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Origins: Waltzing Matilda

DigiTrad:
MARCHING THROUGH ROCHESTER
THE BAND PLAYED WALTZING MATILDA
THE BAND PLAYED WALTZING MATILDA (2)
WALKING A BULLDOG
WALTZING MATILDA


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Review: Waltzing Matilda (72)
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(origins) Lyr Add: The original Waltzing Matilda (26)
Lyr Req: Walzem Back Matilda (5)
(origins) Origins: Waltzing Matilda: MacPherson Letter (17)
(origins) Tune Req: Thou Bonnie Wood of Craigielee (29)
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GUEST,Hotspur 17 Jan 04 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,jackmolly 17 Jan 04 - 05:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Jan 04 - 05:46 PM
Helen 17 Jan 04 - 05:46 PM
Helen 17 Jan 04 - 05:55 PM
GUEST,Boab 17 Jan 04 - 06:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Jan 04 - 07:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Jan 04 - 07:44 PM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Jan 04 - 08:41 PM
freda underhill 17 Jan 04 - 08:56 PM
Helen 17 Jan 04 - 09:05 PM
GUEST,Big Jim from Jackson 17 Jan 04 - 11:25 PM
Joybell 18 Jan 04 - 01:07 AM
Dave Hanson 18 Jan 04 - 05:47 AM
Sandra in Sydney 18 Jan 04 - 06:51 AM
Leadfingers 18 Jan 04 - 08:09 AM
freda underhill 18 Jan 04 - 08:11 AM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Jan 04 - 08:26 AM
Joybell 18 Jan 04 - 06:36 PM
Bob Bolton 18 Jan 04 - 07:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Jan 04 - 07:14 PM
Bob Bolton 18 Jan 04 - 07:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Jan 04 - 07:57 PM
Bob Bolton 18 Jan 04 - 09:51 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Jan 04 - 12:57 PM
Jim McLean 19 Jan 04 - 01:07 PM
Jim McLean 19 Jan 04 - 01:42 PM
Joybell 19 Jan 04 - 05:43 PM
Santa 19 Jan 04 - 06:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Jan 04 - 07:30 PM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Jan 04 - 07:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Jan 04 - 07:55 PM
Bob Bolton 19 Jan 04 - 08:17 PM
curmudgeon 19 Jan 04 - 08:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Jan 04 - 08:53 PM
Bob Bolton 20 Jan 04 - 12:40 AM
Bob Bolton 20 Jan 04 - 02:36 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Jan 04 - 06:50 AM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Jan 04 - 07:05 AM
Bob Bolton 20 Jan 04 - 08:25 AM
Teribus 20 Jan 04 - 10:24 AM
Joybell 20 Jan 04 - 05:37 PM
Bob Bolton 21 Jan 04 - 12:00 AM
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Subject: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: GUEST,Hotspur
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 05:19 PM

I know there are quite a few mentions of this song in the Forum, so I hope I'm not repeating here. If I am, feel free to tell me where to find the info and I apologize.

What I am wondering is, why is this song listed as a song that hits many Australians right in the gut? the fate of the bagman is tragic, certainly, but the fates of plenty of people killed off in songs do not make people cry. I'm guessing there has to be some kind of stronger significance, but I'm just a young American so I don't know what it is. Would some kind person enlighten me, please?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: GUEST,jackmolly
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 05:34 PM

Hi Hotspur,

Many Australians would like to see their National Anthem change from "Advance Australia Fair" to "Waltzing Matilda" as the latter engenders stronger patriotic feelings, while the former reeks of colonialism to thoise who would like to see an Australian republic.

Waltzing Matilda was originally a poem by Banjo Patterson, Australia's most famous bush poet (he wrote some beautiful stuff). A matilda was a slang for a bed-roll or 'swag' and to go Waltzing Matilda hence became a slang for going walk-about. When you read the lyrics, you can see why Australians traditionally have a disdain for authority and a innate support of the underdog.

Another song which produces similar feelings is one called "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda", written by Eric Bogle, a Scotsman who emigrated to Australia some thirty years ago, I believe, and now lives i Adelaide. Superb song-writer and performer. You should dig up the lyrics to this one as well.

Hope this helps!

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 05:46 PM

pm Bob Bolton, Alan or other Aussies who visit this site.
But, to be brief, and from an outsider:

1. Many early settlers in the Australian colonies were transported there for various crimes, to clean out debtors prisons, etc.
2. Waltzing Matilda (traveling with your few possessions on your back), looking for jobs on the stations and in the forests and mines, or living in part off what the land provided was part of the life of many Australians.
3. British authority, administered from afar, was not appreciated.
4. The outback played a role similar to that of the American frontier.
The song sort of puts this all together.

Begins to sound a little like the American regard for "Home on the Range," Little Joe the Wrangler" etc., doesn't it?

The main thread here seems to be 3857 Waltzing Matilda


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Helen
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 05:46 PM

Good question, Hotspur.

Without a bit of time to think I can't hazard a guess, except that it is taught to all schoolkids here, and has somehow developed the credentials, just through chronic repetition, as the hallmark song for Oz. It has been used at a lot of sporting events, and other events, as a sort of unofficial anthem. If you play Waltzing Matilda for an Aussie who is overseas you'll probably make them break out into a grin.

And regarding anthems, we haven't ever really had a good Aussie anthem. We, well the true-blue Liberal party supporters, always clung to the Monarchist anthem, God Save the Queen, but then we decided to get another anthem which was more specifically Australian, but instead of choosing a song which a lot of people liked, and which most people could sing, the powers-that-be chose Advance Australia Fair, which is pretentious, trite, very twee, and very difficult for most people to sing. There doesn't seem to be a key which allows all sorts of people to sing it comfortably, and the words are amazingly unrememberable. If you ever get a chance to watch a bunch of Aussies having to sing through it you'll be able to count on one hand the ones who actually get past the first verse, and half of the crowd won't even make it through the first verse. Part of the Oz tradition is to value sincerity, or to be "fair dinkum" and those lyrics are not fair dinkum, in my opinion, so it makes it very difficult to sing that song at all, let alone with feeling.

Add to all that the links within Waltzing Matilda to our history, and you have another reason why a lot of average Aussies prefer to sing it than any jumped-up attempts at squishy sentimentalism. The attitude which Mr & Ms Average tend to place value on are not about sheep stealing (theft is actually opposite to the inherent good old Aussie values) but about defying authority (re: our convict heritage, and a lot of Irish versus English political conflict), and self reliance in adversity, (the swagman making his own way in the world and relying on his skills including basic survival skills in a harsh environment), and the mischievous humour of the situation, and just giving the politicians the finger by wanting to play a totally politically incorrect song instead of the snivelling drivel that they want us to willingly submit to.

All right, so I didn't need that much time to think about it. :-)

But these are only my opinions, and my conjectures. Other Oz 'Catters will undoubtably pitch in and give us their reasoning.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Helen
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 05:55 PM

Okay, so I was wrong about the Liberal party, but from the opinions gathered here I think the feeling was, for a lot of people, that "anything is better than the one we have now" i.e. God Save the Queen.

What this really means, in my opinion, was that we were well past the use-by date on God Save the Queen, and Adv Aust Fair was the least offensive of the other options.

Advance Australia Fair

You can also find the lyrics and an audio file on that site.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 06:56 PM

Incidentally, both the Banjo and the Bogle songs have Scottish connections. The Banjo Paterson song is set to an old Scots tune, "The Bonnie Woods o' Craigielea". [Not an original comment---it has been noted on the forum before...]


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 07:08 PM

As I've heard it, what sealed Waltzing Matilda as the real Australian National Anthem was that it caught on among the Australian troops in the Great War as a kind of marker.

That gave it the same kind of lasting resonance that Tipperary achieved because of its similar role among the British troops, an unspoken reminder of comradeship and death - and disdain for the people in charge, more especially with Waltzing Matilda.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 07:44 PM

Interesting posts, Helen and Jackmolly. I posted just to see if my opinion, from America, was anywhere near the truth. If wrong, hammer away!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 08:41 PM

The original story of the swagman had to do with the power play and politics between the wandering "swaggies" - mostly shearers, and the Squatters - the large property holding owners.

