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This Day in History

Australian History

Tuesday, March 15, 1927. :   An explanation is given in the southern newspaper, the 'Register', for the origin of the nickname "crow-eater" as applied to South Australians.

     South Australians have long been referred to as "crow-eaters", and there have been numerous theories suggested through the years regarding the origin of the nickname. Several explanations for the term have been made through the years, the first being published in the newspaper, the 'Register', on 6 February 1925. On this day, the paper reported the following:

"[It] was first applied to some of the original settlers at Mount Barker who - whether from necessity or a desire to sample strange native fauna - killed, cooked and ate some crows disguised under the term "Mount Barker pheasants"... Later the term... was applied generally to all."

However, there is a strong possibility that the term originated with the goldrushes. On 15 March 1927, another report suggested the term originated as early as the 1850s. A reader recounted how, when his father and grandfather arrived at the gold diggings in Bendigo, upon being discovered as coming from South Australia they were accused of being "crow eaters". This was because their arrival had been preceded by another group of South Australians who had run out of food during their journey across from their home state and had been forced to shoot crows to eat. When they recounted their experience, they were dubbed "crow-eaters", a term which was henceforth applied to all new arrivals from South Australia.

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