No Australian anthem, says musician
“There is no Australian national anthem,” said Mr George Limb, of Hobart, referring yesterday to recent discussion of the suitability of “Advance, Australia Fair” as an anthem.
Mr Limb, who is the Tasmanian representative on the Australian Musical Examination Bd., and who usually conducts the combined schools’ choir at Hobart, said that for some months he had listened to scores of angry protests by persons who objected to any suggestion that audiences should stand when “that very ordinary song,” “Advance, Australia Fair,” was played.
The manager of one Hobart theatre, he said, had informed him that as few stood while the song was played he had discontinued presenting it.
Referring to what he termed the undue prominence given to the song, Mr Limb said it was difficult to understand. It was played in theatres, and usually immediately before Australian news broadcasts.
“Unlike ‘Waltzing Matilda’; it has not the right Australian ‘smack’ for the first eight bars (with the exception of four notes) are a repetition of the first four bars of a German folk song. “The Wonderful Inn,’” said Mr Limb.
“I know that some leading musicians of Australia consider ‘The Song of Australia’ the best national song, and Dr Thomas Wood, in his ‘Cobbers,’ says the only true Australian song is ‘Waltzing Matilda.’
“As a national anthem is a musical composition with words adopted officially, for ceremonial use, let us see that such a national song is not foisted on us by repetition.”
Mr Limb suggested that the Australian Broadcasting Commission be requested to play “Waltzing Matilda” daily at 7 pm, before the Australian news. If it were played gaily, as suggested by Dr Wood, it would make an excellent introduction to the news.
As an alternative, one of the three national songs, “Song of Australia,” “Advance Australia Fair,” and “Waltzing Matilda,” could be played in turn.
“The proprietors of picture theatres concerned should be requested to play ‘God Save the King,’ ” added Mr Limb. “This is the only national anthem recognised in all parts of the Empire. Let us stand for that alone.”
The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.), Wednesday 27 January 1943, page 5