Australian Dictionary

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Australia Decoded

Flinders Island

Flinders Island

flag-pole—tall, thin and lanky person.

flagon—a container for liquids, with a handle, a narrow neck, a spout, and, sometimes, a lid and in this case; the flagon is an ancient jar, but in Australia it's generally meant to be a 2-litre bottle of ale.

Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum Complex—overlooking Warrnambool's picturesque Lady Bay, the museum complex recounts the treacherous history of Victoria’s southern coast, which has claimed over 160 ships. The complex re-creates a nineteenth century coastal port, and is built around the original lighthouses and fortifications. Visitors can explore the original buildings and re-created village, which features more than 30 buildings, including an inn, newspaper office, blacksmith shop and tearooms serving refreshments. You can also climb onboard historic vessels moored in the harbour, view early film footage of maritime wrecks, sailing ships and whales, and see recovered relics from local shipwrecks—notably, the Loch Ard Peacock, a priceless porcelain statue rescued from the Loch Ard disaster in 1878.

flake—fillets of shark, commonly used in fish and chip shops.

flame—lover, sweetheart.

flame heathAstroloma conostephioides is very common throughout the Grampians in Western Australia. It is a favourite food of the emus, which eat the seeds then distribute them in their droppings throughout the countryside.

flame robinPetroica phoenicea, a small, brightly coloured bird that feeds on insects, spiders and other small arthropods. The birds take prey from the ground, pouncing on it from exposed lookouts, then returning to a perch to eat. They are found in a broad coastal band around the south-east corner of the Australian mainland, from southern Queensland to just west of the South Australian border. Their preferred habitat type is forests and woodlands up to about 1800m above sea level.

flame treeBrachychiton acerifolius, a tall, conically shaped tree indigenous to the eastern coast of Australia. Quite often, trees are partially deciduous and partially flowering, simultaneously. In a particularly dry year, the branches of the fully deciduous tree is massed with myriads of tiny, bell-shaped, fire-engine red flowers. Commonly known as the Illawarra flame tree due to its prevalence in that area.

flaming—euphemism for damned, bloody: e.g., He's a flamin' idiot!

flannel—nonsense; flattery.

flannel flowerActinotus helianthii, a shallow-rooted wildflower. Once heavily harvested in their natural habitat, they are now cultivated and sold as cut flowers. Similar in appearance to a daisy, the pointed (rather than rounded) petals are six in number, as are the federated states: hence the marketing name of Federation Stars.

flash—gaudy; ostentatious; flamboyant; showy: e.g., That's a flash car he's driving now.

flash a brown-eye—expose one's bare backside, anus, briefly and unexpectedly as a form of protest or insult.

flash fanny at the Fowlers—(of women) to urinate ('Fowler' being a common brand-name of bathroom fittings of vitreous china, especially toilets).

flash language—the low slang of the criminal, a term brought from England by the earliest convicts.

flash mob—this practice of what might be called "group street performance art" was invented in Australia. As long ago as 1987 on a bus tour organised by "Pat's Uninteresting Tours of Sydney" as part of a friend's 21st, the party engaged in such flash mob behaviour as the whole bus load alighting at Central Station and singing "I love Australia" to the tune of "Santa Lucia". If this wide brown land is where the flash mob idea was born, that would explain why, in the expression "flash mob", the word "mob" is used in its distinctively Australian sense, rather than in the way it's more commonly employed in standard English.

flat—1. a rental apartment. 2. depressed; dejected: e.g., She's feeling a bit flat since her cat died.

flat as a tack—1. exhausted; tired; worn out. 2. (of a woman) lacking in bustline, breasts.

flat chat—as fast as possible; very quickly; e.g., we drove flat chat to get there on time.

Flat Rocks—a paleontological site on Victoria’s Bunurong Coast, near the town of Inverloch, on a rocky shore platform in the Strzelecki Ranges. The area has been scientifically dated at approximately 115—120 million years old and contains the remains of ancient rivers that once flowed in this area. The site was discovered in 1991 and has yielded more than 6000 bones and teeth of small dinosaurs, mammals, birds, turtles and fish. The main fossil-bearing strata at Flat Rocks are only accessible for three to four hours a day during low tide. Since they were first found at Flat Rocks in 1997, mammals have been the principal goal of the excavations carried out there. At present, there are three named species from this locality. Recovered fossils include the remains of several types of dinosaur (hypsilophodontids, large and small theropods, ankylosaur teeth and dermal ossicles), birds, pterosaurs, turtles, fish, and mammals. The earlier deposits of the San Remo and Punchbowl sites are also known for their labyrinthodontid remains—giant amphibians related to salamanders that filled a similar niche to crocodiles. Monash University, in conjunction with the Museum of Victoria, conducts annual excavations on the coast of Victoria near Inverloch.

flat spin—confusion; consternation; panic: e.g., Don't get into a flat spin until you know for sure what's happened!f

flat white—a coffee with milk or cream: e.g., My friend will have a cappuccino and I'll have a flat white.

flat-footed—1. uninspired; dull. 2. clumsy.

flat-out—going at full pace, without interruption or let-up.

flat-out like a lizard drinking—1. fast; busy; very active. 2. lying prone, prostrate; taking it easy.

flat-top—rigid truck.

flathead—simpleton; dull-witted person; fool.

flattie/flatty—1. a flathead fish. 2. a punctured tyre.

flavour-of-the-month—popular fad or trend that is relatively short-lived.

flea in (one's) ear—(give someone/got/have/put a...) pertaining to a stinging hint or a sharp rebe.

flea-house—the cinema, movie house.

flea-pit—the cinema, movie house. 2. any dirty, shabby, ill-kept house or dwelling.

Fleay's barred frogMixophyes fleayi, a medium to pale brown frog growing to 80mm with obscure darker blotches, a vertebral band with irregular edges, yellowish belly, dark spots on the flanks, dark crossbands on the limbs and on three joints of the fourth toe free of web. Mixophyes fleayi is narrowly and disjunctly distributed in wet forests from the Conondale Range in SE Queensland, south to Yabbra Scrub in NE New South Wales. The area of occurrence of the species is about 7000sq km. While the majority of records for the species are from altitudes above 400m, M. fleayi is also known from lowland rainforest at 200m, 90m and 150m.

fleshpot—a voluptuously shaped woman.

fleshpots—places providing luxurious and sensual pleasures.

Fleurieu Peninsula—an area in South Australia, just south of Adelaide. In 1802, Matthew Flinders met the French navigator, Nicholas Baudin, who was also exploring the waters off the mouth of the Murray River. Baudin named this region after the French wanderer, Charles Pierre Claret, Comte de Fleurieu.

flextime—this alternative work arrangement, flexible scheduling, allows an employee to work a non-traditional schedule to meet personal needs. Generally, a flexible schedule is agreed to and worked for a period of time. Some employers do, however, allow employees to shift schedules daily as personal needs require.

flibbertigibbet—giddy, inattentive or talkative person—usually a young girl.

Flick Man—an exterminator of household pests (from an extermination company of the same name): e.g., I'm going to call the Flick Man about these cockies.

flick pass—(Australia Rules football) a handpass in which the ball is struck with the open hand (instead of a closed fist).

flim-flam—light-hearted nonsense; deception; trickery.

Flinders, Captain Matthew—English navigator who, in 1799, sailed into Moreton Bay and went ashore on Bribie Island. Although he remained in Moreton Bay for two weeks he failed to discover the Brisbane River (partly because of treacherous conditions within the bay). In 1801 he was again sent to attempt to circumnavigate what was then thought to be two islands. He sailed as far as the Gulf of Carpentaria, noting the many islands along the coastline; and in charting the southern coastline, proved Terra Australis to be one continent, not two islands. This assignment was carried in competition with the French, who were attempting the same feat. Imprisoned, Flinder's charts were claimed by the French as their own. He died in prison in 1814.

Flinders bioregion—moist and dry, sub-humid, warm coastal plains and granitic island chain comprised of the Furneaux Group and coastal north-eastern Tasmania. Devonian granites dominate the elevated areas of the subregion, forming low rugged ranges. These are overlain by shallow stony/gravelly gradational or duplex soils carrying black peppermint first charted by Matthew Flinders in 1798. Open forest and woodland with shining peppermint open heath on higher peaks. Quaternary/ Tertiary materials overlain by deep sandy soils typify extensive lowland plains, coastal deposits and dunes. Coastal plains have been heavily modified by agriculture (grazing).

Flinders Island—with a population of just over one thousand, Flinders Island is nonetheless the largest of about sixty named islands which make up the Furneaux Group. They lie at the eastern end of Bass Strait between Tasmania and the Australian mainland. The island was first encountered by Europeans when Tobias Furneaux, the commander of Cook's support ship, became separated from the Endeavour in fog and discovered islands on 19 March 1773. Flinders Island and was first charted, however, by Matthew Flinders, in 1798. Flinders, together with Clarke and Cape Barren, were inhabited by nineteenth-century sealers. The islands became a base for the Straitsmen, who slaughtered seals in their tens of thousands and—so legend goes—lured many ships to their demise for a spot of piracy. When sealing ended, the communities survived by muttonbird harvesting, a seasonal industry which continues today In 1833 the remnants of the Tasmanian Aborigine population (at that time, a mere 160 people) were exiled to live at Settlement Point on Flinders Island, with the promise of protection from the abuses of white settlers in Tasmania. Flinders is the largest of the Furneaux group of islands, Once a part of the land bridge that joined Tasmania to the mainland, Flinders Island is 75km long and 40km wide, with a total land area of 1333sq km.

Flinders Lofty Block—temperate to arid Proterozoic ranges, alluvial fans and plains, and some outcropping volcanics, with the semi-arid to arid north supporting native cypress, belah and mallee open woodlands, emu bush and acacia shrublands, and bluebush/saltbush chenopod shrublands on shallow, well-drained loams and moderately-deep, well-drained red duplex soils. The increase in rainfall to the south corresponds with an increase in low open woodlands of messmate and brown stringybark on deep lateritic soils, and pink gum and cup gum on shallower or sandy soils.

Flinders Naval Depot—(FND) at Federation, Victoria handed over the Williamstown Naval Training Depot, complete with its Williamstown graving dock and Swan Island, the defence training island at the southern end of Port Phillip Bay. Williamstown served the Australian Commonwealth Navy (ACN), later renamed Royal Australian Navy (RAN), as its Australian Navy training depot for the first nineteen years, until Flinders Naval Depot was built in 1920. The Navy training function was then transferred from Williamstown to the new Flinders Naval Base (FNB) at Westernport when accommodation and training facilities were sufficiently advanced to warrant occupation. In 1921 it became Flinders Naval Depot (FND), the name 'Cerberus' being transferred from the old Williamstown Training Depot to FND. Melbourne, Victoria, as Australia's first federal capital was the home of nearly all federal government departments in the first twenty six years of Federation, with the Minister and Naval Board remaining in Melbourne at Victoria Barracks until the 1960s.

Flinders Ranges—one of the most ancient landscapes on earth, laid down beneath a long-vanished sea as accumulated sediment. Enormous forces in the earth’s crust some 1000 million years ago caused these rocks to be uplifted, folded, buckled and fractured, creating a rugged mountain range. Further uplifting, 70 million years ago, turned the mountains on their side and deposited the striations in the vertical position seen today. This eroded and low-lying desert range extends from just south of Port Augusta for some 500km, to Mount Hopeless in the north. First sighted by Matthew Flinders in 1802, who conferred his name upon the range. The first lengthy reports came from Edward John Eyre, who explored the length of the ranges from Crystal Brook to Mount Hopeless, in 1839 and 1841. Settlers arrived in the 1850s, the first grazier establishing the Wilpena Homestead. Located in South Australia.

Flinders Ranges bottlebrushCalistemon teretifolius, a small to medium shrub, 3m high by 4m across. Leaves 10cm long, circular in cross-section. Red flower spikes up to 9 cm long. Occurs in rocky areas of the Flinders Ranges, South Australia.

Flinders Ranges National Park—a series of low-lying ranges in South Australia, which starts south of Port Augusta and stretches northward for some 500km. The Flinders Ranges are one of the most ancient landscapes on earth, laid down beneath a long-vanished sea as accumulated sediment. Enormous forces in the earth’s crust some 1000 million years ago caused these rocks to be uplifted, folded, buckled and fractured, creating a rugged mountain range. Further uplifting 70 million years ago turned the mountains on their side and deposited the striations in the vertical position seen today. This desert range extends across Crystal Brook in the south, via Alligator Gorge and Wilpena Pound, to Mount Hopeless in the north. River Red Gums, casuarinas, native pines and wattles clothe the valleys and cling to hillsides and rock crevices. The ranges were named by Governor Gawler after Matthew Flinders, who was the first European to sight them in 1802. The first lengthy reports came from Edward John Eyre, however, who explored the length of the ranges from Crystal Brook to Mount Hopeless, in 1839 and 1841. Aboriginal heritage sites are common in the area in the form of rock paintings and engravings.

