Mudcat Café message #4069105 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168402   Message #4069105
Posted By: Stewie
21-Aug-20 - 10:08 PM
Thread Name: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia
Subject: RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia
At a themed concert that my mate Phil Beck and I presented at folk festival in Tasmania, Phil had this to say about another Alistair Hulett belter:

'"The Swaggies Have All Waltzed Matilda Away" is from the pen of the song writer non-pariel, Alistair Hulett. Itís really a potted history of the foundation of Australia as we know it, and refers not only to transportation of convicts but also to the dispossession of the Aboriginal lands to the newcomers. Iím sure I remember Alistair telling me that he wrote the song as an entry into an Australia Day song-writing competition and this was his Ďup yoursí take on the thing. Whatever, itís an optimistic song and says that whatever our people in the end, we all ought to be united".

(Alistair Hulett)

You came to this country in fetters and chains
Outlaws and rebels with numbers for names
And on the triangle were beaten and maimed
Blood stained the soil of Australia
Dookies and duchesses, flash lads and whores
You worked their plantations and polished their floors
Lived in their shadow and died in their wars
Blood stained the soil of Australia

Does it quicken your heart beat
To see tar and concrete
Cover the tracks of the old bullock dray
Have you grown so heartless
To christen it progress
When the swaggies have all waltzed Matilda away

Driven like dogs from your own native home
Hardship and poverty caused you to roam
Over the bracken and over the foam
Blood stained the soil of Australia
Then in the fever for fortune and fame
You caused the poor blacks to suffer the same
Imprisoned on missions or hunted for game
Blood stained the soil of Australia


Its two hundred years since you came to this land
Betrayed by the girl with the black velvet band
And still to this day you don't understand
Blood stained the soil of Australia
Koori and white, old Australian and new
Brothers and sisters of every hue
The future is ours, take the wealth from the few
And raise the Red Flag in Australia

Let it quicken your heart beat
The road's at your own feet
Travel it lightly and travel it well
And don't speak of success
Or christen it progress
Til the swaggies can all waltz Matilda as well

[Repeat last 3 lines of final chorus]

Hulett recorded it first with Roaring Jack. Unfortunately, although there are clips by Roaring Jack on Youtube, this is not among them. However, Wongawilli do a fine rendition, but they replace Hulett's 'red flag' with 'true flag'. Bowdlerism!

Youtube clip