Opinion

Where did Advance Australia Fair come from?

FOR Australia day I'm taking a look the history of our national anthem and wondering, is it really good enough for our great southern land?

In 1878 a Scottish-born composer named Peter Dodds McCormick sat in a concert hall listening to the anthems of the world being sung by a choir. He was so miffed that there was no Australian anthem that he went home and composed one.

In about a day. The whole thing.

Obviously McCormick wasn't the only one to have that thought, but more on that later.

Advance Australia fair was first performed at a Highlands Society do in November of 1878, but it really got its first work out during the Inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901 when it was belted out by a choir of 10,000 people.

McCormick was rewarded for his work in 1907 with a payment of one hundred pounds. At first I thought he'd been ripped off until I did the math and realised it was as if, today, he'd been paid fifty thousand Australian dollars.

In 1916 Advance Australia Fair had its first recording made as part of a dramatization of the ANZACS in Egypt on their way to Gallipoli.

Unfortunately, 1916 was also the year McCormick died. Rest in Peace mate.

 

In 1951 we held a competition to pick our own National Anthem for the country's golden jubilee. While a bloke name Henry Krips won with a song called "This Land of Mine", we decided just to stick with God Save the Queen out of sheer laziness.

 

Fortunately for everyone who actually likes our National Anthem, the copyright ran out in 1966, fifty years after McCormick's death, so the government took control of it.

In 1973 his imperial highness Gough Whitlam decided that we needed a new national anthem to replace God Save the Queen, so the Australian Council for Arts had another competition to see which candidate song would win.

Advance Australia Fair beat God Save the Queen and Waltzing Matilda to be named the official anthem by the government in 1974. A plebiscite in 1977 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirmed the choice.
It wasn't till 1984 that the Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen gave Advance Australia Fair the official stamp of approval, around the same time that Bob Hawke replaced the rather sexist first line "Australia's sons let us rejoice" with the less idiotic "Australians all let us rejoice".

Then that same year, to continue the tradition of Australian multiculturalism, the orchestral version of our anthem that we're so familiar with today was composed by Tommy Tycho … from Hungary.

While Advance Australia Fair cops a bit of flack, it's still better than the Star Spangled Banner (citation needed).

In 2001 National Party Senator Sandy Macdonald said that the anthem was so boring that 'the nation risks singing itself to sleep'. Craig Emerson agreed, saying on the use of the word girt that "This must rank as one of the worst lines of any national anthem."

So whether or not you agree with the Herald Sun's 2008 assertion that the anthem means nothing for modern Australia, it is our anthem, and as such should be sung in a pub, with beer, and about two dozen drunk mates.
 

Topics:  australia day, Frisky Business, kieran salsone, opinion


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Police charge driver for crash that killed Croftby man

Police at the scene of a fatal traffic crash at Washpool on April 8 of this year.

22-year-old to appear on September 20

YOUR SAY: My open letter to Ipswich ...

Allison Grant and her family have returned to Ipswich to find a community that really cares.

I owe you an apology. I'm afraid I haven't been a very good friend.

How Baden-Clay's lies finally undid him in the end

Gerard Baden-Clay and Allison Baden-Clay

The High Court finds Gerard Baden-Clay murdered his wife Allison

Latest deals and offers

Woman to face manslaughter charge after car park death

Police have charged a woman with manslaughter following investigations into a fatal traffic incident that occurred in Booval late last year.

Police charge driver for crash that killed Croftby man

Police at the scene of a fatal traffic crash at Washpool on April 8 of this year.

22-year-old to appear on September 20

YOUR SAY: My open letter to Ipswich ...

Allison Grant and her family have returned to Ipswich to find a community that really cares.

I owe you an apology. I'm afraid I haven't been a very good friend.

How Baden-Clay's lies finally undid him in the end

Gerard Baden-Clay and Allison Baden-Clay

The High Court finds Gerard Baden-Clay murdered his wife Allison

Taste of Tokyo to bring life to local innovators

Little Tokyo community experience manager Sara Watling at the launch of Little Tokyo Two in Springfield.

Site helps teen expand hologram business

Another public holiday! But do we really want that?

Businesses may consider closing for the entire period.

Die-hard fan's 34 magic Gympie Muster years

STICK AROUND FOR A BEER: Mal Williams has been at every Gympie Muster for 34 years.

Mal Williams has only missed one Muster in 35 years - the first one

Love is in the air on The Bachelor, but not for Kiki

The Bachelor Australia contestant Kirralee 'Kiki' Morris.

BACHELORETTE bows out gracefully as show enters its final weeks.

A $65,000 bathroom? The Block's incredible budget blow-outs

The Block contestants Julia and Sasha spent a whopping $65,000 on their first renovated room.

TEAMS deliver most expensive en-suites in reno show's history.

Cryptic crosswords: Top clues to solving them

Your guide to solving the cryptic crosswords in your local paper

MOVIE REVIEW: Ben-Hur isn't likely to become a new classic

Toby Kebbell plays Messala Severus and Jack Huston plays Judah Ben-Hur in a scene from Ben-Hur.

ANYTHING less than grand in a remake of Ben-Hur won't do.

Taylor Swift dismissed from jury duty

Taylor Swift was dismissed from jury duty in a sexual assault case

Zumbo's Willy Wonka hat trick trips up Queensland brickie

Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo with Zumbo's floating dessert in a scene from Zumbo's Just Desserts.

NOOSA'S Michael Basset asked to recreate floating chocolate dish.

Bunnings starts demolition of historic foundry buildings

SAWTOOTH GONE: Demolition of Foundry sawtooth shed to make way for new Bunnings building.

Lane and footpath closures will take place

Australia's most expensive balcony and it hasn't been built

Viridian Noosa.

How Noosa millionares' squabble could affect body corporates

Receivers move in on Springfield's 'Tower of Power'

The 10-storey tower at Springfield is up for sale with interest high in the iconic structure.

Interest high in iconic 10-storey office building

Palm Lake Resort set to move in to Coast with 276 villas

Palm Lake Group has been given approval by Sunshine Coast Council to build a 276-villa over 50s resort and 120-bed aged care facility at the intersection of Caloundra Rd and Caloundra Mooloolaba Rd in Little Mountain.

New facility planned for Caloundra Rd

Warning for unit investors with price plummet prediction

The warning signs are flashing for one real estate sector in 2017 despite others performing the best they have in years and it's not going to be pretty.

One real estate sector looks set for a rocky 2017

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale