You may have heard Australia’s unofficial anthem, Waltzing Matilda. In it, “a jolly swagman camps by a billabong, under the shade of a coolibah tree.” But to fully understand the lyrics, you need to know the lingo.
A swag is a traditional Australian sleeping bag. They are rolled up and carried on your back during the day. These days, they are sturdy things made of canvas, and some even have a bit of padding on one side to act as a mattress. A swagman therefore, is a traveller or worker who is camping out in one of these swags. A billabong is a waterhole and coolibah is a type of eucalyptus. Matilda is the nickname the men gave their swags.
Now imagine camping out in the vast Outback of Australia, where there’s no light pollution, sleeping underneath millions of stars in the shadow of Uluru (Ayers Rock). Sounds amazing, right?