I am Australian (1987) – The Seekers

The Seekers appearance on London Tonight, 2000

It is fitting that a song as invigorating and unifying as I am Australian inaugurates the ‘I’ songs in the Music Library Project.

We are one, but we are many‘.

I am Australian by The Seekers is unofficially Australia’s national anthem. Many Australians would prefer this modern classic as our official Anthem. In fact there have been calls for it to become Australia’s national anthem, notably in 2011 by former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett.

I am Australian is remarkably well written, produced and performed. It gives me goosebumps, turns me glassy-eyed and makes me sentimental of my Island Home. When I made a family DVD for my son’s 3rd birthday I used I am Australian with a compilation of baby photos just after his birth. I think this is one of, if not Australia’s greatest song encapsulating its history, national spirit and identity. Each line in it is so profound and could be studied for days on end. In fact, it is commonly taught in primary schools in Australia.

I came from the Dreamtime
From the dusty red soil plains
I am the ancient heart
The keeper of the flame
I stood upon the rocky shore
I watched the tall ships come
For forty thousand years I’ve been the first Australian

I came upon the prison ship
Bound down by iron chains
I fought the land
Endured the lash
And waited for the rains
I’m a settler
I’m a farmer’s wife
On a dry and barren run
A convict then a free man
I became Australian

I am Australian was written in 1987 by Bruce Woodley of The Seekers and Dobe Newton of The Bushwackers and was released in 1997 by trio Judith Durham (of The Seekers), Russell Hitchcock (from Air Supply) and Yothu Yindi’s Mandawuy Yunupingu. It reached number 17 on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart.

I Am Australian is popular at celebrations such as Australia Day and New Year’s Day. The song was used by the Australian Republican Movement in radio and television advertisements during the 1999 Australian republic referendum. It was also played at citizenship ceremonies from 2008 until 2012 when the Copyright Tribunal ruled that this was an infringement and ordered the Federal Government to pay Bruce Woodley $149,743.34 in compensation.

1. I am Australian – Wikipedia

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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2 comments on “I am Australian (1987) – The Seekers
  1. A beautiful, deeply moving tribute to Australia.

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