Home - Chermside & District History

Waltzing Matilda's Connection With Chermside by Geoff Thompson. Edited by Patrick O'Shea.

Map - Winton - Cloncurry Area.


Winton is 849 Km west of Rockhampton and 1,400 kn N W from Brisbane and is connected by train to both places. Alternatively a plane can fly direct in a few hours. But when the Squatters moved into this area they only had horses and they had to blaze their own tracks.

In the 1890s to reach Dagworth Station from Winton one had to ride on horseback for about 30 km which would take two days and, probably camping out.

Map of Kynuna Area on the Diamantina River


Kynuna which is half way between Winton and Cloncurry in Queensland is on the Diamantina River. is the nearest settlement to Dagworth Station. It had a Police Station, a Post Office, a Store and not much else. (A2 - the Landsborough Hwy. 84 Julia Creek Rd.)

The Diamantina River which passes nearby is a complex system of interweaving channels and waterholes or billabongs hence the area is called the Channel Country.

Photo of Kynuna today.


Still working on this one. I have a Google photo which I will embed when I manage to transfer it from my mobile phone.

The present state of the settlement is a Police Station, the Hotel, the Road house, a Service Station, a closed State School and a few houses.

Dagworth Shearing Shed 1893 - 4


Waltzing Matilda - Dagworth Shearing Shed 450

A fortified temporary shearing shed at Dagworth Station following the 1894 arson of the main shed. The three troopers at left are thought to be those referred to in Waltzing Matilda, while the squatter was Bob MacPherson fourth from the right. (Note by Qld. State Library.)

The log wall may have been the fortification of the shed to prevent any strikers from getting under the shed where the sheep were held for drying before shearing.

Nothing is left of Dagworth today, it was bought by the North Australian Pastoral Co. in 1995.

Down on His Luck (McCubban)


Waltzing Matilda Down on his luck 250

Down on his luck (Fredrick McCubban ).
Swagman = itinerant worker
Billabong = waterhole or pond left behind after a river changes course
Coolabah tree = eucalyptus found in dry inland areas
Waltzing Matilda = Euphemistic expression for walking (waltzing) with his swag (a substitute for the woman he does not have, generically called Matilda)

Combo Waterhole - ?


Waltzing Matilda Combo Waterhole 2017 250

The billabong where the visitors had a picnic while they were at Dagworth Station. It might be the inspiration for Patterson to use a billabong in his poem.

The Creation of Waltzing Matilda - The Participants.


Waltzing Matilda Banjo Patterson
Andrew Barton (Banjo) Patterson poet, solicitor of Sydney.

The Creation of Waltzing Matilda by Patterson developed out of several incidents on the 250,000 acre (101,171 Ha. - 1,012 Square Kilometers) of Dagworth Station.

At the time the whole of this extensive area of grazing land was dogged by the Great Shearer's Strikes of the early 1890's in which some seven Shearing Sheds were burnt down by the strikers. Dagworth Station Shed was burned down on 2nd September 1894 by the strikers. To make matters worse there were 143 lambs burnt alive in the fire and afterwards the body of a striker, Samuel (Frenchie) Hoffmiester was found nearby.

While there was considerable public outcry in the region, especially in regard to the grisly death of the lambs there was also the body of the dead man which had to be buried rather quickly. Since he had been shot there also had to be an inquest, and soon, as the weather was getting warmer. The body was inspected by Bob MacPherson, Manager of Dagworth (The Squatter) and three Troopers (Mounted Police) from Kynuna. The verdict was death by suicide with a bullet to the head.

Sarah Riley


Waltzing Matilda Sarah Riley 160

Sarah Riley was travelling with her fiancé of eight years Andrew Barton (Banjo) Patterson, poet and solicitor and may have been visiting her family on their Station near Winton.

Enter Christiana MacPherson the woman Inspired Waltzing Matilda.


Waltzing Matilda Christiana MacPherson 240

Christiana MacPherson travelled from Victoria to visit her brother Bob who was manager of Dagworth and on the way she went to visit Sarah in Winton.

There she invited Sarah and Patterson to visit at Dagworth, they accepted and while there Patterson heard the story of the recent disasters. Also he was very 'taken' with the attractive Christiana.

