An anthem for ALL Australians

Yil Lull means “sing” in Kuku Yalanji language from North Queensland. The same language that kangaroo comes from.

My song, Yil Lull was composed as a dedication to the Aboriginal flag and I believe that it is time — some 43 years after the flag was designed that it should also have a song. I believe the flag unites Aboriginal and Islander people across Australia and my song will give voice to that pride and unity. There has been growing disquiet that the current anthem does not acknowledge our First Nation People – my anthem is one that gives the full history and acknowledgment to all.

I’m not asking for Advance Australia Fair to be replaced but to be played with it just as our flags fly together, so should our anthem — just as South Africa and New Zealand have done in acknowledging that black and white are living together but also acknowledging the First Nation Peoples. The second verse of Advance Australia Fair speaks of welcoming people from across the seas.

“When words fail, music speaks”.

By combining the two songs it sends a strong message that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have much to share with our multicultural society. By honoring both flags within our national anthem, acknowledgement is given that we are respected in our country as the first people, with a culture that spans more than 40,000 years. Music is a universal language and can heal the misinformation and prejudices that exist.

It is time for a change. Our national anthem should reflect our present situation in this great land. The current Anthem states that we are “young and free”. But we are not young. We are at least 40,000 years old. Our country did not start when white people arrived. We need to acknowledge that in our flag and our song so that all Australians can embrace knowledge and understanding of each other.

There have been many people who have supported this journey from the beginning, Adele McBride in 2012 who was the electoral officer for our Federal MP when we lived in Melbourne to Stella Savvy in Ballarat who took it on with gusto – teaching the kids at the local primary school where it was launched in 2013 to an audience that was visibly moved.

More recently I have been privileged to be working on it with my now dear friend, music professor, Phil Graham. Phil and I travelled to Palm Island and recorded the kids singing this version and they sang it enthusiastically (especially the Yil Lull verse).

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the generous support of Jennifer Matthews and Paul Harris from Big Note Productions where I recorded my last CD (North, South, East & West) – who really embraced my idea of a combined anthem. They generously spent many hours doing the amazing arrangements and provided two full days free of charge in their studio (and many, many more hours mixing and producing). I am indebted to all these wonderful people and thank them for their belief in my dream.