As we drove through country towns of NSW on our way home from Canberra, we often stopped in at Information Centres to find out about the town and its history and attractions. In the information centre at Yass we saw a sculptured bust of Banjo Paterson. Since our grandson is named Banjo, we naturally took a closer look at his namesake.
I also knew his real name was Andrew Barton Paterson but I didn't know why he was called Banjo or what his connection was to Yass. After reading information I discovered that he grew up at Illalong Station near Binalong in the Yass Valley. His father was a grazier. When "Barty" (as his parents called him) was ten he was sent to Sydney Grammar School and he lived with his grandmother.
After school he became a solicitor but he had also started to write verse and had it published using the pen name of "Banjo" after the name of horse owned by his family.
He loved the "bush" (Australian for "country'' or "boondocks") and the characters he had met there. So he bought a 40,000 acre property in the Wee Jasper area of the Yass Valley as a country home.
In 1895 Paterson published his book of verse, "The Man from Snowy River. It sold out quickly and he became the second most popular living writer in English after Kipling. Paterson's books still sell today.
You can read more here
Our little American Banjo