Monday, 27 February 2017

Can I Compare Our Love to Pyrmont?

Can I Compare Our Love to Pyrmont?

Outside the central business district
a distinct and somewhat solitary, soaring promontory
surrounded by deep, dark waters
the sharks unseen though undoubtedly there
many of our favourite features are viewed from without,
their windows boarded, weed-overgrown,
entrance forbidden to those most desirous and desiring of ingress, congress.

We have visited together,
walking the busy thoroughfares, the lonely back lanes
daytime trucks rumble, by night bats screech
and each alone has climbed the headland
gazed over the abodes of four million
intent on one alone, wishing you were here.

I visit and go, and return -
it's still here.

Day or night,
the steaming stinking summer,
the wet and windswept winter -
it changes, though it remains,
not the same - agreed -
though, through the years, itself,
undeniable, beautiful, historic, human.

This is where we walked, kissed, laughed, wept.
Neglected, battered, overbuilt,
it stays
You can go there any time you like
It's not that far away.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Western Line

Up and down all the time
I spend my time on the Western Line
counting sheep and kangaroos
contemplating all the views
on the Western Line

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Aboriginal Words in the English Language L-Z

larapinta – a dunnart, Sminthopsis macrura, of Australian central areas, having a long tail and a prominent facial stripe; Darling Downs dunnart. [?]

lowan = mallee fowl [Wembawemba lauan]

lubraMacquarie says: (derogatory) an Aboriginal woman. [Aborig. (? south-east Tas.) lubara penis]

luderick – a highly prized Australian estuarine and rock fish, Girella tricuspidata, usually black or dark brown above and having dark bars down back and sides; nigger; darkie; black bream. [Ganay ludarag]


"maban reality" Mudrooroo


mado – a small sea fish, Atypichthys mado or A. strigatus, found in southern Australian and northern New Zealand waters. [? NSW language]

makarrata - 1.(in certain Aboriginal tribes) a peacemaking ceremony marking a resumption of normal relations after a period of hostility. 2. a propose agreement between Aborigines and the rest of Australia which would include a formal Treaty of Settlement and a constitutional amendment to safeguard Aboriginal rights. [Yolgnu]

mala - Lagorchestes hirsutus rufous (and other spp?) hare-wallaby

mallee - 1. any of various Australian species of Eucalyptus having a number of almost unbranched stems arising from a large underground lignotuber, such as E dumosa. 2. the mallee, also the Mallee - a. any of various semi-arid areas in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, and especially Victoria, where the predominant species is a mallee. b. any remote, isolated, or unsettled area. [Wembawemba mali]

mamu – devil? 'Career Highlights of the Mamu' Trevor Jamieson, Scott Rankin
manin – Toona ciliata – also…

mardo - the yellow-footed antechinus, Antechinus flavipes. [Nyungar mardu]

marl - the barred bandicoot Perameles [Nyungar maarl, marla]

marla SMH 24.11.05 new names for roo meat = mala? Town in SA – Marla - said to mean kangaroo. (see marlu)

marlu - Aboriginal English a red, plains kangaroo. [from several languages]

marn grook

marri – a tree, Eucalyptus calophylla, - ‘redgum’ - endemic to western Australia which, together with its hybrids with E. ficifolia, flame gum, is widely cultivated for its coloured flowers. [Nyungar marri]

marron = jilgie (?)
merrin – Maq

merrit – Eucalyptus flocktoniae. Also, (perhaps incorrectly) merritt.

mewurk – Murray cod (WAust 10-11/12/05) see bardi grubs – also goodoo, ponde

mia-mia – a temporary bush shelter used by Aborigines; gunyah; humpy, wurley. [Nyungar maya-maya]

mikiri – native well (N. Rothwell W. Aust 5-6/1/08)

mindai = mindi

mindi – (in  Aboriginal legend) a fabulous serpent with supernatural powers. Also mindai. [Wembawemba mirnday]

minga – a small black ant. [?]

minnerichi – a shrub or small tree occurring in two restricted regions in South Australia, Acacia cyperophylla, which has thin, peeling curls of reddish bark and hard wood; red mulga. [? SA language]

minyaAboriginal English meat. (no etymology in Maq)

mirrigan – (not in Macquarie)

mirrnyong – a mound of shells, ashes, etc., accumulated in a place used for cooking by the Aborigines; kitchen midden. [? Vic. language] Also see murrnong.

mongan – a brown and white ringtail possum, Pseudocheirus archeri, with a rather short snout and prominent eyes, found in Queensland rainforests; Herbert River ringtail possum. [?]

