The poem, The Dying Stockman was written by Banjo Paterson, one of Australia’s most popular bush balladeers. Paterson was born in New South Wales in 1864, and grew up in the outback. Although Paterson practiced law, he spent a great deal of his time writing poetry and bush ballads. Patterson loved the bush and those who lived in the bush. He especially loved the life of the stockman and their horses. Interestingly, Paterson’s pseudonym “Banjo” was a race horse.
Banjo Paterson wrote for a number of national newspapers including the Bulletin. It was this newspaper that helped to make Paterson and well loved Australian son.
One of his most famous poems is “Waltzing Matilda”. This poem about a swagman who steals a sheep was set to music and has become one of Australia’s most famous songs. This tune is often sung at nationalistic events ahead of the nation’s anthem – Advance Australia Fair.
Paterson’s most famous poem is “The Man from Snowy River” about a prized colt that escapes in the high country and is tracked and captured by a young “strapling” stockman, against all odds.
One of my favorite Paterson poems, The Dying Stockman, is a poem that truly reflects the nature of the Australian bushman and Australian stockman. The stockman has a resilient nature but one of resignation with the current situation, and mucking in and making the most of it.
Paterson died in 1944. He has left a legacy of wonderful stories and poetry that are as fresh today as they day they were written.
Paterson’s poem the Man from Snowy River is immortalised on the Australian $10 note together with his portrait.
The Man from Snowy River