Sunday, March 10, 2013

Urban Dictionary of a Western New South Wales farmer

Weather/Whether/Wether – Yes, your whole primary school education has been a lie! There are not just two, but THREE different spellings of weather/whether/wether. While I’m sure you’re familiar with the first two, the third and lesser known spelling, wether, indicates a castrated male sheep.

Example of use:

ST: Did you check the wethers in the House Paddock today?
Bessie: I saw some sheep. They looked fine.
ST: Was is the young wethers? Did you see any of those old ewes?
Bessie: Uhuh.

Tank – a big hole in the ground which stores water. Like a dam? you ask. Yes! Exactly like a dam, except because we want to confuse you, we call it a tank. And yes, a tank is also a giant plastic/corrugated iron/cement/poly container for storing water as well. And yes, we have tanks (the latter kind) sitting on the banks of the tanks (the first kind) also.

Example of use:

ST: Did you check the tank in Strip Paddock today?
Bessie: The ground tank or the poly tank?
ST: Both.
Bessie: The actual Strip Paddock tank? Or Jimmy’s tank at the other end of Strip?
ST: Both.
Bessie: Yeah… Sure.

Traveller/Roadie – No, this is nothing to do with a backpacker or person on a holiday, travelling anywhere, at all. It is, in fact, a beer you drink while driving back from one property to another after a long day of hard work.

Example of use:

Bessie: Would you like a traveller for the trip?
ST’s Dad: Better get me a couple I think thanks Bess.

Lamb Marking – the systematic process of ear tagging, tail docking and castrating (the males) all the young lambs on the property. Depending on how many lambs there are, lamb marking also generally refers to the period of time during which this process is occurring.

Example of use:

Neighbour: Would you like to come over for a BBQ this weekend?
Bessie: Sorry, we’re lamb marking.
Friend: Would you like to camping on the long weekend in June?
Bessie: Sorry, June’s lamb marking.

Crossie – A sheep which is not a purebred. Eg. A merino crossed with a dorper.

Example of use:

Bessie: How did you get that bruise?
ST: Bloody crossie kicked me.

Killer – The best looking sheep or cow in the herd, which we will eat ourselves rather than sell.

Example of use:

Bessie: We’re running low on meat in the freezer.
ST: There’ll be a couple of good killers in the mob I’m getting in the yards tomorrow actually.

22, 303, 243, 410 – Various types of firearms used to dispatch pest animals.

Example of use: I saw a massive boar at Strip Tank today but I didn’t have the 243 with me so it got away.

Town – any town within a 500km radius. Never assume it’s the closest town; always ask for specifics.

Example of use:

ST: Dad’s got to go to Town tomorrow if you need him to bring anything back.
Bessie: I’d love some milk, bread, potatoes, we’re out of carrots and some fruit would be great… where’s he going, Cobar?
ST: Wilcannia.
Bessie: Oh. OK…. Just some milk then, from the servo I guess.

Huts – also known as Shearer’s Quarters, Huts are permanent onsite bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and dining located near the Shearing Shed (also known as the Wool Shed) which accommodates the influx of the shearing team at shearing time.

Example of use: I still have to go and clean the huts before shearing starts on Monday.

Swamp and Creek – A dry depression in a paddock which can be either sandy, rocky or clay-y which looks like once upon a time it maybe, might have, used to have, been a swamp or creek, a million years ago, back when there was actually water around.

Example of use:

ST on the UHF: Where are you?
Bessie on the UHF: In Lynn’s Paddock somewhere. Near some Box trees.
ST on the UHF: Have you passed the swamp?
Bessie on the UHF: ………… Sschhhh…I…sshhhuuuchchhh…. f-shschcch…ing….kn-schhhhhcchh-

Feed/Pick - the amount of edible grass and burrs growing in the paddock for the stock to eat.

Example of use:

Neighbour: How’s the feed looking over there?
ST: Yeah some green pick coming through. Bit dry over the back though.

Hanging – When all the townsfolk gather in the public square to watch... woops! I mean, when sheep forget where the tank is in a paddock and decide to all just “hang” out in a group on a fence line instead of trying to find some water to get a drink.

Example of use: Would you be able to check those crossie wethers we put out in Bore Paddock after lamb marking, make sure they’re not hanging near the old creek in the corner at the top end?

Water Run – the 800million-kilometre round trip to every tank on the property to check the water level, how boggy the tanks are, how the sheep are looking, and how much feed there is. The length of the water run is often measured in how many travellers/roadies you need to take with you (depending on the time of day of course! We’re not all alcoholics out here. Just me.)

Example of use:

ST: I’m just going to do the water run.
Bessie: Sure, which way are you going? Should I come? How long is going to be? Will I have time to make dinner once we get back?
ST: Better grab some roadies for the trip…


  1. Please feel free to leave a comment with your additions for the Urban Dictionary of Western New South Wales Farmer... (words and definitions from other states also accepted!)

  2. Your interpretation of our vocabulary is a "pisser" I love it. All so true.

  3. Love it! Although we always call your "Traveller" a "Roadie". The drink/s you have on the road. :)

  4. Love it! We call them roadies though not travellers lol. ;)

  5. Great post Bessie, but I'm also with the roadies.

  6. Hi Bess I have to boys who are now 9 & 10 but when they were 4 & 5 I took them shopping and said we had to wait for the lady to serve us. They were surprised and asked me why would the lady want to "jump on us" :{. Yes we have lots of cattle.

  7. wonderful Bessie.. hit the nail on the proverbial head...I am still chuckling! I too had the DAM issue about 35 yrs ago.. nothing changes eh?