Australian Dictionary

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Australia Decoded

Moon Plain Moon Plain, the Breakaways, SA

mockered up—well dressed.

mod cons—modern conveniences: e.g., That house has all the mod cons.

mog/moggy—one's domestic cat.

mohair stockings—(of women) hairy legs.

moke—donkey or poor horse.

molecule mauler—a microwave oven.

Molloy red boxEucalyptus leptophleba, usually a medium-sized tree up to 25m in height with maximum dbh of about 1m. The bark is box-type, persistent on the trunk and larger branches, light grey or brown, often with patches of different shades, especially through the newly exposed whitish areas among the dominant, older weathered bark. At its best it has a trunk form suitable for utilisation but as open-growing trees on poor sites it may be only 8-15m high, with short trunks of only moderate form, and wide, heavily branched crowns which may be as wide as the trees are high. This species has its main occurrence on the central and eastern parts of Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland, and extends southwards to about 250km south of Cairns inland from Ingham. It grows almost to the tip of the Peninsula. It is common in the Mt Garnet district on the Great Dividing Range, south-west of Cairns. It occurs on Thursday Island and in 1981 it was discovered in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea. The topography favourable to Molloy red box varies from lowland river valleys to gentle hill slopes and undulating country at higher altitudes. There is a wide range in soil types including sandy alluviums, basaltic brown loams and fine red sands. This species grows in open forests or woodlands. Associated eucalypts include ghost gums, red gums and Clarkson's bloodwood.

molly the monk/mollo—(rhyming slang) drunk.

mollycoddle—pamper; fuss over; over-indulge, spoil (someone).

Mona Mona—a former Seventh Day Adventist Aboriginal mission established at Flaggy Creek near Kuranda, Far North Queensland. In 1913, large numbers, particularly of the Djabugay (Tjapai) people—who are the traditional owners of the wet tropical rainforests of the Cairns/Kuranda region—were rounded up and forcibly taken to the mission. Until 1940 it was almost self-sufficient, growing its own food, and cutting and milling timber. After this period, soil fertility deteriorated and with the increasing costs, the mission soon became unviable. In 1962 the mission was closed and the people dispersed into the nearby towns.

monarch—1. the sole ruler of a state. 2. the hereditary, and often constitutional, head of a state; king, queen, etc. Australia’s monarch is Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

monarchsMonarchidae were among those evolved from the great corvid assemblage that arose in Australasia. There are a fair number of monarchs in Australia, including the flycatchers. Biochemical methods indicate that the two members of the genus Grallina (magpie-lark in Australia and the torrent-lark in New Guinea) are the most closely related. It is apparent that monarchs reach their highest diversity in the Australasian and adjoining regions, with many species scattered throughout the Indonesian and Philippine islands. Quite another set of monarchs evolved on New Guinea.

monarchy—a government or state headed by a monarch: called an absolute when there is no limitation on the monarch’s power, and a constitutional monarchy when there is such limitation.

Monaro—(the...) the region around the town of Monaro, an inexact designation comprising a network of towns and villages, including: Michelago, Bredbo, Umeralla (Chakola), Cooma, Nimmitabel, Berridale, Dalgety, Jindabyne, Adaminaby and Kiandra, anda tract of land between Cooma, Braidwood and Queenbeyan. Bombala and its associated towns may be considered to constitute a separate area under the name of Southern Monaro. Before 1926, Monaro included the southern tablelands from Michelago to Gippsland, and across to Kiandra. The Monaro region is within New South Wales.

