Australian Dictionary

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Australia Decoded

Oscar Range

Oscar Range Devonian Reef Scene with Boab Tree
by Roadman7192 licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License

OP—(of school grades) overall position; GPA.

OP's—(other people's) cigarettes—the type one smokes when one does not buy one's own.

op-shop—opportunity shop, selling second-hand goods for charity.

opal—a gemstone made up of minute spheres of silica, which have grown around a central nucleus. Its formation occurs when silica weathered from overlying rock percolates down through the rock mass to a cavity or fault where it is deposited as a gel. Gradual loss of water produces hardening into solid opal. The entire process takes hundreds of thousands of years. Precious opal consists of large silica spheres arranged in a regular pattern, creating a three-dimensional array of spaces and voids between the spheres. Diffraction and interference of light waves travelling through the transparent spheres and voids produce the brilliant play of colours that is characteristic of precious opal. Precious opal is usually classified on the basis of the background colour of the stone, and the type of colour pattern. Black opal shows a play of colours in a dark background, accentuating the colour flashes. Lightning Ridge is the world's major producer of black opal. Light opal has a background colour ranging from clear to milky, known as crystal or jelly opal. Beautiful light opal is found at White Cliffs. Fire opal is a transparent to translucent stone with a red to honey-yellow background, and usually with a bright play of colours in red and green.

opal gouger—an opal miner.

open eucalypt forest—the stereotypical Australian bush—gum trees, casuarinas, paperbark on rivers, tea trees. Has evolved to suit low nutrient soils and survive drought and fire. Typical fauna: grey kangaroo, wallabies, koala, echidna, dingo. Also termed dry sclerophyll forest.

open forest—an area with scattered trees where, the portion of the land surface covered by crowns is 51-80 per cent.

open go—unrestricted opportunity: e.g., This race is open go to anybody.

open hummock grassland—hummock grass covers 10-30% of ground.

open (one's) mouth to change feet—to make an already tactless or embarrassing slip of the tongue worse by saying something just as bad again.

open scrub—has a tallest stratum of shrubs taller than 2m, with their projective foliage covering from 30 per cent to 70 per cent of the ground.

open slather—1. unrestrained activity, opportunity: e.g., Myer is having a once-only clearing sale and it's going to be open slather for everybody. 2. an occasion where authority turns a blind eye to infringements of regulations and allows complete freedom: e.g., Politicians have had open slather on their travel expense claims.

open woodland—an area with scattered trees, where the portion of the land surface covered by the crowns is more than 30% and less than 70%.

Opposition—(the...) the second largest political party or coalition of parties after the Government in the Lower House. Opposition members are seated in the Legislative Assembly, and their purpose is to represent the opposing viewpoint. It opposes what it believes to be wrong in Government policies or actions, and stands ready to form a government should it win a majority at a general election. If the government is defeated at an election, the Leader of the Opposition would normally become Premier.

opposition back-bencher—a member of Parliament who belongs to an opposition party, but who is not a shadow minister.

opposition party—the party not currently in power.

optic—a look: e.g., Come and have an optic at this!

optic nerve—1. (rhyming slang) perve. 1. a pervert; person who looks at (someone, something) slyly. 3. a very good look at.

orange time—(Australian Rules football) three-quarter time.

orange-bellied parrotNeophema chrysogaster, on the brink of extinction; the orange-bellied parrot has been ranked as one of the world's rarest and most endangered species. It is a migratory bird which breeds only in coastal south-west Tasmania and spends the winter in coastal Victoria and South Australia. It nests in hollows in eucalypt trees which grow adjacent to its feeding plains. In early October the birds arrive in the south-west and depart after the breeding season—usually in March and April. They feed on the seeds of several sedges and heath plants, including buttongrass. Their main food preferences are found in sedgelands which have not been burned for between 3-15 years. Also included in the diet are seeds of three Boronia species and the everlasting daisy. After breeding, migrating birds move gradually northwards up the west coast, through the Hunter Group and King Island in Bass Strait and on to the mainland. On the journey the birds usually feed on beach-front vegetation, including salt-tolerant species such as sea rocket. They also eat various coastal native and introduced grasses. The orange-bellied parrot is approximately 20cm long, a little larger than a budgerigar. Its plumage is bright grass-green above and mostly yellow below with a bright orange patch in the centre of the lower belly. It has a bright azure blue patch on the outer wing and a blue bar across the forehead above the nostrils.

orange-footed scrubfowlMegapodius reinwardt, one of three megapodes in Australia. This family name refers to the robust feet of all species. Scrubfowl have a peculiar, loud territorial call that is uttered mainly during the night. During the nesting season, it is more frequent and mostly a duet between the male and female. The nest is a large incubator mound that generates heat through the decay of moist organic material. Direct solar radiation may also contribute significantly. A typical mound is 2-3m tall and up to 15m diameter, and can weigh over 50 tonnes, maintained by a pair throughout the year. It may be used for decades. More than one pair may use a mound. The large egg enables the hatching of a relatively advanced chick. One report of a chick unearthed from a mound states that it immediately flew about 10 metres. Food comprises various items found in leaf litter, including fallen fruit.

orb weaving spider—these spiders are found throughout Australia. Common garden orb weavers are Eriophora biapicata and E. transmarina from eastern and southern Australia. A common Argiope is the St Andrew's Cross spider, A. keyserlingi, of eastern Australia. Golden orb weavers are found in dry open forest and woodlands, coastal sand dune shrubland and mangrove habitats, with Nephila edulis and N. plumipes being the two species found in the Sydney region. The humped or silver orb weaver, Leucauge, is often found amongst understorey vegetation in moist forest and woodland habitats, including streamside and swampland vegetation. All orb weaving spiders make suspended, sticky, wheel-shaped orb webs. Webs are placed in openings between trees and shrubs where insects are likely to fly. The garden orb weavers build large, strong, vertical orb webs. Generally, the spider constructs its web in the evenings and takes it down again at dawn. The spider rests head-down in the centre of the web, waiting for prey. During the day, the spider rests on nearby foliage with its legs drawn under the body. Birds such as honeyeaters are common predators of these spiders. Flying insects such as flies, beetles and bugs (including large prey like cicadas), are common prey. Predators of orb weavers include several bird species, and wasps of the family Sphecidae. The wasps land on the web, lure the spider to the perimeter by imitating a struggling insect's vibrations, and then carry the spider away to be paralysed and stored as live food for their young. Orb weavers are reluctant to bite. Symptoms are usually negligible or mild local pain, numbness and swelling. Occasionally nausea and dizziness can occur after a bite.

orchard butterflyPapilio aegeus, the butterfly acquired its name from being commonly seen in citrus orchards and in suburban areas on lemon or lime trees, usually north of Sydney. In its early stages the caterpillar is protected from predators by resembling the colour and shape of bird droppings.

Ord River Scheme—irrigates over 72,000ha of once unproductive land centred on the lakes Argyle and Kununurra. Located in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Ord Victoria Plains—level to gently undulating plains with scattered hills on Cambrian volcanics and Proterozoic sedimentary rocks; vertosols on plains and predominantly skeletal soils on hills; grassland with scattered bloodwood and snappy gum with spinifex and annual grasses. Dry hot tropical, semi-arid summer rainfall. The lithological mosaic has three main components: (1) Abrupt Proterozoic and Phanerozoic ranges and scattered hills mantled by shallow sand and loam soils supporting triodia hummock grasslands with sparse low trees. (2) Cambrian volcanics and limestones form extensive plains with short grass (Enneapogon spp.) on dry calcareous soils and medium-height grassland communities (Astrebla and Dichanthium) on cracking clays. Riparian forests of river red  gums fringe drainage lines. (3) In the south-west, Phanerozoic strata expressed as often lateritised upland sandplains with sparse trees. This component recurs as the Sturt Plateau region in central Northern Territory.

