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Australia Decoded

Native Fuschia (Epacris longiflora)

Narrung Narrows—the point of access to Lake Albert, at the eastern entrance to Westernport Bay, Victoria. Narrung is the entrance to The Narrows, a winding channel between Lake Akexandrina and Lake Albert. This channel is marked by a number of sporadically placed channel markers. The shallowest part of the Narrows is at the very last red channel marker before passing into Lake Albert—it is less than 1000mm deep within a short distance on the seaward side.

Narungga—the Indigenous people of Yorke Peninsula, SA. Their country extends as far north as Port Broughton and east to the Hummock Ranges. The Narungga managed and preserved their lands. They used fire to clear old grasses and promote fresh plant growth; Fresh water rock holes were covered with slabs of stone or brushwood to keep the water clean and to prevent animals from drinking from them. Track ways were maintained through the thick mallee forests, linking places and people throughout the peninsula. Ceremony played an important role in their lives. Corroborees and meetings were held to settle disagreements, for initiation, marriage, trade, or to share stories and experiences. Roots, seeds and native fruits formed a significant part of their diet. Clothing was made from wallaby, kangaroo and possum skins, while wood and roots were used as spears, digging sticks and shields, and for constructing shelters and housing. Fishing and hunting nets were made from a reed, buntu buntu, which women would prepare over several days; picking it, drying it and rolling it into string. Their expertise at fishing was admired by many of the early European settlers with butterfish, salmon, mullet and snapper traded for tobacco and other supplies. The peninsula is criss crossed with stories of the Dreamtime, with particular locations relating to the exploits of various beings.

nasho—national service; compulsory military duty.

nasty piece of work—a despicable, bad-tempered or mean person.

nasty-pastie—a despicable, bad-tempered or mean person.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Fund—part of the Australian federal government's 3-stage response to the decision in Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (1992). It was designed to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to buy and manage land. Although the Mabo decision recognised the existence of native title, the court also ruled that native title had been extinguished except in those cases where the traditional owners had maintained their connection with the land (and no inconsistent title had been granted). This meant that most Aboriginal people would not benefit because they had been previously dispossessed, and it was to assist these people that the Land Fund was provided for use by the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC). The Land Fund is a public trust account, established to provide an ongoing source of funds to the ILC. Government allocations to the Land Fund ceased in 2004, however, funding to the ILC will continue from investment income earned by the Land Fund. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Fund was established concurrently with the Indigenous Land Corporation.

National Aboriginal Controlled Health Organisation—(NACCHO) Aboriginal community controlled health services have been around for a long time, since Redfern started the push in 1971. Our communities have always had a philosophy of helping one another to get new health services up and running, and advocating for each other. This led to the early establishment of the National Aboriginal and Islander Health Organisation (NAIHO), which evolved into the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation in the early 1990s. The organisation eventually became an incorporated body and established a National Secretariat in Canberra.

national game—(Australia's...) the gambling game of two-up.

National Herbarium of New South Wales—an agency of the New South Wales government, attached to the Environment portfolio; controlling body Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust. Collections are accessible to researchers, inquiry services provided to the public. Founded in 1896 and comprises research, reference, a major collection documenting the flora of Australia, contributing to documentation and understanding of the world flora. Located close to Sydney's CBD.

National Heritage List—established to list places of outstanding heritage significance to Australia, comprising natural, historic and Indigenous places that are of outstanding national heritage value to the Australian nation. Each place in the list is assessed by the Australian Heritage Council as having national heritage values which can be protected and managed under a range of Commonwealth powers.  Places on the list are protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This requires that approval is obtained before any action takes place which has, will have, or is likely to have, a significant impact on the national heritage values of a listed place.

National Heritage Trust—(NHT) a fund set up by the Australian government in 1997 to help restore and conserve Australia's environment and natural resources. The NHT provides funding for environmental activities at three levels: the community level (through the Australian Government Envirofund); the regional level, where investment is jointly delivered with the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP); and the national level, where investments address activities that have a national or broad-scale, rather than a regional or local, outcome.

