- Andrew Barton "Banjo" Patterson
Illustrator - Not applicable
Publisher -
The Bulletin, 26 April 1890

The Man from Snowy River

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses -  he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up --
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.

Note: The full poem is available

Overview of the Text
This text is a well-known and loved Australian Poem written by Banjo Patterson.  It contains Australian colloquialsms and phrasing,  Australian 'English' and slang. 
It is a narrative poem that tells the story of a valuable horse which escapes and the princely sum offered by its owner for its safe return. All the riders in the area gather to pursue the wild bush horses and cut the valuable horse from the mob. But the country defeats them all, except for 'The Man from Snowy River'. His personal courage and skill has turned him into a legend.

Language Features
The poem effectively uses words and imagery to help the reader visualise the movement, the action, excitement and the pace of the story, e.g. 'few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up'.  This kind of imagery helps to make this poem a memorable favourite.
It is an 8 stanza poem and includes rhythm, rhyme and a regular 'metre' - (rhythm or stress) pattern of 8,6,8,6 (syllables) repeating.

Other textual features (Format and illustrations)
This poem can be read or viewed and heard, via an outstanding video reading by Jack Thompson (see YouTube- above)

Would suit children in middle to upper primary as some knowledge of Australian history and language use is required to fully appreciate the poem and to understand meaning.
Year 5 - Year 7


Before Reading

Activity 1 - Introduction to Poetry
Ask students to brainstorm the following questions in small groups.
What do music and poetry have in common?
Do you think music and songs are poetry? Why?
Bring the class back together and discuss.

Activity 2 - Listen to music
Tell the students that they will now listen to a compilation of various songs (include rap,
pop, country, lovesongs, rock ballads etc).  One good example is Sting's 'Fields of Gold'.

Explain that music, like poetry, can be a window to your mind and a wonderful form of
self expression. 
Play each segment of music - pause - and ask students if the music reminds them of
anything or makes them think or feel anything.  Ask them to jot down notes.  Repeat this process for all pieces of music - between 8-10.

Activity 3 - Song discussion
Discuss each song played with the class.  Invite students to share their thoughts, feelings
and impressions of each piece of music.  
Ask students to circle their favourite piece of music and identify the reasons for why they
liked it.

Activity 4 - Individual poetry writing
Students can write a 'look out the window' poem prompted by sights they see outside
their classroom window. 


Helps students connect their own world and enjoyment of music with that of poetry.  They can see that poetry is very similar to song lyrics and helps them to think about poetry in a different way.

Students as Text-participants - working to understand the meanings of text in poetry and songs.

Students as text-users

During Reading

Activity 5 - First Reading
Ask students to find a comfortable place to sit on the floor, then close their eyes.  Explain
that as the poem is read aloud they need to listen to the words and phrases and see the images conjured up.  Think about what the words mean and how they make you feel. 

Read aloud the poem - slowly and deliberately - and emphasise each word and phrase. 
Invite students to respond.

Activity 6 - Second reading at desks
This time - read the poem again - asking students to jot down any words that come to
mind as the poem is read. 
Discuss this with the students and explain that words can make us think of other words or
meanings and images, and that all of these words and images make story telling possible.
Ask questions:
What is this story about?
Who are the main characters?
Where is this story set? When was it written?
Is the story fast paced or slow?  How can you tell?  (metre, ryhthm)

In pairs ask students to discuss how Banjo Pattersons use of language creates the
dramatic effect

Ask students to identify and record particular words or phrases that are particularly

Ask questions
What was the author's purpose in writing this poem?  
Was it for entertainment or communication? 
Who was his audience? 
How do we know if this poem is based on fact or fiction?

Explain that 'The Man From Snowy River' is a narrative poem that tells the story of a
valuable horse that escaped and the princely sum offered by the owner for the safe return. 
The money offered encouraged all the best riders to race along to capture the horse,
including 'Clancy of the Overflow'.


Students as code-breakers and text-participants.

Students as text-analysts - looking at a poem by Banjo Patterson to identify audience and purpose.

