Australian Dictionary

Help, Hints & Tips
Convert Currency
Convert Temperature
Northern Territory
New South Wales
South Australia
Western Australia

Search JoyZine with Google Site Search!

Australia Decoded


go—1. state of affairs; situation: e.g., What's the go? 2. energy; enthusiasm: e.g., He's got a lot of go in him. 3. definite arrangement: e.g., The party's a go for next Friday. 4. attack; fight: e.g., That dog looks savage enough to go anyone who steps through the gate.

go a drink/feed etc—desire a drink/meal etc with relish, anticipation: e.g., I could really go a feed of juicy fat prawns.

go a million—be ruined, done for, especially financially: e.g., You'll go a million if you invest in that crazy scheme!

go all thing—change one's state of composure suddenly by becoming shy, angry, embarrassed etc.

go at it bald-headed—act impetuously, rashly.

go at it hammer and tongs—do something with energy and enthusiasm.

go bung—break down; fail; cease to operate: e.g., The telly's gone bung.

go bush—1. live in the outback, or without electricity and other modern conveniences. 2. make oneself scarce; hide oneself from intrusion—especially in a remote place.

go butchers (hook) at—become angry with.

go crook—become angry: e.g., Dad's going to go crook when he finds out what you've done!

go down the gurgler—failure resulting in wasted effort or loss of money.

go down without touching the sides—(of food and drink) be swallowed greedily, heartily; be insufficient to satisfy (one's) hunger or thirst.

go eyes out—exert oneself to the utmost; go, travel, do quickly.

go for a burn—speed in a car; test-drive a car.

go for a row (of shithouses)—be in serious trouble; be in a predicament from which there appears to be no escape.

go for a sixer—suffer a heavy and clumsy fall.

go for a snake's (hiss)—(of a man) to urinate.

go for (one's) quoits—an encouragement to act, do in an unrestrained manner, with all possible resources and energy.

go for six—suffer a major set-back: e.g., He'll go for six if he acts on that poor advice.

go for the big spit—to vomit.

go for the doctor—(horse-racing) make an all-out effort; wager a large sum of money.

go like a cut/scalded cat—commence to travel with great alacrity and continue at top speed.

go like the clappers—go extremely well, fast.

go missing—is missing: e.g., Call the coppers, our Caitlin's gone missing!

go off—1. become stale, rancid, spoiled, as of food. 2. become less popular, liked, trendy: e.g., That pub's gone off over the last few years.

go off at (someone)—reprimand, scold, abuse (someone) angrily.

go off half-cocked—act prematurely, without thought; burst into an angry tirade without thought.

go off pop—suddenly become angry, lose one's temper.

go off the rails—1. to careen emotionally, lose one's stability, behave erratically or with uncustomary carelessness: e.g., Joe went right off the rails when his wife left him.

go on—1. persist inordinately with an argument or topic of conversation: e.g., She does go on about her troubles, doesn't she? 2. (as an exclamation) an expression of disbelief: e.g., Oh, go on with you, now! 3. behave, act: e.g., Don't go on like an idiot.

go on at (someone)—berate, scold, nag continually.

go one better—improve on someone else's performance: e.g., He always tries to go one better than the next bloke.

go spare—lose one's temper; to overreact.

go take a running jump at yourself!—an expression of dismissal, contempt.

go the knuckle—engage in a fist-fight.

go through on the padre's bike—go, travel swiftly, fast.

go through (someone/something) like a packet of salts—1. move quickly. 2. deal drastically with; defeat (someone) soundly.

go to a turn—attend a party or social function.

go to billyo/blazes/buggery—rude rebuff, dismissal, refusal; get lost!

go to ground—retire from the public eye; disappear.

go to market—1. to lose one's temper. 2. do something without restraint.

go to rack and ruin—deteriorate; get worse; become shabby.

go to see a star about a twinkle—(of a woman) urinate; express the need to urinate.

go to the wall—go broke; fail in business.

go to town on (someone)—severely berate, scold, reprimand, criticise (someone).

go to water—lose one's resolve, courage, determination.

go to whoa—start to finish.

go troppo—suffer a mental aberration brought on by intense tropical heat and humidity. A common malady common during the monsoon season in Far North Queensland, characterised by sudden outbursts of intense anger or aggression.

go walkabout—1. go off; be missing, usually as a result of theft: e.g., My gold pen's gone walkabout. 2. to wander aimlessly; stroll casually. 3. during the transition to young manhood, an adolescent Aborigine went on a walkabout of six months in the outback, surviving (or not) depending on his skills at hunting, trapping and finding water in the wilderness. 4. (Australian Rules football) not minding (one's) opponent.

go west—1. to die. 2. to disappear.

go-in—a fight or brawl, especially one which is joined spontaneously from amongst a crowd.

go-slow—as a form of protest, to follow the rules of one's occupation with pedantic precision in order to reduce efficiency.

goal sneak—(Australian Rules football) a player adroit at scoring goals.

goanna—the word is a corruption of iguana, the Guyana Indian word for lizard. The goanna is, in fact, a monitor lizard, of which Australia is home to twenty of the thirty species world-wide. Goannas have a flattened body, stout limbs, an agile tail, and long digits with sharp claws. They are good tree climbers and strong swimmers. Their long neck is loosely covered with skin under the throat, causing the neck to look oddly bigger than the head. All species have a darting, snake-like tongue. The goannas on Kangaroo Island survive by using termite mounds to incubate their eggs and hatchlings during the cold winter months. They hatchlings emerge as temperatures start to rise.

goanna oil—a bush panacea, rubbed into the skin to alleviate numerous conditions (including arthritis and bruising).

goat—1. a fool. 2. a licentious man.

goat country—l. steep, inaccessible terrain. 2. remote, sparsely populated country.

goatsfootIpomoea pescaprae ssp brasiliensis, a trailing cover to 10m long. The flowers are pink funnels at intervals between the alternate ovoid leaves. A boiled leaf infusion was applied to sores. The infusion was drunk to treat venereal disease. Leaves were heated and applied to boils to induce discharge. Occurs over coastal areas across Australia.

gob—1. a mass or lump. 2. the mouth: e.g., Shut your gob!

gob oil—spittle.

gob-smacked—amazed; stunned; surprised: e.g., I was gob- smacked when she announced she's preggers.

gobstopper—large, long-lasting sweet, lolly.

God squad—any group of evangelistic or otherwise overtly religious people.

God's own country—one's own country, area, land etc, viewed as the best.

God-botherer—a person who attends religious services regularly.

goddamn guy—an American (from WWI digger dialect).

Godzone—jocular form of "God's own country" (used especially of Australia and New Zealand).

goer—1. anything that works, operates, functions. 2. person or thing that moves fast. 3. an enthusiastic worker. 4. any event, happening, occasion or project that is a definite proposition, showing signs of success.

goey—active; animated; busy; fast.

Goffin's cockatooCacatua goffini is a small parrot, usually 12 to 13 inches in length, and around 350 grams. Known to scream loudly—in the dark and during sex—these little guys were not put on this planet to be quiet. Extremely active parrots. Goffin's are also known to be daring escape artists—there are tales of some that have learned to pick locks. With a reputation for being cautious, neurotic birds who develop extreme bonds, many people overlook their potential as pets. Accomplished speakers, and wonderful acrobats, who have been nick-named by some as "class clowns".

goggle-box—television set.


going around like a fart in a colander wondering which hole to get out—running around in circles; confused; behaving in a confused, erratic manner.

going fifty to the dozen—acting with haste; going very fast.

Gold Coast—70km of Queensland coastline, from South Stradbroke Island to Rainbow Bay. It is the most biologically diverse city in Australia, spanning 1402sq km and featuring vegetation ranging from mountain rainforest to coastal wetlands and miles of sandy beaches. The Aborigines knew the Gold Coast Area as Kurrungul. The term referred to the endless supply of hardwood for boomerangs. The local tribe was the Kombumerri; they camped mainly in the Bundall area for freshwater purposes. Cascade Gardens is said to have been one of the meeting places for Aborigines from as far afield as Maryborough. Tribal feasts were held at bora rings and middens. Captain Cook passed this coast in 1770 and named Point Danger and Mount Warning. The beach at Broadbeach named Kurrawa is aboriginal for "deep blue sea". As time went on areas of the Gold Coast became sugar cane fields and farms. A by-product of the sugar was the rum industry. Oyster farming and fishing developed in the Broadwater area. Today, it is the most popular tourist destination in Australia.

Gold Coast hinterland—an area of rainforest and mountains behind the Gold Coast, protected by numerous national parks. The two main towns in the Gold Coast hinterland include Mudgeeraba and Nerang. The Nerang River is an integral part of the cotton, dairy, sugar and timber industries within the Gold Coast hinterland. The town of Nerang is a centre for the hinterland, with a strong country lifestyle. Mudgeeraba is also a country town, set at the base of the Tallai Hills. The Gold Coast hinterland is often referred to as "the green behind the gold" (green and gold being the national colours of Australia.)

