Australian Dictionary

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Sclerophyll Forest

Sclerophyll Brush, Eagle Bay, WA
by Sheila Thomson from London, England (Bush) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

School of the Air—a generic term for correspondence schools catering for the primary and early secondary education of children in remote and outback Australia. In these areas, the school-age population is too small for a conventional school to be viable. The first School of the Air lessons were officially broadcast from the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Adelaide on 8 June 1951. Each state of Australia that utilises this means of education has well documented reviews and overviews of the service. There are school of the air programmes in all states except Tasmania. School classes were conducted via shortwave radio from 1951 until 2003, after which most schools switched to wireless internet technologies to deliver lessons that include live one-way video feeds and clear two-way audio. Each student has direct contact with a teacher in a major inland town such as Broken Hill, Alice Springs or Meekatharra. Each student typically spends one hour per day receiving group or individual lessons from the teacher, and the rest of the day working through the assigned materials with a parent, older sibling or a hired home-stay tutor. Traditionally, the students received their course materials and returned their written work and projects to their hub centre using either the Royal Flying Doctor Service or infrequent and unreliable post office services. However, the extension of Internet services into the outback now enables more rapid review of each child's homework. As the children are in isolated situations, the School of the Air is frequently their first chance of socialization with children outside their immediate family. This is supplemented by 3 or 4 annual gatherings where the children travel to the school to spend one week with their teacher and classmates. Studies have shown that such education has a parity with if not better standard than traditional methods of schooling .

school-leaver—a child leaving school, especially at the minimum specified age (15) and without obtaining an HSC.

school-ship—a training-ship.

schoolie—1. school teacher. 2. school prawn.

schoolies' week—boisterous end-of-year fun for school-leavers.

sclerophyll—a Greek word meaning 'hard-leaved'. The hardness in the leaves comes from lignin and prevents the leaves from wilting in dry conditions. However, Australian sclerophyllous plants evolved in response to low levels of soil phosphorous, not to low levels of moisture. Phosphorous is essential for the proliferation of the living cells that are responsible for most plant growth. But sclerophyllous plants grow by laying down lignin and can continue to grow in places where phosphorous is scarce. Most Australian soils are low in phosphorous, and sclerophyllous plants are more common in Australia than in any other continent, especially in the families of plants that underwent a major radiation in Australia. These plants include eucalypts and tea-trees, banksias and grevilleas, boronias, native fuschias, wattles and peas.

sclerophyll forests—are of two types, dry and wet, both of which have a canopy of eucalypts. Dry sclerophyll forests are 10—30m tall and have a hard-leaved understorey, whereas wet sclerophyll forests are taller than 30m and have a soft-leaved understorey, such as tree ferns. Dry sclerophyll forest plants must survive on stored nutrients during the frequent dry periods. Sclerophyllous plants are more common in Australia than in any other continent, especially in the families of plants that underwent a major radiation in Australia. These plants include eucalypts and tea-trees, banksias and grevilleas, boronias, native fuchsias, wattles and peas. Sclerophyll forests occur in a band of terrain from southern Queensland to the south-west of Western Australia.

sclerophylly—the possession of leaves (or stems, if a plant is leafless) that are tough, hard, and usually fibrous with a thick cuticle (waxy coating). Silica is present in the epidermal walls of some species. Sclerophylly is found in some 20 plant families, mainly the Epacridaceae, the Proteaceae and the Myrtaceae, but is common in several other families, for example the Mimosaceae (in acacias with phyllodes rather than leaves), and peas and beans (family Fabaceae or Papilionaceae). Casuarinas and some genera of several other families (for example Exocarpos of the sandalwood family, Santalaceae) have leaves that are reduced to scales, with photosynthetic stems. Many monocotyledons are also sclerophyllous, including almost all grass trees (Xanthorrhoea), as well as some sedges (Cyperaceae), kangaroo paws and relatives (Haemodoraceae), the iris family (Iridaceae) and the sedge-like Xyridaceae. Sclerophylls are most numerous on sandy soils of low fertility in the higher rainfall areas, and there are two main centres of sclerophyllous species, the Sydney-Blue Mountains region and south-western Australia.

scoff-out—a delicious and abundant meal.

sconce—the head.

scone—1. a small, sweet or savoury cake of flour, fat and milk, baked quickly in an oven. 2. the head: e.g., I'll scone him if he does it again!

scone-gropers—young children.

score draw—a draw in football in which goals are scored.

score off/score points off—humiliate, especially verbally in repartee etc.

