1875. Wood and Lapham, 'Waiting for the Mail,' p. 15:
"The water-hole was frozen over, so she was obliged to go on farther, where the water ran."
1875. 'Spectator' (Melbourne), June 26, p. 94, col. 1:
"A bottomless water-hole, about 300 feet wide, exists at Maryvale homestead, Gipps Land."
1878. Mrs. H. Jones, 'Broad Outlines of Long Years in Australia,' p. 97:
"'That will be another water-hole.' 'What an ugly word . . . why don't you call them pools or ponds?' 'I can't tell you why they bear such a name, but we never call them anything else, and if you begin to talk of pools or ponds you'll get well laughed at.'"
1896. 'The Argus,' March 30, p. 6, col. 9:
[The murderer] has not since been heard of. Dams and waterholes have been dragged . . . but without result."
Water-Lily. See Lily.
Water-Mole, i.q. Platypus (q.v.).
Water-Myrtle, an Australian tree, Tristania neriifolia, R. Br., N.O. Myrtaceae.
Water-Tree, n. a tree from which water is obtained by tapping the roots, Hakea leucoptera, R. Br., N.O. Proteaceae; called also Needle-bush. The quotation describes the process, but does not name the tree.
1839. T. L. Mitchell, 'Three Expeditions,' p. 199:
"I expressed my thirst and want of water. Looking as if they understood me, they [the aboriginals] hastened to resume their work, and I discovered that they dug up the roots for the sake of drinking the sap . . . They first cut these roots into billets, and then stripped off the bark or rind, which they sometimes chew, after which, holding up the billet, and applying one end to the mouth, they let the juice drop into it."
Wattle, n. The name is given to very many of the various species of Acacia (q.v.), of which there are about 300 in Australia, besides those in Tasmania and New Zealand. There is no English tree of that name, but the English word, which is common, signifies "a twig, a flexible rod, usually a hurdle; . . . the original sense is something twined or woven together; hence it came to mean a hurdle, woven with twigs; Anglo-Saxon, watel, a hurdle." (Skeat.) In England the supple twigs of the osier-willow are used for making such hurdles. The early colonists found the long pliant boughs and shoots of the indigenous Acacias a ready substitute for the purpose, and they used them for constructing the partitions and outer-walls of the early houses, by forming a "wattling" and daubing it with plaster or clay. (See Wattle-and-dab.) The trees thus received the name of Wattle-trees, quickly contracted to Wattle. Owing to its beautiful, golden, sweet-scented clusters of flowers, the Wattle is the favourite tree of the Australian poets and painters. The bark is very rich in tannin. (See Wattle-bark.) The tree was formerly called Mimosa (q.v.). The following list of vernacular names of the various Wattles is compiled from Maiden's 'Useful Native Plants'; it will be seen that the same vernacular name is sometimes applied to several different species—
Black Wattle— Acacia binervata, De C., of Illawarra and South. A. decurrens, Willd., older colonists of New South Wales. A. cunninghamii, Hook. A. nervifolia, Cunn.
Broad-leaved W.— A. pycnantha, Benth.
Broom W.— A. calamifolia, Sweet.
Feathery W.— A. decurrens, Willd.
Golden W. (q.v.)— A. pycnantha, Benth.; in Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania. It is also called Green Wattle, and also, for the sake of distinction between some other tan-bark wattles, the Broad-leaved Wattle. A. longifolia, Willd.; in New South Wales and Queensland.
Green W.— A. decurrens, Willd., older colonists New South Wales. A. pycnantha, Benth. A. discolor, Willd.; so called in Tasmania, and called also there River Wattle.
Hickory W.— A. aulacocarpa, Cunn.
Prickly W.— A. sentis, F. v. M. A. juniperina, Willd.
Silver W.— A. dealbata, Link. Silver Wattle, owing to the whiteness of the trunk, and the silvery or ashy hue of its young foliage. A. decurrens, Willd. A. melanoxylon, R. Br. (Blackwood). A. podalyriafolia, Cunn.; called Silver Wattle, as it has foliage of a more or less grey, mealy, or silvery appearance.
Weeping W.— A. saligna, Wendl.
1827. P. Cunningham, 'Two Years in New South Wales,' vol. i. p. 201:
"The acacias are the common wattles of this country, their bark affording excellent tan, as well as an extract to export to England; while from their trunks and branches clear transparent beads of the purest Arabian gum are seen suspended in the dry spring weather, which our young currency bantlings eagerly search after and regale themselves with."
1827. Vigors and Horsfield, 'Transactions of Linnaean Society,' vol. xv. p. 328:
"One of my specimens . . . I shot in a green wattle-tree close to Government House."
1832. J. Bischoff, 'Van Diemen's Land,' c. ii. p. 23:
"The black and silver Wattle (the Mimosa), are trees used in housework and furniture."
1834. Ross, 'Van Diemen's Land Annual,' p. 134:
"Leptospermum lanigerum, hoary tea-tree, Acacia decurrens, and black wattle; Corraea alba, Cape Barren tea. The leaves of these have been used as substitutes for tea in the colonies."
1846. J. L. Stokes, 'Discoveries in Australia,' vol. ii. c. iv. p. 132:
"Black wattle . . . indication of good soil . . . produce gum."
1850. J. B. Clutterbuck, 'Port Phillip in 1849.' p. 32:
"Few, indeed, of the native Australian flowers emit any perfume except the golden and silver wattle (the Mimosae tribe): these charm the senses, and fully realize the description we read of in the 'Arabian Nights' Entertainments' of those exotics, the balmy perfume of which is exhaled far and near."
1860. G. Bennett, 'Gatherings of a Naturalist,' p. 337:
"These trees were termed 'Wattles,' from being used, in the early days of the colony, for forming a network or wattling of the supple twigs for the reception of the plaster in the partitions of the houses."
1862. W. Archer, 'Products of Tasmania,' p. 40:
"Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata, Lindl.), so called from the whiteness of the trunk and the silvery green of the foliage."
1862. G. T. Lloyd, 'Twenty-three Years in Tasmania and Victoria,' p. 33:
"The mimosa, or wattle, . . . ushers in the Spring with its countless acres of charming and luxuriant yellow and highly scented blossom . . . The tanning properties of its bark are nearly equal in value to those of the English oak."
1867. A. G. Middleton, 'Earnest,' p. 132:
"The maidens were with golden wattles crowned."
1877. F. V. Mueller, 'Botanic Teachings,' p. 24:
"The generic name [Acacia] is so familiarly known, that the appellation 'Wattle' might well be dispensed with. Indeed the name Acacia is in full use in works on travels and in many popular writings for the numerous Australian species."
1883. F. M. Bailey, 'Synopsis of Queensland Flora,' p. 837:
"Called 'Silver Wattle.' The bark, which is used for tanning, is said to give a light colour to leather; value, L3 10s. per ton."
1885. H. Finch-Hatton, 'Advance Australia,' p. 43:
"A dense clump of wattles, a sort of mimosa—tall, feathery, graceful trees, with leaves like a willow and sweet-scented yellow flowers."
1889. J. H. Maiden, 'Useful Native Plants,' p. 349:
"The ordinary name for species of the genus Acacia in the colonies is 'Wattle.' The name is an old English one, and signifies the interlacing of boughs together to form a kind of wicker-work. The aboriginals used them in the construction of their abodes, and the early colonists used to split the stems of slender species into laths for 'wattling' the walls of their rude habitations."
1890. Tasma, 'In her Earliest Youth,' p. 122:
"It pleased him yearly to see the fluffy yellow balls bedeck his favourite trees. One would have said in the morning that a shower of golden shot had bespangled them in the night-time. Late in the autumn, too, an adventurous wattle would sometimes put forth some semi-gilded sprays—but sparsely, as if under protest."
1896. J. B. O'Hara, 'Songs of the South' (Second Series), p. 22:
"Yet the spring shed blossoms around the ruin, The pale pink hues of the wild briar rose, The wild rose wasted by winds that blew in The wattle bloom that the sun-god knows."
Wattle-and-Dab, a rough mode of architecture, very common in Australia at an early date. The phrase and its meaning are Old English. It was originally Wattle-and-daub. The style, but not the word, is described in the quotation from Governor Phillip, 1789.
1789. Governor Phillip, 'Voyage to Botany Bay,' p. 124:
"The huts of the convicts were still more slight, being composed only of upright posts, wattled with slight twigs, and plaistered up with clay."
1836. Ross, 'Hobart Town Almanack,' p. 66:
"Wattle and daub. . . . You then bring home from the bush as many sods of the black or green wattle (acacia decurrens or affinis) as you think will suffice. These are platted or intertwined with the upright posts in the manner of hurdles, and afterwards daubed with mortar made of sand or loam, and clay mixed up with a due proportion of the strong wiry grass of the bush chopped into convenient lengths and well beaten up with it, as a substitute for hair."
1848. W. Westgarth, 'Australia Felix,' p. 201:
"The hut of the labourer was usually formed of plaited twigs or young branches plastered over with mud, and known by the summary definition of 'wattle and dab.'"
1852. Mrs. Meredith, 'My Home in Tasmania,' vol. i. p. 179:
"Wattles, so named originally, I conceive, from several of the genus being much used for 'wattling' fences or huts. A 'wattle and dab' but is formed, in a somewhat Robinson Crusoe style, of stout stakes driven well into the ground, and thickly interlaced with the tough, lithe wattle-branches, so as to make a strong basket-work, which is then dabbed and plastered over on both sides with tenacious clay mortar, and finally thatched."
