Seven of Swords – Christina Macpherson

Waltzing Matilda is certainly Australia’s most popular folk song and bush ballad.
Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson, journalist, author and bush poet, wrote the lyrics during a visit on Dagworth station near Winton, Queensland, in 1895, while the tune is connected to Christina Macpherson who lived at the station

From the After Tarot

The Seven of Swords shows a man sneaking away from a military camp with five swords in his arms. He looks over his shoulder at the two upright swords he has left behind. The smile on his face suggests that he is proud of himself for having slipped away without being noticed.

The subtlety of the After Tarot Seven of Swords is inspired. Here we see that our deceptive thief is not as clever as he thinks, and that he is about to be tripped up, his deception revealed.

‘Colette’, starring Keira Knightley and Dominic West is just one recent film that exposes how men have taken the credit for women’s work. Not surprisingly, history is littered with stories like that of Colette. Fortunately, she went on to be recognized as the a giant in French Literature but others have been relegated to obscurity.

From the Raincoast Tarot

Christina Mcpherson is just one Australian example. The iconic Waltzing Matilda, perhaps one of the worlds most recognizable songs, was always attributed to Banjo Patterson. While he did write the lyrics the unsung hero, who played him the first score on her zither (auto harp) during a visit on a Queensland sheep station, was Mcpherson. Her contribution was not discovered until 1991 when a music sheet in her handwriting was found. These records demonstrate that Christina played a vital part in the composition of Waltzing Matilda and without her contribution, there would have been no song called Waltzing Matilda. However, she remains unknown to most Australians.

In her book, Women Scientists in America, Margaret Rossiter brought to light the work and contributions of hundreds of women in science that were either forgotten or buried. As an academic historian, Rossiter excavated the lives of forgotten chemists, astronomers, physicists, and botanists. The term used to describe this phenomena is, perhaps ironically, is the Matilda Effect.

Christina Rutherford Macpherson was born on 19 June 1864 at Peechalba Station (near Wangaratta), Victoria, Australia. She was the ninth of eleven children born to Ewen Macpherson and his wife Margaret Brown Rutherford who had migrated to Australia from Scotland around 1854. Peechalba Station, a property of about 150,000 acres was jointly owned by the Macphersons and Rutherfords who had homesteads close to each other.

Her story is one which screen writers could have a field day with. Macpherson may not be compared to Colette or the women in science whose work was forgotten and buried but it is another example of how some deserving slip into obscurity, deceived by men who they were infatuated with.