Australian Dictionary

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Australia Decoded

Rainbow Lorikeets, Trichoglossus Haematodus

Rainbow Lorikeets

Joel Sartore—Photographic Print
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R2—Regina (Elizabeth R); Queen Elizabeth II.

RAAF—(see: Royal Australian Air Force).

rabbit board—a (local) body responsible for the control of rabbits.

Rabbit Flat roadhouseRabbit Flat—features on most maps of Australia, not because it is a major urban centre—it usually has a population of three or four—but because there is nothing else in the area to put on the map. Rabbit Flat Roadhouse, which is only open from Friday to Monday (7am —9pm), has the almost certainly deserved reputation of being the most isolated pub in Australia. It is on the Tanami Track, a dirt road of dubious quality that crosses the Tanami Desert from Alice Springs to Halls Creek in Western Australia. Once you’re off the tar and in the desert, the only other stops along the way, apart from Rabbit Flat, are the Yuendumu Aboriginal community and the Tilmouth Wells Roadhouse. The Granites and the Tanami Mine are just mines and do not welcome visitors. The Tanami Desert is flat and covered in spinifex and small anthills.

rabbit on—talk endlessly, tediously, at length.

rabbit-eared bandicoot—(see: bilby).

rabbit-oh—hawker of rabbits as food.

Rabbit-Proof FenceRabbit-Proof Fence—(hist.) in 1901 the Australian government decided to build a barrier fence from one point on the southern coast through to a location on the northern coast, to keep rabbits on one side and the farmland on the other. Completed in 1907, it is the longest fence in the world. Today, long sections of the original fence are still maintained, and it is known as the Vermin Fence.

rabbiter—person who kills rabbits for a living.

Rabbitos—South Sydney New South Wales Rugby League football team.

RAC – (see: Resource Assessment Commission Act).

race off with—steal; pilfer.

race (someone) off—seduce (someone).

racehorse—a very thinly hand-rolled cigarette.

racehorse goannaracehorse goanna—(see: sand monitor).

Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth)—(RDA), federal legislation rendering racial discrimination unlawful in Australia. It aims to ensure that human rights and freedoms are enjoyed in full equality irrespective of race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin; and whether an immigrant or a relative or associate of someone of a particular ethnicity, or other status. Under section 10 of this Act, the Australian government met obligations incurred under the United Nations’ Convention to Eliminate all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The RDA overrides racially discriminatory state or territory legislation, making it ineffective. However, Commonwealth legislation that is racially discriminatory is not overridden. The RDA applies to everyone in Australia including businesses, schools, local governments, state and territory government agencies and departments and Commonwealth government agencies and departments.

Racial Hatred ActRacial Hatred Act 1995 (Cth)—extends the coverage of the Racial Discrimination Act to allow people to seek redress for racially offensive or abusive behaviour. The Act provides victims of racial vilification redress to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission for conciliation or, where necessary, adjudication. The act must have occurred either within sight and hearing of other people, or in a place to which the general public is invited or has access. If the act happened in a private telephone conversation or in a private place, such as a person's home, it is not unlawful. Acts covered include speaking, singing and making gestures in public as well as drawings and written publications such as newspapers, leaflets and websites. The act must be reasonably likely to 'offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate'.

rack and ruin—destruction; neglect; dilapidation; disrepair.

rack off—1. go; depart; leave. 2. an insulting dismissal: "Piss off! go away!"

rack off hairy-legs/Noddy!—an insulting dismissal: "Piss off! go away!"

rack-rent—1. a high rent, annually equalling the full value of the property to which it relates. 2. an extortionate rent.

rack-renter—a tenant paying or a landlord exacting an extortianate rent.

radical title—a Crown land title to that exists above, or 'on top of' other titles—such as fee-simple title. However, a radical title does not of itself extinguish underlying titles.

Radio Australia—the international shortwave radio service operated by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Radio Australia's signal is primarily aimed at the Asia-Pacific region. It broadcasts in several languages—English, Mandarin Chinese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Khmer and Tok Pisin (a pidgin commonly spoken in Papua New Guinea). A daily Pacific news bulletin is podcast in French. Radio Australia's English language programmes consist of material produced by Radio Australia and also other ABC radio networks such as ABC Local Radio and Radio National.

Rafferty's rules—no rules at all.

Raffray's bandicootRaffray's bandicootPeroryctes raffrayana, a giant bandicoot weighing about 5kg has been recorded. Vegetable matter comprises at least a portion of the giant bandicoot's diet. In recent times the giant bandicoot has only been reported from the lowlands of south-east New Guinea. It is hunted for food.

rag-and-bone-man—second-hand dealer.

ragbag—untidy, unkempt, slovenly person (especially a woman).

raggedy-Anne—person (usually a woman) of unkempt appearance; wearing dirty, tatty clothes.

raggle-taggle—unkempt; slovenly.

Raiders—Canberra, New South Wales Rugby League football team.

rainbow bee-eaterMerops ornatus, a small but intricately coloured bird. The head is orange with a black and blue stripe through the bright red eye; body is green and blue, with bright orange under the wings. The rainbow bee-eater is very vocal even though the call is quite soft. It rests on high, bare branches of trees or tall shrubs, powerlines or fences. Their diet consists mainly of bees caught on the wing, which they eat by breaking off or squeezing out the sting. They will also take wasps, dragonflies and other flying insects. Distributed all across Australia except Tasmania and the far south-west of the mainland. It is found in all types of open country, especially around rivers and creeks. They migrate from the north to Perth to breed, arriving in October. They occur singly, in pairs or in groups of 20-30 birds.

rainbow lorikeetrainbow lorikeetTrichoglossus haemotodus moluccanus inhabits the Cape York peninsula in the north of the state, and extends down the east coast of Queensland into New South Wales. This range covers almost 15 degrees of latitude and includes a vast area devoted to agriculture and horticulture through tropical, subtropical and temperate climates. Extremely noisy and impossibly colourful, rainbow lorikeets are cheeky but affectionate. Joseph Banks collected this bird on Captain Cook's first voyage to the Pacific, making it the first Australian parrot to be taken back to Europe.

rainbow pittaPitta iris, normally a very shy bird. During the dry season they are almost invisible in the monsoon forest thickets of the Northern Territory's Top End. With the first rise of humidity at the onset of the monsoon season they become very active. The monsoon forest comes alive with male rainbow pittas calling loudly, proclaiming their territories. Now they can be relatively easily seen, hopping about on the forest floor.

Rainbow Serpent (or snake or spirit)—powerful Creation Ancestors that are known to many Aboriginal people throughout Australia. If annoyed, they are capable of causing serious natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes. In Kakadu, Aboriginal people describe the Rainbow Serpent as the 'boss lady', an all-powerful and ubiquitous presence, often resting in quiet waterways. In her wanderings, she crossed the East Alligator River into Arnhem Land, where she remains in a quiet waterhole. Her visit to Ubirr is part of a creation pathway that links Ubirr with Manngarre, the East Alligator River, and other places in Arnhem Land. The Rainbow Serpent has a different name in different languages throughout Australia, and is believed to be one of the oldest artistic symbols used in the world.

Rainbow Valley Conservation ReserveRainbow Valley Conservation Reserve—its main features are its scenic sandstone bluffs and cliffs. These free-standing cliffs form part of the James Range, and are particularly attractive in the early morning and late afternoon when the rainbow-like rock bands are highlighted. The coloured rock bands in the sandstone cliffs were caused by water in earlier wetter times, when the red iron of the sandstone layers was dissolved and drawn to the surface during the dry season. The red minerals formed a dark, iron-rich surface layer with the leached white layers below. This dark red capping is hard, and weathers slowly, whereas the softer white sandstone below weathers quickly into loose sand. Weathering and erosion are also responsible for the valley shape, where sandstone blocks have been eroded into rock faces and squared towers. Located in the Northern Territory, 75km south from Alice Springs along the Stuart Highway.

Raine Island—following the wreck of the Charles Eaten in 1834, the British Admiralty commissioned Captain Blackwood to build a beacon to safely guide vessels through one of the few navigable entrances to Torres Strait. The treacherous waters around the Blackwood Channel had already claimed many lives, and Raine Island was chosen as the most suitable location. In 1844 Captain Francis Blackwood landed a crew of 20 convicts, mainly stonemasons and quarrymen, to build a lighthouse on Raine Island, a remote coral cay at the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Today, Raine Island is the nesting site for the world’s largest remaining population of the vulnerable green turtle, and is the most significant seabird rookery in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Raine Island beacon—the oldest European structure in the Australian tropics. It was constructed in 1844, under the order of the British Admiralty, using convict labour. Stone for the beacon was quarried from the phosphate rock found on the island.

rainforest bandicootrainforest bandicoots—the rainforest bandicoots (family Peroryctidae) are small-to-medium-sized marsupial omnivores native to New Guinea and nearby areas, including far-northern Australia, Seram, and Kiriwina. Together with the true bandicoots (family Peramelidae) they make up the order Peramelemorphia. Whereas the true bandicoots originated in Australia and, on the whole, are well adapted for that relatively arid continent, the rainforest bandicoots evolved in New Guinea and, although they occupy a wide range of habitats, are primarily creatures of the dense, wet tropical forests. Just as there is a single species of true bandicoot which has crossed Torres Strait to colonise New Guinea (the northern brown bandicoot), there is a single species of rainforest bandicoot which has crossed in the opposite direction and occupies the most northerly part of Australia (the rufous spiny bandicoot). There are 11 species in 3 genera, the smallest weighing less than 100 grams (roughly half the size of a rat) and the largest reaching over 5 kilograms (the size of a large domestic cat).

rainforests—a closed forest in areas of high precipitation, with a large diversity of species forming a deep, densely interlacing canopy in which vines and ferns are often present. Tropical rainforests are found in northern latitudes and grade southward into forms variously described as sub-tropical or warm temperate. The influence of the tropical forests basically ends at the latitude of Orbost in eastern Victoria, though isolated elements such as the lilly pilly tree can be found as far south as Wilson's Promontory. The distribution of rainforest today is typically discontinuous (on mountain tops, in protected gullies or along river courses) but there were once extensive lowland forests (now converted to cane land) with reasonably contiguous blocks, albeit confined to the wettest areas of the Wet Tropics area. Boundaries between rainforests and other communities are strongly influenced by fire. In general, rainforest cannot tolerate fire as well as their sclerophyllous or grassy neighbours. At the drier ends of the rainforest spectrum, community structure and composition change. Species richness, stature and complexity of life form decline while deciduousness becomes more prominent. Although floristically part of the rainforest flora, some plants have been able to adapt to the arid climate and become part of the dryland flora. Others, such as the Central Australian fan palm found at Palm Valley, survive as climatic relicts in protected or moist habitats. Cool temperate rainforests are different floristically and structurally from their tropical counterparts. They are often monodominant (often myrtle beech, a Gondwanan relict), lack woody lianes and support a profusion of mosses and ferns. Disturbance in the cool temperate rainforests is rare, so there is a great emphasis on asexual reproduction. It is very hard for a seedling to find a place to sprout in the dim, closed forest environment. Australia's rainforests evolved over 120 million years ago when Africa, India, Australia, South America and Antarctica formed the supercontinent of Gondwana. There are now six recognised rainforest types within Australia: tropical; sub-tropical; warm-temperate; dry; and littoral. Once the dominant vegetation type of the entire continent, the Australian rainforests have shrunk over many millions of years to their present limited size. However, modern distributions of both cool temperate rainforest and wet tropical rainforests show signs of expansion into surrounding tall open forests, due to the absence of fire. In some areas, especially Tasmania, elements associated with the cool temperate rainforest extend into alpine or sub-alpine communities.

rainwater tanksrainwater tanks—fifty years ago, they were common in Queensland. New, sleeker versions have recently been released, as the increasingly disrupted monsoon season routinely results in water rationing.

raise a bite—to tease until a reaction is obtained.

raise (one's) elbow—to indulge in the drinking of alcohol, especially beer.

rake—a comb for the hair.

ram paddock—an enclosure in which rams are kept separated.

ram raid—a burglary committed by ramming a car into the shop etc to break in.