Order of Australia—on February 14, 1975, the Order of Australia was established as an Australian society of honour for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service. The Order was established and consisted of a Civil Division and a Military Division. The first Australian Honours were announced on the Queen’s Birthday, 1975. The awards are: Companion in the Order of Australia Postnominal Letters "AC" Officer in the Order of Australia Postnominal Letters "AO" Member in the Order of Australia Postnominal Letters "AM" In 1976 the grade/degree of Knights and Dames of the Order of Australia was created.

order of the boot—dismissal; the sack.

Order-in-Council 1. a sovereign's order on an administrative matter, issued "by and with the advice of Her Majesty's Privy Council". 2. An order made by the governor of a state, with the advice of the Executive Council, and published in the Government Gazette.

order-paper—especially of Parliament, a written or printed order of the day; an agenda.

Ordinance—a decree or direction of the monarch or the Executive Council, without the authority of Parliament.

organ birdGymnorhina organicum, any one of numerous species of the genus Pica and related genera. Any one of several black-and-white birds, such as Gymnorhina tibicen, not belonging to the genus Pica. The Tasmanian and Australian magpies are crow shrikes, as are the white magpie Gymnorhina organicum, the black magpie (Strepera fuliginosa), and the Australian magpie (Cracticus picatus).

orgasm—drink made with Cointreau and Bailey's Irish Cream on ice.

Oriental ploverCharadrius veredus, a summer migrant to northern Australia, including the Kimberley, with a few travelling further to the Pilbara. They return to the north-west in September. In Broome, they first land on the beach before they move inland. Flocks of 10,000+ have been reported. They seemed to roost on the beach during the heat of the day, and then move on to the plain in the late afternoon.

Oriental pratincoleGlareola maldivarum, a wader in the pratincole family, Glareolidae. Their most unusual feature is that they typically hunt their insect prey on the wing, like swallows, although they can also feed on the ground. These are birds of the open country, and are often seen near water in the evening, hawking for insects. They are migratory, wintering in India, Indonesia and Australasia. These birds have short legs, long pointed wings and long, forked tails and short bills, which is an adaptation to aerial feeding. The back and head are brown, and the wings are brown with black flight feathers. The belly is white. The underwings are chestnut. Breeding: Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam to south, east and north China; north-east Mongolia and south Manchuria. South east Asia and Indochina support sedentary populations. Non-breeding: Mostly northern Australia; common wet season migrant to the Kimberley. Phenomenal numbers (2,500,000) counted on 80 Mile Beach in February 2004. Reported fairly often as far south as Carnarvon.

original—insane; mad; crazy.

Ornithocheirus—was a large pterosaur with a long slender skull and often a bony crest on its snout. At the beginning of the Cretaceous period, short-tailed pterosaurs like Ornithocheirus replaced the earlier long-tailed varieties. They also started to grow much larger. Ornithocheirus had the wing area of a small aeroplane, yet because of its hollow bones, its body probably weighed less than a human. It had sharp teeth set in a long tapering jaw designed for catching fish. Its wings were made of skin stretched between an enormous elongated finger and ankle, supported by the rest of its body and legs. Using rising air currents, or "thermals", Ornithocheirus may have been able to fly hundreds of kilometres without flapping its wings. This could account for the world wide distribution of its fossil remains.  

ornithomimosaur—"bird-mimic lizard," mid- to late-Cretaceous period, 80—65 million years ago. Reaching body lengths of 10 to 13 feet, these were relatively large dinosaurs but were very swift and graceful runners. Very similar to a modern-day ostrich or emu, an ornithomimosaur possessed a lightly constructed skeleton of hollow bones, long streamlined running legs, unusually large eyes and a large brain cavity. Their hand claws are not recurved and were not well-suited for catching prey. They had a long neck and long legs, each with a three-toed foot tipped with shorter claws than their hands possessed. Their is widely speculated. Lacking teeth yet highly intelligent and built for speed, it is most likely that these dinosaurs were omnivorous. With no apparent means of defense, the ornithomimosaur's best answer to any perceived danger was its incredible ability for high-speed running, estimated to have approached 40mph. It was once thought that ornithomimosaurs were another mostly Late Cretaceous Northern Hemisphere group of dinosaurs. However, earlier evidence from several Gondwanan countries (such as Australia and Africa) is beginning to suggest a Southern Hemisphere Gondwanan origin for these dinosaurs as well.

