View Full Version : Waltzing Matilda

I. M. Esperto
29th Apr 2003, 20:38
An Australian Icon

The Song That Defines a Nation... and a Bit More...

There''s more to this than meets the eye. Read to the end, and you'll see...

Waltzing Matilda is an Australian icon. No other sond is more thoroughly identified with any country, and no other song is more identied with a country's armed forces... For generations, Australia's fighting men have marched off to war as the band plays Waltzing Matilda...

It is quite likely that more Australians know the words to this song than the country's national anthem, and, in fact, there are periodic movements to have the song adopted as the country's national anthem...

There is probably no other song that is more easily recognised by a populace: young or old: ocker or a newly arrived immigrant.

In case there's some ignorant Pomie out there who doesn't know... the song goes like this:

Once a jolly swagman camped beside a billibong,

Under the shade of a coolibah tree,

And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled

"Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?"

Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda me darinig?

Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?

And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled,

"Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?"

Along came a jumbuck to drink at the billabong,

Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,

And he sang as he stowed that jumbuck in his tucker bag,

"You'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me".

You'll come a-waltzing, Matilda me darling...

You'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me!

And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled,

"You'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?".

Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred,

Down came the troopers, one, two, three,

"Whose is the jolly jumbuck you've got there in your tucker bag?"

"You'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda

Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me

And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled,

"Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?".

Up jumped the swagman, leapt into the billabong,

"You'll never take me alive," says he,

And his ghost may be heard as you pass by the billabong,

"Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me".

Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda me darling?

Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?

And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled,

"Who'll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?"

Origins of the Song...

What does Waltzing Matilda mean? The phrase Waltzing Matilda is believed to have originated with German immigrants who settled in Australia.

Waltzing is derived from the German term auf der walz which meant to travel while learning a trade. Young apprentices in those days travelled the country working under a master craftsman earning their living as they went - sleeping where they could.

Matilda has Teutonic origins and means Mighty Battle Maiden. It is believed to have been given to female camp followers who accompanied soldiers during the Thirty Year wars in Europe. This came to mean "to be kept warm at night" and later to mean the great army coats or blankets that soldiers wrapped themselves with.

These were rolled into a swag tossed over their shoulder while marching.

So the phrase Waltzing Matilda came to mean: to travel from place to place in search of work with all one's belongings on one's back wrapped in a blanket or cloth. This is what Swagmen did in outback Australia

How Did the Song Originate?Andrew Barton (Banjo) Patterson [1864-1941] was a solicitor (lawyer) by profession and lived and worked in Sydney, Australia.

In 1895 Banjo and his fiancee, Sarah Riley, visited the Dagworth Homestead a station in outback Queensland. This station was owned by the family of one of Sarah's school friends: Christina Macpherson. While at the station Banjo heard Christina play a tune called the "Craigeelee" on an

autoharp. Banjo liked the "whimsicality and dreaminess" of the tune and thought it would be nice to set some words to it. During his stay Bob Macpherson took Banjo around the station where they stopped at the Combo Waterhole where they found the skin of a newly killed sheep. Obviously someone had made a meal of it. Bob Macpherson may also have told Banjo of the sheep shearers strike of September 1894 when shearers had set fire to the Dagworth woolshed killing over a hundred sheep.

Macpherson and three policeman had given chase and one of them, a man named Hoffmeister, shot and killed himself rather than be captured.

So it appears that Banjo linked up all these events to conjure up "Waltzing Matilda. Christina wrote up the score. It was first sung publicly at a banquet for the Premier of Queensland and was an instant hit. The song was then picked up by the "Billy Tea" company to advertise their product. Paterson sold the rights to Waltzing Matilda and "some other pieces" to Angus & Robertson Publishers for "five quid".

By World War 1 it was Australia's favorite song and has been ever since.

We are saddened to report that Alec Campbell, the last known survivor of the ANZAC forces at Gallipoli (and the last known survivor of Gallipoli) died on Thursday, May 16, 2002 at the age of 103.

Mr. Campbell enlisted at 16, and served at Gallipoli in 1915. He led Hobart's ANZAC Day parade three weeks prior to his death.

... and so... the last of a gallant, but almost forgotten band of heroes goes tramping into his reward, into his reward... a parade of one, to join a mighty legion that has gone on before... slouch hat sitting cockily on his head with the emu plume blowing in the breeze... his swag and billy over his shoulder, and tuckerbag slung across his back... and a Short Magazine Lee-Enfield tipped with two feet of Wilkinson Steel in his hands. And... somewhere... in that great beyond... the band is playing "Waitzing Matilda".

29th Apr 2003, 20:51
I was under the impression that "Waltzing Matilda" basically equated to "shagging the mattress"

29th Apr 2003, 20:52
And there was me thinking it was a proof reader in Spain!

"Waltzing my ~"

29th Apr 2003, 21:09
Ask us to sing the 2nd verse of Advance Australia Fair and you'll find most of us didn't even know there is a second verse. Ask us if we can sing the song about the bloke who pinched a sheep then topped himself rather than be picked up by the boys in blue and everybody knows it!

Says a bit about Australia that a song about sheep stealing is more popular than the one about our nation's natural beauties...

29th Apr 2003, 22:36
Says a bit about Australia that a song about sheep stealing is more popular than the one about our nation's natural beauties...

Count your blessings. At least it is about sheep stealing

eastern wiseguy
29th Apr 2003, 23:41
This always brings a lump to the throat ...should have posted this on ANZAC day ......waltzing matilda (http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/parton/2/bandplayed.ram)

30th Apr 2003, 00:29
Actually the words to the song you posted are not the original, but are associated with a promotion by "Billy Tea - Australia's favouite drink!" The history of the song is a little complex (http://www.nla.gov.au/epubs/waltzingmatilda).

