“And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”
(lyrics: Eric Bogle)
When I was a young man I carried me pack And I lived the free life of the rover From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback I waltzed my Matilda all over Then in 1915 my country said: Son, It's time to stop rambling, there's work to be done So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun And they marched me away to the war And the band played Waltzing Matilda As the ship pulled away from the quay And amid all the cheers, flag waving and tears We sailed off for Gallipoli How well I remember that terrible day When our blood stained the sand and the water And how in that hell they call Suvla Bay We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter Johnny Turk, he was waiting, he primed himself well He showered us with bullets, and he rained us with shell And in five minutes flat, he’d blown us all to hell Nearly blew us right back to Australia But the band played Waltzing Matilda When we stopped to bury our slain We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs Then we started all over again And those that were living, we just tried to survive In that mad world of blood, death and fire And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive Though around me the corpses piled higher Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head And when I woke up in me hospital bed And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead Never knew there was worse things than dying For I’ll go no more Waltzing Matilda All around the green bush far and free To hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs No more waltzing Matilda for me So they gathered the crippled, the wounded, the maimed And they shipped us back home to Australia The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla And as our ship sailed into Circular Quay I looked at the place where me legs used to be And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me To grieve, to mourn or to pity But the Band played Waltzing Matilda As they carried us down the gangway But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared Then they turned their faces away And so now every April I sit on my porch And I watch the parade pass before me I see my old comrades, how proudly they march Reviving their dreams of past glory The old men march slowly, their bones stiff and sore They’re tired old heroes from a forgotten war And the young people ask, "What are they marching for?" And I ask myself the same question But the band plays Waltzing Matilda The old men still answer the call But as year follows year, more old men disappear Someday no one will march there at all Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me? And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?