Language of the Outback

Family Tree Novel Series Language of the Outback

Adopting new words and terms helps better describe your Outback and how you lived it. Family Tree Novel readers are introduced to a variety of Australian, American, and Qweepie vernacular throughout the novel series. Choose to adopt or to adapt these terms in your Outback language.

Aborigine: the Australian people whose ancestors were indigenous to the continent before colonization

Aint: aunt

Aussie: Australian

Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi: is a cheer or chant often performed at Australian sport events

Australia: flat, dry, country that is also a continent the size of the United States

Barbecue: both a cooking method and an apparatus, meat is cooked slowly over low, indirect heat and flavored by the smoking process. Also the title of the Dawson Springs’s annual homecoming event established in 1949.

Baccastix: name given by Driew to a tobacco stick used to hang tobacco plants from scaffolds and tobacco barns. Driew’s baccastix burns with a low level light, similar to a torch.

Barbie: barbecue grill for grilling food

Billa bing bong boom: falling head over heals

Billa bong: ponds created when a creek or river waterway changes path, leaving the branch as a dead end

Bloody: very

Boomerang: a curved, flat piece of wood traditionally used by Australian Aborigines as a hunting weapon (Gulia also uses this as a term to mean “right back at you” or “come again” and to avoid saying something mean-spirited)

Blue: fight (“He was having a blue with his sister.”)

Bluey: pack, equipment, toe, also redhead

Boozer: heavy drinker of alcohol

Bother: male sibling referred to as brother

Bounce: a bully

Bourbon: a barrel-aged, distilled spirit made primarily from corn

Bushie: someone who lives in the bush

By jingo: an expression of assent or assurance

Caddywompus: non-derogatory word to describe functions or actions associated with uncharacteristic behaviors, socially or physically

Calaboose: jail

Candlestix: name given by Driew to a flaming wooden “stick” that burns with a low level light, similar to a torch

Cassowary: large flightless bird native to Australia, shy until provoked, what capabilities to inflict fatal injuries to dogs and people

Chrissie: Christmas

Cicada: an insect with wide-set eyes and membrane-like wings. Its loud, cryptic song is produced by dreamlike vibrations. It is divided into two species that live in Australia and around the world.

Colour: Australian English uses ‘our’ and American English ‘or’ spelling for the word color

Coydog: a wild, candid hybrid resulting from a coyote and a dog mating

Cricket: a bat and ball game with eleven players; the world’s second most popular sport

Crikey: in awe, amazed, astonished

Darwin: a capital city in Australia

Digger: a soldier

Dingo: free-range, wild dog introduced into Australia’s habitat

Doovalacky: used whenever a person cannot remember what something is called

Down Under: term comes from the fact that Australia is located in the Southern Hemisphere

Estray: legal term, any domestic animal wandering ownerless

Extinction: the end of a species

Fella: also spelled fellow, feller, fullah, fulla, and balla, and is combined with adjectives or numerals, or is used to indicate plural pronouns. Examples: big fella business = ”important business;” one-feller girl = ”one girl;” sing out, big fella = ”call out loudly;” me fella = ”we” or ”us.”

Feral: became wild after escaping captivity or civilization

Florida: 27th state of the United States, a southeastern U.S. peninsula between the Gulf of Mexican and the Atlantic Ocean, nickname the “Sunshine State” for its numerous days of sunlight

Fossick: prospector or to search, rummage. Example: “Are you fossicking through the garbage?”

Furphy: false or unreliable rumor

Galah: fool, silly person

G’Day: hello

Georgia: 4th state of the United States, has the largest land mass of any U.S. state east of the Mississippi River, nickname the “Peach State” for its peach trees

Govies: governesses

Half past: time is told as half past the hour

Heterochromia: dual eye color condition thought to be hereditary, a disease, or caused by an injury

Holiday: vacation

Joey: infant marsupial

Kentucky: 15th state of the United States, centrally located and nicknamed the “Bluegrass State” for the bluegrass found in many of its pastures due to the fertile soil

Knock back: refusal (noun), refuse (verb)

Kussin: cousin

Lacrosse: contact sport that uses a long-handled stick called a crosse

Lamingtons: a square sponge cake with chocolate icing and coconut dusted over the top

