Australian Dictionary

Help, Hints & Tips
Convert Currency
Convert Temperature
Northern Territory
New South Wales
South Australia
Western Australia

Search JoyZine with Google Site Search!

Australia Decoded

Palm Cockatoo c Ian Lees

p's and q's—manners; language: e.g., Mind your p's and q's when you meet my parents.

Paakantji—the language used by the Aboriginal people of the Darling River in the area around Wilcannia.

pace bowler—(cricket) a bowler who delivers the ball at high speed without spin.

Pacific bazaAviceda subcristata, formerly known as the crested hawk, the only Queensland bird of prey with a true crest. Usually found in pairs, but does at times form flocks of up to twelve, living in forest and woodlands of coastal lowlands and associated highlands. Thought to maintain permanent territories. Often seen sitting in the outer branches of trees, hopping along a branch if disturbed. Spectacular swooping and tumbling aerial displays during mating season.

Pacific black duckAnas superciliosa, measures 50cm to 60cm in length and is mostly mid-brown in colour, with each feather edged buff. The head pattern is characteristic, with a dark brown line through the eye, bordered with cream above and below, and a dark brown crown. The upperwing colour is the same as the back, with a bright, glossy green patch in the secondary flight feathers. The white underwing is conspicuous in flight. They are usually seen in pairs or small flocks and readily mix with other ducks. In the wild, birds are often very wary of humans and seldom allow close approach. The Pacific black duck is mainly vegetarian, feeding on seeds of aquatic plants supplemented with small crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic insects. Food is obtained by 'dabbling', where the bird plunges its head and neck underwater and upends, raising its rear end vertically out of the water. Occasionally, food is sought on land in damp, grassy areas.  The Pacific black duck is one of the most versatile of the Australian ducks. It frequents all types of water, from isolated forest pools to tidal mudflats, and is found in all but the most arid regions. Outside Australia, its range extends throughout the Pacific region.

Pacific Islander Labourers Act—limited the number of licences for Pacific Island labourers ('Kanakas'). Pacific Islanders could still enter Australia, but only under licence as indentured servants, and only until 31 March 1904. The Act also provided for the deportation of the vast majority of the Pacific Islanders in Australia from the end of 1906. The only Pacific Islanders allowed to stay in Australia were those brought to Queensland before 1 September 1879, those working in ships’ crews, and those granted Certificates of Exemption under the 1901 Immigration Restriction Act. The Bill was debated extensively during the October and November sittings of both Houses of Parliament, with several Members seeking to ameliorate the harsh terms of the exclusion. The Bill was passed by the House of Representatives and by the Senate, and assented to by the Governor-General on 17 December 1901.

pack—(Australian Rules football) group of contesting players.

pack a shitty—lose one's temper.

pack death/it—to be afraid: e.g., we were all packing it when that robber burst into the bank with a gun.

pack it in—end or stop it.

pack of bludgers/derros/galahs/no-hopers—a group of lazy, idle, non-working people held in contempt; any group of people held in contempt.

pack the game in—give up; retire from; stop doing a particular activity.

pack them/it—frighten.

pack up—(especially of a machine) stop functioning; break down.

packapoo ticket—1. (parcel of shit) pertaining to anything that looks chaotic,  incomprehensible or stupid; disorganised and messy situation; contract you shouldn't buy into or a situation you shouldn't get involved with. 2. From the game pak-a-pu, which is illegal today, but favored by the Chinese Community. For instance, to go up like a packapoo ticket, which stands for inflammable, represents only one of the many traces that this game left in the lingo.

packet—1. a small package. 2. a large sum of money won, lost or spent.

packet-boat—(hist.) a mail-boat or passenger ship.

pad—(cricket) protective legging.

paddle—spank; punish with a beating.

paddle (one's) own canoe—act independently: e.g., It's time he learnt to paddle his own canoe without the oldies' help.

paddock—1. a small field, especially for keeping horses in. 2. a piece of land, fenced, defined by natural boundaries, or otherwise considered distinct. 3. a turf enclosure adjoining a racecourse where horses or cars are assembled before a race. 4. a playing field. 5. (mining) an area marked out and systematically excavated for wash-dirt.

paddy—1. (cap.) nickname for an Irishman. 2. an angry rage or fit of temper.

