Songs About Australians: Celebrating the Culture and Spirit of the Land Down Under

Songs About Australians
Written by Corey Morgan

Songs about Australians have been written and performed by many artists over the years, each with their own unique take on the country and its people. These songs often touch on themes such as the vastness of the land, the laid-back lifestyle, and the country’s rich cultural heritage. Some of the most iconic songs about Australians have become cultural touchstones, celebrated for their ability to capture the essence of the country and its people.

One of the most famous songs about Australians is “Waltzing Matilda,” a folk ballad that tells the story of a swagman who steals a sheep and is pursued by the police. The song has become an unofficial national anthem of sorts, and is often sung at sporting events and other patriotic occasions.

Other notable songs about Australians include “Down Under” by Men at Work, which celebrates the country’s natural beauty and easygoing way of life, and “I Am Australian” by The Seekers, which pays tribute to the country’s diverse cultural heritage.

Historical Context of Australian Songs

Aboriginal Songlines

Aboriginal Songlines are the traditional songs of Australia’s indigenous people, which have been passed down for generations and are still sung today.

These songs reflect the deep spiritual connection that Aboriginal people have with the land and the environment around them. They often tell stories of creation, ancestors, and the natural world.

Aboriginal Songlines are an important part of Australia’s cultural heritage, and many contemporary Australian musicians have incorporated elements of these songs into their work.

For example, the band Yothu Yindi, which formed in the 1980s, blended traditional Aboriginal music with rock and roll to create a unique sound that helped to popularize indigenous music in Australia and around the world.

Colonial Era Ballads

During the colonial era, many songs were written about life in Australia. These ballads often romanticized the country’s rugged landscapes, and portrayed the struggles and triumphs of the early settlers. Many of these songs were written by British musicians who had never been to Australia, and as a result, they often portrayed a somewhat idealized version of life in the country.

One of the most famous colonial-era ballads is “Waltzing Matilda,” which was written by Banjo Paterson in 1895. The song tells the story of a swagman (a wandering laborer) who steals a sheep and is pursued by the police.

The song has become an iconic symbol of Australian identity, and is often sung at sporting events and other public gatherings.

Overall, Australian songs have played an important role in shaping the country’s cultural identity. From traditional Aboriginal Songlines to colonial-era ballads, these songs reflect the rich history and diverse cultural heritage of Australia.

Genres of Australian Songs

Country Music

Country music has a long history in Australia, with many iconic artists emerging from the genre. Australian country music often features themes of rural life, love, and heartbreak. Some of the most popular Australian country music artists include Slim Dusty, Kasey Chambers, and Lee Kernaghan.

Australian country music has also seen a rise in popularity in recent years, with artists like Keith Urban and Morgan Evans achieving international success. Many Australian country music festivals, such as the Tamworth Country Music Festival, attract large crowds and showcase the best of the genre.

Rock and Pop

Rock and pop music are also popular genres in Australia, with many iconic bands and artists emerging from the country. Australian rock music has a distinct sound, often featuring heavy guitar riffs and catchy choruses. Some of the most famous Australian rock bands include AC/DC, INXS, and Midnight Oil.

Pop music has also seen success in Australia, with artists like Kylie Minogue and Sia achieving international fame. The Australian music industry has a strong focus on fostering emerging talent, with many local music competitions and festivals providing a platform for new artists to showcase their work.


Hip-hop is a relatively new genre in Australia, but has quickly gained popularity in recent years. Australian hip-hop often features themes of social justice and cultural identity, with artists like Hilltop Hoods and Briggs leading the way. The genre has also seen a rise in female representation, with artists like Tkay Maidza and Sampa the Great gaining critical acclaim.

Australian hip-hop has a unique sound, often blending elements of traditional Indigenous music with modern beats and rhythms. The genre has also been influenced by American hip-hop, with many Australian artists collaborating with international stars.

Iconic Australian Songwriters

Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly is one of the most prominent Australian songwriters. He has been active in the music industry since the 1970s and has released over 20 studio albums. Kelly’s music is known for its storytelling and his lyrics often explore themes related to Australian culture and history.

