I Am Australian

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

"I Am Australian" (or "We are Australian") is a popular Australian song written in 1987 by Bruce Woodley of The Seekers and Dobe Newton of The Bushwackers. Its lyrics are filled with many historic and cultural references, such as to the "digger", Albert Namatjira and Ned Kelly, among others. Its popularity has allowed it to join the ranks of other patriotic songs considered as alternatives to the Australian national anthem, "Advance Australia Fair". It is commonly taught in primary schools.[1]

There have over the years since the song's release been calls for it to become Australia's national anthem, notably in 2011 by former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett.[2]


I came from the Dreamtime
From the dusty red soil plains
I am the ancient heart
The keeper of the flames
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 ships
Bound down by iron chains
I fought the land
Endured the lash
And waited for the rains
I'm a settler
I'm a farmers wife
On a dry and barren run
A convict then a free man
I became Australian
I'm a daughter of a digger
Who sought the mother lode
The girl became a women
On the long and dusty road
I'm a child of the depression
I saw the good time come
I'm a bushy, I'm a battler
I am Australian
We are one
But we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We'll share a dream
And sing with one voice
I am, you are, we are Australian
I'm a teller of stories
I'm a singer of songs
I am Albert Namatjira
And I paint the ghostly gums
I'm Clancy on his horse
I'm Ned Kelly on the run
I'm the one who waltzed matilda
I am Australian
I'm the hot wind from the desert
I'm the black soil of the plain
I'm the mountains and the valleys
I'm the drought and flooding rains
I am the rock
I am the sky
The rivers when they run
The spirit of this great land
I am Australian
We are one
But we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We'll share a dream
And sing with one voice
I am, you are, we are Australian
We are one
But we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We'll share a dream
And sing with one voice
I am, you are
We are Australian
I am, you are
We are Australian


"I Am Australian" is popular at celebrations such as Australia Day and New Year's Day, as it celebrates the diversity of Australian society – the lyrics to the chorus emphasise this: "We are one, but we are many, and from all the lands on Earth we come, we share a dream and sing with one voice – I am, you are, we are Australian."

"I Am Australian" is sometimes played at citizenship ceremonies, and is often sung by Australian fans at numerous sporting events. It was sung by The Seekers at the 1994 AFL Grand Final.[3]


Salvation Army[edit]

In 1996 the Salvation Army used the song in TV advertisements for its Red Shield Appeal, raising funds to help people in need.


In October 2003, in conjunction with the sponsorship of the 2003 Rugby World Cup, Australian telecommunications giant Telstra launched a new campaign centered on the song remixed and performed by Lo-Tel. It is often mistakenly credited to Rai Thistlethwayte, as the vocalists sound very similar. Telstra had bought the rights to the song a number of years before. The campaign was produced by advertising company Young and Rubicam.[4][5][6]

In aid of the Farmhand Foundation's Drought Relief Appeal, Telstra released a CD of the Lo-Tel remix that sold for $6. A total of $100,000 was raised from the profits ($4.05 per CD) generated from the sale of the CD. The actual published copy of the CD credits "Performed by: Rai Thistlewayte & other artists" and "Music re-arranged by: Rai Thistlewayte"

In 2008, Telstra used a different version of the song recorded by the Sydney band, Botanics, for advertising their mobile coverage of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.


In 2009 two additional verses were added to show remembrance during the official National Day of Mourning for the victims of the Black Saturday bushfires.[7] Woodley performed the song along with his daughter Clare and Kinglake fire survivors Merelyn and David Carter during the memorial service at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on 22 February.[8][9]

Bushfire Edition Lyrics[edit]

There are no words of comfort
That can hope to ease the pain
Of losing homes and loved ones
The memories will remain.
Within the silent tears you'll find
The strength to carry on
You're not alone
We are with you
We are Australian
There are so many heroes
Who's stories must be told
They fought the raging fires of hell
And saved so many souls.
From the ashes of despair
Our towns will rise again.
We mourn your loss
We will rebuild
We are Australian

Cover versions[edit]


"I Am Australian"
Single by Judith Durham, Russell Hitchcock & Mandawuy Yunupingu
Released January 1997
Format CD Single
Recorded 1997
Label EMI Australia

"I Am Australian" was released in 1997 by trio Judith Durham (of The Seekers), Russell Hitchcock (from Air Supply) and Yothu Yindi's Mandawuy Yunupingu. EMI Australia released the single and it reached number 17 on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart.[10]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 17