There are a few Aussie web sites that give a lot of history/info on the song.

There are two tunes, the "leading a waterbag" version is preferred by many to be a better tune - often called the "Queensland" version, vs the "Mary Cowan" version.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: freda underhill
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 08:56 PM

Hio Hotspur

Don Brian, a Sydney folkie, has written a great version of WM which tells the historical events around the song (its sung to the QLD version of the tune). I'll try'n get the words for mudcat.

fred


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Helen
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 09:05 PM

Q,

Sorry to disappoint you, but no hammering from me. :-)   I agree with what you have said.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: GUEST,Big Jim from Jackson
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 11:25 PM

Not only is there controversy about Australia's Anthem, but their flag as well. John Williamson has designed several flags over the years and is pushing for Australia to adopt a flag free of the Union Jack and any ties to Great Britain.
               I know; it's thread creep. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Joybell
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 01:07 AM

No disagreement from me either. I prefer the "Queensland" tune. Just as a comment re the importance of "Waltzing Matilda" during the First World War. It may well be as you've heard it McGrath, but my father and his friends came home singing "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" and "There's a Long, Long Trail A-winding". He didn't connect "Waltzing Matilda" with the War. His family had been here since 1848 but until the 1950s most people of English descent still called England "Home". Could it be that the idea of connecting Waltzing Matilda with the War was encouraged by Eric Bogle's song? My grandmother's diary suggests that the bands played all the popular songs of the day when the troops came home - and as they left for the War. Which isn't to say they DIDN'T "play Waltzing Matilda", just that I question it's importance at the time. Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 05:47 AM

AB {Banjo } Patterson wrote a better song tha Matilda, ' Castlreagh '
check it out, brilliant.
eric


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 06:51 AM

there is an extensive "Waltzing Matilda" site - created by an Australian academic (I think). I thought I'd included it in an earlier post, but I can't find it. Maybe Bob Bolton posted it & he has far too many posts to look thru!!

Tho Jim Dixon did post a link to a Waltzing Matilda site on this thread listed above.
(origins) Lyr Add: The original WALTZING MATILDA (2)

sandra


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Leadfingers
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 08:09 AM

One day I might just post the word of 'Walking a Bulldog' if only to wind up some of our friends in Oz.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: freda underhill
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 08:11 AM

..naughty...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 08:26 AM

"Walking the Bulldog" is in the DT already. (And it's not as easy winding up the Ozzies as that. Unlike some nationalities...)

"Much better song" - very different songs, both good, but in a very different way. "Castlereigh" (Paterson's title was "A Bushman's Song", I think) doesn't do the same job as "Waltzing Matilda". More direct, less oblique.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Joybell
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 06:36 PM

Yes we already know "Walking the Bulldog" and also the "German" version of "Waltzing Matilda" which is in fake German and funny when you hear it maybe 4-5 times. I think that the reason that "Waltzing Matilda" came to be the best known among dozens of other "typically" Australian songs is just the easily remembered chorus and the ordinary language using well known Aussie words. Funny thing is that the use of the word "Matilda" for a swag is used less often in songs and stories than "swag", "bluey" or "pack" which are all still used.
Australia Day is coming up. We have to all dig out the words to "Advance Australia Fair" again. I can sing a ballad that is, maybe, 20 verses long but remembering one verse of our national anthem is a problem.
"Australians all eat ostriches...." there we go. Not so bad. Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 07:04 PM

G'day Joybell (and all),

Notwithstanding your father's preferences for the British "pop songs' of the WW I era, when he came home, there is a fair amount of contemporary mention of Waltzing Matilda (for example, you'll find it mentioned to illustrate the Aussie's propensity for singing in adversity in CJ Dennis's Ginger Mick poems, which were published ... or not, when the censor objected to their realism on some events ... during the war).

The rogue parody Who'll be a soldier for Marlborough almost certainly arose during WW I as a parody by Pommy troops getting sick and tired of hearing Aussies sing Waltzing Matilda ... probably just to stir them up. (This has been discussed at great lengths, pro & con in threads earlier.)