Oh! there once was a swagman camped in a bilabong,
Under the shade of a Coolabah tree;
And he sang as he looked at his old billy boiling,
"Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me."

Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda, my darling,
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
Waltzing Matilda and leading a water-bag -
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

Down came a jumbuck to drink at the water-hole,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him in glee;
And he sang as he put him away in his tucker-bag,
"You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!"

Down came the Squatter a-riding his thoroughbred
Down came Policemen - one, two, and three.
"Who'se is the jumbuck you've got in the tucker-bag?
You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me."

But the swagman, he up and he jumped in the water-hole,
Drowning himself by the Coolabah tree;
And his ghost may be heard as it sings in the Billabong,
"Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?"

30th Apr 2003, 05:26
And here is the the song (needs Realplayer) Waltzing Matilda (http://www.matildacentre.com.au/sound/wm-04.ra)

30th Apr 2003, 05:41
I've always been intrigued as to who the heck "Andy" is.

He is mentioned about six times in the song Waltzing Matilda but I just cant pick why!

Any takers?

Chimbu chuckles
30th Apr 2003, 23:22
Our Constitution

WE, the people of the broad brown land of Oz, wish to be recognised as a free nation of blokes, sheilas and the occasional boong.

We come from many lands (although a few too many of us come from New Zealand) and, although we live in the best country in the world, we reserve the right to bitch and moan about it whenever we bloody like.

We are One Nation but we're divided into many States. First, there's Victoria, named after a queen who didn't believe in lesbians. Victoria is the realm of Mossimo turtlenecks, cafe latte, grand final day and big horse races. Its capital is Melbourne, whose chief marketing pitch is that it's liveable." At least that's what they think. The rest of us think it is too bloody cold and wet.

Next, there's NSW, the realm of pastel shorts, macchiato with sugar, thin books read quickly and millions of dancing queens. Its capital Sydney has more queens than any other city in the world, and is proud of it. It's mascots are Bondi lifesavers who pull their Speedos up their cracks to keep the left and right sides of their brains separate.

Down south we have Tasmania, a State based on the notion that the family that bonks together stays together. In Tassie, everyone gets an extra chromosome at conception. Maps of the State bring smiles to the sternest faces. It holds the world record for a single mass shooting, which the Yanks can't seem to beat no matter how often they try.

South Australia is the province of half-decent reds, a festival of foreigners and bizarre axe murders. SA is the state of innovation, where else can you so effectively reuse country bank vaults and barrels as in Snowton, just out of Adelaide (also named after a queen). They had the Grand Prix, but lost it when the views of Adelaide sent the Formula One drivers to sleep at the wheel.

Western Australia is too far from anywhere to be relevant in this document. It's main claim to fame is that it doesn't have daylight saving because if it did all the men would get erections on the bus on the way to work. WA was the last state to stop importing convicts, and many of them still work there in the government and business.

The Northern Territory is the red heart of our land. Outback plains, sheep stations the size of Europe, kangaroos, jackaroos, emus, Ulurus and dusty kids with big smiles. It also has the highest beer consumption of anywhere on the planet, and its creek beds have the highest aluminium content of anywhere too. Although the Territory is the centre piece of our national culture, few of us live there and the rest prefer to fly over it on our way
to Bali.

And there's Queensland. While any mention of God seems silly in a document defining a nation of half-arsed agnostics, it is worth noting that God probably made Queensland. It has everything - the most glorious beaches, the best fishing, refreshing rainforests and wonderful outback. Why he filled it with dickheads remains a mystery.

Oh yes, and there's Canberra. The nation's capital. The least said the better.

We, the citizens of Oz, are united by the Pacific Highway, whose treacherous twists and turns kill more of us each year than die by murder. We are united in our lust for international recognition, so desperate for praise we leap in joy when a ragtag gaggle of corrupt IOC officials tells us Sydney is better than Beijing. We are united by a democracy so flawed that a political party, albeit a redneck gun-toting one, can get a million votes and still not win one seat in Federal Parliament while Brian bloody Harradine can get 24,000 votes and run the whole country.

Not that we're whingeing, we leave that to our Pommy immigrants.We want to make "no worries mate" our national phrase, "she'll be right mate" our national attitude, and "Waltzing Matilda" our national anthem (so what if it s about a sheep-stealing crim who commits suicide). We love sport so much our newsreaders can read the death toll from a sailing race and still tell us who's winning in the same breath. And we're the best in the world at all the sports that count, like cricket, netball, rugby, AFL, roo-shooting, two-up and horse racing.

We also have the biggest rock, the tastiest pies, the blackest aborigines and the worst-dressed Olympians in the known universe. We don't know much about art but we know we hate the poofs who make it.

We shoot, we vote. We are girt by sea and pissed by lunchtime. And even though we might seem a racist, closed-minded, sports-obsessed little people, at least we're better than the Kiwis.

:ok: :} :O :E


30th Apr 2003, 23:33
I.M. Esperto,

It's nice to come across the song which I used to sing as a Boy Scout.

Interesting post.

30th Apr 2003, 23:42
CC, excellent post, until you start mentioning Sport.

the best in the world at all the sports that count
Since when were cricket and netball "sports that count"!

And as for Rugby:hmm:, since July 2001, and counting only "real" rugby nations, Oz has the following record - P14 W6 D1 L7 and are currently third in Zurich World rankings, behind England and NZ!:{