Gold Fields Royal Commission—Between 1851-1861, 43,657 Chinese entered the colony of Victoria. Such large numbers led to resentment and fear in the European population. In 1855, as a result of the Eureka Stockade, a Royal Commission was appointed to look at the miners' complaints. Europeans who did not understand Chinese culture saw them as an inferior race and blamed them unfairly for many things. Outbreaks of disease were often blamed on the Chinese (e.g., Ballarat in 1857). One witness praised them for their adaptability, dignity, hard work and honesty, but it is clear that, overall, they were resented as much for their hard work and success as their different culture. These accusations were based on the prejudiced and racist attitudes of the time. In the report, the Chinese were referred to as "this pagan and inferior race" who brought no benefits to Victoria as they would not stay to settle the land, they caused problems with European miners, and would ‘demoralise’ the community with their superstitions and gambling habits. The Victorian Act was passed in order to limit the numbers of Chinese. Any Chinese person entering Victoria had to pay 10 pounds if they landed at a port. No other nationality had to pay this tax. Chinese also had to pay a one pound Protection Fee as well as a Miner’s Right and a Residence Ticket. A Protector was appointed to ensure that Chinese miners lived in specified areas for their own protection and to sort out problems with other miners. The entry tax did not reduce numbers as most simply landed at Robe in South Australia and walked across the border to the goldfields, a journey of several hundred miles. A Government Report of 1857 said that there were some 40,000 Chinese miners on the goldfields, but less than a dozen females. By 1857, increasing numbers of Chinese returned to their homeland as the gold discoveries began to dwindle. A few chose to stay and run businesses, marry and settle permanently in Australia.

golden bandicootIsoodon auratus, 260-655g (9.3-23.4oz), smaller than the bettong, with a long snout and sleek, golden fur, the golden bandicoot inhabits spinifex and tussock grasslands. It is terrestrial and nocturnal. It often makes long tunnels through the grass and also digs burrows in sandy soil during hot weather. It constructs a nest concealed in dense vegetation on the ground or in a hollow log, and made of flattened piles of sticks, leaves and grass, sometimes mixed with earth, with no obvious entrance. The golden bandicoot is omnivorous, its diet including insects, small reptiles and roots. It was formerly widespread in arid deserts and adjacent semi-arid areas and woodlands, occurring widely throughout central Australia until the 1930s. But by 1983 it was thought to have become extinct in almost all of its mainland range except in the Prince Regent Flora and Fauna Reserve in the north-west Kimberley. It also occurred on Barrow, Middle and Augusta Islands. By 1995 it was known to occur in those locations as well as the Yampi Peninsula in north Kimberley and Marchinbar Island in north-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Reasons for its decline may include changed fire regimes, exotic predators (especially the European red fox), and competition from rabbits. Barrow Island, however, has a population of between 90,000 and 130.000, making it an important refuge for the species.

golden banksiaBanksia prionotes, a popular evergreen shrub, growing to 3m with a spread of 2m. Leaves are tough, deep green with serrated margins. Open flowers of bright orange gold ring the base of a domed cylinder of unopened white buds attractive to native birds and bees. Native to Western Australia. Also known as orange frost banksia.

golden bowerbird Ptionodura newtoniana, endemic to Australia, generally at altitudes between 900 and 1500m. It is the world’s smallest bowerbird, but it is able to build the largest of all bowers. The male builds a maypole type of bower of one or two towers of sticks up to 3m tall with a display perch. Skillfully laid sticks connect the towers, and decorations are placed on them—often white, off-white and pale green orchids, jasmine, other flowers, seedpods and lichens. The bower is very important to the bird, and rival males may steal higher valued decorations from each others’ bowers. This is because the females are discriminative – they will only select the male who uses ornaments that are the rarest or hardest to obtain. The average life of a bower structure is 9 ½ years, and the same sites are often used from generation to generation, perhaps for 60 years. The females assess the males’ vocals, plumage, displays and bower structure before selecting and mating. The mature male is a golden-olive brown colour, with golden yellow underparts, crown and nape. He has an unusual feather structure that refracts light to produce pure white highlights on the plumage. In the Wet Tropics it has been discovered that golden bowerbirds inhabiting mountain tops just 20km from each other sing quite different songs. In fact, although the birds behaved aggressively when played tapes of local golden bowerbirds, they did not respond to the songs of birds from other areas. It is thought that different populations of these birds, which inhabit cool, wet forests above 900m, became isolated from each other at the end of the ice age as the climate warmed and their type contracted to mountain tops.

Golden Casket—a State lottery in Queensland.

golden damselfishAmblyglyphidodon aureus, a small fish, maximum size 13cm. Its overall color is golden yellow, with small bluish or purplish spots on the face. Occurs in steep outer reef, occasionally in deep lagoons and along channel walls, usually in current prone habitats and where there are abundant gorgonian and long sea-whip corals on which they lay and guard eggs. Juveniles in small groups are often found among large sea fans or black corals. Feeds on zooplankton.

golden duck—(cricket) out on the first ball.

golden girl/boy—1. an outstanding athlete. 2. one who is perceived as unerring in performance.

Golden Mile—1. a rich auriferous reef area between Kalgoorlie and Boulder. 2. (cap.) Australia's most productive gold mine. Situated adjacent to the city of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. Formerly home to more than 80 underground gold mines, the Golden Mile is now a gigantic super pit, visible from space, and jointly owned by US mining companies Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining. It is one of three mines worldwide to produce 50 million ounces of gold, and has a probable reserve of 11.65 million Au ounces.