McGrath:
Interestingly, there has always been an undercurrent of belief (among dedicated folkies - and 'fellow travellers' - that Paterson "didn't write Travelling Down the Castlereagh" ... that he found ("collected") it and spruced it up to include in a story. This is probably perpetuated because there was an artificial "dispute" between Paterson and Lawson - with Paterson being on the well-off/monied class/horsey-set side while Lawson was on the workers/swaggies/toilers side ... but they agreed to it all to help sell a few more copies of The Bulletin ... and probably shared a few drinks on the profits!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 07:14 PM

Any idea why it's "Matilda"? It sounds like it might be rhyming slang, from some name where the other half would give the actual rhyme - for example, some well known "Matilda Black", to rhyme with pack...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 07:35 PM

G'day again,

Sandra: Don does not sing his re-worked song to the Queensland (aka 'Buderim' ... ) tune OR the Marie Cowan version. He uses the original tune wrote to which Paterson his words - Christina McPherson's memory of the (quick march), brass band version of Craigielea she heard at the Warrnambool Races the year before.

McGrath: a number of the earlier threads should get into the German phrase (locally anglicised from Germanic settlers in the SE Queensland area) auf die walz. This describes the journeyman years of a German tradesman, when he travels about, living from his clothing and tool roll ... called by the army term "Mathilde". This was also a generic name for campfollowers, soldiers girlfriends and prostitutes. It was wryly transferred to the soldier's clothing roll ... when that was the best he could snuggle up to at night!

Various related forms of the name Mathilde/Matilda/&c turn up in the UK - eg the Scots "Maud" for a plaid blanket. Some researchers suggest a link. Anyway, although the term was heard by Paterson in the early/mid 1890s - that's a bit early for the very recent fashion for rhyming slang to have embedded itself in outback Australia.

(Incidentally, "Pommy" is a new rhyming slang word from around that date ... but it originates in the cities, which were more "up-to-date". Pommy is a contraction of "pomegranate" ... an Australian comment on the ruddy complexions of newly arrived Brits, quickly sunburning in the fierce sunshine. The children's chant went:

Immy-grant, Jimmy-grant, pommy-grant!

The last bit stuck, to become its own word ... and go on to acquire folk etymologies like "P.O.M.E" = Prisoner Of Mother England ... as unrecorded as unlikely!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 07:57 PM

Rhyming slang isn't really new - for example "Partridge's Dictionary of Slang" gives ROUND THE HOUSES for Trousers, quoted by Augustus Mayhew in 1857. If rhyming slang was current in London at that time, it'd not be surprising if it cropped up in Australia.

Not that I'm contesting your suggestion for Matilda, Bob, which sounds plausible.

................

The "Who'll be a soldier for Marlborough" version I've always understood was made up by Pete Coe. If there's evidence for a Second World War sighting of it, it'd be interesting.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 09:51 PM

G'day McGrath,

You are right - there are examples of rhyming slang that appear in English usage before the 1890s ... what I ought to have said was:

"... a bit early for the craze for rhyming slang (in the 1890s) ...".

It is interesting that Mayhew's 1850 book gives a lot of London street slang and (virtually .. ?) none of it is rhyming slang ... but there is a great amount of "back-spell" slang. (Yob = boy, [~] ecollop from backspelled 'police', &c) I gather this is still used, to some extent by Cockney traders ... when they aren't putting on a show for the American tourists ... and they don't want to be understood. (An old TV program on the History of the English Language shows Cockneys discussing prices at the fruit market ... and gives sub-titles ... and 'footnotes'!)

In the case of Who'll come a'soldiering for Marlborough, the first recorded citations of the chorus seem to be just after WW II - but were mostly from the families of WW I soldiers who were adamant that the song was ancient and genuine, because Dad / Grandfather sang it when he came back from France (or wherever) in 1919/20.

A substantial pile of books, by authors looking for (sometimes commissioned to find ... ) a respectable English origin for the song, have used this to claim the existence of an old English folksong, which has totally escaped the notice of English collectors from the time of Marloborough ... but which has been remembered by a large number of unrelated Australians ... two centuries later!

Certainly this was the claim of pioneer Australian field collector John Meredith ... and a point on which I had to keep (fairly) silent over the decades I knew him. John also claimed he could see no resemblance between the Cowan tune and Craigielea ... although there was also a fair amount of 'folk' evidence that this was the real tune source ... and Paterson had given his account of the circumstances of the composition - but he was distrusted by the hardcore "folkies"!

It was Richard Magoffin who actually located the papers of Christina McPherson and at least two different holograph copies of the tune - with Paterson's original words written below, in her handwriting... which she had given to people around Dagworth Station and Winton in 1895. However, by this time the earlier books ... or just someone's memory of the chorus that they quoted ... got back to the Old Dart ... and to Pete Coe - who proceeded to make up the verses to flesh it out.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 12:57 PM

"Yob" is of course current here - more so than ever perhaps. Doesn't exactly means "boy" now, but more "lout", and there's no shortage of them. I can't off-hand think of any more examples in present-day use.

That doesn't mean there might not be some - the thing about slang, whether backslang or rhyming slang, is that it tends to just merge into the language, so that people never think about it in those terms.

There's a couple of sound files on this link with a Liverpool version of backslang.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Jim McLean
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 01:07 PM

Dear Bob, a wee pedantic point. A plaid blnket is tautology as a plaid is a blanket. Did you mean a tartan or chequered blanket?
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Jim McLean
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 01:42 PM

Sorry, I think I should have said 'checkered'. I was thinking on the old joke ... What is the BBC tartan? Answer: Small cheques.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Joybell
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 05:43 PM

Bit of a diversion on the nick-name Pom/Pommy. I know the usual explainations for the derivation of it, but I came across a novel a few years back - one of those well researched historical works of fiction that is full of verifiable facts - that called Englishmen - "Tiddle-lee-poms". I've wondered ever since about this as a possibility. I assume that Tiddle-lee-pom comes from songs but most of the ones that use the word are late 19th Century as far as I've found and this novel was set in Australia in the early 19th Century. Just a thought. To my mind as good a one as any.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Santa
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 06:49 PM

I find the thought of WW1 British soldiers making up verses about Marlborough (just to annoy the Australians) rather unlikely. As songs have turned up in the US after having been lost in the UK for many decades, it doesn't seem impossible that the same could happen in Australia.

Not that making up songs to annoy the Australians seems unlikely, just the Marlboroughian connections. Songs to annoy Australians would be all about convicts....nothing original or inventive necessary.

I think Waltzing Mathilda is the Australian song too, but I can see how sheepstealing isn't quite what you want in your national anthem. What was needed was a bowdlerised set of lyrics for special occasions, whilst everyone could quite happily sing the real words anyway.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 07:30 PM

Treat it like Danny Boy - just sing "Waltzing Matilda" all the way through. (Well you'd have to make it "Waltzing Matild'" at the end of teh second line, and so forth, in order to scan.)

Or for that matter, why not just adapt the present anthem? :

Advance Australia, Advance Australia,
Advance Australia, Australia Fair,
Advance Australia, Advance Australia,
Advance Australia, Australia Fair.
(ch)Advance Australia, Advance Australia,
Advance Australia, Australia Fair,
Advance Australia, Advance Australia,
Advance Australia, Australia Fair.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 07:34 PM

I think it was Barry Humphries who started me thinking about "Who is this Gert by the the sea, that our land is supposed to be? I never met her..."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 07:55 PM

No agreement on pomegranate-immigrant-pommy.
The earliest use of the term occurs during the 1st World War, but not always meaning the same thing (Now generally applied to an immigrant from the United Kingdom).

1915, Gammage, in Broken Years- "We call the Regulars- Indians and Australians- 'British'- but pommies are nondescript."
1916, ibid- "They're only a bastard lot of Pommie Jackeroos and just as hopeless."
1916- Anzac Book- "A Pommy can't go wrong out there if he isn't too lazy to work."
Pom
1919, Downing, "Digger Dialect"- "an English soldier."

The pomegranate explanation didn't appear until 1923, in D. H. Lawrence, "Kangaroo."

I'd say it's still open to argument. (Above quotations from the OED).
See W. S. Ramson, "Australian English."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 08:17 PM

G'day again,

McGrath: All good points on the shifty condition of slang. That's why tracking back from the current form is so difficult ... unless you have a series of recorded, dated and sourced usages.

Joybell: That applies to your " "Tiddle-lee-poms" - If there is some record of the usage it may well be a contender. If not, it may just be an inspired guess. I really need to look at the earliest records of the term ... starting in The Australian National Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1988 - with sideways glances at the many dictionaries of Australian Slang. The advantage of The Australian National Dictionary is that it is the product of more than 40 years of research, including meticulous noting of instances in print (we can't retrieve oral usage) and it is laid out on the "Historical Principles" model of the Oxford Dictionary of English.

Santa: The suggestion that the Poms made up the parody to annoy Australians is supposition. It just seems the best explanation for the (roughly) simultaneous appearance among Australian WW I soldiers' families - and nowhere else - of a song that should be English ... and two centuries old (and would have been nearly one century old when the First Fleet reached Sydney Cove) ... and of which not a scintilla had ever been recorded in England - or America - or any other ex-colony.

Certainly, wonderful old British ballads were preserved in the backwaters of America ... but rarely without some decayed remains surviving in Britain ... or some written record. The period from the time of Marlborough was one of increasing literacy and the development of a nostalgia for the romantic past. The number of early collections that were published in Britain bears testimony to this.

The matter of the particular song using Marlborough's name and location can't be simply explained from our view of things ... but it may well have started simply because the particular Pommy regiment camped nearby were from Rochester - or had an historical link to Marlborough (and, we mustn't forget the Marlborough family link to Churchill - whose name was not fondly remembered by Australians, post-Gallipoli!).

Foolestroupe: Yes ... well Lyn & Evan Mathieson did try to remedy this by running an historical/Song session at last year's (Australian) National Folk Festival called Girt By Sea!
Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: curmudgeon
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 08:23 PM

"The more it snows, 'Tiddle-lee-pom', " "in Which A house is Built For Eyore At Pooh Corner."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 08:53 PM

Ah, a musical connection!
1909, Glover-Kind- "The brass bands play tiddely-om pom pom"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 12:40 AM

G'day again,

Jim McLean: I've no doubt that you are right ... I was just searching my mind for what Richard Magoffin had said on the subject ... and he is almost as likely to get the Scots terms wrong as I!

Regard(les)s,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 02:36 AM

G'day Q,

No agreement on pomegranate-immigrant-pommy.
The earliest use of the term occurs during the 1st World War, but not always meaning the same thing (Now generally applied to an immigrant from the United Kingdom)


Tough about that ... it's about time for you to shell out for a new OED!

The first citation in The Australian National Dictionary for both "Pommy Grant (assisted immigrant)" and "Pommy" (" ... Pommy sneaked up behind the quadruped ... ") is Bulletin (Sydney) 14 November 1912. The Bulletin was the magazine of the Australian Bushman ... and the main place poetry, yarns and songs, both contributed and written by poets like Paterson, Brady and Lawson first appeared in print.

The term, which undoubtedly had existed for some years before appearing in print (ie - in line with the 1890s derivation still remembered in the Bulletin item), would have gone to WW I with Australian "Diggers" ... and there it finally impinged on the consciousness of the Poms themselves. I suspect (not running to a copy of the OED ... not even on CD!) that the older editions citations are principally from British journals reporting the War.

The next entry, 22 December 1912, is from The Truth - a scurrilous Melbourne rag - includes: "Now they call 'em 'Pomegranates' and the jimmy-grants don't like it." A 23 February 1913 item from the same manages to have:
Pomegranate,
jimmygrant and
The Poms,
though I imagine Joybell might try to make a comeback with the sentence: "The Poms, however, have not found Australia to be a Tom Tiddlers' Ground." ... !

Since the AND is an Oxford publication, and I'm still using my 1988 first edition, I imagine all this will be in the latest OED (now, let's see where I can scrounge the "Special Centenary Price" of only Aus$2300 from ...).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 06:50 AM

Yep, my OED is 1987, an antique by today's standards. Waiting for a new Compact edition that needs a magnifying glass to be read.

