Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cocky n.2

also cockie
[cockatoo n.2 (3)]

1. a prisoner or ex-prisoner who had been confined on Cockatoo Island.

[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 9 Mar. 3/2: He was suddenly horror stricken-to behold an unusual flight of ‘Cockatoos’ from their comfortable cage [i.e. Darlinghurt Gaol] over the way. [...] He then addressed the ‘Cockies,’ informing them that they might come out [...] one of the birds plaintively warbled, ‘I nose Challinor, he guv us our grub at Cockatoo’.

2. a small farmer.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 Dec. 4/4: Mr. Perkins, who is a big brewer, while recently travelling by rail from Rockhampton to Withersfield [...] ‘shouted’ for a crowd of carriers, ‘cockies,’ &c, who were hanging around.
[UK]Star (Canterbury) 1 Apr. 3/7: [headline] The Poor ‘Cocky’ and the Poor Government [...] A farmer travelled this morning [...] to Christchurch.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Colonial Reformer II 248: If it wasn’t for those confounded cockies [...] that big flat would be a first-rate place.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘It’s Grand’ Rio Grande’s Last Race (1904) 123: It’s grand to be a ‘cockie’ / With wife and kids to keep, / And find an all-wise Providence / Has mustered all your sheep.
[Aus]E.G. Murphy ‘Apples’ in Jarrahland Jingles 165: They were picked by cockies’ kiddies.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Sept. 13/3: I fluked a ride with the mail-cart as far as the fence, and had dinner with a cocky. [...] My wanderings east of the fence occupied five weeks, and whenever I arrived at a cocky’s place there was no trouble about tucker.
[NZ]‘Anzac’ On the Anzac Trail 38: ‘Cockie,’ by the way, is short for ‘cockatoo,’ meaning, in the language of Australasia, a small farmer.
[Aus]‘Henry Handel Richardson’ Aus. Felix (1971) 223: It was a rough grizzled fellow – a ‘cocky’.
[Aus]E. Dyson Missing Link 🌐 Ch. xviii: Annie, the Cockie’s daughter, whom he had left at the slip-rails.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Working Bullocks 76: Kitty married Gaze’s brother . . . the pommy cocky who’s got Drake’s old place.
[Aus]A.W. Upfield Murder Down Under (1951) 49: ’Im? ’E’s a cocky ten miles out.
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 9: He was thinking that life ‘on the track’ was not so bad, with good places to camp and ‘cockies’ sheep to knock over’.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 140: We struck a lift with a cocky from Colly.
[Aus]D. Hewett Bobbin Up (1961) 74: He hasn’t got nothin’, just a great, ignorant, overgrown cockie’s son.
[NZ]N. Hilliard A Night at Green River 77: She marries a cocky and she complains about cowshit.
[Aus](con. 1930s) F. Huelin ‘Keep Moving’ 14: Cockies were employing men for even lesser wages.
[NZ]N. Hilliard Glory and The Dream 113: We worked on this cocky’s farm and he never gave us no water.
[NZ]J. Henderson Exiles of Asbestos Cottage 14: Wool’s always going down anyway, the cockies say.
[Aus]Penguin Bk of More Aus. Jokes 231: Squatting over one of the holes is a weather-beaten old cocky with a rollie hanging out of one corner of his mouth.
[Aus]Age (Melbourne) 6 Jan. 🌐 Shearers, they’re making a fortune now. Running the poor cocky dry. They don’t grow the wool, or look after the sheep or the land, for that matter.
[Aus]S. Maloney Sucked In 114: The constipated old cockie ignored me [...] Didn’t he know tractors aren’t allowed on the freeway.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] Interesting mix of people. Cockies in moleskin pants, striped shirt and hats mixed with arty types in berets.
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Shore Leave 8: ‘Small bloke, sunburnt face and heavily freckled [...] My guess is a cockie, or a miner’.
[Aus]Betoota-isms 63: Busted Cocky [...] 1. A bankrupt farmer.

3. in attrib. use of sense 2.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 4 Dec. 1/1: The York cocky corroboree provided violent outbursts of onion-jealousy and finished up with fight.

4. a small farmer or large landowner, as modified by the crop in which they specialize, e.g. wheat cocky, cow cocky under cow n.1 etc.

[Aus]letter in Sydney Morn. Herald 9 Jan. 7/4: It will certainly be the last straw, and plenty who are struggling along from hand to mouth to-day wheat ghrowing will go out of the industry for good. I am, etc. A Wheat Cocky .
[Aus]letter in Sydney Morn. Herald 21 Dec. 4/5: In our extremity cannot the government protext us from these exactions. I am, etc. A Wheat Cocky.
[Aus]Townsville Daily Bull. 27 Aug. 28 Aug. 5/3: I worked for spud and cow cockies.
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 12: My father was one of them half-starved wheat-cockies out from Temora. Graft! He grafted like a team of bullocks.
[Aus]G. Casey It’s Harder for Girls 174: I’m a wheat-cocky.
[Aus]Albany Advertiser (WA) 11 May 4/2: [poem title] The Cow Cocky.
[NZ]I. Hamilton Till Human Voices Wake Us 8: That inexpressibly dull, dismal scene, the New Zealand cocky farm.
[Aus]B. Wannan Fair Go, Spinner 57: ‘Okay, I’ll come and start you off,’ said the spud cocky.
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 26: And a lousy lurk that musta been, toilin’ for this pork cocky.
[Aus](con. 1930s) F. Huelin ‘Keep Moving’ 36: When we get among those spud cockies you can make a wagga from spud bags.
[Aus]Penguin Bk of Aus. Jokes 369: There was an 80-year-old wheat cocky who married a stunningly beautiful 23-year-old blonde.

5. a lookout, e.g. at a two-up game; thus keep cocky, to act as a look-out.

[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 37: At the door of the school, a look-out is stationed. He’s called a ‘cockie’, after the cockatoo which, like him, makes a big racket and gives warning if something unseen or untrusted is heard, such as the Law. (That’s one explanation. Another is that he has crouched in his hunched-up position so long he’s taken on the stooped position of the sitting cockatoo.).
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 45/1: cocky n. ? keep cocky to act as a lookout, to keep watch.
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Old Scores [ebook] Swann had watched Corvo grow up in Northbridge, always around his father Tony’s illegal gambling club, sometimes acting as cockie.

In derivatives

cockydom (n.)

(Aus.) the world of small farmers.

[Aus]Maitland Mercury (NSW) 8 Mar. 35/2: It was a direct infringement [...] and a dead loss to the lords of ‘cockydom‘.
[Aus]W. Aus. Sun. Times (Perth) 1 Oct. 8/6: Sacred to the tenets of old time cockydom.
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 12 July 4/4: Others, through a run of bad seasons, have dropped from the ranks of squattocracy into cockdom.
[Aus]Mail )Adelaide) 18 July 9/1: The everyday rectangular crops which go to form the landscape in cockydom.
[Aus]Morn. Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld) 17 Apr. 8/5: Farmer Allen remains in office as head of the Victoria Cockydom.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 11 Dec. 7s/4: With every faculty I’ve got I’ve sought to bring cockydom to prosperity.
[Aus]Albany Advertiser 4 Oct. 4/3: This is not the first time sich little incidents have occurred in the history of cockydom.

In compounds

cocky’s coal (n.)

(Aus.) dry corncobs used as fuel.

[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 55: Cocky’s coal, corncobs used as fuel for a fire.
cocky’s delight (n.) (also cocky’s joy)(Aus.)

1. molasses, treacle or golden syrup.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 July 16/2: The cow-cocky is the most awful and wonderful of the genus [...]. ‘Cockies’ delight,’ by the way, isn’t his only culinary luxury. Let ‘C.J.D.’ taste ‘calf-pudding,’ and he’ll remember it for ever afterwards.
[Aus]C.E.W. Bean On the Wool Track 64: Cocky’s joy is golden syrup in 2-lb. tins, costing sevenpence—four times as cheap as jam.
[Aus]R.H. Knyvett ‘Over There’ with the Australians 137: We were also able to [...] relieve the monotony of marmalade jam with ‘bullocky’s joy.’ This last is merely molasses or ‘golden syrup’ called ‘bullocky’s joy,’ sometimes ‘cocky’s delight’ because it is the chief covering for slices of bread with the bullock-driver or cocky farmer in Australia.
[Aus]Sydney Mail 14 Oct. 2/4: You'll find some more damper in there, flybog, cocky’s joy, bullocky’s delight, axle grease, and a bit o’ junk. That day we had some doughboys and ‘underground mutton’.
[Aus]Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld) 1 Mar. 10/6: Choom seated himself and put away more bread and cocky’s delight.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 81: Consider, for example, these slang names for treacle and golden syrup: longtail, spare boy, Kidman’s blood mixture, Kidman’s joy, beetle bait, black jack, bullocky’s joy, cocky’s joy and tear-arse.
[NZ]D. Davin Gorse Blooms Pale 194: Hey, Shorty, go easy on that Cocky’s Joy. It’s not every day my old woman sends me a tin.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Speaks iii 81: Donkey lick or cocky’s delight, treacle or golden syrup.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Four-Legged Lottery 53: Your scones are good, Cissie, even with cocky’s joy on them.
[Aus]J. Walker No Sunlight Singing (1966) 80: ‘Reach us the tin o’ cocky’s joy.’ Reg took the tin of syrup.
[Aus]G.W. Turner Eng. Lang. in Aus. and N.Z. 99: In Australia we find golden syrup or treacle referred to as cocky’s joy.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 29/2: cocky’s joy treacle or golden syrup, a favoured spead on bread in less affluent days in poorer and usually rural parts.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 185: Lingoisms like meaner than hungry tyson; the ot (Overland Telegraph); cocky’s joy (treacle or golden syrup) [...] are understood by, or relevant to, fewer and fewer Australians.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].

2. wire fencing.

