A National Song For Australia Felix by Banjo Paterson

A Ballad To A Promised Land

This patriotic ballad celebrates Australia as an idyllic “promised land” and beacon of freedom, painting a romantic vision of the young nation’s destiny.

Using grand rhetoric, Paterson glorifies Australia as an Eden-like asylum offering refuge to the oppressed and virtuous. Vivid pastoral imagery evokes abundance and tranquility.

The Old Bush Songs

by Banjo Patterson

He positions the country as a new beginning, an unspoiled haven safe from European troubles. References to independence, bravery and impartial laws convey noble ideals of egalitarianism and justice.

Paterson implies Australia has a providential duty to model virtue. His lavish praise of natural bounty and peace suggests divine providence has selected the land to exemplify human potential.

While exaggeratedly utopian, the song captures late 19th century nationalism striving to define Australia’s character. Paterson shapes an aspirational mythic identity as an enlightened, emancipated society and “brightest gem” in the British Empire’s crown.

So despite dated imperial overtones, “Australia Felix” insightfully expresses early hopes for the fledgling nation. Paterson’s soaring vision sings of a country destined for greatness if it lives up to lofty principles.


Dark over the face of Nature sublime!
Reign’d tyranny, warfare, and every crime;
The world a desert–no oasis green
A man-loving soul on its surface had seen;
Then mercy above a mandate sent forth
An Eden to form–a refuge for worth.
From the ocean it came, with halo so bright,
Want, strife, and oppression were lost in its sight.


First isle of the sea–brightest gem of the earth
In thee every virtue and joy shall have birth.
A land of the just, the brave, and the free,
Australia the happy, thou ever shalt be.

So earth in the flood no place for rest gave,
At length a green isle arose from the wave;
The dove o’er the waters the olive branch bore,
To show that one spot was cover’d no more;

Australia thus shall be sounded by fame,
And Europe shall echo the glorious name;
The brave, wise, and good, wherever oppress’d,
Shall fly to thy shores as a haven of rest.

Chorus: First isle of the sea, &c.

Land of the orange, fig, olive, and vine;
‘Midst earth’s fairest daughters the chaplet is thine;
No sick’ning vapours are borne on thy air,
But fragrance and melody twine sweetly there;
Thy ever-green fields proclaim plenty and peace,
If man doth his part, heaven sends the increase;
No customs to fetter, no enemy near,
Independence thy sons for ever must cheer.

Chorus: First isle of the sea, &c.

Similar Posts