The Legend of the Spee’Wah

Many a tall tale has been told about the Spee’Wah in Australia. It’s a fictitious place of unbelievable proportions, located anywhere the storyteller wants it to be. It can be ‘just over there’, ‘out west’ or ‘west of the sunset’ and it has no known boundaries. From the people to the weather to bush survival or sheep shearing skills, everything is bigger and better here. According to legend, the trees are so tall they are hinged to let the sun pass; the dust storms are so thick that rabbits dig burrows in them and the crows fly backwards to keep the dust out of their eyes. And, if you go out to close the gate, it’s been said you’d need to take a week’s supply of rations with you!

One of the main characters in any Spee’Wah story is ‘Crooked Mick’. He supposedly grew so big so quickly when he was a teenager that his father ‘ringbarked’ his legs to try and stop him growing. This left him with a limp and the name ‘Crooked’ Mick. Tough, hard-working and practically super-human in his abilities, Crooked Mick is the ultimate bushman. He could shear 500 sheep a day, lift incredible weights and even kick crocodiles to the moon! He had an enormous appetite, eating two sheep for each meal, and yet he could bake the lightest pies that could be carried on a gust of wind.

The main point is to never let the truth get in the way of a good Spee’Wah story. The more outrageous the better – whether bragging about an adventure, exaggerating a tale of woe or just making light of a situation.