The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #49836   Message #3566662
Posted By: Bob Bolton
13-Oct-13 - 08:36 PM
Thread Name: Review: Waltzing Matilda
Subject: RE: Review: Waltzing Matilda
G'day again Iain Pollock,

It's not particularly relevant to the discussion of a SONG... but you have (~) reiterated that the song: "...tells us nothing about ourselves apart from a bloke committing suicide after stealing a sheep, and which is called Waltzing da-di-da, and isn't even a waltz!"

Of course ... it's a song, not a dance ... and it clearly isn't about any dance. The phrase heard by Paterson "... auf der waltz ..." or, maybe, Australianised as "on the waltz" was a term used to descibe, in Australia of the day - and, particularly that area of Southern Queensland, the dreary circuit of casual jobs and (hoped-for) handouts that sustained the swagman ... or any unemployed wanderer.

Historically it was ( ... and, in some German trades / areas, remains...) an expression covering wandering enforced, or at least required, by economic or trade requirements - something rather characteristic of the hard-working and strictly organised Germans!

The associations that accrued through Paterson's lovelife's mishaps are not really our concern ... except that they do lurk beneath and inform the history of one of our best known songs!


Bob Bolton