"I Am Australian"
Single by Dami Im, Jessica Mauboy, Justice Crew, Nathaniel Willemse, Samantha Jade and Taylor Henderson featuring John Foreman
Released 24 January 2014 (2014-01-24)
Format Digital download
Recorded January 2014
Length 3:36


Dami Im singles chronology
"I Am Australian"
"Jolene (Acoustic)"
Jessica Mauboy singles chronology
"I Am Australian"
"Never Be the Same"
Justice Crew singles chronology
"I Am Australian"
"Que Sera"
Nathaniel Willemse singles chronology
"I Am Australian"
"You're Beautiful"
Samantha Jade singles chronology
"I Am Australian"
Taylor Henderson singles chronology
"Borrow My Heart"
"I Am Australian"
"When You Were Mine"

"I Am Australian" was covered in 2014 by Dami Im, Jessica Mauboy, Justice Crew, Nathaniel Willemse, Samantha Jade and Taylor Henderson, with John Foreman on piano.[11] Sony Music Australia released their cover as a single on 24 January 2014, as part of Sydney's Australia Day celebrations.[11]

On recording the song, the artists' said: [12]

  • Jessica Mauboy: “WOW…. what a song. What an honour. I love Australia Day and I am so thrilled to be a part of this recording. It was such an amazing experience recording the song I and cannot wait to sing it again live on beautiful Sydney Harbour.”
  • Samantha Jade: “I just love this song. It really embodies the Australian spirit of inclusivity and it sends out a message that no matter where you were born or what colour your skin is, we all enjoy celebrating being Australian.”
  • Justice Crew: “What an honour it is to be a part of this recording. We used to sing this song at school assembly and now to be a part of the special Sony Music recording with some of the best singers in the country is such a buzz.”
  • Nathaniel: “Being born in South Africa and then moving to Australia at 6 years old, to now being a part of this very patriotic and special day is amazing. To be singing one of the most iconic songs of Australia and to be releasing it amongst other featured incredible artists is a privilege and an absolute honour and I am so grateful to be a part of it.”
  • Dami Im: “What a unique and wonderful collaboration to be a part of. ‘I Am Australian’ is such a patriotic song that represents togetherness and the Australian spirit and what better way to celebrate this than through music.”
  • Taylor Henderson: “It is such an amazing experience to work alongside the Sony family on such a special release. A year ago I was a proud Australian singing this song with my family and now to be a part of this official recording with my name alongside the other amazing talents on the record is such an honour. This song is so typically Australian and I am so proud to be a part of it.”

A live video is available for the Take 40! website site of the artists singing the song on floating stage in the middle of Sydney harbour[13]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 51 [14]

Other recorded versions[edit]

  • 1996 Stewart Peters
  • 1999 The Goanna Gang
  • 1999 Aussie Bush Band
  • 2003 Jeff Turner
  • 2006 Travis Collins
  • 2006 Bruce McCumstie
  • 2008 Lazy Harry
  • 2009 Dobe Newton
  • 2009 Yabu_Band
  • 2011 The Bushwackers
  • 2011 Danny Elliott
  • 2012 Brian Sutton


  1. ^ http://www.bungareeps.vic.edu.au/uploads/1/0/3/0/10300962/i_am_australian.pdf
  2. ^ Grant McArthur (February 11, 2011). "Jeff Kennett wants national anthem change". The Advertiser. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  3. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v22SPtCFck8
  4. ^ "Y&R gets bite of Telstra mobile". B&T. 5 November 2003. 
  5. ^ "Telstra plays patriot games at the Cup". B&T. 27 November 2003. 
  6. ^ "Lee accepts $100,000 Farmhand donation from Telstra". Outbackclub - Lee Kernaghan. Archived from the original on 24 July 2005. Retrieved 15 May 2005. 
  7. ^ "Promising to remember". Melbourne Herald Sun. 23 February 2009. 
  8. ^ Johnston, Chris (23 February 2009). "National tribute to Victoria's bushfire victims". Adelaide Independent Weekly. 
  9. ^ Hamilton, John (23 February 2009). "United in Sorrow". Melbourne Herald Sun. 
  10. ^ "Judith Durham, Russell Hitchcock & Mandawuy Yunupingu – I Am Australian". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "iTunes – Music – I Am Australian (feat. John Foreman) – Single by Various Artists". iTunes Store. Apple. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  12. ^ "I am Australian 2014". Spotlight Report. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  13. ^ "I am Australian". Take 40! Australian. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  14. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Dami Im, Jessica Mauboy, Justice Crew, Nathaniel, Samantha Jade & Taylor Henderson feat.John Foreman". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 29 September 2014.