National Indigenous Council—(NIC) a federal government-appointed body whose role is the provision of expert advice to government regarding the improvement of the socio-economic status of Indigenous Australians, with a particular focus on government programs and services. The establishment of the NIC is a part of the federal government's new arrangements for Indigenous service delivery subsequent to the abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC). The federal government has emphasised that the NIC is neither a replacement for ATSIC nor a representative body. Unlike ATSIC, it will not be involved in funding proposals or program planning in individual communities or regions.

National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families—a response by the federal government in May 1995 to increasing pressure from key Indigenous agencies and communities. The Inquiry looked at four main issues, or "terms of reference". The first term of reference required the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission to trace the past laws, practices and policies that resulted in the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families by compulsion, duress or undue influence, and the effects of those laws, practices and policies. The second was to identify what should be done in response: e.g., recommendations to change laws, policies and practices; providing assistance to reunite families; and assistance in dealing with losses incurred through separation. The third was to determine the justification for, and nature of, any compensation for those affected by separation. The last was a scrutiny of current laws, policies and practices affecting the placement and care of Indigenous children. This included looking into the welfare and juvenile justice systems, and advising on any changes in the light of the principles of self-determination.

National Native Title Register—a register of native title determinations, kept by the Native Title Registrar at the National Native Title Tribunal. When a court notifies the National Native Title Tribunal that it has made a native title determination, the determination is placed on the National Native Title Register. Native title determinations are made by the Federal Court of Australia, the High Court of Australia or another recognised body. The National Native Title Tribunal is not a court and does not make native title determinations.

National Native Title Tribunal—an independent body established under the Native Title Act 1993 to assist people to resolve native title issues. The tribunal provides administrative support to deal with native title applications. It works closely with communities across Australia to help resolve land issues and make agreements that recognise everyone's rights and interests in land and waters. The tribunal conducts mediation of native title applications and can help people to negotiate Indigenous land use agreements. It acts as an arbitrator or umpire in some situations where the people involved cannot reach agreement about proposed developments, such as mining projects.

National Party of Australia—the party came into existence as the Country Party in January, 1920, and today has the largest membership of any Australian party. Nevertheless, it has never had a majority in the national parliament, although it has in some state parliaments. The National Party evolved with the split of the Labor governments over conscription during the First World War. On the night of 6th February, 1923 the new leader of the Nationalists, Stanley Bruce, together with the Australian Country Party leader, Earle Page, announced a Coalition government. The Bruce-Page Government formally took office from 9th February, and lasted for 23 years. This Coalition arrangement was the forerunner of contemporary conservative federal coalitions. (The party changed its name to the National Party in 1982.) The significance of the Bruce-Page coalition agreement is that it is fundamentally adhered to today. There is also sharing of portfolio and shadow portfolio responsibilities between the two coalition parties, on a proportional basis. In Liberal Party-National Party coalition governments, the leader of the National Party becomes the Deputy Prime Minister and the party has several ministers in the Cabinet. By working within the coalition, the National Party makes sure that coalition policies are favourable to farmers' interests. And the party is particularly interested in protecting the interests of country and regional people and upholding traditional values. The National Party has the largest membership of any Australian party; nevertheless, it has never had a majority in the national parliament, although it has in some state parliaments.

National Portrait Gallery—now displays portraits in two locations: Commonwealth Place and Old Parliament House—within five minutes of each other in Canberra, ACT. The main gallery space is the Parliamentary Library and the Robert Oatley Gallery, which house a permanent display of Australian portraits in all media, ranging from paintings and formal busts to photographs and sketches. The John and Julie Schaeffer Gallery and the Senate Gallery are devoted to a program of both national and international exhibitions that change regularly. The National Portrait Gallery’s program at Commonwealth Place focuses on contemporary portraits and has a particular emphasis on photography. The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Federal Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. Commonwealth Place is administered by the National Capital Authority. The Gallery has also established a fund through which purchases of important portraits will be made. Donations of cash to this fund are tax deductible. Unlike most art galleries in Australia, the National Portrait Gallery commissions portraits to build the collection.

