, stretching in a narrow strip along the coast. Daintree National Park is a tropical wilderness where the rainforest meets the sea.

Daintree rainforest—at over 100 million years of age, the world's oldest rainforest. The Daintree rainforest, which encompasses the Cape Tribulation section of the Daintree National Park, is Australia's largest remaining tropical lowland rainforest, second in size to only the Brazilian Amazon. The rainforest eco-system and microclimate in the Daintree have enabled the survival of a concentration of primitive and ancient plant species that are protected by World Heritage laws, containing several of the first flowering plant species. Genesis of the Daintree occurred 350 million years ago when an upthrust of the earth's crust lifted tectonic plates to form mountain ranges that were once taller than Mount Everest is now. This mountain range was 150km east of the coast of Gondwana. Erosion and deposition over the next 90 million years reduced their height to the level it is today and filled the gap between the mountain range and the Coral Sea to form the wet tropics of Queensland. Located on Cape Tribulation in FNQ, about 80km north of Cairns, Queensland.

Daintree River—a long river that winds through thick mangrove swamps and rainforest. The saltwater of the mangrove section becomes fresh water as it progresses into the rainforest. The mouth of the Daintree River opens onto a giant sandbar that shifts with each changing tide. Due to the ever-shifting deep centre of the sandbar, entering the Daintree River has always been a problem for ship captains. The Daintree River Ferry, 50km north of Port Douglas, is the only way to cross the river. It operates on a cable system and is capable of taking up to 16 vehicles across the river at a time. The trip from the south bank to the north bank of the river takes about 5 minutes.

dainty green tree frogLitoria gracilenta, can be found along the coast of eastern Australia from north of Sydney to Cape York. Its habitat consists of moist forests and woodlands. May be found in vegetation along river banks.

daisy cutter—1. (Australian Rules football) low, hard foot pass. 2. (cricket) a ball bowled so as to skim along the ground.

daks—trousers (from a brand name).

Dalabon—an Aboriginal language spoken by people of the Top End. Myalli and Dalabon are the languages of those who migrated to this land with the lure of regular supplies of tobacco, sugar, flour and tea, then were herded into work camps for the nearby tin mines of the Northern Territory.

dalgite—the bilby is known in WA as dalgite (and in SA as pinkie).

Dalhousie Springs—a large oasis in the Simpson Desert. The approximately 100 springs and mounds at Dalhousie, of which about 80 are active, are spread over an area of about 70sq km. The group as a whole accounts for about 43% of the natural discharge of water from the Great Artesian Basin. Long drainage channels from the larger springs become extensive swamplands, which are heavily vegetated. Typical flora includes salt-tolerant flatbush, including old man saltbush; aquatic reedgrass; coolibah and red mulga trees. The groundwater discharge flows north and then east into the Simpson Desert as a braided stream channel complex. Aboriginal people have made use of the springs for at least 15,000 years.

Dalrymple, Augustus—during the decade prior to Captain James Cook's departure for the South Seas, Augustus Dalrymple brought together the collective of his thinking, experience and research to propose there existed a large, heretofore unknown (to Europeans) continent somewhere in the region of the South Pacific. He reasoned that an imbalance of the known oceanic mass with the known land mass in the southern regions by a ratio of about 8 to 1, indicated a large continent to be found. His writings of the known state of the Pacific and his reasons for expecting more caught the attention of the geography and political elements of Europe. As the planet Venus was to pass across the disk of the sun on 3 June 1769, the Royal Society of Britain determined to make a world observation of the event. One viewing station was to be from an island (Otaheite) in the South Pacific and Dalrymple was chosen to lead the expedition, the Admiralty providing a ship. However, when Dalrymple insisted that he have command and control of the ship, the Navy said No, and it came to pass that a young officer by the name of Cook was inserted to control the vessel. Dalrymple declined to participate in the expedition under the circumstances. The ship was the Endeavor Bark and Cook was 40 years old.