moonah – a shrub or small tree, Melaleuca lanceolata (formerly pubescens) widespread in the southern half of Australia.

morwong – any of a number of species of marine food fiches of the family Cheilodactylidae, especially Nemadactylus douglasii, of southern Australia and New Zealand waters; black perch. [? NSW language]

mudgerabah = blackwood (no etym Maq)

mugga – a striking tree with dark, fissured bark, the pink-flowering ironbark, Eucalyptus sideroxylon, native to eastern Australia. [Wiradjuri maga]

mugurpyl – T. ciliata – also…

mulba – (in the Pilbara region of WA) an Aboriginal person. [Panyjima: marlba]

mulga = shield – ‘Aust. Wildflowers in Colour’ text Barbara Mullins – Reed 1969
mulla-mulla, mullamulla – Ptilotus macrocephalus
mullentypery – long-necked tortoise (but not back-referenced in Maq)
mumarki (from marn grook)
mumin – T ciliata
munning (?)

murrnong = yam daisy … Also murrnong, myrrnong, myrrnong. [Wathawarung and Wuywurrung mirnang]

muttai (?)

muttlegarEucalyptus macrocarpa, of Western Australia, with fruits up to 10cm long.


naga – a loin cloth, as worn by Australian Aborigines. [Wuna (NT language) naga dress, covering]

namma (hole)  - WA .. also gnamma hole

nannygai – a handsome fish of fine flavour, Centroberyx affinis, found around the southern half of the Australian coast; redfish. [? NSW language]

nanto – a horse [Kaurna nantu kangaroo, (by transference) horse]

napunyahEucalyptus thozetiana (not in Maq)

narangy – a person on a station whose status is between that of the boss and that of the stationhands. [Dharug narang small, little, few]

nardoo – 1. any of the Australian species of the mud-loving or aquatic genus of ferns, Marsilea. 2. the sporocarps of such a plant ground into a flour and eaten by Australian Aborigines. [Diyari ngardu or Kamilaroi nhaaduu]

narlu – an evil spirit [Macquarie: Aborig.]

narm-boon-bongEucalyptus terminalis (not in Maq)

narrawa burr

nealie ? – Acacia loderi, also Acacia oswaldii (also nelia) Maq “Origin uncertain”

ningaui – a small dasyurid resembling the planigale, as the inland ningaui, Ningaui ridei, and the Pilbara ningaui, Ningaui timealeyi. [? Aborig.; from the name of a mythological being]

nipan ? – Capparis lasiantha – native orange. Actually a native caper. Fruit is eaten and nectar from flowers used by some Aborigines to treat colds.

nondaParinari nonda

noolbenger, noolbender - honey possum Tarsipes rostrata [Nyoongah]



palai – T. ciliat – also…

parakeelia – any of several species of succulent herbs of the genus Calandrinia of inland Australia, with large rose-purple flowers. Also parakeelya [? Guyani]

parma (wallaby Maq)

penda ? - Xanthostemon spp. (incl. Luya’s hardwood)

perentie = perentyVaranus giganteus

piccabeenChiefly Queensland = bangalow [Yagara bigi palm + been, respelling of BEAN]

pinkieSA = bilby Also pinky. [Kaurna bingu]
pirri (point)
pituri – Duboisia hopwoodii – pitcheri, pitchiri
ponde – Murray cod (WAust 10-11/12/05) also goodoo, mewurk

potoroo – any of several species of small macropods of the genus Potorous, having pointed heads and living in dense grass and low, thick scrub in various parts of Australia. [? Dharug badaru]

punkari - white-eyed duck Aythya australis {Yaralde]

punty – any of various shrubs of the genus Cassia, especially Cassia nemophila of all mainland states of Australia; kangaroo bush. [Western Desert language bundi]

purnu - Coolamon, and applied to vehicles because they carry people. (train, Clyde)

qualup bell

quarrion - = cockatiel. Also quarien, kwarrion. [Wiradjuri guwarraying]

quenda – Solanum esuriale – but maq bandicoot

quokka a small wallaby, Setonix brachyurus, found on Rottnest and Bald islands, off Western Australia and in small colonies on the mainland [Nyungar kwaka]

quoll – 1. any of several cat-sized predatory marsupials of the genus Dasyrus, having slender, white-spotted bodies and very pointed snouts; native cat. 2. Also eastern quoll – a carnivorous marsupial, Dasyurus viverrinus, from eastern Australia, having a spotted body but without spots on the tail. [Guugu Yimidhirr dhigul]