Paddy's lantern—the moon.

pademelon—several small- to medium-sized species of marsupial, belonging to the genus Thylogale, found inhabiting the forests of Australia and a number of its surrounding islands. The pademelon is most closely related to the wallaby and the kangaroo. There are seven different species found in the jungles of the far east, though the population numbers of all seven species are declining. The pademelon is a solitary and nocturnal animal, spending the daytime hours resting, and foraging for food during the cooler cover of night. The pademelon is a stocky animal with a relatively short tail and legs, which aid its movement through dense vegetation. It ranges in colour from dark brown to grey-brown above and has a red-brown belly. Males, which are considerably larger than females, have a muscular chest and forearms, and reach up to 12kg in weight and 1-1.2m in overall length, including the tail. Females average 3.9kg in weight. The pademelon spends much of it's waking time foraging for leaves, grasses, shoots, berries and herbs in its dense jungle environment. They also commonly venture into shrublands to feast on the lush plants but where they have less cover but rarely stray more than 100m from the security of the forest edge. In many areas of forest inhabited by the pademelon, there are often no real predators nevertheless, habitat loss in the form of deforestation has caused the pademelon population numbers to decline. In other areas, pademelon are most commonly preyed upon by canines, including foxes, dingos, domestic dogs and even the odd cat. Those pademelon inhabiting the Tasmanian forests often have more of a variety of predators: Tasmanian devils, large snakes, large birds of prey such as eagles, and even by quolls. The pademelon is most commonly found inhabiting coastal regions of Australia and Papua New Guinea. Rainforest and wet forest is the preferred habitat, although wet gullies in dry open eucalypt forest are also used. The species is abundant and widespread throughout the state of Tasmania. The pademelon's diet consists of herbs and green shoots, with short green grasses being preferred. Mosses are occasionally eaten. Pademelons were undoubtedly important in the thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) diet and are now important in the diet of Tasmanian devils, spotted-tailed quolls and wedge-tailed eagles. Although there is no specific breeding season, 70% of pademelon births occur around the beginning of winter. Gestation is 30 days, pouch life spans 6.5 months, the young are weaned at 7-8 months and are sexually mature at 14-15 months. Longevity in the wild may be 5-6 years. This species is extinct on mainland Australia because of predation by foxes and large scale land clearance, although two other species of pademelon occur along the east coast of the mainland. In Tasmania, however, the pademelon is both widespread and abundant. Although partially protected, hunting is permitted outside parks and reserves; its pelt is commercially valuable and the meat is quite palatable. The common name, pademelon, is of Aboriginal derivation. Also known as the rufous wallaby.

pain in the pinny—a pain in the stomach.

paint-up—(in Aboriginal English) the decoration of the body for ceremonial purposes.

Painted Desert—area of an ancient, inland seabed, the Mirackina Paleochannelsea, so named due to the multi-coloured sedimentary layers eroding from escarpments throughout the area. These layers were originally laid down over the past 80 million years. There are rocky outcrops of large and small hills, which emerge suddenly out of a flat desert landscape. The Painted Desert is a superb example of the forces of nature—the slopes and shapes include many different colours and shades of orange, yellow and white. The various shapes are formed when the top layers of soil dry out and fall away to reveal the colours underneath. The entire region is desolate and made up of soft, fragile "rock". Also among these spectacular hills is the Mirackina Range, a long, dark line of mesas, which run about 5-10km to the west, almost parallel to the Arckaringa Creek. Located in the spectacular breakaway country of the Arckaringa Hills, 50km south west of Oodnadatta, South Australia.

pair of spectacles—(cricket) two ducks in two innings.

Pakanh—an Aboriginal language spoken in central Cape York Peninsula, Far North Queensland.

Palawa—the Aboriginal people of Tasmania. The Tasmanian Aboriginal people formerly called themselves Kooris but recently have decided that their distinctive cultural history should be marked by a distinctive Tasmanian name. Palawa was recorded by early historians as meaning 'native'.

