‘Never liked it’: Aussie Music icon backs national anthem change

 

Australian music icon John Williamson has supported the move to change the lyrics to Advance Australia Fair.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian pushed for the change from "young and free" to "one and free" to reflect Australia's Indigenous history and be more inclusive.

"That doesn't worry me, I've never particularly liked the national anthem but I accept it," the musician said.

"It's an Old English song anyway, I've got the original version on an old Doulton jug which says 'Brittania rules the waves'.

"If the Indigenous Australians genuinely accept changing 'young and free' to 'one and free' then that would be great and maybe that national anthem will last.

 

Australian music icon John Williamson has supported the move to change the lyrics to Advance Australia Fair. Picture: Luke Marsden
Australian music icon John Williamson has supported the move to change the lyrics to Advance Australia Fair. Picture: Luke Marsden

 

"If it wasn't for the line about 'land abounds in nature's gift, beauty rich and rare' I think I'd actually hate the anthem.

"I also think we should have a statue of a wonderful indigenous warrior somewhere near the Captain Cook statue in Sydney.

"I tried to get that message through to the PM but I haven't heard anything back."

While his True Blue has been mooted as an alternative anthem (it was added to the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry last week) Williamson has another idea.

"I wrote a song called Island of Oceans which would work (as a national anthem)," he said.

The song was released in 2010 and features the lyric, "Under the Southern Cross with people old and new, with roads that go forever, through the land of the kangaroo."

Williamson has just celebrated his 75th birthday.

"75 just sounds old, I've outlived both my grandfathers, they died of old age in their early 70s," he said.

Williamson has moved his 50th anniversary tour dates to next year, but admits a forced break from playing live this year has prepared him for 'winding down'.

"I was already looking at slowing down, but this year has helped me experience what it's going to be like when I do retire," he said.

"I've got a property above the Gold Coast, I've spent time messing about with rocks and timber and a few heifers, it's like going back to being a farmer again.

"I reckon I can handle retirement.

"My first show back is January, I'll have to get the voice going again."

cameron.adams@news.com.au

Originally published as 'Never liked it': Aussie Music icon backs national anthem change



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