WALTZING MATILDA: Part 1. It was a simple ditty that roamed round the world!

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

WALTZING MATILDA WAS WRITTEN FOR THE ITINERANT WORKER. BUT IT DIDN’T TAKE LONG FOR THE REST OF WORLD TO CATCH ON!

AUSSIES DIDN’T KNOW WHEN THEY SANG THE SONG IT WAS ABOUT THE SWAGMAN … BUT, NEVERTHELESS, THEY LEFT US WITH A LEGACY.

The swagman, sundowner, bagman, battler and whaler were itinerant Australians of varying kinds who roamed the tracks of the bush either in search of work; or merely seeking enough food and nutriment to keep themselves alive.

Usually, the whaler kept to the banks of the larger rivers like the Darling and Murrumbidgee. Most of these outback types have almost disappeared.

There were considerable numbers of them from the time of the sixties. After the alluvial gold had petered out in the main fields and onwards until the First World War period.

They had a common bond that associated this group: they carried a “swag”, “drum” or “matilda”.

To “hump the bluey”, “hump the drum” or “waltz matilda” meant simply to carry a swag.

Matilda, as an expression, was not coined by Banjo Paterson for his famous song, Waltzing Matilda, but it does not seen to have had a wide currency before that song really made it nationally known.

Of the song itself, much has been written.

Banjo Paterson, the Australian troubadour who wrote the words, died in 1941. He had no knowledge he had written one of the celebrated ballads sweeping through bombed Britain.

We didn’t know about the defiant swagman at the “local” …  whether the minstrel boy of the bush country had just passed on and left us a legacy, a drinking song, that went as well with old and mild as it does with Australian ale.

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ON THE WAY …
WAVE RIDER: IN 1963, PEARL TURTON BLITZED TO FAME BY WINNING A NATIONAL TITLE AT AVALON. HOW THE PRETTY 16 YEAR OLD BECAME A NAME. JULY.
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All we knew was that we couldn’t sing Waltzing Matilda … without thinking of … the wide-brimmed Digger hats of Tobruk “Rats” and … the aircrews of RAAF.

For many of us, this wryly excitable, sadly rollicking Australian song was the first stimulus to a new curiosity about the far-flung land.

To the un-Australian or pre-Australian ear, Waltzing Matilda is strange and fascinating; for migrants, it is the Excelsior of their great adventure.

SOURCE: Read the full version of Larry Boys in Bill Wannan’s The Australian, page 133.

Below: Waltzing Matilda swept the world.


HUGGING: There’s a bear in there, but some adults are collecting them too!

FRANK MORRIS

HOW DO YOU FIND THAT SPECIAL BEAR?

Teddy Bears come in all shapes and sizes!

Children love them, and so do adults. There’re big bears and little bears, tall bears and short bears, soft and cuddly bears, firm-jointed bears and “dignified” growler bears.

Although there are about 270 varieties of teddies, says one toy show owner, “pink teddies are the most popular. Usually, these are bought for little girls.”

How do you find that special bear?

“Teddy bear collectors love to find Australian-made bears from old family collections,” said a spokesman for the Dolls Collectors Club. “At the same time, a wonderful selection of choices of early German, English, French and American teddies are on offer.”

LITERARY BEARS POPULAR

Currently popular, are bears from the German firm Shuco renowned for their “small mechanical teddies and toys.” The spokesman said the key-wind bears can walk and roller skate; and there are other bears with two faces, others nod ‘yes/no’.

“While others hide ladies’ compacts or perfume bottles.”

Among the great bears are the German-made Steiffs which are in high demand. They are made in all sizes. Literary bears such as Winnie-the-Pooh and Rupert, according to the spokesman, “are popular.”

A large array of bears are very hard to pass by.

Why not hug a bear?

There’s nothing like a quick cuddle from a teddy bear that makes you feel good.

The Teddy Bears were named after Theodore Roosevelt, who was the US President at the beginning of the 20th century. People called him “Teddy”. Everyone knew who you were talking about.

Archaeologists believe that ancient Egyptians had a similar theory.

Below: Have a bear hug, it’s something you won’t forget.


