When I was a young man I carried my pack And I lived the free life of a rover From the Murrays green basin to the dusty outback I waltzed my Matilda all over Then in nineteen fifteen my country said Son It's time to stop rambling 'cause there's work to be done So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun And they sent me away to the war And the band played Waltzing Matilda As we sailed away from the quay And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the cheers We sailed off to Gallipoli
How well I remember that terrible day How the blood stained the sand and the water And how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well He chased us with bullets, he rained us with shells 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 As we stopped to bury our slain We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs Then we started all over again
Now those that were left, well we tried to survive In a mad world of blood, death and fire And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive But around me the corpses piled higher Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over tit And when I woke up in my hospital bed And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead Never knew there were worse things than dying For no more I'll go waltzing Matilda All around the green bush far and near For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs No more waltzing Matilda for me
So they collected the cripples, 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 pulled into Circular Quay I looked at the place where my legs used to be And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me To grieve and to mourn and to pity And the band played Waltzing Matilda As they carried us down the gangway But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared Then turned all their faces away
And now every April I sit on my porch And I watch the parade pass before me And I watch my old comrades, how proudly they march Reliving old dreams of past glory And the old men march slowly, all bent, stiff and sore The forgotten heroes from a forgotten war And the young people ask, "What are they marching for?" And I ask myself the same question And the band plays Waltzing Matilda And the old men answer to the call But year after year their numbers get fewer Some day 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 you pass the Billabong Who'll come-a-waltzing Matilda with me?