Scotch egg—a hard-boiled egg enclosed in sausage meat and fried.

Scotch fillet—ribeye steak.

Scotchman's drawback—to sit in the path of and inhale smoke from another's cigarette.

Scotchman's Hill—over the road from Flemington Racecourse.

Scotia Sanctuary—near Broken Hill in western New South Wales, established by Earth Sanctuaries Limited and since 2002 funded by the Commonwealth. Scotia will eventually fence in 65,000ha of arid mallee sand-dune country, straddling the border between New South Wales and South Australia. As is the case throughout the arid and semi-arid areas of Australia, most of Scotia 's original medium-sized mammal fauna is either extinct or regionally extinct. To address this situation AWC has initiated the Scotia Endangered Mammal Recovery Project, which will establish wild, self-sustaining populations of threatened mammal species, in the largest feral-free area on mainland Australia. The restoration of a significant proportion of the original mammal fauna to an area of semi-arid western New South Wales will represent an historic moment for wildlife conservation in Australia. Scotia maintains important populations of threatened species such as bilbies, numbat, bridled nail-tailed wallabies, black-eared miner, southern ningaui and painted burrowing frog. Scotia sanctuary is also significant for the presence of extensive areas of old-growth mallee, which is now rare and highly fragmented, but upon which many threatened fauna species are reliant.

scottie/scotty—1. (cap.) a Scottish person or terrier. 2. vexed; angry; irritable.

scrag—beat up, especially by wringing the neck of.

scrag-ends—the worst parts; left-overs.

Scraggers—Footscray VFL football team.

scrape acquaintance with—contrive to get to know (someone).

scratch along—make a living etc with difficulty.

scratch gravel—hurry.


Scrays—Footscray VFL football team.

screamer—(Australian Rules football) a spectacular mark.

screaming heebies/irrits/meemies/willies—anything that causes intense irritation, annoyance, frustration.

screw—1. mean or miserly person. 2. a worn-out horse. 3. a look.

screw (someone) to the wall—1. threaten (someone) with violence. 2. do wrong by, cheat, defraud (someone).

screwed—drunk; intoxicated.

scribbly gumEucalyptus racemosaracemosa, a small- to medium-sized tree, up to 20m tall. Smooth barked, with shedding bark of white, grey or yellow.Scribbles often found on the bark. clearly defined "scribbling" in a reddish or dark tone that stands out against the pale bark. This effect is the result of tunneling by the larvae of the scribbly gum moth. The leaves are 7-15cm long, 1-1.5cm wide, and greyish green on both sides of the leaf. White flowers form between August and September. Occurring on the poor sandstone soils in mid- to high-rainfall areas. Restricted and localised around Sydney. It ranges south from Pokolbin, east of the Great Dividing Range. Also known as narrow leaved scribbly gum, snappy gum.

scribbly gum mothOgmograptis scribula, a moth which lays its eggs between the old and new season's bark of gum-barked eucalypts. As the larva burrows between the bark layers, it leaves a tunnel that is revealed when the old bark falls away. These changes can be seen as a widening in the tunnel revealed as a scar on the bark surface. In December, the larvae tunnel to the surface in order to pupate and take wing. The adult moth is very small (1mm—2 mm in length) and so is rarely seen.

scrimpy—meagre; paltry.

scrip—a provisional certificate of money subscribed to a bank or company etc entitling the holder to a formal certificate and dividends.

script—a prescription; e.g., I have to take this script from my GP to the chemist now.

scrub—1. the country as opposed to the city: e.g., He sold up his business and lives in the scrub somewhere now. 2. a remote place. 3. cancel; do away with; discard.

scrub beefwoodStenocarpus salignus—small rainforest tree, bushy, with shiny leaves and umbels of bird-attracting, fragrant, creamy-white flowers. Flowers resemble those of Grevillea. Yields hard, heavy, reddish wood used in cabinetmaking. Also known as beefwood, red silky-oak.

scrub bloodwoodBaloghia inophylla, a medium tree growing to 15m, though it can often be seen beneath the rainforest canopy as a dense shrub. The bark contains a clear latex which quickly turns red on exposure to the air, hence the common name. The sap was used by early settlers as a tonic astringent and for staining furniture and marking convicts' clothing. Also it is unusual for a rainforest species in that the timber contains so much resin that it will burn when green. Creamy/white, showy flowers in terminal racemes; separate male and female flowers on same plant; perfumed, flowering from August to October. Sub-tropical rainforest and dry rain forest from the Illawarra region in NSW to north Queensland; Melanesia. Also known as brush bloodwood, ivory birch.

