The Wave Hill Spur

© Helen Harvey, 2016

Winner, 2016 Bronze Spur Award for written bush verse, Camooweal, Queensland.

My maker moulded me from steel – I took shape in his hand;
with skilful care he fashioned me as if I were his brand.
The anvil he once toiled above had ‘Queens’ stamped on its side,
and if that piece of iron could talk it would recant with pride
how a Wave Hill station ‘smithy’ had fashioned me with care
but never knew he would create the legend born out there.
From cattle camps to droving runs the lonely breezes stir
to spread news of Fred Gutte and his famous Wave Hill Spur.

My life has been both full and free, my home is this wild land
that tests the mettle of a man as he burns in his brand,
or wanders as some men will do, forever on the track
behind a mob of cattle somewhere in the great outback.
Those men and I, we are the same – forged from the toughest steel.
We’ve battled flood and fire and drought – know only what is real.
The kind of men who’ll wander out to where dead breezes stir,
and strapped tight to their boots would be the famous Wave Hill Spur.

    So, slip me on and see how I sit easy on your boot.
    I never slide or shift about while any outlaw brute
    may try his best to move you while you flow with ev’ry stride,
    in rhythm with each twist and turn required for such a ride.
    But if by chance, he shakes you with a jolt so strong and curt,
    you know I’ll still be on your boot when we both hit the dirt.
    For though you may be shaken you will not be thought a cur
    while ever you strap on your boot, the famous Wave Hill Spur.

I’ve been there in the Murranji beneath a burning sun,
with men who gave no quarter and in turn would ask for none.
Though sometimes when dark storm clouds rolled and spooky bullocks stirred,
with eyes a-wide in terror when the first loud clap was heard,
as lightning split the darkness while an eerie scrub land shook,
then stockmen with a dreaded heart, but ne’er a second look,
rode out to turn a panicked mob with vision just a blur,
and trust placed in his sure camp horse and famous Wave Hill Spur.

I’ve watched the Cross roll over underneath a Western sky;
seen drought, with all its hardships and I’ve heard lone Curlews cry.
I’ve ridden touchy horses that would never make a hack,
while droving thirsty cattle out along the Canning track.
I’ve stuck fast with my rollers tucked behind each shoulder blade
of horses, while they bucked and squealed – saw legends being made.
I’ve drifted ever westwards where strange Min Min lights occur,
with horsemen who strapped on their boots the famous Wave Hill Spur.

    So slip me on and see how I sit easy on your boot.
    I promise not to slide or shift while any spooky brute
    may try to part your company along some lonely track
    while early morning breezes bite through clothes upon your back.
    I’ve ridden into history with bold men who had dared
    to venture into hostile land when no one else had cared.
    Now I, like they, are legends because nothing could deter,
    those horsemen who strapped on their boots, the famous Wave Hill Spur.

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