A few months earlier in Victoria where she lived, Christina had heard a Scottish tune that she liked, "The Craigielee March". While at Dagworth she played it one evening from memory on a zither and Patterson began to see the possibility of weaving the above story and the Craigielee March together; the result was Waltzing Matilda.

For the lyrics Patterson wrote about two things:

• The chorus is a subtle expression of his feelings for Christiana (Come a Waltzing Matilda with me.)
• The verses were written loosely about recent events at Dagworth Station

The result was humiliation for everyone, Sarah and Banjo's engagement was broken and no doubt Christiana was embarrassed while Patterson distanced himself from the song and his time at Dagworth. But he did write an Iconic Australian song.

The Original Waltzing Matilda as Patterson wrote it.


Oh there once was a swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a Coolabah tree
And he sang as he watched his old billy boiling
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me?

Who'll come a waltzing Matilda my darling?
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me?
Waltzing Matilda and leading a water bag
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me?

Down came a jumbuck to drink at the water hole
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee
And he sang as he stowed him away in his tucker bag
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me.

Down came the squatter a riding on his thoughbred
Down came the troopers one two three
Whose is that jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?
You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me.

But the swagman he up and he jumped into the water hole
Drowning himself by the Coolabah tree
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by the billabong
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me?

Chermside Connection No. 1 Trooper Austin Cafferty


Waltzing Matilda - Cafferty Grave

This grave is in Lutwyche Cemetery, Kedron and is the last resting place of the Cafferty Family.

Minnie Cafferty (nee Todd) 8/4/1931 60 years.
Austin Cafferty 5/4/1952 89 years.
Rose Cafferty 7/1/1981 77 years.

Trooper Cafferty was one of the Troopers who came to Dagworth Station in 1893.

Cafferty Family Eleanor, Rose, Austin and Minnie C1907


Waltzing Matilda Cafferty Family 250 C1907

This photo was taken when the family was living in Windsor, Austin was a Sergeant and he retired in 1914. Eleanor was the only daughter who married.

Austin Migrated to Australia from Leitrim, Ireland in 1883

He joined the Qld. Police Force the same year and served in central and western Qld. for the next 30 years.

Married Minnie Maria Todd at Rockhampton on 7/8/1895 and they lived at Ilfracombe, then St. Laurence in 1896, Windsor in 1909. Austin retired from the Police Force in 1914.

Minnie died 1931 aged 60.
Austin died in 1952 aged 89.
Rose died 1981 aged 77.
Eleanor a school teacher married William Daybell, a Police Officer in 1925, they had Laurie b. 1926 and Marjorie b. 1933. Eleanor died 1985 William died 1986.
Laurie Hughes died 4/4/2017
Marjorie Thompson died 26/4/2017

Todd's cottage, Todd's Rd. C 1910


Waltzing Matilda Todd's Cottage 200

Todd's Family home in C 1910 was located in what is now Lawnton. When the photo was taken the veranda was on the front with a skillion on the side.

James Todd migrated from County Durham, England and bought 14 ha of land adjacent to the North Pine River on which he commenced farming in 1864. He married and between 1866 and 1893 they had 12 children.

More land was purchased and by 1886 they had 336 ha of land on which they operated a dairy farm.

The cottage was built by James Foreman at sometime in the 1880s on the north side of the road which was later named Todds Rd.

Todd's cottage restored. Photo taken in 2016.


Waltzing Matilda Todds Cottage Restored

The cottage continued to be used by the Mumford family until they donated it in 1972 to the present owners. It was relocated and re-erected in 1984 at its present site, the Old Petrie Town Historical Village, Dayboro Rd. Whiteside.

At some time a veranda added to the side of the cottage replacing the earlier skillion roof.

Chermside Connection No. 2


Waltzing Matilda Marge and Brian

Until 2017 both of Austin's granddaughters, Marge and Laurie were living in Chermside. In fact Marge was a member of Chermside & Districts Historical Society (CDHS).

The photo shows Marge with her Husband Brian Thompson.

Marge and her sister Laurie both passed away in 2017.


Eleanor was Marg's Mother;
My Grandmother;
Brian's Mother in Law.