A “bung” in current British slang is a bribe or a kickback — with the “u” pronounced as in “cup” — but I am not referring to that.

There has always been a certain amount of controversy about how Australia’s indigenous blacks should be referred to. With admirable simplicity, they themselves usually refer to themselves as “blackfellas”, but by far the most common term among whites is “Abo” — which is an abbreviation of the Latin term for them: Aborigines.

In less polite circles, however, they are often referred to as “boongs”, with the “oo” pronounced as in “book”.

Being rather interested in onomastics, I have always wondered a little where that term comes from. My best guess was that it was a variation on an actual Aboriginal name.

Different Aboriginal tribes had different names for themselves. In what is now NSW, I gather that “Murri” was common and where I grew up in far North Queensland at least some aboriginies referred to themselves as “Boories” (again with “oo” pronounced as in “book”). And the old timers in my own family, who generally knew Aborigines very well, did often refer to them as “Boories”.

So my best guess was that “boong” was either a corruption or a variant on “boorie”.

I note however that in Indonesia — which us very much on Australia’s doorstep — the term “bung” (pronounced exactly like “boong”, as far as I can establish) means “brother” and is basically a friendly term.

So is that where Australians got “boong” from? It’s possible. In the old days aborigines and whites often got on well, despite what you would think from reading Leftist historians. I speak about that from knowledge of events in my own family history and Windschuttle has thoroughly debunked the Leftist historians anyway.

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don’t forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here

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