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PAGE 5

Across The Straits
by [?]

rouseabout: labourer in a (sheep) shearing shed. Considered to be, as far as any work is, unskilled labour.

sawney: silly, gormless

selector: small farmer who under the “Selection Act (Alienation of Land Act”, Sydney 1862 could settle on a few acres of land and farm it, with hope of buying it. As the land had been leased by “squatters” to run sheep, they were NOT popular. The land was usually pretty poor, and there was little transport to get food to market, many, many failed. (The same mistake was made after WWI– returned soldiers were given land to starve on.)

shanty: besides common meaning of shack it refers to an unofficial (and illegal) grog-shop; in contrast to the legal ‘pub’.

spieler; con artist

sliprails: in lieu of a gate, the rails of a fence may be loosely socketed into posts, so that they may ‘let down’ (i.e. one end pushed in socket, the other end resting on the ground). See ‘A Day on a Selection’

spree: prolonged drinking bout–days, weeks.

stoush: a fight,

strike: the perhaps the Shearers’ strike in Barcaldine, Queensland, 1891 gjc]

sundowner: a swagman (see) who is NOT looking for work, but a “handout”. Lawson explains the term as referring to someone who turns up at a station at sundown, just in time for “tea” i.e. the evening meal. In view of the Great Depression of the time, these expressions of attitude are probably unfair, but the attitudes are common enough even today.

Surry Hills: Sydney inner suburb (where I live)

swagman (swaggy): Generally, anyone who is walking in the “outback” with a swag. (See “The Romance of the Swag” in Children of the Bush, also a PG Etext) Lawson also restricts it at times to those whom he considers to be tramps, not looking for work but for “handouts”. See ‘travellers’.

‘swelp: mild oath of affirmation =”so help me [God]”

travellers: “shearers and rouseabouts travelling for work” (Lawson).

whare: small Maori house–is it used here for European equivalent? Help anyone?

whipping the cat: drunk