Full Lyrics Of Australia National Anthem - Advance Australia Fair
"Advance Australia Fair" - Full lyrics of Australia National Anthem

"Advance Australia Fair" is the national anthem of Australia written by Scottish-born composer, Peter Dodds McCormick, the song was first performed in 1878 and sung in Australia as a patriotic song. It replaced "God Save the Queen" as the official national anthem in 1984, following a plebiscite to choose the national song in 1977.

Full Lyrics of "Advance Australia Fair" - Australia National Anthem

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.

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.

The full lyrics video of "Advance Australia Fair" - Australia National Anthem below

An anthem “of our own”: Advance Australia Fair

In 1878, Scottish-born Australian composer Peter Dodds McCormick wrote the music and lyrics to a new patriotic song, ‘Advance Australia Fair’. One hundred and six years later, on 19 April 1984, his song – amended to suit a more modern audience – was adopted as the new Australian national anthem, replacing ‘God Save the Queen’.

Today, ‘Advance Australia Fair’ is unquestionably played at local, national, and international political, cultural, and sporting events. Its lyrics are both uplifting and confusing, with children and adults alike still wondering what “girt by sea” really means. The popularity and prevalence of ‘Advance Australia Fair’ makes its complex and contentious history all the more astonishing. Indeed, many younger Australians may not be aware of it at all.

In 1972, the Whitlam government was elected on a platform of social and political change. Their campaign slogan, ‘It’s Time’, was inspired by the Australian public’s growing nationalist sentiment, which emerged most obviously in a desire for a national anthem, to quote Gough Whitlam, “of our own”.

A competition for a new anthem was held by the Australia Council for the Arts and received more than 1400 entries for lyrics and 1200 entries for music. The judges, however, felt that the submissions did not meet the standards set by such Australian classics as ‘Waltzing Matilda’, Caroline Carleton’s ‘Song for Australia’, and McCormick’s ‘Advance Australia Fair’, which had enjoyed popularity as the ABC news bulletin fanfare until 1952. The Council therefore recommended that the new anthem be selected from those three songs.

A plebiscite was conducted in 1974 asking Australia to decide. Controversially, the Whitlam government chose not to include ‘God Save the Queen’ as an option for the vote, prompting criticisms that Labor was “taking for granted” the notion that Australians wanted a new anthem in the first place. Despite these problems, ‘Advance Australia Fair’ won by an overwhelming majority of 51.4%, and was adopted later that year as the new national anthem. Opposition to this decision was widespread, particularly from those who argued that the new lyrics celebrated the same old idea of empire as ‘God Save the Queen’. In 1976, responding to this outcry, the Fraser government reinstated ‘God Save the Queen’.

Another poll was conducted in 1977, this time with a fourth option of ‘God Save the Queen’. Despite Malcolm Fraser’s own preference for ‘Waltzing Matilda’, the same result was returned: the Australian people wanted ‘Advance Australia Fair’ as our new national anthem.

It was only in 1984 that a decision on the result of this second plebiscite was made by the Hawke government, pressured by the upcoming Los Angeles Olympics for which many desired an authentically Australian anthem to play in the medal ceremonies. ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was finally and officially adopted as the new national anthem with a number of significant and modernising alterations to the original text, including removing three out of the five verses and changing the opening words from “Australia’s sons” to “Australians all”. Many still had issues with the song, however, notably those who pointed out its failure to acknowledge First Nations people. As eminent historian Manning Clark stated, “you could hardly call the Aborigines ‘young and free’”.

Development of lyrics

Since the original lyrics were written in 1878, there have been several changes, in some cases with the intent of increasing the anthem's inclusiveness and gender neutrality. Some of these were minor while others have significantly altered the song. The original song was four verses long. For its adoption as the national anthem, the song was cut from four verses to two. The first verse was kept largely as the 1878 original, except for the change in the first line from "Australia's sons let us rejoice" to "Australians all let us rejoice".The second, third and fourth verses of the original were dropped, in favour of a modified version of the new third verse which was sung at Federation in 1901.

The lyrics published in the second edition (1879) were as follows:

Australia's sons, 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 let us sing,

Advance, Australia fair.

When gallant Cook from Albion sail'd,

To trace wide oceans o'er,

True British courage bore him on,

Til he landed on our shore.

Then here he raised Old England's flag,

The standard of the brave;

"With all her faults we love her still"

"Britannia rules the wave."

In joyful strains then let us sing,

Advance, Australia fair.

While other nations of the globe

Behold us from afar,

We'll rise to high renown and shine

Like our glorious southern star;

From England soil and Fatherland,

Scotia and Erin fair,

Let all combine with heart and hand

To advance Australia fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing

Advance, Australia fair.

Should foreign foe e'er sight our coast,

Or dare a foot to land,

We'll rouse to arms like sires of yore,

To guard our native strand;

Britannia then shall surely know,

Though oceans roll between,

Her sons in fair Australia's land

Still keep their courage green.

In joyful strains then let us sing

Advance Australia fair.

The 1901 Federation version of the third verse was originally sung as:

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,

We'll toil with hearts and hands;

To make our youthful Commonwealth,

Renowned of all the lands;

For loyal sons beyond 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!

The lyrics of "Advance Australia Fair", as modified by the National Australia Day Council and officially adopted on 19 April 1984, were as follows:

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.

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.

These lyrics were updated on 1 January 2021 to the current version, in which "young" in the second line is replaced with "one".

Australia Day

Australia Day is the official national day of Australia. Observed annually on 26 January, it marks the 1788 landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove and raising of the Union Flag by Arthur Phillip following days of exploration of Port Jackson in New South Wales. In present-day Australia, celebrations aim to reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation and are marked by community and family events, reflections on Australian history, official community awards and citizenship ceremonies welcoming new members of the Australian community.

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