On this day, 17th February 1864, Australian poet and author, Banjo Paterson was born.
Andrew Barton Paterson, (known as Banjo Paterson) was born near Orange, New South Wales in 1864. He was a proficient student and sportsman, and after leaving school at 16, he took up the position of an articled clerk in a law firm and by the age of 23 he was a fully qualified solicitor.
Paterson was passionately nationalistic and became very popular among many Australians in a country seeking its own identity separate from Britain. In 1885, Paterson began publishing his poetry in the Sydney edition of The Bulletin under the pseudonym of “The Banjo”, the name of a favourite horse. In 1890 he wrote “The Man From Snowy River”, a poem which caught the heart of the nation. In 1895 the firm Angus & Robertson began regular publishing with the success of Paterson’s first book, The Man from Snowy River and other verses.
The book sold 5000 copies in the first four months after publication.
This manuscript, held in the State Library of New South Wales, was probably drafted in 1895 when Paterson’s book The Man from Snowy River and other verses was being prepared for publication. It was acquired from Angus & Robertson in1933.
Banjo Paterson was also the author of other well known poems such “Clancy of the Overflow”, “Mulga Bill’s Bicycle” and the well-known, “Waltzing Matilda”.