Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Waltzing Matilda (a Singable Picture Book)

Posted on: February 26, 2010

Note to self:
Develop chord for playing WATLZING MATILDA on guitar.  Key of D has great chords (but too high for most to enjoy).  C is good.  These chords are a start, but maybe change F to Am. Some G7s might sound nice as Gs.

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Waltzing Matilda
Traditional Folk Tune Arranged by Christina Macpherson
Poem by A.B. “Banjo” Paterson
Illustrated by Desmond Digby

I like Desmond Digby’s paintings that illustrate this song.  The pictures tell the story well enough that you wouldn’t need the words to understand what is going on.  The colors give you a feeling of the Aussie Bush and the story’s old man is humorous and good-natured.

It is a lot of fun to sing this song with it’s catchy chorus.  As it is a ghost story, WALTZING MATILDA makes a terrific Halloween song.  And, the song is filled with interesting and curious vocabulary.

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Depending on which sing-along tracks you use for singing this Singable Picture Book rendition of “Walzing Matilda” you might find this poster helpful.

Waltzing Matilda (Refrain Poster Card)
Traditional Folk Tune Arranged by Christina Macpherson
Poem by A.B. “Banjo” Paterson
Card by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus
To print or view the above poster featuring the “Waltzing Matilda“ refrain lyrics, click here:
waltzing matilda refrain for book 7X7

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For a wonderful sing-along track, try The Wild Colonial Boys Karaoke album: “Sing All Time Aussie Favourite Sing-A-Long Songs”
If you’d like to hear the vocals, Track 1 on Disk 1 is for you.  Track 1 on Disk 2 is the track for “Waltzing Matilda” instrumental:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000QOSY7G/ref=dm_dp_trk15?ie=UTF8&qid=1267124369&sr=8-3-spell

The Wild Colonial Boys instrumental for “Waltzing Matilda” has a singable key and easy but still joyful tempo.  At the end, they repeat the refrain a few more times than what is printed in the book.  So just keep singing the refrain, here are the words:

Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, my darling,
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
Waltzing Matilda and leading a water-bag –
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

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Like with many folk songs, lyrics vary.
Here are the ones we sing in SING BOOKS WITH EMILY:

WALTZING MATILDA
Traditional Tune
Poem by A. B. Paterson

O, there once was a swagman camped in the billabong
Under the shade of a Coolabah tree
And he sang as he looked at his old billy boiling
“Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?”

Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, my darling
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
Waltzing Matilda and leading a water bag
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

Down came a jumbuck to drink at the waterhole
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee
And he sang as he stowed him away in his tucker bag
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!”

Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, my darling
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
Waltzing Matilda and leading a water bag
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

Down came a squatter a-riding his thoroughbred
Down came policemen: one, two and three
“Whose is the jumbuck you’ve got in your tucker bag?
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!”

Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, my darling
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
Waltzing Matilda and leading a water bag
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

But the swagman he up and he jumped in the water hole
Drowning himself by the Coolabah tree
And his ghost may be heard as it sings in the billabong
“Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?”

Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, my darling
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
Waltzing Matilda and leading a water bag
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

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WALTZING MATILDA VIDEOS

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Slim Dusty sings:

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I also like these videos:

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Andre Rieu on violin:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2GVgGP4QxE

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The Irish Rovers sing
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOOcDrxyCDA

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Johnny Cash sings (and translates the words)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KL4v7UrqcF4

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Wiki information about the song and its origins:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waltzing_Matilda

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The National Library of Australia has an informative essay on the origins of the words and tune:
http://www.nla.gov.au/epubs/waltzingmatilda/1-Orig-Christina.html

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Sheet music can be found online, a 1919 arrangement by Marie Cowan, here:
http://nla.gov.au/nla.mus-an7412026

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Waltzing Matilda story block postcard here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9teen87/478593450/
It is not easy to read the words, but if you know the song, you can follow the story of the pictures, too.

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Interesting info, illustration and helpful vocab in this post from THE AUSTRALIAN ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS in Australia:
http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/education/Resources/kids_zone/stories_and_songs/the_coolabah_song__waltzing_matilda

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WALTZING MATILDA VOCABULARY

Handy Hints” regarding the song’s vocabulary found on: http://www.ausinternet.com/ettamogah/waltzing.htm
(this link also provides alternate words and a repeating midi sound file to sing along with)
“Handy [Vocabulary] Hints!”

Waltzing: walking along a bush track
Matilda: a bedroll
Swagman: an unemployed drifter
Billabong: Aboriginal word for a waterhole
Coolibah: Aboriginal word for a type of Australian tree
Billy: a tin with a wire handle used for boiling water and heating food
Jumbuck: Aboriginal word for sheep
Tucker Bag: bag containing food (tucker)
Squatter: a landowner
Troopers: Policemen

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Addendum, 11/17/2013
I recently discovered these illustrations.  These illustrations are hard to find or purchase in the United States, but they are widely available in Australia and through Australian online booksellers.

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waltzing matilda freya blackwood
Waltzing Matilda
Traditional Folk Tune Arranged by Christina Macpherson
Poem by A.B. “Banjo” Paterson
Illustrated by Freya Blackwood

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waltzing matilda Steve & Marion Isham jennifer hopson
Waltzing Matilda
Traditional Folk Tune Arranged by Christina Macpherson
Poem by A.B. “Banjo” Paterson
Illustrated by Marion & Steve Isham

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Related Posts

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SING-ALONG RESOURCES AND PRINTABLE MATERIALS
This is the place to find Print Materials Created by Emily, Service Providers, Vendors, Audio and Video to help you SING-ALONG!
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/sing-along-resources-2/

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EDUCATIONAL CONTENT

A list of SPBs with fun and sneakily educational content.  The kids won’t even know they’re learning!
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/singable-picture-books-with-sneaky-educational-content/

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AUSTRALIAN SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS
A list of Singable Picture Books which do not seem to be available in the USA
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/spbs-from-australia-not-available-in-us/

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HALLOWEEN

A list of spooky, fun, funny and evocative songs for our favorite October Holiday
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/halloween-singable-picture-books-ooooooooeeeeeeeee/

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UPDATES FOR WALTZING MATILDA, A SINGABLE PICTURE BOOK
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/updates-for-waltzing-matilda-a-singable-picture-book/

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