One of my first and fondest memories was singing the national anthem at school, we stood together tall and proud in our school uniforms, while we sang the lyrics proudly;
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…
It is only now that we as a business truly understand the ramifications of our anthem and what it actually means for our indigenous community. From the 1st of January 2021 the second line of the Australian national anthem changed from “we are young and free” to “For we are one and free”.
First Nations Founder and chairman Yorta Yorta Ian Hamm said the fresh line was an important symbol. “You do need symbolic change; you do need real change.
“This is an important indication to ourselves as a country as to what our expectations are going forward, and to recognise in our national anthem the continued human occupation of this continent from 60,000 years plus to 1 January 2021, and beyond, is an important change.
“We’re very definitely not young.”
Though we do agree that the change in wording was long overdue, I have to agree with composer and Yorta Yorta woman Deborah Cheetham that changing the anthem one word at a time is probably not the right way to go.
We recently stumbled across the Dulwich Centres revised anthem which was written by Judith Durham, Kutcha Edwards, Lou Bennett, Camilla Chance and Bill Hauritz. Which we’ve linked here for you to enjoy
For some, January 26 is a day to commemorate the country’s history, for others – particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people – it’s a day to mourn the occupation of the land and the violence that occurred in the name of colonisation.
As we approach the 26th January 2021 we stand in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, especially the generations of women who have been directly affected by this country past. We hope the future will bring acceptance, understanding and healing as one.