HMS on the southerly winds

3 January 2019, 9:58 pm; I was born here. My parents were not. I have been asked many times where I am from, or what is my nationality. I always answer Australian, but the colour of my skin is not white. I am fair skinned, sort of. I seem to cause a cognitive dissonance in those that behold my appearance as my physical features do not resemble those of the natives nor the colonists.

I like to say that I am a hybrid, or a crossbreed, because English is the only language over which I have any semblance of mastery, and it amuses me to use these anthropomorphic terms to describe myself. In my mother’s language, though, I am a mestiza.

Cool word. I really like it. But still.. ‘Australian’ is never a good enough answer to those that query my nationality. I was born here, I have lived here my whole life, I have the appropriate accent and also the quintessential sociocultural characteristics that one may use to (somewhat broadly) define an ‘Aussie’.

Yesterday, John Butler sang my name. The Seekers sing my place.

Here, my song I share with you tonight.


I came from the dream-time
From the dusty red-soil plains
I am the ancient heart
The keeper of the flame
I stood upon the rocky shores
I watched the tall ships come
For forty thousand years I’ve been
The first Australian
I came upon the prison ship
Bowed down by iron chains
I bought the land, endured the lash
And waited for the rains
I’m a settler, I’m a farmer’s wife
On a dry and barren run
A convict, then a free man
I became Australian
I’m the daughter of a digger
Who sought the mother lode
The girl became a woman
On the long and dusty road
I’m a child of the Depression
I saw the good times come
I’m a bushie, I’m a battler
I am Australian
We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We’ll share a dream and sing with one voice
I am, you are, we are Australian
I’m a teller of stories
I’m a singer of songs
I am Albert Namatjira
And I paint the ghostly gums
I’m Clancy on his horse
I’m Ned Kelly on the run
I’m the one who waltzed Matilda
I am Australian
I’m the hot wind from the desert
I’m the black soil of the plains
I’m the mountains and the valleys
I’m the drought and flooding rains
I am the rock, I am the sky
The rivers when they run
The spirit of this great land
I am Australian
We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We’ll share a dream and sing with one voice
“I am, you are, we are Australian”
“I am, you are, we are Australian”

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