Monaro Range—Monaro, once frequently spelled 'Manaro', is the name of a region in the south of New South Wales. A small area of Victoria near Snowy River National Park is geographically part of the Monaro, whilst the Australian Capital Territory is frequently considered part of the region: most towns in the Monaro have very close links with Canberra. The Monaro region is a plateau area lying about 1000m above sea level, extending from the valley of the Murrumbidgee River in the north to the Errinundra Plateau in the south, and dropping rather sharply to the coast on its eastern side. Much of the region is an ancient highland, but there is basaltic bedrock near Cooma and Nimmitabel that produce the only true chernozems in the whole continent, which are some of the best soils in Australia. Elsewhere the granitic soils are heavily leached and very infertile, supporting a dry forest vegetation before clearing for pastures. Because it is located east of the Snowy Mountains, the rain-bearing westerly winds deposit rain and snow on the mountains, leaving the Monaro region in a rain shadow. Temperatures in summer are warm to very warm. Nights in summer can be cool, but in winter the region is the coldest part of mainland Australia outside the Alp. The Monaro region is characterised by rolling hills that rise to extremely rugged peaks in the Tinderry Mountains and to shallow valleys in the upper Murrumbidgee. The basaltic Monaro Range separates the Snowy and Murrumbidgee drainages. Because the climate in the basaltic areas is too cold for really reliable cropping, the main industry is raising sheep and beef cattle. The Monaro Highway is the main State highway which runs from Canberra south through the Monaro region. The main towns in the region are Cooma, Jindabyne, Berridale and Bombala..

Monaro squatting runs—(hist.) prior to the year 1861 when what was, and still is, popularly known as Sir John Robertson's Act was passed, the large areas of lands over which the flocks and herds of the pioneer settlers grazed were known as "runs." They were acquired in the first instance by the seemingly simple process of driving stock on to them, after a recognition of their suitability for pastoral purposes. Later they were held under license, an approximation of area and carrying capability only being given, and again later some definite and coordinated attempt was made by the then administration to give both security of tenure and definition of boundaries. Extension of settlement inevitably progressed more rapidly than survey of the areas opened up, and it would appear that until to the end of 1842, the survey of Manaro had not been completed beyond the vicinity of the Bredbo River. By 1849 the increasing settlement on Manaro urgently demanded a demarcation of boundaries. Under the Crown Lands Act, 1862 selection without survey was permitted of areas varying from 40 to 320 acres. This legislation inevitably meant the breaking up of the large runs held and controlled by men like Mr William Bradley, who in the early days owned most of the best land in the Manaro. It has often been said that one could start from near Bredbo and travel to within eight miles of Bombala without going off Mr Bradley’s run. It was some time before the provisions of the Act were thoroughly grasped, but it is certain that it opened up opportunities to acquire land.

Monash, Sir John—the only son of Jewish German-born parents, John Monash was born in West Melbourne in 1865. On the outbreak of war Monash was appointed to command the 4th Infantry Brigade. After the Gallipoli campaign he was promoted to command the new 3rd Australian Division. He impressed his own soldiers and higher command. In June 1918 he was promoted to lieutenant-general and appointed to command the Australian Corps. He led his Australians through a series of victorious actions until the end of the war. By the 1920s Monash was probably regarded as the greatest living Australian. Despite being an administrator and leader, rather than a fighting soldier, he had become integral to the ANZAC legend. He died in 1931.

Monash University—Australia’s largest university with a student enrolment of more than 49,000 and 5,600 staff. Monash began its teaching in 1961 as Australia’s first university named after a person rather than a city or state. The university is named after Sir John Monash, Commanding General of the Australian Forces in World War One. As a scholar, engineer and soldier, Sir John exemplified the university’s motto Ancora Imparo – a saying attributed to Michelangelo, which means “I am still learning”. Monash has six campuses in Australia that are located at Clayton, Caulfield, Gippsland, Peninsula, Berwick and Parkville, together with Monash University Malaysia, located in Kuala Lumpur and Monash South Africa located in Johannesburg. Monash has more than 90 departments and another 90 special purpose centres. The University consists of 10 faculties: Art and Design, Arts, Business and Economics, Information Technology, Education, Engineering, Law, Pharmacy, Science and the combined faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Monash University has more than 13,000 international students including 1,700 students at its campus in Malaysia. It has a presence in Europe with a Monash Centre at King’s College London, and in Prato, Italy. The Monash Medical Centre and the Alfred Hospital house some of Monash’s leading international research teams. Located in Victoria.

