Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Swaggies Have All Waltzed Matilda Away




Alistair Hulett






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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



Alistair Hulett (1951-2010) was a great songwriter and social activist. This song was recorded with a band he formed in Sydney, Roaring Jack and was included in their 1988 album, Cat Among the Pigeons.

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