Who was Matilda in the Australian Song “Waltzing Matilda” and When was the Folk Song Written?

In the Australian song “Waltzing Matilda,” a billabong is a pool of stagnant water.

A swagman was someone who carried around everything he owned in a knapsack.

Waltzing meant hiking, and Matilda wasn’t a woman but rather an Australian word for a knapsack.

So Waltzing Matilda means: walking with my knapsack.

The original lyrics were written by poet and nationalist Banjo Paterson in 1887, and was first published as sheet music in 1903.

“Waltzing Matilda” is also known as “the unofficial national anthem of Australia”.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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