Australian Dictionary

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Australia Decoded

Torres Strait Islanders

Tjapai Aboriginal Cultural Park—began in 1987 as a small dance theatre company in Kuranda, and today has evolved into Tjapai Aboriginal Cultural Park, a uniquely authentic $9 million enterprise designed to showcase a 40,000-year-old culture. The experience combines the latest in theatrics and technology with interactive activities with local Aborigines, featuring traditional culture and customs, presented for today’s traveller by the Djabugay, the people of the rainforest, who themselves have a majority shareholding in the park. Tjapai is a partnership between the long-term employees, the Tjapai-speaking communities and several private business people, with the indigenous shareholders holding just over 50% of the company. The land that Tjapai Aboriginal Cultural Park stands on is owned by the Djabugay and Iranydji people, and is the largest private enterprise employer of Aboriginal people in Australia. There are two spellings of Tjapai: Djabugay is the one adopted by the Djabugay Tribal Aboriginal Corporation, while the spelling Tjapai is used for the company and the brand name.

Tjurkurpa—the body of rules that the Anangu use to govern society and manage their land. It dictates correct procedures for dealing with problems, and penalties for breaking the Law. The elder people recount, maintain and pass on this knowledge through stories, rituals, ceremonies, songs, dances and art. Tjurkurpa is recorded in various designs and paintings, such as the dot paintings of the Western Desert. These designs are often sacred, so that their use is restricted to specific groups or individuals. Anangu knowledge of the land, and the behaviour and distribution of plants and animals, is based on their knowledge of Tjurpa. With the knowledge come responsibilities and obligations to care for the land and for each other in the proper way.

tjurunga—a term applied to objects of religious significance by Central Australian Arrernte clan. Generally speaking, tjurunga denote sacred stone or wooden objects possessed by private or group owners, together with associate legends, chants and ceremonies. They are amongst the very few forms of property which may be owned legitimately by individual persons in Central Australian Aboriginal culture. The ownership of sacred tjurunga amongst the Arrernte groups was determined largely by the conception site of every individual member of a patrilineal totemic clan. In many myths, the ancestors themselves are said to have used them and stored them away as their most treasured possessions. Such myths emphasise the life-holding magical properties of these tjurunga. The acquisition of sufficient knowledge to allow possession of personal tjurunga was long, difficult and sometimes extremely painful. Practices differed amongst the various groups. Strehlow describes how the men from the Northern, Southern and western Arrernte groups were put on probation for several years after their last initiations. The old men would carefully note a young man's conduct. He had to be respectful towards his elders; he had to be attentive to their advice in all things. He would know the value of silence in ceremonial matters: no account of his past experiences could be spoken within the hearing of women and children. His own marriage had to conform to the laws of the group. The tjurunga were visible embodiments of some part of the fertility of the great ancestor of the totem in question; the body of the ancestor merely undergoes a transmutation into something that will weather all the assaults of time, change and decay. In 1933, Strehlow noted that after the advent of white men to Central Australia, the young men employed by the foreign intruders were watched very closely by the old men of their group. In many cases, unless the young men were outstandingly generous in their gifts towards their elders, no ceremonies or chants of power and importance were handed on to this unworthy younger generation. And thus, with the death of the old men such chants and ceremonies passed into oblivion.

T.M.—tailor-made—a commercially produced cigarette as opposed to a hand-rolled one.

to and from—(rhyming slang) pom.

to the manor born—of the wealthy upper class.

toad-in-the-hole—sausages or other meat baked in batter.

toadfishSpheroides hamiltoni, a common species of Australia's coastal streams, estuaries and inlets; it grows to 130mm. It is adept at changing its coloration to match its surroundings, the body varying from the palest brown with a dappling of darker spots to dull greenish with dark cross-bands and blotchings. It is one of the few fish that allow themselves to be stranded on estuarine flats with the receding tide; with the pectoral fins it winnows a shallow nest in which it lies to await the rising tide. Its powerful, parrot-like beak equips it to feed on soldier-crabs that move through the broad, shallow rivulets crossing the tidal sand-flats. Children derive enjoyment from rolling these little fish underfoot, inflating them to grotesque balloons. The related giant toadfish, or silver-cheeked toadfish merits its common name; it grows to 960mm and is notable for its habit of grinding together its massive teeth, set in jaws powerful enough to shear through the shank of a 4/0 hook. The giant toadfish is greenish in colour, profusely speckled with dark-brown spots. A broad bright silvery band runs along the sides, and a triangular silver spot is located before the eye.


