Australian Natural History
•Human ecological context for the "Bony" mysteries by Arthur William Upfield•
•Contents & Links•
Aussie TV series
Aboriginal Languages and Linguistic Groups (map)
More slang language (not for dainty sensibilities)
Non-racist terms guidelines
Australian/English short glossary
Map to locations of stories
Australia Climate Map
Bush Tucker 1 Bush Tucker 2 Bush Tucker (Botanic Gardens) 3
Rangelands, Water, Grazing
The Long Paddock (Australian rainfall history 1890s-2000s)
Maps for Satellite Views, Linguistic Groups
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Arthur Upfield was born in 1880 in Gosport, Hants. He died in the lovely New South Wales town of Bowral on February 13, 1964. An account of his life after emigration to Australia in 1911 is set forth in his biography Follow My Dust by Jessica Hawke (1957). He was ... a boundary rider, cattle drover, opal gouger, vermin fence patroller, led a geological expedition in the North End and was manager of a camel station, drifting through the strange countryside and meeting the unusual characters who reappeared later in his stories.
From the inside cover of The Battling Prophet (1956)
You might be pleased to visit an excellent site with details about Upfield and his writing.
Some Upfield web sites
Images of the original covers and summaries of plots.
email concerning NATURAL HISTORY updates and information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bony (James Laurenson) in the mulga (Acacia aneura) (from the TV series. Bush ?Acacia torulosa used to make
spears and pubic tassels as in #6 "The Bone is Pointed."
Contents & Links
Aussie TV series
Australian/English short glossary
Non-racist terms guidelines
Map to locations of stories
Australia Climate Map
Rangelands, Water, Grazing
The Long Paddock (Australian rainfall history 1890s-2004)
The next page has links that show the geography of areas where Arthur Upfield sets his "Bony" mystery series. Emphasis is on Australian natural history because it figures so prominently in the tales. This page also has a glossary of Australian terms found in the stories, with some guidelines for non-racist terminology with respect to Australian Aboriginal studies.
Terms that fall into racist usage category include 'nomads', 'native', 'savage', 'half-caste', 'full-blood', 'part-Aboriginal', 'abo,' 'coloured', 'primitive', 'lubra', 'gin', 'nigger' or 'nig.' This is despite the fact that in some parts of northern Australia both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people continue to use such terms in popular language. When I was in Australia, I met a number of Aboriginal people with a raucous sense of humor about circumstance and language (and they in no way followed the guidelines).
These words were in common use when Upfield wrote his stories. Upfield makes it clear that he is not a racist, and his tales reflect the historically difficult and continuing Australian struggle concerning the status of Aboriginal populations in a democracy. Further, he was treated badly by many members of his own social order, who felt it important to enhance their own status by snubbing others. As he has Bony say frequently, those who snub others demonstrate their own inferiority. In Death of an Author, he appears to be showing his anger against the "literati" of Australia who did not accept him. Upfield has a talent for rendering colloquial speech into the novels, especially for his characters in order to reflect their regional origins and education (or lack thereof). For instance, it is crucial to the stories that Detective Inspector Bonaparte and his wife Mary are 'half-castes,' to use Upfield's language.
"Boney" TV Series
James Laurenson had the title role web link is HERE. The choice of the lead actor was controversial and deeply resented among Aboriginal actors. The site biography of Bony ("Boney" in the series) reads in part:
"Inspector Bonaparte" - known as "Bony" - was a foundling, born of an Aboriginal mother and a white father. A matron from a mission station took him under her care, and, as the novels explain, ‘named him after a born leader, a man of power, of mystery, of great achievement - Napoleon Bonaparte’. Bony's opinion of himself is very high, shaping many of his actions in these tales of his adventures.
The online biography omits the story Bony relates in The Battling Prophet. The written story is much richer in details. Upfield, speaking through Bony, reveals that he was named N. B. because he was found eating the Napoleon pages out of a book. Psychologically much more interesting as a naming event...
Mary and Bony had three sons, all of whom attended college. "Bony" himself was a college educated man (in his fifties in most of the novels) of extraordinary tact paired with deep knowlege of and respect for Aboriginal knowledge passed on to him by his mother's people. He was found in his mother's arms under a sandalwood tree after she had been clubbed to death for disobeying a law. He was named and raised by a matron at an orphanage (The Battling Prophet). 'Bony' represented a rare sort of human who was always eager to learn new things, had timeless patience (as most of his employers did not) and was willing to work hard physically as well as mentally.
WHY A SANDALWOOD TREE?
Bony's discovery as an infant in his murdered mother's arms under a sandalwood tree might be considered a metaphor for his capacity to "heal" wrongful situations by discovering truth, especially accessible to him because of his Aboriginal connection with the natural world. The assumption is that "nature does not lie" and that careful reading of the natural record will reveal a correct timeline for events: understanding natural phenomena (evaporation, germination, rainfall, wind, wave, friction, and so forth) will permit a true interpretation of events. His healing efforts extend to merciful treatment of people wounded by circumstance and unwise choices (self-deception in the case of a woman in The White Savage). He also trusts Time (as Providence) to allow bits of truth to be revealed, usually as inconsistencies with nature. In Death of a Swagman, a murderer tries to hide his footprints with Hessian sacking strips wrapped around his feet, but Bony knows that the grid of straight lines left by the coarse fabric were "not of nature" because "nature loves curved lines."
Sandalwood plays an historical role in legend and medicine. It has a curious biology, in that it can use energy from sunlight to "fix" atmospheric carbon from carbon dioxide into carbohydrate (photosynthesis), but will attach itself to roots of host trees, fulfilling its capacity as a heterotrophic semi-parasite. In Australian agriculture, Santalum spicatum, a West Australian tree, is considered a candidate for plantation planting in an area with low rainfall. In Queensland, oil production from several species, S. lanceolatum (low oil yields compared to other species), S. album, S. austrocaledonicum, S. yasi and S. macgregorii are also considered for plantation planting. Sandalwood oil is also used to repel insects and as an herbal remedy by humans to treat gonorrhea, stomachache, and vomiting. Sandalwood has been used to treat fever and pain: it may also be used to treat sore throat, cough, and bronchitis. Sandalwood may slow the growth of the herpes virus, according to some studies. Paste made from the wood has been used to treat acne, rash, and dry skin. Sandalwood extract acts as an antiseptic in the urinary tract and has been approved by the German Commission E for use in the treatment of bladder infections. It is sometimes used to line chests and boxes in much the way cedar wood is used for its pleasant scent and to repel tiny creatures that otherwide would eat the fibers of stored fabrics. It is important in religious ceremonies.
Sandalwood oil can be used in soaps, perfumes and other products as an exotic scent: it is expensive, in the range of $1500 per kilogram. Four ounces of the essential oil retails for around $300.
From an herbal web site concerning sandalwood uses:
The literature on this is very thin! No use of sandalwood extracts is advocated, read the possibility of adverse reactions sections below this section. The volatile oil contains high amounts of alpha- and beta-santalol. According to a test tube study, these small molecules possess antibacterial properties (2). This makes it a potential topical treatment for skin infections. Synthetic sandalwood oil does not contain these active ingredients. Internal use of sandalwood is approved by the German Commission E for the supportive treatment of infections of the lower urinary tract (usually the urinary bladder) (3). However, clinical trials are lacking to support this use. The German Commission E monograph suggests 1/4 teaspoon (11.5 grams) of the volatile oil for the supportive treatment of urinary tract infections (4). This should only be done under the supervision of a doctor. Treatment should not exceed six weeks. For external use, a few drops of sandalwood oil are dissolved in 6 ounces (180 ml) of water and applied directly to the infected area of skin several times daily. Some people may experience mild skin irritation from topical application of sandalwood oil (5). People with kidney disease should not use sandalwood internally. Until more is known, sandalwood oil should be avoided for internal use during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Infants and children should not take sandalwood oil internally.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with sandalwood.