Daly Basin bioregion—gently undulating plains and scattered low plateau remnants on Palaeozoic sandstones, siltstones and limestones; neutral loamy and sandy red earths; Darwin stringybark and Darwin woollybutt open forest with perennial and annual grass understorey.

Daly River—a river in the Northern Territory with strong permanent flows and high conservation values. The main tributary of the Daly is the Katherine River, which has its headwaters in the sandstone escarpment country of the Arnhem Land Plateau. Through the long dry season, the river receives groundwater flow from natural springs, and the Daly River catchment is covered in vast forests and woodlands, including rare stands of monsoon rainforest. It is one of the Northern Territory’s largest river catchments, with an area of 52,577sq km. The upper reaches of the catchment include the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park and Nitmil National Park. Much of the lower Daly River is listed in the Directory of Nationally Important Wetlands.

Daly Waters—today, with a population of about 23, the town of Daly Waters has little to commend it apart from its historical pub. Now little more than a stopover for travellers, the tiny settlement was named by John McDouall Stuart during his epic attempt to cross Australia from south to north in 1861-2. On his third attempt, which headed out from Adelaide in October 1861, he reached the Centre in March, 1862. She finally arrived at Daly Waters on 28 May, having forced his way through difficult lancewood scrub and harsh terrain at a rate of a little over a kilometre a day. Stuart named the springs after the new governor of South Australia, Sir Dominick Daly. The Overland Telegraph Line reached Daly Waters in June, 1872 and for a short time (until the line was completed) a 'pony express' was established to bridge the gap between Daly Waters and Tennant Creek. Important telegraphic messages from overseas were actually carried by horse for the 421km between the two stations. The line was finally completed on 22 August, 1872. During this period, conditions in the area were unbelievably harsh. For example, twice each year the telegraphists at Daly Waters would ride across to Roper Bar, a journey of nearly 400km, to meet the boat Gulnare which brought their stores and ammunition around the coast from Adelaide. In the early days, the Daly Waters Pub was a drover's rest, the mob always staging there for stores and a night out for the boys before tackling the Murranji leg of the drove. located 620km south of Darwin on the Stuart Highway.

Dame—the title given to a woman with the rank of knight in the Order of Australia.

damp squib—1. a squib is a small firecracker; a damp squib, therefore, is an expected event that fizzles. 2. (racing) a horse or dog that starts well but finishes poorly.

damper—1. the name derives from Britain, where damper meant 'a snack that dampens the appetite'. In colonial Australia, stockmen developed the technique of making damper out of necessity. Often away from home for weeks, with just a campfire to cook on and only sacks of flour as provisions, a basic staple bread evolved. It was originally made with flour and water and a good pinch of salt, kneaded, shaped into a round, and baked in the ashes of the campfire or open fireplace. It was eaten with pieces of fried dried meat, sometimes spread with golden syrup, but always with billy tea or maybe a swig of rum. 2. Because it was the most common form of bread for bush workers in the nineteenth century, to earn your damper means to be worth your pay.

Dampier—a town built in the 1960s by Hamersley Iron Pty Ltd as the port facility, servicing the iron ore mines of Tom Price and Paraburdoo. The town of Dampier takes its name from the Dampier Archipelago.

Dampier, Captain William—buccaneer and botanist, the first English explorer to make a landing on Australian soil, in 1697. Dampier wrote an account of this voyage, made in the pirate ship the Cygnet, titled A Voyage to New Holland. Jonathon Swift's satire, Gulliver's Travels, was based partly on Dampier's account of his travels.

Dampier Archipelago—a group of 42 islands hugging the Pilbara coast, Western Australia. Named after the English explorer, William Dampier, who visited the area in 1688.

Dampier Peninsula—a remote area north of Broome, home to a number of Aboriginal communities. Although some communities and outstations have embraced tourism, access within the area is still restricted. Situated along the north-east coast of Western Australia, within the Pilbara region of the Kimberley.

