Australian Dictionary

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Nullabor Plain

Nullabor Plain
Yewenyi at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

northern corroboree frogPseudophryne pengilleyi, a small but distinctive frog with bright yellow-green and black stripes on its upper surfaces and a broadly marbled ventral surface of black and white or black and yellow. It is confined to the high country of the ACT and adjacent New South Wales, along the Brindabella and Bimberi Ranges and throughout the Fiery Range and Bogong Mountains. For much of the year the northern corroboree frog lives in woodland and tall moist heath. In summer the adult frogs move to shallow pools and seepages to breed.

northern death adderAcanthophis praelongus has a stocky body, arrow-shaped head and a tail that tapers rapidly and bears a spur-like scale at tip. The back is brown to reddish-brown with numerous crossbands, and the belly is mostly whitish. Found in wet and dry eucalypt forests and woodlands throughout northern Australia, its main prey consists of frogs, cane toads (with fatal consequences) and small reptiles. Its venom is strongly neurotoxic.

Northern Desert—a region encompassing eastern Western Australia and western Northern Territory. The region is largely untouched by development and has remained predominantly the domain of Indigenous peoples.

northern hairy-nosed wombatLasiorhinus krefftii, a marsupial with a backward facing pouch. The curious name comes from its distinctive muzzle, which is covered with short brown hairs. It is strong and heavily built, with short, powerful legs and strong claws that are used to dig burrows or search for suitable plants to eat. Its fur is soft, silky, and mainly brown, mottled with grey, fawn and black. It has a broad head, and the ears are long and slightly pointed with tufts of white hair on the edges. Like most marsupials, the northern hairy-nosed wombat is active at night, usually at dawn or dusk. Although mostly solitary, wombats often share burrows. Each burrow has several entrances and contains moist air which stays at a constant temperature throughout the year. The northern hairy-nosed wombat eats native and introduced grasses and stays close to one of its many burrows. Its teeth never stop growing, allowing it to grind its food even when old. The northern hairy-nosed wombat gives birth to one young during the wet season (November - April). The young stay in the mother's pouch for eight to nine months, and leave their mother at about 15 months. The northern hairy-nosed wombat once occurred near Deniliquin (New South Wales), on the Moonie River near St George (southern Queensland) and at Epping Forest near Clermont (central Queensland). Fossil records from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland show that they lived over a larger area, but probably not in high numbers. It is now critically endangered and found only in the Epping Forest National Park; the last known colony is now restricted to 300ha along an ancient water course in the park where the soil is sandy and dry. The wombats live in groups of large burrows, usually located near trees. Habitat loss and change, drought and competition with cattle, sheep and rabbits for food have contributed to the decline of the northern hairy-nosed wombat. Epping Forest National Park is now fenced to keep out cattle, sheep and dingos. Introduced buffel grass, planted in the area for cattle feed, outcompetes the native grasses and forces the wombats to travel further to find the native species they prefer to eat. The small population that remains is susceptible to predation, fire and inbreeding. After the removal of cattle in 1982, wombat numbers increased from 35 to about 70 in 1989. Numbers remained steady during a major drought which spanned the first half of the 1990s. After several good years of rainfall, the population has increased to 110. Programs to control buffel grass and improve the supply of native grasses are helping the wombats to move into other suitable habitats in the park. Also known as Queensland hairy-nosed wombat, yaminon.

Northern Kimberley biogregion—the dissected plateau of Kimberley Basin. Savannah woodland of Darwin woollybutt and Darwin stringybark over high sorghum grasses and feathertop spinifex on shallow sandy soils on outcropping Proterozoic siliceous sandstone strata. Savanna woodlands on greybox—babe-in-the-cradle alliance over high sorghum grasses on red and yellow earths mantling basic Proterozoic volcanics. Riparian closed forests of paperbark trees and pandanus occur along drainage lines. Extensive mangal occurs in estuaries and sheltered embayments. Numerous small patches of monsoon rainforest are scattered through the district. Dry hot tropical, sub-humid, summer rainfall.

