Australian Dictionary

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Australia Decoded


Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

E. & O. E.—errors and omissions excepted.

each way—(of a bet) backing a horse etc for a win and a place.

eagle rayMyliobatis australis, flaps wide and angular, head raised above disk with eyes looking out sideways. The teeth in each jaw are in 7 rows, the central row being larger and wider than the others. Tail slender and whip-like. It may range in colour from olive-green to sandy, and even orange-yellow. The body is irregularly patterned with blue bars and blotches, arranged in a series of crescents. Often sighted over sand and weed bottoms, both inshore and offshore. Spine on tail is venomous. Otherwise, as with all the rays, the eagle ray is quite edible. Found in the southern half of Australia to Jurien Bay in Western Australia. Also known as bull-ray.

eaglehawk—see wedge-tailed eaglehawk.

Eaglehawk Neck—a tie-bar composed of sand carried by currents and waves from the floors of Pirate's Bay to the east, and Norfolk Bay to the west. Eaglehawk Neck connects the Tasman Peninsula to the Forestier Peninsula in a narrow isthmus less than 100m wide. A military station established at the Neck in 1832 was a vital link in the strict security system that operated throughout the Tasman and Forestier peninsulas during the convict period. A detachment of military guards, assisted by a line of ferocious dogs, once kept a constant watch along the narrow isthmus at Eaglehawk Neck. They were on the lookout for escaped convicts from the Port Arthur penal colony. With the closure of Port Arthur penal settlement in 1877, the station at Eaglehawk Neck was abandoned. The land and buildings were acquired by private settlers, and the state government acquired the site in 1991. Today, Eaglehawk Neck houses a quiet fishing village of the same name.

earbash—talk inordinately to; harangue.

early days—early within a timeframe for something to occur or be completed: e.g., Don't worry about your speed at typing, it's early days yet.

early mark—approval to leave work early as a reward.

early nancy—spring is announced by the first appearances of this delicate lily, Wurmbea dioica. In this species, male flowers are larger than female flowers, and males receive 50% more visits by pollinators than females. Males with larger flowers achieve higher reproductive success than plants with smaller flowers, supporting the view that selection for larger flower size has occurred through male function rather than female function. Just which insects do the main share of pollination is not known.

early shed—a shearing shed operative in the early part of the season.

ears flapping—(have one's...) to be listening with great interest, especially when one is not supposed to hear what is being said: e.g., Be careful what you say—the ankle-biter's ears are flapping.

ears like taxi doors/wingnuts—pertaining to having big ears.

earth-closet—a lavatory with dry earth used to cover excreta.


East Alligator River—a tidal river that forms the boundary between Kakadu and Arnhem Land. Together with the West and South Alligator Rivers, It is regarded as one of the richest biological regions in Australia. It also contains mineral deposits, especially uranium, with the Ranger Uranium Mine located there. The area is also rich in Aboriginal art, with 1500 sites. They were explored by Lieutenant Phillip Parker King in 1820, who named them in the mistaken belief that the crocodiles in the estuaries were alligators.

East Arnhem region—the most easterly extremity of the Northern Territory mainland, covering an area of approximately 41,000sq km. The Yolgnu people call the region Miwatj. With its spectacular coastal landforms, extensive offshore islands and strong Aboriginal cultural connections, this region offers one of the more accessible opportunities to visit and experience remote and mysterious Arnhem Land, one of Australia's last strongholds of traditional Aboriginal culture. The Yolgnu have inalienable freehold title over this land, currently with the exception of some mining leases. Despite the enormous cultural and natural potential of the region no development can occur without the express approval and/or involvement of Yolgnu. The Yolgnu and Managa today live a unique lifestyle, blending modern technology with timeless traditions. Many of the Yolgnu in the region live in small communities or on the traditional homelands of the various clans. The large number of different clan groups and some 40 clan-languages in northeast Arnhem Land alone reflect the richness and diversity of culture. The region has a population of 12,122 (ABS 1996) of which 7001 or 58% is Yolgnu, with most of the Managa population living in the two mining towns of Nhulunbuy and Alyangula.

