from Latin Terra Australis (16c.), from australis "southern" + -ia. A hypothetical southern continent, known as terra australis incognita, had been proposed since 2c. Dutch explorers called the newfound continent New Holland; the current name was suggested 1814 by Matthew Flinders as an improvement over Terra Australis "as being more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the name of the other great portions of the earth" ["Voyage to Terra Australis"]. In 1817 Gov. Lachlan Macquarie, having read Flinders' suggestion, began using it in official correspondence. The ultimate source is Latin auster "south wind," hence, "the south country" (see austral).
trademark name of a brand of swimwear, 1928, originally made by McRae Hosiery Manufacturers, Australia. From speed.
city in Australia, named 1837 for William Lamb (1779-1848), 2nd Viscount Melbourne, then British Prime Minister; the title is from Melbourne Hall, Derbyshire. The place name is literally "mill stream," Old English Mileburne (1086).
in various food preparations, especially peach Melba (by 1905) and Melba toast (by 1913) is in honor of Nellie Melba, stage name (based on her hometown of Melbourne, Australia) of Australian-born operatic soprano Helen Mitchell (1861-1931).
island nation in the Pacific, formerly Gilbert Islands and named for Capt. Thomas Gilbert, who arrived there 1788 after helping transport the first shipload of convicts to Australia. At independence in 1979 it took the current name, which represents the local pronunciation of Gilbert. Christmas Island, named for the date it was discovered by Europeans, is in the chain and now goes by Kiritimati, likewise a local pronunciation of the English name.
"the southern Pacific islands and Australia, conceived as a continent," 1849, Modern Latin, from French Océanie (c. 1812). Apparently coined by Danish geographer Conrad Malte-Brun (1755-1826). Earlier in English as Oceanica (1832). Oceania was the name of one of the superstates in Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four." Oceanea was the name of James Harrington's 17c. ideal state, and the name later was applied to the British empire. Related: Oceanean.
Channel Island, the name is Viking. The second element of the name is Old Norse ey "island" (compare Jersey); the first element uncertain, traditionally meaning "green," but perhaps rather representing a Viking personal name, such as Grani.
Like neighboring Jersey, its name also was taken as the word for a coarse, close-fitting vest of wool (1839), worn originally by seamen, and in Australia the word supplies many of the usages of jersey in U.S. As a type of cattle bred there, from 1784.
South African city, founded 1871; also region in northwest Australia; both named for John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley, who was British secretary of state for the colonies; the earldom is from a place in Norfolk, England (the name also is found in Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire). The second element is Old English leah "meadow, clearing in a woodland" (see lea); the first reflect various Old English personal names; the one in Norfolk appears first as Chineburlai (1086) and seems to be "clearing of a woman called Cyneburg."
fem. proper name, from French Mathilde, which is of Germanic origin, literally "mighty in battle;" compare Old High German Mahthilda, from mahti "might, power" (see might (n.)) + hildi "battle," from Proto-Germanic *hildiz "battle" (see Hilda). Matilda (1102-1167), daughter of Henry I, claimant to the throne during the Anarchy, usually is not reckoned among the kings and queens of England.
The name also was late 19c. Australian slang for "a traveler's bundle or swag," hence the expression waltzing Matilda "to travel on foot" (by 1889).
In my electorate nearly every man you meet who is not "waltzing Matilda" rides a bicycle. ["Parliamentary Debates," Australia, 1907]
The lyrics of the song of that name, sometimes called the unofficial Australian national anthem, are said to date to 1893.