Northern Land Council—(NLC) one of four Land Councils established under the Land Rights Act of 1976, all of which operate in the Northern Territory.

northern logrunnerOrthonyx spaldingii, endemic to the Wet Tropics. The former common name of chowchilla comes from the its early morning raucous call, which sounds a little like chow-chowchilla. This bird is an insect eater, scratching through the leaf litter in groups. It lays a single egg in a stick-and-debris nest on the forest floor after the wet season has finished. A most unusual characteristic of this medium-sized upland species—usually above 450m—is that the quills of its tail feathers end in a short spine.

northern nailtail wallabyOnychogalea unguifera, a small, sandy coloured wallaby which can be identified by a dark stripe on the lower mid-dorsal continuing onto the tail, a tuft of dark hairs towards the end of the tail and a nail on the tip of the tail. Males grow to a maximum head and body length of just under .7m, with a tail that often exceeds that length. They usually attain a weight of around 7kg to 8kg. Females are usually around 10 percent smaller in size. The Northern Nailtail Wallaby is solitary, but may form feeding aggregations of up to four animals. It is active between dusk and dawn. Otherwise, little is known of its biology. First collected from Derby, WA, in 1838 during a post-Darwinian voyage of HMS Beagle, it is the tropical representative of its genus. Most of its range lies between the northern Australian coast and the 500mm rainfall isohyet, but it extends several hundred kilometres further inland in north-western Australia and tends to avoid areas of higher rainfall in Arnhem Land and the Kimberleys—its preferred habitats in the Northern Territory appear to be lightly wooded flood plains in the north and open long-grass woodland and shrub-savannah in the south. It is occasionally found on rocky slopes, as in the Tanami Range, and is reputed to have been common among paperbark scrub on the edges of open plains near Broome, WA. In Northern Queensland its habitats range from open woodland with a grassy understorey to grassland with occasional trees. It appears to be more common near watercourses. The species, with a status regarded as common in its range, has survived European settlement much better than the other nailtail wallabies. Although its distribution is patchy and it may have suffered some local extinctions, it appears to be in no danger. Also known as organ-grinder, karrabul and sandy nailtail.

northern quollDasyurus hallucatus, a beautiful but deadly creature, it belongs to a group of native marsupial predators known as the native cats or quolls. They are all well equipped with razor-sharp teeth and claws, but the northern quoll is particularly aggressive and noted for its "pugnacious disposition". It is grey-brown above with large white spots, and cream to white below, and is the only quoll with an unspotted tail. It is the smallest, most arboreal and most aggressive of the quolls. The northern quoll is found in a disjunct range throughout northern Australia, including the Pilbara and Kimberley regions in Western Australia. It is generally found in tree habitats, preferring broken, rocky country or open eucalypt forest within 150km of the coast. Their diet includes small mammals such as dunnarts, rodents and antechinuses, as well as reptiles, invertebrates and fruit. The average lifespan of adults is 2 years. Females have no true pouch but, during the breeding season in May, the area around the 6-8 teats becomes enlarged and surrounded by a flap of skin. Mating occurs in late June and 1-8 young are born in July. Very few females carry an infant on every available teat, with the average litter size being 6. Young are carried for 8-10 weeks. Up to a third of the young are lost by September and the rest are suckled in the nest until 5 months old. This species has suffered a large decline in its range in recent times. It was found throughout much larger areas of the Pilbara and Kimberley and also Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Northern Rivers—a region of New South Wales stretching from the Queensland border at Tweed Heads, southwards to the city of Coffs Harbour. To the east is the Pacific Ocean. To the west, the Great Dividing Range and Northern Tablelands plateau. The region consists of a narrow coastal strip divided by several large river valleys and floodplains. Hilly regions separate these valleys. In some cases, such as the Clarence River Valley, the river flats may extend inland up to 30km or more. The inland climate has hotter daytime summer temperatures, and much cooler winter overnight minimums. Sugar cane farming is undertaken on the larger river flats. Sections of the Great Dividing Range's eastern slopes may contain patches of sub-tropical rainforest along the coastal region of NSW, stretching from the Central Coast to the Queensland border. Six of Australia's World Heritage-listed areas are here, as well as dozens of smaller parks, nature reserves, rainforest remnants and state forests.

