Banjo Paterson, the bloke on the Aussie Ten Dollar note. One of the all-time most famous Australian poets. His poem “Waltzing Matilda” is our unofficial national anthem, and very nearly became our official national anthem but just lost out in a vote to Advance Australia Fair. His poems have been recorded as folk and country songs by many Aussie music artists over the years. Another one of his poems and one of my personal favourites ‘’The Man From Snowy River’’ inspired a movie of the same name.
Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson was born on the 17th of February in 1864 (Died 5th February 1941). He was born to Scottish immigrant parents on the property of “Narrambla”, near Orange, New South Wales. He spent much of his early life growing up on a farm and becoming familiar with the bush that he would later become so famous for writing about. He attended Sydney Grammar school and Sydney University studying law, not that anyone remembers that part of his life. There is not a child in Australia who doesn’t know his name. His works are taught quite young throughout the public school system.
But it wasn’t school that made me fall in love with Banjo’s humorous and affectionate poems written about early life in the Australian bush, it was my Scottish born Grandmother. My grandmother used to read to me his poems before bedtime and play musical versions of them in the car when she would drive me to school. I hear them or read them now and not only think of the beautiful, rugged, Aussie rural and outback imagery that Banjo manages to portray so magnificently, but also of my Grandmothers love for me and of this country.
My personal collection includes a compendium of his entire works and some of his poems that have been illustrated and turned into children’s picture books, brought to introduce my son to his world.
You could walk into most book shops in Australia and purchase something by him, but as for overseas readers The Book Depository will allow you to entre his world.
If you’re interested, here is a YouTube clip of The Man from Snowy River spoken by Michael Edgley with images from the movie it inspired in the background. The section in the poem and the scene in the movie where the Man from Snowy River races over the mountain always sends a chill down my spine, pure Outback Aussie Hero.
I’ve also included a link to Clancy of the Overflow, myself and My Grandmother’s favourite Banjo poem. We can still sit together and recite it word for word the way we used to, around a campfire when I was younger.
About the Author:
When Sarah Fairbairn Isn’t at her day job, dancing around annoying the other employees at her family’s mechanical workshop, or running around and looking after her two boys, her Nine month old Son and her Husband, she locks herself away in her Bat Cave or rather Sac Cave, fully fitted out with an old lounge chair and dining table as a writing desk, typing out her blog posts, trying to get some reading done and or cruising the web. Her poetry is usually scribbled on bits of paper scattered over her work desk, car and handbag, as thoughts always strike her at the most inconvenient moments or when she is without her much loved tablet PC. She has been writing poetry since High School and has a passion for reading, although having a small child leaves her less time read these days as she would like.
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