QSA DID 2812: Part of inquest into the death of Samuel Hoffmeister at Dagworth Station on 2 September 1894

Uncertainty surrounds the origin of Waltzing Matilda, undeniably Australia's best-known folksong.  The words were written by Andrew Barton ('Banjo') Paterson during a brief visit to Dagworth Station near Winton in 1895.  Paterson is said to have heard Christina McPherson playing a tune on a simple stringed instrument known as a zither, though other accounts suggest that it was a piano.  The music was from Rochester in Kent called The Bold Fusilier, a marching tune dating from the Marlborough Wars, to which Paterson set his words.  Yet what provided the inspiration has been the subject of considerable debate.  Most accounts accept that they arose from a local legend concerning a swagman who drowned on the property in 1892, but it could be more important than this.  Like many other western Queensland properties, Dagworth Station was the scene of conflict during the second major shearing strike in 1894, and it was at the height of the disturbances that Samuel Hoffmeister was found to have accidentally shot himself dead on the property on 2 September.  Although Paterson's fictional character drowned in a waterhole, given the level of violence which had occurred on Dagworth Station the previous year, there is a strong possibility that Hoffmeister may have inspired Paterson's verse.


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