1879. W. J. Barry, 'Up and Down,' p. 21:
"It was built of what is known as 'wattle and dab,' or poles and mud, and roofed with the bark of the gum-tree."
1883. E. M. Curr, 'Recollections of Squatting,' p. 5:
"Others were of weather boards, wattle and dab, or slabs."
Wattle-bark, n. the bark of the wattle; much used in tanning, and forms a staple export.
1875. 'Spectator' (Melbourne), Aug. 14, p. 178 col. 2:
"A proprietor of land at Mount Gambier has refused L4000 for the wattle-bark on his estate."
1877. [? Exact date lost.] 'Melbourne Punch':
"What'll bark? Why, a dog'll."
1883. F. M. Bailey, 'Synopsis of Queensland Flora,' p. 140:
"The bark of this species is used in tanning light skins, but the bark is considered weak in tannin, and only worth thirty shillings per ton in Queensland. Called 'Black-wattle bark.'"
1893. 'Melbourne Stock and Station Journal,' May 10 [advt.]:
"Bark.—There is a moderate inquiry for good descriptions, but faulty are almost unsaleable:—Bundled Black Wattle, superior, L5 to L6 per ton; do. do., average, L3 to L4 10s. per ton; chopped Black Wattle, L5 to L6 5s. per ton; ground, approved brands, up to L8 per ton; do., average, L5 to L6 per ton."
1896. 'The Leader,' a weekly column:
"Kennel Gossip. By Wattle Bark."
Wattled Bee-eater. See Bee-eater.
Wattle-bird, n. an Australian bird, so called from the wattles or fleshy appendages hanging to his ear. In the Yellow species they are an inch long. The species are—
Brush Wattle-bird— Anelobia mellivora, Lath.
Little W.— A. lunulata, Gould.
Red W.— Acanthochaera carunculata, Lath.
Yellow W.— A. inauris, Gould.
The earlier scientific names occur in the quotation, 1848. In New Zealand, the Kokako (q.v.) is also called a Wattle-bird, and the name used to be applied to the Tui (q.v.).
1820. W. C. Wentworth, 'Description of New South Wales,' p. 152:
"The wattle-bird, which is about the size of a snipe, and considered a very great delicacy."
1848. J. Gould, 'Birds of Australia,' vol. iv.:
"Anthochaera inauris, Wattled Honey-eater; Wattled Bird of the Colonists of Van Diemen's Land" (pl. 54). "A. Carunculata, Wattled Bird of the Colonists; the Merops Carunculatus of older writers "(pl. 55). "A. Mellivora, Vig. and Horsf., Bush Wattle Bird" (pl. 56). "A. Lunulata, Gould, Little Wattle Bird, Colonists of Swan River" (pl. 57).
1857. W. Howitt, 'Tallangetta,' vol. ii. p. 11:
"Kangaroo-steaks frying on the fire, with a piece of cold beef, and a wattle-bird pie also ready on the board."
1859. D. Bunce, 'Australasiatic Reminiscences,' p. 62:
"The notes peculiar to the Ornithorhynchus paradoxus, or platypus, wattle-bird, and leather-head, or old soldier bird, added in no small degree to the novelties. . . . The wattle-bird has been not inaptly termed the 'what's o'clock,'—the leather-head the 'stop-where-you-are.'"
1864. E. F. Hughes, 'Portland Bay,' p. 9:
"Tedious whistle of the Wattle-bird."
186. W. Howitt, 'Discovery in Australia, vol. i. p. 111:
"This bird they called the Wattle-bird, and also the Poy-bird, from its having little tufts of curled hair under its throat, which they called poies, from the Otaheitan word for ear-rings. The sweetness of this bird's note they described as extraordinary, and that its flesh was delicious, but that it was a shame to kill it."
1885. J. Hood, 'Land of Fern,' p. 36:
"The wattle-bird, with joyous scream Bathes her soft plumage in the cooling stream."
1871. T. Bracken, 'Behind the Tomb,' p. 79:
"The wattle-bird sings in the leafy plantation."
1880. Mrs. Meredith, 'Tasmanian Friends and Foes,' p. 119:
"The pretty, graceful wattle-birds are . . . much esteemed for the table, cooked as snipe and woodcocks are in England . . . Our pretty, elegant wattle-bird wears a pair of long pendant drops, shaded from the deepest amber to white, lovelier than any goldsmith's work. Its greyish plumage, too, is very beautiful; the feathers on the breast are long, pointed, and tinted with golden yellow."
1890. Tasma, 'In her Earliest Youth,' p. 265:
"The droll double note of the wattle-bird."
1890. 'Victorian Statutes-Game Act' (Third Schedule):
"Close season. All Honey-eaters (except Wattle-birds and Leatherheads); from 1st day of August to loth day of December."
Wattle-gold, n. poetic name for the blossom of the Wattle.
1870. A. L. Gordon, 'Bush Ballads, Dedn., p. 9:
"In the spring, when the wattle-gold trembles 'Twixt shadow and shine."
1883. Keighley, 'Who are You?' p. 54:
"My wealth has gone, like the wattle-gold You bound one day on my childish brow."
Wattle-gum, n. the gum exuding from the Wattles.
1862. W. Archer, 'Products of Tasmania,' p. 41:
"Wattle-Gum, the gum of the Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata, Lindl.), is exceedingly viscous, and probably quite as useful as Gum-Arabic. The gum of the Black Wattle (Acacia mollissima, Willd.), which is often mixed with the other, is very often inferior to it, being far less viscous."
Wax-cluster, n. an Australian shrub, Gaultheria hispida, R. Br., N.O. Ericaceae. A congener of the English winter-green, or American checkerberry, with white berries, in taste resembling gooseberries; called also Chucky-chucky (q.v.), and Native Arbutus.
1834. Ross, 'Van Diemen's Land Annual,' p. 133:
"Gaultheria hispida. The wax-cluster, abundant in the middle region of Mount Wellington, and in other elevated and moist situations in the colony. This fruit is formed by the thickened divisions of the calyx, enclosing the small seed vessel; when it is ripe it is of a snowy white. The flavour is difficult to describe, but it is not unpleasant. In tarts the taste is something like that of young gooseberries, with a slight degree of bitterness."
1880. Mrs. Meredith, 'Tasmanian Friends and Foes,' p. 11 [Footnote]:
"Gaultheria hispida.—The 'Snowberry' or 'Wax cluster' is also called native Arbutus, from the form of the white flowers which precede the fruit. The latter is of a peculiar brioche-like form, and as the deep clefts open, the crimson seed-cells peep through."
Wax-Eye, i.q. one of the many names for the bird called Silver-Eye, White-Eye, Blight-Bird, etc. See Zosterops.
Waybung, n. aboriginal name for an Australian Chough, Corcorax melanoramphus, Vieill.
Weaver-bird, n. The English name Weaver-bird, in its present broad sense as applied to a wide variety of birds, is modern. It alludes to their dexterity in "weaving" their nests. It is applied in Australia to Callornis metallica, a kind of Starling.
1890. C. Lumholtz, 'Among Cannibals,' p. 96:
"The elegant, metallic-looking, 'glossy starlings' (Callornis metallica) greedily swoop, with a horrible shriek, upon the fruit of the Australian cardamom tree. The ingenious nests of this bird were found in the scrubs near Herbert Vale—a great many in the same tree. Although this bird is a starling, the colonists call it 'weaver-bird.'"
Wedge-bill, n. an Australian bird. This English name for a species of humming-bird is applied in Australia to Sphenostoma cristata, Gould.
1890. 'Victorian Statutes—Game Act' (Third Schedule):
"Wedge-bill. [Close season.] From 1st day of August to 10th day of December next following in each year."
Weeping-Gum. See Gum.
Weeping-Myall, n. an Australian tree, Acacia pendula, Cunn., N.O. Leguminosae. See Myall.
Weka, n. the Maori name for the Wood-hen (q.v.) of New Zealand, so called from its note. There are two species—
South-Island Weka, or Wood-hen— Ocydromus australis, Strick.
North-Island W., or W.-h.— Ocydromus brachypterus, Buller.
The specimens intergrade to such an extent that precise limitation of species is extremely difficult; but Sir W. L. Buller set them out as these two in 1878, regarding other specimens as varieties. The birds are sometimes called Weka-Rails, and the Maori name of Weka-pango is given to the Black Wood-hen (0. fuscus, Du Bus.).
1845. E. J. Wakefield, 'Adventures in New Zealand,' vol. ii. p. 95:
"Two young weka, or wood-hens, about as large as sparrows . . . were esteemed a valuable addition to our scanty supper."
1864. R. L. A. Davies, 'Poems and Literary Remains' (edition 1884), p. 263:
"Wood-hens, or Waikas, are a great stand-by in the bush. Their cry can be imitated, and a man knowing their language and character can catch them easily. They call each other by name, pronounced 'Weeka,' latter syllable being shrill and prolonged, an octave higher than the first note. . . . The wood-hen is about the size of a common barn-door fowl; its character is cunning, yet more fierce than cunning, and more inquisitive than either."
1865. Lady Barker, 'Station Life in New Zealand,' p. 28:
"Until the numbers of the wekas are considerably reduced. They are very like a hen pheasant without the long tail-feathers, and until you examine them you cannot tell they have no wings, though there is a sort of small pinion among the feathers, with a claw at the end of it. They run very swiftly, availing themselves cleverly of the least bit of cover."
