Definition of jackaroo in English:


(also jackeroo)


Australian, NZ
  • A young man working on a sheep or cattle station to gain experience.

    • ‘This weekend of outback games, storytelling, yarns and the drovers reunion dinner pays tribute to the contribution that drovers, stockmen, stationhands, jillaroos and jackeroos have made to our unique pioneering history.’
    • ‘The sun is low in the sky as jackaroos on motorbikes muster a mob of weaner rams along the picturesque Egelabra lagoon.’
    • ‘Stockman work with stock - animals and jackaroos are what Australian farmers are called that work on outback stations with sheep or cattle.’
    • ‘It's some years since I was last here, when I was sent to work as a teenage jackaroo on a 36,000-acre station with 30,000 sheep for company.’
    • ‘Aides are hoping the media frenzy surrounding 19-year-old Harry will subside and confirmed he would remain at the Tooloombilla Station in Queensland state where he will learn to be a jackaroo, an Australian cowboy.’
    • ‘You can horse-ride with the jackeroos or Australian cowboys who work this station, or have a camel ride, explore the tropical gorges, go canoeing, experience nature walks or four-wheel drive treks, or fish one of the rivers.’
    • ‘But in 1960 he moved to Australia to work as a jackeroo at a sheep station in a town called Emu Springs.’
    • ‘There can't be many occupations not to be found in London, and the absence from this book of coalminers, shearers, pearl divers and jackeroos might only mean they haven't yet been ‘written up’!’
    • ‘With the helicopter hovering above, Peter on his motorbike, faithful dog Skip and a couple of would-be jackeroos, the sheep were caught.’
    • ‘There are photographs of ‘jilleroos’, but while nominally these are the female equivalent of ‘jackeroos’, the important difference is that jackeroos are young men getting station hand experience before passing onto something better, while jilleroos are merely female station hands full stop.’


Australian, NZ
  • no object Work as a jackaroo.

    • ‘After school Bruce went jackerooing in the North West, which led to him sketching his fellow stockmen, their horses and the surrounding unique landscape.’
    • ‘I jackerooed across the state from the bush at Port Augusta to Keith in the wetter south-east, before marrying and going on to manage the family property at Olary in the north-east of SA.’
    • ‘I visited and I used to spend all my school holidays out there jackarooing, working on properties in the Harden district, and that gave me the real urge to go bush.’
    • ‘One does get the impression that he seemed to be searching for something, like he was always on the move a bit, from jackarooing to working in the rodeos, to chicken boning, kangaroo skinning; is that a fair assessment?’
    • ‘The youth is sent to a farm to learn jackarooing, for which he has no aptitude, sleeping in the shed with rats and terrorised by a part-mad farmer's wife.’
    • ‘I jackerooed in Western Australia and attended Muresk Agricultural College.’
    • ‘Coming from country Queensland, and with experience of jackarooing, Meggitt knew how to relate to Centralian cattle men, and having a hard head, could survive the days of rum drinking that were required on occasions like the picnic races.’
    • ‘He returned to live on the family farm for six months, followed by six months jackerooing in northern Queensland.’


Late 19th century: perhaps a blend of jack and kangaroo.