A furphy is Australian slang for an erroneous or improbable story that is claimed to be factual. Furphies are supposedly 'heard' from reputable sources, sometimes secondhand or thirdhand, and widely believed until discounted. The word is said to derive from water carts designed and made by a company established by John Furphy of J. Furphy & Sons of Shepparton, Victoria. The steel and cast iron tanks were first made in the 1880s and were used on farms and by stock agents. Many Furphy water carts were used to take water to Australian Army personnel during World War I in Australia, Europe and the Middle East.
In his book Memories of a Signaller, Harold Hinckfuss wrote of the "furphies" or rumours of pending movements of troops, while awaiting transfer to the French lines from Egypt. "Every day in the tent someone would come up with a 'furphy' that he had heard whilst down at the latrines. That is why the different stories were called furphies ('furphy' was the term used for a fart)".
- Howden, Saffron (2012-07-26). "Water under bridge for farm family as a Furphy is revived". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2012-07-26. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Hinckfuss 1982, p. 31.
- Hinckfuss, Harold (1982). Memories of a Signaller. Brisbane: University of Queensland Press.
- The Australian National Dictionary Centre, "Aussie words FURPHY"
- "Furphy", languagehat.com
- "furphy", Encarta