‘For we are one and free’: Australian anthem changes to recognise Indigenous history

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One word changed, thousand of years of history recognised.

Advance Australia Fair will change from January 1, 2021, and Australians will no longer be referred to as “young” in the national anthem.

Instead, Aussies will be “one”.

The change will see a minor tweak to the second line of the anthem.

“For we are young and free” will now be “for we are one and free”.

Change to Advance Australia Fair

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday announced that the lyric change had been long sought and finally signed off by Governor-General David Hurley.

“While Australia as a modern nation may be relatively young, our country’s story is ancient, as are the stories of the many First Nations peoples whose stewardship we rightly acknowledge and respect,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“In the spirit of unity, it is only right that we ensure our national anthem reflects this truth and shared appreciation.”

Morrison said the change also reflects the “the united effort that has always enabled us to prevail as a nation”, demonstrated particularly in 2020.

Advance Australian Fair, composed by Peter Dodds McCormick and first performed in 1878, was adopted as the national anthem after a plebiscite in 1977.

It’s not the first time the lyrics have changed.

The original version began, “Australia’s sons let us rejoice”, rather than the current, “Australians all let us rejoice”.

It also paid tribute to “gallant” Captain James Cook and his “British courage”.

Full lyrics of Advance Australia Fair

VERSE ONE

Australians all let us rejoice,

For we are one and free;

We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil;

Our home is girt by sea;

Our land abounds in nature’s gifts

Of beauty rich and rare;

In history’s page, let every stage

Advance Australia Fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing,

Advance Australia Fair.

VERSE TWO

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross

We’ll toil with hearts and hands;

To make this Commonwealth of ours

Renowned of all the lands;

For those who’ve come across the seas

We’ve boundless plains to share;

With courage let us all combine

To Advance Australia Fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing,

Advance Australia Fair.

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