1. Duke, J. A. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985, 4267.
2. Okazai, K., Oshima, S. Antibacterial activity of higher plants. XXIV. Antimicrobial effect of essential oils (5). J. Pharm. Soc. Japan 1953;73:3447.
3-5. Blumenthal, M., Busse, W. R., Goldberg, A., et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 1999.
Friday, 31 March 2006, 07:30 GMT 08:30 UK
Shoeprint analysis to fight crime
By Mark Ward
Technology correspondent, BBC News website
Researchers in the UK are working on a computer system that aims to make shoeprints at crime scenes as useful as fingerprints and DNA. When finished, the automated system will search through records of the patterns on soles to identify the footwear used by a criminal. It aims to increase the usefulness of shoeprints by using a common labelling systems for features found on soles. The pilot system can already identify 85% of samples. The realisation that criminals would find it almost impossible to avoid leaving shoeprints behind at a crime scene prompted a change in the law, said Professor Nigel Allinson of the University of Sheffield, who is leading the work on the identification system
The Serious Organised Crime Police Act 2005 now gives the prints the same legal status as DNA and fingerprint evidence. "Luckily criminals wear trainers. If they all wore Oxford brogues we would be in a very difficult position" Professor Nigel Allinson, University of Sheffield "We all leave footprints, and though they are not as unique as DNA or fingerprints, they are good intelligence and can be good evidence," said Professor Allinson at a London conference on science and forensic work. Home Office statistics show that 14.8% of crime scenes attended by crime scene investigators in 2004-2005 yielded shoe print evidence. The Serious Organised Crime Police Act 2005 also gives police powers to take shoe prints from suspects. Before now, relatively few forces have routinely taken such prints. Although some forces do take shoe prints and compare what they find at crime scenes with what is on file, much of the analysis comes down to human interpretation of the features found on soles, said Professor Allinson. This is the reason why little of the data gathered by individual forces was consistently labelled. By contrast, the system Professor Allinson and his colleagues are working on aims to automatically classify the features found on shoe soles, so crime scene evidence can be easily compared with records on file.
This classification should be straightforward, said Professor Allinson, because criminals favour shoes that have many distinct features on their soles. "Luckily criminals wear trainers," he said. "If they all wore Oxford brogues we would be in a very difficult position." The identification system works by subjecting shoeprints to several different image processing techniques to reveal the features on the sole. The first stage cycles through levels of brightness in the image to see which features, such as logos, circles or ridges, persist at extremes of light and dark. The captured features are then processed so they can be recognised at different rotations and scales. Finally, these distinct features are analysed to see how they lie in relation to each other. The prototype system can match prints taken in custody suites with those in the database 85% of the time, said Professor Allinson. He emphasised that it has yet to be tried with partial shoeprints found at crime scenes. Now work is being carried out to improve the system's detection rate and to make the whole system easy to use. "It has to be a pretty much automatic system if its going to be successful," said Professor Allinson.
[Allinson] presented information about his research at an event in London organised by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to highlight how science can aid forensic work.
1. Boney In Venom House
2. Boney And The White Savage
3. Boney Meets The Daybreak Killer
4. Boney Buys A Coffin
5. Boney And The Payback Killer
6. Boney And The Reaper
7. Boney And The Claypan Mystery
8. Boney Picks A Widow
9. Boney And The Black Virgin
10. Boney And The Monster
11. Boney Takes A Holiday
12. Boney Buys A Woman
13. Boney And The Black Opal
14. Boney Tells A Fortune
15. Boney And The Paroo BikeMan
16. Boney And The Strangler
17. Boney And The Powder Trail
18. Boney And The Albatross
19. Boney And The Kelly Gang
20. Boney Hunts A Murderess
21. Boney And The Emu Man
22. Boney And The Devil's Steps
23. Boney Walks With Death
24. Boney And The Burial Tree
25. Boney And The Silent Order
26. Boney And The Black Clansman
The map of Australian landforms below is a link to the Aussie geosciences site where some of the Bony story locations are displayed on the map below. Clicking on the map will bring up a larger image.
|An Australian GeoSciences Map with Bony story locations. Click to enlarge.
More maps, including a satellite mosaic of Australia are here.
|Australia is one of the world's driest continents. It has been profoundly affected by the climate patterns of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The Long Paddock in Queensland is the source of the poster image to the right, showing just how variable the rainfall in Australia is in these times, in terms of above or below mean levels of precipitation.
Rainfall patterns appear so frequently in the Bony mysteries that they, along with the plants, animals, and landscape might well be considered characters rather than background.
Titles in brown boldface below have been (but this is variable and you may get an old library book!) available at Amazon.com. Titles in blue boldface are ones I have read in addition to the brown boldface titles and have posted information about Australian locations in the stories. Green boldface links, if they are underlined, have natural history information or images relevant to story locations. The rainfall records below play important parts in the stories.
Besides weather, rabbits by the ravenous millions are background for many of the stories. I am developing an historical page here.
Order of Publication
1 The Barrakee Mystery
= The Lure of the Bush
2 The Sands of Windee
3 Wings above the Diamantina
= Winged Mystery
= Wings above the Claypan
4 Mr. Jelly's Business
= Murder Down Under
5 Winds of Evil
6 The Bone is Pointed
7 The Mystery of Swordfish Reef
8 Bushranger of the Skies
= No Footprints in the Bush
9 Death of a Swagman
10 The Devil's Steps
11 An Author Bites the Dust
12 The Widows of Broome
13 The Mountains Have a Secret
14 The New Shoe
= The Clue of the New Shoe
15 Venom House
16 Murder Must Wait
17 Death of a Lake
18 Cake in the Hatbox
= Sinister Stones
19 The Battling Prophet
20 The Man of Two Tribes
21 Bony Buys a Woman
= The Bushman Who Came Back
22 The Bachelors of Broken Hill
23 Bony and the Black Virgin
= The Torn Branch
24 Bony and the Mouse
= Journey to the Hangman
25 Bony and the Kelly Gang
= Valley of the Smugglers
26 Bony and the White Savage
= The White Savage
27 The Will of the Tribe
28 Madman's Bend
= The Body at Madman's Bend
29 The Lake Frome Monster
From the Australian government web site: The Long Paddock has a classification of years in terms of 'El Niño', 'Neutral' and 'La Niña' based on the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) used in the poster 'Australia's Variable Rainfall'.
