National Anthem
Home ] Up ]

ADVANCE AUSTRALIA FAIR

(Australian National Anthem)

Background information on the factsheet

'Advance Australia Fair' is the national anthem of Australia. A
revised version of a late nineteenth century patriotic song, it was
officially declared the national anthem on 19 April, 1984.

The composer

Peter Dodds McCormick. a Scot,
composed 'Advance Australia Fair'
under the pen-name 'Amicus'
(amicus is the Latin word for
Friend), it was first performed in
Sydney on Saint Andrew's Day,
1878. Peter McCormick died in 1916
and 'Advance Australia Fair'
became free of copyright in 1966.
W. J. Paling & Company, the
publishers of the song, described it
as 'one of the three greatest songs of
the British Empire'. The other two
were 'God Save the King' (or
'Queen'.) and 'God Defend New
Zealand'.

Some of the original words of the
song have been changed for the
official version. 'Australia's sons let
us rejoice' was the original First line;
this has been replaced with
'Australians all let us rejoice'. In the
third verse of the original song, two
lines were changed - 'To make our
youthful Commonwealth' became
'To make this Commonwealth of
ours' and 'For loyal sons beyond
the seas' became 'For those who've
come across the seas'.

How 'Advance Australia Fair' became the national anthem

Although the official anthem was
'God Save the Queen' (or 'King')
from 1788 to 1974, numerous
commercial and official
competitions were held over the
years to find a substitute. The first
was held in 1840.

John Duninore Lang, who
published an 'Australian Anthem'
and an 'Australian Hymn' in 1826,
was an early advocate of a
distinctively Australian anthem;
Carl Linger of South Australia
wrote 'The Song of Australia'
(1860),"which was suggested to the
then Prime Minister in 1929 as a
possible national anthem.

Among the competitions held were
one by The Bulletin, which attracted
74 entries, and two by the
Australian Broadcasting
Commission in 1943 and 1945. The
Commonwealth Jubilee celebrations
competition in 1951 was won by
Henry Krips with 'This Land of
Mine'.

The issue of a truly national anthem
was raised persistently before the
1956 Olympic Games, which were
held in Melbourne. 'Advance
Australia Fair' and 'Waltzing
Matilda' were the two songs most
strongly favoured then as the new
anthem. 'Waltzing Matilda' was
composed in 1895. with lyrics by
one of Australia's best known poets.
A. B. ('Banjo') Paterson.

On Australia Day. 26 January, in
1972, the number of entries (400)
received in an Australia-wide
national anthem quest gave an
indication of the interest in a new
anthem. Exactly a year later a
government-sponsored competition
was announced, which drew 2500
entries for the words and 1300 for
the music. The judges selected six
entries for the words, but rejected
all the musical entries.

The polls - and what followed

The quest for an Australian national
aithem continued. In a 1974 public
opinion poll, which sampled an
estimated 60 000 people, three
songs were offered for choice:
'Advance Australia Fair', 'Waltzing
Matilda' and 'Song of Australia'.
'Advance Australia Fair' polled 51.4
per cent. Following this result the
then Prime Minister, Gough
Whitlam, announced that 'Advance
Australia Fair' would be the
national anthem, except on
specifically Royal occasions, when
both it and 'God Save the Queen'
would be played.

In 1976, after a change of
government, 'God Save the Queen'
was reinstated for Royal, vice-regal.
defence and loyal! toast occasions,
with 'Advance Australia Fair' to be
played on all other official
occasions.

In May 1977. however, a national
poll was conducted to ascertain the
public choice oFa national song.
This time over 7 million people
were issued with ballot papers. The
results were: 'Advance Australia
Fair' 43.2 per cent. 'Waltzing
Matilda' 28.3 per cent. 'God Save
the Queen' 18.7 per cent and 'Song!
of Australia' 9.6 per cent.

In April 1984 the Governor-General
issued a proclamation declaring that
'God Save the Queen' was
designated the Royal Anthem, to be
played at public engagements in
Australia attended by the Queen or
members of the Royal family
'Advance Australia Fair' was
finally declared to be the national
anthem, and non-sexist words
adopted.

Usually 'God Save the Queen is
played at the start of Royal
functions and 'Advance Australia
Fair' at the end. Unless it is more
appropriate to play both anthems at
the start.

(various editions)

1. c 1905?

From the National Library of Australia Music Collection: http://www.nla.gov.au/collect/musicoll.html

Australian sons, let us rejoice.
For we are young and free.
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea.
Our land abounds in nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In hist'ry's page, let evry stage
Advance Australia Fair
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

When gallant Cook from Albion sailed.
To trace wide oceans o'er.
True British courage bore him on.
Til he landed on our shore
Then here he raised Old England's flag.
The standard of the brave.
"With all her faults we love her still."
"Britannia rules the wave."
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

While other nations of the globe
Behold us from afar,
We'll raise to high renown and shine
Like our glorious southern star;
From England, Scotia, Erin's isle.
Who come our lot to share,
Let all combine with heart and hand
To Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains, etc

Should foreign for e'er sight our coast.
Or dare a foot to land,
We'll rouse to arms like sires of yore
To guard our native strand;
Britannia then shall surely know,
Beyond wide oceans roll
Her sons in fair Australia's land
Still keep a British soul.
In joyful strains, etc

2. c1915

 

("The author of this song ... is indebted to the late Professor Stuart Blackie, of Edinburgh for improvement in last verse".)

