Meet Banjo Paterson, by Kristin Weidenbach & James Gulliver Hancock

Meet... Banjo Paterson (Meet...)As he sat in his dingy office, Banjo dreamed of the drovers bringing big mobs of cattle down from Queensland. He stared out the window and longed to swap places with those in the back of beyond.

Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson is one of Australia’s best known and loved poets. Poems such as ‘The Man From Snowy River’, ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ and ‘Waltzing Matilda’ have entertained Australians of all ages for more than a century. Meet… Banjo Paterson introduces young readers to the man behind the poems, and how he came to write them.

Told in simple language the text focusses on key events in Paterson’s life and how these translated to the page. Illustrations on every spread bring scenes to life but also depict the way his imagination worked and, in turn, ignited the imagination of readers.

Part of the Meet… series, which brings notable Australians to life in a form accessible to young readers. Suitable both for classroom use and for private reading.

Meet… Banjo Paterson, Kristin Weidenbach & James Gulliver Hancock
Random House Australia, 2016

Banjo, by Paul Terry

When a young lawyer known as Barty Paterson took some of his poems to a newspaper editor in 1886,he didn’t think his ‘fractured verses’ would stand the test of time.  Fortunately the editor thought differently and began a publishing career that hasn’t ended. Banjo Paterson wrote poems, stories, articles and novels. His song ‘Waltzing Matilda’ is more loved than the Australian national anthem, and his face graces the ten dollar note.

Banjo: The Man Who Wrote Waltzing Matilda offers an insight into the man who became Australia’s best-loved poet, from his birth in rural NSW in 1864 through his childhood and education, his career as a lawyer, his personal life, his travels and, of course, his writing. The life of his famous contemporary Henry Lawson is also shared, in a way that allows comparison and explores their relationship. Similarly, the life of ‘Breaker’ Morant, who was also a friend of Paterson’s, is also touched on.  But of course this is Paterson’s story, and so it is he who is the main focus, leading to an understanding of his influences, his life and his work.

This is an accessible biography, sure to appeal to lovers of Australian literature and history.


Banjo: The Man Who Wrote Waltzing Matilda, by Paul Terry
Allen & Unwin, 2014
ISBN 9781743317976

Available from good bookstores and online.

Audiobook Review: Clancy of the Overflow, read by Colin Friels

Banjo Paterson is one of Australia’s best loved and best known poets. His poems provide a rich portrait of rural life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. And there is no better way to enjoy these poems than to hear them read aloud.

On Clancy of the Overflow, well-known award-winning actor Colin Friels reads unabridged versions of 13 of Paterson’s finest poems – including the title poem, Clancy of the Overflow, The Man From Snow River and The Man From Ironbark. Friels’ voice and delivery are perfect for Paterson’s work, being strong and unashamedly Australian, yet clear and resonant.

This is fine listening for audiences of all ages, from ten to adult, and could be used for classroom situations as well as for private listening.


Clancy of the overflow And More Classic Favourites from Banjo Paterson, read by Colin Friels
ABC Audio, 2005

The Man From Snowy River, illustrated by Freya Blackwood

There was movement at the station, for the word has passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses – he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.

Few adults – whether parents or teachers – would not be familiar with Banjo Patterson’s classic ballad telling the tale of the brave ride of the young man from Snowy River and his hardy mountain pony. With this skilful rendering of the tale into a beautifully illustrated picture book, the story can now be shared with a new generation of readers.

Talented young illustrator Freya Blackwood has skilfully drawn the horses and the horsemen, with a sense of the time and place in which Patterson’s tale is set. The horses are wiry and each different, as are the horsemen, and the colours of the Australian bush flow from the endpapers, through the mountains, ridges and tree-filled plains.

Suitable for home or the classroom, this one is likely to especially appeal to male readers and all lovers of Australian bush poetry.


The Man From Snowy River, by A. B. ‘Banjo Paterson, illustrated by Freya Blackwood
Scholastic, 2004