The National Library of Australia is proud to be the custodian of the papers of A.B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson (1864-1941), famous as the author of The Man from Snowy River and Australia’s best-loved folk song, Waltzing Matilda

Held by four generations of the Paterson family before its acquisition by the Library in 2019, this collection represents the last remaining material not already held in a public institution.

With your support, we can share this rich material online with everyone.


Portrait of A.B. Paterson in The Man From Snowy River and Other Verses by A.B. Paterson (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1895) (detail), Papers of Andrew Barton Paterson, 1807-1950, 8047102

A unique treasure

Most know at least a few lines from Paterson’s most famous poems. But what do we know about Banjo Paterson the man, or the time that he lived in?

These papers provide a rare insight into Paterson’s daily activities and intellectual endeavours, as well as his many professional roles as lawyer, poet, horseman, soldier, writer, station owner and journalist, during often turbulent times.

They include handwritten diaries, notebooks, drafts, correspondence, and even an unpublished memoir, The Life and Times of A. B. Paterson.

Also among the treasures here are: 

  • An early version of Waltzing Matilda
  • A prisoner’s letter sent to Paterson by Henry Lawson in 1905.
  • An original pencil sketch of Paterson by artist G.W. Lambert during the First World War. 

How you can help

Now more than ever, your National Library believes in a world where every Australian has free access to the stories of their past.

That is why we are working to digitise many of the most important, unique, and fragile items from our collections, and to make them available online for everyone. 

With your support, we can share this remarkable collection with all Australians, offering a new and rich insight into the life and times of Banjo Paterson.

Add your voice to ours, and help us unlock the treasured voices of the past.

Please donate so that all Australians, now and in the future, can explore and appreciate the life and work of Banjo Paterson.

A note on giving to the National Library at this time

We are grateful for all gifts to this appeal. When you give online, a receipt may be downloaded immediately. All gifts over $2 are tax deductible. This appeal will remain open until 31 December 2020.