Year | Classification | ABoM June-November average SOI
2004 El Niño -7.45
2003 Neutral -3.07
2002 El Niño -8.25
2001 Neutral -0.57
2000 La Niña 6.35
1999 Neutral 4.95
1998 La Niña 11.47 flood
1997 El Niño -16.87 drought
1996 La Niña 6.05
1995 Neutral 1.12
1994 El Niño -14.03
1993 El Niño -10.22
1992 El Niño -7
1991 El Niño -8.6
1990 Neutral -1.6
1989 Neutral 3.58
1988 La Niña 13
1987 El Niño -11.82
1986 Neutral -1.28
1985 Neutral -1.7
1984 Neutral -0.48
1983 Neutral 0.47
1982 El Niño -22.62
1981 Neutral 5.32
1980 Neutral -2.58
1979 Neutral -2.2
1978 Neutral 0.98
1977 El Niño -13.57
1976 Neutral -4.15
1975 La Niña 18.55
1974 La Niña 6.77
1973 La Niña 14.25
1972 El Niño -11.47
1971 La Niña 9.98
1970 La Niña 8.53
1969 El Niño -5.72
1968 Neutral 1.95
1967 Neutral 2.52
1966 Neutral -0.13
1965 El Niño -15
1964 La Niña 9.67
1963 El Niño -6.73
1962 Neutral 4.97
1961 Neutral 0.37
1960 Neutral 3.75
1959 Neutral -0.13
1958 Neutral 0.03
1957 El Niño -5.78
1956 La Niña 9.38
1955 La Niña 15.82
1954 Neutral 3.88
1953 El Niño -5.93
1952 Neutral 0.82
1951 *El Niño -3.68 * see documentation
1950 La Niña 16.13
1949 Neutral -2.78
1948 Neutral -0.85
1947 La Niña 6.37
1946 El Niño -8.98
1945 Neutral 5.2
1944 Neutral -3.7
1943 Neutral 3.58
1942 Neutral 4.08
1941 El Niño -15.3
1940 El Niño -16.32
1939 Neutral -4.33
1938 La Niña 11.95
1937 Neutral -0.43
1936 Neutral -2.93
1935 Neutral 2.82
1934 Neutral 0.35
1933 Neutral 1.98
1932 El Niño -5.73
1931 Neutral 2.63
1930 Neutral -2.18
1929 Neutral 3.55
1928 Neutral 3.55
1927 Neutral -0.55
1926 Neutral -1.47
1925 El Niño -9.58
1924 La Niña 8.98
1923 El Niño -10.43
1922 Neutral 4.42
1921 La Niña 6.88
1920 Neutral 3.67
1919 El Niño -8.97
1918 El Niño -5.85
1917 La Niña 25.03
1916 La Niña 11.9
1915 Neutral 3.85
1914 El Niño -14.15
1913 El Niño -7.28
1912 Neutral -3.95
1911 El Niño -10.78
1910 La Niña 16.27
1909 La Niña 9.58
1908 La Niña 5.57
1907 Neutral -0.9
1906 La Niña 11.25
1905 El Niño -15.13
1904 Neutral -5.17
1903 Neutral 3.3
1902 El Niño -5.55
1901 Neutral -0.45
1900 Neutral 0.68
1899 Neutral -0.97
1898 Neutral 0.95
1897 Neutral -1.22
1896 El Niño -20.58
1895 Neutral -4.93
1894 Neutral -0.35
1893 La Niña 8.12
1892 La Niña 7.83
1891 Neutral -5.23
1890 Neutral 2.65
My developing list of available titles is below.
And a thought: perhaps fans might like to visit one or more of these story locations if they have plans to tour Australia. In any case, clicking on the links below will either show you a picture from a location in one of the stories or will take you to a web site concerned with the topic or location. I have received an email that the Split Point Lighthouse images from The New Shoe have an "egregious error." I have always connected the story to the Australian official web site for lighthouses and cannot find the error. Feedback is always appreciated. The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse of The White Savage is also on the lighthouse website.
Another report (http://www.thesalmons.org/lynn/wh-willandra.html) asserts that the site became very dry about 10,000 years ago:
In 1981, the Willandra Lakes region was added to the World Heritage List because of the significance of the archaeological and geomorphological features found in the area. These include human skeletal material, tools, shell middens and animal bones that provide some of the oldest evidence of modern humans in the world; landforms and sediments recording events of the Pleistocene Epoch are relatively undistrubed; and baked sediment from uneroded fireplaces records the direction of the earth's magnetic field at the time the fire was used. About 31,000 years ago, the north-south axis moved 120 degrees from its present position and returned again over several thousand years. This is called the "Mungo excursion". For the past 50,000 years, the climate has changed, changing Mungo in the process. 40,000 years ago Aboriginal people lived here in a rich fertile area with fresh water lakes. The water dried up aproximately 10,000 years ago, and today Mungo is a dry lake bed with numerous sand dunes. Artifacts and remains of animals now extinct are well preserved in the dunes and become uncovered then recovered as the winds blow the sand around.
The coast of the North End has a specialized history of pearling (now a tourist destination) with a climate affected by cyclones. Houses and buildings described in the story reflect the violence of these storms. In the late 1940s to early 1950s era, memory of the terrible March 1935 cyclone would have been fresh. From the Australian Government account, winds of 130 km/hr were estimated, and "The cyclone passed to the north, devastating the pearling fleet at the Lacepede Islands, causing the loss of about 141 lives. In Broome one house was destroyed and the ice works and four hotels damaged. The power system failed, trees were blown down and pearling camps demolished. Very little rain accompanied the storm but huge seas were reported, and very high tides followed." (PDF file of storm damage in case web site changes/PDF of Lacepede Islands broadcast). The next devastating cyclone was in February of 1957.
From a travel site, the following text evokes the background Upfield provides in his story, including the taxi driver Johnno, a retired pearl diver who had experience with the bends (nitrogen bubbles in the blood from too much time at depth with improper decompression time). "The Japanese Cemetery at Broome (which is the largest Japanese cemetery in Australia) dates back to the very early pearling days and bears witness to the close ties Japan established with Broome in the early twentieth century. The first recorded interment in this cemetery is 1896. Literally hundreds of young Japanese divers died either from the bends (divers paralysis) or from drowning. A large stone obelisk in the cemetery recalls those who were drowned at sea in the 1908 cyclone. The cyclones of 1887 and 1935 each caused the deaths of at least 140 men. To give some idea of the scale of deaths resulting from the bends it is worth noting that the cemetery has the graves of 33 men who died of divers paralysis in 1914. There are 707 graves (919 people) with most of them having unusual headstones of coloured beach rocks."
The site continues describing the region, recalling the drive Bony took with Johnno (from Java in the story) and Mr. Dickenson to Dampier's Hotel, a scene of one of the murders. "If you continue driving south along Port Drive and turn west onto a dirt road just before the BP fuel depot you have an opportunity to inspect one of the wonders of Broome. At Riddell Point, Red Hill and along the beachfront from the jetty to Gantheaume Point the distinctive red soils of Broome (known as 'pindan'] meet the white sands and the impossibly blue seas. The interplay of these three colours is one of the most unusual and dramatic sights to be seen anywhere in Australia.."
14. The New Shoe
The beautiful lighthouse at Split Point near Cape Otway hides a gruesome secret in the story. Overlooking Eagle Rock (The Eagle's Claw of the story) the lighthouse with its keeper cottages is a beacon to seafarers and also to travellers on the Great Ocean Road. The maritime scrub (Mediterranean type heathland) comes right up to the edge of the cliff and in some places overhangs it, where, as in the story, a narrow ledge to a secret cave might just exist. This vegetation type, if relatively undisturbed, has numerous sorts of resilient and tough-leaved species. Of relevance to the story is the state of the yard inside the fence around the cottage... Originally called Eagle's Nest Point, the lighthouse was built in 1891. The original light source was vaporized kerosene. The lens was made by the Chance Brothers Foundry in Birmingham, England, which was bombed in WWII, destroying the formula for the lens crystal (it is now irreplaceable if lost). When the lighthouse was taken over by the Commonwealth Government in 1919 the light was converted to acetylene and automated (this is the way Bony finds it and is an essential element in the story). Conversion to electricity took place in 1972. A newspaper picture of the spiral staircase (where the body was found in the story) with tourists is HERE.
*Where did the name El Niño come from? When was it discovered?
The name El Niño (referring to the Christ child) was originally given by Peruvian fisherman to a warm current that appeared each year around Christmas. What we now call El Niño seemed to them like a stronger event of the same type, and the usage of the term changed to refer only to the irregular strong events. It wasn't until the 1960s that it was widely realized that this was not just a local Peruvian occurrence, but was associated with changes over the entire tropical Pacific and beyond.
The following quote is given in the introduction to an excellent (scholarly) book by George Philander of Princeton University ("El Niño, La Niña and the Southern Oscillation", Academic Press, 1990). These are remarks quoted from Senor Federico Alfonso Pezet's address to the Sixth International Geographical Congress in London in 1895.
In the year 1891, Senor Dr Luis Carranza, President of the Lima Geographical Society, contributed a small article to the Bulletin of that Society, calling attention to the fact that a countercurrent flowing from north to south had been observed between the ports of Paita and Pacasmayo.
The Paita sailors, who frequently navigate along the coast in small craft, either to the north or the south of that port, name this countercurrent the current of "El Niño" (the child Jesus) because it has been observed to appear immediately after Christmas.
As this countercurrent has been noticed on different occasions, and its appearance along the Peruvian coast has been concurrent with rains in latitudes where it seldom if ever rains to any great extent, I wish, on the present occasion, to call the attention of the distinguished geographers here assembled to this phenomenon, which exercises, undoubtedly, a very great influence on the climatic conditions of that part of the world.
The name El Niño now refers to the warm phase of a large oscillation in which the surface temperature of the central/eastern part of the tropical Pacific varies by up to about 4°C, with associated changes in the winds and rainfall patterns. The complete phenomenon is known as the El Niño/Southern Oscillation, abbreviated ENSO. The warm El Niño phase typically lasts for 8-10 months or so. The entire ENSO cycle lasts usually about 3-7 years, and often includes a cold phase (known as La Niña) that may be similarly strong, as well as some years that are neither abnormally hot nor cold. However, the cycle is not a regular oscillation like the change of seasons, but can be highly variable in strength and timing. At present we do not fully understand what causes these changes in the ENSO cycle.
The Southern Oscillation was named by Sir Gilbert Walker in 1923, noting that "when pressure is high in the Pacific Ocean it tends to be low in the Indian Ocean from Africa to Australia". This was the first recognition that changes across the tropical Pacific and beyond were not isolated phenomena but were connected as part of a larger oscillation. Walker was Director of Observatories in India and was mostly concerned with variations in the Indian monsoon.
The first real description of El Niño/Southern Oscillation in terms of physical mechanisms was by Prof Jacob Bjerknes of the Univ of California, Los Angeles in 1969.
A history web site clarifies some of these details:
The earliest known human inhabitants of the area are said to be the Willyama Aborigines, although, with no permanent water supply in the area their presence was only intermittent. With the arrival of Europeans they were decimated by disease and forcibly driven from the lands. More recently the Paarkinji people have moved up from the lower Darling. Pastoralists, who had followed in the wake of Sturt in the 1850s, moved further west in the 1860s. Much local land was taken up in 1864. Goods were shipped up the Darling via river steamer and then hauled overland by bullock teams.
Mount Gipps station was taken up around 1863. By 1867 there were gold prospectors in the area. However, it wasn't until 1883, after the discovery of silver in the area, that Charles Rasp, a watchful boundary rider at the Mt Gipps station, discovered what he thought were tin deposits at the 'broken hill'. The samples he took contained silver chloride and he claimed 16 hectares. The ore body was a continuous arch 7 km long and 220 m wide. Later that year they decided to form and float shares in The Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP), now Australia's largest company. A stone chimney and plaque in Proprietary Square, by the skimp dump, marks the spot of the hut which was built at the foot of the hill for the use of the first miners. It was later used as a BHP works office.
As the effective founder of BHP, one of Australia's most important companies, Rasp is a significant figure in Australian history. However, according to his biographer, he was not at all the simple lucky man he appeared. 'Rasp' was in fact born in Saxony as Hieronymous Salvator Lopez von Pereira. His grandfather was of the Portuguese aristocracy. His father became private secretary to a German prince, moved to Saxony, married a German woman and died while being pursued by the financier Rothschild. Both men sought to obscure their identity by changing the family name. 'Jerome', as Rasp was then known, received an education in economics in the Baltic States. He later joined the army and, for complicated reasons, decided to abandon the army and head for Australia while fighting in the Franco-Prussian War. Soon after mining commenced the township was surveyed. Randolph Bedford wrote that 'Argent St was a huge dust heap, filled with hotels and flimsy offices and saloons. A two chain wide road knee deep in dust, and crowded with men from all the earth, selling at tremendous prices shares in alleged mines'.
There is a museum of minerals and an excellent web site for viewing the silver-lead-zinc ores. Australian GeoSciences has an excellent map of the geology of the area. A picture of the mine is here. Broken Hill was declared a municipality as early as 1888 and a city in 1907.
(Paperback - September 1998)
23. Bony and the Black Virgin (The Torn Branch)
This is another story that shows the critical importance of the El Niño drought pattern to survival in most of the continent. Visit the Long Paddock web site to see a detailed history of Australian rainfall patterns. This story takes place in the late 1950s, so look up the Darling River basin rainfall area history for those years in New South Wales and South Australia. The severe drought episode in the story repeats itself, with 2003 data emphasizing the close connection between El Niño rainfall events and the Australian agricultural economy. The map shows how water that falls in the east makes its way to the Center and the Darling-Murray river drainage. The "Lake Jane" of the story is an example of water from a distant rain making the long journey to inland agriculture.
Our Little Miners (Dryblowers) Cottages
These little abandoned miners camps were in a very derelict condition until the Leonora Tourist Committee auctioned them off in 1995, for the right to restore. The highest price was $1,000 and bottom price was $20. The volunteers that 'bought' the camps were given titles authorising them to restore the camps under guidelines, using as much of the original materials and colour schemes as possible, at their own cost. Hessian and information sheets were provided. The response was terrific with the involvement of over 100 people from ages ranging from 8 to 72 years old. The local support for the idea was very strong. We had people doing the actual restoration as well as people boring holes, collecting bits and pieces, painting, allowing access to station rubbish tips for window frames and such, gardening, giving us old newspapers for the walls, perspex and windows. The support was unbelievable and we are very proud of each and every one. Each house has its own personality. Some were lived-in until not so long ago. Most were left abandoned when the original Sons of Gwalia underground mine closed in 1963. The people that have restored each camp have reflected these moods. Some have restored the houses as they imagine them being still lived in. Others have restored them as though the families have just walked out.
25. Bony and the Kelly Gang
= Valley of the Smugglers (close to Bowral, south of Sydney in New South Wales)
Bony as "Nat Bonnay" (hitchhiker and former involuntary guest of an Aussie jail) inquires about the town of Bowral. "...Bowral! What sort of place is it? Big or small?" The truck driver who gave "Nat Bonnay" a ride responds, "Smallish. Four pub town. Three policemen. Five hundred yapping dogs." The current Bowral is a tourist destination and is the town where Upfield chose to live until his death in 1964. The area includes Fitzroy Falls, in Morton National Park. The Fitzroy waterfall, catchment, cliff and caves seem very much like the waterfall in the novel and its surroundings fit the terrain description of the "Valley of the Smugglers." Still popular country for bushwalking.
26. The White Savage (Bony and the White Savage)
From the 1961 book jacket: "In the wild cave country of Western Australia among the cliffs overlooking the sea, a man hid from his pursuers. In many ways he was more monster than man, for Marvin Rhudder was a convicted thief, rapist and murderer. Many had hunted him, but now the case belonged to Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte. The half-Aborigine 'Bony' felt convident he could track Rhudder down, but he counted without Rhudder's family --- and the power of a woman in love." This story takes place in one of the climatically and geologically extraordinary places on the planet: the junction of the Southern and Indian oceans (map). "Sneaker waves" play a role in this story (a sneaker series photographed in Oregon, USA). They are a dangerous coastal phenomenon more common in some areas of the world than others (U. S.: California, Oregon, Washington / S. Africa: Cape Agulhas / West Australia). Sneaker waves form from trains of smaller waves that combine when affected by factors of wind and coastal geography and are considered regular but not predictable (nonlinear behavior). Here is a PDF file describing the geological processes behind the landscape Upfield describes so clearly: the interaction of limestones nearly half a million years old, their weathering into fine sands that form dunes, that block streams, allow groundwater to create caves and dissolve minerals to make karst (read the file!). Giant trees of eucalyptus species (Eucalyptus diversicolor or karri pdf) are important, almost becoming characters in the story. The vegetation near the coast of Cape Leeuwin shows the effect strong winds have in creating tightly packed clumps, which play a role in the tracking of persons in the story. The fine dust in the floor of the cave where the denouement of the story takes place is made up largely from weathered limestone. This image from the site dedicated to Margaret River biodiversity has excellent photos and interesting descriptions of the magnificent "cathedral" stands of these southern eucalypts. This image (143 K) (1.5 MB) from a collection by Wayne Wurtsbaugh at (http://aslo.org/index.html) gives a sense of the wild ocean and unforgiving rocks in the story. Among the other natural history (or unnatural history in the case of introduced mammals such as cats, foxes and rabbits) facts mentioned are the "Number One Rabbit Fence" that went from the Southern Ocean shore (map) all the way north to 80 Mile Beach just south of Broome. the Rabbit Fences were an expensive national project that was largely ineffective, as indicated in the story, where "rabbit-scarred" areas are described.
