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The original version of Waltzing Matilda sounds nothing like the song you know

Waltzing Matilda is arguably Australia’s favourite song, seemingly far more popular than the National Anthem.

But what we hear these days is very different from the original version.

Banjo Paterson wrote the song while visiting Winton, in outback Queensland, in 1895.

The Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton

A man named Herbert Ramsey then took the tune and sung it in a local pub… the first time Waltzing Matilda was ever heard.

In the years afterwards, the song was appropriated by a billy tea company with some of the lyrics changes and the tempo increased.

It was taken overseas in World War I and sung by our soldiers at Gallipoli and other battlefronts, cementing it as a national treasure.

Now, more than 120 years later, his great-grandson Hugh Francis is bringing the original version back to life.

The internationally acclaimed tenor will perform it at the public re-opening of the ANZAC War Memorial in Sydney, this Sunday for Remembrance Day.

He tells Alan Jones the true story of how his great-grandad first sung Banjo Paterson’s famous song.

Click PLAY below to hear the tune and the full interview


Watch Hugh perform his version for an Irish radio station earlier this year