You’ll come a-courting, Matilda. . .

Back in the politically hyperactive days of 1973 there was talk of a republic, of a new flag and a new national anthem. Waltzing Matilda was a jolly song, but its lyrics lacked Gough Whitlam’s gravitas.   Anything the new government proposed was challenged but the idea of the Queen going without her heavenly savings created such histrionics that I was inspired to poke a little fun at the process with a ditty to be sung to the old bush tune.

Once a jolly Whitlam said ‘We need an anthem
now that Australia has flown Britain’s nest.
“Bards and composers! Write in praise of Aussie’s ways!
My public and I will decide which is best.”

Waltzing with Whitlam, waltzing with Whitlam,
Who’ll come a-waltzing with Whitlam and me?
‘Cos it’s time for a change and he wants to sing another song.
Who’ll write an anthem for Whitlam, E.G?

“Never!” cried the artists, “We won’t soil our subsidy,
writing of boozing and grafting with glee.
“Any’ow, we can’t afford, if writing is its own reward.
“God save our royalties and consciences free!”

Waltzing with Whitlam, waltzing with Whitlam,
Who’ll come a-waltzing with Whitlam and me?
‘Cos it’s time for a change and he wants to sing another song.
Who’ll write an anthem for Whitlam, E.G?

Down came the songsters to croon around the microphone,
Out jumped the lawyer, quick for a fee.
“You can’t pinch that anthem, Mac, it still belongs to Banjo Pat.
“You’ll come a-courting, Matilda with me!”

Waltzing with Whitlam, waltzing with Whitlam,
Who’ll come a-waltzing with Whitlam and me,
‘Cos it’s time for a change and he wants to sing another song.
Who’ll write an anthem for Whitlam, E.G?

“Shame,” observed the Minister, “that song still shows our character.
“What a fitting anthem Matilda would have been.
“Though every word we’ll have to prune,
quite clearly, it’s not Banjo’s tune,
so you face the music, and I’ll brave the Queen.”

Waltzing with Whitlam, waltzing with Whitlam,
Who’ll come a-waltzing with Whitlam and me?
‘Cos it’s time for a change and he wants to sing another song.
Who’ll write an anthem for Whitlam, E.G?

  You are not alone if you never learnt all the words of our present national anthem, just as very few know more than one verse of God Save the Queen.  It’s hard to work up a sweat or even a tear on Advance Australia Fair. But when you hear the Brits singing Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem at the Last Night of the Proms, it’s with the same rafter-ringing fervour that we Aussies reserve for our football team songs long before the Grand Final, and for that jaunty bush ballad about a fight to the end between the establishment and the dispossessed.    
It was that same independent spirit that had swept the new team into government, and maybe it was too soon to see ourselves as the new establishment, and far too soon to turn our backs on our feisty past. Fair crack of the whip, fellas, the waltzing had hardly begun.  

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About quillpoweronline

I'm an editor at Quillpower PR Publishing. Specialising in 'things that are lovely and of good report'. I work with writers to gently brush away irrelevancies to reveal the buried treasure, or chisel meaning from a block of text. As an accredited editor (Inst. Prof. Editors Ltd) with experience in advertising, public relations, news and feature writing and editing for all media I help communicators put a professional shine on their message. But here on the blog, it's after hours, and I may do an elongated tweet every now and then, point up an absurdity, or simply post one of my ancient scribbles before it and I crumble into dust. BTW, WordPress chooses the ads (if any) on my blog. Quid pro quo.
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