northern snapping turtleElseya dentata, an Australian reptile not related to the true snapping turtles of North America. They are relatively large turtles, reaching a shell length of around 36cm. The head is large and may become enormous in some specimens, a condition known as 'macrocephaly'. Not all individuals develop this condition and its relevance is unknown. The jaws are powerful, and a large specimen may deliver a nasty bite. There are two barbels on the chin that are thought to act as sense organs, possibly to assist with locating food in murky water. The shell is usually dark brown and may become stained green from algal growth. The lower part of the head may be pale cream or yellowish in colour. The northern snapping turtle lives in river systems and lagoons in the northern parts of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Northern Tablelands—also known as the New England Tableland, is a plateau and a region of the Great Dividing Range in northern New South Wales. It includes the New England Range, the narrow highlands area of the New England region, stretching from the Moonbi Range in the south to the Queensland border in the north. The now closed railway station at Ben Lomond was the highest railway station in Australia. The formation of the Great Dividing Range has resulted in a wide variety of soil types being located on the Northern Tablelands. Here, soils are mostly derived from basaltic rocks, granite rocks, trap rock or alluvials along creeks and rivers. The eastern escarpment of the Tableland has spectacular gorges, rain forests and waterfalls, protected in more than 25 national parks, with three of them listed as World Heritage Areas by UNESCO and forming part of the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves (CERRA). The coastal flowing Clarence, Macleay and Manning rivers have their headwaters on eastern escarpment of the tableland. The inland flowing rivers have their confluence with the Gwydir, Namoi and Macintyre river systems of the Murray-Darling River Basin. The high elevation of the tablelands means cool summers (rarely over 32°C) but winters are cold, as low as -10°C, with occasional snowfalls and many frosty mornings. The Northern Tablelands is a high rainfall region with averages ranging from 650mm on the western slopes to over 1,200mm on the east of the range. Armidale Walcha was the first part of the Northern Tablelands to be discovered in 1818 by the explorer John Oxley who ascended the range near Limbri. In 1832 Hamilton Collins Semphill, a settler from Belltrees on the Hunter River, formed a station in the upper Apsley River valley and named it Wolka (Walcha) from the local Aboriginal language. Soon, others followed, seeking new lands away from the influence of the Australian Agricultural Company, which dominated resources in the Hunter valley, and settled around the present Armidale district. Squatters soon settled the tablelands with their large sheep runs before Glen Innes and Tenterfield were surveyed in 1851. Armidale is the only city on the Tablelands and is the administrative centre for the Northern Tablelands region. In 1852 gold was discovered at Rocky River and by 1856 there were 5,000 miners operating there. Gold was discovered at Bakers Creek, Hillgrove in 1857 but it was not until the late 1880s that the recorded population rose to 2,274 and later to almost 3,000 in about 1898. The difficulties and expense of the deep underground mine workings eventually reduced the gold mining after 1900. Captain Thunderbolt, Frederick Wordsworth Ward, the famous bushranger who escaped from Cockatoo Island, came to the Northern Tablelands, where he robbed properties, mail coaches and hotels in the region. The University of New England at Armidale was founded in 1938, becoming the first Australian university established outside a capital city. The Northern Tablelands has a great diversity of plants and fauna, with many thousands of animals, birds and plants in the region. Black sallee (eucalyptus stellulata), Blakely's red gum (Eucalyptus blakelyi), broadleaved New England stringybark (Eucalyptus caliginosa), wattles (Acacias), native apples (Angophora floribunda), manna gum (Eucalyptus viminalis), New England blackbutt (Eucalyptus andrewsii), New England peppermint (Eucalyptus nova-anglica), ribbon gum (Eucalyptus nobilis), silvertop stringybark (Eucalyptus laevopinea), snow gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora), river oak (Casuarina cunninghamiana), stringybark (Eucalyptus caliginosa) and yellow box (Eucalyptus melliodora) trees are common across the Northern Tablelands. Bolivia Hill and the adjacent nature reserve are the only recorded locations of the endangered Bolivia Hill boronia (Boronia boliviensis) and the shrub Pimelea venosa. Some rare Hillgrove gum trees (Eucalyptus michaeliana) may be seen growing along the Long Point Road and the Big Lease, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. These trees have a distinctive, mottled, greenish trunk with peeling yellow-brown bark. The endangered Hastings River Mouse (Pseudomys oralis) is restricted in distribution to the upland open forests and woodlands around Werrikimbe National Park and south-east Queensland. Other endangered species that may be seen on the Northern Tablelands include the brush-tailed rock-wallaby (Petrogale penicillata), which lives in isolated sections of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. The Bundarra-Barraba Important Bird Area is one of only three breeding areas in New South Wales for the endangered regent Honeyeater.

