Swanny's
Swaggy
We Tell a Tale

Something about Swanny, swagmen and Waltzing Matilda.
Background
Information


Swanny's Swaggy     Entry page and introduction to this Web Site.
Bogatzky's Devotions     A classic daily devotional by Henry Bogatzky
Faith's Cheque Book     Dependable guarantees from the Word of God. .
Some Basic Texts     Some important and useful bible texts to understand and remember.
One Hundred Texts     Texts of evangelical and reformed importance arranged by the Irish Church Mission.
Spurgeon's Catechism     Charles Spurgeon's Catechism with questions and answers.
Alternate Web Site 1     Original web site of Swanny's Swaggy hosted with Optus Australia from 1996.
Alternate Web Site 2     Second copy of web site of Swanny's Swaggy hosted with 50Webs from 2017.
Proposed Sections     Comment and reflections, science and faith, and revival.

To directly choose any page on this Site, please select from the drop down menu.
red ball Why Swanny's Swaggy?

        "Swanny" is an abbreviation or nickname for surnames starting with Swan and a "swaggy" is a rolled up blanket in which a swagman carried his possessions while travelling Australian country roads. This swaggy or swag or bluey is slung across the swagman's back and swagmen "humping the bluey" were a familiar feature of outback roads around the turn of the 20th century. They journeyed from place to place in search of seasonal or casual work. Many of Australia's folk songs are about these nomadic bush workers. In modern times the sight of a swagman on country roads has become rare.
        When I was a child I had romantic notions about becoming a swagman, for it seemed such a carefree life. While driving or riding around western New South Wales we sometimes saw these weather worn bush travellers walking along the roads.
Travelling the Internet is a far cry from those days. Much to the relief of my relatives, I married, had a family and became a disciplined scientist living in Sydney, instead of being a care free country wanderer. However I like to dream and imagine that travelling the Internet is something akin to the swagman's life of "travelling the track", moving where I will, seeing and learning different things every day and collecting all sorts of things.


red ball Aren't Swagmen Rogues and Thieves?

        This impression might be gained from one of Australia's best known folk songs, "Waltzing Matilda". In this song by the poet "Banjo" Paterson, a swagman is portrayed as thief who committed suicide when confronted by the law.

"Waltzing Matilda"
A.B. "Banjo" Paterson
    Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong,
        Under the shade of a coolibah-tree,
    And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled,
        "Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
    Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
        Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?"
    And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled,
        "Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?"

    Down came a jumbuck to drink at the billabong:
        Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee.
    And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker-bag,
        "You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.
    Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
        You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me."
    And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker-bag,
        "You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me."

    Up rode a squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred;
        Down came the troopers, one, two, three:
    "Who's that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker-bag?
        You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!
    Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
        You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.
    Who's that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker-bag?
        You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!"

    Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong;
        "You'll never catch me alive!" said he;
    And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,
        "You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!
    Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
        You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!"
    And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,
        "You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!"
        This song is not to be taken as typical, for amongst swagmen, as in all walks of life we find the rogues. The term does not have the same connotation of vagrancy as hobo or sundowner. They were nomadic bush workers intent on not being tied down by a strictly regulated life or routine. The comradeship between swagmen was strong with the traditions of mateship frequently becoming the subject of Australian short stories.
        The concept of mateship is one of strong and loyal friendship given under even the most trying circumstances. In Australian history this has been displayed most vividly in World War 1, with the defeat by Turkish troops of an Australian and New Zealand invading force on the shores of Gallipoli in 1915. This noble but terrible defeat is still remembered on ANZAC Day on the 25th April each year.


red ball What is a Walkabout?

        Walkabout is a white man's name for the Australian aboriginal custom of "going bush" at unpredictable intervals. Aborigines, employed by cattle stations or missions and ostensibly westernized, at certain times of the year gather families, leave behind possessions and other evidence of white culture and return to traditional meeting places, centres of their spiritual life.
        Here disputes are settled according to tribal law, scattered kin groups hold reunions and the youth are educated by initiation and corroboree into ideals and heritage group. Walkabout is the aboriginal equivalent of religious retreat, renewing spiritual strength through return to ancient way of life in which every action is bound up with secret life, giving sense of tribal identity and continuity of life from earliest cultural heroes into the future. All this is said to be apparently only partially understood by Europeans and other non-aboriginals.
        Quoted from an entry in "New National Australian Encyclopdaedia" of 1974.

        The modern meaning of the word, when non-aboriginals use it in relation to themselves, is akin to taking a trip of re-discovery and self identification.


red ball Further Information

For more background information the following Wikipedia links are helpful
  1. About Swagmen
  2. About Waltzing Matilda

Web Address of "Swanny's Swaggy Tells a Tale" is
http://members.optusnet.com.au/kswans/swaggy.html or http://swannyswaggy.space/swaggy.html

"Waltzing Matilda."
This page was commenced on 1st April 1997 and was last updated in March 2017.

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