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PAGE 4

Across The Straits
by [?]

blackfellow (also, blackman): condescending for Australian Aboriginal

blackleg: someone who is employed to cross a union picket line to break a workers’ strike. As Molly Ivins said, she was brought up on the three great commandments: do not lie; do not steal; never cross a picket line. Also scab.

blanky or — : Fill in your own favourite word. Usually however used for “bloody”

blucher: a kind of half-boot (named after Austrian general)

blued: of a wages cheque: all spent extravagantly–and rapidly.

bluey: swag. Supposedly because blankets were mostly blue (so Lawson)

boggabri: never heard of it. It is a town in NSW: the dictionaries seem to suggest that it is a plant, which fits context. What then is a ‘tater-marrer’ (potato-marrow?). Any help?

bowyangs: ties (cord, rope, cloth) put around trouser legs below knee

bullocky: Bullock driver. A man who drove teams of bullocks yoked to wagons carrying e.g. wool bales or provisions. Proverbially rough and foul mouthed.

bush: originally referred to the low tangled scrubs of the semi-desert regions (‘mulga’ and ‘mallee’), and hence equivalent to “outback”. Now used generally for remote rural areas (“the bush”) and scrubby forest.

bushfire: wild fires: whether forest fires or grass fires. bushman/bushwoman: someone who lives an isolated existence, far from cities, “in the bush”. (today: a “bushy”)

bushranger: an Australian “highwayman”, who lived in the ‘bush’– scrub–and attacked especially gold carrying coaches and banks. Romanticised as anti-authoritarian Robin Hood figures–cf. Ned Kelly–but usually very violent.

cheque: wages for a full season of sheep-shearing; meant to last until the next year, including a family, but often “blued’ in a ‘spree’

chyack: (chy-ike) like chaffing; to tease, mildly abuse

cocky: a farmer, esp. dairy farmers (=’cow-cockies’)

cubby-house: or cubby. Children’s playhouse (“Wendy house” is commercial form))

Darlinghurst: Sydney suburb–where the gaol was in those days

dead marine: empty beer bottle

dossing: sleeping rough or poorly (as in a “doss-house”)

doughboy: kind of dumpling

drover: one who “droves” cattle or sheep.

droving: driving on horseback cattle or sheep from where they were fattened to a a city, or later, a rail-head.

drown the miller: to add too much water to flour when cooking. Used metaphorically in story.

fossick: pick over areas for gold. Not mining as such.

half-caser: Two shillings and sixpence. As a coin, a half-crown.

half-sov.: a coin worth half a pound (sovereign)

Gladesville: Sydney suburb–site of mental hospital.

goanna: various kinds of monitor lizards. Can be quite a size.

Homebush: Saleyard, market area in Sydney

humpy: originally an aboriginal shelter (=gunyah); extended to a settler’s hut

jackaroo: (Jack + kangaroo; sometimes jackeroo)–someone, in early days a new immigrant from England, learning to work on a sheep/cattle station (U.S. “ranch”)

jumbuck: a sheep (best known from Waltzing Matilda: “where’s that jolly jumbuck, you’ve got in your tucker bag”.

larrikin: anything from a disrespectful young man to a violent member of a gang (“push”). Was considered a major social problem in Sydney of the 1880’s to 1900. The Bulletin, a magazine in which much of Lawson was published, spoke of the “aggressive, soft-hatted “stoush brigade”. Anyone today who is disrespectful of authority or convention is said to show the larrikin element in the Australian character.

larrikiness: jocular feminine form

leather-jacket: kind of pancake (more often a fish, these days)

lucerne: cattle feed-a leguminous plant, alfalfa in US

lumper: labourer; esp. on wharves?

mallee: dwarfed eucalyptus trees growing in very poor soil and under harsh rainfall conditions. Usually many stems emerging from the ground, creating a low thicket.

Maoriland: Lawson’s name for New Zealand

marine, dead: see dead

mooching: wandering idly, not going anywhere in particular

mug: gullible person, a con-man’s ‘mark’ (potential victim)

mulga: Acacia sp. (“wattle” in Australian) especially Acacia aneura; growing in semi-desert conditions. Used as a description of such a harsh region.

mullock: the tailings left after gold has been removed. In Lawson generally mud (alluvial) rather than rock

myall: aboriginal living in a traditional–pre-conquest–manner

narked: annoyed

navvies: labourers (especially making roads, railways; originally canals, thus from ‘navigators’)

nobbler: a drink

nuggety: compact but strong physique; small but well-muscled

pannikin: metal mug

peckish: hungry–usually only mildly so. Use here is thus ironic.

poley: a dehorned cow

poddy-(calf): a calf separated from its mother but still needing milk