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Updated 04/24/2013

 


Advance Australia Fair
Peter Dodds McCormick

Advance Australia Fair is the official national anthem of Australia.   Advance Australia Fair was composed by Peter Dodds McCormick, originally under the pen-name 'Amicus' (which means 'friend' in Latin), in the late 19th century, and first performed by Andrew Fairfax at a Highland Society function in Sydney on 30 November 1878. The song quickly gained popularity and an amended version was sung by a choir of 10,000 at the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901. In 1907, the Australian Government awarded McCormick 100 for his composition.

In 1973, the Whitlam government decided that the country needed an anthem that could represent Australia with "distinction", and started a competition to find one. The Australia Council for the Arts organized the contest, which was dubbed as the Australian National Anthem Quest. The contest was held in two stages; the first seeking lyrics and the second music, each having a $5,000 AUD prize for the winning entry. On the recommendation of the Council for the Arts, none of the new entries were felt worthy enough, so the contest ended with the suggestions for Advance Australia Fair, Waltzing Matilda and Song of Australia.

Advance Australia Fair emerged as the most popular choice for the national anthem after an opinion poll in 1974.  Advance Australia Fair was adopted as the national anthem on 19 April 1984 by a decision of the Labor government of Bob Hawke, and a proclamation by the Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen.


Original Lyrics by Peter Dodds McCormick (1879)

 

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 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!

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!

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,
Beyond ocean roll between,
Her sons in fair Australia's land
Still keep their courage green.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair