Green’s Dictionary of Slang

never, the n.

see never-never, the n.1

In phrases

on the never

1. (Aus.) taking advantage of luck; looking after one’s own interests.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 July 12/4: How comes it that Moss Vale township, with the small population of 800 all told, occupies fifth position on the N.S.W. insolvency returns [...]? Can it be through vice-royalty travelling ‘on the never’ when rusticating, or can it arise from the stingy habits of the beau monde of Sydney whose estates are scattered around?
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 24 Jan. 4/5: Black Goose George has sworn a mighty oath that no ex-MP shall travel on the never over the railway lines.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 20 Oct. 13/4: On the Warrego (Q.) I struck a station boss who handed me the gratuitous pannikin of dust in a neat paper bag with: ‘If you please, sir.’ When travelling ‘on the never’ one appreciates little touches like that.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 236/2: on the never – making the most of, taking advantage of.

2. (Aus. Und.) working a form of confidence trick.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Mar. 13/1: ‘Well, the fact is […] there’s nothin’ to be made ‘on the never’ now; there’s too many on the bloomin’ game. If you cop a mug out of the Metropolitan, and are just a getting him away right, ’bout six of seven in the same line wants to stand in; and that puts the mug fly and chokes him off the push.

3. see on the never-never (system) under never-never, the n.2