Dampiera—a genus of 60-70 species, all of which occur only in Australia. They are generally small herbs or shrubs having blue to purple flowers with a yellow centre. They are found in open forests and woodlands of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The genus is named in honour of William Dampier, who collected and described it in 1697.

Dampierland bioregion—(1) Quaternary sandplain overlying Jurassic and Mesozoic sandstones with pindan. Hummock grasslands on hills. (2) Quaternary marine deposits on coastal plains, with mangal, samphire—Sporobolus grasslands, tea tree low forests, and spinifex-rattlebox strand communities. (3) Quaternary alluvial plains associated with the Permian and Mesozoic sediments of Fitzroy Trough support tree savannas of Crysopogon-Dichanthium grasses with scattered white ironbark and bauhinia. Riparian forests of river red gum and cadjeput fringe drainages. (4) Devonian reef limestones in the north and east support sparse tree steppe over winged spinifex and limestone spinifex hummock grasses and vine thicket elements. Dry hot tropical, semi-arid summer rainfall.

dance on air—to die by hanging.

dance on (someone's) grave—to wish (someone) dead.

Dandenong Ranges—located 45 minutes from central Melbourne, the ranges emerged 300 million years ago as a volcano. The cauldron, near the current township of Olinda, ejected a series of lava and ash flows, which spread as far away as Coldstream, Emerald and Ferntree Gully. The profile of the range is now a rich, dark soil, watered by plentiful rain, permanent creeks and underground streams, and is fed by the litter of forests. The ranges became an important source of timber for early Melbourne and much of the forest was cleared. Famed for its parks and gardens. Originally used by the Bunurong and Woiwurrung Aboriginal tribes.

Dandenong Ranges National Park—covering 3215ha, the park plays an important role in protecting the forests and fern gullies of the ranges. Also protected is the indigenous fauna, of which the lyrebird is its most famous inhabitant. Sulphur-crested cockatoos, crimson rosellas, laughing kookaburras, eastern yellow robins, yellow-faced honeyeaters and pied currawongs are some of the native birds most frequently seen in the park. Located in Victoria, 45 minutes from central Melbourne.

dander—anger; fighting spirit.

Dan gar, Henry—surveyor and pastoralist, born 18 November 1796, died: 2 March 1861. Dangar arrived in Sydney in 1821 aged 24 and at once became assistant surveyor to Oxley. As such he received grants of land and in 1825 was joined by two brothers, William and Thomas. In 1833, Henry settled on his own land, becoming in turn grazier, squatter, hotel proprietor and politician. In 1847 Henry, William and Richard combined to set up a boiling-down and meat preserving works at Newcastle.

danger money—extra payment for work that is dangerous.

Daphnis placida mothDaphnis placida (prev. Deilephila salomonis). The caterpillars of this species feed on fever bark and banana bush. The adult moth has a complex pattern of light and dark brown on the wings, and a wingspan of about 6cm. The species is found over South East Asia, including Borneo, the Philippines, and the northern half of Australia.


Darby and Joan—pertaining to a devoted, old married couple, living a life of placid matrimonial domesticity.

Darby and Joan club—any club or activity for elderly people.

Dargo High Plains—the peace of Gippsland's High Country was broken during the early 1860s with the discovery of gold. The rush was short-lived, but the legacy remains in the historic gold districts of the region and along Angus MacMillan's 1864 track, created to link the scattered mining settlements. Walhalla is GippsIand's most evocative town, where the visitor can relive the era through exploration of many original and some recreated buildings. The former gold towns of Grant, Talbotville, Winchester, Bulltown and Howittville are now only paddocks, with remains of chimneys and footings evident. The hills are dotted with cemeteries and unmarked graves, as well as numerous mine shafts and ruins of equipment. Most can be reached by 2WD vehicles. Watch for holes and disused mine shafts when walking in these areas. The first grazing lease for cattle on the Dargo High Plains was issued in 1904. The activity has changed little in 130 years.

dark—angry: e.g., What's the boss so dark about today?

dark as three feet up a cow's arsehole—very dark; complete absence of light.

dark on (someone)—angry, annoyed with (someone): e.g., Dad's going to be dark on me for getting home so late.

Darke, John—in 1846, seeking pastoral land, explored north and east of the Gawler Ranges. Returning to Port Lincoln, he was speared by Aborigines near Waddikee Rocks and buried near what is now known as Darke Peak. 

darkie—fit of bad temper, anger: e.g., He really chucked a darkie when he found out.


Darling, Lieutenant General Ralph—successor to Sir Thomas Brisbane as Governor of New South Wales on 19 December 1825. His commission extended the Colony's western boundary, set in 1788 at 135 degrees east longitude, to the 129th meridian. This was done so that a trading post set up the year before on Melville Island, off the coast of northern Australia, would be a British possession within the jurisdiction of the Governor of New South Wales. This longitude later became the border dividing Western Australia and South Australia. Darling's commission was also unusual in that it provided for the creation of an Executive Council (in addition to the Legislative Council created by the New South Wales Act 1823) which the Governor was directed to consult and upon the advice of which he was to act.

Darling Anabranch Lakes—a complex of wetlands comprising Mindona Lake, Little Lake, Travellers Lake, Popio Lake, Popilta Lake, Yeltow Lake, Nialia Lake, Nearie Lake, Milkengay Lake and associated lagoons located along the Great Anabranch of the lower Darling River. The dominant features of the anabranch are the large overflow lakes which occur along its middle reaches. The lakes are shallow and none is permanent, although the largest retain water for up to five years. When not flooded many of the lakes are cropped. Water regulation in the anabranch has had a significant effect on flows to Nearie Lake Nature Reserve, modifying the original flooding regime, which may have a significant impact on vegetation and fauna species.

Darling Downs—a low plain/plateau area west of Queensland's Southern Highlands. The area has rich soil that has eroded from the mountains to the east. Many tributaries to the Darling River start here. It is the only area in Queensland where wheat is regularly grown.

Darling Harbour—Sydney's original goods station, opened in 1855. Once one of the largest depots in the world, playing an integral role in Sydney's early market days when it was used for receiving fresh produce and timber from Parramatta and the north coast. This former dockside area has been transformed into a major tourist site and a leading convention and exhibition centre. The original Aboriginal name for the area was Tumbalong, i.e. "meeting place".

Darling lilyCrinum flaccidum, a native perennial with annual leaves growing from a bulb up to 10cm in diameter. Flowers in late summer on floodways in the drier western plains of the Darling-Murray basin. The strap-shaped leaves appear in cooler months, usually well before the strongly scented flowers. Sometimes known as the Murray lily, the Macquarie crinum or the Paroo lily.

Darling peaSwainsonia spp., a poisonous and addictive plant that affects sheep, cattle and horses that graze upon it. Causes animals to become clumsy and lose coordination. After extensive grazing, animals become "peas struck"—they will reject good feed in their quest for more of the intoxicant. A native wildflower, endemic to New South Wales; first described in 1860 by Ludwig Becker during the Burke and Wills expedition.

Darling River—longest member of the Murray-Darling river system in Australia; it rises in several headstreams in the Great Dividing Range (Eastern Highlands), near the New South Wales-Queensland border, not far from the east coast, and flows generally south-west across New South Wales for 2,739 km to join the Murray at Wentworth. The Murray-Darling River system was first explored in 1824 by William H. Hovell and Hamilton H. Hume. In 1829 Charles Sturt fully navigated the river system and confirmed that the Darling and Murray rivers both emptied into the present Murray-Darling Basin. The drainage pattern of the basin has remained mostly unchanged for millions of years. This is very rare compared to most major river systems, since most of them were wiped out by the last Northern Hemisphere Ice Age, and have only been in their present form for less than 15,000 years.

Darling River tribes—an Aboriginal people noted for their adherence to traditional ways. Cameron (1885) gives seven hordes: Kairongo, Lamon, Waimbo, Mothingo, Karndilke, Pulali (apparently not to be confused with the Pularli of the Barindji tribe), and Murkurilla. Bakandji, or River People, along the Darling River near Wilcannia, in western New South Wales.

Darling Scarp—a long (almost 1000km), north-south fault-related feature of 300m—400m height. Beyond the scarp, the land continues half way across Australia as the Yilgarn Plateau, which was formed when the Earth was young. Some mineral fragments have been dated at 4.2 billion years, possibly making this the oldest material yet discovered.

Darling shower—a dust storm in the Riverina district of the Darling Downs.

Darling-Riverine Plains bioregion—occupies most of the upper catchments of the Darling and Barwon rivers in northern NSW and southern Queensland, and includes the channels and floodplains of the lower reaches of these catchments. The upper catchment landscape is a series of overlapping, low gradient alluvial fans. The lower tract of the river is a narrow floodplain confined between bedrock landscapes, or by extensive sandplains and dunefields. Discharge from past and present streams controls patterns of sediment deposition, soils, landscapes and vegetation. Much of the geology and geomorphology of the region is similar to that of the Riverina bioregion.

Darlot's Creek—a major tributary of the Fitzroy River, at Tyrendarra. The creek flows through stony rises, scrub and grazing land. The rock and mud-bottomed creek supports abundant aquatic weeds as well several types of fish (e.g. river blackfish, tench, common galaxias, mountain galaxias, southern pygmy perch, Yarra pygmy perch, tupong and short-finned eel).

dart—1. used by diggers to indicate a mixture of soil and rock from the diggings that was worth washing for its gold content. 2. "pay dirt"; the good stuff; something desirable as a goal. 3. Old Dart—the Mother Country, England.

Darwin—at the Top End of Australia, bordered by the Timor Sea, Darwin links Australia’s trade, communications, transport and logistics networks to those of South East Asia and beyond. There is today a diverse mix of Asian nationalities, with many refugees from Timor and Vietnam calling Darwin home. The process was begun as far back as 1872, when a minor gold rush attracted more than 7000 Chinese and a handful of Europeans. In 1884, the pearling industry brought people from Japan, Thursday Island, Timor and the Philippines, many of whose descendants are prominent families in Darwin today. In the 1950s many Greeks began to arrive in Darwin and went on to become leaders in the pearling and construction industries. This Northern Territory capital has a pivotal role in the nation's ongoing expansion of the entire Australasian region.

Darwin Coastal bioregion—gently undulating plains on lateritised Cretaceous sandstones and siltstones; sandy and loamy red and yellow earths and siliceous sands from near the mouth of the Victoria River to just west of Cobourg Peninsula. The most notable vegetation feature is the extensive and diverse floodplain environment associated with the lower reaches of the many large river systems. There are also substantial areas of mangroves, rainforest and other riparian vegetation fringing the rivers. Inland from the coast, the dominant vegetation type is eucalypt tall open forest, typically dominated by Darwin woollybutt and Darwin stringybark. Large waterbird colonies are a major conservation value of the bioregion.

Darwin shuffle—a company tax-avoidance scheme in which companies move shares around to avoid paying full duty on their transactions.

Darwin stringybarkEucalyptus tetrodonta, an abundant eucalypt in central Cape York Peninsula. Stringybark woodland covers 37% of the total area of the peninsula. This erect tree stands 10m—30m tall. As indicated by its name, the bark of this tree is stringy, rough and fibrous. However, Aboriginal people used it for making a messmate bark humpy. The wood is used to make spears, woomeras, yamsticks, etc. And the bark is used to make a bark dish. Also known as messmate.

Darwin stubbie—very large beer bottle.

