Above: The Blue Heeler Hotel, Kynuna, originally the Kynuna hotel, where Waltzing Matilda was according to one report first performed in public, with Christina on the piano.

Left: Christina MacPherson.

Images Copyright©1996 A. Partington All Rights Reserved Used by permission.

Christina MacPherson, Composer/Arranger of the Original Tune.

Christina MacPherson wrote the music for the very first version of Waltzing Matilda. She loosely based her melody on Craigielea, a popular Scottish folk tune at the time. Christina was the sister of Robert MacPherson, the manager of Dagworth Station, where Waltzing Matilda was written and where, some months earlier, Samuel Hoffmeister (some say the inspiration for the swagman) and his companions had allegedly burnt down the shearing shed, before Hoffmeister committed suicide.

Christina was a friend of Sarah Riley, Banjo Paterson's fiancé at the time. Sarah's family owned Kynuna Downs, the station next door (a mere 200 kilometres away.)

Below is the music for Waltzing Matilda as I believe it was intended. My evidence for believing the first part of the chorus is intended to be in 3/4 is firstly that a Waltz ought to be in 3/4 time!

Secondly, when looking at the original manuscript, one thing that struck me was the lack of proper number of beats in the bars of the chorus in Christina's copy- as if she didn't know how to notate what she was trying to write down, while her rhythmic notation of notes is very particular in other places; especially considering the dots to make dotted crotchets - closer to the next note than the previous one on the originals but consistently there on both copies. And there are dots that appear to straddle the barline in one of the extant copies. She does not appear to be familiar with the custom of changing time signatures.

The proper place for the first beat in the bar is the accented syllable of the lyrics; so when re-writing Christina's original, I came up with this, which I believe is the correct interpretation of the intentions of her original manuscript. (Click on the music for a printable pdf file, useable for all non-profit purposes.)

Hills just off the highway, less than 200 kilometres from Dagworth Station - the only hills for miles around. Hoffmeister and his band of Union men may have hidden in these hills during the confrontation.

Image Copyright©1996 A. Partington All Rights Reserved Used by permission.

All content on this website Copyright © 1993,1996,2006,2007 Submarine Media Pty Ltd, Waltzing Matilda the musical Pty Ltd, Edward Holding & Andrew Partington with the exception of public domain quotations.

Waltzing Matilda the musical Copyright © 1993,1996,2006,2007 Submarine Media Pty Ltd, Waltzing Matilda the musical Pty Ltd, Edward Holding & Andrew Partington