Waltzing Matilda: Autralian Folk Song and Unofficial National Anthem of Australia

The official National Anthem of Australia is Advance Australia Fair which dates from 1878 and was written by the Scottish–born composer Peter Dodds McCormick. The song was widely known and played in Australia long before it became the official Anthem in 1984 after winning the most votes in a referendum. In second place was the song "Waltzing Matilda" which is better known internationally and strongly associated with Australia. It is therefore often considered to be the country's unofficial 2nd National Anthem. The lyrics of "Waltzing Matilda" were written by the poet Banjo Paterson (1864-1941) in 1895 using a lot of native slang. For example the title has nothing to do with waltzes and means wandering (waltzing) in the bush with your bag (matilda) slung over you back. His words were added to a folk song whose exact origins are not completely clear. The melody was written down by Christina Macpherson based on a folk song which she and Banjo Paterson had heard performed locally. This is thought to be based on a Scottish folk-song called "Thou Bonnie Wood Of Craigielea" though this in turn may have been based on older melodies.

The following piano arrangement of "Waltzing Matilda" may be played as a solo, or as an accompaniment to singers and instrumentalists. More National Anthems and Folk Songs can be found in our articles National Anthems & Patriotic Songs, and Folk Music & Songs.



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