"waltzing matilda" antedated to 1890; Matilda (bluey, swag) 1889

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Sun Jan 9 13:49:32 UTC 2011

Thomas Henry, "The Heart of Australia: IV. The People,"  The Centennial Magazine: an Australian Monthly v.2 [Aug 1889-July 1890; Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and not as GB lists "Centennial Chamber of Commerce (Denver, Colo.)" ]  v.2 no.11 June [? some issue title pages may be missing], 1890, Page 850:
They were men of no fixed abode; no property save their horse and equipment, and their clothing; no occupation save [sheep] shearing; no interest in life save to make big cheques and dissipate them. They rode from station to station, and they travelled all the West. There was no road they did not know, and "humping bluey," "waltzing matilda"--Anglice, carrying their swags — or riding they traversed year in and out countless miles of solitary and inhospitable country. They "blued their stuff"....

Earlier, the same author, Thomas Henry, in the same volume, "Lost," v.2 no 4 November [?] 1889 p.286:
The coarse blue blankets are shaken and folded....All folded up, well secured, neatly arranged in a long slim bundle that is slung across the back, the ends meeting over the breast, over the right shoulder and under the left arm. This is what the bushman in his queer cynical dialect calls "Bluey," "Matilda," and half-a-dozen other more or less ambiguous names.[2]

Stephen Goranson


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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