Golden Mile Super Pit—one of the biggest open-cut mines in the world. It forms part of the 'Golden Mile', reputed to be the richest square mile of gold-bearing earth in the world. The pit is located at the edge of the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and is currently 290 metres deep. When complete, the pit will be about 4km long, 1.5km wide and will exceed 500m at depth—an impressive sight.

golden perchMacquaria ambigua, an important native fish amongst sporting fishermen, ranking with the Murray cod for edibility. Golden perch occur naturally throughout the Murray-Darling system, inhabiting a variety of environments, but can mostly be found in warm, slow-moving inland waters and associated backwaters and lagoons. Today it is considered rare in much of its original territory, although it can still be found in large numbers in some locations. It is also bred commercially for stocking many Australian dams and in alpine and coastal drainage impoundments. Also known as yellowbelly, callop, and Murray perch.

golden seasnake—(also called olive seasnake) is a stout-bodied snake which can grow to over two metres in length. It is found in coastal waters around the northern half of Australia, usually at depths of between five and 20 metres. It has an area in its tail which is sensitive to light.

golden sun mothSynemon plana is found in naturally treeless grassland, and occasionally in secondary grassland, dominated by short wallaby grass in the ACT and NSW, and by other Danthonia varieties in Victoria. Adult Synemon plana are active from about mid November to early January. Individuals live only a few days. Males fly rapidly in the heat of the day but females are relatively immobile. They are unable to feed or drink and so must mate and lay eggs rapidly. Eggs are laid between tillers of Danthonia or between tillers and the soil. Larvae feed on underground parts of the Danthonia. The larvae remain underground and pupate there after preparing tunnels to the surface. Museum records show that the species was more common prior to 1950 and the original range may have been from near Bathurst, south to central Victoria and west to South Australia. The habitat is threatened by agricultural practices, invasion by exotic weeds and from housing development.

golden syrup—a concentrated, refined sugar syrup with a distinctive flavour and golden colour. Manufactured by partly breaking down cane sugar into glucose and fructose, a mixture that creates a stable liquid product by preventing the formation of crystals.

golden trevallyGnathanodon speciosus is golden yellow with narrow black or dark brown bars on head and sides, though the bars fade away in large adults. Found in coastal areas including reefs in large schools, throughout the warmer coastal waters of northern Australia and along the Western Australian coast.

golden wallaby—this type of swamp wallaby is found throughout most of south-east Queensland. But the population on South Stradbroke Island has been isolated from outside influences long enough those with gold-coloured fur to evolve here, and only here.

golden wattle—Australia's floral emblem, Acacia pycnantha, is a shrub or small tree about 4m to 8m tall. After the seedling stage, true leaves are absent, their function being performed by phyllodes—modified flattened leaf stalks lacking leaf blades. The leathery phyllodes are 6cm to 20cm long, broadly lance or sickle-shaped and bright green in colour. In Spring large, fluffy, golden-yellow flower-heads with up to eighty minute, sweetly scented flowers provide a vivid contrast with the foliage. The dark brown mature fruit, 7 to 12 cm long, splits along one side to release the seeds. Golden Wattle occurs in the understorey of open forest or woodland and in open scrub formations in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, in temperate regions with a mean annual rainfall of 350mm to 1000mm. It has been introduced into the Stirling Ranges near Perth, where it threatens to become weedy. It regenerates freely after fires, which usually kill the parent plants but stimulate the germination of seeds stored in the soil if rain follows soon after. Regeneration may produce dense thickets in forests and woodlands and along roadsides.

golden whistler Pachycephala pectoralis xanthoprocta. Male: black head, black band under white throat, yellow body. Female: grey. The Golden Whistler's voice is strong, musical and varied. It can be found in almost any wooded habitat, from rainforest to mallee, but prefers the denser areas. The birds live in primarily the same areas all year, but birds of the south-east move down from higher altitudes during the winter months. Golden whistlers feed on insects, spiders and other small arthropods, as well as berries, and is usually done alone. Most food is obtained from the lower or middle tree level, where it is picked from leaves and bark. The distribution extends from northern Queensland, around coastal, eastern and southern Australia, to the middle of Western Australia, and in Tasmania. As well as Australia, the golden whistler is found in Indonesia, Fiji, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

golden-headed cisticolaCisticola exilis collects spiderwebs and uses them to sew together its nest This small bird, uses its beak as a drill to make tiny holes in leaves and grass blades. Then it carefully separates the strands of a spiderweb and threads the web through the holes, pulling it tight by hovering and backing away. The whole operation takes about five days. When it's done, the bird has a neat, cozy nest. Also known as the tailor bird.

golden-mantled rosella—(see: eastern rosella).

