See also our Australian Music section
I Am Australian – Australian Spirit
Birgitt from Germany wrote to us about the song I Am Australian they learned in school. They didn't know what the stanza with "The spirit of this great land" meant.
I Am Australian is one of the most loved songs in Australia. It talks about all the different kinds of people we are, from many lands, from the past and today ... all are Australian.
We'll try to explain the stanza at the end of the song that you asked us about. The words "this great land" means our country, Australia. That stanza is talking about all the things that make us
For example "I'm the drought and flooding rains" is speaking about the hardships we face in the past and today. Overcoming hardships makes us strong.
"I'm the mountains and the valleys" is speaking about the beauty of our country. "I'm the black soil of the plains" describes the rich soil where we grow our crops. "I am the rock, I am the sky" means we are part of everything in our great land.
We talk with pride about Aussie "battlers". They are people who struggle to pay their bills and feed their families. They work hard at their jobs, but still struggle.
They have the "spirit" the poem talks about ... to keep trying and never give up when you know there will always be problems to face. That's why Aussies make so many jokes. It's part of our spirit to find humour in our problems. It helps us face and overcome them.
Every country has a spirit. It's developed from the way people lived and struggled to build that country. It shapes the way you think today and the way you act with other people. It's what I believe makes us Aussies.
Trivia - A Music First
9 February 1788 — Rogues March is said to be the first named piece of music performed in Australia. It was played at the drumming-out of a sailor who had been caught in the women convict's tents.
Coolabah or Coolibah?
A student from Broughton Anglican College emailed me to say that "you had spelt coolabah wrong. It is spelt coolibah." He was talking about the song Waltzing Matilda.
The coolabah is a tree is found throughout Australia. Since the scientific classification is E. coolabah (Eucalyptus coolabah), I chose to spell it the same way with the "a". However, both coolabah and coolibah are acceptable for common use.
I want to share with you a website I added in our Australian Music, Movies and TV page called Curious Legends.
Curious Legends is a theatre company that brings together an inspiring mix of puppetry, live music, dance, and theatre.
What's nice about their website is that they have video from their performances. One look at the children's reactions as they watch The SandDragon's Tail and I know more children should experience this especially with their parents.
For over 7 years, Curious Legends has created inspiring theatre designed to help bring out the imagination in children and adults. This Melbourne based independent theatre and production company also produces theatre arts festivals and abilities workshops. It's well worth your time to explore their website Curious Legends.
Chris wrote us from the NLA government website that they moved their Waltzing Matilda info. (We've updated our link to them.)
Did you know there is more than one version of Banjo Paterson's Waltzing Matilda? Have a look at the song and you'll see what we mean.