Q is for Quokka – a small Australian wallaby for which Rottnest Island is famous. (Rottnest is a small island off the coast of Fremantle, near Perth, in Western Australia) Rottnest Island was named by Dutch explorers and means “rats’ nest” as they mistook the tiny quokkas for rats.
Q is also for quandong – an Australian tree with an edible berry used as “bush tucker”. Bush tucker is food gathered from native Australian flora and fauna as eaten by the Aboriginal people. Some bush tucker has become popular with more adventurous chefs – I have seen wattle seed ice-cream, quandong jam (as made by our son), pepper berry seasoning, lilli-pilli jelly to name a few. The Macquarie Dictionary, Australia’s national dictionary, notes that the word quandong is a colloquialism for a “person who exploits or cadges off another”, with another obsolete colloquial meaning of a ” a stupid person, a country bumpkin”. Apparently another obsolete colloquialism is to “have the quandongs” or, in modern speak, “to be stupid”. Now, I may be a quandong, but I’ve NEVER, EVER heard the word quandong used for a person of an exploitative, or cadging nature – although The Macquarie Dictionay may feel that I’m a living example (albeit obsolete!) for using their definitions when I could make up my own!!!! In my view, “quandong” would be perfect for those days when you’re all at sixes and sevens – “I’ve got the quandongs” – without any of the perjorative meaning of stupid attached. In fact, henceforth this blog will use its own definition of “quandong” when appropriate!
Roxie was very taken with ” don’t come the raw prawn with me” – so now I expect to see her “having the quandongs” occasionally and we shall all know that she is using “flea speak” (two invented concepts in one day – I’m firing!)
Q is also for Queen – I am a staunch republican and believe that in this day and age it is ridiculous for Australia to remain a colonial outpost, with a head of state across the sea, in a country that bears little resemblance to our own, despite our shared history. Bring on the Republic of Oz is what I say!!!