Toby Tosspot—prior to Federation in 1900, a great deal of politicising was underway in regards to who would be the Australia's first Prime Minister. The candidate who emerged was an alcoholic. Affectionately known as "Toby Tosspot" due to his fondness for a drink, Edmond Barton's qualifications for the job were noted by his biographer who wrote: "A public man who shouldered these responsibilities needed an ample appetite and a good capacity for alcohol. Barton was able to do justice to all these forms of hospitality".

toddle round—take a casual or leisurely walk.

toe—(sport) speed.

toe jam—tinea; any dirt, filth or dry skin from the feet.

toerag—a term of contempt for a person.

toey—1. keen; anxious to go, start, do something; excitable: e.g., He's been toey ever since we said we'd take him to the circus. 2. bad-tempered; touchy; irritable. 3. (of a car, horse etc) fast; excellent in speed and performance.

toey as a Roman sandal—bad-tempered; touchy; irritable.

toff—person of the well-dressed, wealthy upper class.

toffee-nosed—pretentious; snobbish; haughty.

toffy—of the wealthy; plush; posh; upper class.

togs—1. bathing suit. 2. clothes.

Tolpuddle Martyrs—a group of 19th century Dorset, England, agricultural labourers who were arrested for and convicted of swearing a secret oath as members of the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers. The rules of the society show it was clearly structured as a friendly society and operated as a trade-specific benefit society. But at the time, friendly societies had strong elements of what are now considered to be the predominant role of trade unions. The Tolpuddle Martyrs were subsequently sentenced to transportation to Australia. In 1824/5 the Combination Acts, which made 'combining' or organising in order to gain better working conditions illegal, had been repealed, so trade unions were no longer illegal. In 1832, the year of a Reform Act which extended the vote in England but did not grant universal suffrage, six men from Tolpuddle in Dorset founded the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers to protest against the gradual lowering of agricultural wages in the 1830s caused by the surplus supply of labour in an era when mechanisation was beginning to have an impact on agricultural working practices for the first time. This was a particular problem in remote parts of southern England, such as Dorset, where farmers did not have to compete with the higher wages paid to workers in London and in the northern towns experiencing the Industrial Revolution. They refused to work for less than 10 shillings a week, although by this time wages had been reduced to seven shillings a week and were due to be further reduced to six shillings. The society, led by George Loveless, a Methodist local preacher, met in the house of Thomas Standfield. In 1834 James Frampton, a local landowner, wrote to the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, to complain about the union, invoking an obscure law from 1797 prohibiting people from swearing oaths to each other, which the members of the Friendly Society had done. James Brine, James Hammett, George Loveless, George's brother James Loveless, George's brother in-law Thomas Standfield, and Thomas's son John Standfield were arrested, tried before Judge Baron John Williams in R v Lovelass and Others. They were found guilty, and transported to Australia. They became popular heroes and 800,000 signatures were collected for their release. Their supporters organised a political march, one of the first successful marches in the , and all, except James Hammett (who had a previous criminal record for theft) were released in 1836, with the support of Lord John Russell, who had recently become Home Secretary. Four of the six returned to England, disembarking at Plymouth, a popular stopping point for transportation ships. A plaque next to the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth's historic Barbican area commemorates this. Hammett was released in 1837. Meanwhile the others moved, first to Essex, then to London, Ontario, where there is now a monument in their honour and an affordable housing co-op / trade union complex named after them. They are buried in a small cemetery on Fanshawe Park Road East in London, Ontario. James Brine is buried in St. Marys Cemetery, St. Marys, Ontario. He died in 1902, having lived in nearby Blanshard Township since 1868. Hammett remained in Tolpuddle and died in the Dorchester workhouse in 1891.

tom—a prostitute's client; john.

tomato puree—tomato sauce.

tomato sauce—ketchup; catsup.

tombolo—a spit that connects the mainland and an island (it has a beach on each of its sides).

tombstone teeth—protruding teeth; buckteeth.

ton up—(cricket) 100 runs.

tongue like a viper—the ability to speak extremely harshly, cruelly, sarcastically.

tonk—(cricket ) hit a ball high in the air.

tonne—a metric ton equal to 1,000 kg.

too easy—not a problem; no worries.

too right!—emphatically yes!

too-hard basket—an imaginary place to file matters that are too difficult to deal or cope with at present: e.g., I think the body corporate has put that matter in the too-hard basket.

Toogimbie Indigenous Protected Area—Toogimbie Station is one of three properties owned by the Nari Nari Tribal Council that, since the introduction of farming to the area in the late 1800s, had been used exclusively for pastoral/ agricultural purposes. These stations are located approximately 40km west of Hay, in south-central New South Wales. The Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) purchased the three properties in 2000 and the Nari Nari Tribal Council (NNTC) took control shortly thereafter. The Toogimbie IPA encompasses about 4,600ha in total. The Nari Nari Nation is a sub-clan of the Wiradjuri Nation, which is centred around Wagga Wagga, and being a small group, much history has been lost, as the people were assimilated into European society. The traditional life of Aboriginal people in the region revolves around the wetlands, which are home to totem animals and traditional medicines. These sites were traditionally used as camps, middens and burial places. The Hay area was part of a major trade route, creating a vast social and cultural network which spanned broad areas. Evidence of trade (rocks and shells) and of camps and burials (skeletal remains) have been found in these mounds. Toogimbie is generally flat land comprising the riparian zone and adjacent floodplain area, and to the south the scalded plains for which Hay is famous. The total area of the wetlands, characterised by lignum vegetation, is approximately 5,000 acres, and they front onto the Murrumbidgee River. Toogimbie boasts a wide variety of habitat types, including lignum, cottonbush, red gum, sand hills, black box and scalded plains. Plains wanderers are known to inhabit the area surrounding Hay, and there have been unconfirmed sightings of the small bird on Toogimbie. The previous pastoral use of the declared area has caused massive changes in the ecosystem and species groups in the area. Managed intervention, such as wetland inundation, revegetation works and feral control will be essential to enable the recovery of the land.

Toonumbar Park—comprising the rainforests of Dome Mountain and the Murray Scrub. These forests contain significant areas of subtropical and temperate rainforest, and are listed with other nearby National Parks such as the Border Ranges and Lamington National Parks as part of the World Heritage Central Eastern Rainforest Reserve of Australia. Much of the complexity of the region is due to activity associated with the Focal Peak volcano, which was active some 23 million years ago. The reservoir of Toonumbar Dam is a sizeable 11,000 megalitre holding. A boat ramp allows for easy launching of anything that floats. Platypus, lyrebirds and koalas are known for their discerning choice of habitat.

toot for—barrack for; support.

tooth-billed bowerbirdAiluroedus dentirostris, a medium-sized, approximately 27cm long, stocky, olive-brown bowerbird with brown-streaked buffish-white below, grey feet, brown iris and unique, tooth-like bill. Both sexes are similar, however the female is slightly smaller than the male. It is the only member in the monotypic genus Scenopoeetes. An Australian endemic, the tooth-billed bowerbird is distributed to mountain forests of north-east Queensland. Its diet consists mainly of fruits and young leaves of forest trees. The male is polygamous and builds the simplest bower of all the bowerbirds, consisting of a display-court or 'stage-type bower', decorated with fresh green leaves laid with the pale underside uppermost. The leaves are collected by the male by chewing through the leaf stalk, and old leaves are removed from the display-court. He also mimics all the sounds of the rainforest in his attempts to court the females. The display-court consists of a cleared area containing at least one tree trunk used by the male for perching. Upon the approach of a female the male drops to the ground and displays. What the male lacks in bower-building he makes up for in mimicry. Depending on his skill, an individual male tooth-billed bowerbird may mate with all of the females or none of them; either way, he will still maintain his stage for the whole of the season. A common species in its limited habitat range, the tooth-billed bowerbird is evaluated as of least concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Also known as stagemaker bowerbird, tooth-billed catbird.

tootle off—go; depart; leave.


Toowoomba—with a population of nearly 90,000 people, Australia's second largest inland city after Canberra, the nation's capital. The city sits on the crest of the Great Dividing Range, around 700 metres above sea level. Its reputation as 'The Garden City' is highlighted during the Australian Carnival of Flowers festival held in September each year. Toowoomba boasts a dry winter and wet summer with four distinct seasons. Toowoomba enjoys a prosperity which is strong but stable. Although somewhat exposed to the highs and lows of the rural sector, Toowoomba has a substantial manufacturing and supply industry, a major education sector and a highly competitive retail industry. Major products include beef, pork, cotton and grain. The city is the nation's leading location for secondary boarding schools with many Catholic, independent and Christian day and boarding Schools. Toowoomba ranks as having one of the lowest costs of living in Australia.

Top End—a geographical region encompassing the northernmost section of the Northern Territory, which is the second northernmost part of the Australian continent. It covers a rather vaguely defined area of perhaps 400,000km2 behind the northern coast from the Northern Territory capital of Darwin across to Arnhem Land with the Indian Ocean on the west, the Arafura Sea to the north, and the Gulf of Carpentaria to the east, and with the almost waterless semi-arid interior of Australia to the south, beyond the huge Kakadu National Park. The Top End contains both of the Territory's cities and some of its major towns, Darwin, Palmerston and Katherine. The well-known town of Alice Springs is located further south, in the arid southern part of the Northern Territory, sometimes referred to by Australians as the Red Centre. The landscape is relatively flat with river floodplains and grasslands with eucalyptus trees along with rocky areas and patches of rainforest, and in western Arnhem Land a high rugged sandstone plateau cut through with gorges, much of which is in Kakadu National Park. The rivers that form the wetlands include the South and East Alligator Rivers, Mary River, and the Glyde River. The climate is tropical monsoon with a wet and dry season, bringing the highest rainfall in northern Australia (over 1,200mm per year). Temperatures do not fluctuate widely throughout the year. There are a number of islands off the Top End coast including the Tiwi Islands (Bathurst Island and Melville Island), and Groote Eylandt as well as many smaller ones. Most savanna in Australia is used for grazing livestock, but in this far north, vast areas of grassland are in their original state and dotted with Darwin stringybark and Darwin woollybutt eucalyptus trees; these grasslands are a unique and highly important ecoregion. The sandstone plateau area of the ecoregion is a particularly rich centre of biodiversity supporting a unique heathland flora. Much of the Top End is within the Arnhem Land tropical savanna ecoregion, which to the south merges into the semi-arid mulga scrubland, mallee, and sand dunes of the centre (see Carpentaria, Kimberly, and Ord Victoria Plain). The transition is gradual, and the demarcation line that divides the Top End from the centre is arbitrary. This area is home to unique wildlife. The rivers and estuaries are home to large populations of both saltwater and freshwater crocodiles, as well as bull sharks, sawfish, and dugongs. The wetlands are a rich habitat vital to bird migration and home to large populations of birds, including the world's largest breeding colony of magpie geese, as well as large numbers of rodents and snakes. Endemic species of the Top End include the Woodward's wallaroo, Oenpelli python, chestnut-quilled rock-pigeon, Arnhem Land rock rat, and several species of skinks. Other reptiles include frill-necked lizards and large monitor lizards (known locally as goannas). Snakes include the olive python, death adder (Acanthophis), mulga, water python (Liasis fuscus), and various others. The plateau is home to many of these endemics, especially invertebrates, fish, and frogs, including, for example, hundreds of species of ants. The offshore islands are home to unique subspecies of some of this wildlife. The landscape is well preserved and most of the area is traditionally managed by Aboriginal land trusts, including Kakadu, which is Australia's largest national park and a World Heritage Site. Although some populations have declined, there have been no major extinctions of wildlife in this area. Darwin, though, is a growing city and a base for agriculture, tourism and mining, all of which threaten habitats. Introduced plants and animals, such as the water buffalo, are also changing natural habitats, and there has been criticism of the way the local population has changed the fire regimes used to control the bush foliage, in which large areas are burnt each year and allowed to renew. Also there was a large Aboriginal trade in that area which has mostly settled down.

Top End mob—a number of loosely affiliated tribes from the upper Mitchell region, beyond Kowanyama. The Top End mob includes the Kungen, Oykangand and Olkola tribes.

Top End Orogeny—a major mountain-building event that occurred in the Kakadu region about eighteen hundred million years ago. The resultant layered sequence of volcanic and sedimentary rocks was ultimately changed under conditions of extreme heat and pressure into schist, gneiss, quartzite and marble. These ancient rocks contain the uranium-bearing bed referred to as the Cahill Formation, source of the Ranger, Koongarra and Jabila deposits. Located in the Alligator Rivers region, Northern Territory.

top-drawer/shelf—excellent; first-class.

topknot pigeon—a crested pigeon.

topside mince—minced beef; lean ground beef (hamburger).