East Australian Currant—(EAC) the largest ocean current close to the coasts of Australia, generating and enriching life on the driest continent. With its source in the tropical Coral Sea, north-east of Queensland, the EAC moves a substantial volume of low-nutrient tropical water south along the Australian coastline towards the temperate regions, with ocean eddies peeling off into the Tasman Sea on the way. Sea surface temperatures taken from North American satellites indicate the pattern of warm and cooler water east of Australia. With current speeds of up to five knots, the EAC is a major current system. It is one of the co-called 'western boundary' currents of the world—those current systems squashed against the western side of the ocean by the Earth's rotation. The EAC ferries up to 30 million cubic metres per second, with a strong influence to 500m depth and 100km width. The current is strongest in summer, peaking in February, and weakest (by as much as half the flow) in winter, its energy dissipating east of Tasmania.

East Gippsland—a shire in the far east of Victoria. East Gippsland is a diverse geographical area, bordered to the north-east by mountains and to the south by the sea and the extensive Gippsland Lakes region. East Gippsland covers an area of 2.13 million ha—nearly 10% of Victoria—and includes the land and water extending from the western watershed of the Mitchell River catchment, eastward to the New South Wales border. Because East Gippsland is on the corner of Australia, surrounded by the tempering influence of two oceans, its climate is milder than than that of either Sydney or Melbourne. Highlights of East Gippsland are the near desert and plunging ramparts of the Snowy River Gorge, the upland cloud forests of Errinundra National Park and the endless beaches and massive sand dunes of the wilderness coast. The incredible diversity of East Gippsland has been recognised by the creation of the largest area of national parks in Australia, comprising three totally different ecosystems, ranging from stunted desert vegetation to towering eucalyptus forests, rainforests and sandy coastal heathlands. Snow in winter can cover nearby peaks whilst the base of the gorge is in a rainshadow and has near desert climate all year. The contrast is extraordinary.

East Indies—in the early 1600s, the area now known as Indonesia and Timor. Dutch traders established trading bases in the East Indies to monopolise trade with India, China and Japan. They succeeded largely because of their discovery of the Roaring Forties, a westerly wind that sped the ships eastward across the Indian Ocean.

East Mount Barren—the coastal hills, collectively known as the Barrens, are the most distinctive landforms in the Fitzgerald River National Park, WA. Many plants found nowhere else in the world are restricted to the Barrens, which are composed of quartzites. The tilted and folded rock beds, like those seen at East Mount Barren, were once layers of sand deposited on the sea floor. They were subsequently compressed, heated and uplifted by movements of the Earth's crust.

Easter Bilby—Queensland children's author Rose-Marie Dusting self-published the book Billy the Aussie Easter Bilby in Adelaide in 1979, and is recognised by many as Australia's Bilby Lady and creator of the Easter Bilby. Ian Faithfull, in his article "On the Origin, History and Significance of the Easter Bilby", suggests that "the concept of the Easter Bilby was invented between 1976 and 1983 by Malcolm Turner of the Hawthorn Junior Field Naturalists Club as a replacement for the Easter bunny at the Club’s traditional Easter bush camps." He also notes that the "concept also appears to have been invented independently by Tony Robinson of the South Australian National Parks Service about 1980". The Anti Rabbit Research Fund of Australia (now know as the Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia) began using the Easter Bilby in 1991 to highlight the damage that the introduced rabbit does to the native environment. They arranged for the first chocolate Bilbies to be produced in South Australia in 1993.

eastern barred bandicootPerameles gunnii, Victoria's most endangered mammal. It was formerly widespread throughout western Victoria, but is now virtually extinct in the wild, with only a handful of bandicoots surviving in and around the city of Hamilton. It is also extinct in South Australia, but still survives in reasonable numbers in Tasmania. Almost all of the native grasslands and grassy woodlands that were once the home of the eastern barred bandicoot have gone, but they may survive in habitat such as tree shelter belts and bush blocks on farms, providing there is thick ground cover. This small, rat-like creature is marked with pale bars which help to camouflage it in its grassland and grassy woodland home.