golden-shouldered parrotPsephotus chrysopterygius, a small granivore closely related to the extinct paradise parrot. The golden-shouldered parrot is restricted to two populations in central Cape York Peninsula. It occurs in tropical savannah woodland, nests in termite mounds and feeds on a range of annual and perennial grasses. A shortage of food occurs annually in the early wet season and this can be made worse by a lack of burning as well as intense cattle and pig grazing. Also know as the golden-winged parakeet, antbed parrot, and anthill parrot.

golden-tipped batKerivoula papuensis feeds almost entirely on orb-weaving spiders. They can hover and fly slowly, which helps them to get through the thick vegetation where they hunt for prey. Much of its preferred rainforest habitat has already been destroyed. Until 1981 it was thought that golden-tipped bats were extinct in Australia and only living in Papua New Guinea. However they have since been widely found in eastern Australia but are uncommon. The golden-tipped bat is known to utilise the nest of scrub-wrens and gerygones. These nests are dung-shaped structures made of shredded bark, lichens and mosses and suspended from branches and vines.

Goldfields—a gold-rich region of Western Australia. Bordered to the north and east by the Great Victoria and Gibson Deserts, early miners were severely hampered by a shortage of water. The towns of Coolgardie, Boulder and Kalgoorlie developed rapidly after gold was discovered. Coolgardie became the largest town during the 1890s boom, with the population reaching 15,000 by 1898. Many mines, such as those at Kalgoorlie, still operate as large-scale mines. The climate of the area is harsh and no doubt this played a part in the fact that these were some of the last-discovered goldfields in Australia. The Goldfields and Agricultural Water Supply, CY O’Connor’s famous pipeline, opened in 1903 and remains the conduit for water supply to the Goldfields region.

Goldfields-Esperance—the largest region in Western Australia: bounded by the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts to the north; the wheatbelt region to the west; the Great Australian Bight to the south; and the South Australian and Northern Territory borders to the east. The region occupies just under a third of Western Australia’s total landmass, covering 771,276sq km, and is home to some 59,000 people. Just over half the population lives within the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, and just under a quarter live in the shire of Esperance. Five of the nine local government areas have populations of less than 2000. An estimated 8% of the region’s population is of Aboriginal descent, compared with 3% for Western Australia as a whole. The gold rush years of the late nineteenth century brought the region to prominence, and mining continues to be the dominant industry. Gold generates most revenue, followed by an expanding nickel industry. Other significant industries are manufacturing and commerce, which are generally located close to the major regional centres of Kalgoorlie and Esperance; fishing along the south coast; and tourism where beaches and coastal scenery contrast with the red hues of the arid interior to the north.

Gondwana/Gondwanaland—a supercontinental land mass that included the modern continents of Australia, Antarctica, India, Africa and South America. During the Cretaceous, Earth's average temperature was warmer than it is now, making the polar regions more habitable. The fossil record shows a floral community dominated by conifers, ginkgoes, ferns, cycads, bryophytes, horsetails and a few flowering plants. The plants indicated, through structural adaptations, a seasonal cold period and a mean annual temperature of around 10°C, and the presence of ferns and bryophytes indicates rainy conditions. A large inland sea that extended into central Australia modified its continental climate. During the Cretaceous there were no polar ice caps, meaning that forests would have extended all the way to the South Pole, and life could have flourished there during the summer. However, the Earth's axial tilt means that the regions below the Antarctic circle would still have experienced a polar night: a period of sunless darkness and cold of up to six months, during which only the hardiest life forms could survive. Much as in Australia today, Gondwana played host to many endemic animals, which included many relicts of families that had gone extinct in the rest of the Cretaceous world, among them giant amphibian labyrinthodonts. Mammals, including monotremes and possible placentals have been found, as well as fragmentary remains of flying pterosaurs. The teeth of plesiosaurs—long-necked, fish-eating reptiles—have also been found, suggesting that they lived in the rivers of Gondwana. Though dinosaur fossils are rare in Australia, dinosaurs found in the Victorian deposits include relics of the Jurassic era, such as a relative of Allosaurus; ornithomimosaurs, ostrich-like carnivorous dinosaurs; ankylosaurs; and members of the family Hypsilophodontidae, the commonest and most diverse group found thus far. About 120 million years ago, Gondwana began to break up. Connections between Africa and South America were broken about 100 million years ago. About 80 million years ago, New Zealand and New Caledonia broke away from the eastern edge of the Australian plate. Finally, about 50 million years ago, Australia separated from Antarctica and began moving northwards. For 35 million years it was totally isolated from all other land masses until it collided with the Asian plate. Palaeomagnetic data suggests that the Australian continent behaved as a single unit throughout its global wandering as part of Gondwanaland during the Early Carboniferous, a fact of major consequence to the petroleum industry. Australia continues her continental drift northwards towards Asia at a rate of about 5cm per year.

