The Man from Snowy River (poem)

"The Man From Snowy River" is a poem by Australian bush poet Banjo Paterson. It was first published in "The Bulletin", an Australian news magazine, in April 1890.

The poem tells the story of a horseback pursuit to recapture the colt of a prizewinning racehorse that escaped from its paddock and is living wild with the brumbies (wild horses) of the mountain ranges. Eventually the brumbies descend a seemingly impassably steep slope, at which point the assembled riders give up the pursuit, except the young hero, who spurs his pony down the "terrible descent" to catch the mob.

Several characters mentioned in the early part of the poem are featured in previous Paterson poems, "Clancy of the Overflow" and Harrison from "Old Pardon, Son of Reprieve".

The River and the poem location

The Snowy River is indeed a real river in Australia, with its headwaters in the highest section of the Great Dividing Range near the easternmost part of the border between New South Wales and Victoria.

While the location of the ride in the poem is left unspecified, it clearly takes place somewhere along the Great Dividing Range.

The poem, itself, is set in the area of today's Burrinjuck Dam where Banjo helped round up brumbies as a child and later owned property. This is recorded in his selected works.

'The Man'

Corryong, a small town on the western side of the range, claims stockman Jack Riley as the inspiration for the character, and like many other towns in the region uses the image of the character as part of the marketing to tourists.

There is a possibility that another exceptional and fearless rider, Charlie McKeahnie, who was born in 1868, might have been the inspiration for the poem, because of a dangerous riding feat in the Snowy River region in 1885, which Charlie McKeahnie took part in when he was only 17 [ [http://www.boake.net/display.html Charlie McKeahnie (Boake)] ] [ [http://www.historypages.net/Hsnowyman.html Charlie McKeahnie (history pages - Hsnowyman)] ] . Historian Neville Locker supports this theory, adding that a prior poem had been written about McKeahnie by bush poet Barcroft Boake and that the story had been recounted by a Mrs Hassle to a crowd that included Paterson.Tim Holt. [http://www.abc.net.au/southeastnsw/stories/s1071928.htm "The Man from Snowy River revealed,"] ABC Southeast New South Wales, 23 March 2004] Locker also offers as evidence a letter by McKeahnie's sister that discusses the ride and Paterson's hearing of the ride.

Jim, 'the Man'

In both the movies and the theatre musical, 'The Man' is given the name of Jim — however, the surname of 'The' Man differs between the films and the musical:
* In the movies "The Man from Snowy River" and "The Man from Snowy River II" (American title: "Return to Snowy River"), 'The Man' is given the name Jim Craig (which reoccurs in the novel written by Elyne Mitchell).
* In the theatre musical, "'", 'The Man' is given the name Jim Ryan"'.

Matt, 'the Man'

* In the television version, "The Man from Snowy River" (American title: "Snowy River: The McGregor Saga"), 'The Man' is given the name Matt McGregor.

The historical context of the poem

The poem was written at a time in the 1880s and 1890s when Australia was developing a distinct identity as a nation. Though Australia was still a set of independent colonies under the final authority of Britain, and had not yet trod the path of nationhood, there was a distinct feeling that Australians needed to be united and become as one. Poems like "The Man from Snowy River" suggested to the many Australians at the time who read The Bulletin magazine of Sydney, that they shared a unique land and that the characters and heroes who inhabited this land had so much in common. Australians from all walks of life, be they from the country or the city, looked to the bush for their mythology and heroic characters. They saw in the Man from Snowy River a hero whose bravery, adaptability and risk-taking could epitomise a new nation in the south. This new nation emerged as the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.

Currency commemoration and tribute

AB 'Banjo' Paterson and "The Man From Snowy River" poem are commemorated on the Australian 10 dollar note [http://www.rba.gov.au/CurrencyNotes/NotesInCirculation/bio_ab_banjo_paterson.html] . The full text of the poem is printed several times in microprint as one of the note's security devices.

Recordings of the poem

* Slim Dusty recorded the poem with new music, to call attention to the "old bush ballads".
* Leonard Teale narrated the poem, which was recorded on audiotape
* Steve Bisley narrated the poem, in his role as Banjo Paterson, during the re-enactment of the poem in the 2002 musical theatre production "".

References

ee also

* The Man from Snowy River (1982 film)
* The Man from Snowy River (1982 film) Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

* The Man from Snowy River II — (the 1988 sequel film)
— (Australian title: "The Man from Snowy River II")
— (American title: "Return to Snowy River")
— (British title: "The Untamed")

* The Man from Snowy River (1920 film)

* The Man from Snowy River (TV series)
— (Australian title: "Banjo Paterson's: The Man from Snowy River")
— (American title: "Snowy River: The McGregor Saga")

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* The Man from Snowy River (music)

External links

* [http://www.kmike.com/oz/SnowyRiver.htm The Man From Snowy River] - the Poem
* [http://www.rba.gov.au/CurrencyNotes/NotesInCirculation/bio_ab_banjo_paterson.html AB 'Banjo' Paterson Biographical Summary] - Reserve Bank of Australia website
* [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/213 The Man from Snowy River] at Project Gutenberg
* [http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/snowy/ About "The Man from Snowy River"] - Australian Government website
* [http://nationaltreasures.nla.gov.au/index/Treasures/item/nla.int-ex6-s22 "The Man from Snowy River" - National Treatures] - National Library of Australia (includes photo of a draft version of the poem)
* [http://www.mountainman.com.au/mansnowy.html "The Man from Snowy River"] - Mountain Man Graphics, Australia website


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