orphans—before the gold rush caused a comparative population explosion, Australia was considered vastly under-populated. Under the Poor Law Act of 1834 the Poor Law Guardians, who controlled the English workhouses, were permitted to send paupers abroad and pay the cost out of the poor rates. The Poor Law Act was extended to Ireland in 1838; it was the famine years, and Irish workhouses were severely over-crowded. Children were normally designated orphans even though many had one, and sometimes both, parents still alive; but once they entered the workhouse they were regarded as wards of the Poor Law Guardians, to be disposed of as the guardians saw fit. Young female orphans were considered the most suitable candidates for emigration to Australia, as it was felt they would help redress the gender imbalance and, in the long term, normalise the social composition of the populace. In the short term, they would be expected to fulfil the need for domestic servants. However, very few had any experience of the work. This did not please the Australians; they had been led to believe they were getting proficient labour cheaply. Furthermore, many of the employers came from humble backgrounds themselves and often had no idea how to treat or train a servant. When the immigrant girl failed to provide the level of service expected, she was frequently returned to the depot, or turned out of doors and left to her own devices. Having no other means of support, some of the discarded servants turned to prostitution. This in turn lead to protests against the 'dregs' of the Irish workhouses being dumped on Australian society. As protests grew more vocal, and as the famine in Ireland appeared to have abated, the British Government agreed to the scheme being terminated. The final group of Irish workhouse orphans left for Australia in April 1850. Altogether, 4175 girls were sent overseas during this period; 2253 to Sydney, 1255 to Port Phillip, 606 to Adelaide and the remaining 61 went to the Cape of Good Hope.

ort—(term of contempt) anus: e.g., Stick it in your ort, sport!


oscar—(should get an...) (Australian Rules football) a free kick; an academy award.

Oscar Range—a small, low mountain range in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is approximately 40km long and 6-8km wide. The range sits on the edge of the Lennard Shelf. It consists of precambrian metamorphic quartzites and shales folded to produce a trellis type drainage system. Lower hills surrounding the range are made up of carbonates. The range is known for the fossil reefs that surround its peaks. These Devonian reefs are exceptionally well preserved. In Devonian times, the peaks of the Oscar Range were emergent as islands. The grouping of islands has been referred to as the Mowambini Archipelago, based on the Aboriginal name for the Oscar Range. The islands were surrounded by stromatoporoid reefs, which have now been exposed by erosion.

otherie/othery—other: e.g., Pass me the otherie.

Otway Coast—a section of the Great Ocean Road, between Lorne and Apollo Bay. The area became a floodplain as Australia tore away from Antarctica and moved north. Mud and sediment from the rivers covered the remains of the animals to a depth of 3km, until geological upheavals created the Otway Ranges, lifting the sedimentary layer containing dinosaur fossils to the surface, around 30 million years ago. The Aire River, one of the most ancient rivers in the world, encircles the Otway Ranges while collecting rainforest streams, before it widens and debouches into Bass Strait. Pioneers of the valley built the Glen Aire homestead not far from the river mouth and farmed the lush valley from the 1840s. After the timber industry began to cull the Otways, remaining lands at the north end of the Aire River valley were cut and hardwood forests were replaced with pine plantations. Farmers have occupied the valley since, with dairy cattle as the main stock.

Otway National Park—protects rainforest dated at 140 million years of age. the Otway rainforest has the closest floristic resemblance to cool temperate rainforest to be found anywhere on the Australian mainland. Towering myrtle beech trees and their understorey of dense tree-ferns dominate the park. Mountain ash trees contrast with coastal heathlands and open woodlands. The Great Ocean Road runs through the heart of the Otway National Park, bordered by gigantic trees and graceful ferns. A large proportion of the remaining old-growth forest in the Otways is represented by myrtle beech. Research indicates that localised infection is spread by logging, due to the air-borne dispersal of the myrtle wilt fungus. Logging practices that damage and infect a number of myrtle trees can create a localised hot spot of myrtle wilt infection. This hot spot of infection can release a large amount of fungal spores into the air, spreading infection to remote rainforest places away from logging. About half of the wet forests within the Otway National Park were clearfell logged before logging was halted in 1985. Otway native forest is still being wood-chipped at Midway for export to a large Japanese paper manufacturer, Nippon Paper. The 12,876ha Otway National Park is located on the Victorian coast, west of Apollo Bay.

Otway Plain—includes coastal plains, river valleys and foothills from the Bellarine Peninsula west to Princetown. A small isolated component at Werribee, on the western shore of Port Phillip Bay, is included. The bioregion is characterised by coastal heathland and woodland, and open forests with heathy understoreys dominated by brown stringybark and messmate. Dry sclerophyll forest dominated by mountain grey gum and messmate occurs around the Otway foothills. River red gum woodlands occur along some drainage lines. The bioregion is drained in the east mainly by the Barwon River (which originates in the Otway Ranges) and its tributaries, and several small coastal streams. In the west the bioregion is drained mainly by tributaries of the Gellibrand River, although some streams flow north to lakes Corangamite and Colac located in the Victorian Volcanic Plain. Prior to European settlement, the Watha wurrung Gulidjan, and Djargard wurrung lived in the area including the Otway Plain. They were mainly concentrated in open or lightly timbered country with access to permanent water. European occupation, mainly by graziers, commenced in the late 1830s. Today most people live in towns on or near the coast and in smaller inland towns. Part of the greater Geelong urban area occurs in the bioregion. The single largest land use is agriculture, with the focus on sheep and cattle grazing and dairy farming. Brown coal is mined near Anglesea.

Otway rainforest—dates back 140 million years to Gondwana when dinosaurs roamed the earth. On the mainland of Australia, Otway rainforest has the closest floristic resemblance to cool temperate rainforests in Tasmania. The primary canopy tree is myrtle beech, which requires a damp environment, free from bush fires. Research indicates that localised infection caused by logging practices can elevate the probability of infection across the whole Otway landscape due to the airborne dispersal of the myrtle wilt fungus. Logging practices that damage and infect a number of myrtle trees can create a localised hot spot of myrtle wilt infection. This hot spot of infection can release a large number of fungal spores into the air, thus resulting in artificially increased infection rates in remote rainforest places away from logging, such as in national parks and reserves. Old growth myrtle beech rainforest represents a large proportion of the remaining old growth forest in the Otways.

Otway Ranges—to the south of Colac lie the Otway Ranges, which include a pocket of temperate rain forest rich in flora and wildlife. The forests include the tallest flowering plants in the world, the mighty mountain ashes (Eucalyptus regnans), which can reach as much as 100 m in height. Prolific understorey plants include the blackwoods (Acacia melanoxylon), revered as a craft wood, and the superb soft tree ferns (Dicksonia antarctica) which line many damp, shaded gullies. After the construction of the narrow-gauge railway line from Colac to Crowes at the turn of the twentieth century, much of this timber was exploited for construction purposes in the rest of the State, and even today some logging persists and the tree ferns continue to be harvested. The recently established Great Otway National Park which incorporates the former Otway National Park and Angahook-Lorn, Carlisle and Melba Gully State Parks, as well as areas of State forest and other Crown land. The park not only includes the tall wet rain forests but the drier forests of inland slopes and the diverse heathlands and woodlands, fringed by a spectacularly rugged coastline. The Otway Ranges were formed 150 million years ago, when the great southern land mass known as Gondwana began to break up. Part of the coastline is rich in fossils, including those of a dinosaur that roamed here 105 million years ago.

our mob—extended family or community.

out here—in Australia: e.g., How long have you been out here?

