Songs About Australia
Tie my Kangaroo down sport
by Rolf Harris
And the Band played waltzing matilda
by Eric Bogle
up there cazaly
by Mike Brady
i still call australia home
by Peter Allen
we come from a land down under
by Men At Work
great southern land
Born Ivor Arthur Davies on May 22, 1955 in New South Wales, Australia. The youngest of three siblings, Iva grew up in a musical household with both parents singing in a local choir. He took up the name of “Iva” after there was a misspelling on the label of a single released prior to the formation of Flowers/Icehouse.
Flowers, an Australian pub band formed by Ivor and bassist Keith Welsh, was later renamed Icehouse. Lead by Ivor, the band Icehouse was awarded a total of 28 platinum records, eight top 10 albums and over thirty top 40 singles.
He started playing the bagpipes when he was only six years old. He later made the move to the oboe with the help of his first-year music teacher at Epping High. He continued to study oboe and composition at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music.
It was in July 1975 that Iva’s career really began with the release of his first single, “Leading Lady” on the RCA label. But it wasn’t until January 1980 that Iva put his name on the map when Flowers, landed a recording contract with Regular Records. In 1980 their debut album, Icehouse, made it into the Top Five, becoming the highest-selling debut album in Australia.
While on their first overseas tour, Icehouse released their second album, Primitive Man, which out did their debut album in sales. On this album, was Great Southern Land, an Australian anthem that made it to the top five in 1982.
Icehouse’s success continued with the album Man of Colours, which contained the hit singles “Crazy” and “Electric Blue” and increased popularity in America. This album became the highest local-selling album by an Australian group.
Icehouse and Iva Davies have won many awards, including the Countdown Award for Most Popular Male Performer, ARIA awards for Best Album and Highest Selling Album for Man of Colours, and an ARIA Award for The Ghost of Time in 2000. His song “Circles in the Sky” was chosen as an official Sydney 2000 Olympic theme. Icehouse was accepted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2006.
In recent years Iva Davies has maintained a presence in the Australian media by appearing at various TV, Radio shows and live interviews. Throughout 2011 and 2012, Iva and Icehouse performed at many music festivals in Australia and New Zealand, including Homebake and the Breath of Life Festival. Iva also released Icehouse White Heat Greatest Hits CDs and DVD, which went Gold in just two weeks.
Since being made an Australia Day Ambassador in 2001, Iva travels to a different part of New South Wales on Australia Day every year, to perform official duties for local activities.
In January 2012, Iva Davies was made a Friend of Australia for the “G’Day Australia” campaign in the USA, and performed a live set, which included “Great Southern Land” and “Electric Blue.” He can also be seen in a number of Tourism Australia videos.
Iva is an ambassador for, and associated with, a number of charities, including; The Salvation Army, The Nordoff-Robbins Foundation, The Special Olympics and Music Assist, to name just a few. He uses his media profile to gain awareness and often performs at functions and events to raise funds and support these charities.
by John Williamson
beds are burning
by Midnight Oil
Midnight Oil's Beds are Burning was written in 1987 and was the first song on its Diesel and Dust album. It was released as a single and became one of the band’s best-known songs. It has been named as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
The main theme of the song is about giving land back to indigenous people in Australia. It is set against an Australian landscape and a political issue of the time. The song talks about specific locations that have very few people living in them “From Kintore East to Yuendemu” which is the home of the Pintupi people. The Pintupi people were brought in from the desert to live in settlements and missions in the 1930’s. Some were forcibly moved in the 1950’s and 1960’s to live in Papunya. In 1981 they left these settlements to return to their own country and established the Kintore community. Their community is nestled in the picturesque Kintore Ranges, surrounded by desert mulga and spinifex country. It is a community with a population of about 400. Kintore and the town of Yuendumu are mentioned by name in the lyrics.
The song uses this example of people taken from their land and their desire to go back to it as a protest song with a political message about land rights. Some people have said that it includes an environmental cause, which is of real concern to the band. The lead singer, Peter Garrett, went on to pursue his environmental concerns through the political system. He joined the Labor Party and was elected to Parliament in 2007, perhaps in part because he was so well known because of Beds are Burning and other activist songs.
The song title ‘Beds are Burning’ and the lyric "How can we sleep while our beds are burning?" is asking people to wake up, look at what is happening and don’t close their eyes to the problem.
The song makes a very Australian connection by using strong outback images with lyrics like “Holden wrecks”, “Steam in forty five degrees”, and “Four wheels scare the cockatoos”. It goes on to show that rather than being an empty place, the desert is a very live and active place with lyrics like “Out where the river broke the bloodwood and the desert oak” and “The western desert lives and breathes in forty five degrees”.
The structure of the song is unusual in that most of the lyrics and most of the time is dedicated to repeating the same question and the same simple chorus message. It is in the chorus that the real message in the song is contained. The words of the chorus are repeated several times and are put forward in very clear and simple language:
The time has come, to say fair's fair,
To pay the rent, to pay our share,
The time has come. A fact's a fact,
It belongs to them. Let's give it back.
It is a message about being fair about who owns the land and that it is time to do something about it.
Although it was written in 1987 and was about a particular cause at the time, it has become a very well known song and its simple message about being fair and paying our share is a message that is easily adopted by other protest groups and can still be used to protest and to make a simple message clear.
by Yothu Yindi
my island home
by Christine Anu