Flinders River—the longest river in Queensland. It rises on the slopes of the near Reedy Springs in the Gregory Range, approximately 161km west of Charters Towers, before flowing west past Hughenden and Richmond and then north-west and north to the Gulf of Carpentaria. It is over 840km in length, and covers thousands of square kilometres of country whilst it is in flood. Captain John Stokes of HMS Beagle named it for Matthew Flinders.

flippers—the hands.

flit—(see: do a flit).

floater—1. a dead body found in the water. 2. vagrant; drifter; itinerant; person who doesn't stay in one place or job for long. 3. human faeces that floats rather than sinks to the bottom (of the toilet). 4. a cheque that is not honoured. 5. a meat pie in the middle of a plate of gravy or peas.

floaties—water wings (from a brand name).

flog—1. sell; put up for sale: e.g., Flog the car for whatever you can get for it. 2. steal; pinch; pilfer; take without permission: e.g., He didn't buy it, he flogged it. 3. use abusively; treat roughly or without respect.

flog the cat—to indulge in self-pity, regret and frustration, often by taking one's anger out on an innocent person. Equivalent of the American phrase 'kick the dog'.

flogger—coloured streamers on a stick.

flooded gumEucalyptus grandis, a tall to very tall forest tree with generally excellent form of clear straight boles, often to two-thirds of the total height. The bark is generally a short stocking of greyish, flaky, rough bark, with white, smooth, powdery surface above. It prefers deep, well-drained soils on moist sites, and is suited to plantations on sheltered sites. The timber is suitable for construction, panelling, cladding, flooring, joinery, furniture and veneer. Because of its pink heartwood, its trade-name is rose gum.

floodplain—an unconfined plain that is seasonally flooded by meandering rivers. They are typical of the major rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin, the Top End, and larger rivers on the coastal plain of New South Wales. Typical rivers are the Murray River at Swan Hill, the lower Clarence River in NSW and the South Alligator River in the Northern Territory. They are usually of relatively low energy with sandy to muddy beds, and can be turbid in times of moderate to high flow. Their defining feature is the extensive floodplains containing billabongs, wetlands, alluvial flats, and flood channels. Riparian vegetation is a crucial contributor to several elements of these rivers.

floodplains of Kakadu—where floodplains are inundated for two to six months a year, herbaceous swamp vegetation, grasses and sedges such as spike rush dominate. Clumps of freshwater mangroves (itchy tree), pandanus and paperbarks are found on slightly higher ground. A variety of water lilies, such as the blue, yellow and white snowflake, are commonly found in these areas. Tall, dense stands of paperbark trees grow on the margins of Magela Creek, Yellow Water, Anbangbang billabong and other floodplains and permanent waterholes.

Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Vic)—(FFG Act) is the key piece of Victorian legislation for the conservation of threatened species and communities and for the management of potentially threatening processes.  

Floral Emblem of Australia—golden wattle, Acacia pycnantha, enjoyed popular acceptance as Australia's national flower for much of this century but it was not proclaimed as the national floral emblem until 1988, the year of Australia's bicentenary. The gazettal is dated 1 September 1988, signed by the Governor General, Sir Ninian Stephen, on 19 August 1988. A ceremony was held on 1 September 1988 at the National Botanic Gardens when the Minister for Home Affairs, Robert Ray, made the formal announcement, and the Prime Minister's wife, Mrs Hazel Hawke, planted a golden wattle.

Floral Emblem of New South Wales—waratah,Telopea speciosissima, was proclaimed the official floral emblem of New South Wales on 24 October 1962. Robert Brown (1773-1858) named the genus Telopea in 1810 from specimens collected in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. Sir James Smith (1759-1828), a noted botanist and founder of the Linnaean Society in England, wrote in 1793: 'The most magnificent plant which the prolific soil of New Holland affords is, by common consent, both of Europeans and Natives, the Waratah. It is moreover a favourite with the latter, upon account of a rich honeyed juice which they sip from its flowers'.