After Reading

Activity 7 - Small groups analysis
Divide the class into small groups and ask each group to analyse one verse of the poem.  When analysing, the students should look at words and phrases they don't know or understand.  For example:  
                There was movement at the station for the word has passed around
                that the colt from old Regret had got away.
(Students would examine the words 'movement', 'station' and 'colt' and the phrases, 'movement at the station', 'word had passed around', and 'colt from old Regret' to
determine their meaning).

Activity 8 - Class discussion

As a class - each group can present the findings from their analysis
Listen, discuss and clarify as each group presents their verse of the poem and clarifies
the meanings.  (Go through the poem line by line to discuss and identify new words and meanings)

Activity 9 - Brainstorm
What words do we know that are typically Australian?  What are some Australian slang
terms.  Discuss and brainstorm with the class a list of words from 'The Man From Snowy River' and other texts that are typically Australian. e.g. billy, damper, mate, cobber, tucker, station, cracks.

Activity 10 - Create a class dictionary of Australian words/slang from The Man
From Snowy River.  Incorporate the words brainstormed, as well some additional words. 
Divide the words among the class groups - 3-4 students, and ask each group to write definitions for each word based on the knowledge they have between them. i.e. their

Activity 11 - Imitation poem based on Banjo Pattersons 'Man from Snowy River'

1. Jointly construct a poem with the class - using 'think aloud'. The poem should follow the same syllable pattern as The Man From Snowy River (i.e. 8,6,8,6, repeated).

There was action in the camp ground and the midgies they did bite
as the silver moon rose high upon the hill
The campers lit their camp fires and sent the smoke awaft
The evening breeze was quiet, almost still ....
The babies started crying and the mothers softly soothed
and fathers added sticks and twigs and logs
The teenage girls walked about the site, with dampened hair and thongs
At dinners end - in would roll the fog.

2. Individual Task - Students to create an 8 line poem wth the same syllable pattern
 - using the modelled class poem as a guide. 
Explain that the poem is to have an Australian theme and incorporate some of the words
from the class dictionary of Australian terms.
Prompt students to write by suggesting they write about their favourite Australian holiday destination.

Activity 12 - Watch and listen to a video reading by Jack Thompson.
Discuss how the wonderful voice of Jack Thompson adds additional meaning to the poem.  Ask questions and discuss:
What do different voices bring to the poem?  Compare my voice with that of Jack
How does a male Australian voice add impact to the reading?  Why? Discuss.
How does a live reading by an expert actor bring the story to life?

Activity 13 - Writing activity
Record your observations
of the reading by Jack Thompson. 
What made it so exciting and so real? 
How did he use his voice? 
What was the pace of the reading like? 
How did these vocal features add drama and interest? 

Activity 14 - Compare and contrast.  Ask students to compare and contrast poetry
read aloud and poetry in a song and set to music.   
Read aloud the lyrics of 3 songs and then play the songs. e.g Sting's 'Fields of Gold'.
Provide copies of song lyrics and a graphic organiser for this activity. 
Have the songs available to play for the students again if they wish.

Activity 15 - Preparation for performance
Divide the class into groups.  Each group is to practise reading aloud their verse which
will be presented in front of the class.  Remind students to refer to their notes about Jack Thompson's reading to improve their performance.  Focus on volume, pace, pitch,
intonation, enunciation, body language and so on.

Activity 16 - Group performances
Each group performs for the class.  Students provide constructive feedback to their 
fellow students - peer assessment.

Activity 17 - Self critique/Evaluation
Each group is to sit together and analyse their performance, the feedback they received
and decide how to improve their performance for the whole class presentation.
i.e. Evaluate their feedback and discuss the changes they would make.

Activity 18 - Whole class practise
Each group presents their verse of the poem, in order, until the whole poem has been practised and refined.  Decisions about movement, costumes, props, sound effects and backing music can be made at this time. Final practise on stage.

Activity 19 - Live school performance
Students perform the poem 'The Man from Snowy River' at the school assembly

Class celebration! - watch the movie 'The Man from Snowy River'



Students as code-breakers and text-participants

Students examine the choice of words and phrases and uncover their meanings.

Students as test-users: create a poem based on similar pattern and rhythm to 'The Man From Snowy River'

Students as text-analysts:
comparing purposes and presentation styles of poetry

Students as text-analysts

Students as Text-users
prepare for live poetry reading/performance
- oral practise