Waltzing Matilda – history of a song

Waltzing Matilda, first lyrics were written 1895 in Australia, the title is not related to a dance and not related to a woman. Matilda was the name for a bag on the back of wandering shepherds. The lyrics are related to a sheep-shearer, who was a protester vs bad working conditions. During the protest a barn was burned, some sheep were killed. The protester Samuel Hoffmeister was accused, but he said he was not guilty and made suicide beneath his favorite water hole – where he usually ate some stolen sheep.

Maybe you have an interest to read more at wikipedia. The song became a kind of second national anthem in Australia, was used for the opening of Olympic games 1976, was the soundtrack for a female soccer team (the Matildas) or was used supporting the out-sending of Australian troops vs Iraq etc. In Australia the whole audience knows the lyrics by heart. Otherwise, the composition was performed with often changed lyrics by Joan Baez or Tom Waits, by Rod Stewart or Johnny Cash, by Tommy Emmanuel or the Dire Straits etc.

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About frizztext

writer, photographer, guitarist

7 responses to “Waltzing Matilda – history of a song

  1. thanks for the “true” story…fun to sing when I was a young one!


  2. I didn’t know that story! love the sounds 🙂


  3. The heart has its reasons
    of which reason knows nothing.
    Blaise Pascal
    that could be also a compass
    for my path through music…
    just found on the blog of “allaboutlemon”:


  4. Emy Will

    Well, I learnt something new today. Thanks.


  5. Very interesting story. Thank you very much !


  6. Reblogged this on My Favorite Westerns and commented:
    Very nice job Mate! Thanks for coming around.


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