Floral Emblem of Northern Territory—Sturt's Desert Rose, Gossypium sturtianum. On 12 July 1961, Sturt's desert rose was proclaimed floral emblem of the Northern Territory by the Commonwealth government, which was then responsible for the administration of the Territory. Proclamation was made using the name Cienfugosia gossypioides, which has been replaced with Gossypium sturtianum var. sturtianum. In an Executive Statement in June 1975, the Majority Leader in the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory confirmed this species as the floral emblem. Since the granting of self-government to the Northern Territory in 1978, Sturt's desert rose has been incorporated into various insignia, and so become symbolic of the region. The desert rose is a variety of hibiscus.

Floral Emblem of Queensland—Cooktown Orchid, Dendrobium phalaenopsis. When Queensland prepared for its Centenary in 1959, it sought advice on native species suitable as a floral emblem. The species suggested were Cooktown orchid, red silky oak, umbrella tree, and wheel of fire. A Brisbane newspaper, the Courier-Mail, sought additional suggestions from its readers and finally compiled a list of thirteen species. In a public poll for the most popular choice as floral emblem, 10,917 entries were submitted and the Cooktown orchid came out thousands ahead in the count of votes. On 19 November 1959 the Cooktown orchid was proclaimed as the floral emblem of Queensland (Act). It conformed with the government's criteria in being an easily cultivated native species confined to Queensland, decorative and distinctive in appearance, and coloured close to the State Colour, maroon.

Floral Emblem of South Australia—Sturt's Desert Pea, Swainsona formosa, was adopted as the floral emblem of South Australia on 23 November 1961, using the name Clianthus formosus. This species, a member of the pea family, Fabaceae, is confined to Australia, where it occurs in all mainland states except Victoria. The original collection was made in 1699 by William Dampier on Rosemary Island in the Dampier Archipelago. Captain Charles Sturt (1795-1869) noted the occurrence of Swainsona formosa in 1844 while exploring between Adelaide and Central Australia, and the common name, Sturt's desert pea, commemorates a notable explorer of inland Australia, as well as indicating the plant's habitat and family. The distinctive shape of Sturt's desert pea makes it ideal for use on insignia, and on decorative items where it is readily identified either in realistic or stylised form. The armorial bearings of South Australia include two crossed branches of wattle at the base of the shield. These bearings, which were granted in 1936, the Centenary Year, do not include the floral or faunal emblems of the state.

Floral Emblem of Tasmania—Tasmanian blue gum Eucalyptus globulus. The Tasmanian blue gum was proclaimed as the floral emblem of Tasmania on 27 November 1962. Eucalyptus globulus was first collected on the south-east coast of Tasmania in 1792-93 by Jacques-Julien Houton de Labillardiere (1755-1834) and described by him in 1799. He was a distinguished French botanist who accompanied Bruny D'Entrecasteaux on the expedition in La Recherche and L'Esperance in 1791-94 in search of their missing compatriot, La Perouse. Eucalyptus globulus now includes several subspecies, of which E. globulus ssp. globulus is the Tasmanian emblem. It was featured on a 15-cent stamp issued on 10 July 1968 as part of a set of six stamps depicting state floral emblems. The stamp was designed by Dorothy Thornhill. Although Tasmanian blue gum is the official floral emblem, it seems to be seldom used for either official or popular purposes. This neglect may be due in part to the fact that, while it is a handsome tree of considerable economic importance, it is not as familiar to many Tasmanians as other indigenous species. The armorial bearings of Tasmania include hops and apples, crops of considerable value to the state. The soubriquet, Apple Isle, is frequently used in tourist promotion and the apple is featured on a wide range of souvenirs.

Floral Emblem of the Australian Capital Territory—royal bluebell Wahlenbergia gloriosa. The royal bluebell was announced as the floral emblem of the Australian Capital Territory on 26th May 1982 by the Hon. Hodgman, the Minister for the Capital Territory. This species was the unanimous recommendation of a committee chaired by Dr Robert Boden, then Director of the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Mr Max Gray and Professor Lindsay Pryor were invited to join the committee to provide botanical advice on local species to be evaluated as potential floral emblems, and Mrs Lorna Rudduck and Mr Derek Wrigley assessed the merits of each species for design purposes. Native occurrence in the Australian Capital Territory was the main criterion accepted by the committee but other desirable features sought in a ranked list of recommendations included horticultural merit and design potential, both in naturalistic and stylised representations.