Ramahyuck—an Aboriginal mission station established on the banks of the Avon River near Lake Wellington in Victoria by Rev Friedrich Hagenauer in 1863, to house the remaining survivors from the tribes of the western part of Gippsland. The local farming community opposed the mission in this location so it was moved to the Avon River, near Lake Wellington, in 1863. In 1901, Department of Education closed the Ramahyuck school, and the Central Board for the Protection of Aborigines appointed a teacher to conduct lessons. The school continued under the Board until 1908 when the Mission closed and the remaining residents were sent to Lake Tyers. Ramahyuck was one of three Aboriginal mission stations established by Moravian missionaries in Victoria. The word Ramahyuck is a composite of the Biblical "Ramah", meaning 'home of Samuel', and the Gunai word yuck, meaning 'mother' or 'own'.

rambunctious—unruly; boisterous.

RaminginingRamingining—a small, remote community in Central Arnhem Land located some 400km east of Darwin and nearly 30km from the Arafura Sea. The tract of land upon which Ramingining township is built, is owned by the Djadawitjibi people of the Djinang group. Their principal creative being is Garrtjambal, the red kangaroo. The name Bula'bula was selected in 1989 by local artists for their co-operative, as it refers to the message embodied in the song-cycle of Garrtjambal's journey from Roper River to the Ramingining region. More literally, Bula'bula translates as 'the tongue' or 'voice of the kangaroo'.

Ramsar Convention—an international treaty that focuses on the conservation of internationally important wetlands. The convention was signed by representatives of eighteen nations at a small Iranian town called Ramsar in 1971. The Ramsar Convention Bureau, based in Switzerland, administers and supports the implementation of the convention. The contracting parties meet every three years in order to review implementation of the convention and to agree upon new policies and initiatives. Australia was one of the first nations to become a contracting party to the convention. There are now more than 135 contracting parties to the convention, who have designated more than 1200 wetland sites throughout the world to the Ramsar list of Wetlands of International Importance. The term Ramsar Convention is also used interchangeably with List of Wetlands of International Importance.

Ramsar International Wetland Convention—(see: Ramsar Convention).

Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance—upon joining the Ramsar Convention, each Contracting Party is obliged by Article 2.4 to designate at least one wetland site for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance. Sites are selected by the Contracting Parties, or member states, for designation under the Convention by reference to the Criteria for Identifying Wetlands of International Importance. The Secretariat ensures that the data and map meet the standards set by the Conference of the Parties and then adds the site's name and basic data to the List of Wetlands of International Importance. The data upon which the List is based are maintained under contract to the Convention Secretariat by Wetlands International in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The basic List itself is updated continuously by Ramsar staff with every new site added. Arranged alphabetically by Contracting Party, the basic List shows the site name, date of designation, region within the country, surface area in hectares, and central geographical coordinates of each site.

Ramsar site—a wetland area identified under the Commonwealth's Environmental Protection Biodiversity Act as having national environmental significance for which the Commonwealth has a significant responsibility to sustain and protect. Also known as a Wetland of International Importance.

rangelands—a diverse group of relatively undisturbed ecosystems such as tropical savannahs, woodlands, shrublands and grasslands. Rangelands extend across low rainfall and variable climates, including arid, semi-arid, and some seasonally high rainfall areas. Extensive grazing on native pastures occurs across the rangelands while broad-scale cropping and cultivation generally do not take place. More than 75% of Australia is broadly defined as rangelands.

Ranger ProjectRanger Project—a joint venture project to exploit uranium deposits at Ranger. In 1969 the Ranger ore body was discovered by a Joint Venture of Peko Wallsend Operations Ltd (Peko) and The Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australia Limited (EZ). In 1974, an agreement set up a joint venture consisting of Peko, EZ and the Australian Atomic Energy Commission (AAEC). In 1978, following a wide-ranging public inquiry (the Ranger Uranium Environmental Inquiry) and publication of its two reports (the Fox reports), agreement to mine was reached between the Commonwealth Government and the Northern Land Council, acting on behalf of the traditional Aboriginal land owners. On the 9 January 1979 the Commonwealth Minister for Trade and Resources granted an Authority pursuant to Section 41 of the Atomic Energy Act 1953, to Peko-Wallsend Operations Ltd (Peko), Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australasia Limited (EZ) and the Australian Atomic Energy Commission (AAEC). The Authority allowed Peko, EZ and AAEC to carry on, as joint venturers, on behalf of the Commonwealth government, operations on the Ranger Project Area for a period of 26 years subject to certain restrictions and conditions. The terms of the joint venture were then finalised and Ranger Uranium Mines Pty Ltd was appointed as manager of the project. The Ranger Project Area is located 250km east of Darwin, surrounded by the Kakadu National Park.

Ranger Project Area—(RPA) is contained within in areas granted by the Commonwealth government to the Kakadu Land Trust in 1978. On 9 January 1979, authority was given to Peko, EZ and the AAEC, pursuant to S41 Atomic Energy Act 1953, to carry on as joint venturers in the Ranger Project Area.   The project area is leased from the traditional owners through the Commonwealth government, and is subject to a negotiated agreement under Section 44 of the Commonwealth Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) Act. The RPA is located 250km east of Darwin.

