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Waltzing Matilda - Australia's Favourite Song Waltzing Matilda is Australia's favourite song.
More Australians know the words to the Waltzing Matilda song than any other.

First Recording of Waltzing Matilda

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First Recording

wax-cylinder-recorderThe first known recording of the song was made in 1926 in London, England by a singer named John Collinson. The recording is barely two minutes long. It almost seems like the singer was rushing through the song to make sure it all fitted in the old-fashioned wax recording disc which only had a recording capacity of about two and a half minutes.

While it can clearly be recognized as Waltzing Matilda, it is interesting to note that this version is different from the one we are familiar with today. There is a subtle but noticeable difference in the melody.

"Craigielea" the song that inspired Waltzing Matilda

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The tune that Christina Macpherson heard that day in 1994 was the "Bonnie Wood O' Craigielea". It is a Scottish song written by Robert Tannahill. The music was written by James Barr sometime between 1808 and 1810. The song was first published in 1818.

In 1894 Godfrey Parker converted the music into a marching tune. It was this march that was being played by the Garrison Artillery band at Warnambool Races in 1894. Christina Macpherson heard this while she was at the races with her family. In 1895 Christina played what she remembered of the tune on a zither to Banjo Paterson.

Other Lyrics to the Song

Waltzing Matilda Sheet Music


While researching this page we discovered that there are many different versions of this song. The version referred to on this web page is the version sung most often. Another version of the song, sometimes called the Queensland version, may actually contain the original words of the song. A hand written copy of the song by Christina Macpherson was discovered in 1991. The words in Christina's version are almost identical to the Queensland version. There is no official version of the song.


Click here to learn more about the Queensland Version Link to Queensland Version of Waltzing Matilda Page

A Note About This Web Page

This page was originally written in 1997 by Trishan, an eleven year old Australian boy and his dad. Over the ensuring years this page continued to rate in the top 10 sites in Google's ranking on the subject. We have now given the page a long overdue face-lift with new video clips (which didn't exist at the time the page was originally written) and lots of additional content. We have, however, decided to maintain some of the "look and feel" of the original website. So you will still see Trishan's artwork and explanation of the song as it appeared on the original website. We hope you find our site informative and fun.

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