Northern Territory—covers one-sixth of Australia, but is home to only 1% of Australia's population of about 19.5 million. With this small population of about 200,000 almost 60,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in the Northern Territory. This is about 29% of the Territory's population whereas nationally Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people account for only 2.4% of the population. Nearly half the Territory is owned by Aboriginal people, as compared to the national figure of 14%. In 1869 South Australia's Surveyor-General, George Goyder, undertook the survey of Northern Territory land. He set up his base camp at Port Darwin, at the foot of Fort Hill. This camp grew into the town of Palmerston (now Darwin), its rough buildings not only serving as the Territory's first Lands Office but housing the incoming population. The NT was founded as a Federal Territory on 1 January 1911. In 1978, the Northern Territory was granted self-government by an Act of the Commonwealth Parliament, but because it is not a State, the degree of self-government is limited. The Federal Government has kept control of several areas usually run by a State Government. These include Aboriginal land, uranium mining and industrial relations. However, the Northern Territory is regarded as a State for financial dealings between the State and Federal Governments.

Northern Territory Crest—the crest incorporates the floral and faunal emblems of the Northern Territory: the Sturt's desert rose, the red kangaroo and the wedge-tailed eagle. On the crest the eagle's wings are spread and its talons grasp an Aboriginal Tjurunga stone. Beneath the eagle is the plumed helmet of the warrior, signifying that the Northern Territory was an area of wartime battle. Two red kangaroos hold shells that are found on the northern coast of the Territory: the chiragra spider conch and the true heart cockle. At the base of the crest is the Sturt's desert rose. placed upon a grassy sand mound. As well as acknowledging the geographically diverse aspects of the Northern Territory the crest also represents its Indigenous population. The X-ray relief depiction of the female figure in the centre of the shield is derived from sacred rock art in Arnhem Land. The motifs on either side of the figure symbolise representations of campsites joined by path markings of the Central Australian Aborigines.

northern woollybuttEucalyptus miniata, a mallee to 4m with lignotuber, the tree has bark persistent throughout or persistent on lower trunk, shortly fibrous ("peppermint") or stringy, red-brown or grey-brown, grey or grey-brown or red-brown, shedding in short ribbons or shedding in small polygonal flakes. Flowers are white, adult leaves are glossy green. Native to Western Australia and western Northern Territory. Also known as Darwin woollybutt.

nose down, bum up—extremely busy; hard at work.

nose-to-tail—(of vehicles) bumper-to-bumper.

nosebag—a meal, feed: e.g., It's about time we had a nosebag isn't it, I'm starving!

nosey enough to want to know the ins and outs of a chook's bum—inquisitive; prying; snoopy.

nosey parker—person who pries, is over-inquisitive, meddlesome and snoopy.

nosh—1. a snack; food, especially taken between main meals. 2. to eat.

nosh-up—a large meal; an excellent feed.

not a bad drop—1. a pleasing alcoholic drink. 2. an attractive young woman.

not a bad old stick/bad sort—a good person; a pleasing sort of person.

