Waltzing Matilda…

The dark secrets behind Waltzing Matilda:

Uncovering the love triangle, suspected suicide and conspiracy theory, that inspired Australia’s unofficial national anthem,  Waltzing Matilda which was written by Banjo Paterson whose was born in 1864 on 17 Feb 1864, Banjo’s fiancée Sarah Riley dumped him after he wrote the song with her friend, where the love triangle started…banjo1
And the song was written about a suspected suicide during an 1894 shearers’ strike, inspiring the song, with a suspected Unionists and police coverer up of a sheep shearer’s death…

It’s the bush ballad that’s been sung by everyone from Slim Dusty to Kylie Minogue… but I wonder, do Australians know the story behind their unofficial national anthem ?
Poet Andrew ‘Banjo’ Paterson, who appears on the Australian $10 note, wrote the poem in 1895 at Dagworth, a sheep station in western Queensland, Paterson and his fiancée Sarah Riley were visiting the Macphersons, who where a squatter family, who had claimed Dagworth Station [an outback farm] for themselves, so Banjo, and Sarah along with a school friend of Sarah’s, called Christina Macpherson, the third suspect in a love triangle, now she  played a Scottish tune The Craigielee March to which Banjo supposedly wrote Waltzing Matilda…

The love triangle, of Sarah Riley, Banjo Paterson and Christina Macpherson, now Banjo took a liking to Christina who played him the The Craigielee March to which Banjo wrote Waltzing Matilda, soon after this for some reason the Macpherson family kicked Banjo off the property, shortly after he wrote the song, following on from there removal from the station Sarah finished with Banjo, before moving to London where she never married., strangely enough Christina also never married…

Before the scandalous love triangle at Dagworth Station, between Banjo and the two women, there was the 1894 shearers’ strike, where death occurred during the violent conflict between workers’ unions and squatters backed by the Queensland government, which is the likely inspiration for Waltzing Matilda…

banjo 4The upbeat tune is about a swagman, or a travelling worker, who drowns himself in a billabong to avoid being captured by police after he steals a stray sheep, many an illustration of Waltzing Matilda shows a swagman boiling tea in his billy… Swagmen were travelling workers who carried all of their belongings with them., it is believed that the swagman from Waltzing Matilda was a German shearer named Samuel ‘Frenchy’ Hoffmeister, it was this German shearer Samuel ‘Frenchy’ Hoffmeister, whose body was found at the Four-Mile Billabong during the strike, & is thought to have been the swagman in the song, Frenchy was a union leader who burnt down a shearing shed at the Macpherson’s Dagworth Station the night before his body was found, police reports from the time say Hoffmeister shot himself in the mouth to kill himself and avoid capture, the great strikes of 1890-94 began with the maritime industry but spread to the shearing industry, it’s also possible that Hoffmeister was murdered by a squatter or the police, but when you consider that the unionists made a secret deal with the police to hide the truth of the swagman’s death, or so according to O’Keeffe, the strikes ended when unionists ran out of funds and were beaten by the squatters who had the support of the government and police…
What do the lyrics mean-?
Waltzing:  = Travel while learning a trade. It comes from the German term ‘Auf der Walz’ as German apprentices would travel to gain trade experience…
Matilda:  = A blanket to keep warm at night. Matilda is an old name meaning ‘mighty battle maid’. It was given as a nickname to women who slept with soldiers during the Thirty Years’ War and eventually passed on to the blankets…
So Waltzing Matilda is Travelling in search of work while carrying all of your belongings on your back…
Billy: A tin can with a lid, used to boil water
Billabong: A stagnant pool of water made after a flood or when a river changes course
Jumbuck: A sheep. It is likely to be a contraction of ‘jumping buck’
Swag: A bundle of personal belongings, often wrapped in a blanket
Swagman: A travelling worker who would carry his belongings in a swag
Squatter: Squatters were ex-convicts or settlers who staked land without legal claim
Trooper: A police officer, often mounted on a horse
Tucker bag: A satchel for storing food (tucker)

Waltzing Matilda Lyrics…
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.’
Chorus:
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda,
You’ll come, a-waltzing Matilda, with me,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his ‘Billy’ boiled,
‘You’ll come, a-waltzing Matilda, with me.’
Down came a jumbuck to drink at that billabong,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
‘You’ll come, a-waltzing Matilda, with me.’
(Chorus)
Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred.
Down came the troopers, one, two, and three.
‘Whose is that jumbuck you’ve got in your tucker bag?
You’ll come, a-waltzing Matilda, with me.’
(Chorus)
Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong.
‘You’ll never catch me alive!’ said he
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong:
(Chorus)
postcard-banjo-paterson-front

 

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