Quowcken - name given by West Australian Aborigines to the extensive coastal sand plains along the Great Australian Bight.

robby – a handsome tree of the Tweed and Richmond rivers are of northern NSW, Eugenia moorei, with showy red flowers and rounded, cream-coloured fruit. (Macquarie has no etymology)



saratoda – see barramundi

shiralee – 1. a burden, or bundle. 2 = swag. [Origin unknown says the Macquarie, as does Chambers, which adds "perhaps from an Aboriginal word".]

tammaWA low, thick, shrubby vegetation, especially dominated by species of casuarina. [WA language]

tammar – a small scrub wallaby, Macropus eugenii, of south and south-western Australia and offshore islands. Also dama. [Nyungar damar]

tandan - any of various Australian eel-tailed catfishes, particularly freshwater forms of the genera Tandanus and Neosilurus; dewfish, dhufish. [?]

tarnuk – NIM – water vessel made from gnarl of a gum tree (Kulin people, sthn Victoria)

tarwhine – an eastern Australian bream, Rhabdosargus sarba, distinguished by golden streaks on a generally silver background. [Dharug darawayn]

tcharibeena - Bennett's tree kangaroo, Dendrolagus bennettianus, found in mountainous rainforest of north-east Queensland [? Aborig.]

Tjukurrpa – “the flash of the present moment and the echo, far off, from primary, long-vanished events” (N. Rothwell, W. Aust 5-6/1-08)

tookoonja ? - Morinda citrifolia

toolache – a large wallaby, Macropus greyi, of the border country between South Australia and Victoria; Grey’s  brush wallaby. [Yaralde dulaj]

toolah - Maq no etymology

towri – the territory or hunting ground of an Aboriginal tribe. [Kamilaroi dauray]

towrow (?) fishing net

tuan – any of certain brush-tailed, carnivorous marsupials, rat-sized and largely arboreal, of the dasyurid genus Phascogale; phascogale; wambenger. [Wathawurung duan]

tuart – a large tree, Eucalyptus gomphocephela, endemic in south-western  Australia on calcareous coastal soil. [Nyungar tuwart]

tuckeroo – a fast-growing slender tree, Cupaniopsis anarcardioides, of northern and eastern Australia, with fern-like leaves and showy black seeds set in an orange-red, fleshy case, often cultivated as an ornamental. [? Yagara dagaru]

tungoo – as boodie Also, tungo.

tupong - noun congolli (a marine and freshwater fish...) [Gangubanud dubang]

uroka = eldin = gruie

waddy – 1. an Aboriginal heavy wooden war club. 2. a heavy stick or club of any kind [Dharug wadi tree, stick of wood, wooden weapon]

waddy-wood – a tree, Acacia peuce, with very hard dark wood, found in the dry interior of Australia [Macquarie no etymology]

wallaby – 1. any of various members of the family Macropodidae, many resembling kangaroos, belonging to a number of different genera, as Macropus (as the tammar and parma), Thylogale (as the smaller pademelons), Setonix (as the quokka, Onychogalea (as the nail-tailed wallabies), Lagorchestes and Lagostrophus (as the hare-wallabies), Petrogale (as the rock wallabies). 2. Obsolete colloquial a swagman. 3. on the wallaby (track) Colloquial on the move, most frequently with reference to a swagman, seasonal worker, et. [Dharug walaba]


wallowa – a wattle ‘Aust. Wildflowers in Colour’ text Barbara Mullins – Reed 1969

wallum – 1. a small shrubby tree, Banksia aemula, of coastal eastern Australia, mainly Queensland and New South Wales. 2. the sandy heath-land country in which this species grows. [Gabi waalum]

wambenger = tuan
wamulu – yellow-flowering and for art SMH 4.3.05 p13

wanderrie – any of various plant species of the genus Eriachne, which are native to inland Australia and range from slender annuals to tussocky perennials, with purple of straw-coloured spikelets. [Macquarie no etymology]


wandoo – a white-barked tree endemic to Western Australia, Eucalyptus wandoo. [Nyungar wandu]

wanya – T. ciliata

waybungCorcorax melanorhamphos - white-winged chough [? Aborig.]

