Great Southern Land by Icehouse – it’s Australia’s unofficial anthem according to Tourism Australia, which has collaborated with Qantas and Iva Davies, lead singer of Icehouse, to create an online video clip to celebrate the song’s 30th anniversary.
Australian anthems have been up in the air recently, following the bombshell a few weeks ago when Qantas announced it would replace its longstanding I Still Call Australia Home advertising soundtrack with a new song called Atlas, by Silverchair’s Daniel Johns.
Now another song has emerged. Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy says the iconic Icehouse song Great Southern Land “provides a natural platform to showcase why there’s nothing like Australia to the rest of the world.
“For the past 30 years Great Southern Land has been an inspirational and positive anthem for our country. This clip will be shared with online audiences over the world including with Tourism Australia’s 3.4 million Facebook fans – to reignite some of the passion and emotional connection that people feel towards Australia when they hear this song,” McEvoy said.
“We know from research that more and more travellers are turning to word-of-mouth and online media for holiday inspiration and collaborating with advocates like Iva Davies and our 160 Friends of Australia ambassadors is a powerful way for Tourism Australia to reach new audiences.”
Created specifically for online media, the clip features landmarks across the country such as Uluru, Kangaroo Island, Perth’s Cottesloe Beach and Rottnest Island, Parliament House in Canberra, Federation Square and Degraves Lane in Melbourne, Sydney’s Bondi Beach, Chinatown and Taronga Zoo, Tasmania’s spectacular coastline and Crystal Cascades in Tropical North Queensland.
The clip is a tribute from everyday characters across Australia and celebrated musicians, including Eskimo Joe, Katie Noonan, Cut Copy, Muscles, Jonathan Boulet, Young Talent Time, Van She, The Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and more.
Icehouse frontman Davies said it was “really humbling that so many Australians including artists that I respect, have taken the time to come together to form this amazing clip for Tourism Australia, showcasing the beautiful destinations Australia has to offer the world.”
The best known Icehouse singles on the Australian charts were Great Southern Land, Hey Little Girl, Crazy, Electric Blue and My Obsession; with Top Three albums being Icehouse (1980, recorded as Flowers – the former name of Icehouse), Primitive Man (1982) and Man of Colours (1987).
The year Great Southern Land was written, Ronald Reagan became US President, Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister of Australia, a referendum was held in Tasmania on whether the Franklin Dam should be built, and Victoria decriminalised homosexual acts between consenting adults.
Davies was inspired to write Great Southern Land while on a Qantas plane flying over the vast landscape of central Australia on his way to the UK for the first time in 1981.
“There’s a real sense of the land in this song, you can see wide open plains and red earth, huge skies and isolation whenever you hear it. There is so much mystery in the music, and I think that’s what drew me to it from an early age,” said Stuart MacLeod, Eskimo Joe.
The album, Primitive Man which features the song Great Southern Land, sold over 650,000 copies when it was first released in Australia on 30 August 1982 and continues to sell, with songs from the album receiving high levels of airplay in Europe and the US every year. The anniversary edition of Primitive Man was released in July this year and contains a DVD featuring interviews and TV performance footage.
Tourism Australia’s Friends of Australia program is a global network of over 160 advocates including Collette Dinnigan, The Wiggles, Brett Lee, Dick Smith, Matt Moran and more, who act as spokespeople and ambassadors for Australia on the world stage.
The clip can be viewed at Tourism Australia’s YouTube Page: www.youtube.com/australia
Written by : Peter Needham