scrub cypress-pineCallitris preissii ssp. verrucosa, a small, stunted tree often with several trunks and rarely more than 6m high, foliage glaucous. Cones usually <25mm diameter, densely warted in New South Wales. Female cones broad-ovoid to depressed-globose, the warts mostly small, 1mm—2mm diameter, sometimes larger and more scattered. Usually grows in small clumps or as isolated trees. Found in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Also called mallee pine, sandhill pine.

scrub pythonMorelia kinghorni (formerly M. amethistina kinghorni), yellow-brown or purple-brown crossbars and blotches on cream to brown body. Large, symmetrical head plates. Head wider than neck. Heavily pitted lips. Long teeth. Large, slender body. Able to grow 20 feet in length, the scrub python is one of the largest snakes on the Australian continent—living in a variety of habitats, including dry woods, open savanna and wet tropical rainforest. Eats bats, wallabies and other small mammals. They may also take the occasional ground-dwelling bird or kangaroo.

scrub she-oak—(see: swamp she-oak).

scrub up a treat—(of a person) look surprisingly good in fine clothes.

scrub-birds—a small Australasian family composed of just two species in the genus Atrichornis: the rufous scrub-bird and the noisy scrub-bird. Scrub-birds are an ancient family that are apparently most closely related to lyrebirds. The rufous scrub-bird is found only in thick undergrowth in forests of the coastal mountains of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. The noisy scrub-bird is limited to thick coastal scrub in extreme south-western Australia, where it is endangered. It requires a dense layer of ground cover at least 1m high, abundant leaf litter (in which they feed), and a moist microclimate at ground level. Even when Europeans first arrived, the distribution of the rufous scrub-bird was that of a relict species, fragmented populations only surviving in patches of suitable country.

scrub-robin—an Australian singing bird of the genus Drymodes, the southern scrub-robin, Drymodes brunneopygia, and northern scrub-robin, Drymodes superciliaris. Although the details remain uncertain, the overall picture is clear: despite the striking similarity between the Australasian robins and the true robins of Europe, their genetic relationship is quite distant. The Petroicidae are more closely related to the crows and jays than to the group of northern hemisphere birds which resemble them in appearance, diet, habits and even coloration.

scruff—1. shabby, untidy, slovenly person. 2. to pluck the feathers from a fowl.

scruff-nut—1. shabby, untidy, slovenly, unsophisticated person. 2. person with untidy, unkempt hair.

scrum—1. (rugby football) an arrangement of the forwards of each team in two opposing groups, each with arms interlocked and heads down, with the ball thrown in between them to restart play. 2. a milling crowd.

scrum-half—a half-back who puts the ball into the scrum.

scunge—1. dirty, slovenly person. 2. mess; dirt; rubbish; filth.

scungy—messy; dirty; untidy; unpleasant.

scupper—to sink a boat on purpose.

sea change—a notable or unexpected transformation.

sea cucumberSclerodactyla holothuroid, a marine animal that lives in sandy and muddy areas. Sea cucumbers, which have leathery skins, can be found lying on the sand at low tide. Their length varies from 10cm to 5 cm and their bodies are mainly dull brown or black in colour. Most sea cucumbers feed on dead plant and animal material in the sand. The sand is taken in through the mouth, the detritus digested and the clean sand expelled through the anus. Others use feather-like arms to filter food from the surrounding seawater. Sea cucumbers were once the basis for an important international fishery. Macassan from the island of Sulawesi in the Javanese archipelago used to come to northern Australia to collect them. After processing, they would be sold as bèche-de-mer. In Japan today there is a huge market for fresh sea cucumber, or namako, which is consumed after being cured with vinegar. In Malaysia, an extract of the boiled skin of a sea cucumber is drunk as a tonic, while in China and other Asian nations dried sea cucumber is used to flavour soups and stir-fries. In traditional Chinese medicine, the sea cucumber is valued for its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, and as an aphrodisiac.

