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A peerage (hypothetical or proposed) in Australia. The term is used scorn, scornfully for such a scheme.
we all know the common water mole was transferred into the duck-billed platypus, and in some distant emulation of this degeneration, I suppose we are to be favoured with a "bunyip aristocracy"
— w:Daniel Deniehy, Daniel Deniehy, speech at the Victoria Theatre in Pitt St, 15 August 1853, and reported in the w:Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Morning Herald the following day
Coined by Australian journalist and politician w:Daniel Deniehy, Daniel Deniehy (1828-1865) in 1853 satirise, satirising a proposal of w:William Wentworth, William Wentworth for an hereditary peerage in the then colony of New South Wales. (Reference: Bill Wannan,
, Lansdowne Press, 1970, reprint 1979 ISBN 0-7018-1309-1, entry for "Bunyip Aristocracy".)At that time in the Sydney underworld
was slang for an imposter or con-man, a sense Deniehy may have been taking in, but one almost certainly unknown to Wentworth. (Reference:
The Lingo: Listening to Australian English
, Graham Seal, w:University of New South Wales Press, University of New South Wales Press, 1999, ISBN 086840-680-5, page 16.)
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