31 Facts About Banjo Paterson


Banjo Paterson wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on the rural and outback areas, including the district around Binalong, New South Wales, where he spent much of his childhood.


Andrew Barton Banjo Paterson was born at the property "Narrambla", near Orange, New South Wales, the eldest son of Andrew Bogle Banjo Paterson, a Scottish immigrant from Lanarkshire, and Australian-born Rose Isabella Barton, related to the future first Prime Minister of Australia Edmund Barton.


Banjo Paterson's family lived on the isolated Buckinbah Station near Yeoval NSW until he was five when his father lost his wool clip in a flood and was forced to sell up.


Banjo Paterson saw horsemen from the Murrumbidgee River area and Snowy Mountains country take part in picnic races and polo matches, which led to his fondness of horses and inspired his writings.


In 1874 Banjo Paterson was sent to Sydney Grammar School, performing well both as a student and a sportsman.


Banjo Paterson left the prestigious school at 16 after failing an examination for a scholarship to the University of Sydney.


Banjo Paterson was a law clerk with a Sydney-based firm headed by Herbert Salwey, and was admitted as a solicitor in 1886.


Banjo Paterson's earliest work was a poem criticising the British war in the Sudan, which had Australian participation.


In particular, Banjo Paterson became engaged in a friendly rivalry of verse with Lawson about the allure of bush life.


Banjo Paterson became a war correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age during the Second Boer War, sailing for South Africa in October 1899.


Banjo Paterson was a correspondent during the Boxer Rebellion, where he met George "Chinese" Morrison and later wrote about his meeting.


Banjo Paterson was editor of the Sydney Evening News and of the Town and Country Journal.


In World War I, Banjo Paterson failed to become a correspondent covering the fighting in Flanders, but did become an ambulance driver with the Australian Voluntary Hospital, Wimereux, France.


Banjo Paterson returned to Australia early in 1915 and, as an honorary vet, travelled on three voyages with horses to Africa, China and Egypt.


Banjo Paterson was commissioned in the 2nd Remount Unit, Australian Imperial Force on 18 October 1915, serving initially in France where he was wounded and reported missing in July 1916 and latterly as commanding officer of the unit based in Cairo, Egypt.


Banjo Paterson was repatriated to Australia and discharged from the army having risen to the rank of major in April 1919.


Banjo Paterson's wife had joined the Red Cross and worked in an ambulance unit near her husband.


Banjo Paterson wrote on rugby league football in the 1920s for the Sydney Sportsman.


Banjo Paterson had been previously engaged to Sarah Riley for eight years, but this was abruptly called off in 1895 following a visit to her at Dagworth Station in Queensland where she was visiting the Macpherson family.


However, following this collaboration Banjo Paterson was suddenly asked to leave the property, leading historians to conclude that he was a womanizer and had engaged in a scandalous romantic liaison with Macpherson.


Banjo Paterson died of a heart attack in Sydney on 5 February 1941 aged 76.


In 1895, Banjo Paterson headed north to Dagworth station near Winton, Queensland.


Banjo Paterson had heard a band playing a tune there, which became stuck in her head and replayed it for Paterson on the autoharp.


In 1905, the same publishers released Old Bush Songs, a collection of bush ballads Banjo Paterson had been assembling since 1895.


Banjo Paterson's work is often compared to the prose of Henry Lawson, particularly the seminal work, "The Drover's Wife", which presented a considerably less romantic view of the harshness of rural existence of the late 19th century.


Banjo Paterson authored two novels; An Outback Marriage and The Shearer's Colt, wrote many short stories; Three Elephant Power and Other Stories, and wrote a book based on his experiences as a war reporter, Happy Dispatches.


Banjo Paterson wrote a book for children, The Animals Noah Forgot.


Contemporary recordings of many of Banjo Paterson's well known poems have been released by Jack Thompson, who played Clancy in the 1982 film adaptation of "The Man from Snowy River".


Banjo Paterson's image appears on the $10 note, along with an illustration inspired by "The Man From Snowy River" and, as part of the copy-protection microprint, the text of the poem itself.


The Festival of Arts in Orange, New South Wales, presents a biennial Banjo Paterson Award for poetry and one-act plays and there is an annual National Book Council Banjo Award.


Banjo Paterson topped the list of The Greatest of All - Our 50 Top Australians published in The Australian on 27 June 2013.