Australia’s golden girls

Fanny Durack & Mina Wylie, Australia's first female Olympians (1912). Image source: State Library of New South Wales

by Mark Gwynn

The Games of the XXX Olympiad will see more than 180 women representing Australia in London over the next fortnight. The history of Australian women’s participation in the Olympic Games is a hundred years old, and has been marked by success, triumph, and the emergence of the Australian term golden girl – a female Olympic champion.

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The earliest words in Australian English

by Julia Robinson

Dampier's illustration of a 'guano' (a goanna), in 'A new voyage round the world' (1699).

We posted a blog recently with an interactive graph (devised by Tim Sherratt) showing the first occurrences of Australian words in print, as they appear in the text of the Australian National Dictionary (AND). One blog-reader asked us about the words that predate the First Fleet’s arrival in Botany Bay in 1788. Continue reading

Print and Australian English

The Fawkner Press - the first newspaper in Melbourne (Melbourne Advertiser) was printed on this press in 1838. Image source: Museum Victoria

by Amanda Laugesen

The Centre’s recent posts on digital tools are exciting ones for me. The tools developed by Tim Sherratt (see also his terrific work on analysing the data of the National Library’s Trove: http://wraggelabs.com/emporium/trove-tools/) allow us to extract significant information that can illuminate important questions about the history of Australian English.

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A bicentenary of the first dictionary written in Australia

James Hardy Vaux

by Mark Gwynn

On the 5th of July 1812 the first dictionary ever compiled in Australia was presented to the Commandant of Newcastle (NSW) by one of the prisoners under his charge—James Hardy Vaux, a petty criminal. At this time Newcastle was a secondary penal settlement for more hardened and inveterate prisoners. This was Vaux’s second period of transportation to Australia for theft—he was sentenced to twelve months hard labour for receiving stolen goods in Sydney.

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