Waltzing Matilda Waltz Lyrics

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- Eric Bogle

Well, once jolly swagmen* went humping their swags
and stuffed jolly jumbucks* down in their tucker bags
These days, jolly junkies go on house-breaking jags
and steal to buy the poison they need
While the swaggie, he just wanted a feed

And who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?
Hey Banjo*, this country's not what it used to be
We've changed all your words, and re-written your score
And it's "Waltzing Matilda" no more.

Once Henry and Mary, on a warm afternoon
rowed down Reedy River to the broad bright lagoon
The song of the river is a long vanished tune
since they built the uranium mine
and what's left is just toxic slime

And who'll come a-walting Matilda with me?
Oh, Henry, this country's not what it used to be
Days pass with a whimper, and not with a roar
And it's "Waltzing Matilda" no more.

Well, we cut down the trees, and the land we reclaimed
We ploughed and we planted, then we ploughed it again
and again and again, and again and again
So that now on a hot windy day
We can watch our topsoil blow away

And who'll come a-walting Matilda with me?
The desert is marching down to the sea
On the day that it stretches
from shore to shining shore
We'll go waltzing Matilda no more

Saturday night outside a King's Cross hotel
There stands our future, and it's halfway to hell
Kids with hard drugs and young bodies to sell
Hey Australia, what progress we've made!
We've come a long way, since Diamond day

And who'll come a-walting Matilda with me?
Hey Anzac*, is this what you fought to keep free?
A land fit for heroes, or junkies and whores?
And it's "Waltzing Matilda" no more.

And who'll come a-walting Matilda with me?
This country could still be what we want it to be
Perhaps one day soon, the dream will be restored
And we'll go Waltzing Matilda once more
We'll go Waltzing Matilda once more


The combined Australia/New Zealand armies that fought in both World Wars

"Banjo" Patterson:
Author of "The Man From Snowy River" and "Waltzing Matilda"


[lyrics was taken from http://www.lyrics.my/artists/eric-bogle/lyrics/waltzing-matilda-waltz] [ Waltzing Matilda Waltz lyrics found on http://lyrics.my ]
A watering hole, specifically the curved meander of a winding stream
that has been isolated due to sand bar deposition


I believe in the US you refer to them as "hobos", though a swaggy is not
always someone financially down on their luck or On The Run. Some
swagmen are just fed up with city life and want to spend their time
exploring the country on foot, living off the land and the charity of
passers-by as best they can.

Coolibah tree:

The Eucalyptus Coolibah is a species of Eucalyptus tree commonly found
in inland parts of the Australian continent.


A billy is a tin, often an old used fruit tin or other steel container,
used to boil water to make tea. Often they have a piece of wire
across their top used as a handle, whereupon after the water is boiling,
one holds the wire, places the desired amount of tea leaves in said
water, stands up, and swings the whole billy in a circular motion
vigorously in order to force the tea leaves to the bottom of the tin. A
rather nice touch is to crush a Coolibah leaf into the water too, giving
the tea a hint of eucalyptus.


A sheep (usually refers to a ram)


A knapsack. "Tucker" means "food".


In Australia in the 19th century, large swathes of outback land were
divided up and mostly allocated to "squatters" - often wealthy
land-owners from Britain, who could afford the prices the government was
asking. There were also freehold selections free for the taking (all you
had to do was sign on the dotted line) made available to anyone who
would try to exploit the land, but the freehold lots tended to be poorer
land where it was a battle to earn to living. Squatters became fairly
wealthy from their allocations even taking over freehold selections in
the process of expanding their lots, reflected in the fact that this one
is riding on his thoroughbred horse.


The troopers are law enforcement. The squatter would have called
them in because the swagman has stolen a sheep from the squatter's property.


Given the lonely life of a swaggy, they tend to become quite
affectionate for things that are fairly important to their immediate
existence. In this case, AIUI "Matilda" is the swagman's sleeping gear -
typically a bedroll.

Small time family farmer/rancher in rural Australia, usually on marginal land