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.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • black stump — noun AUSTRALIAN beyond the black stump a long way from towns, stores, etc …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Black Stump — The Australian expression black stump is the name for an imaginary point beyond which the country is considered remote or uncivilised, an abstract marker of the limits of established settlement. The origin of the expression, especially in its… …   Wikipedia

  • black stump — /blæk ˈstʌmp/ (say blak stump) Colloquial –noun 1. a point at which known territory or established settlement ends. 2. Sydney Region the State Office Block. –phrase 3. beyond (or back of) the black stump, in the far outback; in outback or… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Black Stump — Australian. an imaginary spot marking the supposed limits of civilization: beyond the Black Stump. [1925 30] * * * black stump noun (Aust and NZ) A mythical distance marker on the edge of civilization (esp in beyond the black stump in the far… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Black Stump — Australian. an imaginary spot marking the supposed limits of civilization: beyond the Black Stump. [1925 30] * * * …   Universalium

  • black stump — UK / US noun Australian beyond the black stump …   English dictionary

  • Black stump — a mythical place beyond which there is no civilisation, way outback; non specific place in the outback …   Dictionary of Australian slang

  • black stump — I Australian Slang a mythical place beyond which there is no civilisation, way outback; non specific place in the outback II Australian English Out towards the horizon. A long way away …   English dialects glossary

  • black stump — n Australian a very remote region. The mythical start ing point for the back of beyond . See also Woop woop …   Contemporary slang

  • black stump — noun Austral. informal a notional place regarded as the last outpost of civilization …   English new terms dictionary

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