27. The Will of the Tribe
As in The Battling Prophet, this story has geopolitical underpinnings, with echoes of some current international security issues of subversion that reflect the Cold War of its era. Set in the Wolfe Creek Crater area. Upfield changes the natural and geological history of the crater, in order to make the crater so recent that it has no connection to Aboriginal tradition. This lack of connection is an essential element to the finding of a dangerous stranger dead in its center. However, the Wolfe Creek crater is about 300,000 years old, has deep drifts of sediment from the winds of millennia and has been dated in a variety of ways. Leonid and other meteor showers are frequent events in the Southern sky: It would be expected that such an event or two might result in loud explosions if a meteor were large enough to come near the Earth's surface. Connecting an audible event with a crater is another matter needing technical investigation to produce evidence for cause and effect. However, Upfield's descriptions of the Wolf Creek Crater are accurate. It was originally called Kandimalal, the track of the Rainbow Serpent by Aboriginal people. An Aboriginal legend is recounted by Daisy Kungah of Bililuna (PDF file in case the web site disappears). Her painting combines the scientific explanation of the crater with Aboriginal legend. The crater is now a National Park. The landscape around the crater and the rim ("Lucifer's Couch" in the story) is austere and striking. You can see the "gap" in the rim where the body of "X" was carried into the central wooded area of paperbarks. Interestingly, Daisy's account of the crater tells of a white man who died in it. In the graveyard of the Old Halls Creek goldrush town there is a grave of a man who died of thirst in the nearby Tanami desert, just as the dead man in the story was alleged to do (but of course, if I tell you how he really died that would spoil the story)! If you go to this page, you will see a linguistic map of Australia and realize that Upfield's assertion that the dead man in the crater was remarkable for his ability to make the trek across the desolate Red Center from remote Innamincka just inside SA near the South Australia-New South Wales-Victoria boundary. Digital Enhanced Model (DEM) images of the crater (1.6 MB jpg, 1 MB jpg) and another of the ejecta field, indicate an angled hit, not the direct hit Upfield asserts. The asymmetry of the crater margin is also consistent with an angled impact. Circular impact structures are not necessarily the result of "direct from above" bolide strikes: see the supercomputer simulations of comet impacts (45 degree angle) at the Sandia National Laboratory site. Here is a recent map of the roads to the crater, including Halls Creek. The impact site is still remote, having no water and only an explanatory shelter explaining its geological history.
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The source of this map was a now disappeared information web site.
TOP AUSSIE SLANG in current usage (not for those with delicate sensibilities...)
GLOSSARY OF ABORIGINAL OR ENGLISH WORDS RELATED TO AUSTRALIAN USAGE, with additions of flora or fauna referred to in the Detective-Inspector Napoleon "Bony" Bonaparte mysteries.
The PDF file for the whole article on Aboriginal/English words "Aboriginal Words In Australian English" by Hirohiko Yukose is HERE. Because some of these terms are now offensive racial slurs, I have included an excerpt from Hollingsworth's guidelines on nonracist language at the end of the list below.
My occasional additions to the list are in BLUE.
In some cases it is difficult to be certain whether a word is of Aboriginal origin or not.
baal, bail, bale : No, not. Collins (1798) records beall from Port Jackson.
balanda : White man, European. The word is of Dutch origin (Hollander).
bandy bandy : Used for a number of different kinds of small snake, e. g., Vermicella annulata, the common bandy bandy. A word from the north coast of New South Wales.
bangalow : The palm, Archontophoenix cunninghamiana. A New South Wales word.
barcoo : The name of a river in south-western Queensland which has been used in compounds such as barcoo grass, barcoo rot (a skin disease), barcoo challenge (shearers challenge), barcoo vomit or barcoo spew (s) (vomiting sickness).
barramundi : (Often abbreviated to barra). In general use as the name of the fish. A Queensland word from the Rockhampton-Gladstone area. The earliest recorded form is burra-mundi and the present form may have been influenced by the word barracouta.
bilby : Rabbit bandicoot. The form bil-bi has been recorded in Wiradjuri, the language of central and southern New South Wales.
billabong : Branch of a river cut off from the main stream. A Wiradjuri word from central and southern New South Wales.
binghi : An Aborigine. This word, pronounced bing-eye, is derived from the term for elder brother in the languages once spoken between Kempsey Newcastle, viz. Ngamba, Birbai and Wanarua.
bloodwood : Eucalyptus gummifera, E. corymbosa, E. opaca (NSW) or E. terminalis (NSW). Extremely hardy varieties of Eucalyptus, tolerant of extreme environmental conditions. Bony sends an undertaker some bloodwood logs for his coffin in The New Shoe.
bogong moth : The bogong moth, Agrotis infusa, was prized as a food source by Aborigines. The word bogong is from the Murray River area of South Australia and has become the name for a range of mountains in south-east New South Wales after the profusion of bogong moths that gather there in summer. In 2001, the moths were found to be transporting arsenic from the fields where the larvae fed (mainly on cotton) to their resting place in the mountains. The numbers of moths dying at the resting sites was killing surrounding vegetation and arsenic was found in species of animals that fed on the moths. No arsenic was found in the natural soil of the mountains.
bombora, bomboora : A submerged reef or rocks that causes the sea to lift but not break. A New South Wales word that still enjoys current use and was popularised as the name of an instrumental hit in the early 1960s.
boomerang : Curved throwing weapon. Captain P. P. King in his Survey of Intertropical and West Coasts of Auustralia notes Boomerang is the Port Jackson term for this weapon... Threlkeld (1834) recognised the word as one that was introduced into the Awaba language of the Newcastle area, which suggests that settlers had picked it up very early.
bora : Initiation ceremony ; site for such a ceremony. Ridley gives the word as kamilaroi, the language once spoken around Gunnedah, N. S. W.
borak : A Victorian word meaning not, used in English to mean nonsense. Once common, especially in the phrase to poke at meaning to give cheek to or to make fun of.
brigalow : Various kinds of Acaia, especially Acacia harpophylla.
brolga : Large kind of crane, Grus rubicunda, also known as the native companion. Forms such as brolga and buralga have been recorded over a large more or less continuous area extending from Wellington N. S. W. to Coopers Creek in South Australia and up into western Queensland as far as Dajarra.
brumby : A wild horse. The origin of this word is obscure and it may not be Aboriginal. Records of the word brumbi as wild horse in the area to the north of Brewarrina, N. S. W. and booramby means wild is recorded from the Cunnamulla, Q., area.
budgeree, boojery : Good. The word seems to be obsolete, but it once enjoyed currency in colloquial speech.
bung : This is a word from the Brisbane area that originally meant dead. It is now used to mean bankrupt or broken as in the phrase to go bung.
bungle-bungles : a rugged, still nearly inaccessible range of eroded mountains in the North End. One of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.
