"Waltzing Matilda" is a famous Australian folk song that holds significant cultural and historical importance in Australia. It was written by Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson, an Australian poet, and was first published as a song in 1903. The lyrics of the song tell the story of a swagman (a traveler) who steals a sheep and is pursued by the authorities.
Here are the full lyrics of "Waltzing Matilda":
Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong, Under the shade of a coolibah tree, And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled, "You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me."
Chorus: Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda, You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me, And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled, "You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me."
Down came a jumbuck to drink at the billabong, Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee, And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag, "You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me."
Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred, Down came the troopers, one, two, and three, "Whose is that jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag? You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me."
Up jumped the swagman, sprang into the billabong, "You'll never catch me alive!" said he, And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong, "You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me."
The song's lyrics are filled with Australian slang and evoke the image of a wanderer, or "swagman," who roams the Australian outback with his belongings (the swag) carried in a bundle (matilda) slung over his shoulder. The term "Waltzing Matilda" itself is believed to be a combination of the Australian slang words "waltz" (to travel on foot) and "Matilda" (a slang term for a swag).
"Waltzing Matilda" has become an unofficial anthem of Australia, capturing the spirit of the bush and the struggles of early Australian settlers. It has been recorded by numerous artists and is often sung at sporting events and national celebrations. The song is deeply ingrained in Australian culture and represents a sense of national identity and pride.