Year 3 students explore history and inclusion with ‘new’ verses for ‘I am Australian’

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18 April 2023

As part of developing their understanding of inclusion and how to connect with others, Year 3 students at St Mary’s School, Malvern East, have created three new and moving verses to The Seekers’ iconic song ‘I am Australian’.

Principal Shane Tobin said the project came out of a class focus on how cultural traditions such as music contribute to the development of personal, group and national identities, and how understandings between culturally diverse groups can be encouraged and improved.

‘The lyrics they have developed are powerful and thought-provoking, demonstrating the tremendous capabilities of our young people if given rich learning opportunities’, he said.

Mr Tobin said that, as a Catholic school, St Mary’s aimed to extend students with opportunities to develop holistically as young people who will go on to make a positive difference in their communities.

‘By using the stimulus of the original song, and after studying the historical contexts, the students identified some dimensions of Australia’s First Nation and migrant heritage they believed should be represented, and set about workshopping the three additional verses.

‘The project provided a deep learning experience for the students, stretching their knowledge, creativity and empathy, while working collaboratively in a team.

‘I congratulate teachers Elizabeth Carney, Anne McDonald and Michelle Ritchie for their hard work and expertise in extending their Year 3 students in this way.’

The students recently performed their version of the song at school assembly. See the ‘new’ lyrics for verses 3, 4 and 5 below.

Verse 3
We came from sunny Italy
On an old and rusty boat
We left to get a better life
Because the war had left us broke
After eight weeks on the waters
We landed on your shore
We learnt to speak your language
And we are Australian

Verse 4
We were taken from our community
A people stolen from our homes
We were moved down to the city
Where we were frightened and alone
The government thought that they were right
Then apologised for their wrongs
First collected, now protected
’Cause we are Australian

Verse 5
We all have different cultures
Migrants far away from home
When you only wanted white people
We were not allowed to come
Since you changed the law in ’52
We are welcome to your land
A multicultural place for all
We are all Australian