wee juggler

wilan-wilan – crescent-shaped cloud – Sandy Desert – ABC-TV Kurtal: Snake Spirit

wilga – a small shapely tree, Geijera parviflora, of inland eastern Australia, valuable as fodder in drought. [Wiradjuri wilgar]

wilgie – a red ochre used by the Aborigines to paint their bodies for ceremonial occasions. Also wilga, wilghi, wilgi, wilgy. [Nyungar wilgi]


willy-willy – a spiralling wind, often collecting dust, refuse, etc.; dust devil [? Yindjibarndi wili wili, or from Wembawemba wilang-wilang]

wirilda – Acacia retinoides - Yaralde

wollum wollum – Hymenosporum flavium
wonga (-wonga)
wongai (NIM) Torres Strait native plum
woolia – T. ciliata
woota – “ “
wootam – “ “

woylie – a small bettong, Bettongia pencillata, of central and southern Australia, having a long prehensile tail covered with black hairs on the upper surface towards the tip; brush-tailed bettong. Also woilie. [Nyungar walyu]


yadthor - Acacia bidwillii
yarrabah satinash ?? -  Syzigium angophoroides

yarran – 1. a small tree, Acacia homalophylla, found in inland eastern Australia, useful as fodder, and for firewood and fenceposts. 2. Also, bastard myall. A wattle, A. glaucescens, which is chiefly coastal and has silvery foliage and fluffy spikes of flowers. [Kamilaroi yarran a river gum tree]

yarri – 1. Dasyurus maculatus gracilis, the spotted tail quoll (North Queensland subspecies) [Commonwealth Dept of Environment and Heritage website] 2. Eucalyptus patens, the Swan River blackbutt [not in Maq. Presumably Nyungar]


yoolahng – an Aboriginal initiation ceremony for young males who are reaching manhood. [Dharug yulang place where initiation ceremonies take place]

yorrell – a species of mallee, Eucalyptus gracilis, found in dry areas of southern inland Australia. (? Macquarie no etymology)

yowie – an ape-like human, about two metres tall, believed to roam in certain parts of Australia, especially southern NSW. [Yuwaalarraay yuwi dream spirit] 

yudi ?

Baagandji = Pakkantji
Banggala = Parnkalla south of Lake Torrens to the Gawler Ranges, SA
Bundjalung – Northern Rivers NSW and SE Qld
Gabi – Mary River district, Redcliffe to Fraser Island, Queensland
Gangalu – Dawson River district, Queensland
Gangubanud – from the coast at Portland Bay, Victoria
Goreng Goreng – vicinity of Bundaberg Queensland
Guugu Yimidhirr
Kulin – sthn Victoria
Muranpatha – NT?
Mutthi Mutthi
Nyoongah, Nyungar 
Oyster Bay language
Paakantji = Baagandji (Maq)
Ulurai – people near Lightning Ridge (SMH 20.1.05)
Yagara – from the vicinity of Brisbane
Yuwaalarraay – a dialect of Kamilaroi, from near Lightning Ridge

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Mandurra Gold

The whole district was buzzing with the news that the stagecoach had been bailed up on the road from Mandurra to Barradine Junction and the gold shipment stolen.
William Woleton, manager of the Mandurra branch of the English, Scottish & Australasian Bank, was seated at his breakfast table on the upstairs verandah, looking out at dry lawn and a row of stunted apple trees, the straggling settlement beyond the back fence, a cloudless sky, blazing blue. On the ridge a few hundred yards away, a team of men were knocking down the chimney of one of the town's earliest houses and throwing the bricks onto a tip-dray to be taken to the crushers; several other older chimneys had produced payable gold, the clay for the bricks having come from the 'good' side of the creek.
The bank manager sipped his tea and perused the newspapers. The Barradine Bugle and the Sydney papers all agreed that three, possibly four, men had blocked the road with branches. One masked man on horseback levelled a firearm at the coachman and his offsider. The passengers had been told to disembark and cross the road to a ditch, keeping their backs turned. The horseman's accomplices had ransacked the assigned goods; there was an 'undisclosed weight' in gold, some cash, promissory notes and general mail. One of the passengers - 'a little girl' - had noticed that the horseman had very shiny boots.
William Woleton knew precisely how much gold had been stolen, how much flake, what nature and weight in nuggets. The bank manager sipped his tea.

