Telstra sings I Am Australian

It’s Australia Day today – a public holiday for citizenship ceremonies, cricket, tennis, barbecues, lamb chops, Big Day Out, family reunions. “I Am Australian” is the name of a song written in 1987 by Bruce Woodley (The Seekers) and Dobe Newton The Bushwhackers. The song was written as part of the preparations for the Australian Bicentenary of permanent white settlement in 1988.

Sports fans sing We are One in Telstra TV ad


“I Am Australian” is a song often taught in primary schools and would have been sung at many citizenship ceremonies this morning, alongside Advance Australia Fair, Waltzing Matilda and I Still Call Australia Home. Telstra, Australia’s national telecommunications company, worked with Singleton Ogilvy & Mather in 2002 to launch a brand campaign using a remix of “I Am Australian”, (last verse and chorus) featuring Australians from regional and urban areas. The tagline for the 90 second and 60 second ads: “It’s what brings us together that sets us apart”.

Lo-Tel sings We are Australian in Telstra TV ad

Credits

The song, sung by Australian band, Lo-Tel, was recorded for a CD raising funds for the Farmhand Foundation‘s Drought Relief Appeal.

The 2002 Telstra spot was directed by Perry Westwood, via AHT, with director of photography Danny Ruhlmann.

Within months Telstra started hearing stories of rugby fans singing “I Am Australian” at train stations and at tournaments. The company relaunched the “I Am Australian” song in association with the Rugby Union World Cup held in Australia, October – November 2003.

On November 3, 2003, Telstra released two 30 second television commercials using the “I Am Australian” song to promote the breadth of Telstra mobile phone coverage, just in time for the Melbourne Cup. This was the first campaign run by Young & Rubicam (now George Patterson Y&R).

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

Lyrics for I Am Australian

I came from the dreamtime from the dusty red soil plains
I am the ancient heart, the keeper of the flame
I stood upon the rocky shore
I watched the tall ships come
For forty thousand years I’d been the first Australian.

I came upon the prison ship bowed down by iron chains.
I cleared 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 bushy, I’m a battler
I am Australian

[chorus]

We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We share a dream and sing with one voice:
I am, you are, we are Australian
I am, you are, we are Australian.

I’m a teller of stories
I’m a singer of songs
I am Albert Namatjira
I paint the ghostly gums
I am 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

[chorus]

We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We share a dream and sing with one voice:
I am, you are, we are Australian
I am, you are, we are Australian.