pale-headed rosellaPlatycercus eximius is a broad-tailed parrot of the genus Platycercus, noisy and conspicuous except when feeding. It is a medium-sized, broad-tailed parrot with a pale yellow head, predominantly white cheeks, scalloped black and gold, back and pale blue underparts. The underbelly is mainly blue, with red under the tail. The back is yellow with dark flecks. The female is similar, though slightly duller, with an off-white underwing stripe. There is marked geographical variation, with differences in the depth of colour and the facial patch. The pale-headed rosella is very similar to the eastern rosella, Platycercus eximius, which has a bright red rather than yellow head. The two species are often found together and may hybridise. It feeds on seeds and fruit. As with other rosellas, the pale-headed rosella nests in hollows of large trees. The species is endemic to north-eastern and eastern Australia, in savanna woodlands, lightly timbered woodlands with a grassy understorey, tree-lined watercourses and agricultural lands. Movements are poorly known and the pale-headed rosella is usually considered to be resident. The pale-headed rosella was first described by English ornithologist John Latham in 1790. There are two subspecies, the better known palliceps (eastern Queensland), known as the blue-cheeked rosella, and adscitus (Cape York Peninsula). Its closest relative is the eastern rosella, which replaces it in south-eastern Australia. Hybrids of the two taxa have been recorded where their ranges meet in north-eastern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland. Some consider the two conspecific; this would add another three subspecies. The Pale-headed Rosella is 33cm long, which includes the 15cm length of its tail. Its underparts are pale blue, the upper breast and head are pale cream-yellow, the tail is blue-black and green and the vent is blood red. The feathers of the nape, scapulars and back are black edged with bright yellow, giving rise to a scalloped appearance. In these margins of the northern race, the yellow is paler with a pale blue tinge. The cheeks are wholly white in the southern subspecies, and partly flushed with blue in the lowerparts in the northern subspecies. The bill is pale blue-white and the legs dark grey. The eyes are yellow-brown. The sexes are similar in appearance, although the female is slightly smaller and duller. The nominate subspecies adscitus is found from the Cape York Peninsula south through to Cardwell in central-northern Queensland. There is a broad range of intermediate forms, while the southern subspecies palliceps extends from Townsville and points inland south into north-eastern New South Wales to the vicinity of the Clarence River.[ It is common throughout its range. Its preferred habitat is open forest, but has adapted well to human modification of the rural landscape and may even become a pest to orchards and cereal crops. It was also introduced to Hawaii in 1877, but had died out there by the late 1920s. It eats grass and tree seeds and fruits, including river red-gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), river she-oak (Casuarina cunninghamiana), snow-in-summer (Melaleuca linariifolia) and other melaleucas, and rough cockleburr (Xanthium strumarium). Pale-headed rosellas feed mainly on the ground, but also in trees and shrubs. They mainly eat seeds and fruits of grasses, shrubs and trees, as well as flowers, insects and their larvae. They feed more often in shade than in sunlight. One of the three main races of white-cheeked rosella, it flies by rapid wingbeats, followed by swooping glides with wings folded, and is found in open forests and eucalypt woodlands of eastern Queensland. Other common names occasionally seen include mealy rosella, Moreton Bay rosella, blue rosella, and blue-cheeked rosella for the northern subspecies. The term 'white-cheeked rosella' has been used for a species or superspecies combining the pale-headed and eastern forms.

pale-headed snakeHolocephalus bitorquatus, a slender snake with a broad head distinct from the muscular body. The back, sides and tail are blackish to greyish dark brown (inland forms are generally paler) without any pattern. The head is a lighter grey in colour, with a series of dark spots along the temporal region and also bordering the distinctive white nape stripe at the back of the head. Lips are usually strongly barred with dark grey and cream. Underneath, the ventral colour is creamy grey, sometimes with darker flecks. Body scales are smooth and matte-to-slightly glossy in appearance. Ventral scales are angled on the lateral edge, creating a keel and giving the body a "bread-loaf" shape in cross-section. Eye is medium-sized and brownish, with an orangey rim around the pupil. Midbody scales in 19 or 21 rows, ventrals 190-225, anal and subcaudal scales single. Total length up to 90cm. Females generally grow larger than males. Found in wet and dry sclerophyll forest and open woodlands (especially Callitris woodland) on floodplains and near watercourses in eastern and south-central areas in a discontinuous distribution along the coast, ranges and western slopes of eastern Australia, from south-east Cape York, Queensland to around Gosford in New South Wales. It has the largest distribution of the genus Hoplocephalus. The pale-headed snake, along with the other members of the genus Hoplocephalus (broad-headed snakes) are the most arboreal of the Australian venomous snakes (family Elapidae), and relies heavily on old and dead standing trees with hollows and exfoliating bark for shelter sites. They eat a variety of vertebrates, particularly tree-dwelling species, including frogs, geckos, skinks and bats. Pale-headed snakes hunt out in the open at night though during the day they may remain active within their shelter and ambush other creatures also taking refuge. The slender body and ventrolateral keel allow the snakes to gain purchase on ledges and crevices and grip the climbing surface. This body design is also shared by several other Australian climbing snakes, including the common green treesnake (Dendrelaphis punctata) and the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis, family Colubridae). Examination of museum specimens showed that male pale-headed snakes appear to be sexually mature at a snout-vent length of 362mm and females at 384mm. Mating behavior has been observed mostly in captive individuals. Behaviour interpreted as courtship took place in both spring (October) and autumn (April), and actual mating in spring (September), summer (February) and autumn (March, May). Courtship consisted of "frantic" tail wagging, with the male rubbing and twitching his body along the female's body. Mating can occur at night and may last for several hours. In the wild, females with very large follicles have been found in mid-spring (October) and gravid females have been found in early summer (January). The species is live-bearing, and give birth to between 2 and 11 young measuring around 26-27cm long. In captivity, females appear to breed only every second year, even with regular feeding, so it is reasonable to assume that wild individuals do not reproduce annually. The pale-headed snake is fairly distinctive and unlikely to be confused with any other snake within its distribution. Conservation Status (NSW): Vulnerable species.