Ranger Uranium Environmental Reports – (RUEI) the foundation for current policy on uranium mining in Australia. In 1975, a commission was established to carry out the RUEI by inquiring into environmental aspects of a mining proposal by the then Australian Atomic Energy Commission (forerunner of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) and Ranger Uranium Mines Pty Ltd. The inquiry produced two reports, the first dated 28 October 1976 and the second the 17 May 1977. The Second Report of the Inquiry contained the detailed recommendations specific to the Ranger proposal and recommendations on the environmental supervision of uranium mining anywhere in the Alligator Rivers Region. The second report also dealt with a land claim under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, in the Ranger area. In August 1977, following its consideration of these detailed recommendations of the RUEI, the Australian government announced its decision to authorise the mining and export of uranium.

Ranger Uranium Mines Pty Ltd—(1970s-1980) began developing the Ranger Uranium Mine, in Northern Territory, during the 1970s. In 1980 the mine was taken over by the newly established Energy Resources Australia.

Rangitata land mass—about 80 million years before the arrival of man the Rangitata land mass separated from the ancient continent of Gondwana, and formed what we now know as New Zealand. The separation period continued, and by 60 million years ago the Tasman Sea, separating Australia from New Zealand, had reached at its full width. By 26 million years ago, there were two main features which dominated the New Zealand land mass area—the Challenger Rift system off the western coast, and which had begun forming around 60 million years ago, and the plate boundary running along the line of the Alpine Fault and the Hikurangi Trench, off the lower North Island and upper South Island coastal areas. It was five million years ago that the shape of the two main islands of New Zealand today began to form. Seven thousand years ago most of New Zealand's land area was covered by rain forest. The surrounding seas protected New Zealand's unique fauna and flora from marauding mammals, and because of this there were many species of flightless birds evolving in safety at ground level.

Rangitata orogeny—(the...) Early Cretaceous period (about 142 to 99 million years ago). During this orogeny, the previously deposited geosyncline sediments were compressed and folded. Some seafloor was caught in the folding and later exposed when the orogeny had finished and erosional forces had levelled the mountains. These seafloor rocks can be seen today at Dun Mountain, West Dome and Red Hills in the Nelson region of the South Island. The orogeny deformed the sediments deposited during the earlier sedimentation period differently: the western rocks in open simple folds, whereas the eastern block was much more severely deformed, commonly in a stack of folds with complex faulting.

ranji bushranji bushAcacia pyrifolia, a prickly shrub to about 4m with short spines arising from the stem junctions. The foliage is blue-green and pear-shaped, to about 7.5cm long with wavy margins and tapering to a sharp point. The bright yellow flower clusters are globular in shape and are produced on short stalks in long racemes of about 12 flower clusters. Flowers usually occur in winter through to mid-spring. The flowers are followed by curved, flat seed pods about 8cm long. A. pyrifolia is suited to tropical and inland areas and is spectacular in flower. Found on the northern coast and desert of Western Australia extending into the Northern Territory. Common on hills and plains in sandy, gravelly soil. Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

rapatorRapator ornitholestoides,  meaning "One Who Raids." Rapator was a large meat-eater from Australia—maybe. To date, only one hand bone has been found, but it is enough for scientists to determine the basic type of dinosaur from which the bone came. Rapator was probably about as large as Allosaurus, but it isn't known if they were related. Australia is not known for its dinosaur discoveries, so Rapator represents a rare and interesting bit of prehistory. It has been suggested that Rapator was a large ornitholestid, a carnosaur, or even a very large bird-like dinosaur. Some have envisioned this creature as feathered and belonging to the alvarezsauria.  Length: 8m; height: 3.8m; weight: 450 kilos; time: Early Cretaceous—110 MYA.

rapt—overjoyed; very enthusiastic about; totally infatuated.

rasher—a thin slice of bacon or ham.

raspberry-jam wattle—Acacia acuminata, a small tree or shrub up to 40 foot tall, with yellow to orange flowers in fragrant spikes up to a foot long. The wood has a strong raspberry scent when cut and was used by Aboriginal people to make weapons. Leaves contain up to 1.5% base mainly consisting of tryptamine with a phenethylamine type base also present. Occurs in south-west Western Australia, where it extends from just north of the Murchison River, south to Borden and east to Balladonia; outlying populations occur near Yalgoo and Paynes Find. The eastern boundary of the main area of occurrence abuts that of A. burkittii, which is common in the adjacent Arid Zone.

raspberry tart—(rhyming slang) heart; fart.

rat through (something)—search, look for in a haphazard, untidy manner: e.g., He's been ratting through the cupboards all day looking for it.

rat kangaroorat-kangaroo—family Potoroidae—Within this family there are three groupings : (1) musky rat kangaroo, which lives in rainforests, uses all four feet for moving around and is active during the day; (2) bettongs, which build nests to shelter during the day (one species burrows) and live in open forest areas; and (3) potoroos, which live in forests with a dense understorey, shelter under tussocks and shrubs and feed mainly on fungi. The rat-kangaroos dig up and eat underground storage-organs of plants: tubers, bulbs, corms, and swollen roots, and especially truffles, which are the spore-bearing bodies of underground fungi. The fungi associate with the rootlets of trees such as eucalypts, helping the tree to take up minerals from the soil. By digging up and eating the truffles, rat-kangaroos disperse those spores in their dung, helping the fungi to spread to new hosts. Rat-kangaroos play an important role in the ecosystems they live in. Restoring them to areas from which they have disappeared may benefit the health of the whole ecosystem.

rat-shit—1. broken; ruined; worthless; not operating. 2. second-rate; unsatisfactory; awful; no good. 3. depressed; dejected; ill; out-of-sorts; unwell. 4. dead.

