Banjo Paterson's famous poem "Clancy of the Overflow" is first published

December 14, 2018

On 21 December 1889, iconic Aussie bush poet and balladist, Banjo Paterson, first published his legendary poem “Clancy, of The Overflow” in Australian news magazine “The Bulletin” (which published weekly from 1880 until 2008).

Like so many of Paterson’s works, the poem (or bush ballad) offers a romantic and longing view of rural life – the freedom, space, pristine nature, frontiers, clear skies, camaraderie and the “get-the-job-done” focus – from the viewpoint of a city-dweller.  Some of the harsh realities that went with outback toil, business and living, came into clearer focus for instance with “Clancy’s Reply” nearly a decade later.

“The Overflow” was a sheep station near Nyngan (or about 250 kms west of Dubbo), NSW and (Thomas Gerald) Clancy was a shearer and drover there, whom Paterson had met once before. His letter as a city lawyer to Clancy requesting payment of a bill yet paid, and sent to The Overflow, was replied to with the words, “Clancy’s gone to Queensland droving, and we don’t know where he are.”

The next year (in April), Paterson published his similarly iconic poem “The Man from Snowy River” and five years later he wrote the words to “Waltzing Matilda” (that many describe as Australia’s unofficial national anthem).

Australia commemorates Banjo (Andrew Barton) Paterson and his most famous poem by inclusion on our blue $10 note.

Celebrate/commemorate the anniversary of Banjo’s publishing of “Clancy of the Overflow” by:

  • planning a visit to see the harsh, rugged beauty of the NSW outback near Nyngan or Dubbo
  • visiting Orange to see the landmarks commemorating Banjo Paterson’s birthplace and life
  • making plans to attend the Banjo Paterson Festival in Orange in February next year
  • planning a visit to the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton, Qld
  • watching/listening to some of these clips reciting (even signing) the poem, some backed with great Aussie rural sounds and scenery
  • finding on-line and reciting this classic Banjo bush ballad (or indeed his other ones)
  • taking a closer look at our Aussie $10 note and what it commemorates
  • sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family, friends, country folk, fellow proud Aussies, balladists and those with a keen eye and great turn of phrase.

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