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Publisher's Summary

Balladeer, bushman, soldier, foreign correspondent - the remarkable life of Australia's greatest storyteller. 

A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson is rightly recognised as Australia’s greatest storyteller and most celebrated poet, the boy from the bush who became the voice of a generation. He gave us our unofficial national anthem, ‘Waltzing Matilda’, and treasured ballads such as ‘The Man from Snowy River’ and ‘Clancy of the Overflow’, vivid creations that helped to define our national identity. 

But there is more, much more, to Banjo’s story, and in this landmark biography, award-winning writer Grantlee Kieza chronicles a rich and varied life, one that straddled two centuries and saw Australia transform from a far-flung colony to a fully fledged nation. 

Born in the bush, as a child Banjo rode his pony to a one-room school along a trail frequented by outlaw Ben Hall. As a young man he befriended Breaker Morant and covered the second Boer War as a reporter. He fudged his age to enlist during World War I, ultimately driving an ambulance before commanding a horse training unit during that conflict. 

Newspaper editor, columnist, foreign correspondent and ABC broadcaster, he knew countless luminaries of his time, including Rudyard Kipling, Winston Churchill, Field Marshal Haig and Henry Lawson. The tennis ace, notorious ladies’ man, brilliant jockey and celebrated polo player was an eyewitness to countless key moments in Australian history and saw Carbine and Phar Lap race. 

Extensively researched and written with Kieza’s trademark verve, Banjo is a lively and captivating portrait of this truly great Australian. 

©2018 Grantlee Kieza (P)2018 Bolinda

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What listeners say about Banjo

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  • Overall
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Mispronunciation

I enjoyed the story.
So disappointing that towns like Jondaryan and Kynuna have their name incorrectly pronounced.
Perhaps a little more attention needs to be paid during the editing process.

6 people found this helpful

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Great biography spoilt by mispronunciations

I thoroughly enjoyed this biography, which I believe to be the first full biography of Banjo Paterson. I knew little about his early life beyond the fact that he had grown up in country NSW. The stories of his pioneer grandparents, and of his parents' struggle to survive on bush properties are remarkable indeed, and Kieza draws fine portraits of the women in particular, especially Banjo's mother. The big change from country to city life, and Banjo becoming an establishment figure, is well told, as are his adventures in the Boer War, the Pacific and Asia. The details of how his work was published, in the Bulletin and in books, right through to his very late work, may not interest everyone, but to me, with some background in the industry, it was all fascinating. I do hope lots of people especially younger ones, read this book.

Peter Byrne is a lively and clear reader, but I was astonished by his mispronunciations of so many Australian place names. If he did not know that 'Scone' is pronounced 'Scown', not the same way as the little cake, surely there was a producer on hand who could have checked. Dalby is a well-known town on the Darling Downs, and I would have thought that every Australian knew it was pronounced Dolby. I have probably not heard 'Binalong' said aloud, but I would bet it is pronounced as written, not 'Bine-along', which is counter-intuitive. 'Jondaryn' was not right either. General Chauvel had his name mangled as 'Show-vell', with the emphasis on the first syllable - it should have been on the second. 'Bloemfontein' was wrong, and 'Ouse' in Tasmania also. There were many more clangers. How did the narrator get away with these? I almost expected him to pronounce Sydney as 'Sideney'.

6 people found this helpful

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Very Interesting

This is a very interesting biography which details otherwise unknown facts regarding Banjo Patterson's colourful life. Having Henry Lawson's life described alongside that of Banjo's was doubly interesting. I thought it was a little slow to begin with but the description of Banjo's family lineage was necessary early on in order to give meaning to Banjo's tilt on life. The difference between Banjo's career opportunities and those of Henry Lawson's could not have been more marked. The narration was clear and enthusiastic. Overall I found this book to be a worthwhile listen.

2 people found this helpful

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Great book!

It was really interesting, to hear Banjo’s story. It was also beautifully read, but it’s just a bit of a shame the narrator didn’t check the pronunciation of some of the NSW place names! It seems he may be a Victorian or South Australian. Molong, Muswellbrook, Castlereagh and Quirindi were standout examples. Overall, well executed.

1 person found this helpful

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Great Story. Small problem with narration

I have always been fascinated by the life of Banjo who was a first cousin of my grandmother. I have lived and worked in most of the locations. I loved the story. One small criticism. The narrator mispronounced nearly every Australian location mentioned in the book.

1 person found this helpful

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Opened my eyes to an exceptional Aussie

Absolutely adore his literary works and his enduring legacy to our wonderful country. Now I’m the full bottle on what kind of man he was. A truly inspirational human being. Thank you Graham Kieza for your thorough research and creativity in writing this exceptional account of Banjo’s life.

1 person found this helpful

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Yet another great book by Grantlee Kieza

I love Grantlee’s story on Macquarie and this biography on Patterson was just as fantastic. A must read or listen for anyone

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Enjoyable, with a couple of gripes.

I did enjoy this audio book, but I found myself not wanting to give it 5 stars due to two concerns. Although this book is about Banjo, I found it would enter into long section about other characters, making it sometimes hard to follow. There is great sections about Henry Lawson, which were actually quite interesting, but were much longer than they needed to be. In saying that, a book that was to cover the life of both authors in parallel would be quite a good one. A smaller issue, but none the less an issue were the narators inability to pronounce certain Australian place name. Scone a Quirindi were two in particular, that I found quite grating, but other than that the reading is quite well done. Again, I found this to be very interesting and enjoyed learning about this great character, and the book covers the life of Banjo very well...

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Please assist narrator with family names and places

Irritating pronunciation of surnames and places - so easy to check.... otherwise a well researched biography

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A fascinating life

Though the narrative wanders off to discuss various contemporaries of Paterson along the way, somewhat unnecessarily, the biography is both impressive and fascinating. I have a newfound respect for this great Australian author: seemingly by the force of his character he led a life that saw him succeeding in whatever field of human achievement to which he turned his mind. So glad I came across this book.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.