ratbag—1. despicable, dishonest, untrustworthy person. 2. person whose behaviour is unconventional, disreputable; eccentric.

ratiteratite—any of a diverse group of large, flightless birds of Gondwanian origin, most of them now extinct. All belong to the order Struthioniformes. Unlike other flightless birds, the ratites have no keel on their sternum and, lacking a strong anchor for their wing muscles, could not fly even were they to develop suitable wings. Of the living species, the emu is the second-largest ratite in the world, reaching two metres and about 60kg. Like the ostrich, it is a fast-running, powerful bird of the open plains and woodlands. Also native to Australia and the islands to the north, are the three species of cassowary. Shorter than an emu and very solidly built, cassowaries prefer thickly vegetated tropical forest. They can be very dangerous when surprised or cornered.

rats on stilts—greyhounds.

ratter—1. deserter; betrayer. 2. (of a cat) ability to catch and kill rats: e.g., My moggie's a beaut ratter.

rattle your dags!—get moving! hurry up!

rave on—talk endlessly, tediously, at length.

raw prawn—a recently arrived English person in Australia. This is a reference to the tendency of their pale complexions to take on the look of raw prawns, once exposed the blazing Australian sun. From this observation comes the expression, 'Don't come the raw prawn'. These expressions came into use at the time of the Ten Pound Pom scheme, supplanting the earlier observation that English boys could always be identified by their boiled-beef complexions.

razoo—a non-existent coin of trivial value. It's said to be a piece of Australian and New Zealand slang, and is first recorded in Australia in 1919. Eric Partridge once suggested that “razoo” might come from the Maori word rahu – but there's no evidence for this, and none of the other lexicographers seem to agree. There's an earlier expression – razoo meaning “raspberry” – that is recorded from 1890. Giving someone the “razoo” (in this sense) was like giving them the raspberry: it meant ridiculing them, perhaps by “blowing raspberries”.

razor gang—a group assigned to reduce expenditure, especially in politics.

RBT—Random Breath Test, that is, roadside testing of the breath of drivers for alcohol content.

readies—actual and available cash.

ready—a trick, scheme, act of deception.

reaper and binder—cheese.

Recherche ArchipelagoRecherche Archipelago—an area that has only recently been recognized as one of Australia's most important aquatic wilderness areas. Above water, the more than 200 islands that make up the Recherche Archipelago teem with life: dolphins, seals, birdlife and much more. The results of recent surveying have yet to be conclusively interpreted. Located off the remote south coast of Western Australia.

Recherche Bay—the first point of contact made by Admiral d’Entrecasteaux on his scientific expedition of 1792-3. The ships Recherche and Espérance sailed via the Cape of Good Hope to Van Diemen’s Land, where d’Entrecasteaux made anchor on 23 April 1792. Due to a navigational error, the expedition had arrived not at Adventure Bay, as intended, but at a previously unknown bay, which was named Recherche after one of the ships. Parties were sent out to investigate the surrounding area, and the southern shores of what is now D’Entrecasteaux Channel were explored and charted. The expedition’s scientists collected botanic samples that are still a benchmark for today’s scientists, and conducted a landmark study into the Earth’s magnetic field. In 1793, D'Entrecasteaux returned to the channel and surveyed Norfolk Bay and the upper reaches of the Derwent River. The major geographical outcome of the stay at Recherche Bay was the mapping of the d’Entrecasteaux Channel, Huon River, Bruny Island, the estuary of the Derwent, and the general form of Storm Bay.

Reconciliation—the process whereby agreements provide a foundation for the white and the Indigenous people of Australia to proceed as equals, and to end uncertainties about land use, planning and other issues concerning all the people of Australia.

red and black anemone fishAmphiprion melanopus usually has one white bar on the head behind the eye, although some fish lack a bar. Its breast, belly and dorsal fin are red to orange. Much of the side of the body is black. This species grows to 12cm in length. It lives in association with the anemone Entacmaea quadricolor. In Australia it is recorded off north-western Western Australia and from the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, south to the central coast of New South Wales.

red and black spiderAmbicodamus crinitus; this tiny spider only grows to about 12mm and is quite common in the garden. In summer, males leave their web during daylight hours and wander in search of females. This wandering habit often brings them indoors. Due to the red and black colour, the spider is often confused with the red-back spider and, as red is a common warning colour, the spider is sometimes thought to be highly venomous. However, it is not dangerous and its bite will only cause a small amount of local swelling. The egg case has a woolly appearance and is suspended in the web.

red and green kangaroo pawred and green kangaroo pawAnigozanthos manglesii was first collected in the Swan River Colony in the early years of its settlement, and was described by D. Don in 1836. Western Australia's floral emblem is a flower shaped like a kangaroo's paw which emerges from a grassy tussock. The red and green kangaroo paw is striking for its metallic green, furry flowers and red stems. The flowering stems are between 30—120 centimeters tall and carry a number of large flowers. The plants flower from July to November and are usually found on sandy or gravel soils. The species ranges from Shark Bay in the north to Scott River and Mount Barker in the south, and is common in Kings Park, Perth, and the surrounding bush. The plant was proclaimed WA's floral emblem on 9 November 1960, and was incorporated into the State Coat of Arms on 17 March 1969. The red and green kangaroo paw is also known as the Mangles' kangaroo paw or by its Aboriginal name, nol-la-mara.

red as a beetroot—1. very embarrassed. 2. sunburnt.

red biddy—a mixture of cheap wine and methylated spirits.

