Friday, October 5, 2012

Advancing Australia Fair...

Most Friday mornings I can be found at my older son's school. An assembly is held in the hall and we all cram in, kids wriggling and parents clapping as the chosen class giggles their way through a performance or talks to us about spiders or football or whatever is taking up their learning time. I'm still amazed how often football is mentioned. Only in Melbourne.

We parents marvel at how tall the Grade 6's are getting and sigh over the sweet little preps. We take wobbly phone footage as the Star of the Week awards are handed out.

Advance Australia Fair always kicks off proceedings.  We all stand to attention and sing with gusto or as much gusto as you can when you're singing an anthem that's an octave too high. Then the hall launches into the second verse. Actually half the hall. Anyone over 12 stops singing and looks at their feet. The second verse?

There was no second verse in my day.  Officially there was but we didn't ever sing it.
So here, for all of you muttering through it at school events, is verse one AND two.

Australians all let us rejoice
For we are young and free
We've golden soil and wealth for all
Our home is girt by sea
Our land abounds with 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.

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.

Politicians - and voters - take note. That rather nice line about 'boundless plains to share' seems to have been a little lost in the current political climate.

By 2013 I'd like to sing it with confidence - and meet our rather stern principal in the eye when I do.

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