The Word of the Day comes from "The White Girl" by Tony Birch and is longlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Award.
NOUN AUSTRALIAN billabongs (plural noun)
a branch of a river forming a backwater or stagnant pool, made by water flowing from the main stream during a flood. synonyms: brook · rivulet · rill · runnel · streamlet · freshet · river · watercourse · tributary · winterbourne · burn · beck · bourn · creek · anabranch · influent · confluent · rillet · brooklet · runlet
ORIGIN mid 19th century: from Wiradhuribilabang‘channel that is dry except after rain’.
A billabong is an Australian term for an oxbow lake, an isolated pond left behind after a river changes course. Billabongs are usually formed when the path of a creek or river changes, leaving the former branch with a dead end. As a result of the arid Australian climate in which these "dead rivers" are often found, billabongs fill with water seasonally but can be dry for a greater part of the year.