Australian National Anthem

Australia’s national anthem is named, “Advance Australia Fair.” What’s interesting about this anthem is that it has been performed since 1878 but was not officially adopted until 1984. Originally, “Advance Australia Fair” was sung as a patriotic song. At the time it was first performed, the nation’s anthem was “God Save the Queen,” which remained this way until 1984.

“Advance Australia Fair” was created by Peter Dodds McCormick using the pen-name “Amicus.” The song was first performed by Andrew Fairfax on November 30, 1878. The song quickly grew popular and was even sung by a choir of over 10,000 people during the Commonwealth of Australia’s inauguration in 1901. Throughout the years, even though it was not the national anthem, the song continued to be popular. It was played during many official functions, and it was also used by the Australian Broadcasting Commission to announce news bulletins through the 1950s.

Even though the song wasn’t adopted until 1984, many citizens wanted it to be the national anthem well before this year. In the 1970s, a contest was held to find a new national anthem. None of the entries were found to be good enough to serve as the national anthem, so three songs, including “Advance Australia Fair,” were put to a vote to become the national anthem. In 1974, the song was selected by a survey of 60,000 people to be the national song. It was determined that it could be played during official events but not during events of a regal nature.

Today, the song has influenced many other songs and marches throughout Australia. The modern version that was adopted in the 1980s has had some changes since it was first written in the 19th century. This includes changes that make it more inclusive – such as changing “Australia’s sons” in the original version to “Australians all” in the modern version. Several verses were also dropped to shorten the song. The primary theme of the song is rejoicing in the nation’s freedom. An unofficial Christian variant has also been used in Christian schools in Australia since 1988.

From 1 January 2021, the second line of the Australian National Anthem was changed from ‘For we are young and free’ to ‘For we are one and free’.

Australian National Anthem Lyrics

Verse 1

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are one 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.

Verse 2

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We'll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who've come across the seas
We've boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.