("Under Govt. Patronage N.S.W., and League of the Empire, London. Performed by Massed Bands at the Naming of the Federal Capital Celebrations, Canberra. Sung by the great choir of 10,000 voices at the inauguration of the Commonwealth and played by Bands at all Reviews".)

     From the National Library of Australia Music Collection: http://www.nla.gov.au/collect/musicoll.html

Australian sons, let us rejoice.
For we are young and free.
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea.
Our land abounds in nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In hist'ry's page, let evry stage
Advance Australia Fair
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

When gallant Cook from Albion sailed.
To trace wide oceans o'er.
True British courage bore him on.
Til he landed on our shore
Then here he raised Old England's flag.
The standard of the brave.
"With all her faults we love her still."
"Britannia rules the wave."
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross.
We'll toil with hearts and hands,
To make our youthful Commonwealth
Renowned of all the lands;
For loyal sons beyond the seas
We've boundless plains to share,
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains, etc

Should foreign for e'er sight our coast.
Or dare a foot to land,
We'll rouse to arms like sires of yore
To guard our native strand;
Britannia then shall surely know,
Beyond wide oceans roll
Her sons in fair Australia's land
Still keep a British soul.
In joyful strains, etc

3. c1919?

 

("Sung by the great choir of 10,000 voices at the inauguration of the Commonwealth. The first music performed by the massed bands after the naming of the Federal Capital of Australia, Canberra".)

     From the National Library of Australia Music Collection: http://www.nla.gov.au/collect/musicoll.html

Australian sons, let us rejoice.
For we are young and free.
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea.
Our land abounds in nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In hist'ry's page, let ev'ry stage
Advance Australia Fair
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

When gallant Cook from Albion sailed.
To trace wide oceans o'er.
True British courage bore him on.
Til he landed on our shore
Then here he raised Old England's flag.
The standard of the brave.
"With all her faults we love her still."
"Britannia rules the wave."
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross.
We'll toil with hearts and hands,
To make our youthful Commonwealth
Renowned of all the lands;
For loyal sons beyond the seas
We've boundless plains to share,
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

Should foreign for e'er sight our coast.
Or dare a foot to land,
We'll rouse to arms like sires of yore
To guard our native strand.
Britannia then shall surely know,
Beyond wide oceans roll
Her sons in fair Australia's land
Still keep a British soul.
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

4. c1928

 

(Extract from The School magazine, published by the N.S.W. Education dept., Sept. 1928)

     From the National Library of Australia Music Collection: http://www.nla.gov.au/collect/musicoll.html

Australian sons, let us rejoice.
For we are young and free.
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea.
Our land abounds in nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare,
In history's page let every stage
Advance Australia Fair
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

When gallant Cook from Albion sailed.
To trace wide oceans o'er.
True British courage bore him on.
Til he landed on our shore
Then here he raised Old England's flag.
The standard of the brave.
With all her faults we love her still.
Britannia rules the wave
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

When other nations of the globe.
Behold us from afar,
We'll rise to high renown
And shine like our glorious southern star
From England, Scotia, Erin's Isle
Who come our lot to share
Let all combine with heart and hand
To Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

Should foreign for e'er sight our coast.
Or dare a foot to land.
We'll rouse to arms like sires of yore
To guard our native strand.
Britannia then shall surely know,
Beyond wide oceans roll
Her sons in fair Australia's land
Still keep a British soul.
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

5. c1942 

("Australia's National Song".)

Australian sons, let us rejoice.
For we are young and free.
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea.
Our land abounds in nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In hist'ry's page, let ev'ry stage
Advance Australia Fair
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

When gallant Cook from Albion sailed.
To trace wide oceans o'er.
True British courage bore him on.
Til he landed on our shore
Then here he raised Old England's flag.
The standard of the brave.
"With all her faults we love her still."
"Britannia rules the wave."
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross.
We'll toil with hearts and hands,
To make our youthful Commonwealth
Renowned of all the lands.
For loyal sons beyond the seas
We've boundless plains to share,
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

Should foreign for e'er sight our coast.
Or dare a foot to land,
We'll rouse to arms like sires of yore
To guard our native strand.
Britannia then shall surely know,
Beyond wide oceans roll
Her sons in fair Australia's land
Still keep a British soul.
In joyful strains let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

6. 1984

(Extract from - Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Fact Sheet 17)

     From the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: http://www.dfat.gov.au

     Fact Sheets: From the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: http://www.dfat.gov.au/facts/index.html

     "Australia 2000" is a series of 75 fact sheets covering aspects of contemporary Australia and Australian policies and attitudes on a wide range of issues. : http://www.dfat.gov.au/australia2000/index.html

     Australia: An Introduction: http://www.dfat.gov.au/australia2000/dfat/intro.html

     "In 1901 the Australian colonies federated to become the Commonwealth of Australia. As in Canada, the British monarch remains the monarch of Australia, which is now an independent, democratic nation with a tradition of religious tolerance and free speech."

     Note: "Fact sheets may be updated from time to time"

 

Australian all let us rejoice.
For we are young and free;
We've golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history's page let every stage
Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross.
We'll toil with hearts and hands;
To make our youthful Commonwealth
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who've come across the seas
We've boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.