National Reserve System—(NRS) the Australian Guidelines for Establishing the National Reserve System provide a scientific basis for prioritising additions to the NRS. The NRS is being developed based on the comprehensiveness, adequacy and representativeness of the existing reserve system plus other principles within a bioregional framework. The guidelines deal with issues such as the development of national priorities, the development of regional priorities and reserve selection criteria. The guidelines have been produced in consultation with state and territory conservation agencies, the scientific community and the general public. The Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia (IBRA) provides the bioregional planning framework for developing the National Reserve System. A biogeographic region is a land area composed of a cluster of interacting ecosystems that are repeated in similar form across the landscape. The biogeographic regions of the IBRA are based on factors associated with climate, lithology, geology, landforms and vegetation. The IBRA is comprised of 85 regions which span the Australian mainland and Tasmania.

National Trust of Australia (NSW)—a non-profit, community-based organisation that works to conserve Australia's natural, cultural and built environment. The National Trust undertakes environmental research, acts as a consultant to government and private enterprise, and conducts publishing and educational programs. It remains financially independent, relying on donations and membership.

National Union of Students—the women's department exists in recognition that women are not equal in society and are disadvantaged in many ways including their participation in higher education. The National Union of Students acknowledges women's oppression by running campaigns to fight attacks on women both on campus and in the community and to get women active around fighting for their liberation.

native bear—koala.

native beechFlindersia australis, a tall tree to 40m. Flowers are white in panicles August—February. Fruit is a woody capsule covered with short, blunt prickles, splitting into 5 boat-shaped valves. Found from Nymboida River, NSW to Mackay, Queensland in dry rainforest (complex microphyll closed forest) extending into eucalypt forest. Valued as a timber, especially for flooring. Flowers attract orchid butterflies, bees, wasps, moths, honeyeaters, fruit bats and blossom bats. High branches provide nesting and resting sites for birds. Also known as crow's ash, Australian teak.

native cat—(see: quoll).

native cherryExocarpus cupressiformis, a common but sparsely distributed shrub of dry sclerophyll forests. Pendulous branches display insignificant leaves and tiny white flowers. It is semi-parasitic on the roots of nearby plants, but as it matures, it relies more on photosynthesis to provide its food. The small, sweet fruits consist of a swollen fleshy red stalk (pedicel) on which the seed-bearing fruit grows. This arrangement ensures that fruit-eating birds ingest the seed prior to the fruit. These seeds, with their tough outer shell weakened by the bird's digestive juices, are dispersed with the bird's droppings. Also known as cherry ballart.

native citrus—most authorities now say Microcitrus and Eremocitrus have been officially re-classified as Citrus—the genus from which they were taxonomically separated many years ago. Most Australian native varieties do have 'micro' features, but to me another distinguishing aspect is the remarkable change in leaf shape from juvenile to mature plant. But the ability to interbreed or hybridize with true citrus, plus the existence of types with intermediate features, indicates to botanists that the separation is artificial. Five of the native species occur in the rainforest coastal region of northern New South Wales through to the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, while the other two species in this genera are found across the Torres Strait in New Guinea.

native companion—brolga (jabiru).

native cranberryStyphelia Astroloma humifusum, a small, prostrate or ascending evergreen shrub of mainland Australia and Tasmania bush. It is a low, woody, perennial plant usually having several major branches. It bears scarlet flowers and succulent fruit resembling cranberries. Also known as cranberry heath, ground-berry, groundberry.

native flaxLinum marginale, pale blue flowers borne on long, upright stems which were used to make twine for fishing nets. The delicate foliage of the native flax still has occasional flowers in late autumn and lots of almost globular, bleached seed heads, which were eaten by Aborigines.

native fuschiaEpacris longiflora, a straggly shrub with wiry branches and heart-shaped, tough and sharply pointed leaves. Flowers are pendulous, narrow, red tubes, 12mm—20mm long. This particular species flowers for most of the year. Widespread from the coast to mountains in the Sydney region, it can be found in heathland, open forest and sheltered understoreys. It is common on coastal heathland and extends along the north coast and the northern tablelands to Queensland.

native ginger—Curcuma australasica, an attractive, leafy annual that grows from a tuber. Its hot pink flowers can be seen at Ubirr and Nourlangie in the wet season. It is also related to the turmeric plant, a native of Asia.