1867. F. Hochstetter, 'New Zealand,' p. 167:
"Another famous bird of chase with the natives is the weka (Ocydromus Australis), or the wood-hen, belonging to the class of rails, which have already become quite scarce upon North Island. In the grassy plains and forests of the Southern Alps, however, they are still found in considerable numbers. It is a thievish bird, greedy after everything that glistens; it frequently carries off spoons, forks, and the like, but it also breaks into hen-coops, and picks and sucks the eggs."
1882. T. H. Potts, 'Out in the Open,' p. 286:
"Fortunately, the weka bears so obnoxious a character as an evil-doer that any qualm of conscience on the score of cruelty is at once stilled when one of these feathered professors of diablerie is laid to rest."
1888. W. L. Buller, 'Birds of New Zealand,' vol. ii. p. 105:
[A full description.]
1889. Vincent Pyke, 'Wild Will Enderby,' p. 82:
"We-ki! we-ki! we-ka! Three times the plaintive cry of the 'wood-hen' was heard. It was a preconcerted signal."
Weka, Rail, n. See Weka.
Well-in, adj. answering to 'well off,' 'well to do,' 'wealthy'; and ordinarily used, in Australia, instead of these expressions.
1891. Rolf Boldrewood, 'A Sydney-side Saxon,' p. 1:
"He's a well-in squatter that took up runs or bought them cheap before free-selection, and land-boards, and rabbits, and all the other bothers that turn a chap's hair grey before his time."
Western Australia, the part of the Continent first sighted in 1527 by a Portuguese, and the last to receive responsible government, in 1890. It had been made a Crown colony in 1829.
Westralia, n. a common abbreviation for Western Australia (q.v.). The word was coined to meet the necessities of the submarine cable regulations, which confine messages to words containing not more than ten letters.
1896. 'The Studio,' Oct., p. 151:
"The latest example is the El Dorado of Western Australia, or as she is beginning to be more generally called 'Westralia,' a name originally invented by the necessity of the electric cable, which limits words to ten letters, or else charges double rate."
1896. 'Nineteenth Century,' Nov., p. 711 [Title of article]:
"The Westralian Mining Boom."
Weta, n. Maori name for a New Zealand insect— a huge, ugly grasshopper, Deinacrula megacephala, called by bushmen the Sawyer.
1857. C. Hursthouse, 'New Zealand,' vol. i. p. 123:
"The weta, a suspicious-looking, scorpion-like creature, apparently replete with 'high concocted venom,' but perfectly harmless."
1863. S. Butler, 'First Year in Canterbury Settlement,' p. 141:
"One of the ugliest-looking creatures that I have ever seen. It is called 'Weta,' and is of tawny scorpion-like colour, with long antenna and great eyes, and nasty squashy-looking body, with (I think) six legs. It is a kind of animal which no one would wish to touch: if touched, it will bite sharply, some say venomously. It is very common but not often seen, and lives chiefly among dead wood and under stones."
1888. J. Adams, 'On the Botany of Te Moehau,' 'Transactions of New Zealand Institute,' vol. xxi. art. ii. p. 41:
"Not a sound was heard in that lonely forest, except at long intervals the sharp noise produced by the weta."
W. F.'s, old Tasmanian term for wild cattle.
1891. James Fenton, 'Bush Life in Tasmania Fifty Years Ago,' p. 24:
"Round up a mob of the wildest W.F.'s that ever had their ears slit."
[Note]: "This was the brand on Mr. William Field's wild cattle."
Whalebone-Tree, n. i.q. Mint-Tree (q.v.).
Whaler, n. used specifically as slang for a Sundowner (q.v.); one who cruises about.
1893. 'Sydney Morning Herald,' Aug. 12, p. 8. col. 8:
"The nomad, the 'whaler,' it is who will find the new order hostile to his vested interest of doing nothing."
Whaler/2, n. name given in Sydney to the Shark, Carcharias brachyurus, Gunth., which is not confined to Australasia.
Whare, n. Maori word for a house; a dissyllable, variously spelt, rhyming with 'quarry.' It is often quaintly joined with English words; e.g. a sod-whare, a cottage built with sods. In a Maori vocabulary, the following are given: whare-kingi, a castle; whare-karakia, a church; whare-here, the lock-up.
1820. 'Grammar and Vocabulary of Language of New Zealand' (Church Missionary Society), p. 225:
"Ware, s. a house, a covering."
1833. 'Henry Williams' Journal: Carleton's Life,' p. 151:
"The Europeans who were near us in a raupo whare (rush house)."
1845. E. J. Wakefield, 'Adventures in New Zealand,' vol. i. p. 26:
"We were much amused at seeing the ware-puni, or sleeping- houses, of the natives. These are exceedingly low, and covered with earth, on which weeds very often grow. They resemble in shape and size a hot-bed with the glass off."
1852. G. C. Mundy, 'Our Antipodes,' c. x. p. 265 (Third Edition, 1855):
"Sitting in the sun at the mouth of his warree, smoking his pipe."
1854. W. Golder, 'Pigeons' Parliament,' [Notes] p. 76:
"I fell upon what I thought a good place on which to fix my warre, or bush-cottage."
1857. 'Paul's Letters from Canterbury,' p. 89:
"Then pitch your tent, or run up a couple of grass warres somewhat bigger than dog-kennels."
1871. C. L. Money, 'Knocking About in New Zealand,' p. 33:
"The old slab wharry."
Ibid. p. 132:
"The village was sacked and the wharries one after another set fire to and burnt.'"
1877. Anon., 'Colonial Experiences or Incidents of Thirty-Four Years in New Zealand,' p. 87:
"In the roughest colonial whare there is generally one or more places fitted up called bunks."
1882. R. C. Barstow, 'Transactions of the New Zealand Institute,' vol. xv. art. liii. p. 428:
"Raupo whares were put up."
1889. 'Cornhill Magazine,' Jan., p. 35:
"Ten minutes more brought us to my friend's 'whare,'—the Maori name for house."
1886. 'Otago Witness,' Jan. 23, p. 42:
"The pas close at hand give up their population,—only the blind, the sick, and the imbecile being left to guard the grimy, smoke-dried whares."
Whata, n. Maori word for a storehouse on posts or other supports, like a Pataka (q.v.). Futtah (q.v.) is a corruption, probably of Irish origin.
1845. E. J. Wakefield, 'Adventures in New Zealand,' vol. i. p. 167:
"In one corner was a ware-puni, occupied by Barrett and his family, and in the middle a wata, or 'storehouse,' stuck upon four poles about six feet high, and only approachable by a wooden log with steps cut in it."
1855. Rev. R. Taylor, 'Te Ika a Maui,' p. 57:
"A chief would not pass under a stage or wata (a food-store)."
Ibid. p. 468:
"Wata, stand or raised platform for food: Fata, Tahaiti."
[Also an illustration, "an ornamental food-store," p. 377.]
1891. Rev. J. Stack, 'Report of Australasian Association for Advancement of Science,' #G. vol. iii. p. 378:
"The men gathered the food and stored it in Whatas or store- rooms, which were attached to every chief's compound, and built on tall posts protect the contents from damp and rats."
Whau, n. Maori name for the New Zealand Cork-tree, Entelea arborescens, R. Br., N.O. Tiliaceae.
Whee-Whee, n. a bird not identified.
1827. P. Cunningham, 'Two Years in New South Wales,' vol. i. p. 232:
"In the morning the dull monotonous double note of the whee-whee (so named from the sound of its calls), chiming in at regular intervals as the tick of a clock, warns us . . . it is but half an hour to dawn."
Whekau, n. Maori name for the bird Sceloglaux albifacies, Gray, a New Zealand owl, which is there called the Laughing-Jackass. See Jackass.
1869. J. Gould, 'Birds of Australia' [Supplement]:
"Sceloglaux Albifacies, Wekau. Another of the strange inhabitants of our antipodal country, New Zealand. An owl it unquestionably is, but how widely does it differ from every other member of its family."
1885. A. Reischek, 'Transactions of New Zealand Institute,' vol. xviii. art. xiii. p. 97:
"Athene albifacies, Laughing owl (whekau). Owls are more useful than destructive, but this species I never saw in the north or out-lying islands, and in the south it is extremely rare, and preys mostly on rats."
1885. 'Transactions of the New Zealand Institute,' vol. xviii. p. 101:
"Already several species have disappeared from the mainland . . . or are extremely rare, such as . . . Laughing owl (Whekau)."
Whelk, or Native Whelk, n. a marine mollusc, Trochocochlea constricta. See Perriwinkle.
Whilpra, n. See quotation, and compare the Maori word Tupara (q.v.)
1880. Fison and Howitt, 'Kamilaroi and Kumai,' p. 211:
"The term whilpra being a corruption of wheelbarrow, which the Lake Torrens natives have acquired from the whites as the name for a cart or waggon."
Whio, n. (originally Whio-Whio), alsoWio, Maori name for the New Zealand Duck, Hymenolaemus malacorhynchus, Gmell., called the Blue-Duck or Mountain Duck of New Zealand. See Duck, Professor Parker's quotation, 1889. The bird has a whistling note. The Maori verb, whio, means to whistle.
1855. Rev. R. Taylor, 'Te Ika a Maui,' p. 407:
"Wio (Hymenolaemus malacorhynchus), the blue duck, is found abundantly in the mountain-streams of the south part of the North Island, and in the Middle Island. It takes its name from its cry."
1877. W. Buller, 'Transactions of New Zealand Institute,' vol. x. art. xix. p. 199:
"Captain Mair informs me that the wio is plentiful in all the mountain-streams in the Uriwera country. When marching with the native contingent in pursuit of Te Kooti, as many as forty or fifty were sometimes caught in the course of the day, some being taken by hand, or knocked over with sticks or stones, so very tame and stupid were they."
1885. H. Martin, 'Transactions of New Zealand Institute,' vol. xviii. art. xxii. p. 113:
"Hymenolaemus malacorhynchus, Whio, Blue Duck. Both Islands." [From a list of New Zealand birds that ought to be protected.]
Whip-bird, n. See Coach-whip.
Whip-snake, n. or Little Whip-Snake. See under Snake.
Whip-stick, n. variety of dwarf Eucalypt; one of the Mallees; forming thick scrub.
1874. M. C., 'Explorers,' p. 123:
"He had lost his way, when he would fain have crost A patch of whip-stick scrub."
Whip-tail, n. (1) A fancy name for a small Kangaroo. See Pretty-Faces, quotation.
(2) A Tasmanian fish; see under Tasmanian Whiptail.
Whistling Dick, n. Tasmanian name for a Shrike-Thrush. Called also Duke- Willy.
1848. J. Gould, 'Birds of Australia,'vol. ii. pl. 77:
"Colluricincla Selbii, Jard., Whistling Dick of the Colonists of Van Diemen's Land."
Whistling Duck, n. See Duck. The bird named below by Leichhardt appears to be a mistake; vide Gould's list at word Duck.
1847. L. Leichhardt, 'Overland Expedition,' p. 287:
"The Leptotarsis, Gould (whistling duck), which habitually crowd close together on the water."
Whitebait, n. a fish; not, as in England, the fry of the herring and sprat, but in Victoria, Engraulis antarcticus, Castln.; and in New Zealand, the young fry of Galaxias attenuatus, Jenyns (Inanga, q.v.). The young of the New Zealand Smelt (q.v.), Retropinna richardsonii, Gill, are also called Whitebait, both in New Zealand and in Tasmania.
1882. Rev. J. E. Tenison-Woods, 'Fish of New South Wales,' p. 85:
"Anchovies or Engraulis have a compressed body with a very wide lateral mouth, and a projecting upper jaw. Scales large. We have two species—E. antarcticus, Casteln., and E. nasutus, Casteln. The first-named species is by many erroneously believed to be identical, or at most a variety of E. encrassicholus of Europe. Count Castelnau states that it is very common in the Melbourne market at all seasons, and goes by the name of 'whitebait.'"
1883. 'Royal Commission on Fisheries of Tasmania, p. iv:
"Retropinna Richardsonii, whitebait or smelt. Captured in great abundance in the river Tamar, in the prawn nets, during the months of February and March, together with a species of Atherina, and Galaxias attenuatus, and are generally termed by fishermen whitebait. Dr. Guenther had formerly supposed that this species was confined to New Zealand; it appears, however, to be common to Australia and Tasmania."
Whitebeard, n. name applied to the plant Styphelia ericoides, N.O. Epacrideae.
White-Eye, n. another name for the bird called variously Silver-Eye, Wax-Eye, Blight-Bird, etc., Zosterops (q.v.).
1848. J. Gould, 'Birds of Australia,' vol. iv. pl. 81:
"Zosterops Dorsalis, Vig. and Horsf, Grey-backed Zosterops; White-eye, Colonists of New South Wales."
1896. 'The Australasian,' Nov. 14, p. 461:
"The unique migration on the part of the white-eyes has not been satisfactorily accounted for. One authority invents the ingenious theory that the original white-eyes went to New Zealand after the memorable 'Black Thursday' of Australia in 1851."
White-face, n. a name applied to the Australian bird, Xerophila leucopsis, Gould. Another species is the Chestnut-breasted White face, X. pectoralis, Gould.
White Gallinule, n. one of the birds of the family called Rails. The White Gallinule was recorded from New South Wales in 1890, and also from Lord Howe Island, off the coast, and from Norfolk Island. The modern opinion is that it never existed save in these two islands, and that it is now extinct. It was a bird of limited powers of flight, akin to the New Zealand bird, Notornis mantilli which is also approaching extinction. Only two skins of the White Gallinule are known to be in existence.
1789. Governor Phillip,' Voyage to Botany Bay,' p. 273 and fig.:
"White Gallinule. This beautiful bird greatly resembles the purple Gallinule in shape and make, but is much superior in size, being as large as a dunghill fowl. . . . This species is pretty common on Lord Howe's Island, Norfolk Island, and other places, and is a very tame species."
1882. E. P. Ramsay, 'Proceedings of the Linnaean Society of New South Wales,' p. 86:
"The attention of some of our early Naturalists was drawn to this Island by finding there, the now extinct 'White Gallinule,' then called (Fulica alba), but which proves to be a species of Notornis."
White-head, n. a bird of New Zealand, Clitonyx albicapilla, Buller. Found in North Island, but becoming very rare. See Clitonyx.
White-lipped Snake, n. See under Snake.
White-Pointer, n. a New South Wales name for the White-Shark. See Shark.
White-top, n. another name for Flintwood (q.v.).
White-Trevally, n. an Australian fish. See Trevally.
1882. Rev. J. E. Tenison-Woods, 'Fish and Fisheries of New South Wales,' p. 59:
"Caranx georgianus, the 'white trevally.' . . There are several other species of Caranx in Port Jackson. In Victoria it is called silver bream. Count Castelnau says it is very beautiful when freshly taken from the water, the upper part being a light celestial blue or beautiful purple, the lower parts of a silvery white with bright iridescent tinges . . . There is another fish called by this name which has already been described amongst the Teuthidae, but this is the White Trevally as generally known by New South Wales fishermen."
Whitewood, n. another name for Cattle-Bush (q.v.). A Tasmanian name for Pittosporum bicolor, Hook., N.O. Pittosporeae. Called Cheesewood in Victoria, and variously applied, as a synonym, to other trees; it is also called Waddy-wood (q.v.).
Whiting, n. Four species of the fish of the genus Sillago are called Whiting in Australia (see quotation). The New Zealand Whiting is Pseudophycis breviusculus, Richards., and the Rock-Whiting of New South Wales is Odax semifaciatus, Cuv. and Val., and O. richardsonii, Gunth.; called also Stranger (q.v.). Pseudophycis is a Gadoid, Sillago belongs to the Trachinidae, and Odax to the family Labridae or Wrasses.
1882. Rev. J. E. Tenison-Woods, 'Fish of New South Wales,' p. 65:
"The 'whitings' are not like those of Europe. There are, in all, four Australian species—the common sand-whiting (Sillago maculata), abundant on the New South Wales coast; the trumpeter-whiting (S. bassensis), also abundant here, and the most common species in Brisbane; S. punctata, the whiting of Melbourne, and rare on this coast; and S. ciliata."
Widgeon, n. the common English name for a Duck of the genus Mareca, extended generally by sportsmen to any wild duck. In Australia, it is used as another name for the Pink-eyed (or Pink-eared) Duck. It is also used, as in England, by sportsmen as a loose term for many species of Wild-Duck generally.
Wild Dog, n. i.q. Dingo (q.v.).
Wild Geranium, n. In Australia, the species is Pelargonium australe, Willd., N.O. Geraniaceae.
Wild Irishman, a spiny New Zealand shrub, Discaria toumatou, Raoul, N.O. Rhamneae. The Maori name is Tumata-Kuru (q.v.).
1867. F. Hochstetter, 'New Zealand,' p. 133:
"Certain species of Acyphilla and Discaria, rendering many tracts, where they grow in larger quantities, wholly inaccessible. On account of their slender blades terminating in sharp spines the colonists have named them 'spear-grass,' 'wild Irishman,' and 'wild Spaniard.'"
[This is a little confused. There are two distinct plants in New Zealand—
(1) Discaria toumatou, a spiny shrub or tree; called Tumatakuru Matagory, and Wild Irishman.
(2) Aciphylla colensoi, a grass, called Sword-grass, Spear grass, Spaniard, and Scotchman.
1875. Lady Barker, 'Station Amusements in New Zealand,' p. 35:
"Interspersed with the Spaniards are generally clumps of 'Wild Irishman'—a straggling sturdy bramble, ready to receive and scratch you well if you attempt to avoid the Spaniard's weapons."
1883. J. Hector, 'Handbook of New Zealand, p. 131:
"Tumata kuru, Wild Irishman. A bush or small tree with spreading branches; if properly trained would form a handsome hedge that would be stronger than whitethorn. The species were used by the Maoris for tattooing."
1892. Malcolm Ross, 'Aorangi,' p. 37:
"Almost impenetrable scrub, composed mainly of wild Irishman (Discaria toumatou) and Sword-grass (Aciphylla Colensoi)."
1896. 'The Australasian,' Aug. 28, p. 407, col. 5:
". . . national appellations are not satisfactory. It seems uncivil to a whole nation—another injustice to Ireland—to call a bramble a wild Irishman, or a pointed grass, with the edges very sharp and the point like a bayonet, a Spaniard. One could not but be amused to find the name Scotchman applied to a smaller kind of Spaniard."
Wild Parsnip, n. See Parsnip.
Wild Rosemary, n. See Rosemary.
Wild Turkey, n. See Turkey.
Wild Yam, n. a parasitic orchid, Gastrodia sesamoides, R. Br., N.O. Orchideae.
Wilga, n. a tree. Called also Dogwood and Willow, Geijera parviflora, Lindl., N.O. Rutaceae. Adopted by the colonists from the aboriginal name.
1891. Rolf Boldrewood, 'A Sydney-side Saxon,' p. 123:
"We rode out through a wilga scrub."
(p. 230): "She'd like to be buried there—under a spreading wilga tree."
Willow Myrtle, n. a tree, Agonis flexuosa, De C., N.O. Myrtaceae, with willow-like leaves and pendent branches, native of West Australia, and cultivated for ornament as a greenhouse shrub.
Willow, Native, n. i.q. Boobialla (q.v.), and also another name for the Poison-berry Tree (q.v.).
Willy-Wagtail, n. i.q. Wagtail (q.v.).
Willy Willy, n. native name for a storm on North-west of Australia.
1894. 'The Age,' Jan. 20, p. 13, col. 4 [Letter by 'Bengalee']:
"Seeing in your issue of this morning a telegraphic report of a 'willy willy' in the north-west portion of West Australia, it may be of interest to hear a little about these terrific storms of wind and rain. The portion of the western coast most severely visited by these scourges is said to be between the North-wet Cape and Roebuck Bay; they sometimes reach as far south as Carnarvon and north as far as Derby. The approach of one of these storms is generally heralded by a day or too of hot, oppressive weather, and a peculiar haze. Those having barometers are warned of atmospheric disturbances; at other times they come up very suddenly. The immense watercourses to be seen in the north-west country, the bed of the Yule River, near Roebourne, for instance, and many other large creeks and rivers, prove the terrible force and volume of water that falls during the continuance of one of these storms. The bed of the Yule River is fully a mile wide, and the flood marks on some of the trees are sufficient proof of the immense floods that sometimes occur. Even in sheltered creeks and harbours the wind is so violent that luggers and other small craft are blown clean over the mangrove bushes and left high and dry, sometimes a considerable distance inland. The willy willy is the name given to these periodical storms by the natives in the north-west."
1895. C. M. Officer, Private Letter:
"In the valley of the Murray between Swan Hill and Wentworth, in the summer time during calm weather, there are to be seen numerous whirlwinds, carrying up their columns of dust many yards into the air. These are called by the name willy willy."
Windmill J.P., expression formerly used in New South Wales for any J.P. who was ill-educated and supposed to sign his name with a cross x.
Wine-berry, n. See Tutu. In Australia, the name is given to Polyosma cunninghamii, Benn., N.O. Saxifrageae.
Winery, n. an establishment for making wines. An American word which is being adopted in Australia.
1893. 'The Argus,' Oct. 6, p. 7, col. 6 [Letter headed 'Wineries']:
"I would suggest that the idea of small local wineries, each running on its own lines, be abandoned, and one large company formed, having its headquarters in Melbourne with wineries in various centres. The grapes could be brought to these depots by the growers, just as the milk is now brought to the creameries."
Winter Cherry, n. See Balloon Vine.
Winter Country, in New Zealand (South Island), land so far unaffected by snow that stock is wintered on it.
Wire-grass, and Wiry-grass. See Grass.
1883. E. M. Curr, 'Recollections of Squatting in Victoria' (1841-1851), p. 81:
"Sparsely-scattered tussocks of the primest descriptions; the wire-grass, however, largely predominating over the kangaroo-grass."
Wirrah, n. aboriginal name for a fish of New South Wales, Plectropoma ocellatum, Gunth.
1884. E. P. Ramsav. 'Fisheries Exhibition Literature,' vol. v. p. 311:
"Another of the Percidae . . . the wirrah of the fishermen, is more plentiful. It is when first caught a handsome fish, of a pale olive-brown or olive-green colour, with numerous bright blue dots on spots of a lighter tint."
Witchetty, n. native name for the grub-like larva of one or more species of longicorn beetles. The natives dig it out of the roots of shrubs, decaying timber and earth, in which it lives, and eat it with relish. It is sometimes even roasted and eaten by white children.
1894. R. Lydekker, 'Marsupialia,' p. 191:
"Dr. Stirling writes . . . [The marsupial mole] was fed on the 'witchetty' (a kind of grub) . . . two or three small grubs, or a single large one, being given daily."
Wiwi, n. Maori name for a jointed rush.
1842. W. R. Wade, 'A Journey in the Northern Island of New Zealand,' 'New Zealand Reader,' p. 122:
"The roof is usually completed with a thick coating of wiwi (a small rush), and then the sides receive a second coating of raupo, and sometimes of the wiwi over all."
1845. E. J. Wakefield, 'Adventures in New Zealand,' vol. i. p. 380:
"[The walls] were lined outside with the wiwi or fine grass."
[See also Raupo, 1843 quotation.]
Wiwi/2, n. slang name for a Frenchman, from "Oui, Oui!"
1845. E. J. Wakefield, 'Adventures in New Zealand,' vol. i. p. 94:
"If I had sold the land to the white missionaries, might they not have sold it again to the Wiwi (Frenchmen) or Americans."
1857. C. Hursthouse, 'New Zealand, the Britain of the South,' vol. i. p. 14:
"De Surville's painful mode of revenge, and the severe chastisement which the retaliatory murder of Marion brought on the natives, rendered the Wee-wees (Oui, oui), or people of the tribe of Marion, hateful to the New Zealanders for the next half-century."
1859. A. S. Thomson, 'Story of New Zealand,' vol. i. p. 236:
"Before the Wewis, as the French are now called, departed."
1873. H. Carleton, 'Life of Henry Williams,' p. 92:
"The arrival of a French man-of-war was a sensational event to the natives, who had always held the Oui-oui's in dislike."
1881. Anon., 'Percy Pomo,' p. 207:
"Has [sic] the Weewees puts it."
Wiwi/3, n. aboriginal name for a native weapon.
1845. Charles Griffith, 'Present State and Prospects of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales,' p. 155:
"The wiwi is an instrument not so well known. It is composed of a long straight withy, about two feet long, to which is attached a head, made of a piece of wood four inches long, in the shape of two cones joined together at the base . . . This they strike against the ground, at a little distance to one side of them, whence it rises at right angles to its first direction, and flies with the swiftness of an arrow for about one hundred yards, and at a height of about ten feet from the ground."
Wobbegong, n. a New South Wales aboriginal name for a species of Shark, Crassorhinus barbatus, Linn., family Scyllidae; also known as the Carpet-Shark, from the beautifully mottled skin. The fish is not peculiar to Australia, but the name is.
Wobbles, n. a disease in horses caused by eating palm-trees in Western Australia.
1896. 'The Australasian,' Feb. 15, p. 319:
"The palm-trees for years cost annoyance and loss to farmers and graziers. Their stock being troubled with a disease called 'wobbles,' which attacked the limbs and ended in death. A commission of experts was appointed, who traced the disease to the palms, of which the cattle were very fond."
Wolf, n. called also Native Wolf, Marsupial Wolf and Zebra Wolf, Tasmanian Tiger and Hyaena; genus, Thylacinus (q.v.). It is the largest carnivorous marsupial extant, and is so much like a wolf in appearance that it well deserves its vernacular name of Wolf, though now-a-days it is generally called Tiger. See Tasmanian Tiger.
1891. 'Guide to Zoological Gardens, Melbourne':
"The first occupants we notice in this cage are two marsupial wolves, Thylacinus cynocephalus, or Tasmanian tigers as they are commonly called. These animals are becoming scarce, as, owing to their destructiveness among sheep, they are relentlessly persecuted by run-holders."
Wollomai, n. the aboriginal name of the fish called Schnapper (q.v.). In 1875 a horse named Wollomai won the Melbourne Cup. Since then numerous houses and estates have been named Wollomai.
Wombat, n. a marsupial animal of the genus Phascolomys (q.v.). It is a corruption of the aboriginal name. There are various spellings; that nearest to the aboriginal is womback, but the form wombat is now generally adopted. The species are—the Common Wombat, Phascolomys mitchelli, Owen; Tasmanian W., P. ursinus, Shaw; Hairy-nosed W., P. latifrons, Owen.
1798. M. Flinders, 'Voyage to Terra Australis (1814),' Intro. p. cxxviii, 'Journal,' Feb. 16:
"Point Womat, a rocky projection of Cape Barren Island, where a number of the new animals called womit were seen, and killed."
Ibid. p. cxxxv:
"This little bear-like quadruped is known in New South Wales, and called by the natives, womat, wombat, or womback, according to the different dialects, or perhaps to the different renderings of the wood rangers who brought the information . . . It burrows like the badger."
1799. D. Collins, 'Account of New South Wales (1802),' vol. ii. p. 153 ['Bass's Journal,' Jan.]:
"The Wom-bat (or, as it is called by the natives of Port Jackson, the Womback,) is a squat, thick, short-legged, and rather inactive quadruped, with great appearance of stumpy strength, and somewhat bigger than a large turnspit dog."
1802. D. Collins, 'Account of English Colony in New South Wales,' vol. ii. p. 156:
"In the opinion of Mr. Bass this Wombat seemed to be very oeconomically made."
18x3. 'History of New South Wales' 0818), p. 431:
"An animal named a wombat, about the size of a small turnspit-dog, has been found in abundance in Van Diemen's Land, and also, though less frequently, in other parts of New South Wales. Its flesh has in taste a resemblance to pork."
1827. P. Cunningham, 'Two Years in New South Wales,' vol. i. p. 318:
"The wombat, a large animal of the size of a mastiff, burrowing in the ground, feeding on grass and roots and attaining considerable fatness."
1832. J. Bischoff, 'Van Diemen's Land,' p. 175:
"The dogs had caught . . . two badgers or woombacks."
1846. G. H. Haydon, 'Five Years in Australia Felix,' p. 58:
"The Wombat is a large kind of badger, which burrows in the ground to a considerable depth, and is taken by the blacks for food; it makes a noise, when attacked in its hole, something similar to the grunting of a pig."
1848. W. Westgarth, 'Australia Felix,' p. 129:
"Mere rudimentary traces (of a pouch) in the pig-like wombat."
1853. J. West, 'History of Tasmania,' vol. i. p. 325:
"The Wombat, commonly called in the colony Badger (Phascolomys wombat, Peron.), is an animal weighing forty to eighty pounds, having a large body with short legs. Notwithstanding its burrowing habits, and the excessive thickness and toughness of its skin, it is usually so easily killed that it is becoming less and less common."
1855. W. Blandowski, 'Transactions of Philosophical Society of Victoria,' vol. i. p. 67:
"Wombat. This clumsy, but well-known animal (Phascolomys wombat), during the day conceals himself in his gloomy lair in the loneliest recesses of the mountains, and usually on the banks of a creek, and at night roams about in search of food, which it finds by grubbing about the roots of gigantic eucalypti."
1855. W. Howitt, 'Two Years in Vic. toria,' vol. i. p. 211:
"The wombat resembles a large badger in the shortness of its legs, but has a little of the pig and the bear in its shape, hair, and movements."
1862. W. M. Thackeray, 'Roundabout Papers,' p. 82:
"Our dear wambat came up and had himself scratched very affably. . . .
"Then I saw the grey wolf, with mutton in his maw; Then I saw the wambat waddle in the straw."
1880. Fison and Howitt, 'Kamilaroi and Kumai,' p. 265:
"Wombat is cooked, then opened and skinned."
1888. D. Macdonald, 'Gum Boughs,' p. 81:
"The wombat is very powerful, and can turn a boulder almost as large as itself out of the way when it bars the road."
1889. Cassell's 'Picturesque Australasia,' vol. iv. p. 183:
"There are large numbers of wombats in the district, and these animals, burrowing after the fashion of rabbits, at times reach great depths, and throw up large mounds."
1894. 'The Argus,' June 23, p. 11, col. 4:
"The wombat's grunt is strictly in harmony with his piggish appearance."
Wombat-hole, n. hole made by Wombat (q.v.).
1891. Mrs. Cross (Ada Cambridge), 'The Three Miss Kings,' p. 181:
"He took them but a little way from where they had camped, and disclosed in the hillside what looked like a good-sized wombat or rabbit-hole."
Wommera. See Woomera.
Wonga, n. aboriginal name for the bulrush, Typha angustifolia, Linn. It is the same as the Raupo (q.v.) of New Zealand, and is also known as Bulrush, Cat's Tail and Reed Mace, and in Europe as the 'Asparagus of the Cossacks.' For etymology, see next word.
Wonga-wonga, n. an Australian pigeon, Leucosarcia picata, Lath.; it has very white flesh. The aboriginal word wonga is explained as coming from root signifying the idea of 'quiver motion,' 'sudden springing up' and the word is thus applied as a name for the bulrush, the vine, and the pigeon. Some, however, think that the name of the pigeon is from the bird's note. In Gippsland, it was called by the natives Wauk-wauk-au, sc. 'that which makes wauk-wauk.'
1827. P. Cunningham, 'Two Years in New South Wales,' vol. i. p. 321:
"We have a large pigeon named the Wanga-wanga, of the size and appearance of the ringdove, which is exquisite eating also."
1846. J. L. Stokes, 'Discoveries in Australia,' vol. i. c. x. p. 314:
"At Captain King's table I tasted the Wonga-wonga pigeon."
1848. J. Gould, 'Birds of Australia,' vol. v. pl. 63:
"Leucosarcia Picata, Wonga-wonga, Aborigines of New South Wales; White-fleshed and Wonga-wonga Pigeon, Colonists of New South Wales."
1852. G. C. Mundy, 'Our Antipodes' (edition 1855), c. i. p. 12:
"A delicate wing of the Wonga-wonga pigeon."
1860. G. Bennett, 'Gatherings of a Naturalist,' p. 174:
"Nothing can surpass in delicacy the white flesh of the Wonga-wonga (Leucosarcia picata)."
1881. A. C. Grant, 'Bush Life in Queensland,' vol. i. p. 213:
"Hark! there goes a Wonga-wonga, high up in the topmost branches of the great cedar."
1891. 'Guide to Zoological Gardens, Melbourne':
"The Wonga-Wonga (Leucosarcia Picata) is also represented. This Pigeon, though less bright in plumage than the last-named, exceeds it in size; both are excellent eating."
Wonga-wonga Vine, n. a name for the hardy, evergreen climber, Tecoma australis, R. Br., N.O. Bignoniaceae. There are several varieties, all distinguished by handsome flowers in terminal panicles. They are much cultivated in gardens and for ornamental bower-trees.
Woodhen, n. a name given to several birds of New Zealand of the Rail family, and of the genus Ocydromus; some of them are called by the Maori name of Weka (q.v.). The species are—
Black Woodhen— Ocydromus fuscus, Du Bus.; Maori name, Weka-pango.
Brown W.— O. earli, Gray.
Buff W.— O. australis, Gray; called also Weka.
North-Island W.— O. brachypterus, Buller; called also Weka.
South-Island W.— Same as Buff W.; see above.
1845. E. J. Wakefield, 'Adventures in New Zealand,' vol. ii. p. 95:
"Two young weka, or wood-hens, about as large as sparrows . . . were esteemed a valuable addition to our scanty supper."
1889. Vincent Pyke, 'Wild Will Enderby,' p. 82:
"We-ka! we-ka! we-ka! Three times the plaintive cry of the 'wood hen 'was heard. It was a preconcerted signal."
Wood-duck, n. a name given by the colonists of New South Wales and "Swan River" to the Maned Goose, Branta jubata, Latham.
1847. L. Leichhardt, 'Overland Expedition,' p. 147:
"The wood-duck (Bernicla jubata) abounded on the larger water-holes."
1848. J. Gould, 'Birds of Australia,' vol. vii. pl. 3:
"Bernicla jubata, Maned Goose; Wood-Duck, Colonists of New South Wales and Swan River."
Wood Natives, or Wood Savages, obsolete names for the Australian aborigines.
1817. O'Hara, 'History of New South Wales,' p. 161:
". . . robbed by a number of the inland or wood natives . . ."
Ibid. p. 201:
"The combats of the natives near Sydney were sometimes attended by parties of the inland or wood savages."
Wooden Pear, n. a tree peculiar to New South Wales and Queensland, Xylomelum pyriforme, Smith, N.O. Proteaceae; called also Native Pear.
1860. G. Bennett, 'Gatherings of a Naturalist,' p. 322:
"The Wooden Pear-tree of the colonists (Xylomelum pyriforme) is peculiar to Australia; its general appearance is very ornamental, especially when the tree is young; the flowers grow in clusters in long spikes, but are not conspicuous. This tree attains the height of from fifteen to twenty feet, and a circumference of six to eight feet. It is branchy; the wood is of dark colour, and being prettily marked, would form an ornamental veneering for the cabinet-maker. When young, in the Australian bush, this tree bears a close resemblance to the young Warratah, or Tulip-tree (Telopea speciosissima)."
1889. J. H. Maiden, 'Useful Native Plants,' p. 615:
"Native Pear-Wooden Pear. This moderate-sized tree produces a dark-coloured, prettily-marked wood. It is occasionally used for making picture-frames, for ornamental cabinet-work, for veneers, and walking-sticks. When cut at right-angles to the medullary rays it has a beautiful, rich, sober marking."
Woollybutt, a name given to one of the Gum trees, Eucalyptus longifolia, Link. See Gum.
1843. James Backhouse, 'Narrative of a Visit to the Australian Colonies,' p. 445 (October 1836.):
"One called here the Woolly Butted Gum seems identical with the black butted gum of Tasmania."
1894. 'Melbourne Museum Catalogue Economic Woods,' p. 28:
"The Woollybutt grown at Illawarra is in very high repute for wheelwright's work "
Woolly-headed Grass, n. an indigenous Australian grass, Andropogon bombycinus, R. Br.
1889. J. H. Maiden, 'Useful Native Plants,' p. 72:
"Woolly-headed Grass, a valuable pasture-grass, highly spoken of by stock-owners, and said to be very fattening."
Wool-man, n. aboriginal mispronunciation of old man (q.v.).
1830. Robert Dawson, 'The Present State of Australia,' p. 139:
"The male kangaroos were called by my natives old men, 'wool-man,' and the females, young ladies, 'young liddy.'"
Wool-shed, n. the principal building of a station, at which the shearing and wool-packing is done. Often called the Shed.
1850. J. B. Clutterbuck, 'Port Phillip,' vol. ii. p. 23:
"In some instances the flood has swept away the wool-sheds."
1851. 'Australasian' [Quarterly], vol. i. p. 298:
". . . we next visit the 'wool-shed,' and find the original slab-built shed has been swept away, to make room for an imposing erection of broad-paling . . ."
1873. A. Trollope, 'Australia and New Zealand,' vol. i. p. 126:
"The wool-shed is a large building open on every side, with a high-pitched roof,—all made of wood and very rough. The sheep are driven in either at one end or both, or at three sides, according to the size of the station and the number of sheep to be shorn. They are then assorted into pens, from which the shearers take them on to the board;—two, three or four shearers selecting their sheep from each pen. The floor, on which the shearers absolutely work, is called 'the board.'"