not a patch on—not nearly as good as; not equal to; inferior to: e.g., This brand of beer's not a patch on the other.

not able to take a trick—to have little or no success; to be habitually unlucky.

not all (one's) dogs are barking—not in full control of (one's) faculties; slightly silly, mad, crazy, eccentric or odd.

not backward in coming forward—not shy or hesitating; brash; forward; outspoken.

not come at—refuse to do, attempt, take part in, accept: e.g., The boss is not going to come at those demands by the workers.

not cricket—not fair; unjust; not the accepted thing to do.

not doing (one's) whack—not doing (one's) fair share of the work; not pulling (one's) weight.

not for quids—under no circumstances or inducement; no way; never.

not in the same street—not to be classed, compared with; not comparable to.

not much chop/cop—not good; not up to standard or as expected; not worthwhile.

not my cup of tea—not what one finds interesting or agreeable; not to one's taste.

not on—not acceptable; unsatisfactory: e.g., Resorting to physical abuse during a domestic argument is just not on!

not on your nellie!—under no circumstances! no way! never! absolutely not!

not put a foot wrong—to be successful.

not short of a bob/dollar or two—wealthy; having plenty of money.

not the clean potato—not free of guilt; of ill repute; having a bad reputation.

not the done thing—not socially acceptable.

not the full packet of bickies—not in full control of one's faculties; mad, crazy or insane; silly, eccentric, queer or odd; lacking in intelligence.

not the full quid—a loaf short of a picnic; missing a couple of kangaroos in the top paddock: e.g., That boy's not the full quid.

not to worry!—expression of assurance, consolation.

not up to scratch—not of a satisfactory standard; second- rate; of poor quality.

not within cooee—1. originally, not within earshot: hence, not close to (someone or something). 2. not near a destination or goal: e.g., I'm not within cooee of finishing this job.

not worth feeding—(of a person) despicable, despised.

not worth (one's) salt—incapable; incompetent; not able.

nothing for it—no other course of action: e.g., There was nothing for it but to run.

nothing out of the box—not extraordinary or uncommon; ordinary.


noughts and crosses—tack-tack-toe.

Nourlangie Rock—Kakadu's premier rock art site, receiving 90% of the 230,000 tourists who visit Kakadu annually. Archaeologists estimate that the shelter at Nourlangie Rock was in use during the wet season from 20,000 years ago. One of the lookouts at Nourlangie overlooks the Koongarra lease area, situated about 3km east and within the Nourlangie—an Anglicised version of Nawurlandja, the name of a larger area that includes an outlier to the west of Nourlangie Rock. It is in the South Alligator River catchment, NT, one of the few river catchments in the world protected almost in its entirety by a national park.

nous—common sense: e.g., He's got lots of nous as far as making money is concerned.

now is the hour—(rhyming slang) shower.

now look who's calling the kettle black—statement of reproach to someone who has just proved by his actions etc the hypocrisy and sanctimonious insincerity of his professed beliefs.

nowhere man—person who achieves little.

Nowland, William—discovered the pass over the Liverpool Range. A farmer from Singleton (then known as Patrick's Plains), he followed in Dangar's footsteps, crossing the range and establishing a station in the Liverpool Plains. He had searched for three months before he found the gap just north of present-day Murrurundi, in 1827. His route eventually became part of the Great North Road that connected the Liverpool Valley with the Hunter Valley.

Nowra—a regional centre of New South Wales, situated on the Shoalhaven River. Nowra is close to the many popular features of the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands districts.


NPWS—(see: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service).

NRC—film rating—Not Recommended for Children.

NSW—abbreviation for the state of New South Wales.

