- Activity types: gap fill, Past Simple pronunciation.
- Grammar/Vocabulary: Past Simple / Australian colloquial language.
- Level: Pre-Intermediate.
- Time: 40 mins.
- Note: This is probably Australia’s most famous song, often referred to as “the unofficial national anthem”, written by A.J. “Banjo” Paterson in 1895. It 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 throws himself in the nearby watering hole, after which his ghost haunts the site. The song was written as a response to a recent sheep shearer strike and intentionally uses a lot of “bush slang”, making it a song for the people about the people, of Australia only. (http://allaussie.freewebspace.com/custom4.html)
- There have been many different recordings of the song, with different lyrics; this worksheet uses the Slim Dusty version, which astronauts played from the space shuttle Columbia as it passed over Australia in 1983.
Worksheet written by Simone Kate Svampa, Alba (CN)
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