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The Australian National Anthem identifies Australia at home and overseas and is used at official and public ceremonies and sporting and community events. 

Download the updated 2021 words for the Australian National Anthem (DOCX- 50KB).


The original composition of ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was written by Peter Dodds McCormick in 1878 and was four verses long.

In 1973 the Australia Council for the Arts held the Australian National Anthem Quest competition to find the lyrics and music for a new Australian national anthem.

The competition received more than 1400 entries for lyrics and 1200 entries for music, but 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’.

As a result, 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 then ran a national poll of 60 000 people, which found ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was favoured by 51.4 per cent of people, followed by ‘Waltzing Matilda’ (19.6 per cent).

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

In 1977 the Australian Electoral Office conducted another poll, which again found ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was the preferred anthem (43.6 per cent), followed by ‘Waltzing Matilda (28.45 percent).

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

On 19 April 1984 the then Governor-General, the Rt Hon Sir Ninian M Stephen KG AK GCMG GCVO KBE, proclaimed the Australian National Anthem the tune of ‘Advance Australia Fair’ and the verses drafted by the National Australia Day Council.

Rehearsal of women’s chorus concert

From 1 January 2021, the words of the second line of the Australian National Anthem were amended from ‘For we are young and free’ to ‘For we are one and free’, by Proclamation made by the Governor General, General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), on the Government’s advice.

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On Thursday 29 February 2024 the Australian Values Program and its online engagement channels will be closed. We would like to thank everyone who shared their stories or engaged with the Australian Values Program in its three years of operation through the website, X, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

The values will continue to hold their place in our diverse and inclusive community through other initiatives, as well as playing an integral part of the visa application process and Australian Citizenship test. For more info visit the Australian Values page.