Green’s Dictionary of Slang

furphy n.

also firfie, urph, pferfy
[proper name John Furphy, the proprietor of sanitary carts used by the Australian forces in WWI; the gossip and chat around these carts developed into the general word. Furphy, a former ironfounder, made his carts of iron, and on them was inscribed ‘Good, better, best, / never let it rest, / till your good is better / and your better best.’ The same slogan was also inscribed in Pitman’s shorthand. Note UK services, Elsan gen, a rumour, lit. news from the chemical toilet]

(Aus.) a groundless rumour; thus furphy-king/-monger n., a gossip.

[Aus]C.E.W. Bean Anzac Book 56/1: ‘These furphies are the very devil,’ he said.
[Aus]H. Ash diary 12 May [Internet] Some of the furphy are very good, so I will take them down. No.1, We are leaving this day week for France. No.2. Tivey’s are leaving for France tomorrow. No. 3. They say Fisher says all the Australian soldiers must either leave Egypt for the front, or go back home. No. 4. France wants 26,000,000 indemnity from Great Britain before she will let any more Australian soldiers land in her country. No.5. We are going to Ferry Post for a week, so as we can have a swim and a rest, and then come back again.
[Aus]Gippsland Times (Vic.) 27 May 3: The ‘firfie king’ gets in some fine work, and the weird ‘firfies’ that he sets afloat are peaks of imagination.
[Aus]W.H. Downing Digger Dialects 25: furphy — A rumour. [...] furphy-king — A retailer of rumours.
[UK](con. WWI) E. Lynch Somme Mud 3: Furphies fly right and left. Wash-house wireless.
[Aus](con. WWI) A.G. Pretty Gloss. of Sl. [...] in the A.I.F. 1921–1924 (rev. t/s) n.p.: furphy. This term originated in some of the camps of Australia, where the vehicles used for scavenging and water supply purposes were made by Mr. Furphy of Shepparton, Victoria, whose name was prominently painted thereon. This and the fact of the unfounded rumors seemed as a rule, to originate among the sanitary squad, or from conversation among men visiting latrines, caused the word to be used in this way. [Ibid.] furphy-monger or King. One who eagerly circulates ‘Furphys’.
[UK](con. 1914–18) Brophy & Partridge Songs and Sl. of the British Soldier 149: Pferfies.—Rumours.
[Aus]Western Mail (Perth) 19 Feb. 2/2: Is that furphy about Christ riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkery dinkum?
[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 76: Furphy king and furphy merchant, for retailers of rumour, are derivatives [of furphy].
[Aus](con. 1941) E. Lambert Twenty Thousand Thieves 127: I wonder [...] if there was anything in that furphy?
[UK]R. McGregor-Hastie Compleat Migrant 106: Furphy: an idle rumour.
[Aus](con. 1941) R. Beilby Gunner 222: It could be just another furphy. It sounds like a long shot to me.
[Aus]R. Beckett Dinkum Aussie Dict. 26: Furphy: An Australian-Irish expression meaning a lie as in, ‘That’s a bloody furphy, mate.’.
[Aus]S. Maloney Brush-Off (1998) 105: There’s even a school of thought that [...] the note [was] just a circumstantial furphy.
[Aus]Ozwords Apr. 1: The firm J. Furphy & Sons Pty Ltd operated a foundry at Shepparton, Victoria, and water-carts were included among their products. [...] Very quickly the term furphy came to mean ‘a rumour or false report, an absurd story’ — perhaps because drivers of the carts were notorious for bringing rumours into the camps, or because the conversations which took place around the cart were sources of gossip and rumour.
[Aus]S. Maloney Sucked In 268: the last-minute surprise candidate wasn’t to be Len Whitmore [...] That was a furphy.
[Aus]T. Spicer Good Girl Stripped Bare 66: I ask, ‘So what’s the go?’ ‘Ah the bomb was just a furphy [...] It’s just a suicide’.