1890. 'The Argus,' Aug. 9, p. 4, col. 1:
"You would find them down at Reed's wool-shed now."
Woomera, n. an aboriginal name for a throwing-stick (q.v.); spelt in various ways (seven in the quotations), according as different writers have tried to express the sound of the aboriginal word.
1793. Governor Hunter, 'Voyage,' p. 407 [in a Vocabulary]:
"Womar—a throwing stick."
1798. D. Collins, 'Account of English Colony in New South Wales,' p. 613:
1814. L. E. Threlkeld, 'Australian Grammar' [as spoken on Hunter's River, etc.], p. 10:
"As a barbarism—wommerru, a weapon."
1830. R. Dawson, 'Present State of Australia,' p. 240:
"Pieces of hard iron-bark to represent their war weapon, the womerah . . . the whirling womerahs."
1839. T. L. Mitchell, 'Three Expeditions into the Interior of Eastern Australia,' vol. ii. p. 342:
"The spear is thrown by means of a wammera, which is a slight rod, about three feet long, having at one end a niche to receive the end of a spear."
1847. L. Leichhardt, 'Overland Expedition,' p. 492:
"But showed the greatest reluctance in parting with their throwing-sticks (wommalas)."
185o. J. B. Clutterbuck, 'Port Phillip in 1849,' p. 58:
"They employ also, as a warlike weapon, a smaller kind of spear or javelin, which is discharged by means of a notched stick called a Woomera; and with this simple artillery I have seen them strike objects at 150 yards' distance. They also employ this minor spear in capturing the Bustard."
1863. M. K. Beveridge, 'Gatherings among the Gum-trees,' p. 13:
"Then the Wamba Wamba warriors, Sprang unto their feet with Tchgrels Ready fitted to their Womrahs."
Ibid. (In Glossary) pp. 84, 85:
"Tchgrel, reed spear. Womrah, spear heaver."
1868. J. Bonwick, 'John Batman, the Founder of Victoria,' p. 20:
"Taking with him, therefore, on board the Port Phillip, presents of spears, wommeras, boomerangs, and stone tomahawks, he tried to get from the Williamstown waters."
1889. P. Beveridge, 'Aborigines of Victoria and Riverina,' p. 48:
"Spears all ready shipped, that is, having the hook of the Womerar (throwing-stick) placed in the small cavity made for that purpose in the end of the spear, with both raised in readiness for launching at the object."
1892. J. Fraser, 'Aborigines of New South Wales,' p. 73:
"The 'womara' is an instrument of wood, from twenty-four to thirty inches long, and a little thicker than a spear. Unlike the spear, it is not thrown at the enemy in battle, but remains always in the black man's hand . . . he ornaments it profusely, back and front. . . . The point is turned up, exactly like the point of a lady's crochet needle. . . . The spears have a dimpled hole worked in their butt end, which hole receives the point of the hook end of the 'throw-stick.'"
Worm-Snake, n. See under Snake.
Wrasse, n. This English name for many fishes is given, in New Zealand, to Labrichthys bothryocosmus, Richards. Called also Poddly, Spotty, and Kelp-fish.
Wreck-fish, n. The Australian species is Polyprion ceruleum, family Percoidae. Guenther says that the European species has the habit of accompanying floating wood. Hence the name.
Wren, n. This common English bird-name is assigned in Australia to birds of several genera, viz.—
Banded Wren— Malurus splendens, Quoy and Gaim.
Black-backed W.— M. melanotus, Gould.
Blue W.— M. cyaneus, Lath.
Blue-breasted W.— M. pulcherrimus, Gould.
Bower's W.— M. cruentatus, Gould.
Chestnut-rumped Ground W.— Hylacola pyrrhopygia, Vig. and Hors.
Emu-wren (q.v.)— Stipiturus malachurus, Lath.
Goyder's Grass W.— Amytis goyderi, Gould.
Grass W.— A. textilis, Quoy and Gaim.; called by Gould the Textile Wren.
Large-tailed Grass W.— A. macrura, Gould.
Longtailed W.— Malurus gouldii, Sharpe.
Lovely W.— M. amabilis, Gould.
Orange-backed W.— M. melanocephalus, Vig. and Hors.
Purple-crowned W.— M. coronatus, Gould.
Red-rumped Ground W.— Hylacola cauta, Gould.
Red-winged W.— Malurus elegans, Gould.
Silvery Blue W.— M. cyanochlamys, Gould.
Striated Grass W.— Amytis striatus, Gould; called also the Porcupine bird (q.v.).
Turquoise W.— Malurus callainus, Gould.
Variegated W.— M. lamberti, Vig. and Hors.
White-backed W.— M. leuconotus, Gould.
White-winged W.— M. leucopterus, Quoy and Gaim.
See also Scrub-Wren.
In New Zealand, the name is applied to the Bush-Wren, Xenicus longipes, Gmel., and the Rock (or Mountain) Wren, X. gilviventris, von Pelz.
Wry-billed Plover, n. a very rare bird of New Zealand, Anarhynchus frontalis, Quoy and Gaim.
1889. Prof. Parker, 'Catalogue of New Zealand Exhibition,' p. 116:
"The curious wry-billed plover . . . the only bird known in which the bill is turned not up or down, but to one side—the right."
Wurley, n. aboriginal name for an aboriginal's hut. For other words expressing the same thing, see list under Humpy. In the dialect of the South-East of South Australia oorla means a house, or a camp, or a bird's nest.
1862. H. C. Kendall, 'Poems,' p. 110:
"Seeking, hoping help to find; Sleeping in deserted wurleys."
1865. W. Howitt, 'Discovery in Australia,' vol. ii. p. 233:
"Immediately went across to the blacks' wurleys, where I found King sitting in a but which the natives had made for him."
1879. G. Taplin, 'Native Tribes of South Australia,' p. 12, and Note:
"In case of a man having two wives, the elder is always regarded as the mistress of the hut or wurley. The word wurley is from the language of the Adelaide tribe. The Narrinyeri word is mante. I have used 'wurley' because it is more generally understood by the colonists."
1880. P. J. Holdsworth, 'Station Hunting on the Warrego':
Must weather-fend the wurley'. This he did. He bound the thick boughs close with bushman's skill, Till not a gap was left where raging showers Or gusts might riot. Over all he stretched Strong bands of cane-grass, plaited cunningly."
1886. H. C. Kendall, 'Poems,' p. 42
"He took His axe, and shaped with boughs and wattle-forks A wurley, fashioned like a bushman's roof."
Xanthorrhoea, n. scientific name for a genus of Australian plants, N.O. Liliaceae, having thick palm-like trunks. They exude a yellow resin. (Grk. Xanthos, yellow, and rhoia, a flow, sc. of the resin.) They are called Black Boys and Grass-trees (q.v.).
Yabber, n. Used for the talk of the aborigines. Some think it is the English word jabber, with the first letter pronounced as in German; but it is pronounced by the aborigines yabba, without a final r. Ya is an aboriginal stem, meaning to speak. In the Kabi dialect, yaman is to speak: in the Wiradhuri, yarra.
1874. M. K. Beveridge, 'Lost Life,' pt. iii. p. 37:
"I marked Much yabber that I did not know."
1885. R. M. Praed, 'Australian Life,' p. 28:
"Longing to fire a volley of blacks' yabber across a London dinner-table."
1886. R. Henty, 'Australiana,' p. 23:
"The volleys of abuse and 'yabber yabber' they would then utter would have raised the envy of the greatest 'Mrs. Moriarty' in the Billingsgate fishmarket."
1888. Rolf Boldrewood, 'Robbery under Arms,' p. 55:
"Is it French or Queensland blacks' yabber? Blest if I understand a word of it."
Yabber, v. intr. (See noun.)
1885. R. M. Praed, 'Australian Life,' p. 19:
"They yabbered unsuspiciously to each other."
1887. J. Farrell, 'How he died,' p. 126:
"He's yabbering some sort of stuff in his sleep."
Yabby, n. properly Yappee, aboriginal name for a small crayfish found in water-holes in many parts of Australia, Astacopsis bicarinatus. The Rev. F. A. Hagenauer gives Yappy, in 'Curr's Australian Race,' vol. iii. p. 554, as a Gippsland word. Such variants as the following occur—Yappitch, kapich, yabbechi, yaabity. The distinction between the thin and thick consonants is usually uncertain.
1894. 'The Argus,' Oct. 6, p. 11, col. 2:
"In the case of small crayfish, called 'yabbies,' . . . these may be found all over Australia, both in large and small lagoons. These creatures, whilst nearing a drought, and as the supply of water is about to fail, burrow deeply in the beds of the lagoons, water-holes, or swamps, piling up the excavations on the surface over their holes, which I take, amongst other reasons, to be a provision against excessive heat."
1897. 'The Australasian,' Jan. 30, p. 224, col. 4:
"The bait used is 'yabby,' a small crayfish found in the sand on the beach at low tide. The getting of the bait itself is very diverting. The yabbies are most prized by fish and fishermen, and the most difficult to obtain. The game is very shy, and the hunter, when he has found the burrow, has to dig rapidly to overtake it, for the yabby retires with marvellous rapidity, and often half a dozen lifts of wet sand have to be made before he is captured. There is no time to be lost. In quite twenty-five per cent. of the chases the yabbies get away through flooding and collapse of the hole."