eastern bettong—the favorite food of bettongs are underground fungi found around the roots of eucalyptus and acacia trees. Bettongs smell these out in much the same way as pigs are used in France to hunt for truffles. The bettongs also eat leaves, seeds, roots and bulbs, and any insects they encounter. They sleep by day in a grass nest they construct, collecting and carrying the grass back to the nest site with their prehensile tail. The eastern bettong was found though south-eastern Australia and Tasmania. It became extinct on the mainland early in the 20th century. Most likely foxes and land clearing caused it's extinction. It is still to be found in Tasmania, however it is far from secure. Most of it's habitat in Tasmania is on private land, and it's distribution is very patchy. John Gould, the famous naturalist, writing in the 19th century described it as "Tasmania's most ubiquitous animal", a status it no longer enjoys today. It is regarded as near-threatened.

eastern bristlebird—grey-brown songbirds of the family Pardalotidae. Due to their small wings they are very poor fliers, but sturdy feet and legs help them move through the dense vegetation they inhabit. They are predominantly ground-feeding insectivores. As with fantails and flycatchers, their bristles assist in catching insects. Seeds, berries and vegetable matter are also eaten. Most nests found have been in grass and sedge tussocks, 10-45cm above ground. Population densities within suitable habitat are low compared to those of other heathland birds. Only six remaining populations are known: two near Brisbane, two near Wollongong and two possibly adjacent to the NSW-Victoria border near Cape Howe.

eastern brown treesnake—the rear-fanged, non-venomous colubrid ranges in colour from brown with black bands in the south to white with red bands in the northern part of its range. An occasional specimen will be all-black.

eastern curlewNumenius madagascariensis, the largest migratory wading bird in the world, it is a summer migrant from eastern Asia, arriving in Australia during September and departing March-April, with some, usually immature and old birds, over-wintering here. It has a very distinctive, curved beak, up to 18 cm in length. This is equivalent to 5 times the length of its head and allows it to feed on worms and small crabs that live buried deep in the wet sand or mudflats. Wader chicks, unlike most other birds, are born with their eyes open, covered in down and with fully developed legs so that within 24 hours of hatching they can leave the nest and be able to feed themselves. Birds are usually seen in flocks frequenting coastal mudflats, mangroves, beaches and sandflats. Roosts in flocks with other wader species on higher sand-spits or islands during high tides and particularly active at night, especially during the low tide. For many Aboriginal groups across Australia the eastern curlew is a bird of great significance, a messenger. Its plaintive cry is a warning to be heeded. Many of the stories associated with the Eastern curlew can only be told in certain circumstances. Also known as: the Far Eastern curlew, the Australian curlew, the sea curlew and just plain curlew (from its commonly heard ker-loo call). Common names are often inexact, but the scientific name for the eastern curlew is also a little strange. Named Numenius madagascariensis by Linnaeus in 1766, it appears that the famous biologist mistakenly confused Madagascar with Macassar.

Eastern Goldfields—a prolific mineral-producing region of Western Australia. Covers an area from Wiluna in the north, Southern Cross in the west, Esperance in the south and to the South Australian border in the east. The area in size covers 815,464sq km, which equates to 32.6% of the total landmass of Western Australia. Main towns are Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Esperance, Leonora, Laverton, Leinster, Wiluna, Southern Cross and Norseman. The Eastern Goldfields region is one of the world's single biggest sources of refined gold and nickel output.

eastern grey kangarooMacropus gigurteus, also known as the "Forester". The dominant grey male is regarded as the most aggressive of the kangaroos. Most males who are not dominant take an easy approach to life in the mob, staying clear of the dominant male and mating with a female only when the ‘boss' is not looking. Females rarely show aggression, although they will not tolerate another mum's joey. A very social animal, the eastern grey lives in small groups but may congregate in large mobs when feeding. Distributed throughout most of the eastern states of Australia, and has increased in population since European colonization, due to improved pasture land and irrigation points.

eastern hare-wallabyLagorchestes leporides, listed as Presumed Extinct on the schedules of the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act. The eastern hare-wallaby inhabited the south-east of Australia and more than likely became extinct towards the end of the nineteenth century. During the day this species slept in its shelter, which it excavated under large tussocks, and foraged at night. When disturbed it would run in a zig-zag, hare-like manner, often making prodigious leaps of 1.8m or more. Nothing is known of its diet or reproductive biology.

Eastern Highlands—3860km long, general name for the mountains and plateaus roughly paralleling the east and south-east coasts of Australia (including Tasmania) and forming the Continental Divide (see Great Dividing Range); rises to Mount Kosciusko (2230m), Australia's highest peak. Rugged, with many gorges and few gaps, the Eastern Highlands long hindered westward expansion of British settlement. The slopes are covered with eucalyptus forests. Rich in minerals, the highlands contain most of Australia's coalfields; gold, copper, tin, oil, and natural gas are also extracted. The southern part of the region is a popular winter resort area. Major segments of the system are the Australian Alps, the New England Range, and the Blue Mountains.

eastern owl frog—(see: giant burrowing frog).

eastern reef egret—Egretta sacra is found in many areas of Asia, including the oceanic region of India, South East Asia, Japan, Polynesia, and in mainland Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. They are a medium-sized egret, reaching 57cm—66cm in length. They have a wingspan of between 90cm and 110cm and reach an average weight of 400g. The species displays an unusual, non-sexual dimorphism, with some members having entirely white plumage and others (the larger portion) being charcoal-grey. The reason for the color variation or "morph," is unknown, though it is most commonly thought to be related to camouflage. Eastern reef egrets have very short, yellow legs, and the grey variety's throats and chins are marked by a narrow white stripe. They have brown beaks, gold-yellow colored eyes and the surrounding areas of their faces are normally of a greenish to yellow cast. Their food sources are made up predominantly of varieties of ocean-based fish, crustaceans and molluscs. The species lay clutches of eggs year round in colonies in the jungle, between palms and mangroves or in cavities of old buildings. Two to three pale, greenish-blue eggs are laid in nests constructed from branches and blossoms. Males and females share brooding tasks. After the chicks are hatched, the parents provide approximately 5 weeks of support. Eastern reef egrets are protected in Australia under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

Eastern rosellaPlatycercus eximius, a medium-sized, colourful parrot with distinctive white cheek patches. It has a red head, neck and breast, with yellowish to greenish upper parts, a yellow underbody and a yellow-green to blue-green rump, with a red undertail. The shoulders are bright blue. The eastern rosella is found throughout south-eastern Australia, from Queensland to Victoria and south-eastern South Australia, as well as eastern Tasmania. It is found in open woodlands, grasslands, farmlands and remnant bushland. Often found in urban habitats such as parks, gardens and golf courses. The eastern rosella mainly feeds on the ground, especially amongst grasses in lawns, pastures and other clearings. Also feeds in trees and bushes. Main dietary items include: seeds, fruits, buds, flowers, nectar and insects. They mate for life. The female chooses and prepares the nesting site, usually a hollow in a eucalypt tree. Eggs are laid on a decayed wood bed and the female incubates the eggs while the male regularly feeds her. The young may be fed for a while after they fledge.

eastern snake-neckChelodina longicollis, a turtle distinguished by a neck extending half the length of its carapace and its webbed feet. It lives in swamps, billabongs and slow-moving rivers of eastern and south-eastern mainland Australia, and feeds on aquatic invertebrates, tadpoles and small fish. Also known as the eastern long-necked turtle or by the common name of 'stinker'—this turtle can eject pungent liquid gland secretions from its 'armpits' and groin when handled or disturbed.

eastern spinebillAcanthorhynchus tenuirostris, a very active bird that is usually seen darting from flower to flower. The head is black and the upper body parts are dark grey; it has a rufous throat and belly with a brown region above the belly; and the tail is black with white edges. It's call is a monotonic, shrill, rapid piping. Although its diet comprises mostly nectar (which it obtains with its long, slender beak), the eastern spinebill will also eat insects. Breeds mostly between October and January, in a cup-shaped nest of grass and plant fibres lined with feathers or hair. Found from the tablelands inland from Cooktown, south to Tasmania and across to the Mount Lofty Ranges of South Australia, in heaths and forests with a dense shrub layer. Also known as cobbler's awl, spine-billed honeyeater.

