Beyond the Black Stump

Twists & Turns of Phrase

Something that’s beyond the black stump is beyond or outside the realm of civilized life.

This Australian idiom or saying originated with the colonial-era habit of setting a charred stump of wood as a landmark for travellers. It made sense that travellers who continued beyond every charred marker were entering a land that had yet to be colonized and was therefore assumed (however problematically) to be uncivilized.

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