Larrikin: prankster

Malle: a eucalyptus species whose biomass is converted into ethanol or electricity (Hayder’s use the word to describe a type of moonshine created from the eucalyptus species’ biomass)

Mamaay: Australian grandfather

Marsupial: a class of mammals, most of which carry their young in a pouch

Mate: friend

Mickey Mouse: excellent, very good; in some parts of Australia the phrase means inconsequential, frivolous, or not good

Milk bar: corner shop that sells takeaway food

Milko: milkman

Mob: family, group of people, or herd of kangaroos

Momu: Australian grandmother

Mongrel: despicable person

Moolah: money

Mozzie: mosquito

Muddy: mud crab

Mum: mother

Never Never: the center of Australia, Outback

Northern Territory: third largest Australia federal division; the least populous of Australia’s eight major states and territories

Oldies: parents

Opal: rare, natural gemstone of Australia; formed in sandstone with some iron oxide content, usually as fossilized tree roots

Outback: interior of Australia, the back country, or back yard

Pennyrile: the geographic area of Kentucky named for the pennyroyal plant

Pennyroyal plant: a species of flowering plant with fragrant spearmint leaves, the essential oils of which are used in aromatherapy; the plant is also high in pulegone, a highly toxic volatile organic compound affecting liver and uterine function.

Platypus: a semiaquatic Australian mammal that lays eggs instead of giving birth, and the sole living representative of its family classification

Pig-footed bandicoot: a small marsupial of Australia that is presumed to be extinct

Poa: a genus of about 500 grass species, native to temperate regions of both hemispheres, and commonly named “bluegrass”

Quid: make a: earn a living

Ripper: great, fantastic

Sand Shoes: tennis shoes

Shag on a Rock: obvious

Shonky: underhanded

Sing-song: a repeated rising and falling rhythm of a person’s voice

Sinister: female sibling referred to as sister

Songline: one of many paths across land and sky, marking an Aboriginal creator-being’s route during dreaming

Spiffy: excellent, great

Stalactite: a type of mineral formation that hangs from the ceiling of caves, hot springs, or man-made structures such as bridges and mines

Stalagmite: a type of rock formation composed of minerals that rises from the cave floor due to the accumulation of material deposits

Sunshine State: official nickname of the U.S. state of Florida and the Australian state of Queensland

Swag: rolled up bedding etc. carried by a swagman

Spook: ghost-like apparition

Stuffed, I’ll be: expression of surprise

Ta: thank you

Tallo: water from a mineral spring, containing salts and sulfur compounds; may be “sparkling” due to gases

Tall poppy syndrome: when someone becomes popular others try to cut them down

Tasmania: an island state of the Commonwealth of Australia located south of the Australian mainland, and is the 26th-largest island in the world

Tasmanian tiger: thylacine or thylacinus cynocephalus (Greek for “dog-headed pouched one”), largest native Australian carnivorous marsupial of modern times, believed to be extinct. Named because of its striped lower back; also called Tasmanian wolf.

Testimony: proof or evidence of something by its appearance or existence

Tobacco: a product prepared from the cured leaves of the tobacco plant, which is used around the world

Tucker-bag: food bag

Uncool: uncle

Vegemite: dark brown Australian food paste prepared with various vegetable and spice additives combined with leftover brewer’s yeast extract

Victoria: territory of Southern Australia

Water Boarder: tourists who visited Dawson Springs wells between the 1890s and 1920s—the “Water Boarder” era

Water well: a structure dug into the ground to access groundwater in underground aquifers. Water is drawn by hand using buckets or mechanically by a pump. Well shaft linings of wood, stone, or metal create wall stability.

Willy Willy: whirlwinds that represent spirit forms in Aboriginal myths. Spirits may emerge from the spinning vortex of dirt and punish children who misbehave.

Wolle paper: handmade paper created from rotting Wollemi pine

Yer: your or you’re

Yowah nut: found in the far South Western mines at Yowah in Queensland, ironstone stones resembling ‘nuts’ which contain precious opal within their center

G’DAY: Moment 1

This complimentary excerpt from G’DAY: Aints. Read the The Magic Man and Family Roots also.