money spider—a tiny spider which, if seen, is considered to mean that one is due to come into a great deal of wealth.

money-bin—a bank.

money-monger—person involved in making, earning money, often in a sordid or illicit manner.

mong—mongrel dog.

monger—1. food; tucker. 2. dealer, trader (often an illicit one).

mongrel—despicable, deplorable person or thing.

monitor—Australia is home to 25 of the world's approximately 30 species of monitors (also known as goannas). They are active daytime hunters and formidable predators, whose tails, teeth and claws are used as offensive and defensive weapons.

monkey—1. the sum of five hundred dollars. 2. mischievous child. 3. a fool, dolt, simpleton.

monkey in it (for someone)—an offer of a five-hundred-dollar bribe: e.g., There's a monkey in it for you if you do what I ask.

Monkey Mia—this Shark Bay area in Western Australia was first settled by Europeans in the late nineteenth century and for a few brief years became a pearling station. However, there was no regular water supply and the settlement disappeared.

Monkey Mia Reserve—in the 1960s the members of at least one fishing boat began feeding bottlenose dolphins when they returned with their catch. Over the years, dolphins began to come inshore and news of the phenomenon travelled by word of mouth as increasing numbers of visitors came from far and wide to see the dolphins. Seven or eight dolphins are now regular visitors to the beach and the habit has been passed from mother to young, with the visiting animals now spanning three generations. They belong to a much larger local group that lives farther out in the Shark Bay. Researchers can recognise more than 100 individuals that live in the waters of the bay, and are studying bottlenose dolphin behaviour. The waters adjoining Monkey Mia were declared a marine park in November 1990. Located on the eastern shore of in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, about 23km from the town of Denham, WA.

monotreme—the name for members of the primitive mammalian order Monotremata, found in mainland Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. The only members of this order are the platypus and the several species of echidna. Although monotremes possess the distinguishing mammalian features of hair and mammary glands, they are unique among mammals in laying eggs rather than giving birth to live young. The eggs are like those of reptiles, with large yolks and leathery shells. Like birds and reptiles, monotremes have a single opening, the cloaca, for the passage of liquid and solid wastes, the transfer of sperm, and, in the female, the laying of eggs. In addition, certain features of the skeletal structure are like those of reptiles, and the regulation of body temperature is less effective than in other mammals. Adult monotremes are toothless. The males possess spurs on their hind feet; these are connected to poison glands and are presumably used as weapons. Mammals are known to have evolved from reptiles; the monotremes probably branched off at an early stage of mammalian evolution and have retained many reptilian features. They are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Monotremata.

monsoon—a seasonal reversal of wind direction. In northern Australia, south-easterly trade winds characterise the dry season, and the wet or monsoon season is characterised by a north-westerly monsoonal flow. During the dry season (April to November) the predominant wind direction is south-easterly—the south-east trade winds. They're moderately cool and very dry in Australia's north-west because they originate from the centre of the desert. This has the effect of pushing the monsoon system north into South East Asia and the Indian subcontinent. During the wet season there are usually two or three major monsoon events. These events occur when the monsoon trough (a low pressure trough associated with intense rainfall ) moves south over the landmass of north Western Australia. It usually overlies the continent for about seven days, during which time strong north-westerly winds blow and rain falls almost constantly. Studies of soil in a mostly dry lake bed in Australia show that monsoons visited Australia yearly for the past 150,000 years. However, 10,000 years ago when monsoons in Africa and India began to get stronger, Australian storms didn't. This is attributed to humans who are thought to have arrived in Australia 50,000 years ago. (Large-scale land-clearing fires reduced the vegetation, making it harder for moisture to transpire from the land to replenish atmospheric moisture.

monsoon pockets—small areas of relict vegetation that has survived continental drying within moist, protected areas (e.g., gullies).