pallid cuckooCuculus pallidus, a bird easily identified by its grey plumage, which is darker on the wings and back, and its broadly barred black and white undertail. The bill is brown, the legs and feet are grey-brown, and there is a bright yellow ring around the eye. No other Australian cuckoo has this colouration. It is a large, slender cuckoo (28cm—33cm) and is somewhat hawk-like in appearance during flight. As with other species of cuckoo, its call, a loud, ascending whistle, too-too-too.., normally betrays its presence long before it is seen. The call is often repeated incessantly, and gave rise to the common name of brainfever-bird. The pallid cuckoo is the most widely distributed of the cuckoos in Australia, inhabiting most open forests and woodlands, as well as cleared and cultivated open country. It has a preference for hairy caterpillars, but will take other insects and their larvae. Prey is spotted from a low perch and is pounced on, usually on the ground. Some insects are taken from foliage. Common host species include the willie wagtail and the hooded robin. The female cuckoo removes one of the host's eggs and replaces it with one of her own. The cuckoo egg usually closely resembles the host egg, and the unsuspecting host hatches it along with its own. The cuckoo egg usually hatches more quickly and the young cuckoo instinctively forces the other eggs (or chicks) out of the nest. The cuckoo rapidly outgrows its 'foster' parents, who frantically search for sufficient food to satisfy the demanding young bird.

palm cockatooProbosciger aterrimus is the only member of the monotypic genus, Probosciger. The palm cockatoo is a member of the white cockatoo subfamily Cacatuinae. Earlier, limited genetic studies found it to be the earliest offshoot from the ancestors of what have become the cockatoo family. The palm cockatoo is 55 to 60cm (22 to 24in) in length and weighs 910-1,200g (2.01-2.65 lb). It is a distinctive bird with a large crest, and has one of the largest bills of any parrot (only the hyacinth macaw's is larger). This powerful bill enables palm cockatoos not only to eat very hard nuts and seeds, but also enables males to break off thick (about 1 in) sticks from live trees to use for a drumming display. The male has a larger beak than the female. The bill is unusual, as the lower and upper mandibles do not meet for much of its length, allowing the tongue to hold a nut against the top mandible while the lower mandible works to open it. The palm cockatoo also has a distinctive red cheek patch that changes colour when the bird is alarmed or excited. The palm cockatoo has a large and complex vocal repertoire, including many whistles and even a "hello" call that sounds surprisingly human-like. Distinct dialects occur throughout the species' range. Although longevity of captive birds is known, the lifespan of palm cockatoos that live in the wild is still unknown. The palm cockatoo is found in rainforests and woodlands of New Guinea and Cape York Peninsula, Queensland. It has a unique territorial display where the bird (typically the male) drums with a large (i.e. up to 2.5 cm diameter, 15cm long) stick or seed pod against a dead bough or tree, creating a loud noise that can be heard up to 100m away. After drumming, the male occasionally strips the drum tool into small pieces to line the nest. Although this drumming behaviour was discovered over two decades ago (in 1984 by G.A. Wood), the reason why palm cockatoos drum is still a mystery. The vocalizations of palm cockatoos are similar to those of most wild parrots, but they have also been shown to produce a variety of additional syllables in display and exchange with neighbouring individuals. These additional syllables are mainly produced by males and are often combined to form long, complex sequences. In a population in the Iron Range, 30 different syllables were distinguished. This species normally does not appear in large numbers. They are not known to flock feed like many of the cockatoo species. Usually only one to six individuals are observed feeding together at one time. As with other large birds, both parents care for young, so seeing a breeding pair is not unusual. Palm cockatoos only lay one egg every second year and have one of the lowest breeding success rates reported for any species of parrot. Offsetting this is their very long lifespan. A male commenced breeding at 29 in Taronga Zoo in Sydney, and a female at the London Zoo was 40 when she laid her first egg in 1966. Breeding takes place inside tree hollows that look like standing pipes. Fires play an important role in the destruction and creation of nest hollows. Fires allow the colonisation of microorganisms and termites, which enter the tree and start hollowing out the inside. Cyclones are important in the final stage of nest hollow development. The palm cockatoo often feeds during the early hours of the day on a diet that consists mostly of wild-growing pandanus palm fruit and nuts from the kanari tree, Canarium australasicum. They have also been seen eating fruit from Darwin stringy bark Eucalyptus tetradonta and nonda tree, as well as seeds from the cocky apple tree, beach almond, and black bean tree. >Palm Cockatoos are listed in CITES Appendix I as near-threatened world-wide, and are severely threatened and protected in Australia.

Palm Cove—30 minutes from Cairns in far north Queensland, the tropical paradise where the mysterious rainforest meets the grandeur of the Great Barrier Reef. The wildlife is abundant with lizards, tree frogs, butterflies and large numbers of native birds; rainbow lorikeets, cheeky kookaburras, cockatoos, doves, sunbirds, finches.

Palm Island—takes in 64sq km of small bays, sandy beaches and steep, forested hills rising to a peak of 548m. The Palm Island Aboriginal community was established in 1918 to replace the Hull River mission, which had sustained cyclone damage. Over two decades, 1630 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from different tribes throughout Australia were sent there. Due to its isolation, Palm Island became an ideal setting for the removal of "uncontrollables" i.e., those accused of criminal offences and acts of indiscipline. In 1957 there was a strike by residents over Department of Aboriginal and Islander Affairs' (DAIA) cuts to wages and treatment of women. The reaction of the DAIA was to expel 25 who were considered ringleaders, along with their families. Palm Island now has DOGIT status and its own community council. Located 65km north of Townsville in Queensland.

palm rainforests—dominated by bangalow or cabbage palm stands, and often found in company of tea tree swamp forests. These occur in many isolated pockets, although most have been filled in for residential development.

