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Waltzing Matilda

Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson

Original Version

Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson
Waltzing Matilda
• Popular Version
• Original Version

• Literary and Poets
• Literary
• Poets and Poetry
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Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson
Do you know why there are two versions of Waltzing Matilda?

Australian historian Richard Magoffin notes, in the early 1900s a tea merchant, the Billy Tea company, secured permission to use the poem. Cowan was commissioned to ‘rejig’ waltzing Matilda to refer to Billy Tea and the “Billy” boiled scene was created to remind the listener of those finely brewed tea leaves from Billy Tea. The 1903 sheet music clearly shows “Billy”, not only with a capital “B”, but in inverted commas.

The following is not the most well-known version. There is a popular version, also known as the Marie Cowan version, with words considerably modified from those of Banjo Paterson.

Waltzing Matilda
Oh! there once was a swagman camped in a Billabong,
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 with glee;
And he sang as he stowed 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.
"Whose 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?"

A. B. "Banjo" Paterson
 
The above is not the most well-known version. There is a popular version, also known as the Marie Cowan version, with words considerably modified from those of Banjo Paterson.
 
 
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