Yakka, v. frequently used in Queensland bush-towns. "You yacka wood? Mine, give 'im tixpence;"—a sentence often uttered by housewives. It is given by the Rev. W. Ridley, in his 'Kamilaroi, and other Australian Languages,' p. 86, as the Turrubul (Brisbane) term for work, probably cognate with yugari, make, same dialect, and yengga, make, Kabi dialect, Queensland. It is used primarily for doing work of any kind, and only by English modification (due to "hack") for cut. The spelling yacker is to be avoided, as the final r is not heard in the native pronunciation.
Yam, n. a West Australian tuber, Dioscorea hastifolia, Ness., N.O. Dioscorideae. "One of the hardiest of the Yams. The tubers are largely consumed by the local aborigines for food; it is the only plant on which they bestow any kind of cultivation." (Mueller, apud Maiden, p. 22.)
Yam, Long, n. a tuber, Discorea transversa, R. Br., N.O. Dioscorideae. "The small tubers are eaten by the aborigines without any preparation." (Thozet, apud Maiden, p. 23.)
Yam, Native, n. a tuber, Ipomaea spp., N.O. Convolvulaceae. The tubers are sometimes eaten by the aboriginals.
Yam, Round, n. i.q. Burdekin Vine, under Vine.
Yam-stick, n. See quotation 1882, Tolmer.
1863. M. K. Beveridge, 'Gatherings,' p. 27.
"One leg's thin as Lierah's yamstick."
1880. Fison and Howitt, 'Kamilaroi and Kurnai,' p. 195:
"Behind the pair stands the boy's mother holding her 'yam-stick' erect, resting on the ground."
1882. A. Tolmer, 'Reminiscences,' vol. ii. p. 101:
"The natives dig these roots with the yam-stick, an indispensable implement with them made of hard wood, about three feet in length, thick at one end and edged; it is likewise used amongst the aboriginal tribes of South Australia, like the waddy, as a weapon of offence."
1890. Rolf Boldrewood, 'Squatter's Dream,' c. iii. p. 31:
"Why, ole Nanny fight you any day with a yam-stick."
Yama, n. aboriginal name for a tree; probably a variant of Yarrah (q.v.).
1838. T. L. Mitchell, 'Three Expeditions,' vol. ii. p. 54:
"The 'Yama,' a species of the eucalyptus inhabiting the immediate banks, grew here, as on the Darling, to a gigantic size. . . . The 'yama' is certainly a pleasing object, in various respects; its shining bark and lofty height inform the traveller at a distance of the presence of water; or at least the bed of a river or lake."
Yan Yean, n. the reservoir from which Melbourne obtains its water supply: hence commonly used for water from the tap.
1871. Dogberry Dingo, 'Australian Rhymes and jingles,' p. 8:
"O horror! What is this I find? The Yan Yean is turned off."
Yarra-Bend, n. equivalent to the English word Bedlam. The first lunatic asylum of the colony of Victoria stood near Melbourne on a bend of the river Yarra.
Yarrah, n. aboriginal name for a species of Eucalyptus, E. rostrata, Schlecht; often called the River Gum, from its habit of growing along the banks of watercourses, especially in the dry interior of the continent. According to Dr. Woolls (apud Maiden, p. 511), Yarrah is "a name applied by the aboriginals to almost any tree." The word is not to be confused with Jarrah (q.v.). As to etymology, see Yarraman.
Yarra-Herring, n. name given in Melbourne to a fresh-water fish, Prototroctes maraena, Gunth.; called also Grayling (q.v.).
Yarraman, n. aboriginal name for a horse. Various etymologies are suggested; see quotation, 1875. The river "Yarra Yarra" means ever flowing, sc. fast.
[A possible derivation is from Yaran, a common word in New South Wales and South Queensland, and with slight variation one of the most common words in Australia, for beard and sometimes hair. The mane would suggest the name. —J. Mathew.]
1848. T. L. Mitchell, 'Tropical Australia,' p. 270:
"It was remarkable that on seeing the horses, they exclaimed 'Yarraman,' the colonial natives' name for a horse, and that of these animals they were not at all afraid, whereas they seemed in much dread of the bullocks."
1875. W. Ridley, 'Kamilaroi and other Australian Languages,' p. 21:
"Horse-yaraman. All the Australians use this name, probably from the neighing of the horse, or as some think from 'yira' or 'yera,' teeth (teeth), and 'man' (with)."
Ibid. p. 104:
"Language of George's River. Horse—yaraman (from 'yara,' throw fast)."
1885. R. M. Praed, 'Australian Life,' p. 4:
"Yarraman being the native word for horse."
Yarran, n. aboriginal name adopted by the colonists for several Acacias (q.v.)—Acacia homalophylla, A. Cunn., called also Spearwood; A. linifolia, Willd., called also Sally; A. pendula, A. Cunn., called also Boree, and Weeping or True Myall (see Myall).
1891. Rolf Boldrewood, 'A Sydney-side Saxon,' p. 99:
"That infernal horse . . . pretty near broke my leg and chucked me out over a yarran stump."
Yate, or Yate-tree, n. a large West Australian tree, Eucalyptus cornuta, Labill., yielding a hard tough elastic wood considered equal to the best ash.
Yellow-belly, n. In New South Wales, the name is given to a fresh-water fish, Ctenolates auratus; called also Golden-Perch. See Perch. In Dunedin especially, and New Zealand generally, it is a large flounder, also called Lemon-Sole, or Turbot (q.v.).
Yellow Fever, sc. the gold-fever.
1861. T. McCombie, 'Australian Sketches,' p. 47:
"Evident symptoms of the return of the 'yellow' fever, and a journey to the new goldfields seemed to be the only cure."
Yellow-head, n. name given to a bird of New Zealand, Clitonyx ochrocephala, or Native Canary (q.v.), common in South Island. See Clitonyx.
Yellow Jacket, n. a name given to various gum-trees, and especially to Eucalyptus melliodora, Cunn., E. ochrophlora, F. v. M., and E. rostrata, Schlecht, all of the N.O. Myrtaceae. They all have a smooth yellowish bark, and many other names are applied to the same trees.
Yellow Lily, n. a Tasmanian name for the Native Leek. See Leek.
Yellow-tail, n. The name is given in Victoria to the fish Caranx trachurus, Cuv. and Val.; the Horse-Mackerel (q.v.) of England. In New South Wales, it is Trachurus declivis, a slightly different species, also called Scad; but the two fish are perhaps the same. Seriola grandis, Castln., also of the Carangidae family, is likewise called Yellow-tail in Melbourne. In New Zealand, the word is used for the fish Latris lineata, of the family of Sciaenidae, and is also a name for the King-fish, Seriola lalandii, and for the Trevally.
Yellow Thyme, n. a herb, Hibbertia serpyllifolia, R. Br., N.O. Dilleneaceae.
Yellow-wood, a name applied to several Australian trees with the epithets of Dark, Light, Deep, etc., in allusion to the colour of their timber, which is allied to Mahogany. They are—Acronychia laevis, Forst., N.O. Rutaceae; Rhus rhodanthema, F. v. M., N.O. Anacardiaciae; Flindersia oxleyana, F. v. M., N.O. Meliaceae. See also Satin-wood.
Yuro, n. i.q. Euro (q.v.).
Zebra-fish, n. name given to the fish Neotephraeops zebra, Richards.
Zebra-Wolf, n. i.q. Tasmanian Wolf, or Tasmanian Tiger (q.v.).
Zelanian, a scientific term, meaning 'pertaining to New Zealand,' from Zelania, a Latinised form of Zealand.
Zosterops, n. the scientific name of a genus of Australian birds, often called also popularly by that name, and by the names of Wax-eye, White-eye, Silver-eye (q.v.), Ring-eye, Blight-bird (q.v.), etc. From the Greek zowstaer, a girdle, 'anything that goes round like a girdle' ('L. & S.'), and 'owps, the eye; the birds of the genus have a white circle round their eyes. The bird was not generally known in New Zealand until after Black Thursday (q.v.), in 1851, when it flew to the Chatham Islands. Some observers, however, noted small numbers of one species in Milford Sound in 1832. New Zealand birds are rarely gregarious, but the Zosterops made a great migration, in large flocks, from the South Island to the North Island in 1856, and the Maori name for the bird is 'The Stranger' (Tau-hou). Nevertheless, Buller thinks that the species Z. caerulescens is indigenous in New Zealand.
(See under Silver-eye, quotation 1888.) The species are—
Zosterops caerulescens, Lath.
Green-backed Z.— Z. gouldi, Bp.; called also Grape-eater, and Fig-eater (q.v.).
Gulliver's Z.— Z. gulliveri, Castln. and Ramsay.
Pale-bellied Z.— Z. albiventer, Homb. and Jacq.
Yellow Z.— Z. lutea, Gould.
Yellow-rumped Z.— Z. westernensis, Quoy and Gaim.
Yellow-throated Z.— Z. flavogularis, Masters.
1897. A. J. Campbell (in 'The Australasian,' Jan. 23), p. 180, col. 3:
"I have a serious charge to prefer against this bird [the Tawny Honeyeater] as well as against some of its near relatives, particularly those that inhabit Western Australia, namely, the long-billed, the spine-billed, and the little white-eye or zosterops. During certain seasons they regale themselves too freely with the seductive nectar of the flaming bottle-brush (Callistemon). They become tipsy, and are easily caught by hand under the bushes.In the annals of ornithology I know of no other instance of birds getting intoxicated."
Edward E. Morris
Austral English: A Dictionary of Australasian Words Phrases and Usages