from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A new chum; a new arrival from England in the bush.
  • To learn one's business by bush-farming: said of an inexperienced greenhorn in Australia who assumes the position and duties of a jackaroo before taking up a station of his own. See jackaroo, n.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb Colloq., Australia To be a jackaroo; to pass one's time as a jackaroo.
  • Colloq., Australia A young man living as an apprentice on a sheep station, or otherwise engaged in acquainting himself with colonial life.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Australia, Queensland, obsolete A white man living outside white settlement.
  • noun Australia A trainee station manager or owner, working as a stockman or farm hand; formerly, a young man of independent means working at a station in a supernumerary capacity to gain experience.
  • verb intransitive To work as a jackaroo.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Obscure. Possibly from an Aboriginal term meaning ‘wandering white man’.


  • The prince has arrived for a three month stay in Australia where he will work as a Australian cowboy - known as a jackaroo - on remote cattle ranches in the Outback. Front Page

  • If there was anything humiliating in being rated as an 'able-bodied young man who wasn't worth his salt,' as a loafer who was hardly fit to 'jackaroo' on a station, as a 'lazy lubber' who would 'go to the dogs if it weren't for his father,' George never betrayed that he felt humiliated by so much as the twitching of an eyelid.

    Australian Writers

  • So he left, returned to Australia and, after a stint as a jackaroo, joined the Dominicans.

    Archive 2008-03-16

  • What the fuss about is the fact that, having gone out there to be a jackaroo, we're told, which is -- well, I'm not quite sure what a jackaroo is -- I don't know if you know, Larry -- but working on a ranch or a homestead in Australia.

    CNN Transcript Sep 30, 2003

  • The boys scattered to get horses, and the stockmen were piling out of the jackaroo barracks, while Mrs. Smith unlocked one of the storehouses and doled out hessian bags by the dozen.

    The Thorn Birds

  • All the other men made it back to Drogheda homestead ahead of the storm, turned their mounts into the stockyard and headed for either the big house or the jackaroo barracks.

    The Thorn Birds

  • Good stockmen were easy to come by, and Paddy had nine single men on his books in the old jackaroo barracks, so Stuart could be spared from the paddocks.

    The Thorn Birds

  • It had been sheer bad luck that in the end she preferred the Pommy jackaroo whose more bizarre exploits were becoming bush legend.

    The Thorn Birds

  • Wild as the birds in the sun-drenched trees, their children skulked shyly behind the sulky wheels or scuttled for the protection of the woodheap while their parents yarned over cups of tea, swapped tall stories and books, promised to pass on vague messages to Hoopiron Collins or Brumby Waters, and told the fantastic tale of the Pommy jackaroo on Gnarlunga.

    The Thorn Birds

  • The jackaroo just handed the tray and glass in through the partly opened door, had

    The Rising of the Court


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Female equivalent, which sounds unbearably whimsical to me, is jillaroo.

    January 5, 2008

  • Also spelled jackeroo, though jackaroo seems preferable given the etymology: Jack + kangaroo.

    July 19, 2010

  • My guess would have been sheilaroo, even though I understand the "Jack" and "Jill" connection.

    September 24, 2012