Happy 150th Birthday To Banjo Patterson, The Bard Who Gave Us Waltzing Matilda

Banjo Patterson. Source: National Library of Australia

A very happy birthday to Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson, who was born today, 17 February, 1864, to a Scottish father and Australian mother, on a property called Narrambla, near Orange.

While he’s best known as the poet of The Man From Snowy River, Clancy of the Overflow, nearly every Australian can recite a Patterson poem: Waltzing Matilda, although many don’t realise he wrote it.

Paterson was an early multi-skiller when it came to his working life, having been a farmer, soldier, lawyer and journalist, including being the Roy Masters of his day, writing about rugby league.

He was a Fairfax war correspondent during the Boer War in 1899, then during the Great War, he was an ambulance driver and member of the AIF, where he was wounded in France.

But his success as a poet made him Australia’s answer to Rudyard Kipling and his tales of rural Australian life where a smash hits with a newborn nation.

Paterson died aged 76 in Sydney on 5 February 1941. You’ll find his grave in the Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens and Crematorium at North Ryde.

So happy birthday Banjo, 150 today.

To celebrate, here’s a curious mash up: comedian Adam Hills and his opera singer wife Ali McGregor, performing The Church’s Under the Milky Way combined with Clancy of the Overflow.

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