On this day in 1864 the Australian poet, lawyer and journalist Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson was born. He is best known for writing what has now become the national song Waltzing Matilda. Brought up on a bush farm in New South Wales, Paterson attended Sydney Grammar School and then practised law before serving as an ambulance driver in France during World War I.
He was fond of horse racing too; here is part of his famous ballad Old Pardon, the Son of Reprieve:
You never heard tell of the story?
Well, now, I can hardly believe!
Never heard of the honour and glory
Of Pardon, the son of Reprieve?
But maybe you’re only a Johnnie
And don’t know a horse from a hoe?
Well, well, don’t get angry, my sonny,
But, really, a young un should know.
They bred him out back on the `Never’,
His mother was Mameluke breed.
To the front – and then stay there – was ever
The root of the Mameluke creed.
He seemed to inherit their wiry
Strong frames – and their pluck to receive –
As hard as a flint and as fiery
Was Pardon, the son of Reprieve.
We ran him at many a meeting
At crossing and gully and town,
And nothing could give him a beating –
At least when our money was down . . .
Today I will try to make this a good day knowing that I can offer a positive attitude when I make this happen.