Macquarie Dictionary


Jillaroos, the outback, and Australian slang

Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.

This week, our word is jillaroo. You may be familiar with this word, or the male counterpart, jackaroo. Both are young people working on a sheep or cattle station to gain practical experience in the skills needed to become an owner, overseer, manager, etc.

There are some who believe jackaroo is a combination of the name Jack with the word kangaroo, but at present, the origins of the word, and therefore of the counterpart, jillaroo, are unknown. 

Jillaroo is a huge part of the Australian English language, being instantly recognisable to the majority of Australians, whether it’s through the NRL and the Australian Jillaroos, or through television and the ABC’s Jillaroo School.

Leave a Comment

Featured Articles