Advance Australia Fair

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The official national anthem of Australia.

Originally composed by Peter Dodds McCormick sometime in the late 19th century (first performance 1878), it emerged as the favourite to become the national anthem after an opinion poll in 1974 (the Australian Bureau of Statistics polled 60,000 nationally) and the National Song Poll in 1977 (where it garnered 43.6% of the vote) against Waltzing Matilda (which attracted 28.5% of the votes), the Song Of Australia (9.7%), and the then-current God Save the Queen (18.7%).


It was eventually officially adopted as the national anthem by the Governor-General in 1984. In the process, the second, fourth, and fifth verses were dropped from the "official" version, as they emphasised the British aspects of Australia's heritage, along with the virtues of Britain, and three lines were changed:
the first line of the first verse: "Australia's sons let us rejoice" to "Australians all let us rejoice".
verse 3 (verse 2 of official version), line 3 : "To make this youthful Commonwealth" to "To make this Commonwealth of ours"
verse 3 (verse 2 of official version), line 5 : "For loyal sons beyond the seas" to "For those who've come across the seas"

On most occasions, only the first verse of the official version is sung.

The national anthem, though enthusiastically sung at national celebrations (though those who went to school before the introduction of the new anthem still struggle with the words occasionally), is still regarded by many with somewhat mixed feelings. Some of the lyrics, particularly the word "girt", are odd by modern standards, and the tune is perhaps not as inspiring as La Marseillaise, or Land Of Hope and Glory (the English anthem with a tune borrowed from Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" march). It at least has the merit of being much far easier to sing than The Star Spangled Banner, and the lyrics do express some of Australia's more noble self-beliefs and aspirations. Some ambiguity also comes from the popularity of Waltzing Matilda, which is almost universally regarded as a much finer tune and has been part of the Australian imagination almost since its composition 120 years ago. Unfortunately, Matilda's lyrics, detailing the exploits of an itinerant who steals a sheep and then drowns himself in an effort to avoid capture by the police and the local squatter, are regarded by many as totally unsuitable as an expression of Australian values.

The official version

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!" 

Dodds' original lyrics

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 then 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, 
Till 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, 
"Brittannia rules the wave!" 
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 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!" 

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, Scotia, Erin's Isle, 
Who come our lot to share, 
Let all combine with heart and hand 
To advance Australia fair! 
In joyful strains then let us sing 
"Advance Australia fair!" 

Shou'd 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; 
Brittannia then shall surely know, 
Beyond wide ocean's roll, 
Her sons in fair Australia's land 
Still keep a British soul. 
In joyful strains the let us sing 
"Advance Australia fair!" 

Sources: http://www.hamilton.net.au/advance.html
http://www.pm.gov.au/aust_focus/nat_symbols/anthem.htm