It’s no secret that at least a portion of all Australians have, for a while now, flirted with the idea of breaking away from the British Monarchy (Commonwealth) and becoming a fully fledged, all grown up Republic. We even had a rushed, poorly planned and subsequently unsuccessful referendum on the subject back in 1999 which posed two questions regarding becoming a Republic and forming a Government under a Presidential system, and also whether or not the Australian Constitution should be altered to include a preamble.
At the same time as all this was going on, there’s been plenty of noise and discussion being made about alternative flag designs all obviously with one noticeable exclusion – the Union Jack.
It seems while largely fascinated by all things “Royal Family” which is about as iconic as British symbols get, we Aussies also like to jump the fence at the drop of a hat and bag the Brits at any chance we can (Cricket is totally understandable and acceptable though).
Anyway… I’m getting to something here believe it or not.
Today my attention was drawn to a new website dedicated to the promotion and distribution of a supposed new Australian National song titled “Under Southern Stars”. Penned by the constantly annoying Senator Amanda Vanstone, the song, which makes no direct acknowledgment of the Queen (or Commonwealth for that matter) is a 5 verse lyric set to the tune of – wait for this – “Land of Hope and Glory” from “Pomp and Circumstance”. Is it just me or is that one of the biggest contradictions EVER! Write the Brits out of the Lyrics then set them to the tune of a song they sing en mass at every major Soccer international they play, shortly before losing and rioting in the streets.
I’ve read the lyrics through a good few times now and I have to say they’re not terrible. I do have to say, however, that for how “intelligently simple” they are, I’m kind of scratching my head over why it reportedly took six years for “Mandy” to write them? If we break that down that’s less than a verse finished per year. At best she was producing one and a half words a month?!?!
Ok, so I’m just having a dig now. When all is said and done what I’m trying to say here is the song isn’t all bad, but the tune is horrendous. Somebody do us all a favour and please come up with something equally Grand in presentation, but for goodness sake make it original! And that doesn’t mean everyone go out and try like crazy to make it fit to a Chisel classic like “Khe San” – it’s been done before people!
Here’s the lyrics you have to work with, including lyrical explanations as we go:
Under Southern Stars
(We all know how to find the Southern Cross, we are the “land from down under”. Being “down under” is an important part of our psyche.)
Home to first Australians,
Joined from near and far,
Shining light for freedom,
Under southern stars.
(Indigenous Australians were here first. We’re an immigration nation and we enjoy unparalleled freedoms.)
Nation made of many,
Bound in hope as one,
Building for the future,
Under southern sun.
(Other than full blood indigenous Australians, the rest of us have migrant blood in our veins. Migrants are always working with hope for a better future.)
Free and friendly nation,
Born of our own hand,
Peace our greatest virtue,
Mighty southern land.
(In 1901 when the English Colonies decided to come together and form a nation it was quite a remarkable event. Few nations have been formed so harmoniously and by agreement, and subsequently enjoyed so much peace.)
Valiant into battle,
Courage to the end,
Standing firm for freedom,
Loyal southern friend.
(We are proud of the ANZAC spirit. We see that spirit all around us, for example when fighting bushfires and floods. We’ll take on difficult tasks, face them bravely and not flinch in the face of that difficulty. We have never gone to war to take. We have only gone in the defence and pursuit of freedom.)
Nature’s earthly heaven,
Glory for our eyes,
Ours alone these treasures,
Under southern skies.
Shining light for freedom
Under southern stars.
(“My Country”, Dorothea Mackellar’s famous poem highlights the special beauty that is peculiar to Australia. We have a large number of geographic formations, flora and fauna that are unique to Australia. Where else can you see a crimson rosella, a platypus, the Bungle Bungles or Uluru?)
Goodness knows why you’d want to, but if you want to hear the song sung reasonably well to that less than reasonable tune, rock along to the “Under Southern Stars” website at www.undersouthernstars.com, and let me know what you think by voting and commenting at your leisure!