Using the correct terminology – Teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives

(An abridged extract from Yarning Strong Professional Support Years 3-4)

Language and individual words gain their meaning from a particular context or the perspective of the observer. Within the Australian historical context, some terms used to describe past events are value-laden and need to be understood in context. For example, terms such as ‘discovery’, ‘pioneers’ and ‘explorers’ reflect a non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective. This point of view ignores the fact that after more than 40,000 years of occupation of Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had already discovered, explored and named all parts of the continent.

The below table is not definitive, but provides a general overview of preferred terminology to help teachers familiarise themselves with appropriate terminology.

Preferred term Inappropriate terms (not to be used) Explanation/notes for teachers
Aboriginal people


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

atsi people


full-blood; half-caste; quarter-caste; octoroon; mulatto


Racist terms such as abos, blacks, blackfellas, boons, coons, darkies, and so on

‘Aboriginal people’ or ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’, while generic terms, are still preferred to the listed inappropriate and racist terms. Historical documents may include inappropriate terms listed here, however, such documents are based on historical attitudes. For example, the classification of Aboriginal people by past government agencies according to skin colour and/or ancestry was based on racist doctrines of the 19th Century. This identity was imposed on Aboriginal people to enable greater government control.

In many communities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will use local terms to describe themselves, for example Koorie in Victoria.


Aborigine As above Generally, this term should not be used as it is an anthropological term that has negative connotations and may cause offence to Aboriginal people. Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may use ‘Aborigine’ when referring to themselves, it is inappropriate for a non-Indigenous person to use it.
Torres Strait Islander people As above The preferred term is generic; local names may exist for Torres Strait Islander collective groups. Many Torres Strait Islander people refer to their island of origin (for example, Mer, Saibai and Badu). Occasionally, reference is made to the location of a group of islands (for example, Western, Eastern and Central Islands).
Language group/nation As above There exists a range of local/regional names for particular Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander collective groups. It is important for schools to consult with their communities to identify local preferences. Regional terms such as ‘clans’ may be in use; Indigenous people may also refer to themselves as a ‘tribe’ or ‘mob’. But it may not be appropriate for non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to use these terms.
Aboriginal aboriginal Use of upper case/ an initial capital reflects respect for Aboriginal cultures and people. This punctuation also applies to Aboriginal language or clan group names (for example, Arrernte, Wiradjuri, Goreng Goreng and Yolngu).
non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander


non-Torres Strait Islander





When comparing Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander groups with other Australian groups, the preferred terminology is ‘non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’, ‘non-Aboriginal’, ‘non-Torres Strait Islander’ or ‘non-Indigenous’.

Although used in many historical records, the term ‘European’ does not reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community.

The terms ‘Black(s)’ and ‘White(s)’ should be avoided in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies activities; such language classifies people solely on their skin colour and could be perceived as racist.

the Dreaming Aboriginal religion


The Dreaming is a complex concept that embraces all aspects of Aboriginal cultures and societies. While the Dreaming is seen as Aboriginal spirituality, the more appropriate and complete definition is ‘the essence of being Aboriginal’.

Defining the Dreaming as ‘Aboriginal religion’ is an attempt to place it in a non-Aboriginal or Westernised framework. This does not capture the holistic sense of the word.

The term ‘Dreamtime’ appears regularly in a range of contexts; however, it also is a non-Aboriginal, anthropological term that diminishes the significance of the Dreaming. ‘Dreamtime’ also conjures up the belief that the creation stories and spiritual beliefs are merely myths or fairy tales.

Augadth/Zogo Time Torres Strait Islander religion


Augadth/Zogo Time refers to all that is known and understood by Torres Strait Islander people about the origins of the environment, themselves and their culture. Essentially it represents the creation history of the Torres Strait Islander people.

Augadth/Zogo Time is a complex concept; it impacts upon Torres Strait Islander values and beliefs, and their relationship with every living creature and feature of the land, sea and air. In relations to Augadth/Zogo Time, teachers are strongly urged to consult with respected Torres Strait Islander community members.


before time/bipotaim

pre-history The term ‘pre-history’ disregards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history prior to recorded/written history. ‘Pre-history’ may also suggest that Australia did not have a history before 1788, and minimise the richness and diversity of the oldest, continuous culture in the world.