red bloodwoodEucalyptus gummifera, a hardwood tree native to eastern Australia. It usually grows as a tree, but may take the form of a mallee in very poor soils. As a tree it typically grows to a height of 20-34m and a trunk diameter of one metre dbh. However, exceptional trees may reach 60ms high at four metres dbh. It has persistent fibrous bark typical of bloodwoods, and glossy dark green leaves, 10-14cm long and 2-3.5cm wide. Flowers occur in an inflorescence of three to seven umbels. C. gummifera was first published as Metrosideros gummifera by Joseph Gaertner in 1788. Despite this, the species was republished as Eucalyptus corymbosa by James Edward Smith in his 1793, A Specimen of the Botany of New Holland, as Eucalyptus corymbosus by Cavanilles in 1797, as Eucalyptus oppositifolia by Desfontaines in 1804, as Eucalyptus purpurascens var. petiolaris by de Candolle in 1828; and as Eucalyptus longifolia by Joseph Maiden in 1920. The precedence of Metrosideros gummifera was recognised in 1925 by Hochreutiner, who transferred it into Eucalyptus as Eucalyptus gummifera. In 1995, the Eucalyptus genus was split into three genera by KD Hill and LAS Johnson, with E. gummifera transferred in Corymbia. However some botanists continue to recognise a single Eucalyptus sensu lato genus, and so retain the name Eucalyptus gummifera. It mainly occurs on flats and low hills along the coast between the extreme eastern corner of Victoria and south-eastern Queensland. It grows best on moist, rich, loamy soil, but is also commonly found on poorer sandy soils. Its heartwood is very strong and durable but has extensive gum lines. It is used for rough construction purposes such as poles, sleepers, fencing and mining timbers.

red box—any of several eucalypts yielding a red timber.

red bush appleSyzygium suborbiculare, a tree to 8m high, found in savannahs and riparian habitats across northern Australia. The flesh of the large, red fruit has a sharp, tangy taste. The fruit are often produced in large numbers in the late dry and early wet from October to February. The flesh of the large fruit is crisp and crunchy and is eaten raw when it turns red. A juice from the cooked fruit is drunk to treat coughs, colds and congestion. Fruit pulp is applied to sore ears. An infusion made from the leaves is drunk for diarrhoea, heated leaves are applied to wounds to stop bleeding and reduce swelling. An infusion of bark and leaves is used for stomach pains and to bathe sores.

red cabbage palm—(see: Central Australian fan palm).

red card—(football) a card shown by the referee to a player being sent off the field.

red cedarred cedarToona ciliata, a native hardwood tree that was heavily harvested by early settlers for export to England. The quest for this tree – referred to as 'red gold' because of its export value—spurred the settlement of much of the coastal and hinterland areas of Australia. The wood from this tree was once so plentiful that settlers built their entire homes of cedar—floors, walls, ceilings, skirting boards and window sills—as well as the furniture that sat within the rooms. Today, there are only remnant stands and scattered individual trees. Attempts to grow red cedar in plantations in Australia have been unsuccessful. The trees have been attacked by the cedar tip moth, which causes the tree to become bushy and useless for timber.

red cedar tip mothHypsipyla robusta, a very persistent and debilitating pest that can cause stunting or even death of young red cedar plants. Larvae tunnel into tips of the shoots causing dieback and growth malformations.

Red Centre—(the...) the red heart of Australia, and is in stark contrast to the Top End of the Northern Territory. Often harsh, always remote, Central Australia is awesome in the arid beauty of its endless plains and monuments of nature—Ayers Rock (Uluru), Mount Olga (Kata Tjuta), the MacDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon. It is rich with the culture and heritage of the Aboriginal people who have roamed the Territory for tens of thousands of years, at home with the land where white settlers struggled to survive, whose pioneering spirit is alive and well in its towns, mines and vast grazing properties.

red cordial—a very sweet "raspberry" drink consumed in large quantities by children (similar to, but sweeter than, Kool-Aid). The sugar content is so high, that many people swear by it to prevent Bali belly.

red crabred crabGecarcoidea natalis is by far the most obvious of the 14 species of land crabs found on Christmas Island. It is estimated that 120 million of these bright red (or, occasionally, orange; and even more rarely purple) land crabs live in their preferred shady sites all over the island. They are a big crab—an adult body shell may measure up to 116mm across. The shell is round shouldered and encloses their lungs and gills. Their claws are usually of equal size unless one is a regrowing claw. Males grow larger overall than females, while females have a much broader abdomen and usually have smaller claws than males. However young crabs all have the characteristic narrow abdomen of the male. The broader female abdomen only becomes apparent in the third year of growth. Red Crabs grow slowly, reaching about 40mm in carapace width after 4-5 years. They are sexually mature at this age and begin to participate in the breeding migrations.

red earths—are associated with old land surfaces and are widely distributed throughout the semi-arid areas. They constitute a major component of the wool-producing lands of south-west Queensland and north-west New South Wales, as well as larger areas of the Northern Territory. They are usually covered with scrub and are practically unused for agriculture. They are generally devoted to sheep and cattle grazing.

red earths and yellow earths—are associated with old land surfaces, sometimes forming divides, sometimes prominent mesas and sometimes broad terraces. They have brown, grey or red-brown surface horizons merging into red or yellow, massive, but porous, subsoils, mainly acidic at the surface and normally becoming more acidic with depth. They are of low inherent fertility, markedly deficient in phosphorus, nitrogen and trace elements, but responding well to good management. Where they are located favourably in relation to markets, a wide range of crops is grown on them, e.g. tropical fruit and vegetables near Brisbane, and sugar cane in coastal country.

red emperor—the red and white marine fish Lutjanus sebae.

