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Advance Australia Fair

"Advance Australia Fair" is the official national anthem of Australia.

Originally composed by Peter Dodds McCormick[?] sometime in the late 19th century (first performance 1878), it emerged as the most favoured song—or perhaps just the least disfavoured—to become the national anthem after an opinion poll in 1974 (the Australian Bureau of Statistics polled 60,000 nationally) and the National Song Poll in 1977 (where it garnered 43.6% of the vote) against "Waltzing Matilda" (which attracted 28.5% of the votes), the "Song Of Australia[?]" (9.7%), and the then-current "God Save the Queen" (18.7%).

It was eventually officially adopted as the national anthem by the Governor-General in 1984. In the process, the second, fourth, and fifth verses were dropped from the "official" version, as they emphasised the British aspects of Australia's heritage, along with the virtues of Britain, and three lines were changed:

  • the first line of the first verse: "Australia's sons let us rejoice" to "Australians all let us rejoice"
  • verse 3 (verse 2 of official version), line 3 : "To make this youthful Commonwealth" to "To make this Commonwealth of ours"
  • verse 3 (verse 2 of official version), line 5 : "For loyal sons beyond the seas" to "For those who've come across the seas"

On most occasions, only the first verse of the official version is sung.

The national anthem, though sung at national celebrations, is still regarded by many with mixed feelings and few people know the words. Some of the lyrics, particularly the word "girt", are odd by modern standards, and the tune is generally regarded as uninspiring by comparison with "La Marseillaise", or "Land of Hope and Glory" (the English anthem with a tune borrowed from Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" march). "Advance Australia Fair" at least has the merit of being much easier to sing than "The Star Spangled Banner", and the lyrics do express some Australian self-beliefs and aspirations. Some ambiguity comes from the enduring popularity of "Waltzing Matilda", which is generally regarded as a much finer tune and has been part of the Australian imagination almost since its composition 120 years ago. However, Matilda's lyrics, detailing the exploits of an itinerant who steals a sheep and then drowns himself in an effort to avoid capture by the police and the local squatter, are regarded by some Australians as unsuitable as an expression of Australian values.

Table of contents

Lyrics

The official version

 Australians 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 then let us sing,
 "Advance Australia fair!"

 Beneath our radiant southern Cross,
 We'll toil with hearts and hands;
 To make this Commonwealth of ours
 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 then let us sing
 "Advance Australia fair!"

Dodds' original lyrics

 Australia's 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 then let us sing,
 "Advance Australia fair!"

 When gallant Cook from Albion sail'd,
 To trace wide oceans o'er,
 True British courage bore him on,
 Till 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,
 "Brittannia rules the wave!"
 In joyful strains then let us sing
 "Advance Australia fair!"

 Beneath our radiant southern Cross,
 We'll toil with hearts and hands;
 To make this 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 then let us sing
 "Advance Australia fair!"

 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, Scotia, Erin's Isle,
 Who come our lot to share,
 Let all combine with heart and hand
 To advance Australia fair!
 In joyful strains then let us sing
 "Advance Australia fair!"

 Shou'd 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;
 Brittannia then shall surely know,
 Beyond wide ocean's roll,
 Her sons in fair Australia's land
 Still keep a British soul.
 In joyful strains the let us sing
 "Advance Australia fair!"

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