Banjo Paterson Wrote the Lyrics for Waltzing Matilda

Banjo Paterson author of Waltzing Matilda

Portrait of Banjo Paterson

Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson (1864-1941) was one of Australia's greatest poets and renowned for writing the lyrics for Waltzing Matilda. He was also an accomplished poet. His poem The Man from Snowy River sold more than 100,000 copies 1895. A huge success in its time.

Andrew Barton Paterson was born on 17 February 1864 at Narrambla near Orange, New South Wales. He was the eldest of seven children. Banjo's early childhood was spent in Australian Outback. He used his early childhood experiences frequently in his poems and writing. In 1874 he was sent to Sydney Grammar School and then went on to became a lawyer in 1886. It was while a law student that he began writing poetry and adopted the nickname "Banjo". His first poem, 'El Mahdi to the Australian Troops', was published in the Bulletin newspaper in February 1885. A string of other poems and Waltzing Matilda soon followed. These were very popular with the public and he was soon a local celebrity. Banjo served as a war correspondent in South Africa during the Boer War. In 1902 he gave up his legal practice to concentrate on his writing. In 1903 he was appointed editor of the Sydney Evening News. On 8 April 1903 he married Alice Emily. They had two children. In World War I he drove an ambulance and later served in the Middle East. He was wounded in 1916 but served until the end of the war. After the war Banjo resumed journalism. He retired from active journalism in 1930 to devote his leisure to creative writing. He died of a heart attack at the age of 76, on 5 February 1941.

A Selection of Banjo Patterson's Work

Waltzing Matilda - Australia's favourite song.

Mulga Bill's Bicycle — Kids and adults alike love it.
The Man from Snowy River — Acclaimed as Australia's greatest poem.
Clancy of The Overflow — The story of a city-folk's yearning for the wide open spaces.