Eastern States—mainland Australia, excluding Western Australia (and sometimes South Australia).

eastern tiger snakeNotechis scutatis scutatis, a venomous snake that gives birth to live young. Litters normally contain about 30 young, though litters of over 100 have been recorded. Prefers the margins of swamps, rivers and other bodies of fresh water.

eastern water dragonPhysignathus lesueurii, a semi-aquatic and arboreal lizard that is often seen basking on a branch overhanging water. If disturbed it will drop into the water and swim to the bottom to wait for the danger to pass, staying under for up to 30 minutes. The eastern water dragon inhabits the coastal water courses of eastern Australia from northern Queensland to Gippsland in eastern Victoria.

eastern whipbirdPsophodes olivaceus, one of the most distinctive birds of the Australian bush by virtue of its call. The remarkable whip-crack call is performed as a duet. The male makes the drawn-out whine, as of wet leather slicing the air, and the female precisely terminates the call with a sharp crack. Eastern whipbirds are more often heard than seen. The head and crest of the are black with white sides on the throat; the back, wings and tail are dark olive-green; and the tail has a white tip. They prefer rainforest, eucalypt forest and dense scrub near watercourses. The range of the eastern whipbird forms a coastal band- from northern Queensland, south to Victoria.

easy as shoving butter up a porcupine's bum with a knitting-needle on a hot day—not easy; extremely difficult.

easy may—(prison slang) a safe.

easy on!—slow down; plea for moderation.

easy wicket—a comfortable, easy task, position or job: e.g., He's on an easy wicket with that new job.

eat a horse and chase the rider—(I could...) jocular declaration of one's hunger.

eau de cologne—(rhyming slang) phone, telephone.

eavesdropping—the eaves of a house is the edge of the roof which overhangs the side. It comes from an Old English word, and it appears that eaves (like “sheep”) is both singular and plural – there is no such thing as the “eave” of a house. At one stage there was a law in England that required adjacent houses not be built more than two feet apart. The idea was that keeping the houses close would prevent excessive run-off from the eaves of one house damaging another. This narrow gap between houses was called the eavesdrip or eavesdrop. Around the 15th century, persons sheltering in this narrow space to overhear conversations going on within were called eavesdroppers. The earliest citation in the OED is from 1487.

Ebenezer Mission Station—located in north-west Victoria, it first established in 1859 by the Moravian Church, also known as the Herrnhuter Brothers. The Ebenezer mission station was established to ‘civilise and Christianise’ the Aborigines of the area. The mission was located some 20km south of Lake Hindmarsh, on the banks of the Wimmera River. After arriving in Australia in 1858 Br Hagenauer and Br Spieseke chose the site from four options open to them. They chose the banks of the Wimmera River, since it was the furthest away from the negative effects of other settlers. One of the first things that the missionaries did was to open a school; it was through schooling that they hoped to be able to educate the Aborigines to read and also to ‘civilise’ them into European ways. Besides school and church services, the Aborigines on the station were actively involved in the building of the stone and wood cottages that housed them, as well as hunting, fishing and farming for the men and domestic duties for the women.

Eccles cake—a square cake composed of currants between two layers of puff pastry, the top iced with egg whites and sugar. The English place name for the area of the recipe's origin has been conferred upon the cake, a once-common practice before the turn of the 19th century. Also known as Nelson cake.

echidna—one of only two species of mammals called monotremes, the other being the platypus. An egg-laying, milk-producing, pouch-bearing mammal native to Australia and New Guinea, it has a long snout and long claws, and is covered in spines. They have very short, strong limbs with large claws, and are powerful diggers. They have no teeth, a tiny mouth, and a weak jaw. They feed by tearing open soft logs, anthills and the like, and using their long, sticky tongue to sweep up termites, ants and other small arthropods, which are crushed between the tongue and the roof of their mouth. Echidnas are oddly self-contained creatures. Outside of the mating season (midwinter in most areas, mainly July and August) they are solitary, occupying overlapping home ranges with no particular fixed base. They wander, presumably in search of food, with a distinctive side-to-side gait, usually moving very slowly, particularly if the terrain is rocky or tussocked. Their sight is poor but they are nevertheless quick enough to detect movement near them, and if disturbed by it to take protective measures: wedging themselves into any convenient hollow log or rock crevice; or disappearing into even moderately hard soil at a surprising pace, remaining horizontal all the while until only a few spines on the uppermost portion of the back are visible; or, if on very hard, flat ground, simply curling into a ball.