out in the backblocks/mulga/backwaters/never-never/sticks—in remote or sparsely populated, unsophisticated areas.

out of court—1. (of a plaintiff) not entitled to be heard. 2. not worthy of consideration: e.g., That suggestion is out of court.

out of curl—lacking energy.

out of kilter—1. out of condition, working order. 2. crooked; not straight.

out of the box—exceptional; extraordinary.

out on (one's) own like a country dunny—alone; forlorn.

outback—the remote and usually semi-arid interior of Australia. The marginally fertile parts are used for sheep or cattle farming—apart from this, tourism and scattered mining are the main economic activities in this vast and sparsely settled area. Due to the size of the outback, the total value of mining and farming is considerable.

Outback Festival—held in Winton every two years since 1973, the Festival brings feats of strength and just plain fun to the small town in the heart of Queensland's outback. For the active there are the Outback Ironman competitions (men, women and children's events) as well as both the Australian dunny derby and the celebrity Australian dunny derby. It may stretch the imagination, but a "dunny derby" is where outback outdoor toilets on wheels are pulled by teams of four while the jockey sits in the normal position! Other inimitable outback entertainment includes the True Blue Aussie sport competition, the U-beaut-Ute competition, the world crayfish derby race meeting, the Golden Casket grand parade and the Mardi Gras and outback Aussie picnic. Add to that an Afghan bazaar, a Firefest spectacular and the Aussie All-Stars outback music spectacular.

Outer Mongolia—any remote, sparsely populated area.

outlaw gangs—motorcycle gangs.

outlaw strike—unofficial strike.

Outlet Creek—the northern extension of the Wimmera River. The floodplains of Outlet Creek together with Lake Albacutya, which it feeds, support an open woodland of black box and river red gum. Before the arrival of the Europeans, Aboriginal people regularly moved north along Outlet Creek in search of food. Evidence shows that they occupied the area for at least 6000 years, but because of the low and unreliable water supply, they rarely stayed in one place for long. Outlet Creek has flowed three times since 1974, affording nesting sites for waterbirds over a number of seasons.

outsize—1. unusually large. 2. (of garments etc) of an exceptionally large size.

outstation community—since the early 1970s, small groups of Aboriginal people have been moving away from larger settlements like Alice Springs, to establish outstation communities in the bush. The outstation or homeland movement reflects a desire by Aboriginal people to reafirm links with their land and their culture. At outstations there are still people who hunt and gather, live in bush shelters little different from pre-contact ones, and participate fully in ritual. However, the outstation movement does not represent a simple return to the pre-contact past or a rejection of introduced goods. People have adopted and adapted European technology and foods to suit their own needs. In 1990, a group of elders in conjunction with the Central Land Council negotiated with the owners of the Orange Creek Station leasehold and received small incisions of 1500ha to re-establish their community. This community living area was granted in 1993. Since that time seven houses have been built and a power generator has been established.

outstation group—a homeland community, formed by those whose home country is not in the immediate area of an Aboriginal community.

oven mounds—Aboriginal people often cooked their food underground in earth ovens. Heat retainers (either clay balls or stones) were placed in a pit and a fire lit over them. Food was then placed over the heat retainers and the pit was filled in. Over time, debris from cooking and other domestic activities combined with natural sediments to form a mound. Mounds often contain charcoal, burnt clay, stone/clay heat retainers, food remains such as animal bones, stone tools and human skeletal remains. Mounds were also used as camping locations during floods, and were often used as burial sites. They are frequently found in close proximity to rivers, lakes and swamps.

Ovens River—on the slopes of the Mount Hotham Alpine National Park, therefore yielding a high level of runoff, especially during the snowmelt in spring. The river is approximately 15m wide and classed as the best trout fishing in Victoria. Instream habitat consists of pools and backwaters, runs and riffles.

Ovens River catchment—the majority of the Ovens River catchment at Tarrawingee supports general agriculture, with large areas of intensive agriculture and plantations. The catchment area at Freeburg Bridge is predominantly native vegetation, although the Ovens Valley floor is used for general agriculture. Located in Victoria.