Sea Eagles—Manly Warringah New South Wales Rugby League football team.

sea hare—an Aplysia species which periodically appears in great numbers on the seagrass beds of Westernport. Here, they mate and lay tangled threads of yellow egg ribbons that resemble noodles, amongst the seagrass fronds. They have an exceptional talent for reproduction, with a single animal being a male at its front end and a female at its rear. This enables sea hares to form group-mating chains that result in the production of millions of eggs. Sea hares are herbivorous, eating seaweeds and seagrasses. Some species can take on the colour of the species that they are eating. The name sea hare is imaginatively drawn from the resemblance of the animal’s eyespots to the large ears of the hare. The whole life cycle of a sea hare occurs within one year.

sea mullet—the marine, estuarine, and freshwater fish Mugil cephalus of southern Australia.

sea rocketCakile maritima, a fleshy-leaved annual plant of the coastal dunes. This plant forms as a low mound. Its shoots tolerate burial by drifting sand. Its flowers are typically lavender, with each flower having four petals.

sea rushJuncus kraussii, a perennial, erect, spiny rush up to 130cm tall with cylindrical stems. Flowers are reddish-brown in colour and flowering occurs in spring-early summer. Around Lake Illawarra the species is found occasionally as isolated patches in the middle saltmarsh zone, but usually occupies the upper saltmarsh zone. Juncus is often associated with the common reed, usually occupying the back fringe of the Phragmites belt.

sea stack—the eroded remnant of a coastal cliff, usually exhibiting steep sides (e.g., the Twelve Apostles).

seagrass—flowering plants that live underwater. They get their energy from sunlight through photosynthesis like most algae and terrestrial plants. Much of the oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere is produced by phytoplankton in the ocean. Seagrass meadows provide food, shelter, and breeding and nursery grounds for many species of fish. Seagrass meadows and mangroves are the foundation of the ecological web of life in coastal marine areas. In Western Australia, where mangroves are only common from Shark Bay northwards, seagrasses play a major part in supporting the marine web of life. Australia has the highest diversity of seagrasses in the world, with 37 species. The largest area of seagrasses in the world, the Wooramel seagrass bed, is also found in Shark Bay. It covers 1000km², has taken 5000 years to develop, and supports 10,000 dugongs, which feed exclusively on seagrasses. It is endangered worldwide, and is declining in Australia.

sealed road—paved road.

sealers—the practise of hunting seals for food and skins by pre-industrial societies has a long history, however, it was not until the eighteenth century that the large-scale commercial exploitation of seals commenced. From the late 1700s the demands of the industrial revolution increased the market for both seal and whale oil for lighting, lubrication of machinery and some manufacturing processes. Sealers usually took advantage of the animal's behavioural patterns, as seals tended to congregate in large numbers in restricted areas during their breeding seasons. Fur seals were herded together and kept from escaping to the sea while they were clubbed to death. The animals were skinned immediately and the pelts were salted and usually stored in timber casks. The larger and slower elephant seals were clubbed and lanced before being stripped of their blubber, which was cut into pieces and rendered down in large metal cauldrons known as trypots. The resulting oil was allowed to cool before being run into casks, ready for shipping. In Australasian waters the sealing industry commenced in Bass Strait in 1798 and rapidly spread to Tasmania and along the southern coasts of the mainland as far as Western Australia. The industry was largely carried out by Sydney-based gangs, and the shipment of seal skins and oil to China became the first viable export from the new colony. By 1810 the Bass Strait industry had largely collapsed and the Sydney and Hobart sealing vessels were exploring and working further afield towards New Zealand and its southern islands.

Sealers Cove—on 3 December 1797, George Bass left Sydney (then Port Jackson) in an open 9m whaleboat, with a crew of six oarsmen. They travelled south, charting 480km of coastline for the first time, and on their return had completed a journey of 1930km. Records note that on 2 January 1798, George Bass and his crew first sighted Wilsons Promontory, and were forced by the weather to shelter in a cove. Bass recognized the value of the cove as able to provide a sheltered anchorage from the often violent south-westerly winds; and by 1842, fur sealers had established a camp in the cove. Sealers Cove is situated on the eastern coastline of Wilsons Promontory, a short distance above Refuge Cove. Both these coves were well known to sealers and seafarers, not only for their shelter but because of the fresh water that was available from a number of small creeks that run into these coves. Following the sealers, farmers later grazed their cattle at Sealers Cove for a short while, and timber cutting also took place around the cove. By 1925, huts were built at Sealers Cove, and today the cove is a popular resting point for those who venture along 'The Great Prom Walk'.

secko—sexual pervert.

second—transfer a worker to other employment or to another position.

second sight—the faculty for seeing into the future; clairvoyance.

second string to (one's) bow—something kept in reserve; an alternative in case (one's) initial plan fails; two resources.

second-rate citizen—inferior person.

secondary penal colony—(hist.) a penal colony for 'hardened' convicts (secondary offenders since arriving in the colony of New South Wales).

secondary (soil) salinity—a consequence of European agricultural practices on dryland soils underlain by aquifers. Clearing of native vegetation induces changes in the rate of groundwater, due to a rise in the water table level.

secret ballot—a system in which votes are cast privately and without the possibility of knowing for whom individual people voted. It is known in the United States as the Australian ballot because it was first introduced in Victoria and South Australia in 1856.

