- black stump
- The black stump of Australian legend first appears in 1954, and is an imaginary marker at the limits of settlement: 'Head west of the Black Stump, sail right past Woop Woop, keep on going and finally you might hit Urandangi, the town without a postcode.' Anywhere beyond the black stump is beyond civilisation, deep in the outback, whereas something this side of the black stump belongs to the known world ('Wolfy.. turned out to be one of the best bastards this side of the black stump'). Although the towns of Blackall, Coolah and Merriwagga each claim to possess the original black stump, a single stump is unlikely to be the origin of this term. It is more probable that burnt and blackened tree stumps, ubiquitous in the outback, were used as markers when giving directions to travellers, as this early extract from the Bulletin in suggests: 'A rigmarole of details concerning the turns and hollows, the big tree, the dog-leg fence, and the black stump.' More recently, the Black Stump was coined as a nickname for the State Office Block, a dark grey building, in Sydney.
Australian idioms. 2014.