The expression is well known in Australia and has even given name
to wines, restaurants, cartoon series and festivals, but the original
meaning and the history of the expression are not fully known.
straightest meaning, though, is that anywhere 'beyond it' is the
outback, and on 'this side of it' is the 'civilisation'.
The general belief is that the expression started during the 1800s with
early surveyors or mail carriers, who used fire-blackened tree stumps
as markers in the outback.
So for starters they were real stumps, and it's believed that during
the following century the expression became to be used about anywhere
remote, not necessarily where there was a tree stump marker.
The sign in Blackall, Queensland. by deepwarren via
There are a few different towns in Australia that claim the fame as the
places where the expression originally started.
Coolah in New South Wales is apparently next to an area whose
Aboriginal name means 'place of a burnt stump'.
Merriwagga and Gunbar in New South Wales claim that the husband of Mrs
Barbara Blain, who burned to death in an accident and is buried in
Gunbar cemetery, said that his wife had looked like a black stump when
he found her. A nearby waterhole also got the name.
in Queensland claims that some
early surveyors, in their work of mapping the outback, used a stump of
petrified wood as part of their equipment. The outback west of
Blackall was largely undiscovered at the time.
Red Stump sign in Boulia, Queensland. by iain.davidson100
in western Queensland has their own
version - the 'Red Stump'.
This site uses
British English, which is the English we use in Australia. You will
find words like "traveller", "harbour" and "realise", and they are all
correct in the language used in Australia.
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that all the information on this site is correct,
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