Ovens River area goldfields—gold was discovered in Beechworth in 1852, quickly followed by finds at Bright, Wandiligong and along the Ovens River as far as Harrietville. The area where Beechworth now stands was soon to be the focus of the diggers as they searched for gold along the creeks and shallow alluvial diggings. Of course there were the usual murders, robberies, thuggery and debauchery, aided by a lack of civilian authority. A great deal of time was spent digging "tail-races"—long, narrow trenches or flumes were dug from the creeks to the claims—a feature unique to all other goldfields in Australia. Because water was so abundant in the area sluicing was undertaken on a massive scale. Large pumps were brought to bear on the creek slopes and enormous water pressures applied to the creek banks, making gold recovery at the Ovens River area goldfields one of the most energy efficient in Victoria. In terms of population at the time, best guesses indicate about 10,000 diggers were at the goldfields through the spring and summer months, declining to about 3000 through the wet and miserable winters.

Ovens Valley—the productive plains that form the Goulburn Valley on the southern side of the Murray River and the Riverina region on the New South Wales side lay just to the west of the Ovens Valley. A century and a half ago it was a well-settled, wealthy pastoral area. on the steep slopes of the western side of the Great Dividing Range, in north-east Victoria, this valley carries a great deal of the enormous water reserves that feed into one of the great river systems of the world, the Murray River Basin. There is still gold to be found in the Ovens Valley. Perhaps not the abundant bonanza that the diggers of the 1850's found, but nevertheless a good quantity for the detector or sluice operators who are often seen prospecting the many creek lines throughout the area. Today, the gold mines are closed, but there's a big tourist trade. You can discover the gold mining history of the Ovens Valley at Wandiligong on Morse’s Creek, about 5km out of Bright. Walk or ride along tracks in the peaceful little valley, where once more than 3,000 diggers worked, seeking their fortune. The track the miners hacked along the Ovens River is now the Great Alpine Road.

over—(cricket) six deliveries by a bowler.

over the fence—unreasonable; vulgar; lewd; not socially acceptable.

Overland Telegraph—the line between Port Augusta and Darwin, connecting Adelaide and the rest of Australia with England via Darwin by means of a single wire, in 1872. The desired construction of a railway line was delayed by several years due to the expense of the Overland Telegraph, which had nearly bankrupted the South Australian government. However, the line enabled farmers to check daily wool and wheat prices on the London market instead of waiting months for the mail and European papers. Completed by South Australians (under the direction of Charles Todd) in less than two years, construction of the Overland Telegraph was one of the greatest engineering feats of the nineteenth century.

Overland Track—the track runs for 80km through the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, attracting 8000-9000 walkers each year from both around Australia and overseas. While easier access, improved track conditions and modern outdoor equipment have all made the trip far easier than it was in yesteryear, the walk still demands a fair degree of preparation and physical fitness. The Overland Track takes 6-10 days to walk, depending on weather delays and the side trips you take. The months of December—April have long daylight hours and warmer average temperatures. These months are recommended to walkers inexperienced in Tasmanian conditions. However, walkers are warned that rapidly changing weather conditions can occur at any time of the year. These can include howling winds, sleet, snow, relentless rain and blazing sun. All of these varied conditions can be experienced within a single day.

overlander—1. stockman, drover on horseback who drives stock long distances across the country. 2. a tramp; a sundowner.

overseer—1. (hist.) a convict who supervises the work of a party of convicts. 2. one who managers a rural property.

Owen gun—a type of simple, recoil-operated sub-machinegun first used by Australian forces in World War II. Caliber: 9mm; length: 806 mm; weight (unloaded): 4.21kg; barrel: 247mm, 7 grooves, right-hand twist; magazine: 33 round detachable box; ammunition: 9mm Parabellum, bullet 115gr, charge 6gr; rate of fire: 700rpm muzzle velocity: 1250fps. Named after E. E. Owen (1915--49), its Australian inventor.

owlet-nightjar—(see: Australian owlet-nightjar).

