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The song of Australia
Title : The song of Australia The song of Australia View More Images
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Creator : Linger, Carl, 1810-1862
Place Of Creation : Adelaide
Publisher : Frearson & Brother
Date of creation : [1878]
Additional Creator : Carleton, Caroline, 1820-1874
Format : Sheet music
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

Music to express national pride is sometimes written specifically for that purpose, and sometimes adopted as patriotic due to the context or environment in which it is performed. In Australia, especially during the 19th century when many of the population were of British origin, a devoted patriotism was often felt for the 'Mother country', England.

As Australia moved from colonialism to Federation, along with participation in foreign wars and changing patterns of migration, its patriotic music changed to reflect an independent Australia rather than a grouping of British colonies.

Most Australian music of this genre appears to have been inspired by the actions of Australians on the battlefield. However many patriotic songs were produced as a result of competitions, often run as a search for the definitive national song. In 1859 South Australia's Gawler Institute conducted a competition for an Australian anthem. This was more than 40 years before Australian Federation in 1901. The song of Australia won the competition. The Institute awarded cash prizes to Caroline Carleton for the words and to Carl Linger for the music. With her husband and two children, Caroline Carleton had arrived in South Australia from England in 1839. German born conductor and composer Linger had migrated to the colony in 1849.

For several generations South Australians sang this rousing anthem at school and the song was performed at many official functions. Attempts were made to have it recognised as Australia's official national song but without success. In 1984 Advance Australia fair was proclaimed as the national anthem. For more information see SA Memory: SA Music, Music and song.

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View our record on Music Australia
Coverage year : [1878]
Period : 1852-1883,1884-1913
Further reading :

From Colonel Light into the footlights : the performing arts in South Australia from 1836 to the present Norwood, S. Aust. : Pagel Books, 1988

Holmes, Robyn The collector's book of sheet music covers, Canberra : National Library of Australia, 2001

Wallace, Ronald A V Our great patriotic song : the "Song of Australia" [Adelaide, S. Aust.] : Carl Linger Memorial Committee, [1999]

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