Echidna Chasm—This stunning chasm eroded by millions of wet season rains is one of Australia's most spectacular walking destinations. Located in the Bungle Bungles, Purnululu National Park. The Bungle Bungles are unique geological formations that are another part of the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Echuca-Moama—twin towns, located either both side of the Murray River (which forms the border between Victoria and New South Wales). Together, dubbed "the food bowl of Australia", Echuca (Victoria) and Moama (NSW) have a total population of around 10,000 people. For the tourist, Echuca offers a faithful restoration of the historic port area, town buildings and public areas.

eclectus parrot—Eclectus roratus macgillivrayi is widespread in the rainforest of the Cape York Peninsula, northern Queensland. The feathers of Eclectus parrots appear hair-like. Their sexual dimorphism is so dramatic the males and females were once thought to be entirely difference species. Also known as red-sided parrot, Rocky Range parrot, and Rocky River parrot.

Eden—the southern gateway to the Sapphire Coast, Eden is set in rugged beauty with golden-sand beaches and crystal waters to the east, and forests and parklands to the west. Davidson Whaling Station—the longest-operating, shore-based whaling station in Australia—is in the area at Kiah Inlet. The colourful history of Eden is steeped in the traditions of the sea, providing endless fishing opportunities and fascinating dive wrecks. Eden Killer Whale Museum, featuring the skeleton of Old Tom, last of the herding killer whales of Eden, is an impressive exhibit. Situated at the head of the large (3100ha) Twofold Bay, New South Wales.

Eden Whale Festival—a three-day celebration of the annual migration of whales through the waters of Twofold Bay. The waters around Eden have become a popular destination for enthusiastic whale watchers, and the number of whales to these waters appears to be increasing each year. Their migration to and from the Antarctic waters take them past Twofold Bay between May and November of each year. The early history of the bay is closely tied to the whaling industry, and it is in recognition of this that the inaugural Eden Whale Festival was held in October 1996, and has continued annually since.

edge—(cricket) strike the ball with the edge of the bat.

Edith Falls—located on the western boundary of Nitmil National Park. Paperbark and pandanus fringe a natural pool at the base of the falls, making this an idyllic spot for camping. The area is also popular with bushwalkers. The 2.6km Leliyn Trail takes around two hours to complete and provides the opportunity to swim in the upper pool of Edith Falls, with spectacular views of Edith River and waterfalls. Edith Falls is the finish point of the estimated five-day (65km) walking trail from Nitmil National Park Headquarters. Located within the Katherine region of the Northern Territory.

Edithvale-Seaford wetlands—Victoria's eleventh Ramsar site, designated on 29th August 2001. They have particular value in that they are the last remaining representative examples of the Carrum Carrum Swamp which was largely drained in the nineteenth century. In addition, they regularly support more than one per cent of the flyway population of the sharp-tailed sandpiper as well as the Australasian bittern, which is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The Edithvale-Seaford wetlands are located in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs.

Edward Eyre’s journey from East to West—the Eyre Highway runs from Port Augusta, South Australia to Norseman, Western Australia in tribute to Edward John Eyre. With the support of his Aboriginal guide Wylie, Eyre reached on foot what is today Albany, having crossed on foot the waterless desert going east to west of Australia along the coast of the Great Australian Bight. Today that route would be known as part of the Nullabor Plain. Edward Eyre began with an assistant, John Baxter, and three Aborigines. Four-and-a-half months and 2,000km later, after an appalling journey mostly through desert, he and Wylie walked into Albany. Baxter had been murdered by the other two, who had then run away.

Edward Pellew group of islands—(see: Sir Edward Pellew Group).

Edward River—(see: Pormpuraaw).

eelgrassZostra capricorni, seagrasses which are flowering plants adapted for lifelong submergence in a marine or estuarine environment. Like flowering plants on land they produce flowers and seeds. Eelgrass is the most abundant seagrass in Lake Illawarra and often seen as a dark olive or reddish green mass of leaves in the lake's shallow water. It is a perennial estuarine water plant with leaves 7vm—50cm long and 2mm—5mm wide. Erect flowering stems are produced after several years, which break off at the base, releasing seed as it floats. Valuable for stabilising sediments, this species also provides habitats suitable for invertebrates and fish.

EEZ—Exclusive Economic Zone.


eisteddfod—a festival of German origin, featuring competitions in music and/or dance; celebrated in towns and cities throughout Australia. The larger festivals draw international as well as local competition.

either piss (in it) or get off the pot—do something constructive instead of complaining; don't be so indecisive.

Ekka—(see: Royal Queensland Show).