Torbay—a scenic area between the towns of Albany and Denmark in the Northern Territory, and home to the much-celebrated Bibulmun Track. Much of the area was once involved in the timber industry, in colonial times, as well as the whaling trade. Torbay has remained a fishing centre, and whales can still be seen offshore, during their migrations.

Torbay Head—the southernmost point in Western Australia, and a key feature of West Cape Howe National Park. Located 30km west of Albany, Northern Territory.

Torbay Inlet—a lagoon that includes the lakes Powell and Manarup as well as both the Five-Mile and Seven-Mile swamps. The swamp valley between Torbay Inlet and the Princess Royal Harbour was developed for agriculture in the late 19th century. Much of the land surrounding Torbay Inlet is only 0.5 to 1m above sea level, and the land was periodically inundated by saltwater that flooded back up the estuary. Drains were dug to drain a series of swamps to the east of Lake Powell into Lake Manarup, which in turn flows into Torbay Inlet. The effect this had on Seven-Mile Swamp was that the exposure of the soil to air by drainage and cultivation caused the oxidation of iron pyrite in the soil, which rendered the land acidic and infertile. The Torbay Inlet and its drainage area, the Lake Powell catchment, are together one of the most severely altered river systems on the south coast.

torch—a flashlight.

Torndirrup National Park—composed of three major rock types, the oldest of which pre-dates almost all life on earth—taking its current form between 1300 and 1600 million years ago. These gneisses were formed in the second half of our planet's geological history, which began 4500 million years ago. When the gneisses were formed, Australia was separated from Antarctica. However, over many millions of years, the two continents moved together and began to collide, finally finishing their collision around 1160 million years ago. At the time of collision, rocks at the base of the Earth's crust, between the two continents, began to slowly melt and rise. This material then cooled, forming a granitic link between the continents. This result is still visible today, within the Torndirrup National Park. Torndirrup is the name of the Aboriginal clan that once lived on the peninsula and to the west of what is now Albany. Torndirrup National Park is located 10 km south of Albany.

Torquay—a popular day-tripper destination on the Bellarine Peninsula. A seaside resort known as the 'Surf Capital of Australia', Torquay is the site of the annual the Australian Strongman Triathlon, held in early February; the High Tide Festival in early December; and the Ripcurl Pro Surfing Classic at nearby Bells Beach. Surf carnivals are also held throughout the summer. Torquay, which faces Bass Strait, is famous for its surf beaches, particularly Bell’s Beach on the southern outskirts of town. In terms of population growth, the town is the most rapidly expanding town inside the most rapidly expanding shire in non-metropolitan Victoria. Torquay is located 22km south of Geelong at the eastern end of the Great Ocean Road.

Torrens River—named in 1836 by Colonel Light after Robert Torrens, Chairman of the Colonisation Commission which promoted settlement of South Australia, the river remained at first a narrow stream, prone to flooding in winter, from which Adelaide got its first supply of water and sand for building, and into which most of the city's effluent was discharged. The control of the river within the city's boundaries was vested in the Council by the River Torrens Improvement Act, 1869-70.

Torrens Title—a system of land ownership in which title to land derives from the registration of documents by a public official (from R. Torrens, first Premier of South Australia.

Torres Strait—a major shipping channel, linking the Coral Sea in the east with the Arafura Sea in the west. Stretching approximately 150km between the northernmost tip of Cape York and the south coast of New Guinea, the waters of the Torres Strait are dotted with over 100 islands as well as coral cays, exposed sandbanks and reefs. This stretch of islands between there and the southern coast of New Guinea is home to more than 5000 people, with each island maintaining a very distinctive culture. The communities are all remote, approximately 1000km from the nearest city, and each has a population between 80 and 750. The Torres Strait was named after the Spanish navigator, Luis Vaez de Torres, who sailed through the region in 1606. Along with traditional islanders, Torres Strait is now home to many Japanese and Filipino people who arrived in the region in the early pearl-diving days of last century

.Torres Strait Islander Act 1939 (Qld)—established a system of an elected local government council, giving the people of these communities a greater role in how the islands were run. This part of the legislation was a concession to demands made during the 1936 maritime strike. However, the Act also extended the powers of the Director of Native Affairs. The director could order an islander relocated between reserves, and keep him there. Government policy was to restrict their movement to ensure their availability for employment in the marine industry. By the early 1960s the economic value of Torres Strait Islanders as workers to be held in the islands had vanished with the collapse of the marine industry. The policy of assimilation coincided with this change and Torres Strait Islanders were freed to leave the Islands and settle on the mainland. Repealed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Act 1965 (Qld).

