When I was a young man I carried my pack
And I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over
Then in nineteen fifteen my country said Son
It's time to stop rambling 'cause there's work to be done
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we sailed away from the quay
And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the cheers
We sailed off to Gallipoli

How well I remember that terrible day
How the blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well
He showered us with bullets, he rained us with shells
And in five minutes flat he'd blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia
But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we stopped to bury our slain
We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then it started all over again

Now those who were living did their best to survive
In that mad world of dust, blood, and fire
And for seven long weeks I kept myself alive
While the corpses around me piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over tit
And when I awoke in my hospital bed
And saw what it had done, Christ, I wished I was dead
Never knew there were worse things than dying
For no more I'll go waltzing Matilda
Through the green bushes so far and near
For to hang tents and pegs, a man needs two legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me

So they collected the cripples, the wounded, and maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The legless, the armless, the blind, and insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where me legs used to be
And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
Then they turned their faces away

And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving the dreams of past glory
I see the old men all twisted and torn
The forgotten heroes of a forgotten war
And the young people ask me, "What are they marching for?"
And I ask myself the same question
And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men still answer the call
But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who'll go a waltzing Matilda with me


Lyrics submitted by black_cow_of_death, edited by epiwoosh

And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThe maning oof this song is quite obvious. It illustrates the story of the landing at Galipoli, and the disasterous 8 month campaign that followed and how society views those who fought. A point of interest is that (at the time of writing), only one original ANZAC soldier is left living
    Marneuson April 27, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOnly one comment?!

    And.. the last soldier is dead now. RIP.
    StarmanDXon March 11, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment...and lots of Australians consider it the unofficial national anthem, should the national anthem change or not.

    ;)

    And the bit at the end, just as a bit of trivia [the 'waltzing matilda, waltzing matilda, who'll come a-waltzing matilda with me...'] comes straight from the original Waltzing Matilda.

    =)
    feobeoon October 09, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat a great song, written by Eric Bogle. It's one of the best anti war songs ever, bringing to mind in vivid pictures the horror of people being blown to bits, their blood staining sand and water, leaving them armless, legless or insane, all in the name of whatever, us, the jolly swagmen. the soldiers of the Queen mi lads, Jihad......fuck, it's still going on.
    NWNmoonon February 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually the song was written by Eric Bogle of the Bushmen and is, as far as I recall no more that 26, 27 yrs. old. which by your statement joe, makes life considerably younger than me.
    geek_on May 03, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentso if the song is older than life, and you're older than the song, shouldn't you have some sort of omnipotent powers or something?

    that would be cool.

    Awesome song... one of the few on my "I can't listen to it without crying" list.
    diabolusmaguson April 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdoes anyone know where the phrase "waltzing matilda" comes from, that would be interesting to know.

    btw. rum sodomy & the lash is a great album, is a shame that wildcats of killkenny has no lyrics because i'd love to tell everyone how great that one is.
    joeytheboyon September 26, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjoeytheboy: the phrase comes from a bit of famous bush poetry by Banjo Paterson, 'Waltzing Matilda' (here: uq.edu.au/~mlwham/banjo/… )
    It's supposed to be based on the story of a bloke whose wife, Matilda, died. He named his swag after her and took up wandering (or 'waltzing') out bush. The poem-turned-song is one of the favourites should Australia ever change her national anthem.
    /history lesson
    filthy_pawson October 17, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song never fails to reduce me to a blubbering mess of tears. Damn you, Pogues...
    punkpirateon July 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love the The Pogues teye do thies song veey well i think that t he origanel is just a litel better tho
    my favret pogues song the the leving of leverpool howcome thats not hear thats a grate song
    highlander925on June 27, 2007   Link

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