monsoon rainforest—tends to occur in patches and isolated pockets within the dry tropics. They are generally dominated by Allosyncarpia, a large, spreading, shady tree restricted to the Kakadu/Arnhem Land region. The monsoon rainforests of the Northern Territory are in a fragmented state. However, there is evidence of some more recent rainforest expansion, developing in the cool, moist gorges that dissect the Stone Country. Many rare monsoon rainforest plants occur as relict populations in gorges of the Gulf of Carpentaria area. Monsoon rainforest patches in general, and groups occurring in the Gulf region in particular, have a high frequency of disturbance from fire, feral animals and weeds. Monsoon forests that grow in rocky areas typically consist of deciduous species while those growing in sheltered gorges and along streams are often more diverse and contain evergreen trees. During the hot, dry season these cool, shaded forests provide welcoming relief to a number of animal species and tourists. Also known as 'dry rainforest'.

monsoon rains—generally occur from September through November, as a result of a reversal in the trade winds. By late October, vast areas of the northern inland are receiving temperatures around 38°C. Heat lows form over these areas, sometimes two or more: particularly, one over the Kimberley—Great Sandy Desert, and often another one just south of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The early part of the monsoon season is marked by frequent thunderstorms. As the season progresses moist ocean air from the north and north-west streams into the lows, and several days of heavy rain may occur. Occasionally one of the lows may strengthen and move south-east over the interior, bringing widespread rains. As winter approaches large highs centre over the southern part of the continent, the trade winds re-establish over northern Australia, and the monsoon retreats.

monsoon season—(see: wet season).

monsoonal areas—the wet season is often referred to as the monsoon in northern Australia. Strictly speaking, a monsoon is defined by a seasonal change in wind direction. In particular, monsoonal areas feature all of the following—a change of at least 120 degrees in prevailing surface wind direction between January and July, that these prevailing winds occur during at least 40% of the respective month, that they exceed 3 m/s on average, that the prevailing pressure pattern is persistent and not controlled by evolving frontal systems (quantitatively, that at most a single alternation between cyclone and anticyclone occurs in the surrounding 5-degree latitude and longitude square in either month, in two consecutive years).

monsoonal winds—the moist, north-westerly winds from the Indian Ocean and southern Asian ocean waters. Monsoonal winds are a seasonal reversal of the trade winds, which blow from a south-easterly direction.


Montague Island—one of the more important birding sites in New South Wales. The island comprises two elevated sections divided by a ravine, covered with huge granite boulders, and with a total area of 82ha. The surrounding waters are rich in marine life due to proximity with the continental shelf as well as the warm eastern current. Pods of migrating whales, dolphins, sunfish manta rays, and pelagic fish are frequently sited here. Once a fertile hunting ground for the local Aboriginal people, the island contains a number of Aboriginal sites. With the appearance of white settlement, huge numbers of seals were commercially harvested during the early part of this century. Montague Island was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1953. Located about 9km off the south coast of NSW.

montane—a section of a mountainous region below the timberline, having cool, moist temperatures and dominated by evergreen trees.

montane rainforest—an ancient stand of Antarctic beech trees over 2000 years old grows in montane rainforest above the cloud line on Springbrook Plateau in Springbrook National Park, a World Heritage area in the Border Ranges, SE Queensland. This remnant of a prehistoric vegetation type indicates links to the ancient Gondwanaland supercontinent.

Montebello Islands—a group of more than 100 islands off the Coral Coast of Western Australia, stretching from Onslow to Karratha. The Montebello Group was named in 1801 by the French explorer Baudin, and is made up of more than 100 limestone islands. In the late 19th century the pearling industry was developed along this coast. The pearlers who fished the waters and camped on the islands were probably responsible for the introduction of the cat and the black rat, which in turn are accountable for the extinction of the golden bandicoot and spectacled hare wallaby. The island gained international notoriety in 1952 when the British, in an operation code-named Hurricane, detonated an atomic weapon in a bay off one of the major Islands, Trimouille. Two further atomic tests were carried out in May and June of 1956 on Alpha and Trimouille Islands. The Montebello Islands today are listed as a biodiversity refuge, a cluster of 200 or so limestone outposts 80km from Cape Preston on mainland Western Australia.

monty—a certainty: e.g., That horse is a monty to win.

moo—silly, foolish woman.


mooch around—1. loiter, sneak around. 2. saunter, slouch around.

mook-mook owl—an owl, perhaps the barking owl.

mooley apple—(see: emu apple).

