Every Australian knows and loves the bush ballad “Waltzing Matilda” and sings it enthusiastically as an unofficial national anthem. But for the uninitiated, here is a quick translation of the tragic but courageous story.
A swagman an itinerant farm worker -- often with a specialty skill set such as a sheep shearer -- who walked from place to place looking for the next job. They carried all their possessions with them: a frying pan, a tucker bag to carry food, a billycan for boiling water, and a bedroll and spare clothes rolled up in a bundle called their “swag.”
This journey on foot to seek employment was called waltzing and sometimes the swagman would facetiously refer to his bedroll as his “Matilda” or his wife, girlfriend, companion.
One day, a swagman was camped by a river bend called a billabong waiting for the water in his billy to boil for tea. Suddenly, out jumped a jumbuck -- or sheep -- and the swagman thought of lamb chops! He seized the jumbuck and stuffed it into his large tucker bag for a tasty supper later.
Sadly, however, the sheep’s owner arrived with several mounted policemen and accused the swagman of theft. The gutsy swagman declared that he wouldn’t be taken alive and jumped into the billabong.
Did he get away? Probably not; indeed, the song suggests he drowned. You can still hear his ghost haunting the billabong and singing “Watzing Matilda” on the wind.
Australians admire the fierce independence of the swagman to live free on the open road and to die rather than surrender. We call our feisty little Ohm swagman "SWAGGIE" and we think you’ll enjoy his independent spirit -- and adorable details -- on your bracelet whether you’re an Aussie or not!