‘Pre-contact’ recognises the point in time when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people first came into contact with non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

‘Before time/bipotaim’ is used in the Torres Strait Islands to describe the time period of Torres Strait Islander settlement.

invasion settlement


From the perspective of Aboriginal people, Australia was not settled peacefully but invaded. The term ‘invasion’ acknowledges not only Aboriginal occupation but also the resistance shown by Aboriginal groups in defending their traditional lands.
intrusion settlement


Within Torres Strait Islander settings, the term ‘intrusion’ is also used to describe sporadic contact with non-Torres Strait Islander people in the period 1606-1788.
Mer, Ugar, Erub, Saibai, Badu, Mabuiag, Poruma, Warraber, and so on Avoid non-Torres Strait Islander/anglicised names that are rarely used by Torres Strait Islander people, such as Talbot, Musgrave, Cornwallis, and so on When referring to individual Torres Strait Islands, use the traditional names established before Torres mapped the region in 1608.

Torres and later navigators gave these islands anglicised names. In line with the move towards autonomy, Torres Strait Islander people have replaced the anglicised names with traditional names, or use dual names.


Primary students show age is no barrier to creativity

There was a stubborn dog and a deadly beast, a new student in the class and a sleepy language-lover – the entries in the 2016 Wordlist Writing Competition for primary school students showed some wonderful creativity and originality.

In the lead up to National Literacy and Numeracy Week between September 4 and 10, we’re looking back some of the winning entries in last year’s Wordlist competition.

In an entry titled ‘Narrative Jam’, Agna from Grade 4 presented an original and surprising interpretation of the traditional fairy tale. She wove her love of writing into the storyline, using phrasing in unexpected ways.

“10 cent coins, 20 cent coins. Maths. I prefer writing. Writing narratives. Of course, lots of people like Maths better. Then there’s Dance, Drama, Geography and History and Music. I’m going in alphabetical order, if that helps, but let’s not get too carried away.”

Later, she became part of the fairy tale as a somewhat reluctant participant. Agna challenged fairy tale norms, writing about a ‘not-so-brave knight’ and expressing dismay at the ‘pink dress with puffy sleeves’ that she was wearing.

Another impressive entry came from Alessandra from Grade 2/3, who wrote a suspenseful story that included a description of being chased by fierce animals. Alessandra described the ‘vicious fangs’ and ‘razor sharp claws’ of the animal that pursued her.

“You’re running, running to be free of the chase. You hear the roaring right behind you so you go faster but you know you can’t outrun a deadly beast like this!”

It was not action, but emotion, that was at the heart of the story by Eva from Grade 5. In ‘Notebook’ Eva wrote about her character’s first day at a new school, and a poignant and insightful speech she made to her peers, despite believing that she looked like a “shaky blob of jellyfish”.

“A new beginning at a new school – again. Another teacher calling another roll.”

Other winners took a more light-hearted approach, with Pippa from Grade 5 writing about Rex the Stubborn Dog who wore “puffy floaties and a yellow sun cap” to the beach and was “as silly as a goose”. Splashing in the waves, chasing pelicans and singing a funny song, Pippa’s story was written with humour and a sense of fun.

“Suddenly, Rex saw a dark shadow in the ocean. He dodged, dove, ducked and dipped under the cold water. I wonder … am I tough enough to catch this creature?”

Grade Prep student, Tanvi, wrote about a rabbit called ‘Alasco’, who enjoyed going on adventures with his dad. However, when he discovered his father was missing one morning, he found his own adventure involving a treasure map and pirates.

“When he work up his dad was gone. Then he looked under his bed and he found a map. It was no ordinary map. It was a treasure map.”

Finally, Archie brought a creative approach to current affairs and politics, with his story involving a president who forced ‘Mexi Bunnies’ to build a wall.

“Mr Bunny was the president of the Bunny States. He was a mean president, he shouted, “Mexi Bunny shouldn’t be able to cross to Bunny States because they are the silliest of Bunnies!”

One of the most exciting elements of the stories from the 2016 competition was their diversity – funny, heartfelt, controversial and suspenseful – they revealed the wonderful depths of young people’s creativity.

We’re looking forward to reading this year’s entries in the Children’s Word of the Year competition!


This year, teachers and guardians can enter primary school students’ writing samples in the Children’s Word of the Year writing competition. Through the competition, Oxford University Press aims to find out more about the language of Australian children, and the way they use that language in their storytelling.

A lesson plan is available to help inspire students in their writing, and some great class and individual prizes are up for grabs.



Brad Gobby and Rebecca Walker discuss Powers of Curriculum

Curriculum as the entirety of learners experience in an educational setting.

Powers of Curriculum explores education in Australia today through the notion and practices of curriculum. It broadens our conception of curriculum to include the lived experiences of learners in educational settings. It also explores historical and current forces within and beyond education that constitute curriculum, and how curriculum powerfully shapes learners and their experiences of learning. As educators are central to the enactment and experiences of curriculum, the authors aim to equip readers with critical and post-structuralist ideas, concepts and perspectives that can make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people in the early childhood, primary and secondary phases of education.

The authors encourage readers to use the book’s concepts and ideas to create learning experiences that are rich, engaging, intellectually stimulating, respectful and meaningful, from the point of view of learners.


Dr Brad Gobby
and Dr Rebecca Walker are co-editors of Powers of Curriculum: Sociological Perspectives on Education and lecturers in the School of Education at Curtin University.

Making the dictionary ‘fair dinkum’

By Mark Gwynn, Researcher and Editor at the Australian National Dictionary Centre, @ozworders

As a primary school student in the mid-1980s one of my favourite in-class activities was the ‘Dictionary Game’. My teacher, Mr Brenchley, would read out the definition of a word, and ask us to find the word that matched the definition in our dictionaries. There is one word that stands out in my memory, partly because I was the first to correctly guess it. Mr Brenchley read out the following definition: ‘false; pretended’, and gave us a clue that the word was also in the name of an Australian rock band (he always liked to add a bit of popular culture into the question). The answer was ‘pseudo’, and the band in the clue was of course Pseudo Echo. I can’t remember any of Pseudo Echo’s songs now, but as a lexicographer I’ve become familiar with the prefix pseudo-, and some of the words formed from it such as pseudonym. Back then, I also learnt from my dictionary that pseudo is derived from ancient Greek, as are many of the words in English beginning with ‘ps’. Dictionaries can teach us all kinds of information about words, language, and history, and Mr Brenchley introduced us to the riches of the dictionary.

If in the ‘Dictionary Game’ the question had been to guess what the words bludge, cooee, dinkum, or ute meant, we wouldn’t have been able to find them in our school dictionaries, because back in the early 1980s they contained almost no Australian words. The current edition of the Australian Schoolmate Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus has several hundred Australian words and meanings. Learning about Australian English is essential to understanding how English is spoken and written in Australia, and underlines the importance of having Australian dictionaries. It’s not just the obvious words like bogan and tradie that are Australian, but particular senses of standard English words. For instance, in this dictionary paddock has two senses: an Australian sense defined as ‘an enclosed piece of land, usually part of a rural property’, and a British sense defined as ‘a small field where horses are kept’. These distinctions across the dictionary are fundamental for understanding the variety of English we use in Australia.

In the sixth edition of the Australian Schoolmate Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus over 120 new words have been added, as well as a similar number of new senses, and many revisions have been made to existing entries. However, the addition of new material into a school dictionary is not necessarily the most important aspect of a new edition. As editor, it is my responsibility to make sure the core vocabulary that students need to be familiar with is up-to-date, and to provide guidance on usage. An interesting way of thinking about this core vocabulary is through the tool of a language corpus (a large set of texts that can be analysed for things such as word frequency and common word forms and grammatical features). The Oxford English Corpus, which we consult in our dictionary editing, contains over two billion words with just over a million of these representing lemmas (that is, the base form of word; jumps, jumping, and jumped are all example of the lemma jump). Amazingly only ten of these lemmas account for 25% of all the words in the Oxford English Corpus. These lemmas are: the, be, to, of, and, a, in, that, have, and I. The 100 most common lemmas account for 50% of the corpus; the 1000 most common lemmas account for 75% and so on. As my colleagues at Oxford Dictionaries succinctly put it: English consists of a small number of very common words, a larger number of intermediate ones, and then a long ‘tail’ of much rarer terms. It is these common and intermediate words that are the most important for students’ literacy education.

