- on the wallaby
- The word wallaby (used to describe many smaller marsupials of the family Macropididae) is a borrowing into English from Dharuk (the Aboriginal language formerly spoken in the Sydney region). It first appears in written form in 1798. The term wallaby track is first used to describe the path worn by a wallaby: 1846 J.L. Stokes, Discoveries in Australia: In some parts of the tall scrub were wallaby tracks. By the late 1840s the term had been transferred to the route followed by a person who journeys through the country, especially in search of seasonal work. It often occurs in the phrase on the wallaby track: 1849 Stephen's Adelaide Miscellany: The police themselves are usually well-treated in the bush.. they make a 'round' through the district, and get a meal at every hut, and one man from every said hut (besides those mobs on the 'wallaby track') stops for a night at the police-station in return. 1932 J. Truran, Green Mallee: South Australia was still a long way off; too far for sore feet that were not used to the wallaby-track. 1979 W.D. Joynt, Breaking Road for Rest: We decided to put swags on our backs and go 'on the wallaby track'. The phrase on the wallaby track is often abbreviated to on the wallaby: 1867 Australian Monthly Magazine: I have just had a row with my people and am off anywhere, on the wallabee, to try my luck. 1893 J.A. Barry, Steve Brown's Bunyip: I'm on the wallaby, looking for shearing, and, worse luck, haven't got no gold.
Australian idioms. 2014.