Life On The Job

Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson - (17 February 1864 - 5 February 1941) - Journalist, Australian Poet, Writer & Lawyer

Introduction:Banjo Paterson's Memorial in Orange, NSW

Banjo Paterson was an Australian bush poet, journalist and author. He 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. Paterson's more notable poems include "Waltzing Matilda", "The Man from Snowy River" and "Clancy of the Overflow".

At 21 Paterson had his poetry published in "The Bulletin" under the pseudonym of "The Banjo" - the name of a family favourite horse.

Statue: Memorial to Banjo Paterson in Orange, NSW.


Paterson was taught by a governess until he was old enough to ride a horse and get to a bush school at Binalong (near Yass, NSW).

When he was 10, he was sent to Sydney Grammar School where he as a good student and sportsman. He matriculated (finished school) when he was 16. "After failing a University of Sydney scholarship examination, Paterson served the customary articles of clerkship with Herbert Salwey and was admitted as a solicitor on 28 August 1886; for ten years from about 1889 he practised in partnership with John William Street." (Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography: Banjo Paterson)

At 22, he was a qualified solicitor.

Did You Know?

Banjo Paterson Stamp

In 1890, Paterson wrote the Man from Snowy River. In 1895 he had a collection of his work published under this name. This book is the most sold collection of Australian Bush poetry and is still being reprinted today.

In his lifetime, Paterson was second only to Rudyard Kipling in popularity among living poets writing in English.

Paterson was a keen polo player and also rode as an amateur rider at Randwick and Rosehill Race Courses.

Paterson wrote 'Waltzing Matilda' which was to become Australia's best-known folk song

A.B. Paterson was depicted on the Australian $10 note and also on a 1968 Australian Stamp

Opportunities & Employment:

Paterson became a journalist, lawyer, jockey, soldier and a farmer!

Paterson was a war correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age during the Second Boer War.

He was also a correspondent during the Boxer Rebellion (in China).

He was editor of the Sydney Evening News (1904 - 06) and the Town and Country Journal (1907 - 08).

After 1908, he took up writing full time at a property near Yass.

In World War 1 (1914 - 1918), he became an ambulance driver with the Australian Voluntary Hospital, Wimereux, France. Paterson was an honourary vet travelling on three voyages with horses to Africa, China and Egypt in 1915.

He was commissioned as a soldier in 1915 in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) serving in France. He was wounded and reported missing in July 1916. He also served as a commanding officer in Cairo, Egypt. He was sent home to Australia and discharged from the army in April 1919 after rising to the rank of Major.

Paterson continued to write for the weekly "Truth" and on rugby league football in the 1920s for the Sydney Sportsman.


Paterson received his training - "On the Job".


Australian Dictionary of Biography: Banjo Paterson

Australian Dictionary of Biography
Wikipedia: Banjo Paterson

Wikipedia: Banjo Paterson
National Library of Australia: Waltzing Matilda

Waltzing Matilda
Wikipedia: Waltzing Matilda

Waltzing Matilda
National Library of Australia: The Man from Snowy River

The Man from Snowy River
Banjo Paterson: A Biography

The Top 20 Greatest Banjo Paterson Poems of All Time

Greatest Poems
Australian War Memorial: 50 Australians - Banjo Paterson

AWM: 50 Australians: Banjo Paterson

You can read some of Banjo Paterson's stories online by going to:

e-Book: The Man from Snowy River

e-Book: The Old Bush Songs by A.B. Paterson

e-Book: Outback Marriage: a story of Australian Life by A.B. Paterson

e-Book: Rio Grande's Last Race & Other Verses by A.B. Paterson

e-Book: Saltbush Bill, J.P. by A.B. Paterson

e-Book: Three Elephant Power & Other Stories by A.B. Paterson







Create an Animation

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

ICT Capability Australian Curriculum General Capability: ICT Capability

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

1. Read all the links about A.B.Paterson's life. Select one aspect of his life that interests you.

2. Write a draft story about this aspect of Banjo's life.

3. Using Alice, create an animation story about Banjo Patterson

ALICE 3D Programming environment

"Alice is an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a freely available teaching tool designed to be a student's first exposure to object-oriented programming. It allows students to learn fundamental programming concepts in the context of creating animated movies and simple video games. In Alice, 3-D objects (e.g., people, animals, and vehicles) populate a virtual world and students create a program to animate the objects."
ALICE website)



A creative addition to "The Ballad of Dunny Roll"

High SchoolSecondary

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy


1. With a group of 3 - 4 students, you are to analyse the video of Sammy J
"S.J. Paterson: The Ballad of Dunny Roll". This activity explores the phenomenon of "Toilet PaperGate". March 2020


2. For the exact words on the video, go to Sammy J's Facebook page. Write down these verses and note the poetic strategies used.

3. To gain insight into the frenzy of hoarding toilet paper, read the following article by ABC News 15 March 2020

ABC News

3. You are to create either

A. another verse - probably in the middle - to describe Australians unique reaction to the Corona virus in 2020; or,

B. a cartoon including some of the verses of Sammy J. Remember to put a caption on your cartoon. To learn how to create a cartoon, click here.

4. Read out your verse to the rest of the class or show and explain your cartoon.





Material sourced from:

Australian Dictionary of Biography: Banjo Paterson

Wikipedia: Banjo Paterson


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