NSW Aboriginal Land Council—(NSWALC) as the State's peak representative body in indigenous affairs, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council aims to protect the interests and further the aspirations of its members and the broader Aboriginal community. NSW has Australia's largest indigenous population, estimated at more than one hundred thousand. Its Aboriginal communities are diverse, ranging from urban to rural and remote, and from modern to traditional in their beliefs and practices. The NSW Aboriginal Land Council is committed to ensuring a better future for Aboriginal people by working for the return of culturally significant and economically viable land, pursuing cultural, social and economic independence for its people and being politically pro-active and voicing the position of Aboriginal people on issues that affect them. Under the Land Rights Act, NSWALC is empowered to do the following: administer the NSWALC Account and Mining Royalties Account; grant funds for payment of the administrative costs and expenses of regional and local Aboriginal Land Councils; acquire land on its own behalf or on behalf of, or to be vested in, Local Aboriginal Land Councils; determine and approve/reject the terms and conditions of agreements proposed by local Aboriginal Land Councils to allow mining or mineral exploration on Aboriginal land; make claims on Crown lands, either on its own behalf or at the request of local Aboriginal Land Councils with the agreement of the particular LALC; make grants, lend money or invest money on behalf of Aborigines; hold, dispose of or otherwise deal with land vested in or acquired by NSWALC.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service—the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is part of the Department of Environment and Conservation—the main government conservation agency in New South Wales. On the NPWS site you can find out about: NSW parks and reserves, Australian plants and animals, Aboriginal heritage, historic sites and stories, weeds and pest animals and community conservation programs to join.

NSW North Coast bioregion—humid; hills, coastal plains and sand dunes; eucalyptus-brush box tall open forests, eucalyptus open forests and woodlands, sub-tropical rainforest, often with hoop pine (complex notophyll and microphyll vine forest), paperbark wetlands and heaths.

NSW South Western Slopes bioregion—an extensive area of foothills and isolated ranges comprising the lower inland slopes of the Great Dividing Range, extending through southern New South Wales to western Victoria. Vegetation consists of wet/damp sclerophyll forests, peppermint forests and box-ironbark woodlands. Extensively cleared for agriculture.

NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995—outlines the protection of threatened species, communities and critical habitat in New South Wales. An independent scientific committee was set up under the Act to determine which species, populations and ecological communities should to be listed as endangered, vulnerable or extinct under the Act, and also to determine key threatening processes. The Act was amended in 2002.

NT—abbreviation for the Northern Territory.

nud/nuddy—nude; naked.

nudge nudge, wink wink—an expression, often ribald, lewd or sly in meaning, drawing attention to something meant to be private, secrete or discreet.

nudge on the funny-bone—funny; hilarious; amusing: e.g., That joke was a real nudge on the funny-bone.

nudge the bottle/turps—to drink alcohol to excess.

Nuenonne—a band of Aboriginal people belonging to the South East tribe, who occupied Bruny Island on a permanent basis; their total numbers are estimated to have been some 70 people. The Nuenonne people called the island Lunnawannalonna, which is retained in the names of two settlements on South Bruny—Alonnah and Lunawanna. One of the most famous Tasmanian Aborigines, Truganini, was born in 1803 to the wife of Mangana, the chief of the Bruny Island tribe. She died in 1876 and is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the last Tasmanian Aborigine—whereas in fact many descendants of Tasmanian Aborigines live on to this day.

nuggetty—stocky; short; thick-set.

Nunu—the Ngaiawang of the Murray River used the term Nokunno as name of a fabulous being who went about by night killing people. The Kaurna tribe term nokuna has a meaning of an imaginary being, like a man, who prowls at night and kills, an assassin. The Nunu were the south-easternmost tribe to practice subincision, in addition to circumcision, as a male initiation rite. Pangkala men used the pronunciation Nuna for the name. The few survivors are settled at Baroota inland from Port Germein where they are known as Barutadura.

nulla-nulla—an Aboriginal weapon.

Nullabor bioregion—Tertiary limestone plain; subdued arid karst features. Bluebush-saltbush steppe in central areas; low open woodlands of myall over bluebush in peripheral areas, including sugarwood and red mallee in the east and west. Arid non-seasonal.

