• no mention of the First Australians
• too redolent of old British Empire attitudes (the original version was written in 1878).
• the land is to be owned and used, rather than being a wonder we preserve and a provider we care for and pass on
• the antiquated phrasing (and not just “girt”).
Provoked by an episode of the TV series Redfern Now, in which a young indigenous lad gets into trouble for refusing to sing the anthem, I conceived the idea that we can just start writing new words. Anyone can have a go, there need be no competition and no prize.
If a version catches on, then it might eventually replace the old words, by popular acclaim.
Invitation to our musicians
So, our festival musicians are invited to compose words for one or two verses of an anthem (using the old tune). Each person or group may then perform their version as part of their appearance in the Music Music session.
To kick things along, here is one offering.
Australia We Share
(Geoff Davies, 25 February 2013)
An ancient land from Rock to sand
A Dreaming old and wise
White, brown and black from other lands
New ways from old arise.
From whips and chains through gold and fleece
Innovation, sweat and care
A new refrain to grace the world:
A fair go and fair share.
We know together we do well
Australia we share.
A wilful land of flood and fire
Of forests lush and tall
Of rivers slow and jewel reef
And creatures fit for all
This land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare
From aeons past a heritage
For us to take due care.
We all are now custodians
Australia, we care.