While new words like 3-D printing, crowdfunding, selfie, and skype have been added – and these additions are important to reflect our changing society – it is the updates to existing entries that form a substantial part of the editing process. For example, in this edition of the Australian Schoolmate Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus, a new sense of cloud has been added: ‘(in computing) a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet and used to store, manage, and process data in place of local servers or personal computers’. The dictionary also contains a large number of usage boxes that provide guidance and clarification for words that can present difficulties with pronunciation, spelling, grammar, or their use in Australia. These are kept up-to-date to reflect changing attitudes to language, but also contain cautionary information that provides guidance to students about words that may no longer be appropriate to use, or where there is some confusion about the use of a word in particular contexts (e.g. alternate vs alternative). We aim for the Australian Schoolmate Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus to be an authoritative reference work for students to continue their journey of literacy learning and to discover the richness of English in Australia.

The Australian Schoolmate Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus has been placed on the shortlist for the Educational Publishing Awards Australia, to be announced in September.

Schoolmate dictionary

Celebrating Father’s Day with the ‘dad joke’

It appears that dad jokes are having a moment. Some of the coolest fathers on the planet are airing their own dad jokes, and some decidedly less cool dads are following suit.

The dad joke is described by as, ‘An unoriginal or unfunny joke of a type supposedly told by middle-aged or older men.’

In the lead up to Father’s Day on Sunday, September 3, we’re showing our appreciation of these fatherly funnies by taking inspiration from the trendsetters and some less well-known jokers.

Barack Obama and Ryan Reynolds are just two of the high-profile dads publicly displaying their proclivity for the dad joke.

At his final Thanksgiving celebration as President of the United States, Barack Obama famously took the opportunity to display his prowess with the dad joke. After saying that his daughters were not present because they couldn’t take his turkey-related puns anymore, he swiftly moved on to unleash a few of his best:

 “When somebody at your table tells you that you’ve been hogging all the side dishes, you can’t have anymore, I hope you respond with a creed that sums of the spirit of the hungry people: Yes we cran.”


“I want to take a moment to recognize the brave turkeys who weren’t so lucky, who didn’t get to ride the gravy train to freedom, who met their fate with courage and sacrifice and proved that they weren’t chicken.”

Ryan Reynolds also got in on the act, posting this one to Twitter:

“Went to Disneyland because my daughter’s obsessed with Mickey Mouse. She was so excited when I got home and told her.”

Once confined to the privacy of the home, dad jokes are now doing the rounds on Twitter, with less famous dads joining Obama and Reynolds to share their best.

Twitter’s @baddadjokes has a whopping 33,000 followers. Some of @baddadjokes’ best include:

“What’s the difference between in-laws and outlaws? Outlaws are wanted.”

“What’s the leading cause of dry skin? Towels”

“RIP boiled water. You will be mist.”

If you want to give your dad some inspiration for his next dad joke this Father’s Day, consider the Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotes.

This hilarious collection of humorous quotations, full of wisecracks and wit, snappy comments and inspired fantasy, has been specially compiled by the late British broadcaster and raconteur Ned Sherrin, with a foreword by satirist, Alistair Beaton.

Fathers will be able to find the best lines from their favourite jokesters and wordsmiths, hopefully improving their own repertoire.

Entries range from Russell Brand’s cutting remark,

“No wonder Bob Geldof is such an expert on famine. He’s been feeding off ‘I don’t like Mondays’ for 30 years.”

to Arnold Schwarzeneger’s quip that deciding to run for governor of California was:

“The most difficult decision I’ve ever made in my entire life, except for the one in 1978 when I decided to get a bikini wax.”

Long live the dad joke!

Humorous Quotations

Other Father’s Day gift ideas from Oxford University Press:

Holy ST       Companion to food      Beer

Sherlock       Wine

Lost without atlas skills

By Annie Facchinetti

The digital native, tech savvy students in our classrooms today have no need for traditional skills such as knowing how to use an atlas or to read a map, right? They’ll just use Google to get fast information about places or to find their way around. While it’s tempting to think that the generation moving through our schools has it all sorted when it comes to technology, recent research suggests that the concept of the digital native is actually a myth.

Rather than being instant experts because they were born into a world saturated with technology, Kirschner and De Bruyckere (2017) assert that today’s learners need guidance about how to effectively use the tools available just as much as students in the past. They not only found that there is, “scientific evidence showing that there is no such thing as a digital native who is information-skilled simply because (s)he has never known a world that was not digital”,  they go so far as to suggest that digital natives are “yeti-like” or in other words, “fictional creatures” (pp.135-6). Among other sources, their findings are drawn from a report commissioned by the British Library and JISC that concluded that, “the ubiquitous presence of technology in [students’] lives has not resulted in improved information retrieval, information seeking or evaluation skills” (Rowlands et al., 2008, p.308).

So while students may be able to use technology to obtain verbal directions that match a map on their device, they actually do need to be taught to interpret and understand what they are seeing. This fact is recognised in the Geography strand of the Humanities and Social Sciences learning area of the Australian Curriculum as well as in the Mathematics curriculum, which both include critical skills such as map reading, map creation and giving and interpreting directions. The Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Geography paper (ACARA, 2011) that informed the development of the humanities curriculum acknowledges that students should be informed consumers of data and information and they therefore need to be explicitly instruction in how to interpret elements of maps such as scale, coordinates and compass directions. Indeed, even an online source as popular as Google Maps has a scale in map view and a compass in street view and therefore to make the most of the technology, students need to understand these concepts.

There is also a strong argument for teaching students how to use an atlas and other location and direction related skills using paper-based resources. According to  author Deborah Farmer Kris (2016), for example, “map reading remains an important tool for building children’s spatial reasoning skills and helping them make sense of our world”. This view is supported by the Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Geography paper (ACARA, 2011), which links the development of spatial skills with mapping. A US report into geographical skills lamented that in part because of a reliance on technology, “an overwhelming majority of high school graduates are not prepared to do the ordinary geographic reasoning that is required of everyone in our society in the course of caring for themselves and for their families,” (Edelson, Shavelson & Wertheim, 2013), a pronouncement that lends weight to the value of developing basic location and direction competencies as critical life skills.

From tracking the migration of animals to finding your way home after a night out, mapping skills are an integral part of 21st century living that can be clearly and easily linked with the everyday experiences of students. So next time you are tempted to dismiss their importance, remember that students are relying on you to help them navigate through the potentially confusing, but very essential world of mapping and directions.

Further reading

Australian Curriculumulum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2011). Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Geography. Sydney: ACARA.

Edelson, D. C., Shavelson, R. J., & Wertheim, J. A. (Eds.). (2013). A road map for 21st century geography education: Assessment (A report from the Assessment Committee of the Road Map for 21st Century Geography Education Project). Washington, DC: National Geographic Society.

Kirschner, P. & De Bruyckere, P. (2017). The myths of the digital native and the multitasker. Teaching And Teacher Education67, 135-142.

Kris, D. (2016). Why Children Still Need to Read (and Draw) Maps. PBS Parents. Retrieved 7 August 2017.

Rowlands, I., Nicholas, D., Williams, P., Huntington, P., Fieldhouse, M. & Gunter, B. et al. (2008). The Google generation: the information behaviour of the researcher of the future. Aslib Proceedings60(4), 290-310.



More than Mercutio – English teaching for the future

By Michael Horne

Discussion of what teachers and educational leaders really want students to get out of their schooling has recently shifted to the types of skills that they will need in the 21st century. In the face of a paradigm that still emphasises knowledge retention and memorisation, and when viewed in combination with the development of cognitive dispositions to use those skills, this is a useful shift.

Even though skills such as collaboration, creative and critical thinking, and the ability to synthesise have always been the best outcomes of education and the most useful tools to carry into the world, it is clear that the explicit demand for them is up. The Foundation for Young Australians in their 2016 report ‘The New Work Mindset’[1] analysed over 2.7 million Australian job advertisements over two years and identified seven job ‘clusters’ into which specific positions and their required skills were grouped. The report argues that there are certain “enterprise skills”[2] that are consistently asked for, and transferable between clusters. These enterprise skills are consistent with what educators variously call higher-order thinking skills, “capabilities”[3], or “kinds of minds”[4]. They include:

  • synthesising
  • creating
  • collaborating
  • problem solving
  • meta-cognition.

So what does this shift in demand mean for schools, and in particular for English teaching? Two basic principles are needed to underpin an increased focus on the development of these skills:

  • a revised view of content and knowledge that sees them as the carriers and media of skill development, as well as being important in themselves; and
  • valuing the ability to meta-cognitively recognise and talk about these skills as they are being developed.

The first of these suggestions can be particularly challenging for us as English teachers. We can argue that access to great and well-known literature is part of a student’s cultural inheritance, and important for them to become socially and culturally conversant. We can argue that we want our students to experience To Kill a Mockingbird in the same transformative way that we did. Yet, slinking behind these arguments is the tacit truth that it probably doesn’t really matter if students don’t remember who Mercutio was, or what the essential themes of The Catcher in the Rye are. The texts that we cling on to, any texts really, are important as works of art and mirrors of our best and worst selves, but they are more important educationally as the media through which students develop skills.

The second of these principles suggests to English teachers the importance of developing and sharing a discourse of learning which sits above the lexicon of English. Students can only learn to identify their own thinking when they have a consistent language for it, and when examples of certain cognitive moves are pointed out to them. There is an argument here for articulating what we mean by ‘critical thinking’ in the context of textual analysis, for example, and for pausing to hover over examples when they arise in class. The depth of criticism that we look for in the best student work can be more frequently achieved if we specify both the cognitive and syntactical structures that characterise such work, rather than giving vague instructions to students like “more depth needed” or “lacks sophistication”.

These are not radical ideas, but carving out room for them within schools means thoughtfully identifying and removing redundancies – anything that doesn’t directly lead to the development of the skills and dispositions that students will need and benefit from in their post-school lives.

If we value a student’s ability to synthesise information from traditionally separate disciplines[5] within English, we might sometimes break down traditional divisions between textual and language analysis. If we want students to be able to critically evaluate a range of references and sources of information, what purpose do closed-book exams serve? Let’s let them bring in the sources and actually analyse them in an exam or test. If we want students to reflect on their own thinking and see where they need to go next, how do letter grades help to do this? (Although, of course, English teachers have always been good at specific and personalised feedback for improvement.)

Challenging and reviewing long-practised norms in English programs and assessment, and identifying those which might now be redundant, is difficult in a system where everyone has personal historical experience. But it is also necessary. If we really want to develop those skills that we profess we want students to have (and which the data shows us society wants) – critical thinking, open reflection, and collaboration – then we need to apply them to our schools and to our own practice.

[1] Foundation for Young Australians, ‘The New Work Mindset’. Melbourne: 2016. p. 10

[2] Ibid. p. 19

[3] Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, Victorian Curriculum Critical and Creative Thinking. Accessed on 02/05/2017.

[4] Howard Gardner, ‘Five Minds for the Future’, summary in Plurilingüismo e Innovación Educativa 201 (4). pp. 6-7

[5] Patrick Griffin and Esther Care, ‘Test Construction’ in Patrick Griffin (ed.), Assessment for Learning. Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. 2014. Pp. 165-6.

Michael Horne was a co-author of Oxford MyEnglish, shortlisted in the Student Resource – Junior –  English/Humanities/Languages/Arts/Technologies/Health and Physical Education category of the Educational Publishers Award Australia.