Moomba—a carnival held annually in Melbourne from 1955.

Moon Plain—a vast expanse of rocky plains unlike anywhere else. The lunar-like landscape has been the set for many movies—including Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and The Red Planet, among others. 120-million-year-old opalised bones of marine reptiles called plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs have been discovered here, too, 35km from the opal mining town of Coober Pedy. The most remarkable thing about the opal fossils from Moon Plain is that 95 per cent of them belong to babies or juveniles. Around 120 million years ago, much of the Australian inland was covered by a vast sea, and Australia was much closer to the South Pole than it is today. The Australian opal fields give the first evidence from anywhere in the world where you have these kind of marine reptiles living in environments with icebergs. Ichthyosaurs gave birth to live young. There are even amazing fossils in which ichthyosaur embryos have been turned to stone half out of their mother's birth canal. Australian opal is a spectacular relic from this remarkable lost world.

Moonah—a residential and commercial suburb 5km north of the Hobart CBD. Moonah, which takes its name from the local Aboriginal word for gum tree, experienced a residential development surge in the early 1950s Hobart housing boom. Moonah was originally known as South Glenorchy and, with its colonial racecourse and village common, was a popular picnic retreat for early settlers. Much of the land between the suburb and the city centre is taken up by the Queen’s Domain, which embraces the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Government House, sports fields and children’s playgrounds. The gardens feature a large collection of native Tasmanian plants, the historic Arthur Wall built in 1829 and the Rossbank Observatory built by Governor Franklin in 1840. Located on the Derwent River, Tasmania.

moonah treeMelaleuca lanceolata, a species capable of growing in brackish water or saline conditions. The moonah tree takes is name from an anAboriginal word meaning ‘gum tree’. Also known as the Rottnest Island tea tree.

mooncalf—a born fool.

moonlight flit—to run away, elope, especially in order to avoid an unpleasant situation or responsibility.

moonlight jewelHypochrysops delicia delos ranges from southern New South Wales to Victoria. Adult males are most obvious as they congregate on hilltops, usually from mid-afternoon to sunset. The food plants are usually mature or old trees of Acacia sp. Larvae hide by day in the rotting sections of the trunk or in beetle holes, and emerge after sunset to feed on the foliage where they are attended by the ant, Crematogaster fusca.

moony—1. listless; stupidly dreamy. 2. of or like the moon.

moosh—the face or mouth.

mopoke—1. (see boobook). 2. stupid, ineffectual person.

moral—a certainty to win—especially in horse-racing.

Mordialloc Reserve—The 832 acre reserve was triangular in shape and situated approximately within the boundaries of the Nepean Hwy, Mordialloc Creek and a point about 3km inland from the creek extending down to the coast for about 3km. The Koories who were compelled to live there were provided government rations and also caught ducks and eels for trading with Europeans. By the 1850s diseases such as smallpox had taken a heavy toll on the group. In 1865 some of the reserve was sold off to meet the land demands of settlers. In 1878 the reserve was closed and the few remaining Koories were relocated to the reserve at Coranderrk near Healesville.

more front than Myers—excessive daring, cheek, effrontery, exaggeration.

more-ish—irresistible; tempting; so pleasant that one desires more.

