Banjo Paterson Wrote the Lyrics for Waltzing Matilda
Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson (1864-1941) was one of Australia's greatest poets. He 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.