Billabong - Word of the Week

Definition: Billabong

Noun: A billabong is a still pool of water that is formed when a branch of a river or a lake is disconnected from the river's source


"Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong, under the shade of a coolibah tree"

- 'Waltzing Matilda' by Banjo Paterson

In honor of Australia Day, this week's word is "billabong"! Students who have spent some time at our English school in Perth may already know that the definition of "billabong" is a pool of still water that is usually formed when a river bends into a loop, and then returns to its original path, cutting off the loop part.

An Australian Billabong

In the rest of the world a billabong is called an "oxbow lake" because of the shape that these lakes usually form.  They usually dry up in summer, but they fill up again with water as soon as it rains.


The word "billabong" is believed to come from the Wiradjuri word 'bilabang' which means lake.  The Wiradjuri are a group Australian Aborigines. Because billabongs stay wet for longer than rivers in the summer, it was important for these people to name them and know where they were.

Aside from the official definition, "Billabong" is also the name of a famous brand of surf clothing and accessories created by Australian surfers Andy Irons, Taj Burrow and Joel Parkinson.

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