Waltzing Matilda

"Waltzing Matilda" is Australia's best-known bush ballad, and has been described as the country's "unofficial national anthem".
The title was Australian slang for travelling on foot (waltzing) with one's belongings in a "matilda" (swag) slung over one's back. The song narrates the story of an itinerant worker, or "swagman", making a drink of billy tea at a bush camp and capturing a stray jumbuck (ram) to eat. When the jumbuck's owner, a squatter (landowner), and three mounted policemen pursue the swagman for theft, he declares "You'll never catch me alive!" and commits suicide by drowning himself in a nearby billabong (watering hole), after which his ghost haunts the site.
Macpherson had heard the tune "The Craigielee March" played by a military band while attending the Warrnambool steeplechase horse racing in Victoria in April 1894, and played it back by ear at Dagworth. Paterson decided that the music would be a good piece to set lyrics to, and produced the original version during the rest of his stay at the station and in Winton.
In 2008 amateur Australian historian Peter Forrest claimed that the widespread belief that Paterson had penned the ballad as a socialist anthem, inspired by the Great Shearers' Strike, was false and a "misappropriation" by political groups. Forrest asserted that Paterson had in fact written the self-described "ditty" as part of his flirtation with Macpherson, despite his engagement to someone else. This theory was not shared by other historians like Ross Fitzgerald, emeritus professor in history and politics at Griffith University, who argued that the defeat of the strike in the area that Paterson was visiting only several months before the song's creation would have been in his mind, most likely consciously but at least "unconsciously", and thus was likely to have been an inspiration for the song. Fitzgerald stated, "the two things aren't mutually exclusive" „a view shared by others who, while not denying the significance of Paterson's relationship with Macpherson, nonetheless recognise the underlying story of the shearers' strike and Hoffmeister's death in the lyrics of the song.
The song has never been the officially recognised national anthem in Australia. Unofficially, however, it is often used in similar circumstances. The song was one of four included in a national plebiscite to choose Australia's national song held on 21 May 1977 by the Fraser Government to determine which song was preferred as Australia's national anthem. "Waltzing Matilda" received 28% of the vote compared with 43% for "Advance Australia Fair", 19% for "God Save the Queen" and 10% for "Song of Australia".
On the occasion of Queensland's 150-year celebrations in 2009, Opera Queensland produced the revue Waltzing Our Matilda, staged at the Conservatorium Theatre and subsequently touring twelve regional centres in Queensland. The show was created by Jason and Leisa Barry-Smith and Narelle French. The story line used the fictional process of Banjo Paterson writing the poem when he visited Queensland in 1895 to present episodes of four famous Australians: bass-baritone Peter Dawson (1882Ц1961), soprano Dame Nellie Melba (1861Ц1931), Bundaberg-born tenor Donald Smith (1922Ц1998), and soprano Gladys Moncrieff, also from Bundaberg. The performers were Jason Barry-Smith as Banjo Paterson, Guy Booth as Dawson, David Kidd as Smith, Emily Burke as Melba, Zoe Traylor as Moncrieff, and Donna Balson (piano, voice).