Ekka Day—in Brisbane, a public holiday allowing for attendance at the Agricultural Exhibition on opening day.

El Niño-Southern Oscillation—(ENSO) a suite of events that occur at the time of an El Niño. At one extreme of the cycle, when the central Pacific Ocean is warm and the atmospheric pressure over Australia is relatively high, the ENSO causes drought conditions over eastern Australia.

Elcho Island—an island in the Arafura Sea, north of north-eastern Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Its residents are mostly Yolngu people, although immigrants have settled there since the establishment in the early 1940s of a Methodist mission station at Galiwin'ku, which has since developed as the island's only town. Galiwin'ku is also the Aboriginal name for the whole island. Possibly the first non-Aboriginal people to know of the island were the Macassan trepangers, whose annual expeditions to Arnhem Land included visits to Elcho. The first European settlement was in 1922-23, when an oil search company drilled for naphtha petroleum and Methodist missionaries established a short-lived station there. The second attempt at opening a mission, in 1942 was successful. There is an important djangkawu centre on the island and performances of the djangkawu ceremonies, which relate to the Yolngu creation story, take place here. The ceremonies entail elaborate performances of song and dance and the practice of body painting. Since the mission transferred control of its facilities during the late 1970s, the island's 1750 people have been self-managing through the Galiwin'ku Community Inc, the local community association.

elder—in an Aboriginal community, a person of recognised authority.

Elder Scientific Expedition—1891-92, led by David Lindsay, it was the last major exploration of unknown areas in north South Australia. It traversed country south of the Musgrave, Tomkinson and Mann ranges before passing into Western Australia. Dissension among its officers and scientific staff brought the expedition to a premature close.

Elebana Falls—on West Canungra Creek, deep within the Lamington National Park sub-tropical rainforests, Queensland. Elebana Falls is one of the many waterfalls along the return trail from Bithongabel at Lamington.

Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australasia—(EZ) established in 1916, a company that mined lead, zinc and silver, as well as refining zinc and zinc alloys and manufacturing sulphuric acid and fertilisers. Located in Victoria.

elegant parrotNeophema elegans belongs to a group of small grass parrots, of which most are ground feeders with olive-green plumage; the 22cm elegant parrot fits these similarities. It feeds on grass seeds and clover, also berries and fruits. They inhabit scrublands, pasture grasslands and coastal saltbush, although their range is expanding as they colonize scattered clearings in agricultural systems. The elegant parrot was first recorded in Perth in 1957. Voice: sharp whistle in contact, tsit tsit tsit and twittering.  Found in western and south-western WA, western NSW and Victoria, and south-east SA.

elegant sufficiency—an abundance (of something) which does not cross the line into surfeit or conspicuous consumption.

elevated—slightly drunk.

elevenses—light, mid-morning refreshments; morning tea-break.

Elim—church influence: Lutheran. This mission was established in 1885 on the north shore at Cape Bedford near Cooktown in Queensland. While it initially flourished, Elim's future became grim and the people were relocated to Hope Valley At the beginning of World War II the people were relocated to Woorabinda. Over the next 10 years approximately a quarter of the people who had been relocated to Woorabinda from Hope Valley died. In 1949, the people returned home to a new site called Hope Vale, the original home of the Guugu-Yimidhirr people. Hope Vale was the first community in Queensland to receive land under Deed Of Grant In Trust arrangements.

Elizabeth Farm—the prototype for the Australian homestead. Elizabeth Farm commenced in 1793 and contains some of the oldest surviving European building in Australia. Built as the home of John and Elizabeth Macarthur, it was the birthplace of the Australian wool industry and was an important social, political and cultural centre. Maintained as a heritage site, the interiors contain reproductions of furniture, along with portraits and objects belonging to the original owners. Elizabeth Farm is surrounded by a recreated 1830s garden containing plants that were commonly grown in the 18th century. Located on Alice Street, Rosehill (Sydney), NSW.

elkhorn fernPlatycerium bifurcatum, an epiphytic fern that is actually a cluster of many individuals. The shield fronds are deeply lobed, whilst the fertile fronds stand semi-erect or nodding, becoming pendulous with age. The base of the fertile frond is slender and narrowly wedge-shaped, whilst the upper half of the frond forks out two or three times. Plantlets, called "pups", grow from buds on the outer lower regions on the shield fronds, thus allowing the species to grow into huge masses—sometimes becoming so large that their host is unable to support them, crashing to the ground. The elkhorn is the most common and widespread of the fern species in Australia. It is able to grow in a variety of habitats from high in the trees of the rainforest to areas of swamp and open forest. It often grows in large masses on boulders and rock faces in New South Wales, and on trees in Queensland. It is very easily grown as far south as Melbourne, as it tolerates light frost.