Oxford collar—(rhyming slang) scholar.

Oxley, Lieutenant John—Surveyor-General of New South Wales. Principally known for leading the initial settlement to Moreton Bay in 1818, the year after discovering it. Also in 1817, Oxley discovered the Castlereagh River and the Liverpool Plains, crossed the New England Range and founded Port Macquarie. In November of 1823, Lieutenant John Oxley met castaways Pamphlett and Finnegan, who told him of a large river. Oxley, Stirling and Finnegan explored the river and named it the Brisbane River. Nearly a year later, in September of 1824, Oxley, Cunningham and Millar established a convict settlement at Redcliffe. It was later moved up the river to where Brisbane CBD is now located.

Oxley Basin—(see: Great Artesian Basin).

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park—the seventh largest national park in New South Wales, which protects 15,000ha of dry rainforest, and is home to many rare plant and animal species. Hakea fraseri, gorge wattle and Acacia ingramii are three rare species given protection, and a population of Beadle's grevillea was recently discovered in the park. Indeed, rare and interesting plants are being discovered on a regular basis as botanical surveys are undertaken. Brush-tailed rock wallabies are making a comeback in many parts of the park. It contains the 50,000ha Macleay Gorges Wilderness Area and is listed on the register of World Heritage sites in recognition of its importance to nature conservation. The park weaves 70km from Wollomombi Gorges through to Tia Falls, and is laced with 500km of wild and scenic rivers. Declared in 1986, the park is home to 755 plant species (21 are rare or endangered), 173 birds, 31 reptiles, 17 amphibians and 47 mammal species.

oy!—call to gain attention.

oyster—1. taciturn person. 2. place or thing from which one derives advantage, gain, profit.

Oyster Cove—site of the final Tasmanian Aboriginal reserve. In 1847, Wybalenna was abandoned and the 47 surviving Aborigines were transferred to the Oyster Cove Aboriginal station. They were the only known survivors of the four tribal groups that had once occupied Tasmania. A few had survived by leaving the reserve to establish a community in the islands of the Bass Strait. Truganini, the last of the Oyster Cove group and for many years erroneously regarded as the 'last Tasmanian,' died in 1876. Oyster Cove was declared an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) in July 1999. The IPA covers 32ha and is managed by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre. Oyster Cove was among 11 areas returned to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community under the Aboriginal Lands Act 1995. The Cove includes important Aboriginal artefact sites, areas of remnant bush, open paddocks and estuarine and riparian environments. Forests in the area contain nocturnal mammals, reptiles and birds, and the wetland mudflats contain crabs, oysters and mussels. Management of the land includes removing exotic weeds and feral cats and rabbits. These projects have strong Aboriginal community involvement because the areas are of great cultural importance and are close to a large population centre. Located 30km south of Hobart, Tasmania.

Oyster and Risdon Cove Indigenous Protected Area—were declared as IPAs in July 1999 by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre. The Coves include important Aboriginal artefact sites, areas of remnant bush, open paddocks and estuarine and riparian environments. Both areas have been extensively modified since European settlement with clearing of vegetation and the introduction of weed species. These projects have strong Aboriginal community involvement because the areas are of great cultural importance and are close to a large population centre. Some of the artefacts from Oyster Cove Risdon Cove IPA is a 109ha property located approximately 10km east of Hobart, located in the Tasmanian South East Bioregion. The management plan for the property includes recording and evaluating the cultural heritage significance and the natural values of the area. Oyster Cove IPA is a 32ha property and is located 30km south of Hobart and is located in the Tasmanian Southern Ranges Bioregion. Forest areas contain nocturnal mammals, reptiles and birds, while the wetland mudflats contain crabs, oysters and mussels. Feral cats and rabbits have been observed and exotic weeds are also a problem. The management plan includes the removal of weeds and introduced fauna from the IPA.

Oz—1. Australia: e.g., Land of Oz. 2. Australian: e.g., The best beer is Oz beer!

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