Secretaries' Group on Indigenous Issues—part of the federal government's new governance and advisory structure for Indigenous affairs. The group provides advice and support to the Ministerial Taskforce on Indigenous Affairs. It is composed of heads of government departments administering the federal government's Indigenous programs. The group is chaired by the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and meets once a month. The Secretaries' Group is also to lead co-ordination across government agencies and will prepare a public annual report examining the outcomes of Indigenous programs. Its work will be structured around the priorities set out by the Ministerial Task Force.

sedges—grasses of either the Cyperaceae or Restionaceae genus: coarse, rush-like or flag-like plants growing in wet places. Sedges are often associated with permanently waterlogged to periodically wet and damp areas, mostly on sands or saline or acid soils.

see a man about a dog—1. euphemism for urination; to use the lavatory (especially of men). 2. to depart, leave, without telling.

see a star about a twinkle—euphemism for urination; to use the lavatory (especially of women).

see daylight through (someone's) ears—said of a person who is stupid, lacking in intelligence.

see (someone) out—to outlive (someone).

see the back of (someone)—be rid of (someone).

see with half an eye—realise immediately; perceive the obvious.

see you in the soup—a form of farewell; good-bye.

Seisa—a Torres Strait Islander community that was initially part of the Bamaga settlement. By 1954, the community had been relocated to its present site. Then a family group consisting of six brothers established their own settlement at what was then called Red Island Point. This settlement was created as its own DOGIT council in 1984. Seisa is a small community with a heavy emphasis on economic development through tourism. The community has an estimated population of 139 (as of June 2001), with about 88 per cent of the total population being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin.

selectors—(cricket etc) the officials who select the members of a team for an upcoming game.

self-raising flour—flour for baking, with a leavening agent already included, so that it's not necessary to add baking powder, soda or yeast.

sell a dummy—(Australian Rules football) act of feinting at the ball, dummying: e.g., He really sold an outrageous dummy to his opponent.

Selwyn Range—(also known as the Isa Highlands) is a rugged mountain range near Mount Isa and Cloncurry in north-west Queensland. .composed largely of Proterozoic metamorphic rocks. It is drained in the north by the Williams and Fullarton rivers, which run into the Gulf of Carpentaria, and in the south by the McKinlay River and its tributary, Boorama Creek which drain also into the Gulf of Carpentaria. The climate of the Selwyn Range is tropical, monsoonal and semi-arid, with an erratic, mainly summer, annual rainfall of 380 mm. Vegetation cover is low eucalypt woodland and spinifex grassland. The area is heavily mineralised, containing copper, gold, lead, and zinc, and is important for mining. In 1923 one of those prospectors, John Miles, discovered the silver lead ore that created the world-famous Mount Isa mine. It was formerly the home of the Kalkadoon people.

semi-arid woodlands—rainfall and geology are the dominant factors in the distribution pattern of semi-arid woodlands. Eucalypt woodlands and shrub vegetation of sandplains are typical throughout this region. The open nature of the woodlands allows a diverse understory and ground cover consisting of small shrubs, such as saltbush, bluebush and spinifex, herbs and grasses. Following rain in the semi-arid woodlands, extensive flowering of everlasting daisies and other wild flowers can occur.

Senate—the upper House of the Parliament of Australia. The Senate has 76 Senators, twelve from each of the six states and two each from the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. Senators are elected for six-year terms, twice the length of the terms for members of the House of Representatives. The Senate has a continuous but rotating membership, with half of the membership of the Senate being appointed every three years. This is to ensure the Senate’s independence of the executive government, on whose advice the Governor-General would usually act when dissolving a house of Parliament. The only way in which the fixed six-year term of Senators may be shortened is by a double dissolution.

send down—1. rusticate or expel from university. 2. sentence to imprisonment. 3. (cricket) bowl (a ball or an over).

send her down Hughie—make it rain.

send (someone) a line—write a letter to (someone).

send (someone) broke—to cause (someone) to run out of money: e.g., The way hubby spends on the pokies, it's sending us broke.

send (someone) packing—dismiss (someone) summarily.

send (someone) to Coventry—refuse to associate with or speak to a person.

seppo/septic/septic tank—(rhyming slang) Yank; an American person.

serious as a whore at a christening—not very serious at all.

serjeant-at-arms—an official of a court or city or parliament, with ceremonial duties.

serjeant-at-law—a barrister of the highest rank.

serrated tussock—the introduced South American grass Nassella trichotoma, a weed of pasture in much of south-eastern Australia.

servant of the Crown—(hist.) a convict.

serve—a severe rebe, reprimand, scolding: e.g., He got a real serve from Mum for what he did.

serviettes—table napkins.

session—1. a steady drinking bout. 2. the opening hours of a pub, especially on a Sunday during restricted trading.

set on a bum steer—put on the wrong track or course of action through false suggestion; mislead into a fruitless course of action.

set (one's) face against—oppose or resist with determination.

set (one's) heart at rest—stop worrying; ease (one's) anxieties.

set scrum—(Rugby football) a scrum ordered by the referee.

set (someone) on (his/her) feet—1. make (someone) financially independent. 2. help (someone) towards independence, especially after difficult or trying times.

set the cat among the pigeons—create trouble, turmoil, chaos, activity.

set-to—fight; argument.

settle Gretel—calm down; chill out.

settle (someone's) hash—deal with and subdue a person.

settlement—(hist.) under international law of the 19th century, the annexation of territory by means of colonisation. Settlement was initially regarded as applicable only to unoccupied territory. The annexation of territory by settlement came, however, to be recognised as applying to territory newly discovered by any of the European powers, inhabited solely by native peoples, and not subject to the jurisdiction of another European State.

Settlement Island—(see: Sarah Island).

Settlement Point—in 1833, the remnants of the Tasmanian Aborigines (at that time, a mere 160 people) were exiled to live at Settlement Point on Flinders Island, with the promise of protection from the abuses of white settlers. The Aborigines that were herded into inadequately sized huts renamed the settlement Wybalenna, meaning ‘black man’s houses’. By 1847 and following many deaths, the settlement was deemed as a failure and was abandoned. The remaining 45 Aborigines were shunted to Oyster Cove on the east coast of Tasmania. By 1855 there were only 16 people left and by 1869, only Truganini had survived the ‘civilizing’ effects of these incarcerations.

settler's clock—a kookaburra.

Seven Mile Beach National Park—898ha of coastal land in a narrow strip between the villages of Shoalhaven Heads and Gerroa. The area is used extensively for studying the characteristics and development of sand dunes and their vegetation. The park is no more than 1.2km across at its widest, and is bordered by swampland to the west. Radiating outwards from the beach are spinifex, coast wattle, tea tree, coast banksia, and a hinterland forest of she-oaks, bangalay, saw banksia, southern mahogany and burrawangs. The park, which is one of the smallest in New South Wales, is dominated by coastal heath containing fire-resistant flora such as banksias and grass trees. Scribbly gum and paperbarks are also in evidence. Located 137km south of Sydney and 6km south of Gerringong.

sex, Bex and Fourex—catchphrase of anyone or pertaining to anyone who main interest in life revolves around the three mentioned subjects (see: Bex, Fourex).

SFA—(Sweet Fanny Adams) nothing at all or very little.

shadow—(of politics) denoting members of a political party in opposition who are holding responsibilities parallel to those of the government (e.g., shadow treasurer, shadow minister, shadow cabinet).

shadow cabinet—(of politics) a group of members from the main opposition party (or coalition of parties) in the Parliament. They act as spokespersons for the opposition on the main areas of government.

shadow minister—(of politics) a member of the main opposition party or parties in a parliament, who is a party spokesperson in an area matching the responsibility of a minister.

shagged—tired; exhausted.

shaggle-baggle—friendly nick-name among friends.

shags—the family of Phalacrocoracidae can be divided into two groups: the cormorants and the shags. The division into these two groups is based on ecological, behavioral and physiological characteristics. All cormorants, shags and darters have a small bone at the back of the skull, the occipital style. This bone is flexibly attached to the skull and is supposed to have a function for the grasping ability of these birds. The ramphotecal coating of the bills of the shags are divided in plates, very much like those of the tubenoses, without visible nostrils. The taxonomy of the shags is still a subject of discussion in several species, such as the closely related forms of the imperial and king shag. Shags are always coastal and vary not as much in size as the true cormorants. They are all more or less medium sized, compared with the true cormorants.

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