Australian Dictionary

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Australia Decoded

Illawara Flame Tree

Illawara Flame Tree Brachychiton acerifolius)

I ask you !—expression of amazement, disbelief, surprise.

I bags—I want to be first, have the first choice: e.g., I bags the blue one.

I say!—exclamation of wonder, surprise.

I suppose—(rhyming slang) nose.

I'd like to have that nose full of gold-dust!—said of a person with a very big nose.

I'll go bail!—I warrant!; I'm sure, positive!: e.g., I'll go bail you'll never see him again.

I'll go he!—an assurance of one's absolute faith in what one says: e.g., If we can't do that in a day's work, I'll go he.

I'll pay that—an acknowledgment that one has been outwitted or bested in repartee.

I'll pin your ears back (if you're not careful)—a threat of violence.

I'm all right Jack!—a sarcastic remark of selfish complacency.

I've seen better heads on a glass of beer—an insult about someone you consider to have an ugly face.

IBRA—short name for Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation Australia.

ICCs—short name for Indigenous Coordination Centres.

ice block—Popsicle, ice cream bar.

ichthyosaurs—reptiles that looked like dolphins. A number of specimens of one species of ichthyosaur called Platypterygius longmani have been discovered in Australia. Adults grew to about 7m in length, and scientists have deduced that they gave birth to live young. They seem to have used the southern reaches of the Eromanga Sea as a breeding ground, judging from the amount of juvenile remains that have been discovered there. They had unusually large eyes and although they had a similar shape to dolphins they swam by moving their tails from side to side in the way fish do. Its evolution in shape, hunting equipment and efficiency would seem to indicate that, for a period of time, this form made it a successful animal by behaving and living in a niche similar to that of the dolphin today. Hence, the similarity in shape. Perhaps, like the blue tongue lizard and other reptiles that give birth to live young, the young ichthyosaur needed to be able to survive on its own as soon as it was born. When marine animals die their remains frequently float to the sea bottom where they rot. If they are trapped within sand or mud deposits, however, they may become fossilised, as the layers of sand and mud build up over millions of years. In some instances, the buried shells and bones gradually dissolve, leaving moulds into which a jelly-like silica later percolates and solidifies into our national gemstone, the opal. Some of the most beautiful fossils can be found in the fossils left when the Eromanga Sea, which stretched over most of Australia’s interior during the Cretaceous, eventually was drained and replaced by rainforest. These unusual opalised specimens have been discovered in the ring of opal fields that stretch from Yowah in Queensland, down to Lightning Ridge in NSW, then across to Andamooka, Coober Pedy and Mintabie in South Australia.


icing on the cake—the best part; the finishing touches: e.g., How come he gets the icing on the cake while we do the hard work?

icing sugar—confectioner's sugar.

ICOMOS—International Council on Monuments and Sites, a non-governmental organization founded in 1965 to promote the doctrine and the techniques of conservation. ICOMOS provides the World Heritage Committee with evaluations of properties with cultural values proposed for inscription on the World Heritage List, as well as with comparative studies, technical assistance and reports on the state of conservation of inscribed properties.

icy pole—an ice confection on a stick; Popsicle.

identification/identity parade—a lineup.

Identikit -a reconstructed picture of a person (especially one sought by police) assembled from transparent strips showing typical facial features according to witnesses' descriptions.

idiot-sheets—instruction sheets; cue cards; operation manuals.

if he laughed his face would crack—(an insult) he always looks morose, never smiles.

if it moves shoot it, if it doesn't chop it down—(derog.) the Australian national motto, creed of the authorities, as conservationists see it.

if it was raining palaces I'd get hit on the head by a dunny door—to be very unlucky.

if she turned side-on, she'd slip through a crack in the floorboards—said of a very thin person.

if that doesn't/don't take all!—expression of amazement, disbelief.

if the worst comes to the worst—if the worst happens.

if you've got another think coming!—a refusal to comply, agree, cooperate.

Iga Warta—offers a unique opportunity for visitors to experience Adnyamathanha culture by living, sharing and learning in an Aboriginal community setting. Iga Warta means 'place of the native orange tree in Yura Ngawarla, the language of the Adnyamathanha people, the traditional owners of the area. Iga Warta is set amongst the magnificent mountains in the northern Flinders Ranges, and is owned, managed and staffed totally by Aboriginal people.

ikey/ikeymo—1. cunning; devious. 2. mean; parsimonious; stingy.

ILC—(see: Indigenous Land Corporation).

Ile du Nord—a small island (9.65ha) and a significant little penguin breeding site. Ile du Nord, located off the north coast of Maria Island, is encompassed by the Maria Island National Park.

ill nature—churlishness, unkindness.

Illawarra—the name derives from the Aboriginal for 'high place near the sea'. The Illawarra is a narrow plain—only 1km to 8km wide—defined by coastal mountains to the west and the Shoalhaven River to the south. The mountains form a steep escarpment to te west and rise abruptly to 300m—700m. Many rainforest plants still grow to the south, though cedar-cutters were the first Europeans in the Illawarra region. Dairying became the primary industry in the late 1880s, when the first land grants were made. Illawara is just south of Sydney, and Wollongong, the fourth most populous city of the Sydney region, is located here.

