No Dancing in Waltzing Matilda

File this under: “You Learn Something New Every Day.” 

I’m catching up on People and Places itching to get out of the “A” countries and into the “Bs”.  But the section on Australia is HUGE.

And next thing you know, I’m disabused of the notion that Waltzing Matilda is a nice woman on the outback.  Oh no! A waltzing matilda is an Australian hobo. 


A matilda is a blanket roll; to waltz matilda is to tramp the roads. 

The who knew? questions burns in my brain.  Tell me truly, did y’all know this already?


10 thoughts on “No Dancing in Waltzing Matilda

  1. I freely admit I didn’t know this! BUT Mrs. Harriman, my 6th grade teacher, did teach us this song and make us sing it. I don’t think she ever explained what all the words meant, though…

  2. I had no idea! I always wondered who Matilda was and why she got a song all to herself which linked her to Australia, but it never occurred to me that it wasn’t a woman! See what happens when I assume? It makes sense though, there are some pretty interesting idioms in their ‘language’!

  3. I did know that, and the way I knew it is that the song was popular during WWII and the background was known at that time. I taught it to my students and explained who Matilda was. But that was such a long time ago that it is understandable that it isn’t well known today. Fun song – kids always loved to sing it.

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