Moreton Bay—situated in south-east Queensland and almost as far east as you can get on the Australian mainland, Moreton Bay was formed by the deposit of sand carried northwards on coastal currents. These sands have resulted in some of the largest sand islands in the world—Moreton Island and North and South Stradbroke. Moreton Bay was for countless centuries inhabited byAboriginal tribes. The bay was named by Captain Cook, who sailed past its entrance in 1770, but it was Matthew Flinders who was the first European to enter the bay, in 1799. He was followed by John Oxley, who discovered the Brisbane River in 1823. On a subsequent visit in the following year, Oxley established the first European settlement in the bay at the present site of Redcliffe; but this proved unsuitable and was moved to the present site of Brisbane. Established as a convict settlement, it was to remain so until 1839 when it was thrown open to free settlers.

Moreton Bay and Islands—beachside towns, unspoilt beaches, fishing hotspots, some of the world's largest sand islands and natural wonders separate Brisbane from ocean expanse. Distinguished by its own geographical uniqueness, this tropical playground rivals even the world's most exotic beach destinations. Brisbane's Moreton Bay and Islands is a matrix of coastal regions that includes Bribie, Redcliffe, Sandgate, Wynnum Manly and the Redlands. It also takes in several of Moreton Bay's distinctive chain of sand islands, such as Bribie, Moreton and North Stradbroke. The climate tops 30° Celsius for more than six months of the year—meaning sunshine is bountiful.

Moreton Bay ash—the tree Eucalyptus tesselaris.

Moreton Bay bugThenus orientalis, a saltwater shellfish, looks like a cross between a miniature clawless lobster and a horseshoe crab. The bug is a native of Moreton Bay, off the eastern coast of Australia near Brisbane. It has a sweet, succulent flesh that adapts well to a variety of cooking styles.

Moreton Bay figFicus macrophylla, can develop into either of two forms, a magnificent tree or a strangling vine. Which form this species takes depends entirely upon where the germinating seed lands. If the seed is deposited in the trunk of another tree, where humus accumulates, then the seed will germinate and spread its roots down the trunk of the host-tree, thus eventually strangling and killing the host. However if the seed lands on the ground and germinates, it will eventually grow into a tall and spreading tree. The latter form is generally less common. The fruit, when ripe, is purple and about 2cm in diameter. Figs appear around February through May. The Moreton Bay fig can be found in rainforests from the Illawarra region to North Queensland.

Moreton Bay Settlement—John Oxley led the initial convict settlers, one year after his discovery of the Brisbane River. The first settlement was made at Humpybong, near modern-day Redcliffe. The Moreton Bay penal settlement was later moved up the Brisbane River to the present site of the capital city. Free settlers were not allowed into the penal colony, which endured until 1842. Free settlement lead to the separation of the region from New South Wales in 1859, to become the separate state of Queensland.

morning tea—a mid-morning break; the refreshment taken in this break.

Mornington Peninsula—thousands of years before Europeans arrived on the Mornington Peninsula the Bunurong people lived in their territory, which extended from Werribee River to Andersons Inlet in the east—approximately 8000sq km. The contact with Europeans brought about many changes to the local indigenous culture. The rapid settlement of Europeans meant the invasion ofAboriginal lands and subsequent dislocation. White colonisation resulted in many Indigenous people being forced to live on Aboriginal reserves, such as the one in Mordialloc. Today,, one finds apple orchards and wineries on Mornington Peninsula; and for decades it has been a popular holiday destination.

Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve—this reserve (one of 12 in Australia) covers all Mornington Peninsula, French Island, parts of Bass Coast and Cardinia Shires, and parts of Casey and Frankston cities. It is an area featuring evergreen sclerophyllous forests, woodlands and scrub, including wetlands, mangroves and marine ecosystems. The reserve includes protected areas and surrounding lands that are managed to combine both conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It includes national parks and other reserve areas. More importantly, it is unique in that it also includes farms, tourist sites, industries and towns.