—•—

MOMENT ONE

COFFIN

Driew had never known anyone to die, and he wouldn’t let today be that day.

Driew fought! Bound and gagged inside the suffocating supply box, his sing-song voice now restrained by his bindings remained unable to save him. Driew feverishly peeked through the cracks of his locked wooden coffin of doom. His eyes burned with pain from the sliver of sunlight upon the horizon.

His Tasmanian Tiger joey, squealed from the tormenting blows of two masked teens. Dingo hung from the rusty wire clothesline bagged like a papoose in a sinister’s dress—Gayle’s. With two wooden baccastix, the teens walloped Dingo like a celebratory piñata.

Disguised in a black hooded sweatshirt, the boy tormentor commanded the girl, “Let’s take the mongrel to the river.”

“You never mentioned drownin’ it,” the girl tormentor said, wearing a matching disguise.

“If it swims, it won’t drown. If it drowns, then it would’ve died sooner or later,” the boy said.

Fraught with urgency, Driew wriggled against his painful confines.

“I’ve never seen claws on a dog before. I’m not touchin’ it,” the girl said.

“We’ll use this stick for totin’ the mongrel down to the river,” he said, handing the girl a wooden baccastix, normally used for firing dark tobacco.

Driew rubbed his cheek against the wooden floor, snagging the gag cloth on a splintered board. Nostrils flaring in anger, he peered through the cracks of the box as Dingo slid off the clothesline onto the baccastix carrying pole.

Driew pressed hard against the splintered board, grimacing as it pierced his cheek. With a fitful yank, the gag ripped but remained cinched.

The tormentors dragged Dingo to the supply box where Driew struggled. The boy tormentor kicked the box near Driew’s head. The forceful kick cracked the board against Driew’s temple. He winced, knocking back urges to cry out his pain. The bully stole Driew’s happiness but he wouldn’t find satisfaction in Driew’s pain.

Dingo’s marsupial cries subsided into low, fearful whimpers. He, like Driew, sensed potential danger.

“There’s no family crueler than ours,” the boy said.

This all too familiar phrase Driew learned and understood bloody quick. He pulled at the slobbery gag a third time, freeing his clenched jaw. Inhaling a much needed breath, he was able to sing-song, bellowing to the baccastix supporting Dingo.

The baccastix ignited, engulfing stick and dress with teal blue flames. Startled by the sudden fire, the tormentors dropped the flaming stick and cargo onto the unforgiving soil.

Ripping through the dress with his cat-like claws, Dingo escaped, scurrying to a nearby tree for safety.

“You’re full of bad ideas! The dog is loose and mad!” The girl yelled as she ran from the flaming baccastix out of Driew’s sight.

“Come back you big sissy. We’re not done with him!” The boy hollered, chasing behind the girl.

Driew rolled onto his back and sighed, “As always, left like a magician to free myself.”

Lured by his curiosity to the opened yard supply box, Driew had spent nearly an hour locked away in solitary confinement. While peering into the box, his twin tormentors wrangled him like a rodeo calf, locking him inside.

When faced with difficult situations, Driew sought out his own solutions to problems. This meant not asking others to do something he wouldn’t. He calmed himself rather than bellyaching and calling for help.

His oldest sister and brother, Killiope and Pester, both graduated and moved away. Killiope served in the US military, and Pester played college lacrosse. Their absence offered no comfort as Driew’s twin siblings sealed his little bother fate on the farm.

Driew lay staring through the darkness of the confining coffin, focusing on the wooden box lid.

“Torments must be what the last born deserves,” he said to himself.

Sing-song, a spooking voice called from the familiar spook, finding Driew once again in despair.

Hopeful his sing-song controlled this wooden box as it had many other wooden objects on the farm like the baccastix, Driew sang. The supply box lid rattled against the lock outside. Driew turned his song’s focus toward the end of the box at his feet and sang his sing-song intently. The end fell open and a joyful tiger-striped flash bounded into the box over his feet and onto his chest. Dingo’s joyous licks showed Driew his parents weren’t the only ones who loved him unconditionally.

Shuffling feet first from the box, Driew scooted outside in the sunlight’s freedom.

“I must be a magic man to escape their box of doom.”

—•—

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Text and illustrations copyright © 2018 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.