Illawarra escarpment—a formation of steep, coastal mountains forming the backdrop to the city of Wollongong. In 1979 BHP donated extensive tracts of the Illawarra escarpment to the people of NSW. This land had provided coal for BHP's Port Kembla steelworks for many years. Five parcels of land now constitute the Illawarra Escarpment State Recreation Area, and there are many sites in varying states of conservation. However, public ownership extends only to a depth of 15 metres. Australian Iron and Steel Pty Ltd, a subsidiary company of BHP, still actively mines coal from its leases in the area. The total area of the escarpment is 1259ha, and it contains wildlife corridors stretching from Macquarie Pass to Royal National Park, and from the escarpment to Lake Illawarra.

Illawarra fig—a rare fig tree endemic to the Illawara region of New South Wales.

Illawara flame-treeBrachychiton acerifolius grows on the warm, wet, coastal slopes of eastern Australia. It is a most spectacular tree, with handsome pyramidal form and large, bright green leaves which are glossy and lobed in shape. During the winter, the leaves fall; then, prior to the new foliage appearing, the 1.2cm wide waxy, bell-shaped flowers appear. Contrasted against the swollen grey trunk, the stunning red flowers are brilliant in tropical settings. Also known as the flame tree or kurrajong flame tree.

Illapurinja—literally "the changed one", is a female Kurdaitcha who is secretly sent by her husband to avenge some wrong, most often the failure of a woman to cut herself as a mark of sorrow on the death of a family member. Believed to be entirely mythical, the fear of the Illapurinja would be enough to induce the following of the custom.

illegal run—a small squattage.

illywhacker—a small-time confidence tricker. The earliest citation is from Kylie Tennant's 1941 novel The Battlers, but it was probably part of the spoken language in the 19th century. Once forgotten, illywacker was revived by Peter Carey as the title of his 1985 novel. It's origin is unknown.

Ila Nature Reserve—on the outskirts of the north coast resort town of Ila, nestled at the end of the narrow peninsula where the Clarence River meets the ocean. The reserve protects the largest remaining beachside littoral rainforest in NSW, a valuable remnant of what was once an extensive coastal forest. It was proclaimed as a nature reserve in 1976 and attained World Heritage listing 10 years later.

Immigration Restriction Act, 1901—enabled the exclusion of all non-European migrants. This document put in place the law that was the cornerstone of Australia's 'White Australia' policy. The restriction on immigration could not be overtly based on race as this was opposed by Britain and frowned upon by Britain's ally, Japan. Instead, the basis was literacy, as assessed by a dictation test. Similar dictation tests, based on legislation used in Natal in South Africa, had been introduced in Western Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania in the late 1890s. The Dictation Test could be administered to any immigrant during the first year of residence. The Governor-General signed the document two days before Christmas Day 1901, a week after he had signed the Pacific Islander Labourers Act into law. The Immigration Restriction Act, frequently amended, remained in force until 1958. It was initially proposed that the test would be in English, but it was argued that this could discourage European migration and advantage Japanese people and Americans of African descent. Instead, any 'European language' was specified. In 1905, the wording was changed to any 'prescribed language' to lessen offence to the Japanese. From 1932 the test could be given during the first five years of residence, and any number of times. The Act, frequently amended, remained in force until 1958. Formally known as the Commonwealth Immigration Act, 1901.

Imperial Parliament—the Parliament of Great Britain at Westminster, England. Britain's Westminster system of representative and responsible government, as it was in the mid to late 1800s, was the most influential factor in the development of Australia's system of government.

in—(cricket, of a batter or side) batting.

in a bad way—poor condition of health, prosperity etc.

in a brace of shakes—immediately.

in a brown study—in a reverie; absorbed in (one's) thoughts.

in a dither—flustered; confused; in a state of panic.

in a fashion—in a mediocre, passable manner.

in a glow—hot or flushed; sweating.

in a huff—angry; petulant; sulky; offended; resentful.

in a spot of bother—in a difficult predicament or some form of trouble.

in a tick—quickly; in a short time.

in a tizz—(see: in a dither).

in and out like a fiddler's elbow—in an agitated, ineffective or useless manner.

in bad with—out of favour with: e.g., He's in bad with the wife for coming home so late.

in cloudland—in a dream-like state; not concentrating.

in droves—in great numbers.

in fine feather—fit; healthy; full of vitality and spirit.

in fits—uncontrolled laughter; absolute merriment and hilarity.

in for a penny, in for a pound—to go all the way; commit oneself entirely; be impetuous.

in for it—in dire trouble: e.g., You're really for it when he gets his hands on you.

in for (one's) chop—claim, or always ready to claim (one's) share: e.g., Since he died all the rellies have been in for their chop.

in full cry—1. in hot pursuit: e.g., There were 5 police-cars chasing him in full cry through the winding back streets. 2. (shouting, talking, espousing, lauding, bragging etc) noisily, loudly, vehemently: e.g., Politicians in full cry are a wonder to behold.

