At the beginning of every school parade our children stand up to sing our National Anthem, Advance Australia Fair. I get teary when I hear it. When I started school, we still sang God Save The Queen. I never liked it. It just didn’t seem right. It just never touched a chord with me. I get goosebumps when I hear the poem I Love a Sunburnt Country by Dorothea Mackellar and teary when I hear the song, I Am Australian by Bruce Woodley (of The Seekers fame). I get a lump in my throat when I hear Advance Australia Fair. It is just that way with me.
I recall one day before our very first parade. My son ( whom we affectionately call Bieber…yeah I know it just kinda stuck) came home from school, spouting that he had proudly learned all the words to Advance Australia Fair. The Grade One class had been practising in preparation for their first parade and he was so very excited to share that with us. After the first line was delivered I was sure I had heard wrong but did not want to spoil his proud moment and so said nothing. I was sure he had sung ‘Australians all are ostriches’. The first line of Advance Australia Fair is: Australians all let us rejoice. OK, I can see how that sounds similar. In the hustle and bustle of the afternoon,ostriches were soon forgotten.
Roll on first parade. I was right. My son stood up. He proudly and very loudly sang ‘Australians all are ostriches’. A stifled giggle erupted from the crowd around us. To understand the moment fully let me tell you this: I was, at the time, the Preschool teacher.
This moment then took me back to Red’s first full blown church mass. He naturally thought that at the end of the Lord’s Prayer we said our surname. It kind of sounds like Amen. It sounds great at the top of your lungs too. He was 4.
Why am I telling you this?
Fast forward to the present. Bieber graduated from primary school this week and is off to high school next year. It seems like in the course of the last 7 days he has cast off the child and emerged as a young man. On Tuesday, we attended a Graduation ceremony with photos of the children now and as Grade One students displayed, a gorgeous cake, speeches, photo booth and a disco. A very emotional final school parade was held yesterday. We sang the National Anthem. The whole school, as is tradition, made an archway with their outstretched arms for the seniors to walk through out to the school gates. The seniors did a flash mob and got up and sang “School’s out for summer, school’s out for ever’ . I was teary. No suprise there. It only seems like yesterday that my son was singing ‘Australians all are ostriches’.
- Dorothea Mackellar wrote this when she was 19 years old. Awesome (margoforte12.wordpress.com)
- Why is Australia called a wide brown land (wiki.answers.com)
- Kids told to join Team Australia (heraldsun.com.au)