bunya-bunya : The tree Araucaria bidwillii ; the fruit or seeds of this tree. The Bunya-Bunya Mountains are named after the tree. It gives the form bonyi for Kabi, the language once spoken around Gympie, Queensland.
bunyip : Mythical monster inhabiting rivers and billabongs - reputed to eat anything it can catch. A Victorian word. The link takes you to the bunyip stamp page. My note: a bunyip is mythical except to those who have experienced one directly. See also "snipe hunt" in the USA.
carbora : A name in use in the nineteenth century for the koalas.
carney : Lizard, especially the bearded dragon. A Wemba-Wemba word from the Murray River region.
chook : chicken
cobbra, cobra : Head. It records cabera from Port Jackson. In use still in some northern Australian forms of pidgin. Mt Cobberas in East Gippsland, near the N. S. W. border, preserves this word according to Morris (1898).
coolibah: Eucalyptus microtheca (E. coolabah) is a tree that marks the presence of groundwater. The coolibah, like many trees of the Australian landscape, depends on underground water to keep it alive through the dry season. If the water is taken away, is polluted or turns salt, the trees will die.
cooee : A call used to attract attention from a distance, particularly in finding someone lost in the bush ; also used as a verb to cooee ; within cooee, within a short distance. It records cowee from Port Jackson. Forms related to these are found all over Australia and they can be shown to be authentic forms of a widespread root rather than forms spread by settlers.
corroboree : Aboriginal singing and dancing ; also used for a European social gathering or a disturbance. It records the form caribberie from Port Jackson. Numerous spelling were used in the nineteenth century.
cunjevoi : Animal growth found on rocks along the east coast, sea squirt. Its from coastal languages of New South Wales. It records conguwa and kunje-wy. The term is still in use. There is another word cunjevoi which refers to the plant, Alocasia macrorrhiza. This is also thought to be of Aboriginal origin.
currawong : Birds of the genus Strepera, black or grey birds with white marking the size of a magpie ; also known as the bell magpie. The word was recorded from languages between Newcastle and Brisbane, e. g. cur-ow-ung in Awaba (Newcastle area) and kirriwong in Birbai (Port Macquarie area).
didgeridoo, didjeridu : An Aboriginal wind instrument. It was earlier found only in Arnhem Land and the word comes from the languages of north-east Arnhem Land. The Monash University Music Department suggests that it may be a kind of onomatopoeic word imitating the pattern of syllables or tongue movements that players use, either when actually playing the instrument or when talking about the patterns they play.
dingo : Native dog ; also used as a term of contempt. It records tingo and Collins (1798) dingo, both from Port Jackson.
dingo's breakfast : a morning pee and a lookabout, no food.
euro : A type of wallaroo, Macropus robustus erubescens. This word comes from northern South Australia.
Ghan (The) : A major train in Australia. It is being developed for basic and luxury touring. A hundred and fifty years ago, the first camels were imported along with their handlers from Afghanistan with the name shortened to Ghan. The Ghan train derives its name from these early immigrants. Its logo of an Afghan on a camel is in recognition of their efforts in opening up the harsh interior to the rest of Australia.
galah : The grey (my note: many races exist, some with almost no grey), rose-breasted cockatoo (Eolophus roseicapilla), also used in the extended sense of fool. Very noisy birds! A number of forms similar to galah occur in eastern Australian Aboriginal languages and it is difficult to ascertain where this was borrowed.
gibber : Stone, rock. It records kibba from Port Jackson. The word is most frequently used in the phrase "gibber plain" referring to a boulder-strewn plain.
gidgee : Various kinds of Acacia. In western Queensland the red kangaroo. Or a spear, which is a word from southwestern Western Australia.
gin : Aboriginal woman, now considered a racial slur. Collins records "din" from Port Jackson. The spelling represents a form of "dyin," sounding somewhere between din and gin.
ghost gum : Eucalyptus papuana. A tree used for firewood in part because it will burn, even in wet weather. The leaves can be mixed with tobacco and the sap or gum has possible antiseptic properties, including the making of an infusion to treat eye sores.
gundy, goondie : An Aboriginal hut. It records kundi from the Wollongong area. Morris (1898) claims it is a Wiradjuri word.
hielamon, hielaman : A shield. In western Queensland, and possibly in other areas, this term is normal among Aborigines and the word shield is hardly known. Pronunciations with and without the initial h occur. Aborigines did not have a h sound and when they learned English they often introduced it in words that do not have it in English and omitted it in words that did have it. It is common in Aboriginal English to find forms like harm for arm and arm for harm. The problem of putting h into the right words was compounded by the fact that many English speakers do not have an initial h sound, saying ouse for house etc.
hoo-jah : hallucinations of the spectacular sort: generally applied to those of alcoholic delerium tremens.
humpy : An Aboriginal hut ; also used of any rough hut or shack. The h is intrusive. A word of south-east Queensland origin.
ironbark : Eucalyptus jensenii - used for posts because the wood is very hard and durable (important in a land where termites are active).
jackeroo : An employee on a sheep or cattle station being trained for management. It was found in Brisbane area and gives the meaning as wandering white man.
jamwood wattle, rapsberry wattle : Acacia acuminata A species that is considered important in dry lands revegetation, especially in parts of West Australia.
jarrah : Western Australian tree, Eucalyptus marginata. This is a Nyungar word from southwestern-Western Australia and is one of the eucalypts along with karri and marri that form the exceptional forests described in The White Savage.
kangaroo : This word in the form kanguroo is recorded in Cooks journal. It was recorded by Cooks party at Endeavour River in 1770 from the Guugu-Yimidhirr language. The popular story that kangaroo in not a genuine word for the familiar animal, but means I dont know, is incorrect. The word figures in a large number of compounds, kangaroo paw, kangaroo hop, kangaroo grass, etc.
karri : A Western Australian tree, Eucalyptus diversicolor: a valued timber tree that can grow to 300 feet in height, now harvested from second growth. The word is from south-western Western Australia.
kedic : used to mean a psychopath in Upfield's The White Savage.
kipper : An Aboriginal male who has been initiated into manhood. This is a word from the Sydney area and in fact is a derivative of the word gibber given above as stone, rock. Some early versions show an extra syllable, this third syllable apparently representing a suffix, e. g. Collins (1798) gives ke-ba-ra which he relates to ke-bah the stone used in the initiation ceremony.
koala : A tree-dwelling marsupial. Forms such as cullawine, colo, coola etc. begin appearing as
early as 1798, so the word appears to have originated in the Sydney area.
kookaburra : Large types of kingfisher of the genus Dacelo known for their laugh-like call.
kooree, koori : An Aborigine. The form koori is recorded in Curr (1886-7) from several places from the Lower Macleay River to the Hawkesbury. Forms such as kooli, which may be related, are recorded from the Riverina and Victoria. The term is in current use among Aborigines in eastern Australia.
kopi : Gypsum clay. The term is used in western Queensland.
koradji : An Aborigine skilled in medicine, tribal doctor.
kurdaitcha, kooditcha : An evil spirit ; an expedition undertaken to perfom an act of sorcery ; the special emu-feather slippers worn on such an expedition ; the sorcerer. The term kurdaitcha or kurdaitcha man is used in the sense of boogy man. 'Gadaidja' in the Arunta language of Central Australia, can variously refer to the feather shoes or the men who wear them.
kurrajong, currajong : This word was first recorded in the from curra-duin from Port Jackson by Hunter (1793). The meaning given was various trees on the basis of their having fibrous bark that was used, at least by Aborigines, to make lines and ropes. Nowadays it is usually used only of certain species of Brachychiton.
kweeai : Young Aboriginal woman. This word has been borrowed from Aranda or one of the related dialects where the form kwiya is found.
kylie : Boomerang. A Western Australian word. It occurs in all the languages from New Norcia down to the south-west corner of the continent including the Perth area. Spelling such as kylie, kylee and kiley occur suggesting a pronunciation kaili.
leangle : An Aboriginal club with a pick-like striking head. The word comes from western and central Victoria. Early spellings include leungail, lee-eng-ile and lee-ung-ile.
lerp : A manna-like secretion from Psyllid insects found on the leaves of the mallee tree, Eucalyptus dumosa. The insects that leave the secretion are referred to as lerp insects. The word comes from the Murray [River] area. It records a form lereb in Wemba-Wemba and notes that the word lerp has been borrowed from Wemba-Wemba or a related dialect.
lowan : Mallee fowl. This is a Victorian word. It records the form lauan in the Djadjala dialect of Wergaia, the language formerly spoken in the Wimmera district of western Victoria.
lubra : Aboriginal woman and now considered a racial slur. A Tasmanian word recorded in 1834 in a French source with spelling ‘loubra’. The word has been in wide use mainly in south-eastern Australia.
luderick : The blackfish, Girella tricuspidata. A Victorian word recorded from Gippsland.
