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" Waltzing Matilda " is Australia 's most widely known bush ballad . A country folk song , the song has been referred to as "the unofficial national anthem of Australia". [ 1 ] The title is Australian slang for travelling by foot with one's goods (waltzing, derived from the German auf der Walz ) in a "Matilda" (bag) slung over one's back. [ 2 ] The song narrates the story of an itinerant worker, or " swagman ", making a drink of tea at a bush camp and capturing a sheep to eat. When the sheep's owner arrives with three police officers to arrest the worker for the theft, the worker commits suicide by drowning himself in the nearby watering hole, after which his ghost haunts the site. The original lyrics were written in 1895 by poet and nationalist Banjo Paterson .
Flying over western New South Wales . Near the bottom of the picture, a squiggly line appears; apparently, a creek created by recent rain. The Outback is the vast, remote, arid area of Australia .