My Island Home

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"My Island Home"
1987 single cover
Single by Warumpi Band
from the album Go Bush
B-side "Didjeridoo Blue"
Released 1987
Format Single
Recorded 1986
Genre Rock
Length 4:58
Label Parole
Writer(s) Neil Murray
Warumpi Band singles chronology
"My Island Home"
"No Fear"
Christine Anu chronology
"Monkey and the Turtle"
"My Island Home"

"My Island Home" is popularly believed to be a song about Australia. However, it was written by Neil Murray and originally performed by the Warumpi Band in reference to their lead singer's (George Burarrwanga) home up at Elcho Island off the coast of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory as said by Neil Murray's Site.[1][2] It was recorded in 1986 and released as a single from their second album, Go Bush in 1987 by Parole Records. It was later covered by Christine Anu in 1995 who had been a backing vocalist in Neil Murray and The Rainmakers during 1992–1993. "My Island Home" won 'Song of the Year' at the 1995 Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) Awards for Anu's reworked version of the song.[2][3] It was also listed in APRA Top 30 Australian songs of all time in 2001.[4]

Warumpi Band version[edit]

Neil Murray, lead vocalist and guitarist for Warumpi Band, recalls writing the song:

My Island Home came to me on a bus one night in June 1985 [...] I had been living in the deserts of Central Australia for some six years [...] I had spent a week with our singer, George, at his home at Galiwinku in Arnhem Land. We camped on a remote part of the island with his family and had been living like kings on bush tucker and sea food caught by ourselves [...] I had to leave and make trips to Melbourne and Sydney in mid-winter to promote the band [...] I suffered an exceptional longing to be back in a boat on a tropical sea. The words came to me [...] I had no notebook with me. I held on to the tune till I got to Sydney and pulled my guitar out of the luggage to find the chords.[5][6]

— Neil Murray

It was first recorded in 1986 and released on the Warumpi Band's second album Go Bush by Parole Records in 1987.[5] Rrurrumbu would later record a version of it in the Gumatj language for his debut solo album Nerbu Message.[6]

Christine Anu version[edit]

"Island Home"
Single by Christine Anu
from the album Stylin' Up
B-side "Kulba Yaday"
Released January 1995
Format CD single
Recorded 1994
Genre World
Length 3:51
Label Parole
Writer(s) Neil Murray
Producer(s) David Bridie
Christine Anu singles chronology
"Monkey and the Turtle"
"Island Home"

In January 1995, Christine Anu released a version of the song as the second single from her debut studio album, Stylin' Up. Anu, a Torres Strait Islander, changed some lyrics to reflect her circumstances.[7] e.g.: Rather than moving to the desert, she compares island life to the city life, and from the point of view of a female.

At the 1995 APRA Awards, "My Island Home" won Song of the Year.[3] At the ARIA Music Awards of 1995, "Island Home" was nominated for ARIA Award for Song of the Year, but lost to "Chains" by Tina Arena.

It was voted at number 47 in the Triple J Hottest 100, 1995.

Anu performed the song at the closing ceremony for the 2000 Summer Olympics. The song was also listed in APRA Top 30 Australian songs of all time in 2001.[4]

Anu re-recorded the song for her second album Come My Way in 2001, subtitled "Earth Beat", which removed the echoed effects during the choruses, but added subtle synth effects and more prominent guitar during the song, making it sound more rhythmic and polished, whereas the original was driven more with a drum beat.


Chart (1995) Peak
Australia (ARIA) 67


Aboriginal band Tiddas has also recorded a version of the song for the Radiance soundtrack.[6]


  1. ^ ""My Island Home" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  2. ^ a b Schwartz, Larry (2005-03-06). "Wondering and wandering far yet deeply rooted". The Age. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  3. ^ a b "APRA/AMCOS: Previous Winners 'APRA Song of the Year'". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). 2001-05-02. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  4. ^ a b Kruger, Debbie (2001-05-02). "The songs that resonate through the years" (PDF). Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  5. ^ a b Jenkins, Jeff; Ian Meldrum (2007). "40 Great Australian songs". Molly Meldrum presents 50 years of rock in Australia. Melbourne: Wilkinson Publishing. p. 294. ISBN 978-1-921332-11-1. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  6. ^ a b c "Neil Murray song list". Neil Murray official website. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  7. ^ Undercover "Christine Anu interview"