Homeschoolshare


Homeschool Share: an online homeschool curriculum cooperative hosting over 500 unit studies, lapbooks, printables, and other resources.
ABOUT
UNIT STUDIES
LAPBOOKS
TITLE INDEX
CONNECTIONS
THE BLOG

Poetry Does your student wonder

Poetry
Does your student wonder what a billabong is?  It's an Australian word that refers to a stagnant pool of water attached to a waterway.  Billabongs are usually formed when the path of a creek or river changes.  The word is derived from two Indigenous Australian words  “Billa” meaning creek and “Bong” meaning dead.

One of the most well known references to a billabong is in the opening lines of Banjo Paterson’s famous poem Waltzing Matilda.  There are a few different versions and one is listed below.  There are lots of “Aussie” words used in the poem.  Some people call this Australia’s unofficial national anthem.  In fact at one stage it almost did become the national anthem.  It is a very well known “Aussie” song:

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong,
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he said as he watched and waited ‘till his billy boiled
Who’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me
And he said as he watched and waited ‘till his billy boiled
Who’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?

Down came a jumbuck to drink at the billabong,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag
You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag
You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?

Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred,
Down came the troopers, one, two, three,
Where’s that jolly jumbuck you’ve got in your tucker bag?
You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?
Where’s that jolly jumbuck you’ve got in your tucker bag?
You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?

Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong,
You’ll never take me alive said he,
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong
You’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong
You’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me

Vocabulary to discuss from the poem:

Swagman-- a man who travelled the Australian countryside looking for work.  He carried a swag on his back which was his bed rolled around his belongings.  Swags are still popular today but are a canvas sort of one person tent with a thin mattress enclosed .   (You can get double swags) You lay it out flat at night and the top can be folded back so you can look at the stars at night. 

Waltzing derived from the German term auf der Walz which means to travel while working as a craftsman and learn new techniques from other masters.  This was usually a 3 year and 1 day time period Today we would call it an apprenticeship.

Waltzing Matilda.  “to waltz Matilda” is to travel with a swag.  Matilda seems to come from the fact that as the swagman’s only companion the swag became personified as a woman.  German soldiers referred to their greatcoats as “Matilda”.  Early German immigrants to Australia who “went on the waltz” would wrap their belongings in their coat and so took to calling it the same name as their soldiers had used.

Coolibah tree: a kind of eucalyptus tree which grows near billabongs.

Jumbuck: a sheep.  A “jombok” is a large, fluffy cloud that drifts across inland Australia.  The indigenous Australians, when they saw sheep for the first time were reminded of jomboks and called them a similar word.

Tucker bag: A bag for carrying food (tucker = food)

Troopers: another word for policemen

Squatters: these were farmers who raised livestock on land which they did not legally have the right to use.  Later in many cases they did gain legal use of the land and became wealthy dure to these large land holdings.

Billy: A can for boiling water in.  A billycan more commonly known as simply a billy is a traditional Australian utensil for boiling water and making tea and cooking anything liquid on a campfire.  The first billys were made from a large tin can with a handle of fencing wire.  You use a stick to hook the handle and so pull it out of the fire. 

 

Back to Wombat Stew