Author(s): Dennis O'Keeffe
An expose of two cover-ups: one the death of a swagman by a billabong; the other, a torrid affair between Banjo Paterson and his fiancee's best friend, and how the two events come together in Australia's best-loved national song. Australians know Waltzing Matilda, written by their most popular poet Banjo Paterson, as their most loved song and unofficial national anthem. What Australians don't know is that their song is embroiled in a web of secrecy, violence and a triangular love affair. Written at a pivotal time in Australia's history, Waltzing Matilda is as important to Australian culture as events like the Eureka Stockade and the story of Ned Kelly. One hundred and fifteen years after the writing of Waltzing Matilda, Australians continue to be fascinated with the song and sing it proudly wherever they meet to celebrate. Given the facts outlined in this story, they will be further captivated and embrace the song for decades to come.
Dennis O'Keeffe is one of the nation's leading performers of Australian traditional songs, and has been a successful song-writing teacher for over ten years.