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National Anthem


The Australian National Anthem, proclaimed in 1984, identifies Australia at home and overseas. It unites the nation and is a public expression of joy and pride in being Australian.

The Australian National Anthem is used at important public ceremonies, sporting and community events.


In 1973 a competition was held for a distinctively Australian national anthem.

The Australian National Anthem Quest was run in two stages by the Australia Council for the Arts.

The first stage for lyrics attracted more than 1400 entries. The second stage for music received 1200 entries.

A prize of $5,000 was offered for each stage.

The judges decided the entries did not meet the high standards of Australia’s traditional songs ‘Advance Australia Fair’, ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and ‘Song of Australia’.

The Australia Council for the Arts recommended the final choice for the national anthem should be made from these three songs.

The Bureau of Statistics ran a national poll of 60 000 people. ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was favoured by 51.4 per cent of the people followed by ‘Waltzing Matilda’ (19.6 per cent).

The original composition of 'Advance Australia Fair' was written by Peter Dodds McCormick in 1878 and consisted of four verses.

In 1974 ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was adopted as the Australian National Anthem; however in 1976 ‘God Save The Queen’ was reinstated.

In 1977 the Australian Electoral Office conducted a poll for the national anthem tune in conjunction with a referendum. The tune ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was the preferred option.

In 1981 the National Australia Day Council recommended that the Australian National Anthem consist of two verses of ‘Advance Australia Fair ‘with some modification.


In 1984 the Australian National Anthem, consisting of the tune of ‘Advance Australia Fair’ and the verses as drafted by the National Australia Day Council, was proclaimed. Using the Australian National Anthem

All Australians are encouraged to sing the Australian National Anthem. As an important national symbol it should be treated with respect and dignity. There are protocols for use of the Australian National Anthem.

The Commonwealth owns copyright in the words of the Australian National Anthem as proclaimed. It also holds copyright to particular arrangements of music of the Australian National Anthem, which are available for download on this section of the site. As copyright owner the Commonwealth makes the Australian National Anthem freely available for use within the community for non-commercial purposes.

While permission is not required to use, perform or record the Australian National Anthem for non-commercial purposes, there is a requirement to seek permission for commercial use of the anthem. The words and music are in the public domain.