Gondwana Rainforests of Australia—(formerly known as the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves) include the most extensive areas of subtropical rainforest in the world, large areas of warm temperate rainforest and nearly all of the Antarctic beech cool temperate rainforest. Few places on earth contain so many plants and animals which remain relatively unchanged from their ancestors in the fossil record. The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1986 (extended in 1994). The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia were one of 15 World Heritage places included in the National Heritage List on 21 May 2007.

Gondwanan relict—Australia is unique in terms of its relict species, many being living descendants of Gondwanan fauna and flora. The ecosystems, too, are unique, ranging from the small alpine ecosystems in the southern alps, which are probably both relicts of colder times and products of more temperate species evolution; patches of rainforest on the east coast which have survived since Gondwanan times; and vast areas, around 22 per cent of the continent, dominated by a single species—Acacia aneura, or mulga; and around 25 per cent covered by two genera of grasses, Triodia and Plectrachne, known as spinifex, which originated in Australia. Special features include the richest plant assemblages in the world in the south-western corner of Australia, more families of plants than anywhere else, the world's richest ant and lizard faunas in the arid zone, some of the most significant wetlands in the world and two of the most significant coral reefs in the world.

gone a million—ruined, defeated, especially financially; caught in an illegal act; in dire trouble.

gone to billyo/buggery—1. disappeared. 2. gone to a remote, far-away place.

gone to earth—in hiding.

goner—someone or something that has passed the stage of recovery.

gong—a medal; a decoration.

gonged/got the gong—(of someone) to receive approval: e.g., He got the gong when he sang at the school fete.

gonzo—1. gone. 2. depleted.

good!—the typical response to "How are you?"

good bits—the best part (of something).

good few—many.

good get—(tennis) athletic retrieval of the ball.

good guts—reliable advice, knowledge or information (WWI digger dialect).

good hands—(sport) a good catcher.

good monger—tasty food.

good oil—genuine/correct info.

good on ya (you)—expression of approval and encouragement.

good one!—exclamation of approval, pleasure, agreement, delight.

good screw—profitable, rewarding career, occupation: e.g., He's onto a good screw in that government office.

good set of boots—(of a car) tyres with plenty of tread.

good show—1. expression of approval, encouragement. 2. good chance: e.g., He's got a good show of winning the election.

good sort—1. sexually attractive person. 2. likable, honest person.

good-for-nought—a worthless person.

good-o—mild expression of approval or satisfaction.

goog—1. an egg. 2. a ridiculously foolish person.

googly—(cricket) an off-break ball bowled with apparent leg-break action.

googy-egg—an egg.

goolies—1. small stones. 2. marbles. 3. testicles. (This word is usually used in the plural.)

goom—methylated spirits as a drink drunk by vagrants, homeless men.

goon—a general colloquialism for cheap wine. Possibly from Aboriginal English, goom.

goondie/goondy—an Aboriginal hut.

Goonoo State Forest—one of the few remaining areas supporting a mallee/ ironbark/cypress-pine woodland ecosystem. Some areas of Goonoo also contain mallee eucalypts. The forest provides habitat for the a recorded 130 species of birds, including the glossy black cockatoo and the turquoise parrot, both listed as rare and vulnerable in New South Wales; and the nationally endangered malleefowl at its easternmost limit of distribution. Mammals recorded in Goonoo include the eastern grey kangaroo, red-necked wallaby, swamp wallaby, common brush-tailed possum, sugar glider, squirrel glider, feather-tailed glider, pygmy possum, antechinus, dunnart and echidna. The 66,000ha Goonoo State Forest is located 45km north-east of Dubbo, NSW.

goose-egg—failure; fiasco.


goosies—goose-flesh/bumps/pimples; rough, pimply condition of the skin induced by cold or fear.

gor, blimey!—mild oath, expression of surprise, amazement.

Gordon River—at the southern end of Macquarie Harbour, the wide mouth of the Gordon River opens to quiet river reaches, where ancient Huon pines and forests are perfectly reflected in the dark, mirror-calm waters. Located in Tasmania.

gorge wattleAcacia diphylla, a small tree. It comes from the gorge country east of Armidale, New South Wales. There are also populations along Thunderbolts Way near Gloucester. The dark green, glossy foliage contrasts with the bright yellow, rod-shaped flowers that appear en masse in late spring. Both foliage and flowers are attractive features. Acacia diphylla could be cultivated as a specimen plant or incorporated in shelter belts or wind breaks.

gormless—this is a good old Lancashire dialect word meaning “very stupid” or “lacking sense or discernment”. It turns up in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, although there it is spelled “gaumless”. Despite its origins in Lancashire, gormless came to be a widely used word to label the sort of person an Australian might call a boofhead. Now, the problem with gormless is that it looks like a negation, and we seem to be lacking the positive equivalent: no-one ever talks about “gorm”. But they once did—there is an obsolete dialect word in England “gome” (or “gaum”) meaning “to give heed or attention to, to take notice of.” It could also mean “sense, wit, or tact”. The person who lacked these qualities and did the opposite was gormless. “Gorm” or “gaum” seems to have come from an Old Norse word, and to have been adopted into English around the 13th century.

goss—gossip; current social or political information of general interest: e.g., What's the local goss?