native grasslands—natural plant communities where native grasses such as kangaroo grass, wallaby grasses and spear grass are dominant. Amongst these grasses there grow a diversity of native flowering plants, including daisies, lilies, orchids, salt-bushes and peas. Grasslands provide habitat for unique and increasingly rare animals, including the striped legless lizard, the hooded scaly-foot, the grassland earless dragon and the plains-wanderer. Native grasslands of temperate regions is one of Australia's most threatened ecological communities. An estimated 99.5 per cent have been lost or grossly altered since European settlement.

native guavaEupomatia laurina. Many rainforest plants can be scattered away from each other with lots of dense foliage in between, so some species—such as the native guava—have evolved complicated systems to ensure they can't be self-pollinated. Its pollinator is a beetle but its flower blooms in two stages. On each tree, the female flower parts are exposed first in the early part of the day. Then this part of the flower closes and the male parts (stamens) are extended. This ensures that any one tree can't be self-pollinated. The native guava is a relic, a primitive species with its entire family composed of only one genus with two species. Also known as copper laurel.

native hollyAlchornea ilicifolia, a large shrub up to 5m tall. Leaves are ovoid/ rhomboidal, simple, alternate and angled with spines at each angle apex. Leaf texture is rigid and leathery. Flowers are small, creamish green axillary racemes, male and female flowers on separate plants from November-December. Fruit is a brown, three-lobed capsule, splitting to reveal one seed. Ripe September-November or throughout the year. Distribution: Illawarra, New South Wales to Atherton, north Queensland. Habitat: sub-tropical and dry rainforest.

native lasiandraMelastoma polyanthum, a beautiful bush which grows in the filtered light of pine trees and oaks at higher altitudes in the north, where the climate is sub-tropical. The entire bush is used in local bush medicine to treat poisoning and to stop bleeding.

native oliveOlea paniculata, a plant of the genus Olea and a relative of the olive. One of many species first described by Robert Brown in his 1810 work Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae, it still bears its original binomial name. It grows as a bushy tree to 30m, often with a sparse canopy. The trunk has smooth, grey-brown bark and reaches a maximum diameter of 90cm with some buttressing. The shiny green ovate to elliptical leaves measure 5-10cm in length, and 1.5-6 cm in width, and have a pointed (acuminate) end. The blue-black fruit are oval and measure 0.8-1.2 (0.3–0.5 in) cm long. In Australia, Olea paniculata is found from North East Queensland to the vicinity of the Hunter Valley in Central New South Wales, near watercourses in dry rainforests. The fruit are consumed by the king parrot, brown cuckoo-dove, topknot pigeon, rose-crowned fruit-dove, wompoo fruit-dove, white-headed pigeon, green catbird and regent bowerbird in Australia. It is a fast pioneer species on sunny protected sites, but needs well drained soil for good growth. Bird attracting black fruit. Butterfly host plant. The fruit was traditionally eaten by Aborigines. Also known as Australian olive, pigeonberry ash, maulwood, and clove berry.

native orangeCapparis mitchellii, a small tree bearing edible, dark purple fruit. It is not related to oranges and neither to the Osage-orange which is known as "wild orange" in North America, but to capers. Its name in the Arrernte language of Central Australia is merne atwakeye. Indigenous Australians made frequent use of it long before European arrival. It is green when unripe. When it ripens, it becomes soft and has a fragrant smell. The inside is yellow or orange. It is still commonly eaten in the desert today. Also known as wild orange.

native pearXylomelum pyriforme, a tree species in the family Proteaceae endemic to Australia. First documented at Botany Bay by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander in 1770, it was first described as Banksia pyriformis by German botanist Joseph Gaertner in 1788 in De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum. The native pear grows as a large shrub or small tree, usually reaching 4-5m high, although trees to 15mhave been recorded in the Howes Valley north-west of Sydney. The large juvenile leaves have dentate (toothed) margins with 6 to 11 teeth along each edge, while the adult leaves have entire margins. The prominently veined leaves measure 10-20cm and are up to 5cm wide. They are glabrous (smooth) and dark green. New growth is covered in a fine rust-coloured fur. Flowering from September to November, the inflorescences measure 5-8cm and are rusty coloured. Flowers are followed by the development of the large, woody, pear-shaped seed pod which is up to 9cm long and 5cm wide. The plant's range is from the New South Wales mid-north coast south to Mittagong, with an outlying record from the vicinity of Cooma. The native pear grows on nutrient-poor, well-drained sandstone soils in open eucalypt woodland. It is associated with such species as yellow bloodwood red bloodwood, scribbly gum, silvertop ash, brown stringybark, grey gum and scribbly gum. Xylomelum pyriforme regenerates from a lignotuber or epicormic buds after bushfires, and can sucker from the roots. It is one of a number of Australian species that require a fire to open and disperse their seeds. Early European settlers of Australia used the tree's wood to make gun stocks. Also known as woody pear.