[Aus]P. Adam-Smith Barcoo Salute 131: The only damage I can recall was a fractured exhaust pipe and that was remedied on the track with ‘cocky’s joy’ (fencing wire).
cocky’s friend (n.)

1. binder twine.

[Aus]Horsham Times 19 May 1s/7: Used binder twine has many uses and is rightly called the cocky’s friend.

2. (Aus.) fencing wire.

[Aus]K.S. Prichard Haxby’s Circus 239: Dan and the boys, with hammer, nails and fencing wire, ‘the cockie’s friend,’ mended seats and fixed up stakes.
[Aus](con. 1900s–30s) B. Hornadge Aus. Slanguage 126: To take up farming was to go cockying [...] fencing wire was known as cocky’s friend.

In phrases

floor of the cocky’s cage (n.) (also bottom of the cocky’s cage)

(Aus.) a simile of a dry (and foul-tasting) mouth, usu. used to represent the unpleasant taste that accompanies a severe hangover .

[Aus]M. Walker How to Kiss a Crocodile 99: I guess the floor of the cockie’s cage, which is what their mouths must have been like, was pretty awful after the night’s events.
(con. 1950s) R.K. Allen Ballina Boy 33: ‘Tongue’s as dry as the bottom of a cockie's cage. Reckons ’e ’as a belly ache’.
‘IMA Social Menace’ Smart Zombie [ebook] ‘Stop it Arthur, my mouth feels like the bottom of a cockie’s cage,’ he croaked.
like the cocky on the biscuit tin (also like the bird…, like the parrot...) [the old tins of Arnott’s biscuits had a picture of a cockatoo, which was thus ‘on’ the tin but not ‘in’ it]

(Aus.) useless, impotent, a non-participant.

[Aus]Mirror (Perth, WA) 11 Jan. 3/5: When he emerged [...] he stood on the running board of their car, remarked, ‘I’m like the cocky on the biscuit tin ... I’m just not in it’.
[Aus]Durham and Gloucester Advertiser (NSW) 21 May 3/3: [He] said he was like ‘Cocky’ on the biscuit tin — on the outside.
[Aus]Scone Advocate (NSW) 19 Sept. 4/3: It was hardly , neces sary to make Perc. stand up, like the cocky on the biscuit tin he has been seen everywhere.
[Aus]Canberra Times 23 Mar. 5/8: Mr. Fraser had to sit ‘like cocky on the biscuit tin’ and watch other Members of Parliament vole on an issue which had already been determined.
National Times 1 Feb. 14: ‘Left out like the cocky on the biscuit tin’ [...] dates from the precellophane days when Arnott’s biscuits were sold from a tin embellished with a parrot emblem. The cocky was on it and not in it; so the phrase describes a loser or someone left out [GAW4].
[Aus]R. Beckett Dinkum Aussie Dict. 15: Cocky on the biscuit tin: An extremely complicated expression which, visually, owes its origin to the rosella parrot eating a Sao as shown on large tins of Arnott’s biscuits. [...] The literal translation is rhyming slang for ‘on the outside looking in.’.
[Aus]R. Fitzgerald Pushed from the Wings (1989) 41: But at least he was involved. Not like the bird on the biscuit tin.
[Aus]R.G. Barratt ‘I Saw That’ in What Do You Reckon (1997) [ebook] Littlemore’s like the parrot on the biscuit tin — not quite in it.
[Aus]R. Treborlang ‘Famous Birds’ 🌐 ‘Out Like The Cocky on the Biscuit Tin’ This dates from the pre plastic-wrapper days when Arnott’s biscuits were sold from a tin embellished with a parrot emblem. The cocky was on it and not in it, so the phrase describes a loser or someone left out of something.
sheep-cocky (n.)

(Aus./N.Z.) a small-scale sheep farmer.

H.S. Russell Genesis of Qld 251: I had so hoped that that capital fellow, George Mocatta (whose sheep ’Cocky’ Rogers had settled down at Grantham), would have come with us.
[Aus]Worker (Sydney) 7 Aug. 3/3: Now, Mr Editor, I wish all our lads to be warned against those sheep cockeys who are going to cut down the price [AND].
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 13 Aug. 5/5: Sheep Cocky Writes:— There is not the slightest doubt the war time profits tax is going to curtail stock breeding.
[Aus]Advocate (Burnie, Tas.) 9 Feb. 10/2: Down in the Midlands a sheep cocky had engaged an immigrant as a farm hand.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 May 20/2: A hardened old sheep cocky in W.A... discovered that a dingo had invaded the sanctity of his paddocks.
V. Palmer Golconda 130: He came upon a German sheep-cocky’s horse and sulky [AND].
[Aus]West Australian (Perth) 21 June 17/2: Training colouired labour for part-time seasonal work for the sheep ‘cocky’ is not the answer.
[UK]Guardian 11 Nov. 7/6: An old sheep cocky from Canterbury was [etc].
[Aus]M. Harris Angry Eye 121: I’m going to talk it over with [...] our sheep-cocky and bushman.
C. Mccullough Thorn Birds 227: Some of the sheep cockies must have given you the glad eye [AND].
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl.