.. the epithet is older than 1971, first appearing in ..Sunday Australian, 6th June 1971
"Australia's 9000 Pitt Street farmers - the businessmen, stockbrokers, doctors, barristers and solicitors who make a tidy profit on the side by owning or sharing a farm. .... although few visit their properties."
.. they have never been popular with the working taxpayer as described here ..Sidney J Baker, The Australian Language, 1945.
"In Sydney a business man with minor farming interests is called a Pitt Street farmer."
.. in this quote the writer draws in the Melbourne community by reference to Collins Street which is one of the main streets in the Melbourne CBD .. the correct term would be a Collins Street cocky with cocky being a slang term for a farmer ..Australian, 16th January 1974.
"Pitt and Collins Street farmers are costing Australia between $10 and $15 million a year in lost tax, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. What a surprise."
.. the reference to a cockatoo is explained in this quote ..cocky
noun 1. a cockatoo, or other parrot. 2. a farmer, especially one who farms in a small way. --verb 3. to follow the occupation of a farmer. [abbreviation of cockatoo + -y]
Source: Macquarie Book of Slang
.. cocky first appeared in print in 1877 ..CEW Bean, On the Wool Track, 1910
"A cocky is a small farmer. He usually selects himself a 300 or 500 acre holding, clears it, fences it, pays for it, ploughs it, sows wheat in it - and then goes to bed to wait for his crop. The next morning he gets up and finds the paddock white with cockatoos grubbing up his seed. He is there to plough and sow and reap - cockatoos. And that, they say, is how he got the name of cockatoo farmer - a cocky.
.. cocky could be further refined by making reference to the main source of income, hence cow cocky, fruit cocky, spud cocky, tobacco cocky, wheat cocky .. of course if the offending tax rorter lives in Brisbane then he would be called a Queen Street bushie or Queen Street cowboy .. so there you have it .. a bit of Aus speak ..Rolf Boldrewood, A Colonial Reformer, (1890). "'If it wasn't for these confounded cockies,' said Mr Windsor, 'that big flat would be a first-rate place to break 'em into.'"
Tibb's Popular Songbook, 1887. "Says the cocky then to plough a bit,
I think I'll stop at home.
(Sources: A Dictionary of Australian Colloquialisms, GA Wilkes; Word Map, Kel Richards & the Macquarie Dictionary.)
WoZ of Aus 07/02/06