native pepper—Tasmania's native 'pepper' is an attractive shrub up to 5m high with dark green leaves and distinctive crimson young stems. It inhabits cool, wet habitats from sea level to alpine regions. The plant is dioecious (separate male and female) and bears black fruit, the size of a pea, containing numerous small seeds. It is a member of the family Winteraceae, one of the group of plants associated with the ancient Gondwanan supercontinent. The leathery leaves of Tasmannia lanceolata contain a hot tasting compound (polygodial) which, together with many of the aromatic compounds common in other essential oil-bearing plants, results in an unusual fragrant, spicy taste and a 'bushy' rainforest feel.

native pigfaceCarpobrotus rossii, large, trailing, succulent perennials. They have long stems that root at the nodes, with triangular leaves that vary in colour depending on the growing conditions. Most species grow in coastal regions, and do well in sandy areas. They are very effective at stabilising drifting sand, and will rapidly colonize disturbed areas even when water is of limited availability. Pigface was also a common source of bush tucker. The red fruits are juicy and taste somewhat like figs, and even the leaves can be eaten.

native plumCenarrhenes nitida, a monotypic genus in the Protea family containing this single species. The French naturalist and explorer Jacques Labillardière described Cenarrhenes nitida in 1805, and it still bears its common name today. Peter Weston and Nigel Barker reviewed the suprageneric relationships of the Proteaceae in 2006, using molecular and morphological data. In this scheme Cenarrhenes is located within the subfamily Proteoideae though its exact relationships are unclear. The native plum is an evergreen shrub to small tree endemic to the rainforests and scrublands of western Tasmania. Cenarrhenes nitida is found in sheltered sites such as rain forests in exposed sites. Its leaves, which are roughly 8-12cm long, are thick, dull and hairless with a cleanly serrated edge and rounded tip, and attached to the stem via a short stalk. The leaves are spread along the branches and have a nauseating stale-cabbage smell when crushed. The leaves turn black when dried. The fruit of the native plum are a fleshy drupe which closely resemble commercial plums from the genus Prunus. The fruit are roughly 1.5cm in size but can get up to 3cm. They have a smooth, deep purple skin, edible but chalky tasting pink-white flesh and a large stone at the center. Much like plums, the fruit have a groove running down one side of the fruit and a fine dusty layer on the skin giving it a bluish colour which is easily removed by rubbing. Fruit ripen in autumn from March to May. The flowers are produced in early summer from November to December and are small, symmetrical, and unscented. Each flower has four pointed, fleshy petals which curl backward when open. Closed flowers have pink tips but turn all white when open. The flowers are stalkless and arranged on woody spikes which are shorter than the leaves. The flowers are insect pollinated and have four thick, cream-yellow stamens. The pollination is spring-loaded and is triggered by a touch-sensitive hair on one of the four anthers. Often, only 1 to 3 flowers per stalk will develop into mature fruit with the remainder forming stunted woody balls. Also known as the Port Arthur plum.

Native Police Corps—(hist.) uniformed, armed and mounted Aboriginal troopers under the command of white officers. Aborigines were chosen as troopers because of their superior knowledge of the bush and their ability to track. (Aboriginal troopers were distinct from the native trackers employed by the colonial police forces.) Ostensibly created to keep the peace between Aborigines and white settlers in the frontier districts, they were actually used to quell the resistance of the traditional owners and open the land to European settlement. Members of the Native Police Corps were also the first police on the goldfields. First formed in Victoria in 1837, in New South Wales in 1848, in South Australia in 1852, in Queensland in 1859, and the Northern Territory in 1884, these white-officered black troops were infamous for their butchery. The Native Police Corps was abolished in 1900.

native pomegranateCapparis arborea, a small tree bearing edible pomegranate-like fruit.

native raspberryRubus parvifolius, forms a dark green mound with small, pink flowers in early summer, followed by raspberry-like fruits. The fruits are not as tasty as cultivated raspberries, but could be a part of the "edible landscape." In winter the plants are deciduous and the stems do not look very neat. It has died out in many areas, being replaced by the more vigorous imported blackberry.

native title—the rights and interests in land and waters that are possessed under the traditional laws of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, and that are recognised by the common law. On 1 January 1994, the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993 commenced operation. The Act is part of the Commonwealth's response to the High Court's decision in Mabo v Queensland (No. 2). There are three main types of native title application: 1) an application made by Indigenous Australians for a determination that native title exists in a particular area of land or waters; 2) an application made by a person who does not claim to have native title to an area but who seeks a determination that native title does or does not exist in that area; 3) an application made by a group of Indigenous Australians seeking compensation for loss or impairment of their native title. Native title rights do not extend to minerals and petroleum, as these are not substances that have typically been the subject of traditional use by Aboriginals.

Native Title Act, 1993 (Cth)—enables Indigenous people throughout Australia to claim traditional rights to unalienated land. The High Court held that the common law of Australia recognises a form of native title to be determined in accordance with Indigenous traditional law and custom. In doing so, the Court rejected the notion that Australia was terra nullius, that is, land belonging to no one, at the time of British settlement. Native title rights and interests are based on laws and customs that pre-date the British acquisition of sovereignty. Native title rights and interests may exist over land and waters to the extent that they are consistent with other rights established over the land by law or executive action. The Australian legal system recognises native title where: the rights and interests are possessed under traditional laws and customs that continue to be acknowledged and observed by the relevant Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders; by virtue of those laws and customs, the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders have a connection with the land or waters; and the native title rights and interests are recognised by the common law of Australia. The Native Title Act was passed by the Commonwealth Parliament following the High Court decision in Mabo v Queensland No. 2, which grants legal recognition of an Indigenous owner's interest in land that is derived neither from the Crown nor from statutory law. This was achieved by legal recognition of the common-law definition of 'native title', in response to the High Court's decision in Mabo v Queensland (No. 2). The Commonwealth Native Title Act commenced on 1 January 1994.

Native Title Amendment Act 1998 (Cth)—made extensive amendments to the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (the NTA). The amendments were made in response to the High Court’s decision in the Wik case, which confirmed that native title rights and interests may exist over land which is or has been subject to a pastoral lease, and possibly also over some other forms of leasehold tenure. The amendments included changes to the status of the National Native Title Tribunal, handing some powers to the Federal Court, and introduced the registration test for native title application. It also broadened the confirmation provisions and validation provisions; changed provisions for primary production activities, statutory access rights, compulsory acquisitions and the right to negotiate provisions; extended the agreement making abilities under the Act, replacing Section 21 Agreements with Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs); and gave the states and territories powers to validate ‘intermediate period acts’ and authorise ‘previous exclusive possession acts’.

native title determination—a decision by an Australian court or other recognised body that native title does or does not exist over a particular area of land or waters. A recognised body is a court, office, tribunal or body of a state or territory that is able to make determinations in relation to areas of particular land or waters and that the Commonwealth Attorney-General has formally recognised for that purpose. The Attorney-General must be satisfied that the body will operate in a way that is consistent with the Native Title Act 1993. A litigated determination is often referred to as simply a “determination”. A “consent determination” is the term used to described determinations reached by agreement between the interest holder parties in the area of a native title claim.

native tracker—(see: Aboriginal tracker).

