A. B. Paterson A. B. Paterson i(A17466 works by) (a.k.a. Andrew Barton Paterson; Banjo Paterson; A.B., ('Banjo') Paterson; A.B., ('Banjo') Patterson)
Also writes as: El Mahdi ; B ; The B ; The Banjo ; A. B. P.
Born: Established: 17 Feb 1864 Narrambla, Orange area, Bathurst - Orange area, Central West NSW, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 5 Feb 1941 Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Male
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Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson was born at Narrambla near Orange in 1864. Born into a family of graziers, Paterson developed a love for horses and the outdoors. In 1871 his family moved to the Yass district. Paterson received lessons from a governess and later attended a bush school before completing his education at Sydney Grammar School. After failing a University of Sydney Scholarship examination, Paterson trained as a solicitor and was admitted in 1886. He practised in partnership with John William Street for most of the 1890s.

Paterson's first poem was published in the Bulletin in 1885, beginning a publishing relationship that saw him become one of the most popular poets in Australia. In 1895 Angus and Robertson published Paterson's first collection, The Man from Snowy River, and Other Verses, to great acclaim. The first edition sold out in a week and further issues continued to sell steadily for months. This book contained many of Paterson's well-known poems in addition to the title poem: 'Clancy of the Overflow,' 'The Geebung Polo Club,' and 'The Man from Ironbark' were all included. In 1895, while holidaying in Winton, Queensland, Paterson wrote Australia's best-known folk song, "Waltzing Matilda". Paterson acknowledged the influence of the bush ballad on his verse. That same year he also wrote the 'book' for the operetta, Club Life - a collaboration with composer/organist, Ernest Truman.

In his travels through New South Wales and Queensland Peterson collected a number of ballads and published the collection as Old Bush Songs in 1905. While the simplicity of Paterson's poetry is acknowledged by critics, the power of his arcadian vision is indisputable. Unlike many of Paterson's contemporaries, his poetry continues to hold the interest of both scholars and the public.

In 1899 Paterson travelled to South Africa as a war correspondent to cover the Boer War. After this his well-honed journalistic skills saw him act as a correspondent for a number of news agencies. His experience of war was extended during World War I. After arriving in Europe as a correspondent, he worked first as an ambulance driver before joining the 2nd Remount Unit of the Australian Imperial Force.

Paterson married Alice Emily in 1903. They spent much time in the country on several properties so that Paterson's children could have the rural childhood he fondly remembered. But after World War I, the family settled permanently in Sydney. Here Paterson was a celebrated citizen and well-known racing identity. He continued to write poetry and prose on a variety of topics. He was appointed CBE in 1939. "Banjo" Paterson died in Sydney in 1941.

Most Referenced Works


  • A. B. Paterson was included in the Bulletin's '100 Most Influential Australians' list in 2006.
  • See also the full Australian Dictionary of Biography Online entry for Andrew Barton Paterson.
  • Paterson was the grandson of Emily Mary Barton.

Awards for Works

The Man from Ironbark 1974 single work picture book children's humour The man from Ironbark, a real bushman, is visiting Sydney for the first time. He finds the rush and bustle too exhausting so he decides to rest in a barber's and enjoy a shave. The barber, 'small and flash' tries to pull a joke on the bushman but comes off second best because his victim is a man whose actions speak louder than words.
1975 winner Children's Book Council Book of the Year Awards Picture Book of the Year
Old Bush Songs : Composed and Sung in the Bushranging, Digging and Overlanding Days 1905 anthology poetry
2006 winner Australian Bush Laureate Awards Book of the Year For the 2005 centenary edition edited by Graham Seal and Warren Fahey.
Last amended 3 May 2017 15:48:42
Influence on:
The Office Drover Valerie P. Read 2003 single work poetry
Waltzing with the Rogue Valerie P. Read 2003 single work poetry
The Man from Snowy River Beaumont Smith 1920 single work film/TV
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