Torres Strait Islander Land Act 1991 (Qld)—allows for certain lands to be transferred to Torres Strait Islanders. A transfer of land under these Acts does not affect the right of anybody to make a native title claim, nor does it extinguish any existing native title.

Torres Strait Islander Land Tribunal—established under the Torres Strait Islander Land Act 1991 to hear and make recommendations on claims by Torres Strait Islander people to land made available for claim.

Torres Strait Islander people—before the arrival of European settlers, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people inhabited most areas of the Australian continent, each speaking one or more of hundreds of separate languages, with distinct lifestyles and religious and cultural traditions in different regions. Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are ethnically and culturally different. Torres Strait Islanders come from the islands of the Torres Strait between the tip of Cape York in Queensland and New Guinea, and have many cultural similarities with the people of New Guinea and the Pacific. The Indigenous population at the time of European settlement in the late 18th century is unknown but estimates range from 300,000 to more than a million. Many scholars now accept a figure of around 750,000. This population declined dramatically during the nineteenth and early twentieth century under the impact of new diseases, dispossession and cultural disruption and disintegration. In the last 20 years, changing social attitudes, political developments, improved statistical coverage and a broader definition of Indigenous origin have all contributed to the increased number of people identifying as being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin.

Torres Strait Islands Group—the more than one hundred islands situated between Australia and New Guinea. Approximately 20 of these islands are inhabited, each one with a distinct language. The people of the Torres Strait are of Melanesian origin and have occupied the islands for many thousands of years. During the 1860s, fishing outposts were set up on the islands, bringing forced labour, violence and abductions to Torres Strait Islander communities. A number of violent clashes broke out between the islanders and shipping merchants. In 1871, the London Missionary Society set up operations on Darnley and Dauan Islands, later expanding across the other islands. The missionaries played a leading role in putting an end to the cycle of warfare, exploitation and abductions on the islands. A settlement was eventually established on Thursday Island in 1876, and the islands were made part of Queensland by the Colonial Parliament in 1879. In the early 1960s, the marine industry on the Torres Strait Islands collapsed, leaving many Indigenous islanders out of work. As a result, many left the islands and settled on the mainland.

Torres Strait Land Act 1991 (Qld)—provides for the granting of inalienable freehold title to existing Torres Strait Islander reserve land and Trust Areas. Also under the Act, vacant Crown land outside towns and cities can become available for claim if so gazetted by the government. National parks can also be claimed if gazetted as available for claim, but must be immediately leased back to the government. The same provisions are made available to Aboriginal people under the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 (Qld).

Torres Strait pigeon—(see: Torresian imperial-pigeon).

Torres Strait Treaty 1985—an agreement between Australia and Papua New Guinea that deals with sovereignty and maritime boundaries in the Torres Strait. The treaty establishes the seabed jurisdiction and fisheries jurisdiction lines, with recognition of Australian sovereignty over fifteen islands or cays north of the Seabed Jurisdiction line, including the inhabited islands of Boigu, Saibai and Dauan. Traditional inhabitants of Torres Strait can engage in cross-border traditional fishing, but are subject to the laws applying in the waters of the country they visit.

Torresian imperial-pigeonDucula bicolor, a prominent bird of coastal northern Australia, spending its summer there before returning to New Guinea for the winter. Travelling in flocks of many thousands, often over great distances, these birds are important seed dispersers, a critical job in the maintenance of diverse tropical forests. However, over the past century the species has been drastically reduced in number as a consequence of habitat destruction and hunting pressure.

tosh!—rubbish! nonsense!

toss—(Australian Rules football, cricket) decide which way a team will kick, or which side will bat first.

toss in (one's) alley—to die.

tosspot—an alcoholic or heavy drinker.

tot up—add up: e.g., Tot up what we made in the jumble sale, and let's go home.

tote—1. (cap.) government-run betting agency (Totalisator Agency Board. 2. carry.

'tothersider—someone from eastern Australia (used by Western Australians).

tough bikkies—too bad; those are the breaks.

toughie—ruffian; bully; villain.

town bike—well-known, promiscuous woman.

townie—a person from the city, as opposed to a country person.

Townsville—a city on the north-eastern coast of Queensland. Adjacent to the central section of the Great Barrier Reef, it is in the dry tropics region of Queensland. Townsville is Australia's largest urban centre north of the Sunshine Coast, with a 2012 population of 196,219. Indigenous groups such as the Wulguraba, Bindal, Girrugubba, Warakamai and Nawagi, among others, originally inhabited the Townsville area. The Wulguraba claim to be the traditional owner of the Townsville city area; the Bindal had a claim struck out by the Federal Court of Australia in 2005. James Cook visited the Townsville region on his first voyage to Australia in 1770, but did not actually land there. Cook named nearby Cape Cleveland, Cleveland Bay, and Magnetic(al) Island. In 1819, Captain Phillip Parker King and botanist Alan Cunningham were the first Europeans to record a local landing. In 1846, James Morrill was shipwrecked from the Peruvian, living in the Townsville area among the Bindal people for 17 years before being found by white men and returned to Brisbane. The Burdekin River's seasonal flooding made the establishment of a seaport north of the river essential to the nascent inland cattle industry. John Melton Black of Woodstock Station, an employee of Sydney entrepreneur and businessman Robert Towns, dispatched Andrew Ball, Mark Watt Reid and a small party of Aborigines to search for a suitable site. Ball's party reached the Ross Creek in April 1864 and established a camp below the rocky spur of Melton Hill, near the present Customs House on The Strand. The first party of settlers, led by W A Ross, arrived at Cleveland Bay from Woodstock Station on 5 November of that year. In 1866 Robert Towns visited for three days, his first and only visit. He agreed to provide ongoing financial assistance to the new settlement and Townsville was named in his honour. Townsville was declared a municipality in February 1866, with John Melton Black elected as its first Mayor. Townsville developed rapidly as the major port and service centre for the Cape River, Gilbert, Ravenswood, Etheridge and Charters Towers goldfields. Regional pastoral and sugar industries also expanded and flourished. Townsville's population was 4,000 people in 1882 and grew to 13,000 by 1891. With Brisbane, in 1902 Townsville was proclaimed a City under the Local Authorities Act. During World War II, the city was host to over 50,000 American and Australian troops and air crew, and it became a major staging point for battles in the South West Pacific. A large United States Armed Forces contingent supported the war effort from seven airfields and other bases around the city and in the region. In July 1942, three small Japanese air raids were made against Townsville, which was by then the most important air base in Australia. On Christmas Eve 1971, Tropical Cyclone Althea, a category 4 cyclone, battered the city and Magnetic Island, causing considerable damage. It was here that Eddie Mabo first learned of the implications of the terra nullius doctrine and decided to take on the Australian government. Townsville lies approximately 1,300km north of Brisbane, and 350km south of Cairns. It lies on the shores of Cleveland Bay, protected to some degree from the predominantly south-east weather. Townsville is characterised as a tropical savanna climate. Since the onset of white settlement, pastoralists and farmers of the North-East Coastlands Region have faced problems for which there are no answers in the agriculture practices of temperate lands. The average annual rainfall is 1,143mm on an average 91 rain days, most of which falls during the six-month "wet season" from November through April. Because of the "hit or miss" nature of tropical lows and thunderstorms, there is considerable variation from year to year. December is the warmest month of the year with daily mean maximum and minimum temperatures being 31.4°C and 24°C respectively. July is the coolest month with daily mean maximum and minimum temperatures being 25°C and 13.5°C. Tropical cyclones occur between November and May (the so-called Cyclone Season), forming mainly out in the Coral Sea, and usually tracking west to the coast. Townsville is the only city globally to refine three different base metals—zinc, copper and nickel—and it is currently in strong contention for an aluminium refinery. Townsville has several large public assets as a result of its relative position and population. These include the largest campus of the only university in northern Queensland, James Cook University, the Australian Institute of Marine Science headquarters, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the large Army base at Lavarack Barracks and RAAF Base Townsville.

toywoodEndospermum myrmecophilum, a medium-sized (20m) tree of the coastal lowlands of Queensland, occurring also in the Northern Territory and New Guinea. The tree is easily distinguished, having large, heart-shaped leaves up to 35cm in length and showing two conspicuous glands on the leaf underside at the base of the leaf. It is found in well developed rainforest, frequently regenerating on the rainforest margin. It is a fast-growing, hardy species.