native troopers—(hist.) Fred Walker, who was seeking employment as an overseer, suggested that he could easily induce additional natives to join him, and, by arming and mounting a troop, he would be able to cope with the hostile Aborigines of the "new country." The tradition goes that his suggestions were adopted, and he was shortly at the head of a band of Aborigines, with whom, mounted and armed, he scoured the disturbed localities, receiving payment from a fund subscribed among the squatters. The efficaciousness of the native troopers was speedily recognised, and a number of such squads was instituted by the government of New South Wales. Walker was appointed the first commandant, having under him a staff of lieutenants, each patrolling a specified district. The native troopers proved dreadfully efficient, and had no sooner got to work in earnest than the very name was a terror to the Aborigines. The savage nature of these human bloodhounds revelled in the chase; they pursued with eager enthusiasm and keen enjoyment. Once on the tracks, they followed them unfailingly at a gallop. Their quarry might escape by scattering in broken country, but no matter how rugged their refuge, if they kept together, the troopers could follow wherever they went. The regulations of the force strictly prohibited indiscriminate shooting, however. The corps was an instrument of the law and limited by most definite obligations to regular legal process.

native water-ratHydromys chrysogaster, Australia's largest rodent, it's most distinguishing feature is the long tail, which is pale for it's last third. The colour of the body varies from blackish to brown to grey, with paler underparts, and sometimes the fur has a golden tinge. The fur is dense and water-repellent, and always seems sleek and wet from its swimming habit. This habit has also resulted in the animal evolving large, partially webbed back feet. As the common name suggests, it is usually found in water, including creeks, wetlands and estuaries throughout eastern and tropical Australia and New Guinea. It is often mistaken for a platypus in freshwater creeks, for it shares similar habitat and habits. It is the only other aquatic mammal in Australia, most often glimpsed swimming on the surface of lakes or rivers in the early morning or evening. Water-rats often emerge from the water to eat (sitting up and holding their meal in their forepaws) or run along the bank searching for food. On land they strongly resemble a miniature otter. Platypus and water-rats will use the same burrows, though not at the same time. They both function as top predators in Australian freshwater systems and probably compete to some extent for food. Both are known to eat aquatic insects, spiders, crayfish (yabbies), freshwater mussels, shrimps, and frogs. But because a water-rat has a formidable set of teeth, it can kill and eat fish, tortoises and water birds—sometimes up to the size of ducks. Although water-rats are widely distributed in Australia, the animals appear to be relatively uncommon along many waterways. However, almost nothing is known of the factors which limit the number of water-rats occupying various habitats.

Nats—members of the National Party.

natter—talk; chat; gossip.

natural grassland—a vegetation community that is likely to contain a number of different grassland associations or communities which, while floristically distinct, share many common attributes. Natural grasslands are often associated with one or more species of woodland and sedge. As a result of land clearing for agriculture, many exotic grasses have either invaded the area or have been deliberately introduced as replacement for the native grasses that have been lost. There are two broad types of natural grassland in Australia: temperate, and subtropical/tropical.

natural temperate grassland—a broad vegetation type usually reduced to relatively small, fragmented remnants (<10ha) on public land, with most large patches (>100ha) occurring on private land. Natural temperate grassland occurs in lowland south-eastern Australia, as far north as northern NSW (around 28° latitude south). Sub-tropical and tropical grasslands occur north of this parallel. The western limit of natural temperate grasslands is the western extent of the Flinders Ranges, in South Australia. There are no natural temperate grasslands in Western Australia (probably because the soil types that usually support these grasses are largely absent). In most patches of woodland or grassy shrubland, it is possible to find small patches of grassy field layer, lacking an upper stratum of trees or shrubs. Many grassland remnants, formerly part of larger continuous grassland stands, are now less than 0.5ha. An estimated 99.5 per cent of Australia's natural temperate grasslands have been lost or grossly altered since European settlement.

nature conservation reserve—includes national parks, nature reserves, state and territory recreation areas, conservation parks, environmental parks etc. These are Crown lands reserved for specific environmental conservation purposes such as protection of wildlife, protection of a type of habitat or preservation of an area with natural features of scientific or recreational value. National parks are generally large areas of scenic or other natural significance to the general public.

nature strip—the narrow tract of land between the front boundary of a property (or the sidewalk) and the road, often used to plant grass, trees or shrubs.

navarin—a casserole of mutton or lamb with vegetables.

navvy—a laborer who is obliged to do menial work. Originally, a laborer on canals for internal navigation; hence, a laborer on other public works, as in building railroads, embankments, etc. Synonyms: drudge, galley slave, peon, manual laborer.

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