Waltzing Matilda
Slim Dusty Lyrics


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Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong

Under the shade of a coolibah tree,

He sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled

You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda

You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me

He sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled,

you'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,

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

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,

Up rode the troopers, one, two, three,

With the 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

With the jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?
You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, you scoundrel with me.



Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong,

You'll never catch 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

his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,





You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me.

Oh, you'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me.

Overall Meaning

Slim Dusty's "Waltzing Matilda" is one of the most popular songs in Australian folk music, and tells the story of a swagman (a traveling worker who carries his belongings in a bundle called a swag) who camps by a billabong (a small waterhole), and sings as he waits for his billy (a tin pot for boiling water) to boil. He invites Matilda to come waltzing with him, and throughout the song, he continues to sing and dance with her in his imagination. When a jumbuck (sheep) appears, the swagman catches it and puts it in his tucker bag (a bag for storing food), but when the squatter (a wealthy landowner) and troopers (mounted police) arrive to confront him about stealing the jumbuck, the swagman jumps into the billabong and drowns himself, becoming a ghost whose voice can still be heard by travelers passing by.


The song is essentially a tragic story about a man who chooses death over being caught and punished for stealing a sheep. However, it has also become a symbol of the Australian national identity and is often used to evoke feelings of nostalgia and pride in Australian culture. The lyrics are deceptively simple, but they convey a range of emotions, from the swagman's carefree singing and dancing to his despair and bewilderment at being caught and facing punishment. The chorus, which repeats the invitation for Matilda to come waltzing with him, adds an element of whimsy and romance to an otherwise dark story.


Line by Line Meaning

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
A happy wanderer settled near a creek


Under the shade of a coolibah tree
He rested in a cool, shady spot


He sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled
The swagman sang while he waited for his tea to be ready


You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me
He invited someone to go walking with him


Down came a jumbuck to drink at the billabong
A sheep came to the creek to get a drink


Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee
The wanderer quickly caught the sheep joyfully


he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag
Still singing, he put the sheep in his bag


Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred
A wealthy landowner rode up on his fast horse


Up rode the troopers, one, two, three
Three policemen quickly followed on horseback


With the jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?
They questioned the swagman about the sheep in his bag


You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me.
He dared the police to go with him


Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong
The wanderer jumped into the creek and died


You'll never catch me alive, said he
He declared he would not be captured alive by the police


And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,
Now his spirit haunts the creek


Oh, you'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me.
He still invites people to join him on his journeys




Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, ACUM Ltd., CARL FISCHER, LLC
Written by: TRADITIONAL, ALLYSON MILLS

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comment from YouTube:

@sencrowe680

This was my Grandad's favourite song
And when it was his birthday coming up
I went and learnt this whole song and how to play it on guitar.
So me and my mum drove up to his house and we said happy birthday and asked him to sit on the couch
And I proceed to play this song
He cried with tears of joy and I'll never forget that
Usually it's the granddad trying to make the kids smile and have a good time
But he was very old and I loved hanging out with him and hearing his stories and eating some kangaroo Sausages together
Every year at the 7th of June I play this song again to remember him and wish him a happy birthday even if he isn't around anymore
I miss you GrandDad
I hope you and Max and Nanna are happy wherever you are
Really wish I could've met Nanna



All comments from YouTube:

@ahphodg260

I'm half Mexican half Australian m, my dad showed me this song when I was a kid. I remember him by listening to it.
Miss u dad.

@lovelylavenderr

Hell of a combo and two of the coolest countries on the planet. Cheers to you mate.

@michaelabercrombie7698

The girl that did the Old El Paso commercial is Australian ,but Mexican at the same time.

@philipnorris6542

Good for you, my friend.

@jaimemendozasalas2654

Yo soy Mexicano deseando ir a Australia con mi hija que viene en camino..!!

@Daniel-cm4xb

YOU’RE GONE BUT WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. RIP SLIM DUSTY TRUE AUSSIE

@drhkleinert3245

Now he is on the waltz for ever...But his Ghost may be heard as you passed by a billabong...

@stainlesssteelruler143

Lets we forget.

@tamika-taradimoulas6272

so sad

@SomeOrdinaryJanitor

@Mark Thompson You're Aren't

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