Definition of bunyip aristocracy in English:

bunyip aristocracy


  • People who consider themselves to be socially superior.

    ‘they publish a list of Australia's bunyip aristocracy of notable families’
    • ‘Monday's honours list included one cringeworthy addition to the bunyip aristocracy of knights and dames.’
    • ‘The conceptual confusion in the article may come from an insufficient awareness of the stakes of the struggles against colonial bunyip aristocracies so many years ago.’
    • ‘His unsuccessful plea for an upper house based on a hereditary colonial peerage was mocked as a bunyip aristocracy.’
    • ‘South Australia seems to be the last redoubt in Australia of the fawning, bunyip Aristocracy that yearns after the good old days where everyone was in their place.’
    • ‘He described the would-be peers as a 'bunyip aristocracy'.’
    • ‘There has always been a bunyip aristocracy in Australia that has been offended by the idea of having to pay to acquire labour.’
    • ‘Negotiations could put that difference to rights in this new age of the bunyip aristocracy.’
    • ‘They were accused of trying to create a fake class system in Australia, a "bunyip aristocracy" that would distort our current honours system.’
    • ‘The new government should transfer power from Downing Street into their own hands - to a new Colonial aristocracy, what was later ridiculed as a bunyip aristocracy.’
    • ‘The radical politician denounced her scheme as a bunyip aristocracy.’


Mid 19th century: from bunyip + aristocracy. The phrase was coined in 1853 by the political orator Daniel Deniehy (1828–65), in a speech that ridiculed attempts to establish a titled aristocracy in Australia, by equating the validity of such a notion to the bunyip, a creature from Aboriginal mythology.