Mallee : Shrubby eucalypts such as Eucalyptus dissita or E. recurva. Many mallee species are endangered by tourism, agriculture and development projects. Other species, such as E. polybractea (blue mallee) and E. horistes (oil mallee) are being planted commercially for their essential oils. It is proposed that many plant essential oils will replace petroleum products eucalyptus essential oils being effective solvents. After about 5 years, mallee plantations produce plants that can be harvested by trimming shoots off the ligno-tubedrous rooting system every other year or so. Other mallee eucalypts are in demand for urban gardens.
marri : A Western Australian tree, Eucalyptus calophylla. From the same region in West Australi as karri, it is also considered an ecological treasure.
mai-mai, mai-mai : An Aboriginal hut. The word is of Western Australian origin but has been widely used in southeastern Australia.
mogo : Stone tomahawk. The form mogo is recorded by both Hunter (1793) and Collins (1798) from Port Jackson. The word enjoyed some currency in the nineteenth century.
mopoke, morepork : A term used for the boobook owl and sometimes for similar birds such as the
tawny frogmouth. It is not established that it is an Aboriginal word. It is certainly an
imitative word and it seems to have come from New South Wales. It may have been coined
by early settlers.
mulga (1) : Types of Acacia especially Acacia aneura. Mulga Wood ornaments are made from the timber. The term the mulga refers to a remote area, the outback, the boondocks.
mulga (2) : Also spelled malka and malga in early sources, this term refers to a large shield. It is a Victorian word.
mulga wire : refers to Aboriginal telepathic communication, often combined with smoke signalling.
Murry, Mari, Murrai : An Aborigine. The word mari is the word for Aboriginal man in a number of languages of eastern Queensland and the term murry is often used by Queesland Aborigines (in speaking English) to refer to themselves.
myall (1) : Wild, uncivilised ; often used to refer to bush Aborigines as opposed to civilised ones.
myall (2) : Acacia trees especially Acacia pendula the weeping myall. The word boree covers much the same range. Ramson (1988) explains that the word is the same as myall the word for stranger, the term having been applied by the Kamilaroi to the wood they traded with the strangers of the Sydney region.
namma : Hole in rock containing water, natural well. The spelling ‘gnamma’ has also been recorded which suggests the word may be derived from ngama, a widespread word for ‘water’ in Australia.
nannygai : A fish, Beryx affinis. A New South Wales word.
nardo : The clover fern, Marsilea drummondii, or the species, M. hirsuta. The edible "seeds" can be crushed to make flour. The word is found in languages near the Queensland/South Australian border where the form of the word is ngardu.
nulla-nulla : An Aboriginal club. A Port Jackson word. Its the original form was ngala-ngala.
pademelon, paddymelon : Small wallabies of the genus Thylogale. A word from the Sydney area or the south couth coast of New South Wales. Confusingly the forms pademelon and paddymelon also refer to a trailing plant Cucumis myriocarpus naturalised in inland Australia, bearing small melon-like fruits.
perentie : Varanus giganteus, a goanna [lizard]. A word from south-western Queensland or north-eastern South Australia.
pinkhi, pinkeye : Celebration, binge, holiday, walkabout. The word has been used in Australian Pidgin. A West Australian word from the Port Hedland area.
pitchi : Aboriginal wooden dish or bowl ; coolaman. A central Australian word.
pituri : A shrub, Duboisia hopwoodii, found in south-western Queensland and adjacent areas, the leaves of which were used as a narcotic by the Aborigines. It would perhaps be better spelled pedgery or bedgery as it sometimes was in the nineteenth century, these spelling reflecting the pronunciation better. The word is found in languages of western Queensland, but it is difficult to establish in which languages it is the eatablished word as opposed to an importation spread by Europeans.
pyalla : To talk. A Port Jackson word that once enjoyed currency in Australian Pidgin.
quandong, quondong : The tree, Santalum acuminatum, and its fruit ; also used for a low or disreputable character. The explorer Thomas Mitchell recorded the form quandang in central New South Wales, possibly from Wiradjuri.
quoll : This term was recorded by Joseph Bank in 1770 at the Endeavour River from the Guugu-Yimidhirr tribe as the name of a spotted native cat. It is noted by Morris (1898) as not now in use, and Ramson (1966) notes that it became part of the scientific name for a native cat but achieved no wider currency.
Red River Gum : Eucalyptus camalduensis or yarra - a widely distributed tree of seasonal watercourses and river banks. Gum used by Aboriginals as an antiseptic to treat cuts and bruises, infusion from young leaves used as a wash or to treat coughs.
sool : command (as a dog) to follow a trail or (rarely) attack.
shandygaff : A drink made of beer or ale mixed with ginger beer, ginger ale, or lemonade.
taipan : The snake. This comes from the Wik-Munkan language of Cape York.
toopong : A fish, of the genus Pseudophritis. It is recorded as dubong in Gurnditj, in the Western District of Victoria.
tuan : Type of glider or flying squirrel or flying possum. A word from the western district of Victoria.
Waddy : An Aboriginal club ; any stick or cane used for corporal punishment. It records the form wad-dy for stick or tree.
wallaby : Used of any of the smaller macropods. Collins records wal-li-bah in the sense of black kangaroo from Port Jackson. Hunter (1793) records the form wo-la-ba for young kangaroo.
wallaroo : Mountain kangaroos of the Macropus genus. A Port Jackson word.
warrigal : Dingo, native dog ; a term also used in the nineteenth century for wild. A Port Jackson word recorded by Hunter (1793) as waregal and by Collins as wor-re-gal. Related forms are recorded from other parts of New South Wales and from Victoria. The name of the Gippsland town, Warragul, derives from this source.
weeai : Aboriginal boy or young man. This word has been borrowed from Aranda or one of the related dialects where the form awiya or wiya occurs.
wilga (1) : The tree, Geijera parviflora or the Australian willow (Rutaceae). A Wiradjuri word from inland New South Wales. One of the reported uses of this species traditionally, is as a kind of 'narcotic'. Leaves were baked , powdered and smoked in conjunction with other narcotic plants (species?) and apparently used in ceremonies, and reported to induce "drowsiness and drunkenness". Chewed leaves were placed in cavities to stop toothache. Leaf infusion used internally for pain relief.
wilga (2) : Red ochre. The word comes from south-west Western Australia.
willie wagtail : a widely distributed insect eating small bird (Rhipidura leucophra) with black upper parts and white belly, that has a habit of fanning and then rapidly wagging its tail feathers.
willy willy : A whirlwind. The word comes from north-west Western Australia.
witchetty, witchetty grub : Various large edible insect larvae that feed on acacia roots.
witchetty bush - Acacia kempeana
witchetty grub - Xyleutes leuchomochla
"Witchetty" is a South Australian word which originally referred to a hooked stick used for obtainging the grubs and was then used for the grubs themselves.
wobegong, wobbegong : A number of species of shark especially of the genus Orectolobus. A New South Wales word.
woma, womma : A python in inland Australia, Aspidites ramsayi. The word wama in the sense of carpet snake or snake in general is found in a large number of languages of South Australia and the Channel Country of Queensland.
wombat : Burrowing marsupials of the family Vombatidae. Collins gives wom-bat but notes that the native called the animal womback.
woomera, womera : Throwing stick used to launch a spear. There was another word wo-mu-rang in the Port Jackson language which referred to a club sometimes used as a boomerang. This also appears, rather confusingly, with spellings such as womara and womera.
wurley : An Aboriginal hut. A South Australian word. The form warli occurs in a number of languages.
yabber : To talk. This word has been current in Australian Pidgin and is still in colloquial use in Australian English.
yabby, yabbie : Freshwater crustaceans (in Victoria) and marine crustaceans (in Queensland). Forms of this word have been recorded from both eastern and western Victoria. The freshwater crayfish industry in South Australia is focused around two species, the yabbie (Cherax destructor), a native species, and the marron (Cherax tenuimanus), an introduced species.
yack-i : To shout, eapecially when carousing ; an exclamation. The word is pronounced yack-eye and is in current use mostly in northern Australia.
yakka : Work. In common colloquial use especially in the phrase hard yakka. The word comes from the Tharapal language of the Brisbane area, according to Ridley (1875).
Yamidgee : An Aborigine. A Western Australian word from the Malyara language of the upper Sandford River.
yarrah : The common red gum, Eucalyptus camalduensis. The word is recorded in Wiradjuri (central and southern New South Wales) in the forms yara, yarra and yarrah.
yarraman : Horse. Ramson (1966) suggests that this word may have been adopted from Batemans Bay.
youi : Yes. Forms similar to this have been recorded from all over Queensland. This word is in current use in northern Australia, both among Aborigines and Europeans. A form of what appears to be this word, yooeen is recorded from Port Jackson.
yair : yes
-Barry, J. Blake Australian Aboriginal Languages, University of Queensland Press,1991. Brock,, John Native Plants of Northern Australia. Reed Books, 1993.
-Morris, E. M. Austral English, A Dictionary of Australian Words, Phrases and Usages, Macmillan, London, 1898.
-Dixon, R. M. W. Grammatical Categories in Australian Languages, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra, & Humanities Press, New Jersey, 1976.
-The Languages of Australia, Cambridge University Press, 1980.
-Douglas, W. H. The Aboriginal Languages of the South-west of Australia, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra, 1976. -Baker, S. J. The Australian Language, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1945.
-Tindale, N. B. Aboriginal Tribes of Australia, A. N. U. Press, Canberra, 1974.
-Vaszolyi, E. G. Aboriginal Australians Speak, Mt Lawley College of Advanced Education, Perth, 1976.
-Yallop, C. Alyawarra, an Aboriginal Language of Central Australia, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra, 1977.
-Lenie Johansen The Dinkum Dictionary 1988.
-Macquarie Univ. The Macquarie Dictionary 1999.
-G. A. Wilkes A Dictionary of Australian Colloquialisms 1999.
TOP Advice on non-racist terminology
The use of incorrect, inappropriate or dated terminology is to be avoided as it can often give offence in Aboriginal Studies. Many terms in common usage some years ago are not now acceptable although they can be used in 'quotation marks' to indicate their original context. The Bony stories have characters that speak in colloquial language. Upfield was aware of slurs and uses language as part of is depiction of character.
Terms that fall into offensive language category include 'nomads', 'native', 'savage', 'half-caste', 'full-blood', 'part-Aboriginal', 'coloured', 'primitive', 'lubra', 'gin', 'nigger'. This is despite the fact that in some parts of northern Australia both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people continue to use such terms in popular language.
Upfield makes it clear that he is not a racist, and these tales reflect the difficult Australian struggle about the status of Aboriginal populations. For instance, it is crucial to the stories that Detective Inspector Bonaparte and his wife Mary are 'half-castes,' having suffered the dislocation of being removed from their natal settings by the 1911 Australian Northern Territory federal policy of removing such children from their family of origin.
The 'tribe' or 'tribal', 'chief', and 'nomad' have specific meanings derived from foreign societies and are not necessarily applicable to Aborigines. Alternative terms depending on circumstances include 'language group', 'community', 'clan', and 'totemic unit'.
The terms 'tradition' and 'traditionally-oriented' are widely used, sometimes in combination with the contrasting descriptions of 'non-traditional' or 'urban' etc. While you will probably want to employ these terms in your assignments, take care to avoid implying either the pre-contact Aboriginal societies were unchanging or that only those Aborigines who retain to a large extent their 'traditional' culture, language and lifestyle are to be considered 'real' Aborigines. (see Langton, 1981 and Chase, 1981).
The word 'aborigine' as opposed to capital A, 'Aborigine', refers to an indigenous person from any part of the world. Eve Fesl (1986/7, page 25) comments:
As the name of a group of people is 'aborigine' non-descriptive, placing us into hodgepodge of peoples, without giving us a named identity.
Never refer to Australian Aborigines except with a capital 'A'.
The terms Aborigine/Aboriginal are often used to include Australia's other indigenous people, the Torres Strait Islanders, whose language and culture differs considerably from those on the mainland. It is preferable to either say Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders or use indigenous Australians. This practice, which we follow in these unit materials, is a convenient abbreviation, and we apologise if it causes offence to anyone.
Increasingly English words are being replaced by self-descriptive terms such as Koori(e) (Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales), Murrie (Queensland and New south Wales), Nunga (South Australia), Nyungar (Western Australia), Anangu (Central Australia), Yolgnu (Arnhem Land). In other contexts, specific language or land-holding or clan names are used to refer to particular communities, for example, Pitjantjatjara, Kaurna and Ngarrindjeri here in South Australia.
Similar problems apply when referring to people other than Aborigines. Are we to call them 'Europeans' (even if born in Australia), 'British', 'whites', or 'the settlers', or 'non-Aborigines' (who may be non-white, for example the Chinese)? What about various regional terms used by Aborigines such as 'gubba', or 'balanda', or 'kringkri'? There are no absolute recommendations except to recognise that since the arrival of the first fleet there has been an 'ethnically' diverse population. When making a 'simple' comparison the adjective 'non-Aboriginal' is probably preferable.
Other words can also be problematic, for instance, 'pre-history' (implying before or without history), when 'pre-contact history' or 'before the invasion' is meant, or when archaeology is meant. The arrival of the British colonists is seen by some as an 'invasion', and by others as 'peaceful settlement', or 'founding of a nation', or even the cause for the 'celebration of a nation'.
The official (if itself problematic) definition of an Aborigine or Torres Strait Islander since 1978 is as follows:
a person of Aboriginal descent who identifies as an Aborigine and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives.
We hope this discussion of the changing nature of Aboriginal studies terminology is helpful and not too daunting. Aboriginal Studies staff will be able to help you in this (and non-sexist) language use, in your written work. We would be pleased to receive comments, reactions and other examples from students as we will be attempting to develop and refine this advice in guidelines for future Aboriginal Studies materials.
-Fesl, E 1990 ‘How the English language is used to put Koories down and deny us rights’ Social alternatives. vol. 9 (2) pp. 35-37.
-Hollinsworth D 1992 ‘Discourses on Aboriginality and the politics of identity in urban Australia’ Oceania, vol. 63 (2) pp. 137-155.
-Huggins J 1991 ‘In my Terms’ Hecate. vol. XV11 (ii) pp. 171.
-Johnson E 1985 ‘White JustificationMy Interpretation’ in S. Hawthorne (comp) Difference. Waterloo, NSW pp. 32-36.
-Langton M 1993 Well, I heard it on the radio and saw it on the television ...!, Australian Film Commission, Nth Sydney