Some of his most popular songs include “To Her Door,” “Dumb Things,” and “From Little Things Big Things Grow.” Kelly has won numerous awards for his music, including several ARIA Awards and an induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

Nick Cave

Nick Cave is a renowned Australian musician, songwriter, and author. He is best known for his work as the frontman of the band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Cave’s music is characterized by its dark and brooding themes, often exploring topics such as religion, death, and love.

Some of his most popular songs include “Red Right Hand,” “The Mercy Seat,” and “Into My Arms.” Cave has also worked on several film soundtracks, including “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and “The Proposition.


Sia is an Australian singer, songwriter, and record producer. She began her music career in the 1990s as a member of the band Crisp, before launching a successful solo career.

Sia’s music is known for its powerful vocals and emotional lyrics. Some of her most popular songs include “Chandelier,” “Elastic Heart,” and “Cheap Thrills.” In addition to her work as a musician, Sia has also written songs for other artists, including Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Katy Perry.

Songs That Shaped Australia

Australia has a rich music history, and many songs have helped shape the country’s identity. Here are three songs that have had a significant impact on Australian culture.

Waltzing Matilda

“Waltzing Matilda” is Australia’s unofficial national anthem and is known and loved by many Australians. The song tells the story of a swagman who steals a sheep and is pursued by the police. Rather than be caught, he jumps into a billabong and drowns himself. The song has become a symbol of the Australian spirit of independence and defiance.

Down Under

“Down Under” by Men at Work is one of the most famous Australian songs of all time. Released in 1981, it quickly became an international hit and reached number one in several countries. The song celebrates Australian culture and includes references to Vegemite, kangaroos, and the Great Barrier Reef. The iconic flute riff is instantly recognizable and is still played at sporting events and parties across the country.

Beds are Burning

Beds are Burning” by Midnight Oil is a protest song that was released in 1987. The song draws attention to the issue of land rights for Indigenous Australians and calls for action to be taken to address the injustices they have faced. The song was a huge success both in Australia and internationally and helped bring the issue of Indigenous rights to the forefront of public consciousness.

These three songs are just a small sample of the many songs that have helped shape Australia’s culture and identity. They continue to be celebrated and enjoyed by Australians today.

The Impact of Australian Songs Globally

Australian music has had a significant impact on the global music scene. From the early days of AC/DC and INXS to the modern era of Tame Impala and Sia, Australian artists have consistently produced music that resonates with audiences around the world.

One of the most notable examples of this impact is the success of Australian artists on the charts. In the United States, Australian acts have had 24 number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including Men at Work’s “Down Under,” Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical,” and Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” In the United Kingdom, Australian artists have had 30 number one hits on the UK Singles Chart, including Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” and Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn.”

Australian music has also had a significant impact on popular culture. From the iconic soundtracks of Baz Luhrmann’s films to the use of Australian music in American television shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scrubs, Australian music has become a ubiquitous presence in entertainment media.

Additionally, Australian music festivals like Splendour in the Grass and Laneway have become major international events, attracting music fans from around the world.


In conclusion, there are many songs that celebrate Australian culture and its people. These songs often highlight the unique qualities of the country and its inhabitants, whether it’s the rugged landscape, laid-back lifestyle, or the fighting spirit of the people.

Some of the most popular songs about Australians include “Down Under” by Men at Work, “Waltzing Matilda” by Banjo Paterson, and “True Blue” by John Williamson. These songs have become iconic representations of Australian culture both at home and abroad.

While there are many other songs that celebrate Australians, these three songs are particularly noteworthy for their catchy melodies, memorable lyrics, and enduring popularity. They have become a part of the national identity and are often played at sporting events, festivals, and other cultural events.

Overall, songs about Australians are an important part of the country’s cultural heritage and continue to be a source of pride and inspiration for many Australians. Whether it’s celebrating the country’s unique qualities or paying tribute to its people, these songs are a testament to the enduring spirit of Australia and its people.