red flowering gumred flowering gumCorymbia ficifolia (previously known as Eucalyptus ficifolia), an evergreen tree which grows to around 10m tall. Spectacular pink, orange, or red flowers in clusters 4-12" across, bloom July-August and can bloom year-round and drop after wind storms. Shaggy reddish to gray-brown bark. Trunk is stout and flares at the base. Flowering followed by big, urn-shaped, woody fruit. These trees will grow in most areas of Australia, except for tropical and mountain zones. Red-flowering gums are 'second line salt tolerant', in other words they do well in warm, coastal situations a few kilometres inland from the seafront. It is native to a very small area of coastal Western Australia (measured in just tens of kilometres) but is not considered under threat in the wild. All gums flower, many are red; however, Corymbia ficifolia is not gum but a bloodwood, and its flowers can be any shade between pale cream, through pink, to red, orange or deep crimson. This tree tends to flower heavily only every second year; typically parts of a given tree will flower one year and other parts the next, but this varies greatly: in typical Corymbia fashion, each individual tree seems to have its own particular habits. In nature Corymbia ficifolia prefers infertile, sandy soils but it is readily adaptable to most temperate locations, provided it is not exposed to severe frost or sustained tropical damp. It is an ideal street tree as it is hardy, moderately fast growing, and rarely grows large enough to require pruning.

red goshawkErythrotriorchis radiatus, one of the world's rarest birds of prey. This bird occupies a range of habitats in northern and eastern Australia, including coastal and subcoastal tall, open forests and woodlands. However, within these habitats red goshawks are sparsely distributed. Habitats required by red goshawks for breeding are very specific; they will only nest in trees taller than 20m, and these must be within 1km of water. Most of the range contraction in this species has occurred in New South Wales and southern Queensland, where suitable habitat has been cleared. In northern Queensland, clearing of coastal and subcoastal vegetation for sugar cane is likely to cause further declines. It is estimated that fewer than 1000 red goshawks remain. According to the Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000, the red goshawk is vulnerable.

red gum—any of many eucalypts, especially the widespread E. camaldulensis.

red hand—a motif in Aboriginal painting.

red heartEucalyptus decipiens, an evergreen mallee or tree 1.5-15m high, with grey-green bark and stems; the bark is rough, flaky or ribbony. White flowers bloom in late winter to late spring, August to December or January. Grows on white, yellow or grey sand, sandy clay, gravelly loam, laterite on sandplains, hills, swamp margins and winter-moist sites. Native to Western Australia in the Avon wheatbelt, Esperance plains, Geraldton sandplains, jarrah forest, Swan Coastal Plain. Also known as limestone marlock.

red Indian fish—the scarlet marine fish Pataecus fronto of Australian waters.

red kangaroored kangarooMacropus rufus, the largest extant marsupial. Males can be as tall as two metres and weigh up to 90kg. The strong, heavy tail is used for balance, most especially when males are fighting to establish or defend dominance. Their forelegs are much smaller than their back legs, which aids its balance when moving slowly. Feet are broad and very long. Red kangaroos are powerful jumpers, being able to jump heights of 180cm and lengths of 870cm. They can run at speeds of up to 35mph in short bursts, but will generally travel at 12mph. The head is small, the muzzle less hairy than that of the grey kangaroo, and the ears are large. Reds vary greatly in colour, the males being generally red and the females generally bluish-grey; however, any shade between red and grey can be found in either gender. Red kangaroos are mostly absent from the wetter areas of south-western, eastern, and northern Australia. The red can live in most of dry inland Australia, including desert, grassland, mallee and mulga country, and are found in open plains and dry grasslands that have neither bushes nor trees. They can go for long periods of time without water. Red kangaroos reach sexual maturity at 2-3 years for both sexes. They will breed at any time of the year, but rarely during drought or dry weather. They live in groups called mobs that are centred on an older, dominant male. At night they graze and during the day they rest. Red kangaroos are herbivores, feeding on grasses and other vegetation. They have a life span of 9-13 years in the wild, and up to 20 in captivity. Males are known as boomers, females as does or blue fliers, and the young as joeys.

red lily—Nelumbo nucifera, grows in lowland wetlands. Its leaves are very large and stand erect above the water. Large, fragrant, deep-pink flowers appear between March and November.

red mahogany—any of several eucalypts.

red mallee—any of several mallee eucalypts.

red mangrovered mangroveRhizophora stylosa, a common and widespread mangrove, ranging across coastal Northern Australia from the Richmond River in New South Wales to Shark Bay in Western Australia. Red mangrove forms extensive zones around the shores of shallow, protected bays, estuaries and inlets where it prefers soft, well-drained, muddy soils. A dominant species of the lower tidal mangrove forest, it is commonly seen in pure stands along the lower tidal reaches of rivers and immediately behind the seaward fringe of mangroves. It is also seen in association with white mangrove and yellow mangrove, forming mixed stands toward the landward edge of areas where freshwater influence is minimal. In North Queensland, red mangrove may attain a height of 20m but elsewhere trees of 4m to 5m are more common. The main trunk is erect and covered by rough, reddish-brown bark. Stout, large, arching prop roots are a major characteristic of the species. These are branched and help to support the main trunk. Leaves are thick and leathery and may reach a length of 15cm and a width of 6cm. Colouration is dark green overall, with numerous, small, reddish-brown dots on the lower surface. Flowers are small, creamy white and occur in branching pairs. Generally, flowering occurs in winter. Later during summer, a single seeded, brown, oval-shaped, fleshy fruit appears. Seeds germinate on the tree. This results in the appearance of a long, green rounded root approximately 30cms in length which protrudes through the wall of the fruit to hang vertically beneath it. This is the first stage of the root system. Rhizophora is the best known of the salt excluder group of mangroves, eliminating salt at their roots as water is taken up. Excess salt which finds its way into the plant is dealt with by storage in the leaves. Salt is lost from the plant when the leaves die and fall from the tree. The timber of the red mangrove is hard and red to brown in colour. Overseas it is used for construction purposes and the bark is used for the tanning of nets. In Queensland, this species provides substantial habitats for wildlife and species of fish and crustaceans that have a high commercial and recreational value, for example barramundi and mud crabs. In Queensland, mangroves and all other marine plants are completely protected under the Fisheries Act 1994.