in good form—1. operating at peak efficiency. 2. up to one's usual tricks, pranks, jocular behaviour, argumentative manner.

in good nick—1. in good condition: e.g., For an old car, it's still in good nick. 2. in good health: e.g., He's in good nick for his age.

in high feather—in good spirits.

in like a lion, out like a lamb—to be deflated, belittled or humbled after the failure of a daring or boastful act.

in milk—(of a cow) lactating.

in one fell swoop—all at once.

in pocket—1. having made a profit after some form of transaction, deal. 2. to have money, be financial.

in strife—in trouble.

in the bad—in debt.

in the bad books—out of favour: e.g., I'm really in the bad books with the boss now.

in the bollocky—nude; naked.

in the box seat—in the most favourable, successful, powerful position.

in the cactus—in trouble; in a difficult predicament.

in the can—1. in prison. 2. assured of success. 3. completed successfully.

in the chair—1. be next in turn to buy, shout a round of drinks. 2. be in a position of responsibility. 3. be in a difficult situation; be in a predicament, trouble.

in the chips—wealthy; rich; financial.

in the cot—in bed.

in the doldrums—miserable; unhappy; sad; depressed; gloomy.

in the game—(Australian Rules football) playing well.

in the good books—in favour.

in the gun—in bad favour.

in the land of the living—1. actually alive. 2. conscious and in full control of one's mind and body.

in the lap of the gods—in the hands of fate; unknown.

in the miseries—1. sick; ill; not well. 2. in a wretched, depressed state of mind or circumstances.

in the nellie/nelly/nick/nud/nuddy—nude; naked.

in the offing—likely to happen; probably.

in the poo—in trouble or difficulty, especially financial.

in the pudding club—pregnant.

in the silk (department)—in an extremely advantageous, prosperous position.

in the wars—involved in a series of minor injuries, misfortunes, arguments etc.

in the year dot—a long time ago: e.g., He was elected president of the club in the year dot.

in two minds about (something)—undecided: e.g., I'm still in two minds about whether to go or not.

in two ticks—in a very short time.

in your boot!—1. an insult; expression of scorn, contempt, dismissal. 2. be quiet! shut up!

in-service—(of training) intended for those actively engaged in the profession or activity concerned.

inalienable freehold title—(see: Aboriginal freehold title.

)incog—incognito; in disguise.

incomer—1. a person who arrives to settle in a place; an immigrant. 2. an intruder. 3. a successor.

Incorporated Association—(see: Aboriginal Incorporated Association.

indent—(hist.) the convicts on any particular ship transporting them to Australia were listed in an "indent". Early indents provide name, date and place of trial, and sentence. Physical description, native place, age and crime were added to later indents. Not all listed in an indent may have arived in Australia—annotations will indicate those who died en route; others were taken from the ship before departing Britain. Annotations in the years after arrival often indicate the granting of a Ticket of Leave, Pardon or Certificate of Freedom, or the details of colonial crimes.

Indented Head—a coastal township at the end of the Bellarine Peninsula, facing Port Phillip Bay to the east. Indented Head was named by Captain Matthew Flinders (1802), due to the indented coastline of the peninsula. In 1835, John Batman anchored near Indented Head, where he negotiated his famous "land treaty" and subsequently landed a party of occupation. Just one month later, William Buckley ended his 32 years in exile, and entered the party's camp. He had been living with the Bengalat balug clan of the Wathaurong tribe. Indented Head is located 43km. south-south-west across the bay from Melbourne, Victoria.

Independent—(hist.) Congregationalist.

independent contractor—a person working under a contract for the provision of services, as distinct from a contract of service in which an employer/employee relationships exists. An independent contractor is not an employee, and is entitled to none of the rights guaranteed to employees under either state or federal awards.

Indigenous—(cap.) 1. the term used by the United Nations in its recognition of the special or unique rights of 'first peoples' or 'first nations'. 2. as used in accordance with Australian federal government policy, an Aboriginal Australian.

Indigenous Australian—an Aboriginal Australian with an unbroken lineage within, and traditional ties to, a specific area within Australia.

Indigenous Communities—(see: Aboriginal Communities).

Indigenous Community Council—(see: Aboriginal Community Council).

Indigenous Co-ordination Centres—(ICCs) the replacement for ATSIC and ATSIS regional and state offices. The ICCs operate as whole-of-government centres, which house staff from a range of departments that deliver services to Indigenous Australians. The ICCs' function is to coordinate the delivery of both Indigenous-specific and mainstream programs at the regional level as well as to negotiate agreements with local communities based on the principles of partnership and shared responsibility. ICCs have been established at 30 sites in metropolitan, regional and remote Australia.

Indigenous Land Corporation—(ILC) an independent, statutory authority established under the (ICCs) the replacement for ATSIC and ATSIS regional and state offices. The ICCs operate as whole-of-government centres, which house staff from a range of departments that deliver services to Indigenous Australians. The ICCs' function is to coordinate the delivery of both Indigenous-specific and mainstream programs at the regional level as well as to negotiate agreements with local communities based on the principles of partnership and shared responsibility. ICCs have been established at 30 sites in metropolitan, regional and remote Australia.

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