T.P.I.—pertaining to returned injured servicemen—Totally and Permanently Incapacitated.

track—(cricket) the pitch.

track mate—a travelling companion.

track suit—sweat suit.

track with—associate with; mix with: e.g., He's tracking with a gang of bikies at present.

trackies—track suit.

trade plates—number-plates used by a car-dealer etc on unlicensed cars.

traditional—(of Aboriginal society, now chiefly that of central and northern Australia) characterised by social practices and religious beliefs that prevailed before European settlement.

traditional land—land that belongs to Aboriginal people through customary usage that predates European settlement, and has remained in use up to the present time.

traditional law—Aboriginal tribal law, customary precepts and rules of social order. Traditional law is based on the knowledge of, and rituals pertaining to, the sacred sites. These sites are central to the preservation of Aboriginal society. Knowledge of the law is preserved and passed down through Dreaming stories and proscribed rituals connect each person with his place of birth. All aspects of the welfare of Aboriginal society depend on this preservation of sacred sites through traditional ritual. Because the Dreaming underlies every aspect of the universe it defines the framework of human action.

traditional owner—any Aboriginal person who is a member of a local descent group having certain rights in a tract of land. Aboriginal "ownership" is in part based on knowledge of the Dreaming songs and stories that contain the knowledge of a site in relation to the land around it, and to other Dreaming trails. Dreaming trails link sites across the country of many different Aboriginal peoples, covering tracts of land and conferring ownership and responsibility to those who hold them. Sometimes referred to as an Indigenous owner.

train Terrence at the terracotta—(of men) to urinate.

trainers—tennis shoes; sneakers.

tram—cable car.

trams and trains—(rhyming slang) brains; drains.

trannie—1. small transistor radio. 2. a trans-sexual.

Transcontinental Railway—Australia's transcontinental railway travels from Sydney to Perth via Adelaide. Beyond the Blue Mountains, the longest stretch of straight railway track in the world crosses the treeless Nullarbor Plain.

transportation—(of criminals) transportation to Australia from Britain began in 1787 when the First Fleet set sail. It was seen as a temporary solution to the overcrowding of prisons. As they awaited their fate, prisoners were detained in the rotting hulks of old warships, transformed into makeshift prisons and rammed up against the mud at Portsmouth Harbour and London's Royal Docklands. They were overcrowded, floating dungeons, poorly ventilated and infested with vermin and disease, which sometimes spread to the mainland. Transportation reached a peak in the 1830s and continued until 1857, though the practice wasn't formally abolished until 1868. When prisoners were condemned to transportation, they knew there was little chance they'd see their homeland, or their loved ones, again—even if they survived the long trip. Relatively few convicts returned home—partly because the system of reprieves extended to so few and partly because they tended to settle in Australia.

transportationists—in the 1840s, those who opposed the end of the transportation system.

trap for young players—anything that is hazardous, risky or dangerous for the inexperienced.

trapdoor spiders—most trapdoor spiders, but not all, are misleadingly named, as not all species make a door for their burrows. These highly camouflaged entrances are almost undetectable, unless the door is open. The common name covers several families of spiders, including the Idiopidae, Actinopodidae, Ctenizidae, Migidae and Cyrtaucheniidae. Misgolas group spiders are found in eastern Australia, especially in coastal and highland regions of New South Wales and Victoria. M. rapax is the brown trapdoor spider commonly found around Sydney. Aganippe group spiders are found across southern Australia west of the Great Dividing Range, and include the Adelaide trapdoor spider, A. subtristis. Common prey items include crickets, moths, beetles and grasshoppers, taken near the entrance to the burrow. Trapdoor spiders are 1.5cm-3cm in body length. These spiders tend to be quite timid, although the male may rear up if threatened. Mature male trapdoor spiders wander, during humid weather, in search of a mate; mating takes place within the female's burrow. The male usually escapes being eaten and is able to mate with several females before dying. The female lays her eggs several months after mating, and protects them within her burrow. When the juveniles have hatched, they remain for several months before dispersing on the ground. They will then make their own miniature burrows. Each time the spider grows bigger, it has to widen its burrow and, in the door-building species, add another rim to the door. In undamaged trapdoors, annual concentric rings can be seen. Trapdoors have a long life span, between 5 to 20 years, and take several years to reach maturity. Females stay in or near their burrows, whereas males leave their burrows once mature, to go in search of a mate. Their bites are not dangerous, though local pain and swelling may occur.

traps—1. luggage; personal belongings. 2. policemen or law enforcement officers.

trashie—garbage collector.

treacle—1. molasses. 2. cloying sentimentality or flattery.

treasure—a highly valued, important or indispensable person.

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