Darwin woollybuttEucalyptus miniata, grows to 10m—20m; it has dark, rough bark on the lower half of its trunk and smooth, white bark on the upper half. Bright-orange flowers appear between May and August.

Darwinia—the Darwinia genus contains approximately 40 species, of which some 32 come from Western Australia. All species are desirable for their flowers but most have proven a little difficult to grow in cultivation. Darwinia citriodora is a compact, rounded shrub up to 60cm in height with a spread of 1.0mt. Leaves are lemon-scented (hence the species name) when crushed, are oblong to lance-shaped and grey-blue in colour, often with a red tinge in winter. Flower heads are terminal and are made up of four yellow, tubular flowers surrounded by red, leaf-like bracts.

dasyure—typical dasyures are furry animals with large eyes, pointed snouts, and long tails. Although known in Australia as native cats, they are not related to true cats. The largest are the size of house cats; most are somewhat smaller. They are variously colored, and most species are spotted. Dasyures hunt by night and are able to climb trees. Once found all over Australia, they are now extinct in many regions. The fierce Tasmanian devil is a large, atypical dasyure. Dasyures are classified in several genera of the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Marsupialia, family Dasyuridae. of the family Dasyuridea, found in Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea.

dasyurid marsupial—(see: dasyure).

date—anus; bum; posterior: e.g., Get off your date and do something!

date roll—toilet paper.

Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree—a climbing tree about 70m high. The tree has a stopping platform about half way up for those who are not as adventurous. There are some lovely walk trails, gas and wood barbecues and an undercover picnic area for the picnickers.

Davenport Ranges—a region widely known for an interesting rock formation called the Devil's Marbles. The range is also an important refuge for fauna, especially water birds, due to an extensive network of waterholes (gilgai) within this dry, rocky region. Vegetation consists of acacia open woodland with a grass layer of spinifex. River red gum and melaleuca species dominate along stream lines. The Davenport Range and Murchison Range together comprise an isolated series of rocky outcrops within the north-eastern expanse of the Tanami Desert. The area was settled at the turn of the century and has a history of mineral exploration and mining, pastoral development and missionary work. Located in the Barkly Tablelands of the Northern Territory.

Davenport Ranges National Park—the first national park in the important environmental zone between the Top End and the Centre of the Northern Territory. The area is an important refuge for fauna, especially water birds, due to an extensive network of waterholes. At least seven species of fish are present in the many permanent waterholes which are isolated from any other river system, giving the area considerable ecological importance. Aboriginal associations with the area are extensive and strong. The Davenport Ranges mark the boundary between the traditional lands of the Warumungu, Alyawarre and Kaytetye people. Artefacts relating to earlier occupancy remain and Dreamtime stories persist among Aboriginal people, most of whom retain traditional associations with the land. The area was settled at the turn of the century and has a history of mineral exploration and mining, pastoral development and missionary work. Together with the Murchison Ranges, the three Davenport Ranges comprise an isolated series of rocky outcrops within the north-eastern expanse of the Tanami sandplains.

Davenport/Murchison Ranges bioregion—low but rugged rocky hills, formed from folded volcanics and sandstone, siltstone and conglomerates, which contrast starkly with the generally flat sandplain within the north-eastern expanse of the Tanami Desert. These ranges provide an important refuge for fauna, especially water birds, due to an extensive network of waterholes. Vegetation consists of Acacia open woodland dominated by species such as Eucalyptus leucopholia and mulga, with a grass layer of spinifex. River red gum and Melaleuca spp. dominate the vegetation along streamlines. The area was settled at the turn of the century and has a history of mineral exploration and mining, pastoral development and missionary work. Together, these ranges are an environmental zone between the Top End and the Centre of the Northern Territory, in the Barkly region.

Davy Jones's locker—the sea, especially in regard to a grave.

Davy lamp—a miner's safety lamp with the flame enclosed by wire gauze to prevent an explosion of gas.

dawn parade/service—a commemorative ceremony held at dawn on Anzac Day.

