Instances of Matilda #6

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Answers to Correspondents

"E.W.D." : Re origin of the word "Matilda" as applied to a swag. There is a reference under heading "Waltzing Matilda," "Red Page" for July 17th, 1897. "Matilda" is a typical name for the fair sex in comic songs (and one might add, farces and stage-plays), and was applied to the swag through some lonely bushman's association of the same with the female partner he longs for. (Compare the bolster called a " Dutch wife.") Some bushies rig up their swags to look like dummy females, with tied-in neck and waist, "Waltzing" became an easy addition from the idea of continued going round a circle of stations -- and so on.

First published
in The Bulletin, 28 April 1904

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on February 23, 2011 4:12 PM.

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