Nullabor Plain—the largest single karst formation on Earth. Originally a shallow seabed that has been uplifted, the region has been reduced to a flat plain by 25 million years of exposure to wind and rain. During that time, many underground caves were formed. The word 'nullabor' comes from the Latin for 'no trees', and is dramatically correct in its description of the vast area between Ceduna and Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. Treeless and barren, it goes on seemingly indefinitely, here and there passing through a small roadside town or service station, with the road mostly gun-barrel straight. It was across this wilderness that Edward John Eyre travelled by foot to Western Australia from Adelaide, South Australia in the 1840s, accompanied by a small band of men that included the famous Aboriginal guide and tracker, Jacky Jacky. The Nullarbor is the only desert region with extensive caves containing large quantities of water. Although the water's level of salinity varies, some of it is being used for stock watering. Current explorations of the many caves by speleologists are turning up frequent new findings. The Nullarbor Plain is part of the Western Plateau.

num-nums—tasty, delicious food; snacks.

numbatMyrmecobius fasciatus, a small, terrestrial marsupial adapted to feed exclusively on termites. It is diurnal, being more active in the morning and late afternoon during the summer and in the middle of the day during the fall. Numbats usually shelter in fallen hollow logs or dead tree trunks and sometimes in burrows. Currently, the numbat inhabits woodland with grassy, herbaceous or shrub understory. It lives in family groups for part of the year; however, adults forage alone. When Europeans first settled the continent, the numbat was widespread across southern semi-arid and arid Australia, from western New South Wales through South Australia and southern Northern Territory to the southwest of Western Australia. Since then, its numbers have declined severely. Its range had shrunk to the southwest of Western Australia by the 1960s. As of 1996 it occurred in two remnant populations and one self-sustaining reintroduced population in the south-west of Western Australia. Reasons for the decline of the numbat include introduced predators such as foxes and the clearing of land for agriculture, which eliminates dead and fallen trees which can be used for shelter and from which termites can be obtained. Another factor could have involved the cessation of Aboriginal fire regimes, especially in arid grasslands.

number-plate—a plate on a vehicle displaying its registration; licence plate.

nummy—delicious; tasty.

Nunggubuyu—a hunter-gatherer Aboriginal people of the Numbulwar region, East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Their dialects are not intelligible with other languages. Most Ritharrngu speakers around Numbulwar understand it fairly well. Children understand Nunggubuyu, but speak Kriol. Their territory is coastal, sea level to 30m.

Nurrungar—a control and data-processing station for US satellites, giving early warning of hostile rocket and missile launches. Nurrungar was established in the South Australian outback in 1971 by the American Air Force as an early-warning system. In the '80s, the base became a joint facility operated by Australian and American personnel.

nursery stakes—a race for two-year-old horses.

nursing officer—a senior nurse.

nut cutlet—a cutlet-shaped portion of meat-substitute, made from nuts etc.

nut out—solve; figure out.

nut-chokers—briefs, underwear for men.

nutmeg pigeon—any one of several species of pigeons of the genus Myristicivon, native of the East Indies and Australia. The color is usually white, or cream-white, with black on the wings and tail.

nyoonga—Aborigine, especially one from Western Australia.

Nyoongar—an Aboriginal people of southern Western Australia, where their occupation dates back more than 40,000 years. Around Wanneroo and Yanchep, artefacts have been found that date from between 6500BP and 1700BP. Although population sizes appear to have fluctuated, the coastal plain supported comparatively high numbers of people because of the abundance of food and water. The bulrush in the park provided the opportunity for large, neighbouring Nyoongar groups to meet. Bulrush roots were pounded into a paste and used as a type of flour. The Nyoongar people called this plant yandjip or yanget, hence the name Yanchep. Wagardu Lake at Yanchep National Park is significant to the Nyoongar Aboriginal people of the area. According to Aboriginal tradition, the lake is inhabited by a Rainbow Serpent whose activities ensure the continued flow of the springs that feed the lake. In the Nyoongar belief system, the most significant Dreaming trail is that of the Rainbow Serpent, which describes the formation of what is now known as the Swan River. The tribal name is also applied to the language group spoken by Nyoongar tribal members. The name for both is derived from their word for 'a person'.

Nyungar—variant spelling of Nyoongar.

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