"Advance, Australia Fair"
Written by Scottish-born composer Peter Dodds McCormick and first performed in1878, Advance Australia Fair was officially declared the national anthem by the Governor-General, Sir Ninian Stephen, on 19 April 1984. This version is one of the earliest recordings, thought to be made in 1915, when Australian troops were landing in Egypt.
Despite it’s status as the official national anthem, Waltzing Matilda (1895), a more uplifting tune with lyrics by Banjo Paterson telling the story of a criminal stealing a sheep, is still widely regarded as Australia’s ‘unofficial’ national anthem.
The landing of the Australian troops in Egypt
This commercial sound recording includes what might be the first recorded version of 'Advance Australia Fair', the song that became Australia's national anthem. In music and drama, this production recreates the 1914 arrival of the Australian troops in Egypt, before their departure for Gallipoli. It may have been aimed at giving those on the home front a sense of the soldiers’ lives. The recording is very celebratory and full of pride at the role Australia was playing in the Great War.