Floral Emblem of Victoria—common heath, Epacris impressa. Representatives of interested Victorian government departments, societies and individuals met on 18 September 1951 and unanimously agreed on common heath as the state floral emblem. The pink form of common heath, Epacris impressa Labill , was proclaimed the floral emblem of Victoria on 11 November 1958. Victoria was the first Australian state to give official recognition to such an emblem. Common heath is depicted in the armorial ensign granted to Victoria on 28 March 1973 and recorded in the College of Arms, London. The current armorial ensign includes additions made to the earlier one, granted on 6 June 1910, from which the floral emblem is absent. The more recent blazon, the description of the bearings in heraldic terms, states: 'upon a Compartment of Grass springing therefrom ... a representation of the Floral Emblem for the said State of Victoria that is to say the pink form of the common heath, Epacris impressa Labill'.

Floral Emblem of Western Australia—red and green kangaroo paw, Anigozanthos manglesii was proclaimed the floral emblem of Western Australia on 9 November 1960.

flour bomb—any light container, such as folded paper, filled with flour and thrown at people in scorn, ridicule or contempt.

floury bakerAbricta curvicosta, a species of cicada. The common name comes from the flour-like dusting that covers much of the body surface of newly emerged adults. The male has a distinctively shrill, thrumming "song" that lasts for up to twenty minutes on hot summer days and nights, and spans a wide range of frequencies. This species is distributed from the Daintree River, north of Cairns in Queensland, south to Bendalong on the coast of southern New South Wales. It also occurs around inland towns in Queensland, however it is not distributed far west of the Great Dividing Range. It is common in suburban Sydney and Brisbane where it has adapted to ornamental trees. Adults normally sit upside down on various types of trees and more substantial shrubs.  Well-covered trees are preferred. Individuals are sedentary, but will scatter if disturbed. Populations occur in local aggregations.

fle—to do, gain or win by chance: e.g., I fled a win in the lottery.

flummoxed—bewildered or confused: a sudden but temporary condition: e.g., I was flummoxed by my mother-in-law's unannounced arrival.

flush—having plenty of money: e.g., He was royally flush after winning the Tatts.

flutter (on the neddies)—(to have a...) to place a (small) bet or wager (on the horses).

flutter the dovecots—cause alarm among normally imperturbable people.


fly a kite—1. pass a fraudulent cheque. 2. test public approval or opinion by spreading a rumour. 3. a rude rebuff or dismal.

fly cemetery—fruit cake or slice showing raisins or sultanas.

Fly River—the twenty-third largest river system in the world. It has a total catchment area of about 76,000sq km. It generally discharges between 3,000 and 7,000 cubic metres of water per second to the Gulf of Papua. This was reduced to around 1,000 cubic metres per second during the 1997 El Niño drought. The middle and lower reaches of the Fly River are characterised by a wide meandering stream with an extensive forested and grassed flood plain and numerous off-river water bodies and swamps. This flood plain, which extends over about 1,000sq km of the river system, is typically wet or flooded for most of the year. The river system, with its huge estuary and massive flood plains, lakes and tributaries, supports one of the richest fish, aquatic and wetland fauna in the Australasia and Indo-West Pacific region.

Fly River turtleCarettochelys insculpta, a moderately large turtle that lives primarily in rivers, swamps, lagoons, water holes and lakes. They are shy animals and often hide under banks, tree roots, plant debris and fallen trees. While omnivorous, the Fly River turtle feeds primarily on plants, but also mollusks, insect larvae and crustaceans. They are aggressive, especially towards other members of the species. A heavy turtle, it can reach nearly 23kg and be as long as 56cm. They are gray, with varying hues of brown, olive on top, and yellow, off white or white on the underside. The shell is covered with skin and has a median keel near the back. Mainly aquatic, they have developed paddle-shaped limbs with two claws per limb. Like many shy turtles, the Fly River turtle was once thought to be quite rare, but is now known to be quite common in its range, although its numbers are decreasing. Aboriginal rock paintings that date back 7000 years suggest that the Fly River turtle, or a species very much like it, has lived in Australia for thousands of years. Aboriginal men in Australia used to spear the turtles out of the water by climbing trees near the banks and waiting for the turtles to surface. They can be found in the Daly River area of Australia and in New Guinea. Also known as pig nosed turtle.