Dawson gumEucalyptus cambageana, common tree with brigalow, belah and wilga in tropical and sub-tropical inland Queensland from Townsville to Taroom, inland to Charleville. Can reach heights of 35m. Typically grows in medium layered forest on cracking clay soils.

Day of Mourning—26 January, anniversary of the invasion of Australia by the British. On this day in 1938, the first national Aboriginal rights protest took place at the Australian Hall in Elizabeth Street, Sydney (now the Cyprus-Hellene Club).

day return—a fare or ticket at a reduced rate for a journey out and back in one day.

day trip—a visit to a place in which you go there and come back on the same day. e.g. Do you fancy coming on a day trip to the Gold Coast at the weekend?

Day's frogNyctimystes dayi, endangered. Occurs in vegetation and upon rocks beside fast flowing streams. A decline was noted in 1989 and subsequently has been demonstrated to have become progressive and substantial. Former distribution: Restricted to the Wet Tropics of Queensland between Big Tableland and Paluma. Current distribution: It is now evident that the species has disappeared from all of the 21 sites situated above 300m, and is restricted to the few populations below that altitude. Reasons for decline: Unknown. Also known as lace-eyed tree frog and Australian lace-lid.

day-tripper—The coast is full of day-trippers at this time of year.

dazzler—anything excellent, exceptionally good, brilliant.

dead and won't lie down—pertaining to a person who is considered stupid, lacking intelligence, or persistent against all hope.

dead bat—(cricket) a bat held loosely so that it imparts no motion to the ball when struck.

dead beat—exhausted; very tired: e.g., I'm dead beat today. (not to be confused with: deadbeat).

dead bird/cert—a certainty, especially in horse-racing.

dead hand at—expert; skilled at.

Dead Heart—the arid centre of Australia. The Dead Heart was the area to the north of Lake Eyre, now known as the Simpson Desert.

dead horse—1. an outstanding debt. 2. (rhyming slang) tomato sauce.

dead march—a funeral march.

dead marines—1. empty beer or wine bottles. 2. dead men.

dead meat ticket—the name give by WWI diggers to the soldier's identity disc, which recorded his name, regimental number and creed and was a means of identification should the wearer be killed.

dead men—bottles after the contents have been drunk.

dead men's graves—mounds in heavy clay soils.

dead motherless broke—having no money at all.

dead nark—spoilsport.

dead 'un—a loser, especially a racehorse which is made to lose deliberately.

dead wool—wool taken from a dead sheep.

dead-eye Dick—person whose aim is accurate, unerring.

dead-head—1. person lacking in intelligence or initiative. 2. to remove dead flowers from a plant or bush.

dead-set—truthful(ly); honest(ly); sure; certain: e.g., Are you dead-set about giving up your new job?

dead-shit—despicable, contemptible person.

deaf as a doornail/post—1. selectively deaf: e.g., Dad's as deaf as a doornail when I ask for a loan of the car. 2. hard of hearing. 3. profoundly deaf.

Deakin, Alfred—(1856 -1919) barrister, journalist and Australia’s second prime minister. Deakin was the key figure in promoting Federation in Victoria during the 1890s, analogous to the role played by Edmund Barton in New South Wales. He became Attorney-General in Barton’s protectionist ministry, and replaced Barton as prime minister when he moved to the High Court in 1903. Deakin's second ministry, which began in 1905 with the support of the Labor Party, brought about the establishment of the industrial arbitration system, tariff protection, the introduction of old age pensions, and the outlining of defence policies. Labor withdrew its support, and his ministry came to an end. In 1909 Deakin became prime minister again by joining with his former free trade opponents in the Fusion government. With the defeat of this government by Labor at the 1910 election, Deakin ended his parliamentary career as leader of the opposition. He retired in 1913. Australians continue to share Deakin's social vision, for it was he above all who instituted the Australian ideal of the "fair go", and put in place much of Australia’s political and social infrastructure. His views about race and Empire, however, were typical of his generation.

dear—1.expensive 2. that which is close to one's heart.

