- The term coolibah is best known from the opening lines of Banjo Paterson's Waltzing Matilda: Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong Under the shade of a coolibah tree... The word is a borrowing from Yuwaaliyaay, an Aboriginal language of Northern New South Wales. In the earlier period it was was spelt in various ways, including coolabah, coolobar, and coolybah. It is term for any of several eucalypts, especially the blue-leaved Eucalyptus microtheca found across central and northern Australia, a fibrous-barked tree yielding a durable timber and occurring in seasonally flooded areas. The word is first recorded in 1893 by E. Palmer in Plants of Northern Queensland: E. microtheca.. The Coolibar or flooded box on all Gulf waters, often in flooded ground, of a crooked growth, about 30 feet high.
Australian idioms. 2014.