fly screen—a frame over a window or door to permit ventilation but prohibit the entry of flies; window screen, door screen.

fly under false colours—deceive by misrepresentation of one's self, position, ability, intentions, etc.

fly-blown—1. (of meat, sheep etc) containing eggs laid by a fly. 2. tainted, corrupted.

fly-post—display (posters etc) rapidly in unauthorised places.

fly-tip—illegally dump (waste).

flyer—female kangaroo.

flying doctor—a doctor who provides aeromedical support and primary health care in rural and remote areas, often through the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

flying fox—1. any of eight types of Australian bat that feed only on flowers and fruit. Four of these are amongst the world's largest bats. They may weigh up to one kilogram and their wings may span more than a metre. They are readily recognised by their fox-like head, and their habit of hanging upside down in the branches of fruit trees. Their preferred food is the blossom of eucalypts and some other native trees, and various bush fruits, such as Moreton Bay fig. These bats are beneficial to the trees because they act as pollinators and dispersers of their seeds. The great distances they can fly results in pollen and seeds being carried far from the parent tree. Also known as fruit bats. 2. cable-operated transport over difficult terrain or water.

flying gang—a team of railway maintenance workers.

flying officer—the Air Force rank next below flight lieutenant.

flying picket—an industrial picket that can be moved rapidly from one site to another, especially to reinforce local pickets.

flying the Australian flag—pertaining to someone's shirt-tails that are hanging out over the trousers.

flyscreen—a mesh screen held taut by a frame, for use over a window or door, to permit ventilation but prohibit the entry of flies; window screen, door screen.

FNQ—Far North Queensland; an informal appellation designating the area between Cairns and Cooktown. The fame of this area derives primarily from the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree rainforest, and the crocodile.

fob off—to do something wrong but avoid admitting it by blaming on someone or something else.

follow in (someone's) wake—1. copy or imitate another person. 2. be swept along by the success of someone else.

foof 'em (for luck)—in card playing a cut in the deck by someone poking the middle cards out with the thumb and placing them on top of the deck.

foofer valve—an undesignated part of the body or some machine or engine that is prone to breaking down.

fool's errand—useless, fruitless task.

foot it—to walk.

foot (someone) in the ring—kick (someone) in the backside, bum.

foot up—add up a column of figures.

football—any of several outdoor games between two teams played with a ball on a pitch with goals at each end, typically what Americans call soccer.

footslogger—member of the Army.

footslogging—hard, long-distance walking.

footwalk—(in Aboriginal English) travel on foot.

footy—football, especially Australian Rules, and invariably pronounced with a 'd' instead of the 't'—foody

.for a song—very cheaply: e.g., He bought that car for a song.

for my part—as far as I am concerned.

for toffee—(prec. by can't etc) (denoting incompetence) at all; e.g., They couldn't sing for toffee.

forb—herbaceous or slightly woody plant that is not a grass.

forest—a vegetation community consisting of trees to 30m tall, generally with an understorey of smaller trees, shrubs, grasses and herbs. Open forest has a 30-70% canopy cover, while closed forest has a canopy cover of greater than 70%. Tall forests are those in which the upper stratum height exceeds 30m.

forest kingfisherTodirhamphus macleayii, one of a genus of small kingfishers, including the sacred kingfisher, forest kingfisher, red-backed kingfisher, and the azure kingfisher. The name inh uy abur in Olkola and minha nga'a kopeya in Pakanh both mean "the bird that likes fish". Inhabits streams, swamps, mangroves and beaches. Occurring in north and east Australia, especially on central Cape York Peninsula and around Cairns, FNQ.

forest oak—(see: forest she-oak).

forest red gumEucalyptus tereticornis, a tree, to 20m tall, with smooth, mottled bark, roughened and peeling off in strips towards the base. Buds are more or less ovoid, usually in clusters of 7 on a short, stout peduncle; operculum conical, more than half the length of bud. The fruits are wineglass-shaped, to 10mm x 8mm, on short, thick pedicel. E. tereticornis is a favourite tree for many forms of wildlife. Flying foxes forage on its flowers, koalas eat its leaves and many beneficial insects can be found on the tree.

forest ribbon gumEucalyptus nobilis, a tall tree to 50m, it is widespread and abundant, growing in grassy woodland or forest on fertile, loamy soils. Distribution: Queensland and New South Wales, especially along the coast and on the tablelands.

forest she-oakAllocasuarina torulosa, a handsome tree endemic to the coastal ridges and slopes the NSW tablelands and southern Queensland. It grows to about 15m tall, will tolerate most soils and quite a degree of salinity. In autumn and winter the fine, drooping branches turn a rich burgundy colour, contrasting with the young green foliage and deeply furrowed bark. They have woody, barrel-shaped cones containing slender, winged seeds which birds such as the glossy black cockatoos and red-browed finches love to eat. Willie wagtails, pee wees and butcherbirds all favour she-oaks as nesting trees. The forest she-oak is a popular tree for home gardens, and grows best in the warmer areas of Australia.

forestry reserve—public lands that are managed and controlled by the relevant state or territory forestry services, in accordance with forestry acts and regulations.

fork out big bikkies—pay a substantial amount of money, especially unwillingly.

form—1. a person's reputation or past behaviour: e.g., Going by his form, I wouldn't hire him for the job. 2. behaviour, usually impudent or cheeky: e.g., How's your form!

Forrest, Alexander—Australian explorer and surveyor. Forrest explored areas of Western Australia under contract to the Survey Department, particularly the Kimberley region, during the 1870s and 1880s. In 1887 he became a politician and eventually the Mayor of Perth.

Forrest, John—surveyor, inland explorer, public servant, and first premier of Western Australia (1890). During the 1890s, he developed a code of public ethics that allowed state power to aid private enterprise for the benefit of the community. After Federation (1901), he served as Minister for Defence, Minister for Home Affairs, several times as Treasurer and as Acting Prime Minister. Involved in the drafting of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia, "Big John" also had a hand in the creation of the two-party political system in national politics. Born in Bunbury, WA, in 1847; made Baron John Forrest of Bunbury in 1918, the year in which he died.

Fort Nepean—(hist.) the first of a series of forts built to protect the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. In the late 1800s the new colony of Port Phillip was anticipating an invasion by Russia. Forts were built on both sides of the entrance to Port Phillip Bay: first-built was Fort Nepean to defend the east side, in 1882; then Fortress Queenscliff on the western side. Other fortifications were later made at Swan Island, Fort Franklin and the South Channel. Port Phillip was the best-defended commercial port in the British Empire during the late nineteenth century, yet the guns were used only during the two World Wars.

Fortescue River—Western Australia's major river system, with a number of smaller, intermittent rivers and creeks discharging into the main river channel during the wet season. This resource is prone to contamination from overlying land uses: the pastoral leases in the southern part of the area are subject to grazing by cattle, and the vacant Crown land within is subject to mineral exploration titles.

Fortescue River Basin—the floodplains of the Fortescue River system. Extending over 570km inland in the north-west region of Western Australia, the basin covers an area of 43 700sq km. The Fortescue River area consists largely of a series of low hills and streams, reaching to 200 to 300 metres in height. Significant deterioration in vegetation health in the Fortescue River Basin has been attributed in part to Ophthalmia Dam, which was constructed in the early 1980s to supply water to nearby mining operations. Native vegetation along this reach remains a very important component for sustaining aquatic life in the river. Hummock grasslands and scattered eucalypt woodland are the dominant vegetation types.

Fortress Queenscliff—(hist.) Australia's largest and best-preserved military fortress. Built overlooking the entrance to Port Phillip in the 1870s, the fortress stands opposite to Fort Nepean, on the other side of the bay. Both fortifications are part of an elaborate defence system designed to protect Melbourne from an invasion that never eventuated.

forty—scoundrel; petty criminal; thief.

Forty Mile Scrub National Park—a most unassuming area, with only small signs on the side of the road indicating that it is anything special. There are no roads into the park and no signs to clarify why the area has been declared a national park. The first indication that the traveller gets is an awareness that the vegetation on either side of the road has changed. There is a density and richness which is not characteristic of the region. Forty Mile Scrub National Park is a relic of an ancient rainforest which has remained virtually untouched for millions of years. It has a bewilderingly rich variety of flora species—some say the greatest concentration anywhere in Australia—and it is an area which is used to support the theory of continental drift. The rainforest has parallels with similar rainforests in India and Burma, suggesting that at one time the Australian and Asian continents were linked and that over millions of years they have gradually drifted apart. Located 66km to the east of Mount Surprise, Queensland.

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