Gosse, William Christie—on 1 November 1865, William Gosse was appointed surveyor, and at the age of thirty he was appointed by the South Australian government to open up a route from Central Australia to Perth. George Woodroffe Goyder sent William in 1873 to the Northern Territory to map a route from the just-completed Overland Telegraph Line at Alice Springs to Perth. The point of departure would be the Finke River. Although unsuccessful, William discovered, climbed and named Ayers Rock (Uluru). William Gosse also named Agnes River, Harry's Reservoir and Mount Hay in the MacDonnell Ranges. His report about the Aboriginal tribes of Central Australia, together with earlier reports from John MacDouall Stuart and Ernest Giles, led Pastor G.J. Rechner and Carl Schmidt to approach Goyder in 1874 about the possibility of acquiring land for the establishment of the Hermannsburg Aboriginal Mission. In 1875 William Gosse became Deputy Surveyor General. William Christie Gosse died on 12 August 1881 at the young age of only 38 leaving a wife of 27 with three young children.

gotcha lizard—a crocodile.

Goulburn—a town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Goulburn is the second oldest city in inland Australia, and the centre of a prosperous farming and pastoral region. Located on the Hume Highway, the busiest road between Sydney and Melbourne.

Goulburn Plains—the town of Goulburn lies on rolling plains, at the head of the Southern Tablelands as you descend from the Great Dividing Range through the Southern Highlands from Sydney. The plains and the Wollondilly River provided native game and fish for a number of the traditional Aboriginal peoples (Mulwarrie, Tarlo, Burra Burra and Wollondilly) whose tribal lands seemed to have overlapped in this fertile area. The Aboriginal peoples and the Europeans seemed to have lived in some harmony after settlement, but great epidemics of disease largely wiped out the indigenous population in the 19th century. The first white explorers (Lt Hacking and the indomitable Price, Wilson and Collins) to see the future site of the great inland city reached Mount Towrang in 1798, but it was not until the opening of the inland some 20 years later that the land was largely explored.

Goulburn River—Victoria’s premier river, stretching some 563km as it winds its way up through the heart of Victoria. The Goulburn is the main source for Lake Eildon and it also forms Lake Nagambie. Along its course, the river passes the large rural townships of Seymour and Shepparton on its journey to join the Murray River near Echuca. The Goulburn River discharges an average of 1,870,000 megalitres of water into the Murray River each year. Located in the Goulburn Valley.

Gould, John—English ornithologist and taxidermist. Gould's most famous work, the seven-volume Birds of Australia as well as his three-volume Mammals of Australia (1845-63), resulted from a collection of birds and mammals that took him two years to assemble. Gould's sketches of the preserved animals were transferred to the lithographer's stone by his wife. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1843.

Gould Island—this 830ha national park lies 4.5km north-west of Cape Richards and 17km northeast of Cardwell, Queensland. Most vegetation on this mainly granite island is eucalypt woodland but patches of rainforest occur in gullies. Gould Island is noted for its flocks of noisy sulfur-crested cockatoos, their gleaming white plumage conspicuous against the dark green vegetation. Turtles and dugong may be seen surfacing as they feed on the extensive sea grass beds in the shallow waters to the south and west.

Gould League—established in Australia in 1909, encourages an interest in natural history and conservation among young people.

Gould's monitorVaranus Gouldii, a large monitor lizard found widely across Australia. A ground-dwelling species found in a wide variety of habitats from coastal sclerophyll forests to the sandy deserts of the interior. It hunts in grassland, ranging over large areas while foraging for the insects, reptiles, birds, mammals and carrion on which it feeds; and shelters in burrows, hollow logs, dense litter etc. It prefers sandy soils, where it digs and burrows. Also known as the sand monitor.

Gould's petrelPterodroma leucoptera, a gadfly petrel that, within Australia, breeds only at Cabbage Tree Island, New South Wales. Australian-breeding birds are rarely recorded far from their breeding island, and their foraging range during breeding is thought to be restricted to the Tasman Sea and the tropical south-western Pacific Ocean.

Gouldian finchErythrura gouldiea, Australia's most spectacularly coloured species of grassfinch. They have a bright green back, yellow belly and purple breast. The facial colour is usually black, though red-faced forms make up about 25% of the population; rare, yellow-faced birds are the result of a lack of red pigment in the red-faced bird population. They are small birds, measuring just 11cm to 14cm, and usually silent. In their tropical savannah woodland habitat, they seek out recently burnt areas where there is easy access to seed on the ground. Distribution in the wild is now patchy; however, the Gouldian finch is one of the one of the most common birds in captivity.

gov—governor; sir; boss.

