Subject: Waltzing Matilda Date: 6 Oct 1993 20:32:58 -0500 In the AFU FAQ (which, by the wa
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (G. Paul Savage)
Subject: Waltzing Matilda
Date: 6 Oct 1993 20:32:58 -0500
In the AFU FAQ (which, by the way, is an entertaining read and one of the
most comprehensive FAQs I ever seen. Kudos to Terry) appears the following:
U. Rights to "Waltzing Matilda" are owned by an American, hence not
and I was surprised to see this marked as U (unanswered and may be
unanswerable) when it's such an obvious F. My Uncle happens to have a book
called "Fair Dinkum Matilda" by Richard Magoffin (1973) which despite the
goofy name is very a very well documented account of the origins of the
words and music of Waltzing Matilda. Hence, at the risk of addressing a
trivial issue, I'll try to offer details that will upgrade (downgrade?) the
'U' to an 'F' for this UL.
The words to Waltzing Matilda was written in 1895 by Andrew Barton (Banjo)
Paterson. Experts disagree on who wrote the music but most believe that
it's an arrangement by Thomas Bulch of an old Scottish tune called
'Craigielea'. In 1900, Waltzing Matilda, together with other poems, was
bought by the publishers Angus & Robertson of Sydney (and they retain the
copyright to this day).
My knowledge of copyright law is not that great but I seem to remember
reading that copyright on music/poems only lasts 100 years (could anyone
correct me on this?) in which case Waltzing Matilda is either now, or will
very shortly be 'public domain'.
In any event, Waltzing Matilda was used as Australia's official national
song for the Montreal Olympic Games in 1976. It had, from time to time,
been suggested that the song should become Australia's national anthem.
>From the begining of white settlement to April 1974 and again from 1976 to
1984, "God Save the Queen" (or King) was used as Australia's national
anthem. In 1974 an opinion poll was conducted to decide a new anthem, the
choices being "Waltzing Matilda", "Advance Australia Fair" (the eventual
winner with 51% of the poll) and "Song of Australia". Advance Australia
Fair became the new anthem. In 1976 the new government reinstated "God Save
the Queen" but then held a referendum to determine the anthem. The choices
this time were "Waltzing Matilda" (28.3%), "Advance Australia Fair"
(43.2%), "Song of Australia" (9.6%) and "God Save the Queen" (18.7%).
Advance Australia Fair was re-adopted as the anthem in 1984.
That "Waltzing Matilda" was even one of the choices effectively debunks the
UL but why wasn't it chosen? Well one theory is that although WM is a
popular tune it is the story of a vagrant/tramp/bum who steals a sheep and
then commits suicide rather than be captured by the police. Hardly the
stuff of national anthems.
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