Oxford Word of the Month: August – honey joy

WotM header

noun: a honey-flavoured biscuit containing cornflakes


In 1938 a simple recipe for a crisp honey-flavoured biscuit appeared in a Victorian newspaper:

Honey Joys … Five cups cornflakes, 3 dessert-spoons butter, 2 table-spoons castor sugar, 1 table-spoon honey. Melt butter, sugar, and honey; mix in the cornflakes, put into paper patty cases, and bake in a moderate oven for three minutes. Take out, and leave to set. (Melbourne Argus, 13 July)

There are earlier references in the 1930s to store-bought lollies called honey joys, but the recipe above is the first evidence we have of the cornflake-based biscuit we know today, and uses the same ingredients and method. The variant form honey crackle, first recorded in 1941, is less common, but is still in current usage: ‘My first memory of cooking is with my grandma making honey crackles…’.(Perth Eastern Reporter, 10 November 2015)

Breakfast cereals are a cheap and convenient ingredient for sweet biscuits, and there are some well-known examples in Australian cuisine. Rolled oats feature in the traditional Anzac biscuit, while more highly processed cereal is the main ingredient for the honey joy and another Australian classic, the chocolate crackle, based on rice bubbles. Chocolate crackles and honey joys emerged in the same period, and both became favourite party snacks for children. But honey joys are easier to make. According to this writer, they are foolproof:

When my chocolate crackles would not set and my toffees fell into misshapen blobs in the patty cases, I always knew my honey joys would pull through. (Canberra Times, 19 March 1991)

And pull through they have, for nearly 80 years. The simplicity of the recipe, the convenience of using ready-made cereal, and the cornflake crunch have no doubt contributed to their continuing popularity. They have a long association with children’s parties, school fetes, fundraising events, and country shows:

Last weekend, the family and I spent all day at the Yankalilla Show … The stalls were groaning with honey-joys, chocolate slices, rock buns and sultana loaves. (Adelaide Sunday Mail, 7 October 2007)

Our fondness for them means they have achieved the same nostalgic status as other typically Australian fare:

Our daughter Karen, living in London … had an Australia Day Supper on the 26th January with other Tasmanians. It consisted of—vegemite sandwiches, honey crackles … sausage rolls … and lamingtons (found it a hassle making those), together with Australian wine and milo. (Deloraine Western Tiers, 19 March 1992)

Honey joy and honey crackle are being considered for inclusion in the next edition of the Australian National Dictionary.



Celebrating the best Connecting with Law short films of the past decade

Join us as we celebrate 10 years of the Connecting with Law Short Film Competition with the top 10 entries from the very beginning through to 2016. *Spoiler – we had a draw in 2013!

2016 Theme: Why Study Law?

Winner: ‘Day One’ by Kit Mun Lee, Liam Hartley, Edward Wong & Quang Ngyuen, University of Melbourne

 2015 – Theme: Bring your favourite case to life!

Winner: ‘Chester v Waverley Council 1939 62 CLR 1’ by Ray Waterhouse, Nikita Vidyaev, Bella Noon, Ben O’Sullivan & Molly-Anne Clark, University of Notre Dame, Sydney

2014 – Theme: Legal ethics – thinking, acting, being

Winner: ‘Ethics in Social Media Advice for the legal hound dog’ by Katy Milne, Monash University

2013 Theme: Your top tips for studying law

Joint Winners: ‘How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Law’ by Jason Allen, Deakin University


Joint Winners:  The 5 Senses to Studying Law’ by Ryleigh Bowman & Sam Lumb, University of Wollongong

2012  Theme:  Pick a definition from the Oxford Australian Dictionary

Winner: ‘Bearly Legal’ by Julian Chant, University of Melbourne, & Louis Aldred-Traynor, University of Notre Dame, Sydney

2011  Theme: Creatively interpret a definition from the Australian Law Dictionary

Winner: ‘The Court of Handball’ by Joel Arnott, Daron Resnik and Daniel Segal, University of Technology, Sydney

2010 Theme: The study of law

Winner: ‘Lo Spettatore Intrusivo’ by Dave Joyce, James Remington, Dan Coombes, Giovanni Marino and Michael Magee, University of Melbourne

2009 – Theme: Connecting with Law

Winner: ‘Law Review’ by Jack Fitzgerald, Toly Shapiro, Paul Whelan, Emily Hargreaves and Yang Wang, Deakin University

2008 – Theme: Connecting with Law

Winner: ‘Law Talk’ by William Howarth, Tom McKeith, Lach Nicolson and Ned Winn-Dix, University of Sydney