Mornington Peninsula National Park—(formerly Point Nepean National Park), covers 2686ha containing some of most important areas of native vegetation remaining on the Mornington Peninsula. Native vegetation communities include coastal dune scrub and grassy forests, banksia woodlands, coastal heathlands, heathy woodlands, riparian forests and swamps. The southern coastline of the Mornington Peninsula makes up the Mornington Peninsula National Park. Aboriginal people gathered shellfish and other foods along this coastline for many thousands of years, leaving extensive shell middens. The Australian Heritage Commission has listed the historic sites on Point Nepean with the Register of National Estate. The area is also classified by the National Trust for its landscape values, including the western extremity of the Nepean Peninsula. Located in Victoria.

Morree—the major town in an area noted for its rich, black soil plains. Wheat and other cereals, cotton, oil seeds, pecan nuts and, most recently, olives, are all under cultivation. Cotton has become vital to the local economy since cultivation began in the early 1960s, and the first commercial pecan nut farm was established on the Gwydir River in 1966. Moree is also one of the largest farm machinery distribution centres in the country. The first European known to have visited the area was surveyor Thomas Mitchell in 1832. Squatters soon followed in Mitchell's wake, establishing pastoral runs, among which was 'Moree' (1844). As closer settlement proceeded, agriculture emerged on the fertile flood plains. Moree promotes itself as the 'Artesian Spa Capital' due to the town's hot artesian spa bath complex, which has evolved from the Moree bore. The bore ceased to flow in 1957 and is now worked by a pump. Before white settlement the area was occupied by the Kamilaroi people, whose descendants are still very much a presence in the town. Moree is located in northern NSW.

Morris Minor—English car, introduced to Australia in 1948.

mortar and carpentar bees—this is a highly variable group of bees. Some species are the largest bees in Australia (up to 2cm long), while others are quite small (e.g. the reed bees, 5-8mm). They may be very hairy or fuzzy, such as the teddybear and blue-banded bees, or shiny and metallic, as are the large green carpenter bees. None of these bees pose a serious threat to humans, although the females do possess stings. Some of these bees excavate nests in plant stems or in cavities in rocks or logs. Other species burrow into soil, mudbricks or soft mortar. The adult bees visit flowers for pollen and use it to make 'bee bread' for the growing larvae. The cuckoo bees are parasites of other bees' nests, laying their own eggs in the brood cells of the host bees. The developing cuckoo bee larva then uses the provisions intended for the host's larvae in order to grow. Most of these bees are solitary, but the teddybear and blue-banded bees may nest close together in large numbers.

Morton National Park—home to the famous Pigeon House Mountain and Fitzroy Falls. The most remote reaches include declared wildernesses and evocatively named points such as Shrouded Gods Mountain, the Byangee Walls, the Castle and more. The sheer size and ruggedness of the Morton National Park make it popular with serious bushwalkers. Exploration of this park should only be done with proper preparation including provisions, maps, weather and road advice, and after informing someone of your plans and expected day and time of return. Easy walks are also available. Photography and camping are also popular.

morwong—perciform fishes comprising the family Cheilodactylidae. Most of the almost 30 species are found in temperate and subtropical oceans in the Southern Hemisphere, but three (Cheilodactylus quadricornis, C. zebra and C. zonatus) are restricted to the nort-hwest Pacific off Japan and China, and C. vittatus is restricted to Hawaii. The largest species grow up to 1.2m but most species only reach around half that length. They feed on small invertebrates on the ocean floor. Several species of morwong are commercially harvested as food fish, particularly in Australia. Other names for members of the family include butterfish, fingerfin, jackassfish, and moki. Morwongs are also erroneously known as snappers. Morwong is also used as a name for several unrelated fish found in Australian waters, such as the painted sweetlips, Diagramma pictum. There are several issues yet to be resolved in the taxonomy of this family: At a higher level, the traditional delimination of this family and Latridae is based on morphological differences, but the reliability of these differences has been questioned, and genetics do not support this treatment either, leading some to suggest that the majority should be in Latridae. Based on this, the only species that should remain in the family Cheilodactylidae are the relatively small Cheilodactylus fasciatus and C. pixi from southern Africa. One suggested solution has been to leave about half the species in Cheilodactylus and move the remaining half to Goniistius, but this relatively simple proposal does not take the extreme divergence of C. fasciatus and C. pixi into account.