Someone once told me that the word came from pome; apple- apple-cheeked- but I have never seen this one in print, so I don't give it any credence.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 07:05 AM

Is Eric Bogle a Pom? In other words, when the dictionaries say it means "British", does that really mean English, or are Scots included too? Welsh?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 08:25 AM

G'day again,

Q: The earlier OED editions don't have the benefit of the 40+ years of the Australian Language Research Unit - started by Oxford. (I know I commented on submissions by a friend in Tasmania ... in 1965!) My original comments on "Immigrant - Jimmygrant - Pomegranate/Pommy-grant" came from earlier publications that had done the research, but it is nice to have it in print ... under the Oxford imprint!

The new edition would be very nice ... but the offer of Aus $2003 (2003 is the centenary of the OED) is still pretty hard to justify. The Compact OED is attractive - but it went from 4 standard pages reduced onto one page (2 x 2)... to 9 ditto (3 x 3) - what will this one be ... 4 x 4 ...? That starts to call for a low-power microscope stand, not a magnifier!

I am tempted by the radical reduction in the CD version: Aus $300 instead of Aus $999 ... but it still a bloody lot of good hard cash for a CD! Oxford is still playing the "Crown Jewels" game that failed Encyclopædia Britanica .. for how much longer ... ?

McGrath: I think the term was pretty well applied to any Brit (originally) that seemed to have scored some sort of assisted passage (so it applied, at that time, to my Grandfather on the Bolton side, who came out at 14 years old with his newly widowed mother and his older brother in 1911). Since then it seems to have narrowed down to cover only the English ... Scot, Irish and Welsh immigration is sui generis. I've never heard any Aussie refer to wee Eric as a "Pom"!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Teribus
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 10:24 AM

GUEST,jackmolly 17 Jan 04 - 05:34 PM

"Waltzing Matilda was originally a poem by Banjo Patterson"

Paterson wrote "Waltzing Matilda" as a song, not a poem, to fit an old Scottish tune, "Craigielea", as remembered by Christina McPherson, one of the daughters of the owner of Dagwood Station, where Paterson was staying. He needed some form of subject for the story and killed two birds with one stone by using for lyrics a fairly streached (in terms of imagination) version of a story he also heard at the station about a dispute between the owner and some itinerant shearers. One of whom escaped by jumping into the water to evade capture.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Joybell
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 05:37 PM

McGrath, Inspired! We were trying to think of a song we aren't too tired of singing for Australia Day. Your idea is much appreciated. Think we may do it both ways. Thank you.
As to Tiddle-lee-pom - yes I was attracted to it for it's musical connections. Pity no one can come up with any documented evidence to add weight to the idea. Still that's all it is - an idea. Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waltzing Matilda
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 12:00 AM

G'day Teribus,

Christina was visiting her brother's sheep station (property) Dagworth, in Queensland ... up for an holiday from Warrnambool, in Victoria, where she lived ... and where she had heard a sprightly band arrangement of Craigielea, the year before. She noodled out the tune on the station accountant's autoharp and Paterson asked if had any words. She didn't know of them (brass bands don't usually sing!) ... so he came up with the words now known as Waltzing Matilda (the poem version, not the Marie Cowan re-arrangement). Christina wrote out several copies, music and words, and handed them out to family and friends.

There is a lot of suggestion that this was much more than an idle gesture by 'Banjo': Paterson's 7-year engagement, to an old school chum of Christina's, broke up after this event ... and the papers of the McPherson women suggest they acquired the opinion Paterson was ".. a bit of a cad ...". He may have been making a line for Christina ... or he may have been dropping hints that Bob McPherson's involvement in the "suicide" (by revolver shot, near Combo Waterhole [billabong]) of Hoffmeister - the shearer who set fire to the Dagworth woolshed - may have been more than just presiding over the coronial inquest.

The use of the distinctively "German" term 'Waltzing Matilda' (from auf die walz ... mit Mathilde) may have been a deliberate pointer to the German identity of the swagman. Several of Paterson's later poems seem to contain some degree of "dig" at the McPherson clan ... I don't think they parted friends! (This is about where Denis O'Keefe's research partnership with Richard Magoffin foundered. Magoffin was just looking for a nice, believable account of the origins of a pleasant little song - not murder, perjury and lust ... no wonder he has troubles with folksingers!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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