Advance Australia… girt?

I wasn’t born in 1974 when it was chosen as the national anthem, so I can’t say I’ve ever really looked into “Advance Australia Fair” in all that much detail (other than cringing at those musically-awful opening notes) – but I must say I was surprised, reading the original lyrics, that, in the seventies, we took our Australian song from such an the utterly unpatriotic, Britain-fawning hymn to colonialism and cultural cringe.

Check out, via Wikipedia, the original second verse:

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 then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.

Please, don’t think we’re not really British!

And then the third and fourth:

Verse 3
While other nations of the globe
Behold us from afar,
We’ll rise to high renown and shine
Like our glorious southern star;
From England soil and Fatherland,
Scotia and Erin fair,
Let all combine with heart and hand
To advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.

Verse 4
Should foreign foe 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,
Though oceans roll between,
Her sons in fair Australia’s land
Still keep their courage green.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.*

Funny those were excised from the official version, isn’t it? Oh, and that “for those who come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share” bit that we’re no longer all that keen on? The original is much more in keeping with our current attitude: “For loyal sons beyond the seas, We’ve boundless plains to share…”

As for this “lost” verse that the fundamentalists want “re”inserted, well, you’ve amazingly found a way to make it even more objectionable (GO THEOCRACY!):

With Christ our head and cornerstone,
We’ll build our Nation’s might.
Whose way and truth and light alone
Can guide our path aright.
Our lives, a sacrifice of love
Reflect our Master’s care.
With faces turned to heaven above
Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair!

And if you think that’s far-fetched, remember that they still open Parliament every day with the Lord’s Prayer…

But I apologise if I’ve got the dirge stuck in your head.

Here, let’s replace it with some slightly less horrible music. (Or, at least, slightly less horrible music, horribly performed.) How about, talking of song lyrics, I point you towards (via @FundiesFirst), this video of the “Catch The Fire” nutters warming up for ranting incoherently on the steps of parliament on Wednesday (sorry, “speaking in tongues”) by singing Amazing Grace, only with all the (apparently insufficiently Christian) words in it replaced by the name “Jesus”. As in, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” GENIUS.

Now, can you imagine their preferred National Anthem? Sing it in your head – Advance Australia Fair with the word “Jesus” repeated over and over.

…Turns out they’re right – there is a hell. It’s echoing in my brain right now.


11 responses to “Advance Australia… girt?

  1. I grant that Advance Australia Fair is not the most stirring of anthems, but I wonder what a preferred Jeremy Sear verse would sound like?

    “We white folk must apologise,
    For ever landing here,
    The locals were more civilised,
    Anglos drink too much beer.
    We’re far too beastly to the crims,
    For property is theft,
    And thanks to Howard and the Yanks,
    We carry too much heft,
    So sensitively, and tentatively,
    Australia isn’t fair!”

  2. It’s amazing that someone can spend so much time at a blog and still have no idea what that person actually argues, isn’t it?

    Still, it’s good that Shabs is wasting his time writing drivel like the above rather than doing something actually destructive.

  3. As Dean Martin used to say, “just tryin’ to have a little fun, folks!”

  4. Just in case anyone needed something to clear their heads.

  5. In 1974 we had recently and finally got rid of white aussie policy, so advance aussie fair was better than god save the queen and waltzing matilda . ‘Advance Australia ‘ was the catch-cry we were going to grow up and leave home.
    I doubt many really bothered with all the words but Advance Australia Fair sounded patriotic.
    We had long pants now and we would accept all regardless.
    Unfortunatly some people dont want to grow and leave home so we are still stuck with a crowned head of state and constant white anting to return to a policy of discrimination against any one whos colour does not suit .
    If these people had their way we would still be asking god to save the queen and wetting ourselves with delight if the windsors could remember were Australia was.
    As you rightly mentioned the country now has the jesus jesus jesus crowd trying to fuck things up further.
    Thanks for a thought provoking blog.

  6. “If these people had their way we would still be asking god to save the queen and wetting ourselves with delight if the windsors could remember were Australia was.”

    Man that is so true.

  7. I just like singing the lyrics to the tune of Gilligans Island… or Working Class Man.

    Try it… it’ll get stuck in your head real good.

  8. I’ve always loathed the dirge of a song, and I still don’t know the words.

    Now I know why.

  9. There wasn’t much choice at the time, but at least Gough moved us away from ‘God Save the Queen’. He’d have gone further than that but we all know what happened. I don’t think those other verses were known then, nor relevant to the song that was adopted. I think it’s a good national anthem actually, depending on who sings it, and how. Julie Anthony’s version at the opening of the 2000 Olympics was pretty stirring stuff.

  10. Splatterbottom

    No doubt Comrade Gough would have us all singing “The Red Flag” at anthem time if he could.

    I would have preferred “God Bless Australia” to the tune of “Waltzing Matilda”.

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