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Jackie/Jacky & aborigines and clarification?

Posted by Lotg on July 03, 2004

In Reply to: Re: Kookaburra posted by ESC (U.S.) on July 02, 2004

: : : Do you know the origin of "Sitting up like Jackie"? See June 30 post. I googled and found that it was an Aussie phrase.

: : I have no proof of this, it's just what I've always believed as I was growing up - but Jackie is a term for a kookaburra. Kookaburras are very alert, perky, powerful (and to my mind) absolutely stunning birds (large kingfishers actually), and I always understood the term to mean that if you're sitting up like Jackie, then you're looking very smart, being very attentive, stand out in the crowd.

: The woman that posted didn't return. I just don't like to leave things unresolved.

MichaelFR has correctly queried with me that Jackie or Jacky can also mean aborigine. He's quite right, it is an old slang term for aborigine. And when I provided my translation of 'sitting up like Jackie', I briefly wondered whether it was in reference to Aborigines rather than kookaburras.

All I can say is that as I was growing up, the kookaburra version was the one my father always gave me. But who knows, maybe he was protecting my innocent ears from some other, potentially racist meaning.

If it's in reference to aborigines, I can only see it as meaning 'sitting up like an aborigine on watch', or maybe a 'black tracker'. The term black tracker being no doubt also obsolete now. Again, when I was growing up, police often used 'black trackers' in their search parties, because the aborigines knew their stuff much better than the white people. I think aboriginal trackers are still used, but no doubt, no longer referred to as 'black trackers'.

Anyway, I still use this saying today (sitting up like Jackie that is), and when I do, I always think of my oh so special and handsome Kookaburras sitting up there on the gum trees outside my house.

Having said that, if anyone can shed light as to which is the correct meaning, I'd be most grateful.