Gove case—Milirrpum v Nabalco Pty Ltd (1971), the first Aboriginal land rights case. A Federal Court action taken by the Yolngu people against the Nabalco Corporation, which had secured a twelve-year mining lease from the federal government. The plaintiffs claimed they held sovereign rights over the land, and sought declarations to occupy the land free from interference. Justice Blackburn found that the Yolngu people could not prevent mining on their lands because Australia was legally terra nullius, stating that “it is beyond the power of this Court to decide otherwise than that New South Wales came into the category of a settled or occupied colony." He further held that native title was not part of the law of Australia. However, the judge did acknowledge the claimants' ritual and economic use of the land, and that they had an established system of law. This last point was to become the grounds on which the legal fiction of terra nullius was voided, two decades later, in the Mabo case.

Gove Peninsula—the most eastern extremity of the Northern Territory mainland. This vast tract of nearly 100,000sq km of Aboriginal-owned land is one of Australia’s last strongholds of traditional Aboriginal culture. The abundance of plant, animal and marine life in the area once provided for one of the densest and most settled Aboriginal populations in Australia. Arnhem Land’s close geographical location to South East Asia suggests that it may have been one of the first areas occupied by Aboriginal people, over 50 thousand years ago. The Yolngu people are the traditional owners of the Gove Peninsula. The decision by the Commonwealth to allow the mining company Nabalco to lease on Gove Peninsula 140 square miles of the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Reserve ultimately lead to the first Aboriginal land rights case, usually known as the Gove Case, presided over by Justice J. Blackburn.

Government—Parliament, this is the party or coalition of parties with majority support in the Legislative Assembly (Lower House). It is the Legislative Assembly that determines which party will be in Government. The Australian system of government is a hybrid that combines aspects of both the British parliamentary and the American federal models of government into something uniquely Australian.

government billet—(hist.) a position in the public service.

government blanket—(hist.) a blanket issued by a government instrumentality, especially to an Aborigine.

government bore—an artesian bore maintained by a government instrumentality.

government farm—(hist.) the early colonies relied upon "government farms" established well beyond the area of central housing. Convict labour—i.e., Crown labour, or government labour, was used to grow the food that fed the convicts and their keepers. It had been expected, based on the observations of Captain Cook in July 1770, that such farms would easily produce enough to feed the colony.

government gang—(hist.) a detachment of convicts assigned to public labour.

government gazette— an official publication consisting of notices and proclamations (public and official announcements) from the government. When something has been published in a government gazette, it is said to have been gazetted, and is referred to as the gazetted version. The federal gazette is known as the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette.

Government House—set in 53 hectares of gardens, lawns and parkland at "Yarralumla", has been the official residence of the Governor-General in Canberra since 1927, when the Commonwealth Parliament moved from Melbourne to the national capital. It is here that the Governor-General meets with his Ministers in Executive Council, invests recipients of Australian Honours and Awards, receives visiting heads of state, other dignitaries and the credentials of ambassadors to Australia, and entertains many Australians from all walks of life.

government man—(hist.) a convict.

governor—1. the representative of the Queen in a state of the Commonwealth of Australia. 2. the boss: e.g. Where's the governor of this operation?

governor-general—the representative, at the federal level, of the Queen of England in Australia. Queen Victoria's Letters Patent declared the powers of the governor-general to constitute and appoint judges and ministers of state, and grant the use of a private seal. Although the governor-general is the Queen's representative for the purposes of exercising the royal prerogatives of the Crown in Australia, when he carries out his constitutional duties to exercise the executive power of the Commonwealth under Chapter II of the Constitution ("The Executive Government").

governor-in-council—the supreme executive authority in New South Wales is the executive council, consisting of the ministers, presided over by the governor. This is the formal, official arm of the government, which gives legal authority to regulations, proclamations, appointments to the public service, judiciary, and other public positions such as officers of the parliament, and commissions for officers of the police force. When these things are done by the governor with the advice of the executive council, they are said to have been done by the governor-in-council.

govie—government: e.g., They sent a govie car around to pick him up.

govvie wagon—government-issued vehicle.

Goyder's Line of Rainfall—the southern boundary of saltbush country, effectively demarcating lands suitable for agriculture from those fit for pastoral use only. The line was charted by South Australia's Chief Surveyor, George W Goyder, as he travelled on horseback to assess the pastoralist's properties during the severe drought of 1863 -1866. His line of travel, which amounted to nearly 5000km on horseback, marked off the line of drought. Not all agreed with his Line, some calling it Goyder's Line of Foolery.

GPO—General Post Office.

Back Next →

Back to Top
Contact | Site Map | Links | Privacy |
Site designed & maintained by Artist Web Design
Copyright © 1996-2018