Waltzing Matilda is certainly Australia's most popular folk song and bush ballad.
Andrew Barton "Banjo" Patterson, journalist, author and bush poet, wrote the lyrics during a visit on Dagworth station near Winton, Queensland, in 1895, while the tune is connected to Christina Macpherson who lived at the station.
Why is the song so popular? - Because it captures the Aussies' sense of freedom and independence.
The story is about a travelling worker (swagman) who camped by a waterhole (billabong), and stole a sheep to have a meal with his billy tea. When the owner of the jumbock arrived with the police at the scene, the swagman rather drowned himself than going to prison.
A lot of stories and folklore surround the song and its creation. It is widely accepted that A.B. Patterson heard of the shearer's strikes in Queensland in the early 1890s. The woolshed on Dagworth station was also set on fire. Samuel Hoffmeister, one of those involved in the turmoils was chased by the police and shot himself near the Combo waterhole.
Waltzing Matilda has never been Australia's national anthem, but it is sung on many public occasions. It is Australian culture!
The 49ha Combo Waterhole Conservation Park
is part of the Diamantina catchment, so you will find many waterholes
there. Road access is about 13km south of Kynuna. From a car park you
can take the interpretive walking trail (2.6 km return) to the waterhole.
Take plenty of water, it can get hot during the day. My husband was not happy that I made him walk in the blazing sun at noon on a 35°C day.
Although the park is close to Kynuna, you need to be self-sufficient. Don't go after rain, the walking trail might be flooded.
Camping is not allowed in the park. However, it is worth to spend a few hours during the day, and watch the amazing birdlife.
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