Palm Valley—a unique habitat enclosed by the sheer red cliffs of Cycad Gorge, which is studded with ghost gums and tall palms. Rock pools on the valley floor fill after the rains, reflecting the sheer red cliffs of the gorge. Nestling within the protection of the gorge are some 2,000 red cabbage palms, the oldest being an estimated 300 years. The valley fosters this remnant of the relict Central Australian cabbage palm—the closest similar palms being found on the coast of Western Australia and the coastal strip of New South Wales. The valley was discovered by Ernest Giles in 1872, during his explorations of the Red Centre. Palm Valley is reached via Hermannsburg, once a Lutheran Mission and now under Aboriginal control. Located within the Finke Gorge National Park, NT.

Palmer River Battle—Dalrymple's party arrived at the Endeavour River on 24 October 1873. The Leichhardt steamed into the harbour one day later on 25 October. On board were Archibald Campbell MacMillan, an engineer, who was to establish the overland track to the goldfield, and seventy nine miners. The diggers were anxious to leave for the goldfield as soon as they disembarked. MacMillan urged caution because the horses they had brought needed time to recover from the sea voyage. He advised he would leave the port on 27 October and suggested the diggers remain at the landing site for a further three days to give his party time to forge ahead and mark the track. Five miners under the leadership of George Welch refused to accept MacMillan's advice and set out for the Palmer River. Five days later, in the early hours of 5 November, Aborigines attacked the camp and a ferocious battle followed. The site of the attack became know as Battle Camp. Only one member of that group was ever seen again. The fate of the others is unknown.

Palmer River goldfields—the site of north Queensland’s biggest gold rush. On 14 August 1872, William Hann's exploration party found gold in the bed of the Palmer River. Five days later, in the early hours of 5 November, Aborigines attacked the camp and a ferocious battle followed. The site of the attack became know as Battle Camp. Nevertheless, it was not long before a small community took shape, with tents and shanties forming the nucleus of a new town then known as Cook's Town (now Cooktown). Miners, both European and Chinese, arrived by the thousands. Within 6 months, Cooktown had a population of 4,000 and settlers took up cattle stations to provide beef for the expanding population. By the 1880s, the gold was beginning to decline and there was a drift away from the area. The town dwindled, and had to be serviced by nearby Port Douglas and Cairns. Despite its short reign as the 'Queen of the North', the Palmer was an exceedingly rich field. Total production was in excess of £5.5 million pounds sterling ($11 million). Ninety-four per cent of this sum was derived from alluvial workings with the remaining six percent coming from reefs. The Palmer River site is now contained by the Palmer River Goldfields Resources and Reserve. Located on Cape York Peninsula, 90km inland from Cooktown, in Far North Queensland.

Palmer River Goldfields Resources and Reserve—a remote reserve on the Palmer River, containing late-nineteenth century relics of north Queensland’s biggest gold rush.

Palmer River tribes—there were an estimated 1000 Aboriginal people in the Cooktown area alone, in the early 1870s. As a result of 50,000 prospectors flocking to the area there were many reported killings of the Aboriginal people, decreasing their numbers to about 100 by 1897. By the turn of the century, there were few or no free-ranging Aboriginal local groups in the Battle Camp and Laura areas. Following a rapid loss of their life support system, they survived either by working on the newly formed stations, living near homesteads, or living in camps around settlements. The establishment of the mission at Hope Vale also contributed to the survival of these people.

Palorchestes azael—a megafauna animal the size of a bull, with huge, koala-like claws, large powerful limbs, a long ribbon-like tongue and an elephantine trunk. Its unusual appearance suggests Palorchestes lived by pulling up shrubs and eating the tubers or by stripping bark from trees to gain access to the soft inner layers. Though originally described as a giant kangaroo, based on a few fossil teeth, as more fossils of this species were found researchers realised that the palorchestes is a diprotodontoid marsupial. Its closest living relatives are the wombats and koala. Fossil teeth and jaws of the marsupial tapir were found at Alcoota Station in the Northern Territory. Imaginative writers have suggested it as the inspiration for the Aboriginal bunyip, though the same has also been said of the Diptrodon.

Palorchestes parvus—considerably smaller than P. azael, the cheek teeth measuring less than 100-0. Upper fourth premolar with a distinct anterior talon, lobe of the fourth premolar deeply emarginated on the posterior surface of the inner side, its area of abrasion narrow, angular and extended transversely.

Pama-Nyungan—a large family of Aboriginal languages, spoken throughout Australia except in the extreme north, and including Pitjantjatjara and Warlpiri.