Sergeant Flynn prepared his men to make arrests over the gold robbery. "You worthless dogs will accompany me to Wombat Flat with guns loaded. Not for a moment will ye trust these beggars not to stretch the friendship. When we reach the creek, Edwards, you make for the back of the hut. Smith, you'll stick by me."
And so they rode out of town to Wombat Flat, two miles, and the Quinns' little slab hut at the end of the road. Ben was chopping wood, shirtless, when the police rode up. The sergeant called out, almost unnecessarily loudly, "Ben Quinn, I am arresting you for robbery under arms. Where is your brother Daniel?"
Ben carefully leaned the axe against his chopping stump. "He'll be out the back seeing to the hens. And Ma will be by the fire, making oatcakes."
Ben and Dan had not put up a fight, contrary to Sergeant Flynn's warning to his constables. The sergeant locked them in a cell at the rear of the police station and then duly visited the post office to telegraph the district superintendent. Almost as soon as the Quinn brothers were locked up, however, some men of the town came along to the police station, all to say the same thing: Ben had been with them in the Middle Pub when the robbery took place. And the local Catholic priest, Father Berrigan, told the sergeant that Dan had been in his company - "Just quietly, in the very confessional" - at exactly the fateful hour.
"And why would you have been after arresting the Quinns anyway?" asked the priest.
"The authorities had been provided certain information by a member of the public," replied Sergeant Flynn.
Father Berrigan gestured towards the cells - not the first time he had performed this act. "If I could trouble you, Sergeant?" Sergeant Flynn was not happy, but each of the boys had his alibi. He would have to telegraph the district superintendent again.
That evening, around the fire in the Quinns' dirt-floored dwelling, Ben, Dan, their aged mother and the priest tucked into wallaby stew and damper. Father Berrigan finished picking and sucking the last bits of goodness from between his teeth, then spoke, first addressing the mother. "A lovely meal, Mrs Quinn. Nothing better. And I am very glad to see your boys home."
"Praise the Holy Family," replied Mrs Quinn, rolling her eyes heavenward.
"Boys," said the priest, glancing to his right and to his left, "do you ever catch possums, for the pot or for their skins?" And for the next hour Father Berrigan extracted every bit of information Ben, Dan and their old mother had regarding possums. The priest, who was neither young nor old, had largely abandoned his interest in alleged occurrences in the Holy Land as recorded in sacred scripture and had turned his attention to the amazing revelations of Mr Charles Darwin. The strange beasts of this new old country had helped to open his eyes, and phalangers had become Michael Berrigan's passion. Any time not devoted to tending his flock - which he never resented or regretted - was spent investigating brushtails, ringtails and sugar gliders.

It was midnight and there was light rain falling over Mandurra when Sergeant Flynn heard a tapping at the window of the kitchen behind the police station. He was slightly startled but had the comfort of a loaded firearm within reach. And he still had his boots on, ready for action, though his shirt was undone and his braces hung loose at his sides. Of course it was Woleton, and Flynn regretted once again that he had ever joined forces with him. He was erratic, and the sergeant could tell at a glance through the dusty windowpane that the bank manager had been drinking. Erratic and dangerous, thought Flynn.
Once admitted to the kitchen, Woleton strutted up and down before the fire, his big round head turning left and right even quicker than his strutting pace. Flynn fetched a whisky and urged him to take a seat.
Woleton started his muttering. "Another shipment and by God we'll be close. Close, very close. But three will be the magic number." He was excited, and only minutes before Flynn had been sitting beside his fire, thinking the worst, expecting imminent arrest, cursing the drinks, the mutual admissions he had shared with the hot-and-cold bank manager.
"We must let the next go through unmolested," suggested the sergeant. "If the Barradine mob bring to bear then we're out."
"We take the next at the top of Busby's Pass," said Woleton. "Can you bring another man? That Smith seems - well - dim, let's say. And is he trustworthy?"
"If he was trustworthy he wouldn't be part of this already. He's a sworn offiicer of the crown. And we robbed the mail coach. Where's the trust in that?"
"I mean can we trust him?"
"I think, Mr Woleton, in the circumstances, we have no choice but to all trust each other."

The 'little girl' of the newspaper stories had returned to Mandurra from Barradine Junction.  She was Alice Pegler, seven years old, and was telling Jones the storekeeper about her adventures. "And I've seen those boots before."
"Really?" asked Jones. "You pay great attention to footwear, do you? What am I wearing on my feet?" His lower half was hidden from Alice's view behind his counter.
"What you always have on when I see you in here. Not your Sunday shoes. They're brown, a bit old, though the laces are new, and... Mr Jones, I can tell by your heels that you walk on the outsides of your feet."
"I what?" He lifted one leg and looked down with genuine curiosity. "You know, perhaps I do."

Half an hour later, Jones repeated young Alice's remarks to Constable Edwards, and they both had a good laugh.
"But where had she seen the bushranger's boots before?" Edwards inquired.
Jones looked perplexed. "Do you know, I forgot to ask."