The Courier-Mail

‘BANJO WROTE IT FOR US ALL’

Paterson family in the dark over trademark

- FIONA PURDON

THE family of Banjo Paterson have revealed they had no idea a trademark was held over Australia’s unofficial national anthem, Waltzing Matilda.

Paterson’s great-grandson Alistair Caird-Campbell said the family had been distressed by revelation­s in The Courier-Mail that the poem written in 1895 is at the centre of a trademark battle as a private company tries to limit its use in merchandis­e and marketing.

But Mr Caird-Campbell said Waltzing Matilda had been written for all Australian­s.

“He wrote his poems for the people and general enjoyment,” Mr Caird-Campbell said. “It wasn’t written for anyone to profit from it. I’m distressed that some places and institutio­ns cannot use the term ‘Waltzing Matilda’.”

Winton Mayor Butch Lenton was in Canberra yesterday for talks, with the commercial future of the town’s new Waltzing Matilda Centre tourist attraction under a cloud due to the trademark action brought by private Victorian company WM Production­s.

Cr Lenton said Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his deputy Warren Truss had promised to investigat­e.

A spokesman for WM Production­s did not return calls seeking comment.

THE family of Banjo Paterson had no idea a trademark was held over Australia’s unofficial national anthem and say they are devastated that schoolchil­dren could miss out on learning about its rich history.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott met Winton mayor Butch Lenton in Canberra yesterday to discuss the Waltzing Matilda trademark crisis and promised to have the matter investigat­ed.

Mr Lenton also spoke to Mr Abbott about the council’s funding applicatio­n to help rebuild the Waltzing Matilda Centre tourist attraction, which was destroyed by fire two months ago.

“The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have asked for more informatio­n about the case to understand how it will affect Winton,” Mr Lenton said.

The commercial future of a new centre has been clouded by a bid, launched in June, by private Victorian company WM production­s to secure an expanded trademark over the name Waltzing Matilda, which will limit its use in some merchandis­ee and marketing.

WM production­s, started by Victorian performer and author r Dennis O’Keeffe, hass held a trademark overr the name of Waltzing Ma Matilda in entertainm­ent and film since 1998.

Banjo Paterson wrote the words to the song at Winton in western central Queensland in 1895.

Paterson’s great-grandson Alistair Caird-Campbell said Waltzing Matilda was written for the enjoyment of all Australian­s, and not for anyone’s profit.

“He wrote his poems for the people and general enjoyment,” he said.

“I’m distressed that some places and institutio­ns can- not use the term ‘Waltzing Matilda’ if they want to put a video production together.”

A.B. Paterson College principal Brian Grimes said the trademark applicatio­n could prevent the College from celebratin­g several long-held traditions enjoyed by students during the past 25 years.

The Arundel College on the Gold Coast is named after Andrew Barton Paterson and students enjoyed annual visits to Winton’s Waltzing Matilda Centre.

“These words and the name ‘Waltzing Matilda’ belong to all Australian­s and it is appalling that anyone would attempt to exploit such a rich and important history by attempting to secure such a trademark,’’ Mr Grimes said.

“To see such an important part of our history reduced in this manner to commercial enterprise is irresponsi­ble and disrespect­ful of our nation’s heritage.

“I urge WM production­s to act responsibl­y and withdraw their applicatio­n.”

A spokesman for WM Production­s did not return calls.

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 ??  ?? NAME FIGHT:FIGHT A.B.A B Paterson College students Jodie Down and Bryan Parsons and ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s own words.
NAME FIGHT:FIGHT A.B.A B Paterson College students Jodie Down and Bryan Parsons and ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s own words.

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