Once A Jolly Swagman

The Ballad Of Waltzing Matilda

Matthew Richardson
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Once A Jolly Swagman
Once A Jolly Swagman

Published

1 October 2006

ISBN

9780522853087

Weight

273g

Size

195mm x 120mm

Imprint

Melbourne University Press

Once A Jolly Swagman

The Ballad Of Waltzing Matilda

Matthew Richardson

'Banjo' Paterson's 'Waltzing Matilda' is the one song that has been bringing people together spontaneously since 1895, and the one song that belongs to all Australians.

Generations of experts have argued about the original story that Paterson immortalised, about the origins of the tune, and about what Paterson meant by his almost parodic over-use of Australian colloquialisms.

Once a Jolly Swagman takes readers off the score sheet into the story of the song, and tells of its evolution up until the twenty-first century. It tries to answer the riddles within the song, and unpick its inherent contradictions: where's the heroism in a suicidal thief? What was jolly about the jumbuck? Is 'Waltzing Matilda' the key to Australian values? What does it mean that a beloved song about Australia's pioneering past is written by a city lawyer?

In this age of economic rationalism and a globalised world, how does a voice…

'Banjo' Paterson's 'Waltzing Matilda' is the one song that has been bringing people together spontaneously since 1895, and the one song that belongs to all Australians.

Generations of experts have argued about the original story that Paterson immortalised, about the origins of the tune, and about what Paterson meant by his almost parodic over-use of Australian colloquialisms.

Once a Jolly Swagman takes readers off the score sheet into the story of the song, and tells of its evolution up until the twenty-first century. It tries to answer the riddles within the song, and unpick its inherent contradictions: where's the heroism in a suicidal thief? What was jolly about the jumbuck? Is 'Waltzing Matilda' the key to Australian values? What does it mean that a beloved song about Australia's pioneering past is written by a city lawyer?

In this age of economic rationalism and a globalised world, how does a voice from the billabong saying, 'You'll come a waltzing matilda with me' still matter, and what does it tell us about ourselves?

Matthew Richardson

Matthew Richardson is an author and history editor whose previous books include The Penguin Book of Firsts, The Halstead Treasury of Ancient Science Fiction, Imagination, War in Words and Once a Jolly Swagman.

Originally from Canberra, he practised briefly as a lawyer in Sydney. He lives with his family in the Blue Mountains and works as the publisher for Halstead Press. A fellowship with the State Library of Victoria enabled him…

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