D-DAY: The 75th Anniversary -- Australia too was in the campaign and suffered severe losses

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

TWO AIRMEN, LOOKING WORN OUT, BROUGHT THEIR BOMBER BACK AFTER AN EXHAUSTING RAID ON D-DAY.

Few people today realise that Australians were a part of D-Day. They were, predominantly, members of the Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Australian Navy, and actively contributed to the operation. By 1944, Australian forces and personnel were fighting the war on multiple fronts. The stories of Australians of both sexes who participated in the Normandy battle aren’t well-known. Yet more than 3,300 Australians were active in the D-Day landings; while thousands more served during the subsequent Normandy campaign. Thirteen Aussies were killed on June 6, but the campaign lasted beyond that one day. On June 7, twenty Australian airmen were killed; on June 8, another 22 died –and the losses continued until August.

SOURCE: Background for the article came from Lachlan Grant, a senior historian at the Australian War Memorial, “The Australian contribution at D-Day.” Shapes & Sizes, next week.


Galvanise the Nation: The glory days of the steam locomotives

FRANK MORRIS

ALL THAT’S LEFT IS A MANGLE OF STEEL AFTER THE TRAGIC COOTAMUNDRA TRAIN CRASH IN 1885.

EPIC NEW RAILWAY BOOK WILL CERTAINLY BRING SOOT TO THE READERS EYE!

Tim Fischer, former Federal MP and railway enthusiast, has written a new railway book, Steam Australia – Locomotives That Galvanised the Nation, that will no doubt stir childhood memories.

This book will crystallise one’s thoughts about how steam used to dominate the Australian railway system.

At age 10, Fischer remembers witnessing a locomotive zooming toward him.

Fischer, in the strikingly illustrated book, writes: “It appeared as a tiny speck way off to the east, coming over the big hill on the horizon.

“Gradually, it grew in size until it could be made out as a hard-working steam locomotive, hauling the South West Mail passenger train into Narrandera station.

“The train was a sight to behold.

“Smoke and steam billowing as it click-clacked along this key regional standard-gauge line of the NSW Government Railways …”

This event was to take part in Tim’s school holidays in 1956. He was doing some trainspotting and was standing on the Newell Highway overbridge.

“I craned my neck to observe all the colour, action and movement. From my vantage point I could look down directly onto the footplate where the fireman was hanging up his shovel.

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BACK TRACK …
WHO IS THE “FATHER” OF AUSTRALIAN JOURALISM? CAPTAIN GILDLEY KING OR GEORGE HOWE? BOTH. THEY WERE ASSOCIATED WITH THE PUBLICATION OF THE FIRST NEWAPAPER, THE SYDNEY GAZETTE, OF WHICH GEORGE HOWE WAS EDITOR.…………………………………………………………………………………….....................................……………………..

“The hard work is done now as the driver applied the brakes.”

This event for a ten year-old youngster is a memory of a lifetime.

For Tim Fischer, though, it is a clear, incisive and graphic picture he dishes up when discussing these mighty behemoths.

Steam Australia covers the start of the iron monsters in the 20th century, to the diesel and electric complex system of the networks.

SOURCE: Tim Fischer’s Steam Australia – Locomotives That Galvanised the Nation, NLA Publishing. RRP $39.99.

COMING: Crashes, changes, VIP’s and Mark Twain.

BELOW: Dame Nellie Melba steams to its destination billowing, literally, reams of smoke.


HISTORY LIVES ON …
WORLD WAR 1 NURSE, EDITH BLAKE, IS TO GET A RESERVE NAMED AFTER HER IN SOUTH STREET, KOGARAH, OPPOSITE ST GEORGE PRIVATE HOSPITAL, NSW. BLAKE IS BELIEVED TO HAVE LIVED IN BLAKEHUST, ABOUT 8KM AWAY. BLAKE WAS KILLED AS A DIRECT RESULT OF ENEMY ACTION. SHE WAS SERVING ON THE HMHS GLENART CASTLE WHEN IT WAS TORPEDOED BY A GERMAN SUB ON FEBRUARY 26, 1918. –FM.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 14 June 19

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