Waltzing Matilda

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The popular Australian folksong Waltzing Matilda has reached a cultural status. During the past years it became the secret National Song of Australia. It was written by Andrew "Banjo" Paterson. To sing along you can download the music script and lyrics as a PDF document.

Original Note
Waltzing On the tramp
Matilda Name of the rolled up bedspread
Billabong Kind of lake without waterexchange
Billy Teakettle

Music Script

Music script of "Waltzing Matilda"


Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong /
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,/
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled,/
"You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!"
Waltzing Matilda. Waltzing Matilda, /
You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!
And he sang as he watched ...

Oh, up came a jumbuck and he drank at tbe billabong, /
Up jumped the sangman and he grabbed him with glee,/
And he sang as shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,/
"You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!"

Well up came the squatter and he's mounted on his thoroughbred,/
Up came the troopers, one, two, three./
"Where's that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?/
You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!"

Up jumped the swagman and lept into the billabong,/
"You'll never catch me alive!"
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by this billabong./
"You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!"


The poet Andrew "Banjo" Paterson wrote "Waltzing Matilda" in 1895. "Banjo" was his nickname, his real name was Andrew Barton Paterson. He lived from 1864 till 1941. On the following images you can see his notes while writing Waltzing Matilda and the "Combo Waterhole".

In the article "The History of Waltzing Matilda" (Text only available in German!) - you find more information:

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - Dieter Tischendorf, 2006 (Translation in English)

Still today, "Waltzing Matilda" is the hymn of the people! A very popular song, animating you to sing along. By all means, "Waltzing Matilda" is the important to cheer for the Australian rugby-teams (Text only available in German!), with which they would like to drive the kangaroos to the victory. [...]

While driving the Matilda Highway from Cloncurry to Winton you should be careful after about 200 kilometers to find the small traffic-sign (without Swagman) that shows the right way to the Combo Waterhole. At this billabong - about 10 kilometers near the highway - the legend told us that Andrew Barton Paterson got the idea to write the "story" of Waltzing Matilda. Paterson was on a visit at christmas 1894 at the Dagworth Station that was build in 1890. He was a journalist and a lawyer. As a war correspondent he stood between the front-lines during the Second Boer War in South-Africa or in China during the time of the Boxer Rebellion. And he was everywhere at crisis where Australia was involved. Because of his open speech he got not only friends. Because of this he worte under the pseudonym called "The Banjo" in the Sydney Morning Herold to keep his life save. [...]

The song should be forgotten today but it became famous due to something happened in 1900. In 1900 the publishing company "Inglis & Co Ltd." bought the licence for "The Billy Tea Company" for 5 pounds sterling by Paterson. Mary Cowan should rewrite the song for commercial advertising. She modidied some parts of the melody and she converted the Waterbag into a Billy (boiler). For tea? Assuredly! The word Billy accented the advertising. The national hit was born.

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - Dieter Tischendorf, 2006 (Original in German)

Noch heute ist "Waltzing Matilda" die Hymne des Volkes! Ein sehr beliebtes Lied, mit einer schnell zum mitsingen animierenden Melodie. Auf alle Fälle ist "Waltzing Matilda" der "Schlachtgesang" der australischen Rugbyfans, mit dem sie die Kängurus zum Sieg treiben möchten. [...]

Wer auf dem Matilda Highway von Cloncurry nach Winton fährt muß nach rund 200 Kilometern aufpassen, um das kleine unbedeutendes Schild (ohne Swagman), das den Weg zum Combo Waterhole weist, nicht zu verpassen. An diesem Billabong, 10 Kilometer von der Straße entfernt, hatte angeblich, bei einem Besuch der 1890 erbauten Dagworth Station um Weihnachten 1894, Andrew Barton Paterson die Idee zu der "Story" von Waltzing Matilda. Paterson war Journalist und Anwalt. Als Kriegsberichterstatter stand er oft an irgendwelchen Fronten, während des Zweiten Burenkriegs in Südafrika oder in China zur Zeit des Boxeraufstandes, und überall dort, wo es schwelte im Inneren der australischen Gesellschaft. Wegen seiner ziemlich spitzen Kommentare hatte er nicht nur Freunde. So schrieb er, vor allem seine politischen Artikel, vorsichtshalber im "Sydney Morning Herold" unter dem Pseudonym "The Banjo"! [...]

Und das Lied wäre wohl heute vergessen, hätte nicht 1900 der Verlag "Inglis & Co Ltd." im Auftrag eines Tee Produzenten ("The Billy Tea Company") die Urheberrechte für 5 Pfund Sterling von Paterson gekauft. Mary Cowan wurde beauftragt, das Lied für Reklamezwecke "umzuarbeiten". Sie änderte etwas an der Melodie und statt des Wassersack (Waterbag) hatte der Swagman jetzt einen Billy (Kessel) in dem Wasser kochte. Für Tee? Für was sonst? Natürlich war das Wort Billy bei der Werbekampagne schön herausgehoben. Trotzdem! So entstand der australische Nationalhit.

Listen and Watch

To listen: external links!

download - Infos: National Library of Australia

Your find more MP3s at the National Film and Sound Archive

Slim Dusty sings the Waltzing Matilda at the closing ceremony at the Olympic Games Sydney 2000.

Location of the Combo Waterhole

Here is the legendary Combo Waterhole Conservation Park at the road map:

The Combo Waterhole
A monument should remember Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson
The Combo Waterhole

See also

Here in the Wiki

Here in the Forum


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