billy tea, billy tea theme song, swagman, waltzing matilda
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  The Tea House Times Guest Blog - Linda Villano
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BILLY TEA by Linda Villano

Monday, February 8th 2016 @ 10:57 AM

Australian poet A.B. Paterson, aka Banjo Paterson, added lyrics to a traditional Scottish melody called “Thou Bonnie Wood of Craigielea" back in 1895. The result, Waltzing Matilda, is deemed Australia’s unofficial national anthem. 

 

 

The lyrics of the opening refrain and chorus are:

 

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled:
"Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me?"

Chorus:
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda
You'll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled:
"You'll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me."

 

A billy is a tin can with a wire handle used by swagmen (traveling laborers or bushmen) to boil water for tea (if they’re fortunate enough to have it) or other bits of botanicals and twigs to make hot cuppas while camping out in the bush.

 

Photograph of a swagman, c. 1901

 

Photo Credit: This image is of Australian origin and is now in the public domain because its term of copyright has expired. According to the Australian Copyright Council (ACC), ACC Information Sheet G023v17 (Duration of copyright) (August 2014).

 

The lyrics have been revised several times over the years and the version that is now most popular is a slight variation of the original, having been modified by The Billy Tea Company in the early 1900’s to better emphasize the preparation of tea in the song.

 

 

Photo Credit: The Australian National Library Collection, http://nla.gov.au/nla.mus-vn4853444-t-cd

 


Interested in more information about Bill Tea? A detailed article with recipe for damper will be published in the March/April issue of The Tea House Times magazine (Subscribe here: www.theteahousetimes.com).

 

 


~ Linda Villano, SerendipiTea

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LINDA VILLANO co-founded SerendipiTea.com in 1995 with Tomislav Podreka. With a passion for all things Tea, she oversees all aspects of the business; including client consulting, concept and design, staff training, sourcing and product development (recipe creations). Having grown up in a family of restaurateurs and chefs, she considers her role as a purveyor of premium teas & tisanes a natural continuation of her family’s culinary tradition.   Linda is a published illustrator and writer. Her illustrations appear in Tomislav Podreka’s book, SerendipiTea: a guide to the varieties, origins and rituals of tea, and she writes articles about tea for trade publications.

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