Summer at home in Daisy Hill

Sunday, October 28, 2012

TWO BANJOS

As we drove through country towns of NSW on our way home from Canberra, we often stopped in at Information Centres to find out about the town and its history and attractions. In the information centre at Yass we saw a sculptured bust of Banjo Paterson. Since our grandson is named Banjo, we naturally took a closer look at his namesake.

!864-1941
I knew that he was a famous Australian Poet and he wrote the ballad "Waltzing Matilda" which has since been put to music and has become Australia's unofficial anthem. My other favourite poems, which I read to my class as a teacher, were "Mulga Bill's Bicycle," "A Bush Christmas" and "The Man from Snowy River", which was made into a movie.

I also knew his real name was Andrew Barton Paterson but I didn't know why he was called Banjo or what his connection was to Yass. After reading information I discovered that he grew up at Illalong Station near Binalong in the Yass Valley. His father was a grazier. When "Barty" (as his parents called him) was ten he was sent to Sydney Grammar School and he lived with his grandmother.

After school he became a solicitor but he had also started to write verse and had it published using the pen name of "Banjo" after the name of horse owned by his family.

He loved the "bush" (Australian for "country'' or "boondocks") and the characters he had met there. So he bought a 40,000 acre property in the Wee Jasper area of the Yass Valley as a country home.

In 1895 Paterson published his book of verse, "The Man from Snowy River. It sold out quickly and he became the second most popular living writer in English after Kipling.  Paterson's books still sell today.

You can read more here


Our little American Banjo

33 comments:

  1. This is a great post; a fun an informative read. I have no idea why, but I remember as a child hearing my mother humming and quietly singing "Waltzing Matilda" as she worked in her tiny kitchen!

    Your little Banjo is adorable, and I will say your grands have the just the coolest names! :-)

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  2. Oh how like our third grandson, your little Banjo is! I love the connection of your little Banjo'ss name to the poet. I never knew this man wrote Waltzing Mathilda, but now I do, thanks! Hope you're having a great weekend. Jo

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  3. Lovely post Diane - little Banjo is so gorgeous xxx

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  4. Hi Diane, your American grandson is a little cutie and how nice to always have that link to Australia.

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  5. Well I wondered why Banjo was a good Aussie name now I know! :) Oh to be named for a poet.

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  6. Great post, Diane! And your grandson Banjo is adorable!

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  7. The younger Banjo is much better looking :)

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  8. I'll be humming Waltzing Matilda all day. :)
    Your little Bango has certainly grown. He is a handsome little guy with his bright eyes and sweet smile!

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  9. Your grandson is so adorable, his eyes are such a rich, deep blue. I can see the girls getting mesmerized in those eyes when Banjo is older.

    The history behind Paterson is interesting, lawyer turned writer. If we follow our hearts anything is possible in life though.

    Cheers.

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  10. I'm sure most people our age, from anywhere in the English-speaking world, know "Waltzing Matilda" because it was so popular in the 60s.
    Interesting to learn more about Banjo Patterson, and to see how your baby Banjo is growing.
    K

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  11. Although it was interesting to read about 'Banjo' Patterson, your American Banjo is much cuter. I love those blue eyes.

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  12. Hi Diane
    On your way from Yass to Young, you should have travelled through Binalong - it is the shortest route. At Binalong, you can see the grave of the "bushranger", John Gilbert, which has signs for cars to stop and then you climb a bit of a hill and see the grave.
    Here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binalong,_New_South_Wales

    The Countrylink bus service travels through Binalong, a really small quaint town. You meet some real old timers in Binalong at the pub. Cheryl, Lynette and Graham always stop at the Binalong "pub" to prepare for the short leg into Young!!!! I always insist if travelling by car to stop - Ha ha!
    The area is steeped in Australian folklore.
    Cheers
    Colin(HB)

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  13. Oh what an adorable little grandson you have, two I know as I have seen handsome little Fox too. It's neat that he is named after the Australian poet. Enjoyed reading his story. Thanks Diane!

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  14. He was a good looking chap Mr Banjo Patterson, with a face full of character.
    But your new little Banjo is even better to look at. Of course he comes from very good looking stock.

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  15. Interesting, Diane. I had never heard the name Banjo before... Don't think there are many in America....Of course, the most important one is your gorgeous grandson... Love that photo.. What a cutie!!!!

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  16. Your grandson Banjo is ceertainly named after a wonderful poet and writer, Diane. He is absolutely adorable!

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  17. I'm delighted you shared this information..been wondering about the name since you mentioned when your (adorable) grandson was born that he had an Australian name...thought I should look that up, but of course never did.

    We love to stop at information centers in the various states or parks that we've traveled in -- always well worth the time. This stop for you certainly was (thanks for sharing what you learned).

    And the picture of Banjo too (wow, red hair!)

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  18. Little Banjo is growing up quickly. I didn't know Banjo Paterson came from those parts.

    Wee Jasper -- that is a name of a town that has always appealed to me. I have persuaded the driver to go there a few times over the years just because I like the name ... and the countryside around there is rather nice too.

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  19. Nice story, but the second Banjo is the best I think!

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  20. Banjo also wrote some cracking good short stories, such as 'The Loaded Dog' and some political/cheeky stuff for the Bulletin in his day.

    Love the US Banjo too!

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  21. great story, diane, and your little grandson banjo is so very handsome!

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  22. Interesting post. I know Waltzing Matilda well but I had no idea who wrote it. Very handsome grandson you have there. Keep well Diane

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  23. Isn't he cute :)
    Good post as well, great information there.

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  24. Banjo is growing into being as achingly beautiful as his older brother! (I now you are not supposed to call boys beautiful, but they often are! They are!) I have loved being taken along on your reunion trip. Such fun and so many interesting stories.

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  25. Oh your Little American Banjo is so adorable.
    Interesting post. B

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  26. Great post! What a little sweetie!

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  27. Clancy of the Overflow is my personal favourite - it's not just a poem, it's a way of life!

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  28. Young Banjo is just the cutest!

    Old Banjo a solicitor? We won't hold that against him!

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  29. That last Banjo is so cute!!!

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  30. Your wee Banjo is the sweetest little fellow. Love those bright eyes. He is named after a wonderful poet!

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  31. Diane, I love BPs poetry very much and your little B sweetie pie is very cute.

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  32. Those big blue eyes! Heart melt!

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