Glossary


An incomplete glossary of Australian, British, or antique terms and concepts which may prove helpful to understanding Lawson's writings:

"A house where they took in cards on a tray" (from Joe Wilson's Courtship): An upper class house, with servants who would take a visitor's card (on a tray) to announce their presence, or, if the family was out, to keep a record of the visit.

Anniversary Day: Mentioned in the text, is now known as Australia Day. It commemorates the establishment of the first English settlement in Australia, at Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), on 26 January 1788.

Gin: An obvious abbreviation of "aborigine", it only refers to *female* aborigines, and is now considered derogatory. It was not considered derogatory at the time Lawson wrote.

Jackaroo: At the time Lawson wrote, a Jackaroo was a "new chum" or newcomer to Australia, who sought work on a station to gain experience. The term now applies to any young man working as a station hand. A female station hand is a Jillaroo. Variant: Jackeroo.

Old-fashioned child: A child that acts old for their age. Americans would say 'Precocious'.

'Possum: In Australia, a class of marsupials that were originally mistaken for possums. They are not especially related to the possums of North and South America, other than both being marsupials.

Public/Pub.: The traditional pub. in Australia was a hotel with a "public" bar--hence the name. The modern pub has often (not always) dispensed with the lodging, and concentrated on the bar.

Tea: In addition to the regular meaning, Tea can also mean a light snack or a meal (i.e., where Tea is served). In particular, Morning Tea (about 10 AM) and Afternoon Tea (about 3 PM) are nothing more than a snack, but Evening Tea (about 6 PM) is a meal. When just "Tea" is used, it usually means the evening meal. Variant: Tea-time.

Tucker: Food.

Shout: In addition to the regular meaning, it also refers to buying drinks for all the members of a group, etc. The use of this term can be confusing, so the first instance is footnoted in the text.

Sly-grog-shop: An unlicensed bar or liquor-store.

Station: A farm or ranch, especially one devoted to cattle or sheep.

Store Bullock: Lawson makes several references to these. A bullock is a castrated bull. Bullocks were used in Australia for work that was too heavy for horses. 'Store' may refer to those cattle, and their descendants, brought to Australia by the British government, and sold to settlers from the 'Store'--hence, the standard draft animal.

Also: a hint with the seasons--remember that the seasons are reversed from those in the northern hemisphere, hence June may be hot, but December is even hotter. Australia is at a lower latitude than the United States, so the winters are not harsh by US standards, and are not even mild in the north. In fact, large parts of Australia are governed more by "dry" versus "wet" than by Spring-Summer-Fall-Winter.

Glossary courtesy of readbookonline.net

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