Posts Tagged With: Kookaburra

On: Music Down Under

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Being in Australia, I thought I should share some music. What better songs than ‘Down Under’ by the 80’s Australian band, Men at Work and a childhood favorite, The Kookaburra Song by Marion Sinclair in 1932.

“Marion Sinclair wrote the song in 1932 for a contest being held by the Victorian Girl Guides.

The competition was for an ‘Australian round’ song. Her song, the Kookaburra Song won and was introduced by Marion at the World Jamboree in Frankston, Victoria in 1934. It was instantly a hit with the girls and has become a much loved song all over the world.

This is a fun children’s song. A gum tree is a name for the eucalyptus tree. There are more gum trees than any other kind of tree in Australia.

The Kookaburra song was involved in a copyright dispute with the Aussie band Men at Work over their song (I come from the land)”

excerpt from:

The Song, ‘Come from the Land’ or simply ‘Down Under’ had a flute riff which the Australian Court ruled is an infringement of the copyrighted tune, ‘The Kookaburra Song.’ Despite the controversy between the two songs, and even former members of ‘Men at Work,’ both songs are wonderful and are shared here via YouTube videos.  But first, what does a Kookaburra look and sound like?

Now for the lyrics and followed by the video of, ‘Down Under.’

“Down Under”

© 1980 by Men at Work

written by Collin Hay and Ron Srykert

Travelling in a fried-out Kombi
On a hippie trail, head full of zombie
I met a strange lady, she made me nervous
She took me in and gave me breakfast
And she said:

“Do you come from a land down under
Where women glow and men plunder
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder
You better run, you better take cover.”

Buying bread from a man in Brussels
He was six foot four and full of muscle
I said, “Do you speak-a my language?”
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich
And he said:

“I come from a land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder
You better run, you better take cover.”

Lying in a den in Bombay
With a slack jaw, and not much to say
I said to the man, “Are you trying to tempt me?
Because I come from the land of plenty.”
And he said:

“Oh! Do you come from a land down under (oh yeah yeah)
Where women glow and men plunder
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder
You better run, you better take cover.”



Even though this video is about 14 years old and was filmed during the Olympics in 2000 in Australia, note both the familiar icons on stage and the enthusiasm of the crowd. They (the Aussies) loved this song, seem to connect to it and it was treated as an almost unauthorized national anthem.  The term Down Under is a colloquialism referring to all things Australian, New Zealand or just one or the other. it is also known as “The Land Down Under” for its position in the southern hemisphere. This is because when one looks at a map in the most common way, Antarctica at the ‘bottom’ of the page, north appears to be “up” and south; “down.”

By the way, it rained this evening then cleared off. I am not a star specialist nor do I know the difference between the big and little dipper, but the sky was full of stars and what ever ‘dipper’ I was looking at, I have never seen it appear so close!

Anyway, despite the term “down under’s” wide usage, it is rarely used by Australians themselves, many of whom regard it with some derision. Nevertheless, Australians are not above using it themselves, as exemplified by Men at Work song “Down Under” which has become a patriotic rallying song. Australia’s most famous boxing champion, Kostya Tszyu, was nicknamed as “The Thunder From Down Under”.

According to Roger Ebert, “No film set in Australia is allowed to use the word Australia in its title where “Down Under” is an acceptable alternative. For example, we don’t get The Rescuers in Australia or Quigley in Australia.”

And now for the childhood favorite the world over, The Kookaburra Song.

The Kookaburra Song

By Marion Sinclair in 1932

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
Merry merry king of the bush is he.
Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra,
Gay your life must be!

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
Eating all the gum drops he can see.
Stop Kookaburra, stop Kookaburra
Save some there for me!

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
Counting all the monkeys he can see.
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
That’s not a monkey, that’s me!

Here is another video that I thought you might also enjoy.

Categories: Aussie, Australia, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Japan, kookaburra, Music, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel, Uncategorized, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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