Dear Auntie—a phrase signifying utter weariness or disgust. It implies the well-known text of a fictitious soldier's letter:—'Dear Auntie, this ain't no ordinary war IT'S A BLOODY BASTARD, and if you want to see your little Johnny again, get right down on your knees, and pray like hell.'

Dear Dorothy Dix—letter confessing some aspect of one's life and requesting advice or help in the matter.

death adder—(see: desert death adder).

death seat—1. the front passenger seat in a car. 2. (harness-racing) position behind the leader and boxed in on the outside by another.

death's head—skull as a symbol of mortality.

death's head moth—a large moth related to the hawk-moth, so named from the likeness of the human skull found on its thorax. The larva, by snapping its mandibles together, emits a clicking sound comparable to a series of electric sparks. This moth has been known to enter beehives and take honey.

death-watch beetleXestobium rufovillosum, a small beetle which makes a sound like a watch ticking, once supposed to portend death. Its larva bores into old wood—including the wood-work of houses.

deciduous beechNothofagus gunnii, Australia's only native deciduous plant, growing nowhere other than Tasmania. Some 100 million years ago, when the genus known as Nothofagus first evolved, Tasmania was part of the supercontinent of Gondwana. As Gondwana began to split, the southern beech form of Nothofagus was common in what would later become South America, New Zealand, Antarctica, Australia and their near neighbours. In fact, it was the present distribution of Nothofagus that first suggested to scientists that these landmasses had once been joined. The species of Nothofagus most closely related to the southern beech are still found in South America and New Zealand. Also known by the name of fagus, the autumnal display of the southern beech is known locally as "the turning of the fagus".

Declaration—a unilateral, formal or public statement or document stating agreed-upon standards, which is not legally binding. The United Nations General Assembly often issues Declarations that are influential, but legally non-binding.

Deed of Grant in Trust—(DOGIT) a system of community-level land trusts established in Queensland in 1984. This deed enables traditional owners to legally possess and administer their former reserves. Each trust area is endowed with a local government. Incorporated Aboriginal Councils, which elect representatives every three years, manage the community's affairs. The councils are empowered to make bi-laws and appoint Aboriginal community police. Council responsibilities include housing maintenance, infrastructure, the administration of the Community Development Employment Program, and the granting of licenses and permits for hunting and camping within the reserve.

deed poll—a deed made and executed by one party only, especially to change one's name (the paper being polled or cut even, not indented).

Deen Maar Indigenous Protected Area—located on the south-west coast of Victoria, near the community of Yamb. The property is 453ha of rolling sand dunes, limestone ridges, river, lake and wetlands located in the South East Coastal Plain Bioregion. This country is home to many wildlife species, including the endangered orange-bellied parrot, which has a total known population of fewer than 200 birds. This land is the traditional home of the Peek Whurrong speakers of the Dhauwurdwurung (Gunditjmara) Nation. This land is of special spiritual significance to local Aboriginal people and has spiritual and visual connection with Deen Maar Island (Lady Julie Percy Island) where Bunjil, the Creator, left this world. This land and its story are connected to Gariwerd (the Grampians National Park). Deen Maar was the site of deadly conflict between Aboriginal people and squatters in 1842, commonly known as the Eumerella Wars. The battles raged for 10 years in the mid-1800s. From the mid-1800s the land was used for primary production. The wetlands were drained, vegetation removed and the country became a haven for pests like rabbits and weeds. When the Framlingham Aboriginal Trust purchased this old grazing property in 1993 it was overrun by feral animals and badly eroded. Through a New Work Opportunity Employment Program in 1995, local Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal unemployed people began work on the property, fencing and removing weeds.

deener—a shilling (before decimal currency).

Deep North—Queensland (by analogy with 'Deep South', with reference to a supposedly similar conservatism).

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