Pamphlett, Parsons and Finnegan—the story of John Oxley's discoveries in the Moreton Bay region begins on 15 April 1823 when three ticket-of-leave convicts, John Finnegan, Thomas Pamphlett and Richard Parsons, were shipwrecked off the coast of Moreton Island. They had been sailing south from Sydney to Illawarra to take on a cargo of timber when they encountered a severe storm which blew them off course. Believing that they were still south of Sydney when wrecked, they survived with the assistance of the Aborigines and spent many weeks wandering around the shores of Moreton Bay. During this period, they made an extensive foray up the Brisbane River and, whilst still heading north in the hope of reaching Sydney, they used Aboriginal canoes to cross the mouth of the Pine River and Hays Inlet. Lieutenant John Oxley, the Surveyor-General of New South Wales, was engaged on an exploring expedition in H.M. Cutter Mermaid on 29 November 1823 when he rescued Pamphlett close to Point Skirmish on Bribie Island. Finnegan was found the following day. Oxley had been instructed by the Governor, Sir Thomas Brisbane, to assess Moreton Bay, Port Curtis and Port Bowen as potential sites for convict settlements.

pandanny/pandani/pandanni—pandanus palm.

pandanus palmPandanus spiralis, a multi-trunked tree to 5m high, with prop roots that anchor the tree in loose sand. This plant is very common in poorly drained areas across northern Australia; it often forms dense stands in areas that are seasonally flooded. The large, light green leaves are spirally arranged on the stems, and when they fall from the tree, they leave prominent leaf scars. The fruiting head resembles a pineapple in appearance. The seed inside the woody fruit is very tasty, although very difficult to extract, and is often likened to pine kernels or peanuts. The cabbage, peduncle and fruit bases are also eaten and contain carbohydrates, good walking tucker. A green dye can be made, and the new leaves are used extensively for fibrecrafts. Each fruit contains up to 15 seeds, and each fruiting head up to 30 fruit. Fruit are produced in the mid to late dry season from June to October. One of the most useful plants in northern Australia, with important cultural and spiritual connections for some Aboriginal people. Also known as screw pine.

panel-beater—one whose job is to beat out the metal panels of motor vehicles (usually after a prang—or worse).

panic merchant—person well known to worry excessively over anything.

panic stations—(see: at panic stations).

pannikin—small metal drinking cup.

pansy up—over-decorate.

Panyjima—an indigenous language spoken in the Hamersley Ranges, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is one of the inland Ngayarda languages of the large south-west branch of the Pama-Nyungan family. Like many Aboriginal languages, Panyjima is endangered. Younger generations have English as a first language and make little distinction between Panyjima and its closely related neighbouring languages.

paper daisiesRhodanthe chlorocephala ssp. rosea, R. manglesii. These two species of paper daisy from Western Australia are annuals which easily rival the common European bedding plants in their spectacular display. They grow to 40cm, and the flowers are not only produced in a variety of pink, white and almost red shades but also fade with time, so there is a range of colours on a plant at any one time.

paper gabbler—a letter.

paperbark—any tree of the genus Melaleuca, but Melaleuca quinquenervia is probably the most familiar of the paperbarks in eastern Australia. It is a very common species along coastal streams and swamps, and is widely cultivated. It is a small- to medium-sized tree which can reach 25m. The bark is persistent and develops a multi-layered, papery habit, easily peeled off in sheets. The leaves are flat and leathery. Flowers appear as short bottlebrush spikes, creamy white in colour and 50mm long, with the main flowering in autumn. The Cadigal people used the bark as sleeping mats, for lean-to shelters, for dressing wounds and for wrapping newborn babies. The bark was also used for wrapping food for cooking and as a water-proof covering for humpies. The tips of very young paperbark trees were crushed or soaked and inhaled to stop headaches, coughs and runny noses.

paperbark swamp—a medium open forest with Melaleuca quinquenervia. This type of community, once common and widespread on wet coastal plains of North Queensland, is now rare and mostly survives in reserves. It has been cleared and drained for sugar cane, cattle fattening and urban development.

paperbarked tea tree—(see: swamp paperbark).

Papua New Guinea—(PNG) the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, which was divided between Germany (north) and the (south) in 1885. The latter area was transferred to Australia in 1902, which occupied the northern portion during World War I and continued to administer the combined areas until independence in 1975. A nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville ended in 1997 after claiming some 20,000 lives. Papua New Guinea is a raw land, remarkably untamed and as variegated as swamp and jagged limestone; mud and moss forest; suffocating heat and highland chill; plumed, pearl-shelled villagers and prosaic hill people; tiny tree kangaroos and enormous Queen Alexandra birdwing butterflies. This is a destination for travellers who care more for the untramelled adventure than for home comforts. Petty crime, banditry and isolated instances of violence remain the principal risks to travelling in Papua New Guinea, much of it concentrated in Port Moresby and some other urban centres in the highlands province. Full country name: The Independent State of Papua New Guinea. Area: 462,840sq km Population: 5.29 million. People: 95% Melanesian, 5% Polynesian, Micronesian and Chinese. Language: English. Religion: 44% Protestant, 22% Catholic and 34% pantheistic beliefs. Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II. Head of Government: democratically elected prime minister.

