[Editor: Some letters to a newspaper, both for and against the playing of “Advance Australia Fair” in movie theatres and on the radio. Published in The Argus (Melbourne), 8 December 1943.]
That promoted song
Sir: I have read with mixed feelings letters of criticism because “Advance, Australia Fair,” is played at news time, and is to be played in picture theatres. I cannot understand what the objection is. Some people fear to extol Australia lest it be thought that they disparage Britain. What nonsense! One can judge a man’s love of the Motherland by his love of Australia. Any true patriot of Australia has in his heart a deep love for the Old Country. And having told our young Australians about the glories of the British grenadiers, why not teach them that Australia, the land of their birth, is the land of their future, and it is for them to help to make and keep her great. And nothing instils patriotism into a child more than singing songs in praise of his country. We still sing, and, please God, always will sing, in common with the rest of the Empire, “God Save Our King.” But that is no reason why we should not also sing a song of Australia. — Mabel Robbins (Elwood).
Sir: The thanks of the community are due to the political correspondent of The Argus for his comments on the advancement of “Advance, Australia Fair” — this genteel, commonplace, ladylike, early Victorian tune, with which our ears are to be assailed every time we seek relaxation, in addition to its daily iteration at news sessions. Its very title conjures up the vision of a backward, bashful damsel being exhorted to advance, make her bow, and say her piece nicely at a young lady’s seminary. Certainly this is not the stuff of which anthems are made! — Tillie Gerson (South Yarra).
Sir: The worst infliction of the ABC on the public is the playing of “Advance, Australia Fair,” as our national anthem. Is there no one on the ABC staff of sufficiently musical education and taste to tell them how bad it is? It is nothing but a mongrel. — B. Stewart (Toorak).
Sir: The critics who sneer at “Advance, Australia Fair,” appear to include those who decry anything Australian. If they are not satisfied with Australia Fair let them get out of it. As for the “sit-down strike” advised by one critic, I predict that the “sit-down” would last just as long as it takes any burly returned “Aussie” in the audience to reach the offender. — L. R. McMillan (Maidstone).
Sir: Why such an outcry against “Advance, Australia Fair?” To compare it with our national anthem is absurd. It is simply an Australian song of rejoicing. Both words and tune are delightful. — (Miss) Betty Douglass (Elsternwick).
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), Wednesday 8 December 1943, page 11