red morwongCheilodactylus fuscus, a fish that can be recognised by its colouration and extended lower pectoral fin rays. Adults are orange-brown to dark brown above and pale below. Small juveniles are silvery with dark bands crossing the upper sides and dorsal fin. Adults have large, fleshy lips and a forked caudal fin. There are horn-like bumps in front of the eyes. It grows to 65cm in length. Adults are usually seen in aggregations on rocky reefs to about 30m in depth. Juveniles live on algae-covered reefs. The red morwong occurs in warm temperate waters of Australia and New Zealand. In Australia it is known from southern Queensland to eastern Victoria, and is common in New South Wales. This species occasionally has a banded pattern and looks similar to the banded morwong.

red mulgaAcacia cyperophylla, a small, attractive tree with reddish curled bark and weeping foliage when young. Yellow flower spikes after rains. Frost tolerant. Native to Central Australia.

red ned—cheap red wine.

red ochre—a pigment important in Aboriginal ritual.

red pendaXanthostemon whitei, a very large tree up to 15m tall. New leaves are hairy. Yellow flowers are borne in clusters on ends of branches.

red ragger—a Communist.

red river gumred river gumEucalyptus camaldulensis, a massive tree (80-120ft tall, spread 30 to 50ft), weeping habit, spreading, evergreen, fast growth, Leaf color varies, sometimes more silvery than green. Flowers are creamy white or yellow; not ornamental; blooms in early summer. Fruit is pea-like capsule containing tiny (pepper-grain sized) seeds. Exfoliates bark to reveal distinctive mottled, multicolored trunk; trunk may be tan, gray or white. Self prunes by dropping branches; roots are aggressively invasive. Important timber, firewood, shelter belt, and honey tree. The wood, durable, easy to saw, yet resistant to termites, is widely used in Australia for strong, durable construction, interior finish, flooring, cabinetry, furniture, fenceposts, cross-ties, sometimes pulpwood. Aborigines made canoes from the bark and obtained water from the superficial roots, usually those circa 3cm in diameter. The roots were excavated or lifted to the soil surface and then the root was cut into segments, debarked, held vertically and blown into, the water then draining into the receptacle provided. Reported to be anesthetic, antiseptic, astringent, a folk remedy for colds, colic, coughs, diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhage, laryngalgia, laryngitis, pharyngitis, sore throat, spasm, trachalgia, and wounds.

red silky oakGrevillea banksii, typically a large, spreading shrub to around 3m. An upright form which reaches small tree proportions is found in areas around Townsville and Maryborough in Queensland while prostrate forms can be found along the central Queensland coast and adjacent islands. All forms have silvery-green, much-divided foliage and flowers in large clusters at the ends of branches. The flower colour is usually deep red but white forms are also known. Flowering usually occurs in spring although the commonly grown form may flower for much of the year.

Red Socks—Melbourne VFL football team.

red steer—fire, either intentionally lit to burn off, or a bushfire.

red stringybark—Eucalyptus macrohyncha, a large evergreen tree with a semi-compact, rounded crown. The bark is fibrous and grey on the outside and red-brown on the inside, on all branches. Red stringybark is a major pollen and honey tree of NSW and Victoria.

red tinglered tingle trees—unique eucalypts with a very shallow root structure, relying on buttresses at their base to remain upright. They do not taper and are broad all the way up. Even if trunks are hollowed by bushfire, the tree continues to live, and while that would indicate a toughness, recent years have shown just how fragile and sensitive the trees' roots are. A pathway has been constructed through the Valley of the Giants, including a boardwalk through a grove of veteran trees known as the Ancient Empire. It winds around, between and through the majestic trunks and you can see and touch the rough, red bark without damaging the trees' environment. Many of the tingles in the area are over 400 years old, reach 60m in height and 16m around the base. Grandma Tingle is thought to be 450 years old and its features look like a wizened face. King Tingle—the valley's tallest—reaches 65m.

red velvetfishGnathanacanthus goetzeei. While nestled amongst kelp fronds, the red velvetfish is not easily seen by divers. They are more active at night and, if you are lucky enough to come across one hunting for crabs and octopus on the seafloor, its red colouration is brilliant in the torchlight. In sunlight, by comparison, the fish is relatively dull, as red light is rapidly absorbed in seawater. The red colouration assists camouflage on deeper reefs. Red velvetfish have large, floppy fins, scaleless bodies and soft skin, and their spines are venomous. Growing to 46cm, the red velvetfish is found only in southern Australian waters.

red waratahTelopea speciosissima is the best known of Australia's four varieties of the waratah shrub. It bears up to 50 vivid red flower-heads simultaneously and grow to over 3 metres. It is native to New South Wales and is the state emblem. Other waratah colours are pink and white.

red wattlebirdred wattlebirdAnthochaera carunculat, a large (33cm—37cm), noisy honeyeater. The common name refers to the fleshy reddish wattle on the side of the neck. The plumage is grey-brown on the body, with prominent white streaks and yellow on the belly. The face is pale and the tail is long with a white-tip. It has several distinctive but unmusical calls including coughs, a harsh yac a yac and a loud chok. The red wattlebird is among the largest of the Australian honeyeaters, though in Tasmania it is replaced by the larger yellow wattlebird. The red wattlebird's range extends throughout the southern areas of the Australian mainland. It occurs in forests, woodlands and gardens, where it aggressively protects food-bearing plants from other honeyeater species. It feeds on nectar, which it obtains by probing flowers with its thin, curved bill. Some insects are also eaten, taken either from foliage or caught in mid-air. Berries and the honeydew produced by some insects add to the bird's diet. Red wattlebirds raise one or two broods in a season, which extends from July to December. Both sexes have been recorded sharing incubation duties, but often the female will do this alone. Both parents feed the two or three young, which leave the nest 15 days after hatching.

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