Papuan black snakePseudechis papuanus, Queensland's 6th most deadly snake, found in open and monsoon forest in swampy areas. Only one specimen so far found in Queensland. To 2m, back shiny or matte black, belly greyish.

Papuan whip snake—Queensland's 18th most deadly snake, found in open forests of mid-eastern and northern areas, north of Clermont. To 1.5m, head tan with small dark spots, back light to dark brown, or black, belly usually dark.

Papunya—an Aboriginal community established as a marshalling point for Central Desert people displaced from their traditional lands, including the Pintupi, Anmatyerre, Luritja and Warlpiri. It was at Papunya in the early 1970s that the contemporary Central Desert art movement began, under the guidance of the local school teacher, Geoffrey Barden. Located in the Northern Territory.

Paracyclotosaurus davidi—discovered in Australia, Paracyclotosaurus davidi was a large (2.25m) prehistoric amphibian, loosely resembling today's salamander. An aquatic specie, it probably spent most of its time in water waiting for unwary fish to come within reach, where it then could suck them in by simply opening its wide jaws underwater. Middle Triassic (235 MYA).

par/paralytic—very drunk; incapacitated due to intoxication.

Paraburdoo—a mining town built to accommodate workers and families of Hamersley Iron. The town commenced construction in early 1970, and by late 1970 the first residents had moved in. Paraburdoo currently has a population of approximately 2000 people. The highest recorded temperature is 48.9C and the lowest 1.5C. The average rainfall is 295mm, although this varies considerably due to seasonal cyclones. The town is situated 24km north of the Tropic of Capricorn.

parade ground—a place for the muster of troops.

paradise riflebirdPtiloris paradiseus, endemic to eastern Australia. The male paradise riflebird measures 25cm—30cm. It has a metallic green sheen on the feathers around the head, throat, upper breast and centre of tail. The female has a white eyebrow, reddish wings, and arrow-like scalloping on the underparts. This scalloping is much heavier than that of the other species. The explosive yaass-a-yaass-aass call is given by both sexes, but more so by the male. It is most commonly heard during the breeding season. The paradise riflebird is the only bird of paradise found south of the Tropic of Capricorn, and ranges from Dungog, New South Wales, to the Bunya Mountains, Queensland.

parakeelia—any of several herbs usually of the genus Calandrinia, esp. C. balonensis and C. polyandra, that have thick, succulent leaves and occur in arid, inland Australia.

pardalotesPardalotidae, a small Australasian family composed of just four species in the genus Pardalotus. All species are colorful, active and have short, black bills. Many feed on the sugary lumps exuded by psyllids (small plant-sucking insects living on eucalyptus trees). Except when breeding, pardalotes are generally feeding high in the trees. Some species are migratory and make substantial seasonal movements. The striated pardalote comes in a variety of fairly distinctive plumages across a broad geographic range, and has been split by some into as many as four or five species. Some mainland breeding subspecies are black-headed, but all have the broad, bicolored supercilium: yellow distally and white behind. The spotted pardalote is a widespread breeder throughout mainland Australia. It, too, is variable with a red-rumped form in wetter habitat and a dry-country yellow-rumped form that used to be considered a separate species. The striated and forty-spotted pardalote, a Tasmanian endemic, breed primarily in loose colonies, using various hollows in trees or in earthen banks. The final species is the red-browed pardalote of the dry woodlands of northern Australia. It is nomadic in its movements but is decidedly more common in the western portions of its range. Pardalotes were once placed with flowerpeckers in the Dicaeidae, but this small group of birds is one of the great corvid assemblage that arose in Australasia. Biochemical analysis shows that they are most closely related to scrubwrens, thornbills, bristlebirds and allies.

park lands—(in South Australia) a green belt along the Torrens River, as planned by William Light.

park (one's) tiger—to vomit.

Parks Victoria—manages a world-class network of parks, including national, state and metropolitan parks, marine national parks, many significant cultural assets and Melbourne's bays and waterways.

Parliament of the Commonwealth—consists of the Queen, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Upper House is known as the Senate and the Lower House as the House of Representatives. The Senate is comprised of twelve members from each State and two members from each of the Territories. The members of the House of Representatives represent electorates, each based on a population size of approximately 80,000 voters. Under the Australian Constitution, the legislative power of the Commonwealth of Australia is vested in the Parliament of the Commonwealth.