Ellangowan poison bushEremophila deserti, a shrub of drier mainland Australia which is sometimes poisonous to stock.

emerald ground doveChalcophaps indica, a seed and fruit eating bird that disperses the seeds of many introduced plant pests (e.g., lantana, inkweed and wild tobacco). Its preferred habitats are the rainforests and wet eucalypt forests of coastal, eastern and northern Australia. Though it spends much of its time on the ground foraging for food, it is a strong flier when necessary.

emerald pythonMorelia viridis, found only in the Iron Range/McIlwraith Range district of Cape York Peninsula.

emma chisit—the Strine rendition of: how much is it?

Empire flying boat—a long-range, four-engine, 12-passenger flying boat used by the British Air Ministry. The Short Empire flying boats were used by the major contemporary airlines to serve as a link between Britain and Australia from 1938—1947. The outbreak of World War II necessitated the diversion of the air route from England to Australia, to become the Horseshoe Route from Sydney to Durban via Cairo. At the end of 1941, with Singapore under attack, the route was terminated. It was reopened when later Japan lost Burma and Malaya. Qantas operated a number of the Empire boats under Australian registration, as well as several owned by Imperial/BOAC.

empire sausage—devon.

Employment Advocate—provides assistance and advice to employees and employers on the Workplace Relations Act, especially Australian workplace agreements (AWAs) and freedom of association. The Employment Advocate is also responsible for filing and approving AWAs, handling alleged breaches of AWAs and the freedom of association provisions; and providing legal assistance to parties in proceedings concerning AWAs or freedom of association, where appropriate. The Employment Advocate operates an independent agency within the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

empties—empty bottles (usually beer bottles).

emuDromaius novaehollandiae, a flightless bird (Ratite) native to Australia. The emu is the world's second largest bird, second to the ostrich (which it resembles). They stand 1.5 to 2 metres tall and weigh up to 45 kg. Generally nomadic, some emus roam over hundreds of kilometers. They are capable of running at high speed (up to 50kph), running with a bouncy, swaying motion.

emu apple—1. Owenia acidula, a small tree of central Australia. 2. its edible apple-like, but bitter, fruit: bush tucker, known to the Aborigines as bulloo. 3. any of several similar plants.

emu bob/parade—line of people employed to pick up rubbish in order to clean up an area quickly.

emu bush—(see: eremophia).

emu dance—an Aboriginal dance in which the movements of an emu are imitated.

emu decoy—a short, hollow branch blown to lure birds, such as emus and brush turkeys, by imitating their calls

Emu Plains—located on the west side of the Nepean River, extending to the foot of the Blue Mountains. Part of this name (i.e. "Emu") is thought to have originated with the sighting of emus there when the country was first explored by Europeans in the late 1700s. The locality was first known as "Emu Island"—the name thought to have originated with Captain Watkin Tench (1758?-1833), who first explored the region. Governor Macquarie established a government farm at Emu Plains in 1819. Here, convicts cleared the land and grew wheat, maize, tobacco and other crops for thirteen years. Land was not available for private settlement until the early 1830's, when a town named Emu was surveyed.

emu wrenStipiturus malachurus, a shy, elusive (5—8g) bird found only in Australia. They are so named because of their affinities with fairy-wrens and the fact that their long tail feathers have an open skeletal structure resembling emu feathers. There are three species of emu wrens: mallee emu wren in mallee-heath areas of south-eastern South Australia and north-western Victoria; rufous-crowned emu wren in arid, spinifex-clad regions of central and central-western Australia; and southern emu wren. They are found in a range of vegetation types (e.g. wet- and dry-heath, sedgeland, tussock grassland, and shrubland) across coastal regions of southern Australia. Emu wren habitats are typically quite dense, up to a metre or so above ground level.

emu's breakfast—(joc.) a drink and a good look around.

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