It’s interesting to hear Waltzing Matilda sung with an American accent. The group sings a harmonised version of the chorus.
This version of Waltzing Matilda by The Merry Singers is the b-side on this cardboard picture disc. The a-side is a recording of the traditional American song Buffalo Gals.
The disc would have been produced as advertising and put into products such as cereal boxes and magazines because they were light, thin, small, not as fragile as other types of vinyl and cheap enough to mass produce.
NFSA sound archivist Tamara Osicka says ‘It’s fascinating that Waltzing Matilda was something American parents were playing to their kids’. She says cardboard records are special because they are artworks and sound recordings in the same item. ‘We have about 100 cardboard records in the collection. Not all of them for kids.’
The artwork on the record, by an unknown artist, features an American cartoon imagining of an Australian scene. Other than the kangaroo depicted the scene could be from anywhere with a tree and green grass extending to the horizon. Produced in the years after the Second World War where the US and Australia were allies there would have been a curiosity about Australia and Australians. This is a lovely example of the tradition of naive, colourful illustrations for children at a time when the baby boomers, a massive potential market of consumers, were being born.