Wahwee A wahwee is a demonic creature from the lore of the Aboriginal people of Australia. An amphibious creature about thirty feet long with a froglike head, long tail, and three legs on each side of its body, this creature preys upon bush animals, such as kangaroos, wallaby, and wombats, as well as humans. After everyone in camp is asleep, the wahwee with its insatiable appetite creeps in and consumes its victims whole. Living in deep water holes, this demon creates droughts, ﬂoods, and rains.
- Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland,Vol. 25, 301;
- Folklore Society, Folklore, Vol. 9, 314;
- Mack, Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels, and Other Subversive Spirits, 24–5.
From the: Encyclopedia of Demons in World Religions and Cultures – Written by Theresa Bane
The Wahwee.—The Wahwee, a serpent-like monster, lives in deep waterholes, and burrows into the bank beneath the level of the water, where he makes his den. He has a wife and a son, but they camp in a different place. A ‘doctor’ or clever blackfellow can sometimes go and see a Wahwee, but on such occasions he must paint himself all over with red ochre. He then follows after the rainbow some day when there is a slight shower of rain, and the end of the rainbow rests over the waterhole in which is the Wahwee’s abode.
On reaching this waterhole, the man dives in under the bank, where he finds the Wahwee, who conducts him into the den, and sings him a song which he never heard before. He repeats this song many times in the presence of the Wahwee, until he has learnt it by heart, and then starts back to his own people. When they see him coming, painted and singing a new song, they know he has been with the Wahwee, and a few of the other head-men and clever fellows take him into the adjacent bush, where they strip pieces of bark off trees, on which they paint different devices in coloured clays.
All the people of the tribe are then mustered, and these ornamented pieces of bark are taken to the corroboree ground, where everyone sings and dances. This is how new songs and corroborees are obtained.
Australian Folk-Tales by R. H. Mathews