mosaics—a patchwork of forest remnants located within a given area. Mosaics favour some species more than others, e.g., plants that produce wind-borne seed, or that attract birds. Slowly dispersing species are those most affected by the fragmentation of rainforests. Mosaics can provide a basis for including small reserves that individually may not be able to sustain a diversity of species, but collectively may inhibit species loss. A mosaic of small reserves is regarded as preferable for maintaining a diversity of species than one large reserve. Nonetheless, mosaics of rainforest remnants may not prevent some species from becoming extinct, particularly those species that produce small amounts of seed, or species that are sedentary.

Moses perch—grows to about 53cm (2kg), varying in colour from pale pinkish-red to olive-green or silvery white. All fish have a prominent black spot or blotch above the lateral line and below the junction of the spiny and soft dorsal fins. Their pectoral, pelvic and anal fins are yellow and they may have yellowish lines marking the scale rows along the sides. Moses perch can be found in estuaries and bays, and on coastal and offshore reefs to depths of at least 80m. They range from northern New South Wales northward around the Australian coast to Shark Bay in Western Australia. They are common in inshore waters, mangrove areas and around headlands.


Mossman—a Queensland sugar town located in the Mossman River Valley. Mossman Gorge National Park is 6km from the town limits, and adjoins the Daintree Wilderness National Park. The original Mossman settlement was established in 1876; the first sugarcane plantation commenced production in 1896; the Mossman sugar mill was opened in 1897. Located 75km from Cairns, 36km from the town of Daintree, and 20km from Port Douglas in Far North Queensland.

Mossman Gorge—traditional home of the Ku Yalanji people, and now part of the Daintree National Park. This section of the park stretches from the coastal lowlands to rugged mountains, providing a home for a variety of rainforest animals, including tree-kangaroos and the tiny musky rat-kangaroo. Tall, dense rainforests clothe the lowlands and slopes while open forest and woodlands grow on the exposed slopes and mountain tops. Most of this section is very rugged and inaccessible. Located in the Daintree National Park, Far North Queensland.

Mossman Gorge Reserve—Aboriginal groups from the Cape Tribulation region were herded into Mossman Gorge Reserve. These tribes were first moved into a reserve on the northern bank of the Daintree River, and during the Sixties there were several government relocations.

Mossman River—15km north of Port Douglas, before you get to the Daintree River in Far North Queensland, the Mossman River flows east into the ocean. This entire area is full of crocodiles. The way the river functions is primarily a result of river energy, and the delta is tide-dominated. Daintree Village is 35km away; and Cape Tribulation is 38km north of the Daintree River Ferry. All main roads and the majority of side roads are sealed as far as Cape Tribulation, with the remainder being good, all-weather unsealed.

Mother England—the "home country" to colonial colonies such as Australia.

mother's ruin—gin.

motsa/motser/motza/motzer—1. a certainty—especially to win. 2. a large gambling win or sum of money.

mottlecahEucalyptus macrocarpa, a very distinctive species having a mallee-type habit of growth and spectacular red flowers. There are two recognised subspecies; subsp. macrocarpa is the most common form and is a small mallee of up to 4m in height, while subsp. elachantha has a restricted occurrence south-east of Geraldton. The latter differs from the common form in having smaller leaves and lower stature. The foliage of E. macrocarpa attracts almost as much attention as the flowers. They are ovate-elliptical in shape, sessile, up to 12cm long by 8cm wide and silvery-grey in colour. The large flowers may be 100mm in diameter and are usually bright red but pink-red forms are known. Flowering occurs from early spring to mid summer. The gumnuts which follow the flowers are very large and have a powdery grey covering. Shedding, yellowish-brown bark; tends to look somewhat on the "frizzled" side. Also known as the Rose of the West. Endemic to Western Australia.

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