Paroo Overflow—the Paroo River runs from central southern Queensland through to north-western New South Wales, flowing through to the Paroo Overflow south of Wanaaring. The wetlands consist of a reticulate system of broad, shallow, flat-bottomed distributary channels of the Paroo River, Cuttaburra Creek and Kulkyne Creek that drain into shallow lateral and sub-terminal swamps, and level floored terminal playa lakes. They include Tongo Lake, Mullawoolka Basin, Yantabangee Lake, Poloko Lake, Gilpoko Lake and Peery Lake. Peery Lake contains mound springs as well as the only known population of salt pipewort in NSW. Most of the lakes can hold water for several years after flooding. The Paroo Overflow is a representative example of a large terminal drainage basin. The wetlands provide breeding habitat and drought refuge for a large number and diverse range of waterbirds Many of the birds that occur in the wetlands are considered threatened in NSW and/or are listed under the international agreements CAMBA and JAMBA.

Paroo River—an arid-land river with high flows in flood and close to a trickle in the dry season. It is the most westerly river in the Murray-Darling Basin, flowing from south-western Queensland to the Darling River in New South Wales. Its flows spread out across huge floodplain of canegrass and lignum, swamps, claypans, depressions and large, overflow lakes. Joining with the Warrego River, the Paroo floods the most extensive wetland area in the Murray Darling Basin, covering 814 000 hectares. The Paroo feeds the Currawinya Lakes, near the New South Wales's border. These lakes are amongst the most important waterbird breeding areas in Australia. They can support more than 250 000 waterbirds and have the country's highest concentration of rare freckled duck.

Parramatta—1. Parramatta was founded by Governor Phillip in November 1788, nine months after the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Cove. Phillip named the area Rose Hill and quickly established a small fort and other buildings in what is now Parramatta Park Region. In 1791, the town was renamed Parramatta, after the Burramattagal, a clan of the Darug. Parramatta developed as a thriving commercial centre. It has an impressive list of firsts, including Australia's first successful farm, first orchard, vineyard, tannery, legal brewery, woollen mill, steam mill, market place and fair, and was also the first road and rail link out of Sydney. 2. a light dress fabric of wool and silk or cotton. 3. (hist.) a coarse woollen cloth, originally made by the inmates of the Female Factory at Parramatta.

Parramatta grass—the naturalised African grass Sporobolus africanus, an erect, tussocky perennial.

Parramatta Observatory—established in 1821 by Governor Thomas Brisbane, located at Parramatta 25km west of Sydney, with the purpose of serving the community in meteorology, precise location and time keeping information and in astronomy. Today the observatory is no longer in existence and a memorial stands in its place at Parramatta Park near the Old Government House.

Parry's wallabyMacropus parryi, also known as the whiptail wallaby and the pretty-face wallaby.

parson's bandsEriochilus cucullatus is terrestrial, favouring dry and grassy sclerophyll forests, dry and grassy sclerophyll woodlands, heaths, grasslands (including pastures) and dunes (including stabilised sands). Flowering occurs during summer and autumn (December to May). Flowers are often yellow-green or brown outside, white to pink on the lower sepals, with brown petals and a green-yellow, hairy labellum marked with red or purple spots, and are carried on a terminal raceme or solitary. Widespread in south-eastern Australia from coastal to sub-alpine areas. Eriochilus is a small genus of 4 or 5 species, all of which occur only in Australia. E. cucullatus is a slender species with a up to five small, white (or occasionally pink) flowers on a stem up to 25 cm high. The leaf usually appears after flowering has finished, after which the plants become dormant when they die back to an underground tuber.

parson's nose—the tail piece of a cooked chicken.

part and parcel—essential or necessary part of: e.g., Vulgar words are often part and parcel of telling jokes.

part up—pay, especially unwillingly: e.g., If he doesn't part up with what he owes, we'll take him to court.

party-wall—a wall common to two adjoining buildings or rooms.

Paru Indigenous Protected Area—Western Australia's first Indigenous Protected Area (IPA). The IPA takes in a magnificent wetlands complex in the south-east of the Kimberley, 170km south of Halls Creek, which supports hundreds of thousands of waterbirds. The IPA covers 434,600ha, including 38,700ha of lakes and waterholes that support at least 73 species of waterbird and 175 species of aquatic invertebrates. These critical habitats for breeding waterbirds comprise about one-eighth of the IPA and the community has committed to manage this area primarily for cultural heritage, ecosystem protection and recreation, similar to a national park. The remainder of the IPA will be managed to maintain biodiversity while enabling the sustainable grazing of cattle and other enterprises to meet community needs. Paru is the Walmajarri name for the entire wetland system that includes Lake Gregory, Lera Waterhole, Guda Plain, Yuinby Plan, Bulbi Plain, Rilya Waterhole, Gillung (Delivery Camp) Plain, Stretch Lagoon and lower Sturt Creek. Paraku and Sturt Creek are within the area of the Tjurabalan native title determination, handed down by the Federal Court, which recognised the rights and interests of the traditional owners. Paru is the 15th IPA declared in Australia and takes the total amount of land under this category of protection to 3.6 million hectares.

Back Next →

Back to Top
Contact | Site Map | Links | Privacy |
Site designed & maintained by Artist Web Design
Copyright © 1996-2018