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The Australian national anthem is Advance Australia Fair. It has been Australia's national anthem since 1984 and beat out Banjo Paterson's Waltzing Matilda. The British anthem of God Save The Queen is still performed at royal events. What does Advance Australia Fair actually mean? The meaning of Waltzing Matilda is obvious or is it. Just ask Banjo Paterson. Advance Australia Fair continues to be sung by young and old alike. What a bloody anthem! Cheers Banjo Paterson. Cheers mat


Australia's National Anthem
Advance Australia Fair


"I had to listen to it a few times.  I kept falling asleep everytime I heard it.  When I was finally able to stay awake during its entirety, I realized beyond any shadow of a doubt, 'Yep, I really do hate Australia's national anthem.'"  Doug Knell, Doug's Republic
Advance Australia Fair

What is a country's national anthem but a marketing tool, to both unify citizens of the country by its sound, and hopefully to also expose that country to the outside world.  When a country's citizen wins a gold, silver, or bronze medal in the Olympics, for example, it's the national anthem which gets played.  So wouldn't you think every country would put a lot of thought into composing a catchy, pensive, and inspiring national anthem for all to delight in?

Well, Australia didn't, not with Advance Australia Fair.  One thing that isn't fair is having to listen to it, and if you're Australian, sing it.  What exactly does the title mean?  Advance Australia fairly?  Advance my fair lady Australia?  I asked Australians when I was there, and none of them knew or cared.   Australians regularly make fun of the pretentious lyrics, like "our home is girt by sea," and they should.  Yet when 60,000 Aussies were polled in 1974 to choose between Advance Australia Fair, Waltzing Matilda, and Song of Australia as anthems, over half picked Advance Australia Fair.  No details were provided as to the mental condition of those polled. 

Australian flag

Nice beaches, colorful flag, great ant . . . well, two out of three ain't bad

I hope no Australian reading this page takes slight that I'm mocking their anthem, but sorry, mates, is this anthem the best Australia could do?   Australia held competitions galore since 1840 to find a new suitable anthem.  Up until 1974, Aussies were still singing the British anthem, which however much you might diss it, does have a catchy tune.  In 1984, after a century of searching and composing, Advance Australia Fair became Australia's new anthem.  You have to wonder if someone paid off someone else to make this happen.

Judge for yourself.   If you heard this song on the radio, would you think you were in the presence of greatness? 

Advance Australia Fair

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.


Have a listen.  You may want to put on a pair of earplugs first.  There is nothing specific to Australia in this song. If you substituted 'Britannia' in for 'Australia' the song would make just as much sense and be just as bad.


Now listen to the classic Waltzing Matilda, full of Australian-specific words and slang (noted by * and defined at the bottom) and performed by the beloved Australian band The Seekers.   Which song would you have chosen as the anthem?  A song that could've been written about any island on the planet or even islands on other planets, provided they had "golden soil" and "wealth for toil"?  Or a song that pertains to one country and one country only? 


Waltzing Matilda
Once a jolly swagman* camped by a billabong*,
Under the shade of a Coolibah* tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy* boil,
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda* with me.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boil
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.

....................

Down came a jumbuck* to drink at that billabong
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag*
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me,
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.

.....................

Up rode the squatter* mounted on his thorough-bred
Down came the troopers One Two Three
Whose that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.

Waltzing Matilda Waltzing Matilda
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me
Whose that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker-bag
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.

......................

Up jumped the swagman sprang in to the billabong
You'll never catch me alive said he,
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.

Waltzing Matilda Waltzing Matilda
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.

*  A swagman is a hobo and carries his bedding rolled up into a bundle, which is called a swag. Today, a swag in Australia is a tent-like structure that encompasses a sleeping bag, with the head-end supported by being tied to a tree or similar structure.  A billabong is a watering hole and now it's also the name of a company which manufactures wet suits, surfboards, and similar gear.  A Coolibah tree is a type of eucalypt which grows in the arid and semi-arid woodland zones of Australia.  A billy is a tin can used to boil water.   This swagman is poor, remember.  He can't afford a state-of-the-art tea kettle.  (This song was written before you could get dirt cheap made-in-China kettles).  The term 'Waltzing Matilda' does not refer to a dance.  Matilda is the name of the tramp's swag, which goes dancing (= traveling) with him on his jaunts. A jumbuck is a sheep.  The hobo puts that into his tucker bag.  Tucker is another way of saying food.  A squatter, by Australian slang, isn't a person occupying another's premises without paying a rent.   Here, it's a landowner. 



 

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Voltaire Brown's Don't Travel Europe

 The national anthem of Australia: Advance Australia Fair. Fair dinkum, mates. True blue. It kicked the tuchus off Banjo Paterson's Waltzing Matilda. It has been the national anthem of Australia since the year 1984. There were competitions to find a new national anthem since 1840. It took the Aussies a lot of time to find something so mediocre. Waltzing Matilda is still sung regularly. Banjo Paterson didn't compose it. Too bad. At least Australia has its own anthem now