Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson (17 February 1864 – 5 February 1941) was an Australian poet and journalist, best known for his poems depicting Australian bush life, which include "Waltzing Matilda", "Clancy of the Overflow" and "The Man From Snowy River".
"Waltzing Matilda" is sometimes called the unofficial Australian national anthem. A 1982 film version of "The Man From Snowy River" itself inspired a sequel, a television series, and a large-scale theatrical musical.
Banjo Paterson and "The Man From Snowy River" appear on the Australian $10 note.note
Banjo Paterson's works provides examples of:
- Better to Die than Be Killed: In "Waltzing Matilda", when the police call around to ask some pointed questions about missing livestock, the swagman's response is to shout "You'll never catch me alive!" and drown himself in the nearest body of water.
- Couldn't Find a Pen: In "Clancy of the Overflow", after the narrator writes to Clancy:And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected
(And I think the same was written with a thumb-nail dipped in tar)
- Dangerously Close Shave: In "The Man from Ironbark", a barber plays a trick of this trope on a country yokel. The barber makes the man think his throat is cut by heating up the back of a barber's blade and drawing it across newly-shaven skin. The feeling that is left is as if the throat is cut. This ... doesn't go well.
- Downer Ending: "Waltzing Matilda" ends with the swagman protagonist drowning himself as an act of suicide.
- Inevitable Crossover: All of Paterson's works were nominally set in the real world, and therefore implicitly part of the same continuity, but it's notable that when a group of famously great horse riders gathers in "The Man From Snowy River", all the named riders are returning characters from earlier poems.
- Line-of-Sight Name: What the youngster in "A Bush Christening" gets stuck with after the turmoil causes the priest to forget what name his parents had chosen.
- Product Placement: "Waltzing Matilda" was bought from Banjo Paterson by the Billy Tea company, who changed one of the lines from "And leading a water bag" to "And waited till his Billy boiled" for the purposes of promoting their product. The latter is now the better-known version. (Note: The company is named after the billy can, a device used by Australian travellers to boil water over a campfire. The line "waited till his Billy boiled" is thus cunningly ambiguous.)
- To the Tune of...: "Waltzing Matilda" (as a song rather than as a poem) is set to an older piece of music known as The Craigielee March.
- We Named the Monkey "Jack": The original "Banjo" was a racehorse owned by Paterson's family.