Saturday, October 25, 2014

Waltzing Matilda - The Woman Who Inspired Waltzing Matilda?

Would there have been a Waltzing Matilda without her?

It was Christina Macpherson who inspired Banjo Paterson to compose Waltzing Matilda

Christina Macpherson
Christina Macpherson
She also arranged the original music for the song. Christina readily admitted that she did not originate the music for Waltzing Matilda but that she had heard it played by a brass band at the horse races at Warrnambool Victoria in April 1894. She found the tune catchy and had learned to play it by memory on her autoharp. As part of an evening’s entertainment Christina played this tune to Banjo. He asked her what the tune was and she told him she didn't know. (The tune in question is the Scottish song "Bonnie Wood O' Craigielea" first published in 1818.) Banjo liked the tune and immediately started to put down some words to it. Christina and Banjo worked though the score, Christina playing the tune on her autoharp and Banjo penning the words as they came to mind.

Christina never married. She moved to South Yarra, a suburb of Melbourne and died in relative obscurity on March 27 1936. She left her entire estate worth £3,624 to her younger sister. She was buried in in the St Kilda Cemetery. It was only in the late 1970's while the Australian Broadcasting Commission was making a documentary on Waltzing Matilda that her burial plot, without a tombstone, was rediscovered. Christina's grand-niece had a small marker placed on the spot where she was buried.

This small marker on a long forgotten grave-site is the only recognition, it seems, given to the woman who inspired the creation Australia's most treasured song.

Read the full story of Waltzing matilda here.

An extract from the Waltzing Matilda webpage of Trishan's Oz written by Senani Ponnamperuma

No comments:

Post a Comment